LA Jewish Journal Review of my book

Friends:

I wanted to share with you a review of my book Why Israel [and its Future] Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove (New Jersey: Ben Yehuda Press, 2019). The review is written by Jonathan Kirsch for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and is on-line and in this week’s print edition.

You can read the review here – https://jewishjournal.com/culture/books/309603/rosove-shares-his-progressive-take-on-israel-and-its-future/

If you have read it and like what you read, I ask you to post a quick review on Amazon.com. If you haven’t read it, you can get it on Amazon.

L’shalom,

John

A Zionist Student’s Personal Account at Columbia University

Sam Millner, a Junior at Columbia University in New York City studying international relations and francophone studies, is a Zionist activist on campus. He encounters daily anti-Israel and anti-Semitic students and faculty.

Sam grew up in my synagogue, Temple Israel of Hollywood in Los Angeles, and we’ve stayed in touch over the years. When he told me what he was experiencing at Columbia, I asked him to write it down and promised that I would post it with his permission on my Times of Israel Blog.

You can read his account here – https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/a-zionist-students-account-at-columbia-university/ .

 

 

‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020 – NY Times today – a Must Read

The two factors that will determine the 2020 election are voter turn-out and foreign hacking of our election system.

This article by Matthew Rosenberg, Nicole Perlroth and David E. Sanger in today’s NY Times (January 10, 2020) reviews the risks that could so confuse the election results in our highly charged politicized nation that public confidence in those results could be the greatest threat to our democracy.

This article is a must read not only for American citizens generally, but for every election campaign and for all states that oversee the elections in their respective domains as the election year moves through primaries and political conventions towards November.

Paper ballots in every state are the surest protection against a corrupted election result, but the holes in the cyber world that Russians, Iranians, Chinese, and others can manipulate in an ever more sophisticated manner presents enormous challenges to our election security and could threaten voter registration rolls and the vote itself.

“To keep his promise to kill an achievement of Obama’s, Trump has been willing to break his promise to get us out of wars in the Middle East.” The Atlantic

Ben Rhodes writes, “To keep his promise to kill an achievement of Obama’s, Donald Trump has been willing to break his promise to get us out of wars in the Middle East. In doing so, he has tragically proved Obama right: The choice all along was between the Iran deal or an unconstrained Iranian nuclear program and some form of war.”

Read full article – https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/01/trump-has-produced-extraordinarily-dangerous-moment/604456/

 

Israelis Hailing Trump for Killing Soleimani Forget the Destructive Consequences of Past Assassinations – Haaretz

Netanyahu has pointedly refrained from reasserting his unique influence on America’s ‘tough stance’ against Iran

Chemi Shalev  –  Jan 06, 2020 6:40 PM

Note: I am reprinting Chemi Shalev’s article from today and posting it here because one must subscribe to Haaretz to read him and many who subscribe to my blog do not have that option. Shalev is always worth reading as he is among Israel’s finest columnists. I recommend to those of you who want Israeli news and thoughtful columnists to subscribe. This column is indicative of Shalev’s clear thinking.

“Yahya Ayyash deserved to die. The so-called Hamas “engineer”, who was assassinated in January 1996, had perfected the suicide vests worn by Hamas terrorists, turning them increasingly lethal. His killing sparked widespread enthusiasm among Israelis. Then Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who approved the plan to booby-trap Ayyash’s cellphone, was portrayed for the first time in his life as the kind of ruthless leader Israelis yearn for.

The end is known. The killing of Ayyash enraged Palestinians and pushed Hamas to carry out four suicide bombings within eight days, in which 59 Israelis were killed. The shock and fear that gripped Israeli public opinion turned Peres from valiant hero to impotent loser paved the way for Benjamin Netanyahu’s sensational victory in the May 1996 elections – and changed Israel forever.

On August 15, 2001, Israeli missiles killed the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ali Mustafa, following a series of car-bomb terror attacks. The PFLP promised revenge against Israel’s “senior political echelon” and within two months made good on their threat by assassinating Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Zeevi. The killing radicalized Israeli public opinion and made Zeevi, hitherto ostracized for his extreme right wing views and support for “transfer” of Palestinians, into a national hero. Thousands attended his funeral.

Nonetheless, in the collective memory of Israel, the link between cause and effect has been severed. Targeted assassinations – whether they decreased terror attacks, as was the case after the 2004 killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, or increased terror attacks, as was the case during the so-called “Black March” that followed the 2002 assassination of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades commander Raed Karmi, in which 130 Israelis were killed, or even anointed Hassan Nasrallah as Hezbollah leader after predecessor Abbas al-Musawi was killed in 1992 – are deemed, almost by definition, not only as eminently justified but as uniquely effective, no matter what.

This is why the assassination of Qassem Soleimani has not only elicited nearly universal and otherwise understandable support – the man was a sophisticated and implacable foe of Israel – but also collective condemnation from anyone who dared point out the operation’s potentially destructive consequences.  Donald Trump was once against hailed as Israel’s hero and savior while Democrats who expressed reservations were painted by Israeli commentators as weak-kneed appeasers who had lost the plot.

