Monday, August 27, 2012

Rotten Religious Zionism

A Guest Post by Fozzie Bear

Saying that something is rotten in the core of Haredi Judaism comes easily to more moderate Jews, but it must be said, with the same intensity of righteous indignation that something is horribly wrong with Religious Zionism. The acts of violence and terror committed by young religious Zionists that have been much covered recently in the news are only the most visible results of a too-often ignored awful trend. These are not the first acts of violence and they probably won’t be the last.

Religious Zionism has a strong note of racism running through it. The racism is not inherent. You can be a patriot without being a nationalist. However, the racism of present-day Religious Zionism is too strong a feature of that stream of Judaism to be ignored. It must be condemned and eradicated.

Haredi Judaism touts its own superiority as cast against the evil of the modern world – with all the ugly bigotry that results. Religious Zionism posits its love of the land against the evil of the Arabs who also claim it – with all the ugly hatred that results. There is hatred of Jews by Arabs, there is terrorism by Arabs against Jews and you would be simply stupid to ignore it. None of that, however, excuses the descent of Religious Zionism into what it has become today.

Religious Zionists talk about Arabs as if they are sub-human, as if they are the ultimate evil, as if they should all be killed or driven into the sea. Can anyone possibly be surprised that the children of Religious Zionist families start committing acts of violence against Arabs? It is the inevitable, obvious result. The Religious Zionist leadership must stand up and end this trend right now. The Religious Zionist public must stand up and condemn these acts right now.

Those rabbis who are part of the problem must be categorically thrown out of the Religious Zionist movement by those rabbis who retain their sense of derekh eretz. Rabbi’s Druckman, Lau, Bigman, Gilad, Lichtenstein, Gigi, Riskin, Neventzahl, Sherlo, Stav, Ariel, and on and on and on… I call on you now to speak out. Take a public stand. Condemn those who should be condemned. Stop paying respect to bigots and racists because they are learned in Torah. The problem cannot be ignored any more.

The problem is widespread and not easily eradicated. But eradicated it must be. Education must change. Public dialogue must change. The discourse in religious zionist yeshivot must change. Bnei Akiva must speak to it's madrichim and chanichim about this. Some rashei yeshivot need to be thrown out, loudly and publicly. No more can we stick our head in the sand. We have been doing that too long.

How can Religious Zionism hope to be a force for good in the society of Medinat Yisrael if it cannot even fix it own back yard first? How can it inspire others to follow when it is so heavily stained by the evil of hatred and violence? We are degraded by these acts of violence.

We are become accomplices to terror. As a group, we should feel shame and act accordingly to do Teshuva.

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