Progressive Jews, come to AIPAC

March 29, 2019 in Guest Post, Rabbi Greg Harris

This week is the fourth week of the month. For Reflections Off the Bimah, the fourth week features thought leaders drawn from throughout the Jewish world. These special posts give you the opportunity to consider important opinions you may not readily encounter.  This week is a piece from Sarah Tuttle-Singer who blogs from Israel for The Times of Israel, Kveller, Scary Mommy, Ladies’ Home Journal, and 

I offer Sarah’s perspective to further challenge us to share our voices of love, concern, inspiration and disappointment for Israel.  As I did on the High Holidays and many times since, I reject the binary propositions often placed before us: Israel or Palestine, compassion or security, right or wrong, loyalty or treachery. (Click for my High Holiday sermon.) My love of Israel includes critique, embrace and a struggle to be a ‘light unto the nations’, even when it falls short sometimes… and excels at others.   — Rabbi Greg Harris


Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Rachel Azaria (Kulanu), Merav Michaeli (Labor), Sarah Tuttle-Singer, and Jonathan Kessler of AIPAC, at the AIPAC conference, March 2017. (courtesy)

From The Times of Israel blog

by Sarah Tuttle-Singer

I’m going to speak at #AIPAC2019, and I’m getting these reactions from the Jewish community:

From the Right: “How COULD they?”

From the Left “How COULD YOU?”

Let’s talk about it:

They know exactly who they’re inviting.

They know I love this place.

They know I choose to be here, and I make that choice every single day.

They also know I am outspokenly opposed to the Occupation, and I am passionate about justice and equality and security and freedom for Israelis and Palestinians and refugees and migrants and EVERYONE in The Land.

They know that I am sickened and heartbroken that the government of Israel is increasingly racist and not even hiding it anymore.

They know that the political misogyny around the Western Wall makes me want to punch a wall.

They also know that I am no fig leaf, and that when I have any opportunity to talk about all these things, I will, and I’ll make no apologies and pull zero punches.

And they also know how much I fiercely love Jerusalem — how I’m committed to building bridges between communities, that more than anything, I am proud to be part of a story where you aren’t just living history as it unfolds, you’re literally helping create it.

And that means showing up.

Let’s be clear about something: AIPAC is not monolithic. I know folks working there who voted for Trump. I know folks working there who voted for Bernie. I know folks working there who love the prime minister. I know folks working there who voted for Meretz, and even one who wrote in “Hadash.”

And that’s the beauty of it: the Jewish community both in Israel and in America isn’t monolithic, either.

And it’s true that a lot of folks who come to Policy Conference are in the Center and the Center-Right, or even Far-Right, and that’s the best part: I have things I want to say. I have things to say about the Israel I love and I have things to say about the Israel I wrestle with, and yes, I want to change things, and while it’s nice to celebrate the good and complain about the bad with friends who nod along and agree with everything you say, change begins when you talk to people across the board who may not like what you have to say but are willing to listen.

In other words: this is EXACTLY when progressive Jews need to show up. And speak.

This is not the time to boycott.

This is a time to stand on the barricades and fight for what we believe and what we want, unapologetically and with real courage.

So, if #AIPAC2019 — or any group Left, Right, and Center — invites me in, you’re damn right I want to be there and I’ve got a mouth and I’m going to use it.

And if you’re there, too, and want to meet up, let me know. I’ll be there.