In February 2020 an anonymous article appeared in the Forward by a teacher in several Zionist Hebrew Day Schools, claiming they teach dual loyalty to Israel and that they need to stop. The article was met with derision, condemnation, and even denial of the author's existence. Meet the author, who no longer teaches in such schools and is safe from reprisals, as he tells us his full story.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
I’ve taught at six Jewish day schools. They’re preaching dual loyalty to Israel | Forward
Jonathan Greenblatt’s Response | Forward
The meaning of Israel as the state of the Jewish people | Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Peter Beinart and Deborah Lipstadt Discuss Anti-Semitism in America Today | Forward (podcast)
Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress | video
Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress | transcript
“Prime Minister of the Jewish people” | Times of Israel
"The leader of the Jewish state and the entire Jewish people” | Reuters
Netanyahu is ‘the leader of the Jewish world,’ says top aide | The Times of Israel
Why Jonathan Pollard is still in Prison | The Jewish Week
The NY Radio Stars Who Blamed 9/11 On The Jews–And Went Unpunished | The Jewish Press
"Mike and Mad Dog Exposed as Frauds"| NY Post
We Listened To One Of The "Lost" Mike And The Mad Dog 9/11 Tapes | Deadspin
Rabbi Shapiro (00:00:53):
About a year ago there was an article in the Forward that was written anonymously by a rabbi who taught in several Jewish but Zionist Hebrew day schools, Modern-Orthodox Hebrew day schools, we call them. The article said that in some of the schools where the writer was employed, the kids are being taught that they should be politically loyal to a foreign power, namely, the state of Israel. He describes how the Israeli national anthem, "Hatikvah," is sung with much more fervor than the American Star-Spangled Banner; how these students were actually told America is not your country, Israel is your country; how Benjamin Netanyahu is your Prime Minister; how the IDF is your army. And he describes how in these schools, Zionism is more important than even Judaism itself. The point of his article was to tell these schools that they're encouraging antisemitism. They are literally strengthening this trope
Rabbi Shapiro (00:02:02):
that Jews are dually loyal. The message was that they should cease and desist. There's a problem. And instead of sweeping it under the rug, they should actually do something about it. Well, the reaction to the article was wild. Zionists all over went ballistic. The Jewish press referred to the article as "noxious." Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League actually weighed in and he referred to the article as "shocking." In fact, he wrote an entire article attacking the author and what he wrote. I've heard people say that the author of this article probably doesn't even exist. And it was probably just a way to generate controversy and attention to the newspaper. Well, I happen to know that this author does exist and soon you will too, because he's here with us today. For the first time revealing who he is and sharing with us his experience of teaching in schools like this, and subsequently being targeted by Zionists for what he wrote. Please welcome Rabbi Shmuel Jacobs. So Shmuel, how are you this morning?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:03:20):
Very well. Thanks.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:03:22):
Tell me, did you ever think when you wrote this article in the Forward that it would make such a tumult in the Zionist world? Jason Greenblatt, the head of the ADL wrote a rebuttal or I would say response to it in the Forward. Did you have any idea of what type of tumult this thing was going to make?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:03:39):
I didn't expect the defense to be so strong. I mean, I did obviously know that it wasn't going to be so popular. That's precisely why I had to go anonymous with it because frankly I assumed that I'd be fired from my job if I was identified as the author while employed at such a school. But did I expect it to be so, such a potent response in a kind of angry, defensive reaction? No.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:04:03):
Why would you think that they would fire you? I'm not denying that they would, but I'm curious as to what excuse they would give for firing you, would they claim that you lied, that you said things that are not true or what?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:04:19):
Yeah, it's an interesting question because really, and this is, what's funny about the whole thing is I think that if you look at all the schools and if, you know, as I said in the article originally, if someone would go into these schools, they'll just see this stuff is just so obvious and plain, that it's like undeniable, what I was pointing out. The schools themselves on their websites, they say the, one of their main missions, you know, they're worded differently, depending on the school, is to create a strong identity with Israel and a love of Israel, that kind of thing. But there's two parts then to answer your question, one is that I was known as somebody who wasn't so rah-rah enthusiastic for Israel. When I say Israel, you know, we're talking about the state of Israel, the modern state of Israel, and everything that comes with it. And so that already made me kind of like suspect in their eyes. And then number two, that anything that they just feel even, let's say arbitrarily, is critical of Israel, you know, we see this all the time. It's just like knee-jerk response. You're an anti-Semite. Like, you know, the fact that I've been teaching in these schools, teaching Jewish studies for years, would still not disqualify me from being an anti-Semite in their eyes if I did anything, which a step later could be connected to being anti-Israel
