Building a new kind of Judaism

My following letter was not published in today’s Sydney Morning Herald:

As an Australian Jew, I stand alongside the Palestinians with millions of other Jews around the globe. The tragedy of their situation, inflicted by Israel and the Western powers, requires a simple moral reasoning; Jews are no longer the victim.

Judaism is not Zionism. A far deeper understanding of human rights is necessary, not least because the Jewish state insists on invading, occupying and destroying the Palestinian existence, a reality rejected by the vast majority of the civilised world.

Visiting Israeli/American scholar Dr Jeff Halper is part of this noble tradition. We are among a growing number of Jews in opening the eyes of the Jewish establishment, who believe any public criticism of Israel is tantamount to treason and anti-Semitism.

I was proud, with countless other Jews and Palestinians in January, to speak out against Israel’s illegal and brutal bombardment of Gaza, which has resulted in a strengthened Hamas. It was just the latest futile war waged by Israel against a defenceless population.

It is time for the Zionist community to realise, as New York Jewish writer Anna Roiphe wrote recently, that there is “nothing normal about a state that cannot tolerate a minority within its borders and treat them as it would have wished its people to have been treated in the centuries of Diaspora life.”

Has occupation become a feature of modern Zionism which Jews can support?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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