About Talking Tachlis

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This is a Leader?

Woody Allen -
- We were married by a reformed rabbi in Long Island. A very reformed rabbi. A Nazi.
First of all, I never knew that the reform movement had a leader. Second of all, once I discovered that fact by reading this article reprinted in the Detroit Jewish News, I began wondering who decides who our "leader" is. I was never consulted, nor was I given the opportunity to vote. Third of all, until now, I wouldn't have cared whether or not there was a reform leader.

After reading about Rabbi Jacobs (who I am not comparing to a Nazi, more on that later), I care. Over the course of the past week, I've reread the article a number of times. I get angrier each time I read it. Rabbi Jacobs talks a good game about how he supports Israel. His actions show a disconnect.

I don't believe that all Israel supporters or members of the Jewish community have to walk in lock-step to prove our "Jewishness" or our loyalty to Judaism or to Israel. We are an opinionated, stiff-necked people, and we are going to disagree with each other. I can live with that. I cannot accept as a leader, however, one who allies himself with organizations, who, no matter how much they deny it, are working solidly, hand in hand, with the worst of Israel's enemies.

After joining in protest sponsored by Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity, Jacobs attempts to comfort us by stating,
he disagrees with 99 percent of what the movement, which has been described by the Jewish Agency for Israel as anti-Zionist, stands for.
One of the complaints of Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity is
Two settlements have been established in the heart of Jaffa in recent years with the declared intent of Judaizing the town.
We can't have cities in Israel being "Judaized" now, can we? And does Rabbi Jacobs support the term "settlements" to describe areas of Jews building in Israel? Gaza is judenrein, and Fatah is demanding the same of their proposed state in Judea and Samaria, where the dehumanizing terms "settlements" and "settlers" are used to describe Jewish neighborhoods and neighbors. But to approve of those terms within Israel? And they're honored by J Street, one of those other rabid - ahem - cough -"pro-Israel" - cough - gasp - choke - organizations.

Speaking of J Street, Fatah's Jewish voice,
“I support the goals and visions of J Street, but I’m not defined by it,” Rabbi Jacobs said,
And this means exactly what? We are supposed to mollified because he ONLY supports J Street, who claim,

Israel’s settlements in the occupied territories have, for over forty years, been an obstacle to peace. They have drained Israel’s economy, military, and democracy and eroded the country’s ability to uphold the rule of law.

Continued settlement growth undermines the prospects for peace by making Palestinians doubt Israeli motives and commitment, and by complicating the territorial compromises that will be necessary in final status talks. The arrangements that have been made for the benefit of settlers and for security – checkpoints, settler-only roads, the route of the security barrier* – have all made daily life more difficult for Palestinians, deepening hostility and increasing the odds of violence and conflict. A majority of Israelis have recognized this reality and oppose settlement expansion, yet their views have been outweighed by a small, vocal pro-settlement minority.

If this is a pro-Israel stand, the Manson family took a solid pro-Tate, LaBianca stand. And Rabbi Jacobs doesn't even pretend to be against 99% of what J Street stands for.

He said he wholeheartedly supports the work of the New Israel Fund, a group dedicated to civil rights and religious pluralism in Israel.
Maybe I'm not seeing the same things Rabbi Jacobs or the NIF is seeing, but from what I've been reading and seeing, these people would spend their time more productively in promoting civil rights and religious pluralism in the nations surrounding Israel. But in what must be a concerted effort at self-blindness, NIF says, on Goldstone's retraction of his report,
When the Goldstone Commission began its work, the organizations then called on the government to cooperate with the Commission, out of belief in the importance of transparency, and out of concern for Israel's international image. The government's refusal to set up a commission of inquiry, and then its refusal to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission, altered the findings of the Goldstone Report, with negative results.
So NIF joins Goldstone in blaming Israel for the bit of blood libel that bears his name. History has proven, when in doubt, blame the Jews, or in this case, the Jewish state. This gets the wholehearted support of Rabbi Jacobs. But I suppose it doesn't define him.

Just to show what an actual Israel supporter writes like, read Melanie Phillip's take on Goldstone's mendacity. Unlike Rabbi Jacobs, Phillips is not afraid to take sides and does not use weasel words to hide her feelings or her politics.

On the issue of the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement, he said he strongly opposed global BDS, which seeks to eliminate the Zionist state, but drew a distinction between such efforts and those who boycott products made in Jewish communities in the West Bank.

He said the Reform movement has not taken a position yet on the boycott of West Bank settlements but that “we do take positions on the hardest issues.”
Oh, I get it. He doesn't want to eliminate the the Zionist state, he merely wants to weaken it and insure that Judea and Samaria are ethnically cleansed in order to become Islamic terror states unpolluted by infidel Jews. But the Reform movement hasn't taken a stand. I'm not waiting for the Reform movement to tell me how to think. I will fight against BDS without making distinctions.

Getting back to the Woody Allen quote - as I said, I'm neither calling nor comparing Rabbi Jacobs to a Nazi. That line is from one of Allen's 1960s stand-up routines. That was a time when Jews were able to breathe a sigh of relief and ridicule their former unlamented, deceased tormentors. Israel was firmly established. Jews in the United States were taking advantage of their freedom to excel in a multitude of fields. Even in Europe, things seemed to be improving.

Woody Allen, Lenny Bruce, Mel Brooks' The Producers - the list goes on of humor made at the expense of the Seven Year Reich. There was a freedom to laugh out loud and publicly. It came from an absence of fear. And we are still laughing.

As time passed, Jews grew more secure, and in spite of its enemies, Israel grew stronger. We became complacent. Complacency led to a willful blindness so complete that a rabbi who openly colludes with our current genocidal enemies (even though he is against 99% of what they stand for) is being chosen to "lead" the Reform movement.

I don't have to explain our Islamo-Nazi enemies to anyone who has rejected this willful blindness, and it's useless to explain it to those who have accepted it.

During our Passover seders, we remind ourselves that, in every generation, a new enemy arises. Did Rabbi Jacobs and his followers skip this portion of the Haggadah? Do they really not get it?

If Rabbi Jacobs truly doesn't understand that taking both sides of the argument is not leadership, he isn't fit to lead.

If he doesn't understand that he can't stand up to our enemies while standing with our enemies, he's not fit to lead. And if he can't even recognize those enemies, he's dangerous.

If he doesn't understand that a leader must have the fortitude to take a strong stand, or he will only lead his followers into the abyss, he is not fit to lead.

Where Rabbi Jacobs is leading, I have no interest in going.

by Cowznofski


  1. When you have the nerve to sign your commentary with your full name, then maybe it could be given some credence!

  2. David,
    You do make a good point, and at some point I may abandon my anonymity. But rather than focus on who is writing the opinions expressed here, shouldn't you focus on the validity or invalidity of the opinions?