Rabbi Shapiro (00:05:35):
For how many years have you taught in these schools?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:05:37):
That I, when I left that school, the last school I was in, that was my eighth year in such a school.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:05:47):
From your accent, I can tell you're originally British.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:05:51):
That's right. Yeah.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:05:53):
When did you come to America?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:05:54):
10 years ago.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:05:56):
And did you start teaching then at that point?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:06:00):
Occasional teaching a couple of years after I arrived, just, you know, a class here or there,
Rabbi Shapiro (00:06:05):
But eventually you got into it full-time.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:06:07):
And then I went full time. Yeah. Now just to clarify something in the Forward article itself, a couple of the details are changed slightly. It possibly says I was there for 10 years in these schools. That again was just part of the anonymity and an extra couple of years I figured while protecting my identity and my livelihood didn't change the facts. If anything, the fact that I'd seen so much in just eight years sort of emphasizes it more.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:06:34):
In other words, they changed the details of your personal identity in order to prevent you from being identified by those who wanted to call you an anti-Semite.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:06:45):
Correct. Yeah. And they were actually very good and very cooperative with that.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:06:49):
I do know, I know that the Forward was under pressure to reveal who you are. In fact, Jason Greenblatt even said that you don't have the courage to mount your argument as, as who you really are, which is kind of like the mafia saying that the witness who's in the witness protection program doesn't have the courage to come out and say who he is. There's a reason why you're anonymous. And the Forward they actually verified your resume.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:07:15):
Yeah. They were very thorough about it. They wanted to see credentials from me. I sent them a couple of pay stubs, a photo ID from one of the schools.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:07:22):
And besides being a teacher in Jewish day schools for eight years, you're also an Orthodox Jew, right?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:07:30):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:07:31):
Full fledged. All nine yards Orthodox Jew.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:07:34):
Rabbi Jacobs (00:07:36):
Shabbos, kosher, uh, learning Torah, everything
Rabbi Jacobs (00:07:40):
A hundred percent. Yeah. I'm very committed. I consider myself totally committed. Torah and Judaism is the center of my sort of daily life and my family life.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:07:53):
So what made them suspect that you aren't so, what were your words? Ra-rah about Israel? What made them think that?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:08:02):
They were quite correct to, to think that, in that it comes up a lot in these schools, various activities, and I'd never been able to bring myself to even fake an enthusiasm for them. There's a lot of people I know who teach in these schools who don't necessarily personally believe or support this stuff, but there's a tremendous pressure to go along with it. So they'll, you know, you will see them waving the flags, you'll see them singing the songs and sort of putting on Israeli army paraphernalia.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:08:32):
Now to clarify for our listeners, what is it exactly that you're not so rah-rah about Israel in regard to? Are we talking about the Palestinian conflict? Are you talking about that you were pro BDS? Are we talking about some other thing? What exactly was the point of contention between you and these schools that you taught in?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:08:55):
Nah, I mean, I really have no opinions, particularly at all on the Palestinian situation, on BDS. I think BDS maybe seems a little ill-thought through, but I've really no opinions about it. Simply that I never identified with Israel myself. I saw no reason for it to have any connection to me. I've been there a few times for various occasions, couple of weddings, but I just never saw it as part of my identity. And quite simply the idea of seeing it as part of my identity just seems bizarre to me. And I've never been able to get over that despite the bombardment that I received on a pretty much daily basis in these schools that try to insist that it should be part of my identity.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:09:38):
