Thursday, June 17, 2010

Judaic Activists Set Sail for the Cause of Tribal Universalism?

From Mondoweiss:

Transatlantic Jewish coalition set to break the siege of Gaza

Within days after the attack on the Mavi Marmara, European activists announced a Jewish Boat to sail in July from an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean, attempting to break the siege imposed by Israel in 2006. The boat is sponsored by a coalition of international Jewish organizations dedicated to peace with justice in Israel/Palestine, including the ''J├╝dische Stimme'' (‘Jewish Voice’ for a Just Peace in the Near East), along with European Jews for a Just Peace in the Near East (EJJP) and Jews for Justice For Palestinians (UK). American Jews for a Just Peace (AJJP) will serve as the U.S. Coordinator, creating a transatlantic partnership. The small boat’s cargo will include school books, medicines and medical equipment.

Why a Jewish boat? Lots of reasons. The universal values contained in the ethical tradition of Judaism don’t include ‘Do unto others as was done unto us.’ For Jews to publicly confront the Israeli government’s policies of occupation, apartheid, and siege on a world stage highlights the political nature of the conflict and discredits those who insist on framing it strictly in ethnic and/or religious terms. I like best the answer from Glyn Secker, the Jewish Boat’s captain, a British Jew, and longtime activist with Jews for Justice for Palestinians in the UK: “As Jews we should stand as a beacon for human rights, not as an internationally known perpetrator of atrocities.”

This press release reveals a profound disconnect on many levels. There are no universal values in the two-tiered ethical traditions of Orthodox Judaism. More recent attempts at reform Judaism (which hardly constitute "the ethical* tradition of Judaism") are muddled at best in their concept of "Jewish universalism." Leave the work of reconciling tribalism with universalism to wand-waving alchemists, I say. This is crazy talk.

To the degree that this boat represents human individuals who truly thirst for justice for all people, it is good. To the degree that it represents a P.R. response to the shonda of the Mavi Marmara massacre for the rehabilitation of Orthodox Judaism, which is the basis for Zionist brutality, it's an ouroboros delusion.

The lie that Catholicism (which is, in fact, universalism: katholikos; katholou — throughout the whole, i.e., universal) "paved the road to Auschwitz" has been sustained for 60 years. It's long past due for Judaism (tribe of Judah-ism) to undergo equal scrutiny as Christianity and Islam. It's time that we freely examine how the canonized teaching of Orthodox Judaism "even the best of the Gentiles should be killed" and others of that sentiment have paved the road to "'Jewish' State" massacres in Palestine, Lebanon and in international waters. Let there be scrutiny of Judaism equal to that of Christianity and Islam. Apply standards universally, or stand guilty of tribal particularism.

* U.S. founding father, Thomas Jefferson, regarded the ethics of Judaism as degraded as have many other great thinkers who've studied the matter in depth.

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