This is an ARGENTUM POST News Flash Digest [ APNFD Nr. 103]
Less is more.
But first a brief personal background note by the founder/writer/editor/publisher of the ARGENTUM POST. That is then Followed by the “Synagogue That is a Home to Non-Zionists“. This will most probably the first of a trend which will literally render the Zionist narrative null and void as it should have been since its invention.
This independent, objective, publication is admittedly based on the advocacy of its writer which is based on his secular humanist, rationalist, and naturalist values.
It goes without saying that this “values” characterization extends just as much to religious humanists, since both have a common denominator the characterization of “humanist“, and that means that both have the objective of focusing on non-violence, peaceful conflict resolution with concomitant delegitimization of wars, social and economic justice, and constitutional democracy based constant evolution of the refinement and enrichment of our human experience on this planet.
So, basically, this is a form of literary activism which this writer has intertwined with other forms of peaceful and respectful activisms.
It is a mission undertaken by this writer who is the son of parents who survived the crimes against humanity and others by the Nazis. His parents were persecuted by the Nazis AND by the Zionists who tried to forcibly prevent his father from entering Bolivia for asylum in order to force him into what they called the Palestine colonization project which he naturally rejected categorically.
To learn some more of this writer’s background, readers may access the prestigious Oneness of Humanity website which has conducted and published an interview of this writer’s background in a relatively succinct but substantively descriptive mode.
In order to access the said interview, merely entering the words “Alfred Gluecksmann The Oneness of Humanity” into the Google search field will suffice.
Alternatively, the reader may select this link.
So to cut to the chase of the objective of this article, namely that of debunking the mythology of the Zionist narrative about the history of Judaism and of Israel, which has been suppressed and covered up since the inception of the inventions of falsehoods of the Zionist ideology at the turn of the 19th century, but which took a turn for the worse with the 1948 erroneously characterized “war of independence” of biblical Israel, which in reality was the “Nakba” for the autochthonous inhabitants of Palestine.
The Nakba (or the cataclysm) was for the Palestinians something similar that the “Holocaust” was for the Jews.
The ARGENTUM POST which was founded in 2013 has written a plethora of articles about this catastrophe when close to one million Palestinians were forcibly removed from Palestine, and one the best sources of the history of the barbarity that was meted out by the Zionist gangs of terrorist of which there were three, namely the Menachem Begin led Irgun gang, and the Yitzhak Shamir Stern or Lehi gang.
Both, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir terrorist gang leaders went on to become “Prime Ministers” of the political Israel which came into being after the Partition of Palestine in 1947
From then on, here is the message the Palestinian had to live by was ” abide, leave, or die“. It only has gotten worse since then. Today there are some 2 million Palestinians blocked inside the world’s greatest concentration open-air concentration camp called Gaza, which is time and again bombed savagely by the Zionist misleadership of Israel.
To this day Israel continues to militarily occupy Palestine, and now we have ” Israel’s Hugely Controversial ‘Nation-State’ Law ” which the publication Vox explains and which is basically equivalent to Israel declaring itself an illegal, racist, Apartheid state.
One of the best sources of information about this sordid takeover, violent oppression, and continuing international law violation of Palestine is the one by written by the expatriate Israeli illustrious historian Ilan Pappe, and it is titled “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine“. Pappe was forced into exile in London due to death threats against him for speaking truth to power whose might makes right.
Well, fast forward now to the present time, as a sign of the times, the putrefaction by the Zionist propagandistic fabrications has reached its zenith to the point that it is totally unraveling, yet the American corporatized mainstream media, along with its neocon AND neolib politicians, bizarrely clings to the false narratives as a result of either utter ignorance, and/or malevolence, or simply political corruption which has them in the pocket of the toxic AIPAC lobby which is in violation of the FARA Act (Foreign Agent Registration Act) and continues to cling to its cultural programmation tactics in support of the Zionist objectives which essentially are to serve the hegemonic quest for Israel dominance of the Middle East for the benefit of Western right-wing , nationalist, racist, elite sector, and for the benefit of the execrable military-industrial complex which President Eisenhower warned the American people against.