What do we mean when they say that the schools wanted it to be part of your identity? Because you know, Greenblatt in his rebuttal to your article, he claims that that's a defense for them. Yeah, let me quote it. He said, quote, "Certainly many Jewish day schools celebrate the state of Israel and the Jewish connection historically, religiously and emotionally, to the country." Now you disagree with all of the above, from what I'm hearing, correct me if I'm wrong, and I agree with you a hundred percent. Historically, religiously and emotionally, there is no connection, no organic connection, between Jews and the state of Israel. The Holy Land, yes. Which by the way, extends upwards into part of Lebanon and ends southwards before the state of Israel ends. And so Eilat is probably not part of the Holy Land, but southern Lebanon is. There's a holiness in the land, but the country, the political construct that was created in 1948 has no historical or religious connection to the Jewish people.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:10:40):
And in terms of emotional connection, well, if somebody wants to be emotionally connected to China or Russia or France, that's their business, but it has nothing to do per se, with being Jewish. I agree with that. But then listen to what he says over here. He says "the Jewish, historical and cultural connection to Israel is the main reason that parents send their children to such schools. But," he says, "this is not a matter of political loyalty, but a question of personal identity." Now you also mentioned the personal identity. And it's interesting because he says that the fact that it's a personal identity is a defense for them. It's different than political loyalty. You're agreeing that they want you to connect your personal identity with a foreign country, but you look at it as a detriment. Could you explain what they mean by Israel, the state of Israel, is part of your personal identity?
Rabbi Shapiro (00:11:35):
I mean, I'm an American I'm citizen of the United States. My family was from Poland, Russia, and England. My grandparents, three different places. And the state of Israel that was created in 1948 has nothing to do with me. And even if I would have lived there, that doesn't mean it's part of my identity as a Jew. It will be part of my identity as an Israeli or former Israeli, but I never lived there. Jewish is my religion. What do they mean that Israel is part of your identity? I mean, if it wasn't for Israel, you'd be less of a Jew? What exactly are they saying here?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:12:16):
Yeah. That's precisely the kind of message they want to give. And it's really difficult to convey this because it seems so absurd to somebody who's not in it. And certainly, like I said, before I went to these schools, I had just no interest in Israel, really. Like why would I? And it was just unbelievable for me when I was in these schools to see it, this, I'm taking a while to get to your question here, because it, it really requires quite an introduction just of how unbelievable it is and then how they try to make it just seem totally for granted and just a normal part of the picture. It really is that simple that they try to constantly give the message through hours of media and sort of signals within the schools that, yeah, Israel is the student's home. The Israeli army is their army.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:13:07):
So then it becomes just kind of taken for granted by these students. And then you see when you work with children like this, that it becomes just an unimaginable thing. Like if Israel is such an important part of my life and Israel is emphasized so much, if Israel really is, you know, my home, if Israel, if the Israeli army is my army, then yeah. If that's taken away from me, that's like one of the biggest parts of my life removed. And, you know, it would be difficult for them to imagine how to cope with it. You know, it, it, it, it almost be like saying like, it sounds crazy what I'm saying now, but it'd be akin to suggesting to them, you know, your family is no longer your family. If you were to suggest Israel is no longer sort of a part of your life. That's that's how much it's emphasized here to just make it that it's such a natural and assumed part of their existence. That, yeah, Israel, Israel is my home. Why is Israel my home? Because I've been told it since kindergarten.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:14:05):
What does it mean, it's my home? I mean, these kids, they live here in America. In what sense is it their home?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:14:14):
So again, before getting to the exact kind of attempt of an answer of that question, I'm just going to preface by saying that a lot of things in these schools and their approach to Israel and Zionism as part of that, is not always, or does not always seem to be so well thought through, because if you would really probe it, then you're right, the answers all fall apart and it breaks down and it doesn't make sense at all. So what do they do? They just continue to give the message. It never seemed to be a coherent philosophy or understanding of any kind of real nationalism or anything like that. It just a constant messaging of Israel is your home. Israel is your home. Israel is your home. The Israeli army is your army. They protect you. They protect us. If not for the Israeli army, we wouldn't exist.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:15:00):
