Friday, 19 April 2019

Does Palestine make celebrating the Jewish Passover impossible?

My latest at Patheos


Tonight (Friday 19th April) I’ll be celebrating the Jewish festival of Passover with my family. We’ll do it in our own way, using our own home-curated Haggadah which draws on some radical and contemporary Jewish thought to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt and give it modern meaning and relevance....
But for a growing number of Jews around the world our relationship to the Palestinian people has become the greatest challenge to our Jewish identity and values. How can we celebrate our ‘feast of freedom’ and tell the story of our Exodus from the ‘narrow place’ of ‘Mitzryim’ while we deny, or stay silent, about the oppression of Palestine? It’s a profound challenge to our faith and the understanding of our own history.
Read the full post here

Saturday, 6 April 2019

Deborah Lipstadt, you’re wrong to say Jewish BDS supporters are enabling antisemitism

My new post at Patheos is just published.

As a Jewish supporter of BDS, I am not opposed to Israel’s existence. I am in favour of a truly democratic state for all who call the Holy Land home.
 I have not bought into “an anti-Israel narrative”, I have recognised a profound problem with Zionism while also understanding the historic experience of Jews in Europe which motivated the Zionist movement.  
The “values” you say I am upholding don’t need to be surrounded by your doubting speech-marks. We’re coming up to Passover, with its universal message of freedom from oppression, freedom from unjust Pharaohs. Since when did Jewish values become “antisemitic motifs”?  
To use your phrase, I too feel “sad and frustrated”. But my sadness and frustration is directed at the Jewish community which raised me and which is now immersed in denial about what has taken place in the name of Jewish liberation and security. As a community, we are outraged when we see antisemitism – and that’s an appropriate reaction. But when there are outrages committed against the Palestinian people (from IDF snipers along the Gaza fence, to water theft in the West Bank) our community leaders opt for defending the indefensible or staying silent.  
For me, Israel is not the most-evil regime in the world. There are far worse. But what takes place there happens in my name and in the name of Judaism and the Jewish people. And that’s what makes it my priority.

Read the full post at Patheos