I guess one person’s liberal is another person’s self-hating, anti-Zionist, anti-Semite. Guess which definition is most favored by the American Jewish Committee to describe groups like Jewish Voice for Peace, and people like (JVP advisory board members) Tony Kushner and Adrienne Rich? In Essay Linking Liberal Jews and Anti-Semitism Sparks a Furor, Times writer Patricia Cohen writes about a new AJC report, Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism by Alvin Rosenfeld, with preface by AJC’s David Harris.
Over the telephone, the dinner table and the Internet, people who follow Jewish issues have been buzzing over Mr. Rosenfeld’s article. Alan Wolfe, a political scientist and the director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College, said, “I’m almost in a state of shock” at the verbal assaults directed at liberal Jews.
On H-Antisemitism (h-net.org), an Internet forum for scholarly discussions of the subject, Michael Posluns, a political scientist at the University of Toronto, wrote, “Sad and misbegotten missives of the sort below make me wonder if it is not the purpose of mainstream Jewish organizations to foster anti-Jewishness by calling down all who take from their Jewish experience and Jewish thought a different ethos and different ways of being as feeding anti-Semitism.”
Others have praised Mr. Rosenfeld’s indictment and joined the fray. Shulamit Reinharz, a sociologist who is also the wife of Jehuda Reinharz, the president of Brandeis University, wrote in a column for The Jewish Advocate in Boston: “Most would say that they are simply anti-Zionists, not anti-Semites. But I disagree, because in a world where there is only one Jewish state, to oppose it vehemently is to endanger Jews.”