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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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BJ Rabbis Halfheartedly Walk Back Pro-Palestine Email

They're not sorry about the email, only about sending it.
Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon (L), Felicia L. Sol, and Marcelo R. Bronstein.

Rabbis J. Rolando Matalon (L), Felicia L. Sol, and Marcelo R. Bronstein.

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Do you still care about the three BJ rabbis who started WW3? Well, it turns out they did mean to write that email, but they didn’t mean to send that particular email out, it was only a draft, and they didn’t mean to co-sign the entire lineup of BJ leadership without their knowledge, that too was because of the draft.

Can somebody close the window over there?

The bottom line is: they’re not sorry they were happy about the PLO being recognized as a UN state – they’re still besides themselves with joy on that account…

“So the rabbis of B’nai Jeshurun are now expressing some ‘regret’ over their email endorsing the UN’s Palestine statehood vote, writes” JTA’s Daniel Treiman.

The straight forward JTA coverage lays out the facts:

Rabbis at B’nai Jeshurun are expressing “regret” over an email sent out by the prominent New York synagogue praising the United Nations vote to elevate Palestinians to non-member state status.

The rabbis of the Manhattan synagogue sent a note Thursday to congregants saying that their email last week endorsing the UN action had been sent prematurely and mistakenly listed several other synagogue officials as signatories.

“While we affirm the essence of our message, we feel that it is important to share with you that through a series of unfortunate internal errors, an incomplete and unedited draft of the letter was sent out which resulted in a tone which did not reflect the complexities and uncertainties of this moment,” the rabbis, Rolando Matalon, Marcelo Bronstein and Felicia Sol, wrote in their follow-up email.

The rabbis also wrote that they “regret the feelings of alienation that resulted from our letter.”

The latest email was first reported by The New York Jewish Week.

The original email, sent last Friday, drew both praise and outrage from members of the nondenominational Upper West Side synagogue, which is known for its liberal politics and lively services. The email and ensuing controversy drew significant media attention, including a front-page story in The New York Times on Wednesday.

“The vote at the UN yesterday is a great moment for us as citizens of the world,” the original email stated. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the process that allows a nation to come forward and ask for recognition. Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this.”

In their follow-up, the three rabbis wrote that they are “passionate lovers of Israel” and are “unequivocally committed to Israel’s security, democracy and peace.”

They also wrote that the original email was a letter from them and that the synagogue’s cantor, board president, executive director and director of Israel engagement were listed mistakenly as signatories.

Treiman comments:

“The timing of the correction is curious. After all the original email was sent out six days ago, on Friday. (One might have thought that the shul would have moved more quickly to correct the inadvertent inclusion of four synagogue officials on an email about such a hot-button issue.)

“But the follow-up email only came after a backlash among some angry congregants (including sometime-attendee Alan Dershowitz, who challenged the shul’s rabbis to a debate) and a front-page(!) story in The New York Times (a paper that is often accused of giving short shrift to local news but apparently puts a premium on such news when it overlaps with Israel issues and Upper West Side Jewish liberalism).

“Incidentally, B’nai Jeshurun’s home page at one point on Thursday morning featured the following quote attributed to the three rabbis: “As rabbis, our job is… to court controversy and to raise disturbing questions many would be more content to leave in the background – and certainly outside the synagogue.”

I suppose to be “passionate lovers of Israel” means you never have to say you’re sorry…


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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.

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30 Responses to “BJ Rabbis Halfheartedly Walk Back Pro-Palestine Email”

  1. Dani Katz says:

    Tell them there’s an opening in Gaza city for them to open a shule….

  2. Sharyn Lindner Rosler says:

    They open their mouths and bray like donkeys

  3. Sharyn Lindner Rosler says:

    They open their mouths and bray like donkeys

  4. Which country are they referring to when they say, "Having gained independence ourselves in this way, we are especially conscious of this."

    America, who won its independence from England through Revolution?

    Israel who gained acceptance as a state after the UN voted on dividing the British Mandate of Ottoman Occupied Palestine?

    In neither case did we approach an international body begging for semantic irrelevance.

  5. Lloyd Bergner says:

    To the 3 errant.
    Rabbis: Read the Torah, keep the Sabbath, eat kosher, and stay out of politics.

  6. Gil Gilman says:

    You are attempting to split too thin a hair as partition was welcomed, if not requested, and war ensued in which Israel was victorious. Yet your point is a good one. The U.N. has never been more irrelevant than today. It can be seen as the offspring of Woodrow Wilson, the last openly racist President, although his anti-semitism is open to debate, who fostered the League of Nations whose not so well hidden agenda was controlling non-aryan populations by mutual consent of its members. Wilson wasn't alone among U.S. presidents ae a member of the KKK. If you study the history of the idea of international exercise of control over independent thought and action, you can see how aryan control over indigenous peoples, has morphed from racism against dark skinned minorities, to out and out anti-semitism. This is to be expected, as it is an act of desperation by the secular world against G-d, and the focal point of that animus is and always must be the Jewish people. It is a good thing for Israel that G-d isn't dead as some gentile "thinkers" have proclaimed.

  7. george iversen says:

    Supporting an effort by the Palestinian Authority to NOT negotiate, encouraging them to once again reject the Oslo agreements they signed and encourage the witnesses to the Oslo agreements as well as other International agreements by being joyful at the PA’s upgrade at the United Nations to forget their obligations, is in pursuit of Peace? May I and the rest of humanity be saved from such “peacemakers”.

