Menachem Creditor

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 serves as the Pearl and Ira Meyer Scholar in Residence at UJA-Federation New York and was the founder of Rabbis Against Gun Violence. An acclaimed author, scholar, and speaker with over 2 million views of his online videos and essays, he was named by Newsweek as one of the fifty most influential rabbis in America. His 31 books and 6 albums of original music include "A Year of Torah," the global anthem "Olam Chesed Yibaneh" and the COVID-era 2-volume anthology "When We Turned Within." He and his wife Neshama Carlebach live in New York, where they are raising their five children.