It does not seem to matter that for the last 6 years, all-day conferences were held at the National Press Club on the subject of “The Israel Lobby & American Policy” which typically are attended by some 500 intellectuals, of such backgrounds as the U.S. Foreign Service, historians, investigative journalists, ambassadors, members of the U.S. intelligence community, of the U.S. military community and of many more and diverse backgrounds.
The objective of these conferences is to bring to an end the shamelessly odious cover up and the silencing of government workers when it comes to the crimes of Israel’s Zionist misleaders. The “Israel Can Do No Wrong” posture is perfidious to the extreme and a disservice to every American who has the same right to be informed and educated honestly as he/she has the right of freedom of speech.
The only right of freedom of speech which is NOT covered by the First Amendment is the that of the ruling of the Supreme Court in the case of Chaplinsky vs. New Hampshire.
Fighting words are, as first defined by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) in Chaplinsky v New Hampshire, 315 U.S. 568 (1942), words which “by their very utterance, inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace. … Fighting words are a category of speech that is unprotected by the First Amendment.
The omission of this categorical exception which is also covered up by the corporatized media and corrupted politicians, and hence, most particularly white supremacist neo-nazis now under the regime of the racist in the White House, availa themselves liberally of the use of the its “fighting words” to provoke violent disturbances as in the one in Charlottesville.
Finally now, “thanks” to such horrific misleaders, namely Trump (+ Jared Kushner), Netanyahu, and Bin Salman, these three dangerous misleaders became allies with the Zionist establishment blessing to the point that they have revealed themselves for their nefarious objectives which in effect represent now a threat to our national security as they are colluding to trap aggressively Iran by phony accusations, and by false flag orchestrations of attacks on tankers in the straight of Hormuz, into a war which has a major potential to spiral into a military confrontation with Russia and China, not to mention, the already consequences of the sanctions imposed on Iran.
All three have in common right-wing extremist supremacist, racist, hegemonic agendas, and in all three cases these misleaders have a history of such corruption and of such acts of murderous violence, that they qualify for being charged with crimes against humanity.
The idea that an American so-called “President” (?!) deems the head of the world’s most dangerous power structure of state actors or terrorism which was involved in the 9/11 attacks, namely the power structure of Saudi Arabia led by Bin Salman, and to add insult to injury is now is making billions of petrodollars by selling the murderer of the American based dissident and democracy advocating journalist Jamal Kashoggi, is an absolute scourge and an irreversible blemish for the history of the United States and this state of affairs grows more dangerous and unacceptable by the hour now.
As if this obscene reality is not sufficient, this Trump misleader is also considering to sell nuclear technology to that criminal power structure which carries out executions of their own inhabitants at a rate of one every other day, and yet every other day innocent Iran is provoked more and more because even though for the last 200 years it has not invaded or been hostile to its neighbors.
But again, who and what brings this gang together? The Zionist hegemons (who are NOT necessarily Jewish at all, and contrariwise, do harm to the vast majority of America’s noble anti-Zionist Jews and who now yearn for a “Never Again” clamor to be heard universally. Not in their name must the Zionist be able with getting away with nationalist, hegemons such as John Bolton, Elliot Abramson, Mike Pompeo and many others who profess falsely to be “friends” of these decent Jews as were the parents of this writer. With “friends” like the afore-mentioned, decent Jews need no enemies.
It is oxymoronic and hence inoperable for anyone to characterize this critique as “anti-semitic” since (a) Zionist have meted out tremendous damage on Judaism from its inception to this day, (b) not all Zionist are Jews, since the same class of extremist right-wing, ideologues are fundamentalist Evangelist of the Jerry Fallwell class, and (c) secular Zionists have so much disrespected innocent, decent Jews, that during the occupation of Palestine when there were about 6% of Palestinians Jews living there who were in total peace with their Christian and Muslim, and secular friends (as did the German Jewish grandfather of this writer who have moved to Haifa, Palestine and had become a Palestinian citizen), these noble Palestinian Jews were also punished violently by the Zionist settlers if they did not collaborate with them in their mistreatment of Palestinians and there is ample documentation which proves that many of these decent Jews were assassinated and/or had their houses demolished for not being “obedient” to their Zionist settler conquerors.
