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October 10, 2015 / 27 Tishri, 5776
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US Reform Jews Following Same Path as in 1940s

It is ironic that the liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s, when, out of loyalty to a liberal president and his party, it worked against the true interests of the Jewish people.
Reform Rabbi Stephen Wise fought against the Bergson group which tried desperately to push American Jews to help European Jews caught in the Nazi death grip.

Reform Rabbi Stephen Wise fought against the Bergson group which tried desperately to push American Jews to help European Jews caught in the Nazi death grip.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day, Yom haShoah. Although I agree with those who say that preservation of the historical record is a necessary part of preventing its repetition, I am very uncomfortable with its use to produce an emotional catharsis, which often stands in the way of facing the real threats against the Jewish people today. The same people who cry over the dead Jews of the 1940s often have no problem taking anti-Zionist positions today — or supporting politicians like Barack Obama, whose policies are inimical to the continued existence of the Jewish state, and therefore the Jewish people.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) as seems not to have noticed Yom haShoah this year — at least, I can’t find anything on its website. Individual congregations, like the one in our town, are holding commemorative events. Possibly they have decided to deemphasize the observance.

But the URJ’s drift in the direction of anti-Zionist politics hasn’t stopped. Under the leadership of its President Rabbi Richard ‘Rick’ Jacobs, we find the URJ supporting the phony ‘pro-Israel’ organization J Street in its bid to join the Council of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. J Street — which called for a cease-fire on the first day of Operation Cast Lead in 2009, which supported an anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security council (which the US vetoed), which consistently opposed sanctions on Iran, which supported the conclusions of the Goldstone Report (later repudiated by its author) that accused the IDF of war crimes in Gaza and introduced Goldstone to members of Congress, which has invited viciously anti-Zionist and pro-BDS speakers like Mustafa Barghouti, Rebecca Vilkomerson and James Zogby to its annual conferences, but which refused to allow liberal Zionist Alan Dershowitz to speak — is anything but pro-Israel. It is, however, very pro-Obama.

It is ironic, then that the liberal wing of the Jewish establishment in the US is following the same path as it did in the 1940s, when, out of loyalty to a liberal president and his party, it worked against the true interests of the Jewish people. The danger is not as immediate today as it was in the dark days of WWII, although the Iranian nuclear project, which is being facilitated by the policy of the Obama Administration, could very quickly change this.

I am therefore taking this occasion to republish the following, which I wrote several years ago. It is even more timely today.


The failure of the liberal Jewish establishment, then and now

by Vic Rosenthal, 8/7/2011

400 mostly Orthodox rabbis march to the White House on October 6, 1943. Roosevelt avoided meeting with them.

It’s well-known that the Roosevelt Administration did little to help European Jews during the Holocaust. Unfortunately, part of the blame falls on American Jewry, which was sharply divided about how to respond — a fact which caused good men in the government to hesitate, while it gave antisemites an excuse to resist taking action.

The NY Times has published a piece by Isabel Kershner that may bring more attention to the shameful stupidity of the Jewish establishment during that period:

The Bergson group formed in 1940 when about 10 young Jews from Palestine and Europe came to the United States to open a fund-raising and propaganda operation for the Irgun, the right-wing Zionist militia. The group was organized by Hillel Kook, a charismatic Irgun leader who adopted the pseudonym Peter H. Bergson. [Samuel] Merlin was his right-hand man.

About the Author: Vic Rosenthal created FresnoZionism.org to provide a forum for publishing and discussing issues about Israel and the Mideast conflict, especially where there is a local connection. Rosenthal believes that America’s interests are best served by supporting the democratic state of Israel, the front line in the struggle between Western civilization and radical Islam. The viewpoint is not intended to be liberal or conservative — just pro-Israel.

The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

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39 Responses to “US Reform Jews Following Same Path as in 1940s”

  1. I am less than thrilled with your accusation here. Just because one is Liberal means he is anti-Zionist? Just because I do not vote for the Tea Party-who seeks to make the USA a Christian nation-does not mean I am anti-Zionist. It means I hate the idea of the Tra Party always voting to discriminate against Jews, Gays, and the disabled-those who were killed during the Shoah…in case YOU have forgotten.

  2. Yaakov Adam says:

    Now is not the time for lashon hara against fellow Beit Yisrael.

  3. True. Great article. I just hope they will wake up.

  4. Donny Reich says:

    Good point Yaakov. Unfortunately, J-Street’s main agenda is Lason HaRa against the people of Israel, Israel’s army, and Israel’s government. It needs to stop.

  5. Donny Reich says:

    C Itai, JStreet lobbies congress and organizes protest AGAINST Israel. That makes it an anti-Israel organization. The Reform movement openly supports J-Street, and the head of the movement, rabbi Rick Jacobs is a J-Street member.

    We are not calling them ant-Zionist because they are left wing, we are calling them anti-Zionists because there actions and words are AGAINST Israel.

  6. Yaakov Adam says:

    The that wrote this article is not talking about J Street, they’re talking about Reform Judaism. It is absolutely disgusting to blame the Shoah on the German Jews who were killed in the show many of them were Reform.

  7. Then explain why the comment states ‘Liberals’ as anti-Zionists. It sickens me that you can use the Yom HaShoah as a political Republican push.
    You called Liberals anti-Zionists. Well, we aren’t.
    Some Liberals just hate Republicans pushing Christianity and hate down our throats.

  8. Liberal Jew does not equal Reform Jew.

  9. Maybe-just maybe-we should stop attacking fellow Jews and start supporting each other.

  10. Maybe we should not use the word Liberal to describe Reform Judaism. It leads us to think you support the Christian Republican Right wing, which seeks to rid the world of Judaism and any religion besides Christianity. You do realize they ‘love’ Israel but in reality only seek to convert it to Jesus, their messiah? It sickens me that anyone would support them in ridding the world of Judaism in the name of love. Hate and discrimination is all the right wing knows. Sad that we attack fellow Jews rather than standing against oppression.

