Judaism and Zionism: A Divorce In the Making…?

Dr David Goldberg

Dr David Goldberg

Judaism and Zionism: A Divorce In the Making…?


By Alan Hart


Way back in October 2001, a prominent and widely respected liberal London rabbi, Dr. David Goldberg, made what I thought at the time was the most remarkable statement ever made by a Jew in the 53 years that had passed since the creation, mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing, of the Zionist (not Jewish) state of Israel. He said that Israel’s “colonization” of Palestine had left many Jews “questioning their unconditional support for Israel.” Then this: “It may be time for Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways.”

The report I read of Goldberg’s remarks was by Andrew Johnson in The Independent On Sunday. Its headline for his story was BRITISH JEWS AT ODDS AFTER RABBI CRITICISES ISRAEL’S “COLONIZATION”. As the report indicated, what Goldberg said had provoked a “passionate argument” in the pages of the Jewish Chronicle, editorially a standard bearer for Israel right or wrong,

I once had the pleasure of talking with Rabbi Goldberg over lunch, just the two of us. From my research I knew that he was what I like to call a GHB (Good Human Being) and a man worthy of respect. He was, for example, the first prominent Jew in the UK to call for recognition of legitimate Palestine rights – he did so in an article for The Times in 1978; and he was the first rabbi to initiate dialogue meetings between Judaism, Christianity and Islam when the Regent’s Park mosque opened in the same year. But what I liked about him most of all was the quite rare thing he had in common with my dear friend Ilan Pappe. He was without a trace of the self-righteousness that is the hallmark of Jews everywhere who have been brainwashed by Zionist propaganda.

He is also a thought provoking author. His books include The Jewish People, Their History and Their Religion, The Divided Self: Israel and the Jewish Psyche, and, in 2012, This (Zionism in action) Is Not the Way.

In his review and endorsement of the latter, Avi Shlaim, a leading Jewish “revisionist” meaning honest historian, wrote this. “In the aftermath of its victory in the June 1967 War, Israel lost its moral compass. Many diaspora Jews suffer from selective moral vision about Israel. Rabbi David Goldberg is an admirable exception. He places Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians under an uncompromising lens. After the critique comes an eloquent plea for ethical Zionism – Zionism grounded in Jewish values.”

Ethical Zionism? With due respect to Rabbi Goldberg (and Avi Shlaim), the Gentile me believes there could never be such a thing. From the beginning Zionism’s engine drivers knew their assertion that Palestine was “a land without people for a people with land” was propaganda nonsense, a Grand Deception. So I think it can be said without fear of contradiction that Zionism, founded in the knowledge that it would have to resort to ethnic cleansing to achieve its goal, never had a moral compass.

I think it can also be speculated that the discovery of a moral compass by a significant majority of Israeli Jews would mean the de-Zionization of Palestine that became Israel and thus the end of Zionism. Why? Proof that a moral compass had been discovered would include as Item Number One an acknowledgement of the wrong done to the Palestinians by Zionism and acceptance of the need to right the wrong. Zionism is never, ever, going to put itself out of business.

But even if Rabbi Goldberg did allow himself to entertain some wishful thinking about the possibility of Zionism becoming grounded in Jewish values (I presume he meant progressive, reformist, modern Jewish values), that would not detract from the significance of his very courageous and most profound statement – that it may be time for Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways.

2001 was clearly not the time and 13 years on a provocative question seems to the Gentile me to be in order.

Why should Judaism unshackle itself from Zionism?

One part of the short answer is that the credibility of Judaism is being undermined by Zionism’s contempt for its moral values and ethical principles, In that sense there’s a case for saying that Zionism is a threat to survival of Judaism. (The detailed case was made by Auschwitz survivor Hajo G. Meyer, an anti-Zionist Dutch national of German-Jewish origin, in his 2007 book An Ethical Tradition Betrayed, The End of Judaism).

Also to be noted in the context of the paragraph above is that Zionism’s founders were secular. Their only interest in Judaism was using its idea of God as an estate agent.

The other part of the short answer is signalled by the title of my book – Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.