America’s historic memory, however, is markedly different. The very term “targeted assassination” conjures the spate of undercover assassinations carried out by the CIA from the 1950’s to 1970’s, when they were ostensibly declared illegal. Many Americans realize that some of the right wingers who were cheering Trump today were the ones who pushed George Bush to invade Iraq in 2003, in what turned out to be one of the most misconceived and poorly executed wars in U.S. history.

Unlike his Israeli fans, most Americans cannot separate Trump’s supposedly brave if brazen decision to approve Soleimani’s assassination from his otherwise erratic and impulsive conduct in all other arenas, foreign and domestic. Trump’s threat to destroy 52 Iranian targets, including world heritage cultural sites, is not only a barbaric notice of intent to commit war crimes, unbecoming of any U.S. President, it is also a symptom of the kind of presidential inanity that could ignite the Middle East – and inflict a harsh blow on Israel itself.”

https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israelis-hailing-soleimani-s-killing-forget-the-consequences-of-past-assassinations-1.8365258?utm_term=20200106-18%3A40&utm_campaign=Chemi+Shalev&utm_medium=email&writerAlerts=true&utm_content=www.haaretz.com%2Fopinion%2F.premium–1.8365258&utm_source=smartfocus

 

On Brink Of Disaster, Congress Must Act to Prevent Trump From Launching Disastrous War with Iran – J Street Statement – January 3, 2020

I am posting here the J Street Statement on the Soileimani assassination. I am in full agreement with this J Street position. Note that I serve as a national co-chair of the J Street Rabbinic and Cantorial Cabinet comprised of more than 930 Rabbis and Cantors from across the religious streams.

J Street is a pro-Israel pro-peace political organization in Washington, D.C that advocates for a negotiated 2-states for 2 peoples resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other positions that have direct impact on the safety and security not only of the State of Israel but of the United States.

William Burns, a veteran and widely respected American diplomat, wrote: “In the age of Trump, America is diminished, the president’s world view smaller and meaner, the world full of difficult currents. The enlightened self-interest at the heart of seventy years of American foreign policy is disdained, and the zero-sum joys of mercantilism and unilateralism are ascendant…Trumps worldview is the antithesis of [James] Baker and Bush 41, who combined humility, an affirmative sense of the possibilities of American leadership, and diplomatic skill at the moment of unparalleled influence.” (The Back Channel – A Memoir of Diplomacy and the Case for its Renewal, New York: Random House, 2019. p. 5)

And now – the J Street statement:

“J Street is deeply alarmed by the Trump administration’s targeted assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani. This highly dangerous step, taken without congressional authorization, could trigger a disastrous escalation costing the lives of thousands and lead our country into a devastating new war of choice in the Middle East.

Soleimani was a malicious actor responsible for deadly attacks on US service personnel and the Iranian regime’s targets throughout the region, including many civilians. At the same time, the assassination of such a senior figure is an extremely reckless step taken by an out-of-control administration that has repeatedly signaled its contempt for diplomacy and its interest in provoking an armed conflict with the Iranian regime. Carrying out a strike that is likely to be viewed as an act of war, without explicit congressional debate or authorization, shows flagrant contempt for the Constitution.

Since the president’s disastrous decision to unilaterally violate the JCPOA nuclear agreement and implement a so-called “maximum pressure” campaign, Iran has only become more dangerous and aggressive, hardliners have been strengthened at the expense of moderates and the region has been further destabilized. The president and his saber-rattling advisers bear tremendous responsibility for the current crisis — they are leading us eagerly towards an abyss that will endanger American service people, our allies in Israel and the Middle East and millions of Iranian civilians caught in the crossfire.

Congress must now take immediate, decisive action to prevent a new war which the American people do not want. They must pass legislation making explicitly clear that the president does not have authorization to go to war with Iran, and that any such war would represent a clear violation of the constitution. They must force every member of Congress to take a vote that will make publicly clear whether they stand against war or stand with this president.”

https://jstreet.org/press-releases/on-brink-of-disaster-congress-must-act-to-prevent-trump-from-launching-disastrous-war-with-iran/

The Desecration of a Torah by the Rabbi of the Kotel – Send this letter to Israel’s leaders

Dear

I along with the American Reform movement are dismayed that the Rabbi of the Kotel confiscated a Torah scroll brought to the Kotel by Women of the Wall for their monthly Rosh Hodesh prayer service in order to deny them the right to pray and read Torah at the holiest site in Judaism.

I join Women of the Wall in demanding that this Torah scroll be returned to them without condition immediately. In a democratic Israel, the Rabbi of the Wall’s behavior is unacceptable and contrary to the rights of Klal Yisrael to pray at the Wall.

