Rabbi Michael Lerner posted an item at the Tikkun website 22 February 2016 entitled Major American Jewish Leader Changes His Mind About Israel
It is the title of Lerner's introductory comment to an article submitted to Tikkun by David M. Gordis which is entitled "An Amazing Turn for a Major Leader of the American Jewish mainstream: David Gordis Rethinking Israel." In it he states:
"[. . .] Here is the article he [Gordis] submitted to Tikkun. We publish it with the same sadness that Gordis expresses at the end of this article, because many of us at Tikkun magazine shared the same hopes he expresses below for an Israel that would make Jews proud by becoming an embodiment of what is best in Jewish tradition, history, and ethics, rather than a manifestation of all the psychological and spiritual damage that has been done to our people, which now acts as an oppressor to the Palestinian people "
Gordis has an impressive CV, mentioned in Lerner's introduction, and is highly placed and influential in, if not the entire Jewish community, at least the religious Jewish community. As such the fact that Gordis speaks of "seeing the light", as it were, seems something akin to an epiphany on his part, and as a person in his position, when he has actually puts it in writing.
Gordis' article is an article worth reading (as is Lerner's introduction) even though it is a bit heavy with analysis of Israeli politics: An Amazing Turn for a Major Leader of the American Jewish mainstream: David Gordis Rethinking Israel. But one need not become bogged down in the complexities of internal "schizophrenic" Israeli politics to understand the big issue. And the big issue is THE issue i.e. the ideology and movement of political zionism as embraced by the government of Israel. As often as the Israeli government has labeled the Arab nations as being "schizophrenic", in actuality to understand the problem is to understand it is a matter of projection on the part of the government of Israel. It is understandable how the hypocrisy and prevarication might create some type of mental instability in decent people. Living with the contradictions on a daily basis, as a way of life, and being required to hate and kill because of them has the potential to devastate anyone. I suggest reading Lerner's introduction and Gordis' article, if you have not already done so, before continuing on with my comments - if you so choose.
I would add two comments about the Gordis article, the first I want to add a comment to Gordis' "what happened" paragraph, near the end of his article. The modern day successes of Israel which he points out, have been at the cost of Palestinian lives, homes, and livelihoods. It is a fact he does not acknowledge in the article. But to truly understand what he seems to be realizing he will need to understand such is the case. Not only that but the successes of Israel mentioned by Gordis have also been largely financed by the U.S.A and as such are not only at karmic cost to Israel but also to my nation. This makes them my business and the business of all Americans, since our taxes are paying for Israel's crimes. Surely Gordis realizes that how one succeeds determines the extent to which that success is ethical, thus the extent to which karma builds up or is neutralized.
It must also be pointed out that modern day Israel's accumulating of karmic debt is at cost to the entire Arabic speaking region (and beyond into those adjacent nations that are also predominately Muslim). Because, the region has been in increasing political turmoil since the leaders of the ideological political zionist terrorist groups within Palestine declared Israel to be a nation in 1948; then proceeded to people the government of modern day Israel with their numbers and claim that the land of Palestine was to be modern Israel where only Jews would be allowed to live.
Since that land-grab event Israel's territorial imperative efforts have punctuated the adjacent Arabic speaking region with brief, deadly wars, while appropriating Palestinian Territory (which it both occupies and continues to confiscate in an illegal manner), Egyptian territory, Syrian territory, and from the start there have been openly stated designs on all the land between the Nile and the Tigris-Euphrates. Once the U.S. became militarily involved 25 years ago in what became the start of the on-going reactionary sporadic combat that it has been involved in since that time, it became clear that Israel's region of intended combat, and threatened combat, with the purpose and intent of creating destabilizing political unrest, have all been primarily focused on the entire Arabic speaking region and adjacent predominately Muslim nations.
U.S. military involvement started at the end of the term of George H.W. Bush, as many of us recall, and as many of us by this time have learned from history. It continued on through the Clinton administration, then through the George W. Bush administration, and into the Obama administration, and most recently the Trump Administration. Five presidents. And during George H.W. Bush's administration we thought Viet-Nam was a lesson learned debacle that would not be repeated any time soon. Clearly that was not the case.
The karmic debt with which the 25 years of U.S. military involvement with Israel's neighbors has burdened our nation is with nations Israel has identified and insisted are not only it's "enemies" but also enemies of the entire world of nations! So, I have to state, once again, that our nation's unconditional support of Israel's ideological political zionism, makes the criminally manipulative politics of the government of the political zionist government of Israeli my business - because the "success" of irreligious political zionim using and abusing religion to create a modern day Israel exclusively for Jews only is built entirely on the criminalitiy of the political zionist leadership. And for the same reasons it is, again, the business of all Americans, too many of whom continue to prefer deniability by choosing to ignore the problem even though the symptoms of it have been increasing exponentially for many decades - evidenced by increasing international and domestic unrest and political instability because of Israel considering neighboring nations to be enemies.. Given harsh reality, Gordis' change of heart does seem somewhat monumental - at least it will seem so when he eventually recognizes the serious problems that have been created because of how the government of Israel has achieved it's so-called successes.