Today the message of that title is being underlined by a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism. Contrary to what Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and those of the neo-fascist tendency to the extreme right of him assert, this rising tide is NOT, generally speaking, a manifestation of anti-Semitism (meaning prejudice against and a loathing of all Jews everywhere just because they are Jews). It is a manifestation of concern and anger provoked by the Zionist (not Jewish) state’s arrogance of power and insufferable self-righteousness. And it is happening because more and more people of all faiths and none, including a still smallish but growing number of Jews, are beginning to see Israel for what it really is – the oppressor and not the victim.

The danger for the Jews of the world is that anti-Israelism could be transformed into anti-Semitism, setting the stage for Holocaust II, my shorthand for another great turning against Jews everywhere, and starting quite possibly in America. A warning of this danger was issued by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence, in his 1988 book Israel’s Fateful Hour. He wrote:

Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.

Harkabi also had a message for Jews throughout the world.

They must dare to speak their minds candidly, without being afraid to disagree with Israel. The reticence of the American Jewish leadership is not to their credit. Instead of publicly expressing their concern they act as apologists for policies and conduct of which many of them privately disapprove, abdicating their responsibilities as leaders in America and as influential advisers in Israel. Muteness is not neutrality but an endorsement of current Likud policies.

If Harkabi was alive today I would suggest to him that in an updated text “Likud policies” should be replaced by “the policies of the neo-fascist right and the racist religious zealots”.

Peter Beinart recently noted that “The reality of the growth of racism and religious extremism in Israel has been largely ignored by those groups in the U.S. such as AIPAC and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) which devote so much time, energy and resources to promoting what they perceive, often mistakenly, to be Israel’s interests.”

As Harkabi explained in a chapter titled Nationalistic Judaism, religion in Israel was marginal and did not attempt to influence or guide Zionist policy until after the I967 war. Because of their mistaken belief (the product of one of Zionism’s biggest propaganda lies) that Israel’s existence was in danger on the eve of that war, very many religious Jews were inspired to interpret victory as “a manifestation of God’s intervention”; and to conclude that “the conquest of parts of the historic land of Israel cast a brilliant light on the Zionist enterprise.”

What Harkabi described as this awakening of a nationalistic Judaism was a slow and evolving process which has led to what he called “national religious extremism” demanding and getting a leading role in Zionist policy making.

Harkabi concluded his chapter on nationalistic Judaism with a statement about the need “to avert a crisis in Judaism” and “alleviate the blow to the Jewish religion when the political position of annexation of Judea and Samaria supported by religion comes to grief.”

The latest expression of despair about the reticence of American Jews to speak their minds was that of Allan C Brownfield in an article for Issues, the journal of the American Council for Judaism, of which he is editor. Under the headline ON THE GROWTH OF RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM IN ISRAEL: A CHALLENGE TO ITS AMERICAN FRIENDS, he wrote:

“In a thoughtful new study guide issued by the Israel/Palestine Mission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a question is asked which few have thus far been willing to pose:  ‘Given the liberal values shared by many American Jews and the long, proud tradition of Jewish participation in the struggle for human rights worldwide, why has there been so little outrage expressed at Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians in the decades since Israel’s founding?’”

Brownfield then quoted the answer to that question given by Paul Krugman, the Princeton economist and New York Times columnist. “The truth is that like many liberal American Jews – and most American Jews are still liberal – I basically avoid thinking about where Israel is going.” Krugman’s explanation of why was “the high price for speaking out” which is “to bring yourself under intense attack from organized groups that try to make any criticism of Israel’s policies tantamount to anti-Semitism.”

Fear of being condemned and reviled by Zionism’s verbal hit-men and possibly ostracized is undoubtedly one reason for the silence of the majority of American and European Jews.

Another is that arguments about Israel and its policies can and does tear Jewish families apart, separating parents from children, husbands from wives and brothers from sisters.

Another is ignorance of what Zionism has done and is still doing in Palestine that became Israel. For very many American and European Jews, Zionism means nothing more than Jews from anywhere exercising their right to return to their God given, ancestral homeland. (For this article I’ll leave aside the fact that Israel/Palestine is not the ancestral homeland of most Jews of the world today). In other words, most American and European Jews have no idea that Zionism is an ethnic cleansing process in action.

