“When Hashem restores the fortunes of Tzion—we see it as in a dream— our mouths shall be filled with laughter, our tongues, with songs of joy. Then shall they say among the nations, ‘Hashem has done great things for them!’ Hashem will do great things for us and we shall rejoice.” Psalms 126:1 (The Israel Bible™)
The growing phenomenon of fringe anti-Zionist Jewish groups, evidenced by organizations such as IfNotNow and Jewish Voice for Peace which protest Christian support for Israel, is representative of the greatest challenge of the Jewish people in reaching geula (redemption) – the Jewish people themselves, say several prominent Jewish thinkers. According to Biblical tradition, the Jewish people will gather and unite on the shoulders of the gentiles, embodied in today’s Christian Zionist groups.
The Bay Area branch of IfNotNow, “a movement of young Jews calling for an end to American Jewish support for the Occupation”, recently called upon the Jewish community to protest and cancel a Christians United for Israel (CUFI) event on Sept 7 at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco.
David Brog, Executive Director of CUFI, an American pro-Israel Christian grassroots movement representing the largest pro-Israel group in the United States, is set to speak about “Christian Zionists: Why Evangelicals Support Israel”. IfNotNow’s counter-event, entitled “Christian Zionists: Why We Deserve Better Allies” will take place outside of Temple Emanu-El.
In its petition on The Action Network, IfNotNow calls CUFI “anti-Semitic,” saying that in the wake of the crisis of Charlottesville, the event further “pushes our vulnerable community towards allies that exploit us for hatred, instead of joining our fight against it.”
IfNotNow was established following Israel’s 2014 incursion in Gaza as an activist community engaged in left-wing protest against American and Jewish support for Israel. It exists as part of a growing trend of liberal American Jewish groups that rally against Israel and Jewish organizations that support it.
Following Nazi rallies in Charlottesville, various other left-wing Jewish groups have also used this opportunity to explain how Zionists and anti-Semites work together, rather than coming out in solidarity with the Jewish people. Last week, Jewish anti-Zionist activist and Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) Education Chair Lina Morales hosted a lecture conflating Zionism and white nationalism at the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, entitled “White Supremacy, Anti-Semitism & Zionism: History and Ideology”.
Last spring, at its biannual conference, JVP also hosted convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmeah Odeh, the mastermind behind a murderous terrorist attack against an Israeli grocery store in 1969. Odeh’s attack murdered two Jewish students 20 and 21 years old.
JVP has also supported Linda Sarsour, an outspoken advocate of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) Movement against Israel who has suggested that Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who was forced to suffer female genital mutilation under Somalia Sharia law at five years old, should “have her vagina taken away” for being a Zionist.
There are various ways that experts and Torah scholars explain the phenomenon of Jewish-on-Jewish hate. The issue is one which touches directly on the coming of the ultimate redemption.
Quoting Rabbi Pinchas Winston, a scholar who has studied the Biblical origins of Jewish-on-Jewish war, Breaking Israel News journalist Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz noted that the trend of Jewish groups that work against the existence of Israel is a modern day incarnation of the erev rav, or “mixed multitude.” The concept of erev rav suggests that the final Messianic battle will be an “all-out war against an unexpected threat: one from within the Nation of Israel itself,” and Rabbi Winston suggests that this battle has already begun with anti-Israel Jewish groups.
Indeed, in the 200-year-old text Kol Hator, Rabbi Hillel Rivlin of Shklov describes the messianic process in Israel, which states that the erev rav will be the final enemy that must be defeated in the End of Days to bring geula.
While Dr. Michael Laitman agrees that a spiritual element exists within Jewish self-hate, he believes that it illuminates a different path to geula. Dr. Laitman, Professor of Ontology and Theory of Knowledge, has a PhD in Philosophy and Kabbalah, and MSc in Medical Bio-Cybernetics. He suggests that the Jewish people are in exile due to baseless hatred, and this is what awakens anti-Semitism in the world.
“There is no people of Israel if not for a connection among them,” he told Breaking Israel News. “Once we begin to work on the connection between us, we will waken all of humanity to relate to us favorably if we are good to one another.” The only way to decrease anti-Semitism and reach geula, he said, is to correct the disunity within the Jewish people.
Yael Eckstein, the Senior Vice President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ), an interfaith pro-Israel organization, also believes that such recognition amongst non-Jews is part of the Biblical prophecy coming to fruition, although, unlike Rabbi Winston and Dr. Laitman, she does not view Jews who hate Israel as part of Biblical prophecy. “Throughout history there have been Jews who have disagreed on every single topic – that’s not new. Something we have to work on is finding a unified voice,” she told Breaking Israel News.
On a practical level, Eckstein suggests that while the Jewish people must approach anti-Zionist Jewish groups authentically and with conviction, they must not offer credibility to groups that “hate those who love us and love those who hate us by legitimizing terrorists, terrorism funders, and giving credibility to terrorist movements and actions.” She suggests not giving much attention to enemies, while reaching out to friends.
All three experts agree that Jews have become their own worst enemy, as seen today with Jews divided into many factions. As CUFI works towards a strong Israel and fringe Jewish groups protest, it is vital for both the nations and the Jewish people to continue to seek unity and spread the truth about Israel and about those who seek to destroy it.