Sincerely,

John L. Rosove – Emeritus Rabbi, Temple Israel of Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA

Please put your name as a signatory and send this letter to the following

bnetanyahu@KNESSET.GOV.IL – Prime Minister Netanyahu
ravhakotel@thekotel.org – Rabbi Shmuel Rabinowitz, Rabbi of the Kotel
info@atlanta.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Atlanta
info@boston.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Boston
info@chicago.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Chicago
consular.dep@houston.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Houston
info@losangeles.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Los Angeles
info@miami.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Miami
consular@newyork.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in New York
info@sanfrancisco.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in San Francisco
info@washington.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Washington, DC

info@montreal.mfa.gov.il– Consulate in Montreal, Canada
info@ottawa.mfa.gov.il- Consulate in Ottawa, Canada
consular@toronto.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in Toronto, Canada
info@london.mfa.gov.il – Consulate in the UK

 

 

 “I hate when anti-Semitism takes over all Jewish discourse” – Rabbi Donniel Hartman

“I hate when anti-Semitism takes over all Jewish discourse. I hate to talk about anti-Semitism, because I want to talk about what Judaism can learn from and contribute to the modern world, and not merely how we can survive it. I was raised on the belief that contemporary Jewish life, whether in Israel or North America, had a critical choice to make between Auschwitz and Sinai, as to which was to guide our lives and shape our core identity. Auschwitz was to be remembered and mourned, but it is Sinai and the teachings of the Jewish tradition over the millennia that give Jewish life meaning and value, and consequently, a future.”

– Rabbi Donniel Hartman

These Are the Main Challenges of Global Judaism Today – Reform Judaism Blog by Isaac Herzog, 12/31/2019

“I think Reform Judaism is becoming a major pillar of world Jewry today.”

Isaac Herzog’s speech at the URJ Biennial in Chicago (mid-December) is significant because it is the first such speech ever delivered to the Reform movement in such sweeping terms by a chairman of the executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel about the importance of the Reform movement in American and world Jewry. Read his speech here:

https://reformjudaism.org/blog/2019/12/31/these-are-main-challenges-global-judaism-today?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20200101&utm_campaign=Feature

Isaac Herzog endorsed my book Why Israel [and its Future] Matters – Letters of a Liberal Rabbi to his Children and the Millennial Generation with an Afterword by Daniel and David Rosove  (available at Amazon) with these words:

“Diaspora Jewry is in a struggle for its collective identity and the millennial generation all the more so. In an era of FAKE, truth becomes a spiritual commodity; a period of ANTI and POST demands value-based motivation, sound reasoning, active listening, and candid conversation. This is what Rabbi Rosove provides this readership. He delineates the just case for Israel with precision and delicacy, sans fluff or pandering. This is a book which strives to combat Israel haters and bashers and gives real tools and answers to those liberal Jews who feel somewhat frustrated and confused about Israel.

Rabbi Rosove’s truths reach minds and open hearts. I urge each and every individual who feels in any way connected to the Jewish People, to ponder this powerful assemblage of candid, insightful messages which address the core issues facing Israel as a nation, and as a notion.

A must read!”

Isaac Herzog is the chairman of the executive of The Jewish Agency for Israel. Before this, he was a member of Knesset (Israel’s parliament) and had been the Chairman of Israel’s Labor Party and the Knesset Opposition Leader. In 2015, Mr. Herzog was a front-runner to win the election for Israel’s Prime Minister. He led the alliance between the Labor Party and the Hatnua Party to create Israel’s largest center-left political party, and was the leading candidate to unseat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the national elections.

Vote Reform in the World Zionist Congress Elections – Starting January 21

Dear Friends,

I am a candidate on the Reform and Reconstructionist Slate for the upcoming World Zionist Congress.

If you’re not familiar, the World Zionist Congress is the World Zionist Organization’s legislative body (the parliament of the Jewish people) that meets every five years in Jerusalem. The Congress is the only body in which all of World Jewry is represented democratically, and, therefore, is our only democratic opportunity to influence Israeli society. It determines policy in Israel, designates its course of action, and chooses the leadership of the World Zionist Organization. Most importantly, the Congress makes decisions that affect the status of Reform and progressive Jews in Israel and across the world and allocates considerable funding available to Progressive Jews in Israel, to our Reform Congregations and social justice programs fighting on behalf of religious pluralism, women’s and LGBTQ rights, justice for asylum seekers, and a shared society with Israeli-Arab citizens.

I’m proud of the strength and diversity of the Reform and Reconstructionist Slate and I’m asking you to help me get out the vote. Best of all, as a candidate on the slate, I could have the opportunity to travel to Israel and be a delegate to the World Zionist Congress in October 2020. You can also read our platform here

We are now just about 3 weeks away from the opening of the elections (January 21-March 11, 2020) and your vote is critical to maintaining a large Reform and Reconstructionist presence. Once voting opens on January 21st, you’ll be able to place your register and place your vote at the same time on-line (it will take no more than 90 seconds) for the Reform and Reconstructionist Slate here. You’ll be able to see my name on the ballot. I ask you to vote for me and all the delegates listed.

For more information, please visit ARZA.org and check out their Facebook page and/or Instagram page to stay up-to-date with voting information and additional ways to help spread the word.

Thank you so much!

I will be checking back with you when voting begins on January 21.

Rabbi John Rosove

#VoteReformWZC