Then there is what I believe to be the main reason for the silence of most Jews. Deep down, perhaps only in their sub-consciousness, they believe, because of their history and Zionist conditioning, that Holocaust II is a real possibility. In that light they see Israel as their refuge of last resort, their insurance policy. So, they tell themselves, do nothing and say nothing that could assist Israel’s enemies and put that insurance policy at risk.

The irony, perhaps the most tragic irony in all of human history to date, is in the fact (perhaps I should say probability) that if they continue to support Israel unconditionally and continue to be silent on Israel’s policies of oppression, the Jews of the world, in America and Europe especially, will lay themselves open at some point to a charge of COMPLICITY IN ZIONISM’S CRIMES. And that would greatly assist the transformation of anti-Israelism into anti-Semitism… This is the essence of the case for saying that the Jews of the world have a vested SELF-INTEREST in distancing themselves from the Zionist monster.

Question: Will they ever do so in big enough numbers to cause Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways?

If reason based on the facts as they actually are in Israel/Palestine was allowed to prevail, the combination of self-interest and moral necessity ought to be enough to guarantee a “Yes” answer. But could it be that it’s already too late because most Jews of the world, conditioned by their history and Zionist propaganda, are and will remain beyond reason on the matter of justice for the Palestinians?

I don’t pretend to know the answer to this question. I am only asking it.


Under the headline Eradicating Israel, Gideon Levy’s latest article in Ha-aretz ought to be required reading for all Jews everywhere. It includes this:

“With the exception of a few anti-Semitic players, marginal and deluded, no one thinks about it (eradicating Israel). It is only we Israelis who cling to the concept: Caution, annihilation ahead… A highly armed regional power, with nearly every kind of weapon at its disposal, economically and scientifically advanced, recognized by most of the countries in the world, a member of nearly every important international organization and with global influence that far outstrips its size, an ally of the world’s sole superpower, claims that its existence is under threat. That’s bullshit.”




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31 Responses to "Judaism and Zionism: A Divorce In the Making…?"

  1. Bartered  February 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I was under the impression that the rift between Judaism and Zionism was already reaching a fevered pitch. Those who say their practicing the pre Babylonian Torah, (does not include the Talmud and respects Jesus as a great prophet), that don’t get time in front of a camera, unless their being harassed by IDF who know the difference between the two or Palestinians who cant tell them apart. Maybe they could invent a new uniform to distinguish the devil worshipers of the other GOD, (Gold, Oil, Drugs) from those who profess to serve the real God.

  2. stephanaugust  February 17, 2014 at 12:31 am

    As for Deuteronomy mentioned a few times, Rabbi Dr. David J. Goldberg should discuss this aspect, the Deuteronomy aspect of his Religion of Peace with Alan

    “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are to possess and cast out the many peoples living there, you shall then slaughter them all and utterly destroy them…You shall make no agreements with them nor show them any mercy…You shall destroy their altars, break down their images, cut down their groves and burn their graven images with fire. For you are a holy people unto the LORD thy God and He has chosen you to be a special people above all others upon the face of the earth…”

  3. Sybille Nova  February 16, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    What never (or rarely) is being discussed is the historical fact that the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 and the scission between Israel and Palestine was politically e n g i n e e r e d by a third party.It’s useless to discuss the “Jewish” issue. We need to discuss the issue of the third party.This third party also is responsible for the scission between Tibet and China (these two nations were like siblings for centuries).
    It is indeed a waste of time to consider Jews as the center of the universe (or planet earth) They are being u s e d.

    • ani  February 16, 2014 at 10:21 pm

      the ‘used’ tend to become USERS
      the ‘deprived’ tend to become DEPRIVERS
      the ‘abused’ tend to become ABUSERS
      the ‘uprooted’ tend to become UPROOTERS



  4. David King  February 16, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I believe that the upper echelon of zion, is not occupied by zionists, but by devil worshipers. This becomes plain when you look at their behaviour. Historically they outright refused to go to any other location but to Palestine. Why? They knew that their family was from Europe. They went their to desecrate the holy land and to torture the Jews of the Bible.

    On the issues of Jews (not zionists), I agree with the poster above, “silence is complicity.” Most Jews are zionists. There are very very few who don’t enjoy the power of zionism. Even fewer that stand against it. Those few do get a lot of publicity for that stand. But the numbers are very very small.

