The speakers and organizations range from the Jewish world’s center far left to simply further and further left until you finally get to a “leading Muslim public intellectual” who was brought in from the Duke Islamic Studies Center to speak about the “Intersection of Spirituality and Social Justice,” by exploring Rumi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rabbi Heschel.
A J Street speaker is the authority in Judea Reform’s “Standing up for Israel” program.
But wait: Judea Reform held an Israel Discussion Series in the 2014/15 school year. That sounds promising. Until you look at the topics and who covered them.
On Feb. 21, 2015, Prof. Sarah Shields of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, spoke at Judea Reform. Her topic was: “Before 1948: the History of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Shields was described by her students as “stridently anti-American and anti-Israel,” and “unbalanced.” She was one of four UNC professors to sign a petition to boycott Israeli academic institutions during the summer of 2014.
On Aug. 23, 2015, Marty Rosenbluth, who is described as “Amnesty International’s Country Specialist for Israel and the Occupied Territories for more than a dozen years,” gave a talk. The topic of Rosenbluth’s talk was “Balance of Fear: Can We Use a Human Rights Approach to Frame the Israel-Palestine Discussion?” You can just imagine who was framed by that talk.
Amnesty International accused Israel of committing war crimes in Lebanon and in Gaza. In 2006, Rosenbluth defended AI’s claims on the anti-Israel radio program “Democracy Now.” Rosenbluth is listed as an advisor by the Muslim American Society, an American offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood.
A little over a month later, Judea Reform presented Sandra Korn to lead a discussion about “Open Hillel: On Red Lines in the Jewish Community.” Korn was “involved in the Open Hillel Campaign” at Harvard. Open Hillel, of course, is the effort of college students to overthrow the requirement that Hillel events be supportive – or at least not openly destructive – of Israel.
October’s fare in Judea Reform’s Israel discussion series brought Shai Ginsburg to speak about “Old and New Maps the Holy Land, and the State of Israel.” In the fall of 2014, Ginsburg, along with other members of the Jewish Studies department of nearby Duke University, wrote a letter to the school paper denouncing the upcoming Hillel’s “Israeli Shabbat: Bedouin Style,” and urging its cancelation. Why? Because, they wrote, “As you may know, there is a long history of Israeli appropriation of Palestinian, Arab, and/or Bedouin culture.”
In November, Temple Judea Reform invited in a member and “summer organizing intern for Jewish Voice for Peace,” Jade Brooks, to speak on the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions 101: A Global Movement for Justice.
In other words, Judea Reform brought in a promoter of BDS, from the single most anti-Israel “Jewish” group in the country, to educate their community about why doing harm to Israel qualifies as a “movement for justice.”
The final topic in Judea Reform’s “Israel Discussion Series” was about “preventing violent extremism in America.” But this was not about attacks on the pro-Israel population or even simply American Jews. Instead it focused on “Anti-Islamic Bigotry.”
So Temple Judea Reform’s entire “Israel Discussion Series” gave the podium to not even one speaker or presentation other than Israel-bashers — with a small dose of criticism for “islamaphobia” added in for flavor. Given the intimate relationship between shul and school, this record should give great pause to those who took comfort in its rabbi’s vouching for the pro-Israel position of the Lerner School.