So at this point, even though this writer had envisaged this article to be “succinct” but got carried away a bit by the prologue, the most important news break which documents the breaking of the Zionist narrative is provided infra.
The source of this reality is provided by none other than The Jewish Telegraphic Agency in the form of an article published on June 3,2019 by Ben Sales with the headline “This Chicago Synagogue is A Home for Non-Zionist Jews“. It was published in Jewish newspapers around the world.
Furthermore, the prestigious organizations (inter alia) such as “Jewish Voice for Peace” and “The American Council for Judaism” are as well anti-Zionism and hence the notion that such personalities such as Bernie Sanders or Jerry Corbin, both of who categorically condemn Israel for its crimes against the humanity of the Palestinians, can somehow be characterized as “anti-Semitic” is mendaciously obscene.
Now to the Chicago Synagogue article by Ben Sales.
CHICAGO (JTA) – If a pro-Israel activist were to conjure an image of an anti-Zionist synagogue they’d probably come up with something like Tzedek Chicago.
A congregation of 180 people that meets in a church basement, Tzedek Chicago’s “Core Values” declare that it’s non-Zionist. In practice, though, that means an explicit emphasis on advocating for Palestinian rights and criticizing Israel’s conduct. Those themes were woven throughout its service last Yom Kippur — from the rabbi’s sermon to the Torah service to the liturgy itself.
Discussing the biblical story of Jacob and Esau, a speaker said that Esau, the scorned older brother, experienced a “personal Nakba,” the name Palestinians use for the catastrophe they commemorate on the anniversary of Israel’s independence. The sermon was about a recent trip to Gaza. For the martyrology, a section of the service that traditionally commemorates Jews who died for their faith, the synagogue instead memorialized Gazans who died in clashes with Israel on the border.
And in addition to atoning for personal misdeeds, the congregants collectively beat their chests to repent for Israel’s actions.
“For the sin, we have committed before you for blockading 1.8 million Gazans inside an open-air prison,” the congregation recited. “For the sin, we have committed before you for wedding sacred Jewish spiritual tradition to political nationalism and militarism.”
Even as they disagree over whether God exists or where the Torah comes from, synagogues across the country of all denominations take supporting Israel as a matter of course. Many recite prayers for the state and its army. It’s standard to see Israeli and American flags flanking the front of synagogue sanctuaries. AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, welcomes hundreds of synagogue delegations to its annual conference.
Tzedek Chicago was born of a desire to escape all of that. But the synagogue doesn’t disengage from Israeli-Palestinian discourse. It goes in the opposite direction. There are no flags at the front of the sanctuary, and instead of celebrating Israeli Independence Day, they commemorate Nakba Day.
“There were no places for Jews — we believe there are a significant number of them — who either were not Zionist or were engaged actively in Palestinian solidarity work and really wanted their social justice identity to be expressed through the life of the congregation,” Tzedek Chicago Rabbi Brant Rosen said. “We state specifically that one of our values is we do not celebrate the fusion of Jewish tradition and political nationalism.”
Rosen, 56, once was a liberal Zionist serving as rabbi of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in suburban Chicago. He’s also the past president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. But successive trips to Israel and Palestinian areas, especially surrounding Israeli wars in Gaza, led him to affiliate with Jewish Voice for Peace, which advocates a boycott of Israel and identifies as anti-Zionist. Rosen is the co-founder of JVP’s rabbinical council.
After the 2014 war in Gaza, Rosen says “it became impossible for me to do my work anymore,” and he resigned from his former synagogue. He and a group of former congregants founded Tzedek Chicago the next year. Rosen says it’s loosely affiliated with JVP.
During the week, Rosen is the Midwest Regional Director for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization that supports the boycott Israel movement and draws frequent criticism from pro-Israel voices, including for its role in co-hosting a peace dinner in 2008 featuring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“Being in a space where organizing for an end to human rights abuses against Palestinians feels like a natural extension of organizing around social justice more broadly as opposed to this thing that gets siloed off … it’s very liberating,” said Michael Deheeger, a founding member of Tzedek Chicago who worked as an organizer with JVP. “It’s just in line with all the other actions going on.”
