The Zionist Conspiracy
Monday, January 10, 2005
Rabbi Reinman On Israel And The Non-Orthodox
Rabbi Yaakov Y. Reinman, perhaps still sensitive about criticism he received in charedi circles about One People/Two Worlds, the book he co-authored with Reform rabbi Ami Hirsch, writes a bizarre screed on Cross-Currents.
The post starts off sensible enough, with Reinman expressing the view that Israel must cede Judea, Samaria and Gaza because "it is clearly impossible to keep these people subservient forever. Regardless of the quality of life we might provide for them, we cannot hold them against their will indefinitely. It is historically impossible." While I don't completely agree and believe Israel can retain parts of Judea and Samaria without continuing to control the Palestinian masses, the opinion stated is a legitimate one.
Reinman then mentions Israel's demographic problem, another important issue, but starts heading in a bizarre direction when he writes that we should prepare for the possibility of a bi-national state "in a generation or two. We must work toward ensuring that if there will be a transition to a multi-national state, it should happen without bloodshed."
When leftist "intellectuals" or Europeans mention the idea of dismantling Israel and replacing Israel with a bi-national state, we properly object strongly. There is no reason to respond differently when the idea is given legitimacy by a charedi author.
Having read the Reinman-Hirsch book, I thought Reinman was very persuasive except when it came to Israel. He clearly has problems with Zionism and Israel's formation. As I posted five days after this blog's formation:
One interesting but rarely discussed aspect of One People/Two Worlds, the controversial Reinman/Hirsch book:
While Hirsch takes a pro-Zionist stance, with political views akin to Labor or Meretz, Reinman wonders whether the Jews would have been better off with a bi-national state rather than the State of Israel.
While Reinman's views may represent dogma of charedi groups such as Agudah, they do not represent the vast majority of the Orthodox, including the charedim, almost all of whom recognize that the situation of Jews in Eretz Israel is far superior today that it was under the British or the Ottoman Empire, and is certainly preferable to living under Arab sovereignty, as would have occurred under an ostensibly bi-national state which would have had no right of return for Jews, and therefore no mass influx of Sephardim in the 1950's, resulting in a much smaller Jewish population than there now is.
The latter portion of Reinman's post goes off the deep end, when he writes:
The situation in the Middle East presents us with a good analogy for the internal situation of the Jewish people. The liberal streams seek pluralism. They want peaceful coexistence with the Orthodox. But for the Orthodox, the Conservative and Reform are our Naqba. It is an unmitigated disaster for the Jewish people that these ersatz creeds occupy large swaths of Jewish ideological territory. And much as the people that profess adherence to these creeds are our dear and beloved brothers and sisters, we want nothing more than to drive these creeds into the sea...
Yes, we want to bring down the citadels of Conservative and Reform. They are an affront and a travesty. It does not matter that people are perhaps more likely to return to Judaism through these streams than if they had been completely secular. It is not our role to play G-d. These usurpers are occupying sacred ground, and we must expel them.
Perhaps Reinman is looking for shock value, but the manner in which he expresses himself is quite offensive. First of all, the situation in the Middle East is not a good analogy for the internal situation of the Jewish people. I also doubt that too many Orthodox Jews view themselves, in their ideological battle with the Reform and Conservative, as akin to Palestinian extremists looking to drive their adversary into the sea. So the analogy is not only itself wildly off base, it is disgraceful in its comparison of us to the world's most vile murderers.
Second, Reinman could easily have made the point that, in his opinion, there must be complete rejection not only of pluralism on an ideological level, but of Reform and Conservative Judaism and its institutions on a day-to-day level. That's an extreme point of view that I don't agree with (and the fact that plenty of Orthodox Jews - with rabbinic approval - teach at non-Orthodox day schools convinces me that I'm right), but it could be made with sensitivity.
Instead, Reinman absurdly refers to "driv[ing] these creeds into the sea" and says that "these usurpers are occupying sacred ground, and we must expel them." One would think that the Orthodox actually have the ability to finish off the non-Orthodox movements, which claim a large majority of affiliated Jewry in North America.
If the Reinman post gets any attention, all it will accomplish is to unnecessarily drive non-Orthodox Jews further away from traditional Judaism, and perhaps into the sea of Jewish abandonment. A non-observant Jew who reads the post will be disgusted with Reinman's venom and believe his or her suspicions about charedi attitudes toward the non-Orthodox to have been validated.