U.S. and Israeli Rabbis Clash over Kerry Peace Process
The Middle East peace process being led by Secretary of State John Kerry is reaching crunch time for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. While his coalition partners to his left will likely walk if he abandons the process, many in his own Likud Party and among its hard-right allies will rebel if he consummates a deal with the Palestinians. But now, days after his Defense Minister called Kerry "messianic," a conservative Knesset member accused him of anti-Semitism and a government-funded settlers group suggested the U.S. diplomat is telling Israelis to wipe their asses with a porcupine, a group of far-right rabbis has charged that the American Secretary of State has "declared war on God."
As the Jerusalem Post explained, the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel led by the founder of the far-right Our Land of Israel founder Rabbi Shalom Dov Wolpo went biblical on Kerry:
"Your incessant efforts to expropriate integral parts of our Holy Land and hand them over to Abbas's terrorist gang, amount to a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe! For G-d awarded the entire Land of Israel to our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in order that they bequeath it, as an everlasting inheritance, to their descendants, the Jewish people, until the end of all time...
If you continue on this destructive path, you will ensure your everlasting disgrace in Jewish history for bringing calamity upon the Jewish people...By the power of our Holy Torah, we admonish you to cease immediately all efforts to achieve these disastrous agreements - in order to avoid severe heavenly punishment for everyone involved."
But as The Hill reported Wednesday, "The Rabbinical Council of America and the Orthodox Union issued a joint statement repudiating the attacks against America's top diplomat as 'extreme and offensive.'"
"We, the leadership of the RCA and the OU, repudiate this letter and the rhetoric they have deployed. While the people of Israel and Jews around the world may properly possess serious concerns about proposals Secretary Kerry is putting forth, such concerns must only be expressed with civility and on the substance of the issues, not degenerating into personal venom and threats."
Which is exactly right. Americans and Israelis can and do and will disagree on their respective national interests. (They also happen to disagree as to whether God gave the "entire Land of Israel" to the Jewish people. While 70 percent of Israelis hold that view, only 40 percent of American Jews share it. Interestingly, 82 percent of white U.S. evangelicals believe it.) But while emotions will run high over such critical issues, there is no place for slanders and slurs between the traditional allies. So, the likes of the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel can redirect their rage where it belongs.
On Benjamin Netanyahu's "Shiksagate."