Uncommon Sense

April 27, 2022

WTF? Judaism Should Be Separated from Nationalism?

Filed under: History,Religion — Steve Ruis @ 10:50 am
Tags: ,

This article almost sounds like a call for a separation of church and state for Israel—in the form of a post on Religion Dispatches “Chicago Synagogue Excoriated For Shift From ‘Non’ To ‘Anti’ Zionism”

Progressive synagogue Tzedek Chicago, founded in 2015 and led by Rabbi Brant Rosen, recently made an announcement that elicited strong reactions in much of the Jewish press and beyond. Opting to change their identity from “non-Zionist” to “anti-Zionist,” they released the following statement:

“While we appreciate the important role of the land of Israel in Jewish tradition, liturgy and identity, we do not celebrate the fusing of Judaism with political nationalism … We are anti-Zionist, openly acknowledging that the creation of an ethnic Jewish nation-state in historic Palestine resulted in an injustice against the Palestinian people – an injustice that continues to this day.”

Are these not the people whose scripture says that they petitioned a prophet to allow them to select a king? Aren’t these the people who only accepted kings who were anointed by their god? Kind of sounds like a theocracy to me. And the separation of church and state in a theocracy is an oxymoron.

Maybe they are critiquing the policies of the nation-state of Israel and not its foundations. Is puzzling otherwise.



  1. I’m not sure why separating Jewishness from the state of Israel is controversial. All of my Jewish friends would tell you that their faith and the state of Israel are two entirely different things. Being a Jew is their religious faith and their ethnic heritage. Israel is, to them at least, some little “over there somewhere” that they have no relationship at all with.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by grouchyfarmer — April 28, 2022 @ 6:38 am | Reply

  2. I understand from my perspective as a goyim, but the faith includes theocratic government as an ideal, so if you don’t accept that then you are, what, a secular Jew?


    Comment by Steve Ruis — April 28, 2022 @ 7:38 am | Reply

    • That’s an interesting question. I’m not really sure. I probably know more about Judaism than the average non jewish person because for whatever reason I seem to have accumulated a lot of Jewish friends over the years, but I can’t think of any of them who consider Israel to be all that important in their lives. Most of them are in their early 40s or younger. Perhaps that has something to do with it? From what I hear from them, their parents, who would be of our generation, strongly frown on anyone criticizing anything Israel does.


      Comment by grouchyfarmer — April 28, 2022 @ 10:28 pm | Reply

  3. American Jews are a different sort . . . well, except maybe New York Jews. I have read that in Israel, a substantial proportion of working age men do not work, instead the government gives them a stipend to study Torah. S0, there is very little to no separation of church and state there and the ultraconservatives wield real power.

    Liked by 1 person

    Comment by Steve Ruis — April 29, 2022 @ 8:49 am | Reply

    • They do indeed, but there is now considerable push back against them by a growing number of people, even ones on the conservative side.


      Comment by grouchyfarmer — April 29, 2022 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

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