Progressive Rabbis: Be Still My Bleeding Heart

In a recent essay I wrote about the "useful idiot rabbis" who signed the Brit Tzedek petition for "peace." These rabbis gave legitimacy to an organization whose policies are about as supportive of Israel's continued existence as the so-called Saudi peace initiative. Sustained by the legitimacy given it by its signatories, Brit Tzedek almost immediately issued libelous accusations about Israel's use of white phosphorous in Gaza; accusations contradicted by the International Red Cross, no friend of Israel.

To date, I have seen none of these rabbis demand that their names be withdrawn, such is the need to be symbolically aligned with even the allusion of peace.

One of Brit Tzedek's prominent signatories is Rabbi Peter S. Knobel, president of the Central Conference of American Rabbis. As such, his words carry a certain weight. What fascinates me about Knobel's column in the conference's recent newsletter is how quintessential it is in illustrating the perverse mentality of Jewish progressives.

Predictably, Knobel begins with moral equivalence. On the one hand, there is the vulnerability of the people of Sderot to rocket attacks; on the other hand, the rabbi says, "I feel the pain of the people of Gaza." What the rabbi fails to acknowledge is that the people of Gaza elected a group of fanatics who actively celebrate a culture of death that has resulted in the people of Sderot living in fear for their own lives and those of their children. The rabbi equates the actions of those who shoot rockets at civilians with those who seek to stop them.

Echoing the sentiments of Palestinian propagandists, Knobel says, "I am sure some of the Israeli decision- making had a great deal to do with its own domestic situation and a lack of confidence in our new administration." Perhaps the rabbi should look for a cause in the dramatic increases in rocket attacks on all of Southern Israel when Hamas terminated its selectively adhered to cease fire. Indeed, Hamas appears to have learned nothing from Israel's incursion into Gaza, launching 110 missiles and mortars since the ceasefire. Hamas launched an Iranian Guard missile into Ashkelon on March 1 that destroyed a high school, an act that will in all likelihood result in another Israeli retaliation.

"The rhetoric and actions of both Israeli and Palestinian sides makes each culpable to a greater or lesser extent," the rabbi intones in another invocation of moral equivalence that is not simply immoral but obscene. I don't recall the Israelis airing television programs instilling hatred for Arabs in five-year-olds or glorifying killing Arabs as a message from God. Perhaps I missed these as I missed comprehending Brit Tzedek's position that surgically assassinating mass murderers is equivalent to randomly blowing up school children.

What I have come to understand from reading Knobel's words and looking at rabbis' resumes is that ultimately the actions of progressive rabbis may be more detrimental to Israel's existence than all the clumsy propaganda that the Saudis have been able to generate through their increasing hold on the American media.