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How should I speak against Zionism in a Reform synagogue?

03/12/07

Dear Rabbi,

I joined the local Jewish congregation when we moved here about 1 1/2 years ago. The congregation supports Israel and is Zionist and has a female Rabbi who visits here about 4 times a year and for the high holidays. We are a very small congregation in a rather isolated area.

I support the congregation financially and attend some of the group atcivities (and then they donate some money to zionist/Israeli causes). I am anti-zionist, I do not support Israel, I beleive in Judaism, not zionism. How do I tell the Rabbi, the Board of Directors and the rest of the congregation about my understanding of G-ds will for my religion and my people?

Hyman Schwartz

Dear Mr. Schwartz,

Thank you for your letter. If you want to protest your synagogue's pro-Israel stance, you certainly can't do it on grounds of Jewish law and Talmudic texts, since it appears to be a progressive synagogue that doesn't follow every aspect of Orthodox Judaism. In that case, all the legal source texts I could give you won't help you much.

But you could just say generally that the State of Israel spoils the image of the Jews in the world as a beacon of peace and the bearers of G-d's teachings. The state of Israel causes non-Jews to see Jews as a rogue state, as terrorists, as murderers, as thieves. Most Americans may not think this way but America is not the whole world. There are millions of Muslims and Europeans and Asians who now see Jews this way. Is this not a contradiction to the purpose of Jews in this world, as well as an irresponsible incitement to anti-Semitism?

Many people are also unaware of how many Jewish lives have been lost due to Zionism. You have to show people how the Zionists have consistently put their own interests before Jewish lives - during WWII, in blocking the refugees from entering any other country in the postwar years, in sending Jews to the battlefield in order to make their state larger, and so on.