‘I am exhausted by Israel’ hear Sylvain Cypel on the risk to Jews of supporting the ‘thug nation’ – Mondoweiss

Posted By on February 11, 2022

Im excited by the publication of Sylvain Cypels book The State of Israel Vs. the Jews (Other Press) because it bluntly states a heresy: Israel is endangering American Jews. By insisting on blindfold-ed western Jewish support for an ethnonationalist segregationist state that borrows the worst of white supremacist ideas, Israel is destroying Jewish traditions and putting American Jews at risk, Cypel says.

Not to mention Israels destruction of the Palestinian past, present and future (the part of the story Cypel tends to gloss).

I am exhausted by Israel, Cypel says. Israel has become a terrible burden dragging Jews into an ethnocentric past.

Thats why were co-sponsoring a talk between Cypel and Robert Herbst next Tuesday at noon. ICAHD the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions is another cosponsor. A civil rights lawyer, Herbst is co-chair of the board of ICAHD-USAand member of Jewish Voice for Peace. Heres the link to register for the Zoom.

Cypel urges western Jews to wake up to the thug nation.

Will diaspora Jews gradually emancipate themselves from a thug nation that claims that it alone can speak in the name of Judaism?

Cypel is hopeful about the growth of anti-Zionism.

More and more American Jews are awakening to the idea that [Israels] political rightward drift is a calamity, and that the consequences for them could be disastrous. And that explains the anger of those among them who turn their back on Israel.

Obviously these are parochial concerns, but I regard them as larger social questions because people are tribal, because Zionism is a Jewish ideology, and the Israel lobby is such a powerful force in U.S. foreign policy making, and in the U.S. discourse too. Just google Cypels book, and you will see that for all the power of its ideas it is getting very little attention in the American press. The New York Review of Books has published a great essay about the book by David Shulman focused on Cypels own transformation from Zionist to anti-Zionist, a road that many Jews are now walking. And no surprise, the Washington Post has slammed the book as a one-sided condemnation of Israels contempt for international law.' While we have run laudatory reviews by Robert Herbst and Joshua Gold

But where are NPR and the New York Times for such an important event? Cypel is of the elite; he worked for many years for Le Monde.

Herbst is sure to ask Cypel about his own journey out of the Zionist fold, and his use of withering epithets in the book: Israel is a belligerent, intolerant faith-driven ethno state, Israel seeks salvation in the application of force and if that doesnt do the job, it applies more force, Israel is a racist, bullying little superpower. (I like these phrases because I think they meet the highest standard for speech, accuracy).

Cypel is sure to ask Herbst about the lawsuit he filed last month on behalf of Jesse Sander, the teacher who was fired by Westchester Reform Temple in 2021 for her anti-Zionist post.

The call will go 90 minutes so there will be lots of time for listeners to ask Cypel questions. I am sure that one theme will be the reflexive effort by Israel lobbyists to defend Israel by hurling the antisemitism charge at critics, and the ways that this strategy actually fosters antisemitism. The newest definition of antisemitism (IHRA) equates intolerable racism to a criticism, however radical, of Israel and its policy, and thereby equates all Jews to the latters misdeeds, a French human rights leader tells Cypel.

Cypel says that this identification is a dangerous one: Israelis are trying to drag the worlds Jewish communities on to the path of radical Islamophobia while promoting the fraudulent use of the accusation of anti-Semitism and the assimilation of anti-Zionism as the embodiment of modern anti-Semitism. They are turning these communities into weapons to defend the worse policies.

The historian Daniel Boyarin is quoted saying that if Christianity died for many Christians at Auschwitz, Treblinka and Sobibor, my Judaism may be dying at Nablus, Dheisheh, Betein [Beit El] or El Kahlil.

While the sociologist Eva Illouz says what I believe, that Israel is going to lose the battle among American Jews over anti-Zionism. For Jews the choice now is between clinging to an ethno-tribalism that rejects modern Judaisms tradition , or joining a Judaism embodied by a group that is renewing it.

Years ago, Jewish leaders resolved that no Jewish culture could develop in the diaspora without a connection with Israel, Cypel writes. The French writer is now a leader in what my friends in Palestine would call a thawra or revolution.

So where are the Palestinian voices in mainstream media?

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'I am exhausted by Israel' hear Sylvain Cypel on the risk to Jews of supporting the 'thug nation' - Mondoweiss

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