Pro Israel, Pro Peace

I just received a “messaging email” from J-Street, which read “We will be pushing the American Jewish community to rally behind peace efforts with at least as much enthusiasm as it rallied for Israel during this crisis.” This is far from the most worrisome email I’ve received, but I share here my own hurt at its phrasing, which suggests that Israel rallies (including the one at which I spoke in SF this past Sunday) was not a rally for peace. Nothing could be further from the content and tone and message of the Israel rallies I’ve read about and participated in.

The rallies for Israel I know about have been pervaded by prayers for peace. (The SF one this past Sunday was framed by the Israeli college students who convened it singing Lennon’s “Imagine!”) The JStreet email poses a dichotomy where I sense an important synergy pulsing within the Zionism I witness pouring out from within the American Jewish community. A “Zionism” that doesn’t trumpet peace is a false representation, and it concerns me that JStreet would misframe the best parts of what’s happening in the Jewish community today in a misleading and harmful way. Yes, there are those who disagree with what I’ve stated here about American Jewish Zionism, but they are on the far fringes, I believe.

Said simply: To be for Israel is to be for peace. Any other language denies my own Zionism commitment, and the ones I feel echoing in the Jewish community today.

About the Author
Rabbi Menachem Creditor is Scholar in Residence at UJA-Federation New York, where his role is amplifying Jewish learning, leadership and values within the UJA-Federation community of supporters, staff, and partners. In 2013, he was named by Newsweek as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in America. Rabbi Creditor has been involved in the leadership of Rabbis Against Gun Violence, American Jewish World Service, AIPAC and the One American Movement, an organization dedicated to bringing together Americans of different faiths and opinions. Among his 16 books and six albums of original Jewish music are “And Yet We Love: Poems,” “Primal Prayers,” and “Olam Chesed Yibaneh/A World of Love.”