Josef Olmert
Josef Olmert

The Tru’a Rabbis’ Infatuation with Arafat

Each time when I read about a bizarre idea being floated by rabbis belonging to the group known as Tru’a I HAPPEN to think, that this is the limit of the impossible. What else needs to happen, so that I will see, that these rabbis are really SO innovative . Well, what do I know?.It is a new trend now in place for rabbis-take a group from your congregation to Israel/Palestine[as they call it], meet with advocates of terror, visit ”poor” Palestinians, ”victims” of the ”occupation”’, explain to your mesmerized congregants that history started in 1967, and climax it all with a visit to Arafat’s grave, to learn”his legacy”. Then , of course, feel good that you are not like those terrible Zionists who will take you to say, Yad Vashem, or the Herzl tomb, maybe even to the Kotel, Rahmana Lizlan[G-D foorbid in Aramaic]. Surely, you are ”balanced”, in favor of dialogue,and on top of that, believe in Tikkun Olam. Put in sum, you are the new type of rabbi, the universalist messenger of Judaism. Take for example Beth Meyer in Raleigh, whose rabbi, the National co-chair of Tru’a planned a visit to Arafat’s grave, but cancelled it few days ago due to pressure from stunned congregants. Good for him, and as we say , Mode veozev yerucham[ leave alone those who admit a mistake]. Another such Rabbi in Austin also just cancelled a planned visit to learn Arafat’s legacy.

Arafat’s legacy?. Not clear even to the rabbis of Tru’a?. Very simple-kill as many Jews as possible. Let us be very clear about that-For any rabbi to wish to take congregants to this place, is to engage in Sinat Hinam against the vast majority of the Israeli and Jewish people. Why not the tomb of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem?. Should we provide more obnoxious suggestions to ”our” good rabbis?. To go to Arafat’s grave, is to demonstrate the opposite of Klal Israel Chaverim, the opposite of Jewish solidarity. It is to cross all these lines, and what makes it even a bigger sin, is to pretend that this IS THE true expression of Judaism. Rabbis who organize such trips, and who knows how many are out there, who contemplate exactly now whether or not to do it, are the modern version of the Acher, and it is not just the right of their congregants to oppose them, it is their obligation. The sad truth is, that the problem is much deeper than that of two particular congregations, which I know of, and others which I may not know of. The problem is the primacy of Tikkun Olam as preached by so many rabbis, mostly from Tru’a and Rabbis for Human Rights.

I have no reason to object to Tikkun Olam as being part of the mission of Judaism. I have a problem with it becoming the ONLY and/or most important feature of Judaism, as preached by so many rabbis. For them to do so, is to commit the same error which is committed by those rabbis who take the mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’aretz[settlement in the homeland] and turn it into the MOST IMPORTANT mitzvah. The left wing rabbis are the first to condemn the right wing rabbis , those in the settlements of Judea and Samaria and those in other places, claiming that the primacy of Yishuv Ha’aretz is for political reasons. So , here is the problem with the left wing rabbis of Tru’a -they do exactly the same, as Tikkun Olam has become the flagship slogan of all those who belong to the” Blame Israel at all coast crowd”, led by the Tru’a rabbis.

If these rabbis really mean Tikkun Olam, they should be in the forefront of the struggle against the atrocious state of human rights in Iran , Gaza, the West Bank[as they call it], to fast over genocide in Aleppo, to go after the killings of gay people in so many Muslim states, and yes, if and when they do all that, their protest at violations of human rights in Israel and in Judea and Samaria ring a bell of truth. But, they never go after any one, but Israel, and doing so is part of their anti Zionist agenda. They can claim the moral high ground as much as they like, but they will not be able anymore to hide behind that.

What happened in Raleigh and Austin may be the shape of things to come. The Zionist majority will not quietly tolerate any more
atrocities like visiting Arafat’s grave in order to learn “his legacy.”

About the Author
Dr Josef Olmert, a Middle East expert, is currently an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina