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Rift Between Liberal Christian and Zionist Jewish Groups Rapidly Deepens

3:07 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

An Israeli flag

Photo: Ron Almog / Flickr

The response to the October 5th letter to Congress from fifteen mainline, somewhat liberal, and very large Christian denominations or groups, by various Zionist Jewish organizations, is rapidly escalating into something serious.  In an article at the Jewish Telegraph Agency, posted an hour ago, Ethan Felson,vice president and general counsel of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, appears to be threatening to have Congress investigate the Churches, or the signatories of the letter:

Felson said JCPA is considering as a response asking Congress to investigate delegitimizers of Israel and to issue a resolution against their efforts. He said he has not yet decided if he will attend the roundtable.

“We feel strongly that if you want the parties to reconcile, we should model reconciliation,” Felson said. “But that’s difficult to do when we’re up against this brand of antipathy.”

Suggesting that American Jewish groups could retaliate by advocating against U.S. aid to the Palestinians, Felson said the signers of the letter are “opening up a Pandora’s box.” [emphases added]

In an op-ed, posted an hour ago in the Jerusalem Post, commentator Isi Leibler invokes some pretty serious imagery:

The signatories include leaders of the Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist and National Council of Churches. Although many of the rank-and-file members of these churches are supporters of Israel and unaware of these activities, their radical anti-Israel leaders were obviously not inhibited from taking such action despite being aware of the role of their churches in demonizing, persecuting and murdering Jews over the past 2,000 years.

One is tempted to suggest that some of the current Lutheran leaders have inherited the anti-Semitic poison of their 16th-century founder, Martin Luther, who after failing to convert the Jews called on his followers to murder these “poisonous envenomed worms” and set fire to their synagogues and schools. [emphasis added]

They have simply redirected his anti-Semitic obsessions toward the Jewish state in lieu of individual Jews.

Leibler is referring to this 1543 pamphlet by Luther:  Von den Juden und ihren Lügen

In the JTA article, there is no reference to this morning’s action by the Rabbinical Council of Jewish Voice for Peace (disclaimer – my wife is a member of JVP), in support of the stance of the Christian leaders who wrote to Congress:

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Andrew Adler, Obama Assassination Advocate, Resigns from His Own Paper

11:13 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

From Haaretz:

The owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times, Andrew Adler, who suggested Israel should assassinate U.S. President Barack Obama, has resigned from his post, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported on Monday.

Adler, who has since apologized for his article, listed three options for Israel to counter Iran’s nuclear weapons in an article published in his newspaper last Friday. The first is to launch a pre-emptive strike against Hamas and Hezbollah, the second is to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and the third is to “give the go-ahead for U.S.-based Mossad agents to take out a president deemed unfriendly to Israel in order for the current vice president to take his place and forcefully dictate that the United States’ policy includes its helping the Jewish state obliterate its enemies.”

According to FOX News, he is under investigation by the US government:

Jewish advocacy groups condemned his comments as “outrageous,” and Secret Service spokesman George Ogilvie said the agency is “aware” of the incident.

“We’re conducting the appropriate investigative steps,” he told FoxNews.com.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency has a good roundup of some of the many negative reactions from prominent Jewish agencies and publications to Adler’s January 13th column.

Jeremy Ben Ami, founder of  J Street, who was hosted by me last July at firedoglake’s Book Salon has responded:

J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement in response to an editorial written by the publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times calling for Israel to consider assassinating President Barack Obama:

“J Street condemns in the strongest possible terms the editorial in the Atlanta Jewish Times, written by the paper’s own publisher, that included a call for Israel to consider the assassination of President Obama. Andrew Adler’s remarks are un-American and decidedly not pro-Israel. An apology is insufficient and we welcome news that the US Secret Service is taking the ‘appropriate investigative steps.’

Words can’t express the repugnance that all Americans – Jewish and other – must feel toward someone who could use language like this. It is out of keeping with American and Jewish values.

This incident should serve, however, as more than an opportunity to join in condemning a lone extremist. It should be a wake-up call for the Jewish community that the discourse around the President and Israel, generally, has gotten far out of control.

One problem is that we have allowed the portion of American Jewry who disagrees with President Obama’s policies to too freely call him ‘anti-Israel’ without adequate pushback from the leaders of our largest communal institutions, who know that charge to be untrue.

As I wrote at MyFiredoglake last week, and as many others have too, were Mr. Adler Muslim, his options between January 13th and now might have been considerably more limited than merely getting out of the publishing and op-ed/threat business.  That being said, the prompt and articulate responses from so many important voices in Jewish public life in the U.S. was quite good to see and not surprising.  The lack of attention this story has gotten in the mainstream press is another matter.