As to my second comment - what Gordis speaks of, though he does not say it in so many words - it is about the effort of the ideology of political zionism (not religious zionism) aiming to transform the religion of Judaism into being analogous to the ideology of political zionism. As Gordis points out, Judaism is not being exemplified by the nation of modern day Israel:
"Present day Israel has discarded the rational, the universal and the visionary. These values [Judaism] have been subordinated to a cruel and oppressive occupation, an emphatic materialism, severe inequalities rivaling the worst in the western world and distorted by a fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist [interpretation of] religion which encourages the worst behaviors rather than the best."
Did he ever get that right! His comment is about the effort of the ideology of political zionism which has not ceased trying to transform Judaism into something it is not, solely for the purpose of fooling everyone into believing Judaism supports a political ideology that is not equivalent to Judaism, but instead is antithetical to Judaism. [The brackets in the Gordis' excerpt, above, are my inserted comments. Additionally, any use by me of the singular term "zionism" refers to the stategic movement that is ideological political zionism.]
One can not help but feel sympathy for Gordis' seeming despair. Everyone who has realized something is awry between the reality of what Israel says and actuality of what Israel does (the crimes it wants to convince the world it commits in the name of G_d and Judaism), has started out feeling the same way. And the something that is awry is that Judaism and the ideology of political zionism are not equivalent and in fact bear no resemblance to one another.
Is Gordis tempted to imagine that Judaism is a fanatic obscurantist and fundamentalist religion? Well let us hope not because it is not. Does Gordis realize that the ideology of political zionism does not represent and is not equivalent to Judaism? Well. it seems he does. Let us hope so because it is not. Clearly it is not Judaism that creates a "cruel and oppressive
occupation, an emphatic materialism, severe inequalities rivaling the
worst in the western world." It is zionism. But nowhere does he mention zionism and until he does differentiate between Judaism and zionism, by referring to the problem with it's actual name, (the ideology of political zionims) how can we be sure? It seems that he is recognizing it is his job too to make sure there is a clear differentiation between Judaism and the ideology of the political zionist government of Israel. But that can not be done without actually labeling the ideology that is antithetical to Judaism for what it is i.e. zionism, It is understandably daunting and complex work associated with one's entire belief system seeming to have become destabilized, so it is not easily accomplished at first because of the associated emotional devastation. Although, by the time folks actually admit the problem to others they have usually admitted it to themselves, thus have processed some of the emotional devastation.
What we do know, and what it seems Gordis is in the process of realizing, is that ideological political zionism has been fanatically and obstinately determined to make Judaism and the ideology of political zionism into one and the same, first in the eyes of Jews upon which the strategy of zionism's first success depends, then in the eyes of the world of nations and their people. So what does it mean when the nations of the world buy into Israel's unreasonable facsimile which it promotes to the world of nations as Judaism? Clearly nothing good. Think about it.
The zionist effort has been occurring far longer than a century, in fact closer to two centuries, actually. It's banner was, simply, not so publicly and visibly being waved until the late 1800s as the political movement's leaders become confident their strategy of using and abusing Judaism would eventually produce success. Would it reflect reality to suggest the zionist leaders were irreligious? Well, applying Occam's Razor it is either that, or they were crazy uneducated ill-intended religious extremists as bad as any religious extremists in today's world. Think about it.
Theodor Herzl became the spokesperson for Zionism at the end of the 19th century. People have wondered if Herzel was as naive about what he was representing as many of us would like to believe he was, given he is said to not have been exposed to the much earlier Zionist writing at the time he published his pamphlet "Der Judenstaat" (The Jewish State) in 1896. Perhaps that is when he come to the attention of the zionist leadership as an opportunity to be exploited? Could it be that his lack of knowledge about the ideology of their political zionism, at least at first, would have made him the ideal believable PR person for the movement? Think about it.
But here's the thing, in wrapping up my comments about what we can only hope is the start of Gordis dispensing with the government of Israel's superimposed "schizophrenic" ways, by fully embracing what he is already experiencing as zionism's harsh cruel reality. Both the success of the nefarious zionist effort (to transform Judaism negatively in unrecognizable ways for the purpose of using as a weapon, to manifest it's grandiose land grab), and the lack of zionism's success, continue to dependent primarily upon Jewish folks, ethnic and/or religious, whether practicing or not - upon Jewish folks recognizing that the problem is the effort of the movement of the ideology of political zionism wanting to convince the world it is the nefarious equivalent to Judaism; recognizing like Gordis has started to that zionism's "fanatic, obscurantist and fundamentalist" perspective is not equivalent, by any stretch of the imagination, to the "rational, the universal and the visionary" values of the religion of Judaism.
And make no mistake - the ideology of political zionism was always a danger first and foremost to Judaism, then when it wanted to appropriate Palestine also to all inhabitants of Palestine regardless of their religion and ethnicity, then to everyone else. To the extent that zionism fools Jewish folks who do not rise to the occasion required, for understanding of the problems and setting the record straight, it also fools everyone else. That's a big karmic debt for the Jewish individuals to take on whose preference happens to be embracing deniability as a way of avoiding the actuality of the problem of Israel's political zionist government.
Gordis has taken his first step because he seems to have chosen Judaism instead of the unreasonable facsimile which is the nefarious land grabbing grandiose movement and ideology of political zionism. As such there is reason to believe he might choose to continue to rise to the occasion. Time will tell. Let us wish him well and God's speed in dealing with what comes next. It will not be easy though it will be easier than it was for those who arrived, earlier, at the point, where he was last year in February 2016. Those folks are now, potentially, all part of a moral support system for him and subsequent arrivals to reality.