    Judaism is dying. In fact we could say it is a dead religion. The Jews estimate that in another 50 years there will be no more Jews. I guess that means either god turned away from them or their god is false. Your call.

    • stephanaugust  February 16, 2014 at 4:56 pm

      Douglas Reed wrote it were the minerals in the region which are worth Fort Knox times x.

      A Google search blacks out that passage in his book while it is in the internet.

  5. stephanaugust  February 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    From Rabbi Dr David Goldberg OBE site of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue

    Rabbi Dr David Goldberg OBE (Rabbi Emeritus) The Liberal Jewish Synagogue

    Rabbi Dr. David J. Goldberg OBE is Emeritus Rabbi of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, having served the congregation as Associate then Senior Rabbi since 1975.

    The “About us” shows a picture of the fan base of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue.

    http //www.liberaljudaism.org/about-us.html

  6. stephanaugust  February 16, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    A question to Judaism

    Does It Matter That The Torah Told Stories That Are Apparently Not True?

    February 15, 2014

    For those of you who consider yourselves to be Orthodox in any form, from Modern Orthodox through haredi, does it bother you that the Torah’s stories about the patriarchs are appear to be not true? How do you defend Torah stories that are apparently false?

    Finding Israel’s First Camels Tel Aviv University Archaeologists Pinpoint The Date When Domesticated Camels Arrived In Israel American Friends of Tel Aviv University

    Camels are mentioned as pack animals in the biblical stories of Abraham, Joseph, and Jacob. But archaeologists have shown that camels were not domesticated in the Land of Israel until centuries after the Age of the Patriarchs (2000-1500 BCE). In addition to challenging the Bible’s historicity, this anachronism is direct proof that the text was compiled well after the events it describes.

    Now Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures have used radiocarbon dating to pinpoint the moment when domesticated camels arrived in the southern Levant, pushing the estimate from the 12th to the 9th century BCE. The findings, published recently in the journal Tel Aviv, further emphasize the disagreements between Biblical texts and verifiable history, and define a turning point in Israel’s engagement with the rest of the world.

    ***http //failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2014/02/does-it-matter-that-the-torah-told-stories-that-are-not-true-789.html

    • Cyprian Crawford  February 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

      Deuteronomy is not “a perversion” or “a political program posing as a religion.” It is part of the Word of God, Sacred Scripture. Orthodox Christians have no problem with the Old Testament Scriptures, for we have been given the knowledge to interpret them correctly.

      The problem is not Deuteronomy, but rather people’s ignorance of it.

      Why should I listen to foolish archaeologists who say that there were no camels in Palestine? Are these the same type of foolish archaeologists who claim I evolved from an ape? What rubbish!

      These archaeologists have zero proof of their foolish claims. Christians don’t accept false science.

      “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called Which some professing have erred concerning the faith.”

    • stephanaugust  February 16, 2014 at 3:51 pm

      But what if the climate would have been different then, mild, like in Europe today?

    • Cyprian Crawford  February 16, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      Radiocarbon dating is based on a set of assumptions, and therefore is far from an exact science. Different people form different assumptions, based upon the particular paradigm through which they view the world, and come up with completely different results. People should not be so naive as to place their trust in a false set of assumptions employed in radiometric dating, made by atheistic archaeologists.

    • stephanaugust  February 16, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      This is a point.

      A funny problem with the story could be that the liberal-modern-orthodox-ultra-orthodox Jews to which Failed Messiah presented this story would not criticize the Jewish scientists Dr. Erez Ben-Yosef and Dr. Lidar Sapir-Hen because the Talmud does either not mention camels or archeologists.

    • Cyprian Crawford  February 18, 2014 at 10:29 am

      I was obviously referring to no camels in Palestine during the specific time period in question, and not referring to no camels in Palestine ever.

      Next time, to keep yourself from looking petty, put forth a useful argument to the points I made, instead of just critiquing my manner of speaking.