  11. Lynne Horner says:

    Then you are not a Jew, and I feel for you Cardona,i just pray God take the scales off you eyes and the plugs out of you ears.

  12. Danger Danger will ROBINSON danger


  14. Alan Scopp says:


  15. Possibly just another liberal , liberal who does not know what she is talking about . When one of your own ,refused to answer Golda Meir’s urgent plea for arms , planes and tanks to defend themselves from ALL THE ARAB countries around them in the 1967 war , it was the Republican President who she called after the then Secretary of State , Henry Kissinger refused her cries , who sent her everything she asked for and ALL THE ARAB COUNTRIES around them were SOUNDLY BEATEN !!! I cannot recall his name at this time but it is reported that he said,” Let the Isralies bleed a little .” His name was Henry Kissinger , and by the way, that Republican President was none other than Richard M. Nixon ! Go to the library and read a little, knowledge goes a long , long way !!! Shalom

  16. …this time its done in bedrooms… 😉

  17. You have spoken well.

  18. Robbie Goldstein says:

    Thank you.

  19. Tzuar Klooster says:

    Well spoken.

  20. I hate the Tea Party and I support Israel. The Tea Party would prefer it if I went away or died. I’m stubborn and I’m not going away. And it’s the republicans trying to do away with Social Security and Medicare which would kill me. My Eyes are wide open. I don’t like Obama or Kerry. My Eyes are Open enough to know that anyone who dares judge my Jewishness is going to be blocked and exorcised from my Life. I won’t tolerate that from anyone. Not NOW or EVER. Think before you type. I did.

  21. David Brooks says:

    I prefer to call him by his proper name, Heinreich Kissenger. More apt…

  22. Donny Reich says:

    “Maybe-just maybe-we should stop attacking fellow Jews and start supporting each other.” But that’s the whole raison d’etre of JSteet

  23. Pedro Acosta says:

    Not in my reform temple.

  24. David Brooks says:

    When facts are used, muddy the water!

    Stop attacking fellow Jews? I didn’t think fascism and Judaism were compatible…

  25. Hmmmm….target deflection? We are all in this together!

  26. Donny Reich says:

    It’t not blaming any set of Jews for the Shoah. However, it is a fact, that the Reform movement then (and its leader rabbi Stephen Wise) was against saving Jews. Similarly, the current head of the Reform movement, rabbi Rick Jacobs belongs to a group that lobbies congress and protests AGAINST Israel.

  27. Linda Cohen says:

    May B McCormick. I think your the one who needs a trip to the library I can understand why you would feel this way since you distrust Republicans?

  28. Linda Cohen says:

    Henry Kissinger. The man

  29. I can see ,and will do all I can to help,bring them back,,hope we can be one in HaShem.

  30. The funny thing is that beside the SHoah there is nothing left to Reform Judaism. Its the only annual event to "rock the house" inour local reform temple.

  31. I will support and never divide Jerusalem, because it's your only land when bad times comes, you have a land where to be in Peace! I hope not but in case the situation in USA gets worse and discriminates Jews, then you have a land where to be and go. DON'T BE FOOL! It's the LAND that ADONAI ELOCHIM Promised to our Father Avraham, in case you forgot, Read your Jewish History and your Torah and Tanach! If a Jew is anti-Zionist, he or she is AGAINST HASHEM and HIS plans! PERIOD. MAY HASHEM BLESS US ALL!

  32. I am a Jew & my heart & soul are for Israel.How I pray & where I pray is nobodies business except mine & G-ds !

  33. Keli Talbert says:

    This is so true.

  34. Inna Kreer says:

    Thank you for this brilliant article. The same scenario all over again, Jews against Jews. So sad…
    The comments here contain discussions about Liberals, Reformers, Democrats, Republicans, ……
    What does it have to do with the annihilation of Jews during World War II, does it matter? What matters is , that the American Jewish leaders – influential Rabbis, betrayed their European brethren and it is happening again. Yes, now it’s Leftists (Sorros and others Jews) who support boycott, and other dire actions against Israel. These enemies of Israel create numerous new organizations (J Street etc.) in order to incite young Liberal Jews , who are badly educated, do not know history of Israel , did not experience anti-Semitism, and were raised comfortably in the US at the absence of war, to promote their agenda. This is an old “revolutionary” scenario, which is now under successful implementation here in US – Jews have always been a useful tool in any revolution. American Jews do not want to know that their comfort here is not forever, they are not immune from slaughter (remember relaxed German Jews?). This time, with the “redistribution” and Islamisation of the US, very soon the American Jewry will feel what the anti-Semitism is, just watch many youtube videos. I am not writing all this for J Street people, who are probably paid for, or simply dumb. I am writing it for those few who can hear, because I came from there, from Europe, and I know what I am talking about. The understanding of Jewish Mission, having a Jewish soul, is not equal to being, or called, a Jew. At the end only 1 of 5 Jews left Egypt with Moses, as we know from Torah. This few will safe Israel, despite all obstacles, all this miserable howl, but it is so terribly sad to watch this repeating betrayal…

  35. Laurie Fineberg says:


  36. I truly don't understand why the Haredim don't want to fight our work? Our ancestors all did, In fact the Jews of Elephantine, an area of Egypt, were mercenaries, hired by Egypt, and they and a large synagogue there.

  37. Miki Bacsi says:

    Well said Robbie!
    Although, sometimes I have this little feeling that our "liberal" Jewish brothers are not just simply idiots. I think they have business interests in the Muslim world and that is more important to them than the life of a few million fellow Jews.

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