A conversation with Rabbi Joseph Edelheit
I am genuinely sad and sorry the rabbi feels so fearful. I also think the idea of interfaith conversation is a great thing and appreciate the willingness of both clergymen to engage with each other.
I have some sharp disagreement, however, with the conflation of anti-Zionism with anti-semitism.
The following statement is unsubstantiated:
“Far-left advocates are using hatred of Israel to exile Jewish people from progressive spaces.” I do not know of any “progressive spaces” - which are critical of Israel, its policies, its leadership, its propaganda, its behavior (“hatred of Israel” is a misleading use of language) - that aren’t well-populated by conscientious and deeply thoughtful Jews. Nobody is being exiled from progressive space for being Jewish. People - regardless of religion or ethnicity - are being called out in some progressive spaces for their support of what they consider an extremely problematic regime and an even more problematic bombing campaign. People calling out injustice where they see it is how things should work.
90% of the thoughtful people I have read and listened to who are critical of the Israeli occupation are Jewish. Many of them used to love the idea of the modern state of Israel but emerged through painful cognitive dissonance to a very different place - though with a clean conscience and a renewed pride in their heritage as a people who seek Justice and pursue it.
People like Rabbi David Mivasair, Miko Peled (author of The General’s Son) and especially Gabor Mate - who despite having strong opinions about the injustice of the Zionist project, have total empathy and compassion for those on both “sides” who have suffered and continue to suffer trauma over what has been suffered since 10/7 and way before. There is much trauma in all of this - generational trauma for Jewish families from the horrors of the holocaust and unrelenting trauma in
this moment for those in Gaza and the West Bank.
I find the conversations you are having with Rabbi Edelheit important, thought provoking and paradigm shifting. Thanks.