  7. Cyprian Crawford  February 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Zionism can never be divorced from Judaism as the two are inextricably intertwined. To pretend otherwise betrays an ignorance of the defining characteristic of Judaism, which is national religious worship centered in Jerusalem. Judaism as it was established by Moses, cannot be practiced outside of Jerusalem; all one needs to do to verify this is read Deut. 16, Daniel 10, Psalm 137

    Those who argue that Judaism needs to be reformed are really uninformed as to the unique characteristics and aspirations that define Judaism

    “One part of the short answer is that the credibility of Judaism is being undermined by Zionism’s contempt for its moral values and ethical principles”

    Judaism of the last two thousand years has zero credibility, and no moral values or ethical principles. It is an antichrist and false religion, based upon rejection of Jesus Christ. Jews don’t need to “fix” their religion; their religion is useless. They should abandon it completely in favor of Christianity, which truly is founded upon genuine moral and ethical principles “Love thy neighbor as thyself”

    That many Jews resist accepting a truly universal religion Christianity, choosing rather to practice an exclusive and non-universal religion, peculiar to themselves, shows their demonic pride. If Judaism truly was a legitimate pathway to God, Jews would not want to keep it tribal and exclusive. If their religion were pure, they would want everyone to embrace Judaism, the way Christians desire that all men would serve Christ.

    • ani  February 16, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      “Love thy neighbor as thyself”

      Not to forget “Do good to those who hate you”

    • Cyprian Crawford  February 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      “To speak truth, is the greatest act of charity.” St. Photius the Great

      Lying to the Jews so they will not find reason to be offended, by allowing them to believe that they can please God while rejecting His Son, is hateful.

      To do good to the Jews, who hate us Christians, means to tell them the truth, even though they will revile us for it.

      Is it loving to allow your children to act recklessly without any restraint? A parent who loves their child will necessarily restrain them, not allowing them to have everything they want. The child may throw a temper tantrum and curse at their parents, telling them they hate them, but the parent knows they are doing the right thing by practicing “tough love”.

      The unbelieving Jews are like immature children, who throw temper tantrums when people don’t allow them to have their way. Loving them in a paternal fashion means restraining their wicked ideas, and openly correcting them, even if they may get upset, the way your children get upset when you correct them.

      “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” Holy Apostle Paul

    • ani  February 16, 2014 at 5:03 pm

      Cyprian Crawford I believe to do good to the Jews is to leave them to their beliefs, and to do ALL WITHIN OUR POWER, without doing violence, to STOP them from CONTROLLING us by all the old means at their disposal peddling their wares delusions, deceits and dream works; we Christians must practice every discipline we have been TAUGHT (but slow to Learn -) )

    • Cyprian Crawford  February 16, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      I would never advocated violence against the Jews or any other group. As Christians we do not believe in forcing our beliefs upon others. Everyone must come willingly to the knowledge of the truth. But Christians should not shy away from preaching the truth to all people, whether they be Jews, pagans, or heretics. Preaching the truth by necessity involves exposing false religions such as Judaism, Islam, etc.

  8. ani  February 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm

    “Fear of being condemned and reviled by Zionism’s verbal hit-men and possibly ostracized is undoubtedly one reason for the silence of the majority of American and European Jews.”

    Thank you for this article Alan.

    Tragically, the hit-men do not stop at the verbal.

    Not only Europeans and Americans are afraid.

    Which brings me to my core question what is it that Judaism adheres to, as Life Giving?
    What is it about Judaism, that it sets itself apart from, and above all others?

    The Promised Land is Heaven, Serenity, Peace, Paradise on earth. The Promised Land is our Spiritual Estate, which is a gift of unexpected Joy and Surprise, when we Trust the God who was given to us as Jesus Christ.

    In Christ we see what it is to LOSE EVERYTHING, and yet….DO NOT BE AFRAID is one of the most frequently used commands in the New Testament.

    We are ALL icons of the ONE God. All of Creation ONE.

  9. JS  February 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    Dr. Goldberg’s remarks were made in Oct. 2001. That was right after 9/11. Coincidence? This part “It may be time for Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways.” Did he smell a rat on 9/11?

  10. wiggins  February 16, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Oh dear Alan ….so many ‘self hating’ Jews. 😉

    • ani  February 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

      silence is complicity
      which forms a part of the foundation for all self-hate
      which is then projected onto others ‘out there’

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