Rabbis not granted authority to speak in the political arena
April 26, 2019
(JNS)—The Conservative and Reform rabbinical leadership, along with affiliated lay groups and tepid pro-Israel groups, have revealed their elitist contempt for democracy and disdain for Zionism by appealing to U.S. President Donald Trump to force Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to break his electoral pledges. They did this in a letter sent to a Jewish publication on Friday, Apr. 12, in which they called on Trump to stop Netanyahu from extending sovereignty over Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
Why not ask Trump for what they really want: to overthrow the Israeli government and install a secular leftist government. Because that is what they want: they don’t care about democracy or the rule of law if Israelis dare to not want what they think Israelis should want. The rabbis, ironically enough, are trying to declare U.S. sovereignty over Israel. They are acting as if Israel is a vassal state of the U.S.
These American rabbis and those allied with their thinking refuse to pay any attention to what the Israelis have found out while waiting patiently for decades while the Palestinian Arabs keep repaying their every peace effort with ever-increasing terrorism: the Arab leadership will not agree to “live side by side in peace and security” with the Jewish state.
Most Israelis are no longer prepared to live in limbo. They have already rejected what these American rabbis demand they accept. On Apr. 9, the Israeli electorate gave a loud, resounding “no” to parties whose vision for Israel these Americans endorse, giving them the lowest election support ever. Not surprisingly, these American interlopers are not listening to what Israelis want at all.
Perhaps what is most galling is that the rabbis’ outrageous Apr. 12 letter oversteps their authority to speak for even American Jews within their respective denominations. They are not interpreting Jewish law, their alleged area of expertise, but are acting as Democratic Party partisans, with the Democratic Party’s allegiance to the shibboleth that two states for two peoples will bring peace.
After Netanyahu pledged to extend Israeli sovereignty to all Israelis living in the disputed areas that are the heartland of biblical Israel, the Israeli public applauded. Israelis gave Netanyahu the highest proportion of the vote he has ever received in any election.
What’s downright laughable is that these unelected American rabbis are now willing to prostrate themselves before Trump, whom they daily defame, calling on him to impose their preferences on an electorate which has rejected it as an existential threat. These arrogant, insulated rabbis have not learned from thousands of rockets fired from Gaza or the tens of thousands of missiles on the Lebanon border or the decades of stabbing, shooting, ramming attacks on Jews in Judea and Samaria. But Israelis have.
These letter-writing hypocrites hide behind protestations of love for Israel and then condition that love on things being done their way. They threaten that the American Jewish community will not support Israel if it does not do what they want. How dare they!
We witness with sorrow the power of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) and her cohort in the cowering of the four Jewish Democratic representatives who cravenly echoed the rabbis’ calumny. Not one had the courage to demand that Rep. Omar be removed from the House Foreign Affairs Committee, despite her outrages against American Jews and against Israel. Now they dare to tell Netanyahu to ignore the will of his people and kowtow to them, as they kowtow to their freshman colleague. Reps. Engel, Lowey, Deutch and Schneider—have you no shame?
Perhaps they all—the representatives, the rabbis and their cheerleaders—fear that they may soon be turned away by what the Democratic Party is becoming. Appeasement, however, is unlikely to win them a delay of excommunication. And since the real religion of their declining congregations is whatever this year’s Democratic Party platform is, they now attempt to foist this outrageous letter off as a “Jewish” position.
Let us be clear: these rabbis have no authority to speak for American Jews in the political arena. They have disgraced themselves by doing so.
We gratefully recognized President Trump’s commitment to the Jewish state and the indivisible linkage between a secure Israel and a secure United States during the 2015-2016 campaign and he has honored that commitment so far during his presidency. We are hopeful he won’t now be swayed by these leftist Democrats in clerical clothing.
Carol Greenwald and Dori Parker are chairmen of JewsChooseTrump.org.