  8. Anonymous says:

    It seems as if The Jewish Press spends half its time excoriating the Arabs and the other half excoriating those apostates (Apikursim) who do not toe The Jewish Press line. Has the hard line approach advocated by The Jewish Press for all these years brought success? Israel is today an isolated country supported only by the United States and a few islands in the South Pacific. Maybe trying to live with the Palestinians as equals rather than trying to destroy them just might work. Show some respect for Bnei Jeshurun.

  9. Alan Kardon says:

    I do not know who they represent or speak for, but they certainly do not speak for me.

  10. I feel that if this is the way the Rabbi's of this shul feel and it is out of touch with US Jews they should be asked to resign immediately rather then disgrace the membership.

  11. Charlie Hall says:

    No evidence that Wilson was ever a KKK member. There is enough to criticize regarding his record and beliefs without making up lies. But he did appoint Louis Brandeis to the Supreme Court, and he supported the establishment of a Jewish National Home in Palestine. (OTOH, he also appointed James McReynolds to the Supreme Court, and he had his Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer, assisted by J. Edgar Hoover, round up and deport Jews and other alleged radicals in 1919.)

    And FWIW the two other principals at the Paris Peace Conference, Lloyd-George and Clemenceau, were the opposite of anti-Semites! Lloyd-George was a big supporter of Zionism, and Clemenceau was the newspaper editor who had printed Emile Zola's "J'Accuse" that defended Dreyfus. Clemenceau was also an outspoken anti-colonialist, a position that helped lead to his electoral defeat in 1920.

  12. Charlie Hall says:

    In fact, there is no evidence that ANY US President ever belonged to the KKK in any of its incarnations.

  13. Charlie Hall says:

    This newspaper regularly features articles by rabbis who are involved in politics!

  14. Charlie Hall says:

    While there indeed are some Jewish extremists, some of whom are featured on this web site, most Israelis would be happy to accept the Palestinians as equals. The problem is that quite large numbers of Palestinians are not willing to accept Jews as legitimately belonging in Eretz Yisrael. While we should indeed treat those Palestinians who aren't trying to kill us with dignity and respect, there is no chance for peace until the ones who *are* trying to kill us stop doing that.

  15. george iversen says:

    Quite a large number of Palestinians who will not accept us as equals. Minorities have a huge problem throughout the Middle east and we are a minority there. Whether belonging to a Christian sect or a non Christian group or a Muslim belonging to the area’s non majprity sect or even worse a muslim that does not belong to the Shia or Sunni sects or being a Jew, there is persecution not just discrimination.

  16. Rc Fowler says:

    There are no palestinians Mr. Hall–and no Muslim can be equal with a non Muslim–especially a Jew!

  17. Rc Fowler says:

    Two Rabbi's and a pretend rabbi–all three are self hating Godless wh*ores!

    Is there any doubt they voted for the anti-Semite Barack Obama? I think not.

  18. There is a stubborn if understandable resistance, even to recognize, much less confront, what the Palestinian issue represents; the innate Islamic hatred for "infidels" and their more vehement hatred for the Jews. These Rabbis are toeing the liberal line that obsequious expressions of tolerance and compassion for Islamic terrorist thugs will eventually win their hearts and minds and achieve the endless quest for the so called "two state solution."

    This will not end until these terrorists are visited by the gates of hell in a violent, bloody war. The Left is incapable of admitting that "give peace a chance" is meaningless, and only a sign of weakness to tyrants. "Give peace a chance" requires genuine commitment and active participation by all the participants; an idealistic, noble goal that the world is not ready or capable of achieving, yet. Like much of the Left's lofty ideals it defies rather than accommodates the vagaries of human nature.

    This is the hate America crowd, hatred for the only nation that has demonstrated the power and ferocity on the battlefield necessary to send these fanatics to the afterlife they profess to love more than their miserable lives. That we have not done so as yet is more the result of political inertia and the same leftist blindness to reality exhibited by these hapless Rabbis. It is only a matter of time before these terrorist maniacs push the envelope past the breaking point. Hopefully, the civilized world will awake to reality and react before it's too late.

  19. Nathan Warszawski says:

    Better being a goy than to have such rabbis

  20. Nathan Warszawski says:

    Better being a goy than to have such rabbis

  21. My in laws favorite shul…… So sad for them, and for all Jews who are self hating in this manner.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I say Lynch 'em!
    What's wrong with these people…..they recognize terrorists rather than their own! Off with their heads!

  23. Dan Margolis says:

    It's called foot in mouth disease, many times public figures say things they wish they could take back or at least did not make public. Apparently the Rabbi was not sorry for his comment but only that it was made public.

  24. Yonatan Knickerbocker says:

    And your reply answers the first post in what way?

  25. Yonatan Knickerbocker says:

    "Israel is an isolated country". Well put. I have read that is exactly how we are to be (We are a people that shall dwell alone). Problem for you? Take it up with G-d.

  26. Yonatan Knickerbocker says:

    Unfortunately for them, not even that! They are sorry that congregants are making an uproar, not for the statements or that they were made public.

  27. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Just to look at the back ground of books in each Rabbi's picture reveals that they are not Torah/Talmudic books which are usually all of one color. They all seem to have the same colored brown nose however.

  28. Charlie Hall says:

    Rc Fowler There were Palestinians before there were Israelis, as Palestinian nationality was created by the same League of Nations Mandate that provided for a Jewish National Home in Palestine. The "There are no palestinians" is not a useful statement in any respect.

  29. Charlie Hall says:

    I voted for Obama. He is not an anti-Semite. And it would do you well to show some hakarat hatov for the support he has given to Israel and to American Jews.

  30. Anonymous says:

    The author's pilpul about how Israel gained independence conveniently ignores the tachlis that absent world recognition such independence wouldn't be worth a bucket of warm spit. A clever retort, but lacking historical or moral relevance.

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