Although Rosen split from his Reconstructionist synagogue, he remains “an active and valued member” of the movement, according to Rabbi Elyse Wechterman, the executive director of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association. The movement has traditionally been progressive Zionist, but is also “a big tent and [has] members with a variety of viewpoints and positions on these issues,” she wrote in an email. Another prominent co-founder of JVP’s Rabbinical Council, Rabbi Alissa Wise, also is Reconstructionist.
A decade of a right-wing government, religious divides, and a moribund peace process have cooled what was once a passionate love affair between Israel and American synagogue-goers.
“Although a vast majority of them still care about Israel, there is now much more ambivalence toward it and much less agreement about its politics,” wrote Dov Waxman, a professor of political science, international affairs and Israel studies at Northeastern University. Among younger Jews, that ambivalence is even more pronounced.
Even so, the non-Zionism and pro-Palestinian activism of JVP and Tzedek make them outliers among Jews. A survey this month by the American Jewish Committee found that 62 percent of American Jews agree “strongly” or “somewhat” that caring about Israel is a “very important part of my being a Jew,” while only 15 percent and 18 percent “disagree strongly.”
Tzedek has collaborated with other Jewish groups in the area beyond JVP. But it is not listed in the local federation’s directory of Chicago synagogues. The federation, called the Jewish United Fund, does not fund groups that advocate a boycott of Israel.
For Tzedek Chicago, being non-Zionist extends beyond political advocacy. Rosen says the synagogue aims for Diasporaism, where the congregation immerses itself in the local culture rather than Israeli culture, which he calls a “Western colonial culture.”
Rosen says he still has a “deep-seated connection to Israel,” and acknowledges that the Land of Israel is a major motif in Jewish history, sacred texts, and prayer. But he says the congregation downplays it now because he believes the land has become inextricably connected to the State of Israel.
So on the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, instead of the traditional rituals with four plant species are grown in Israel, the synagogue gathered leaves from oak, sumac and willow trees, along with an Osage orange. Rosen notes the four plants are indigenous to the Chicago area.
“Israeli culture is 100-plus years old,” he said. “It’s an invented culture, really, and I don’t deny that is a robust and sophisticated culture in its own right. If we’re really going to celebrate Jewish culture, we should celebrate the varieties of Jewish culture, and the one that’s being created in the Diaspora community in which we live.”
Pro-Palestinian activism isn’t the sole focus of Tzedek Chicago. The congregation will host a “Promoting Immigrant Justice” session on the upcoming Jewish holiday of Shavuot. Its core values include nonviolence, spiritual freedom, and equity. And before atoning for what they see as Israeli sins, the Yom Kippur worshippers also listed American militarism and mistreatment of minorities and immigrants.
“How do you set up what’s called a tent of meeting?” asked Caryn Chaden, Tzedek Chicago’s president, describing the experimental nature of the 4-year-old synagogue. “How do you solve this? How do you solve that? We’ve had long discussions of what it means to be a member at Tzedek.”
Much of being a Tzedek Chicago member has nothing to do with activism. Deheeger enjoys programming for young families. Chaden loves congregational singing. And Rosen says that because so many of the worshippers work for activist groups, he tries to create a space apart from that work during prayers.
“It’s not particularly Shabbesdik to go on and on about Israel’s oppression of Palestinians in our service, or about the oppression of undocumented immigrants,” he said, using a term that means “appropriate for Shabbat.” “It is not particularly Shabbesdik to bring that level of protest into Shabbat, which should be about renewal and replenishment and rejuvenation.”
But for some members, non-Zionism is an inherent part of that rejuvenation. Uncomfortable in nearly every other synagogue they’ve encountered, they say they finally feel at home.
“It felt like an LGBTQ person coming out of the closet,” said Lesley Williams, a JVP member who belongs to Tzedek Chicago. “We were able to say who we are without being judged or ostracized or kicked out of the Jewish community.”