We wouldn't have Judaism. We wouldn't have ... Until the students take it for granted. And you know, if you look at these schools' websites and their philosophies, their mission statements, they're quite open about this. I mean, I've got a few here. This is, this is the school in Miami. And this is just like echoed throughout many of these. "Beginning with our younger students, the Hebrew Academy will instill a lifelong love of Torah, Israel, and the Jewish people." And that's it. You begin with the younger students and you give this over to them so that it becomes just like an unimaginable thing. And it doesn't require, at that point... By the time these students are old enough to really think critically or independently about this, the ship has sailed. Like they've already absorbed it so much that it doesn't need to be a real coherent idea.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:15:51):
I want to get back to what you mentioned about this having nothing to do with the Israeli Palestinian conflict, because there are many anti-Zionists, or people that are not, as you call it, rah-rah about Israel. They'll accept the fact that Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, but they don't like what Israel is doing. There are many people who identify as anti-Zionists who are against Zionism because they believe that the core idea of Zionism is that the Jews are entitled to take the land away from the Palestinians. And that's what they object to. We're talking about a completely different thing. You're coming from an Orthodox Jewish perspective and from a perspective of an American citizen. Your not being rah-rah about Israel, your looking at Israel the same way as - and I agree with you - we look at China or Russia or Belgium or Romania, is simply because why shouldn't we? What is there about Israel that makes it my country?
Rabbi Shapiro (00:16:46):
It's just a random foreign country that has an ideology that says it's the country of all Jews. Imagine if there would be some country that said, well, we are the nation-state of all the black people. That's nice. How did you become the nation-state of all black people? I mean, there are plenty of Arab States. You see, that's part of the confusion here. Israel calls itself the Jewish state, and there are all sorts of different interpretations of that. I read a book by a guy, Steven Mazie, who used to teach in the University of Michigan. He did a study. He asked many Israelis if they think Israel is a Jewish state, and if so, what makes it a Jewish state? So in the secular sector, the secular Jews that he asked, all of them said, yes, Israel is a Jewish state, but they couldn't agree exactly what makes it Jewish.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:17:38):
One of them said, in some ways it's Jewish and others said that it's the "religious nature" of the States. Another one said, it's the law of return. Another one said, it's governed by Jews, and they govern it for the Jews. Another one said, it's the Jewish - "avira" the word he used - it means the Jewish "atmosphere." Another one said that in Israel, Judaism is, quote, "very, very important." And another one said "in many of the laws, the education system." Still another one said, well, "it's the way Ben-Gurion combined religion into the state." Even though Ben-Gurion didn't put any religion in the state. In fact, when he drafted the Declaration of Independence of Israel, he refused to put in the word "God." He absolutely refused. So they really, it's really difficult to pin down what a Jewish state means, especially to people that don't look at being Jewish as a religion. But Israel itself gives us a definition of what they mean by Jewish state.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:18:45):
Go to the website, mfa.gov.il. That's the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on their .gov website. It says, quote, "the term 'Jewish state' refers primarily to nationality . . . Israel is to the Jewish people what France is to the French people, Ireland is to the Irish, and Japan is to the Japanese." See, that's Zionism. In the real world, Japan is to the Japanese and Ireland is to the Irish, what Israel is to the Israelis. But the ideology of Zionism goes beyond normal reality. The ideology of Zionism changes that. It makes Israel into something that's unique amongst all the countries, all the nations of the world. It's not that Japan is to the Japanese and France is to the French what Israel is to the Israelis. Japan is to the Japanese and Ireland is to the Irish what Israel is to the Jews, meaning to the Jews inside Israel, as opposed to everybody else inside Israel, and to the Jews outside of Israel, as opposed to America being to the American Jews what Japan is to the Japanese. Two things they're saying, They're saying, number one, that inside Israel, not all Israelis relate to the state of Israel, the way all Japanese relate to Japan.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:20:06):
It's only the Jews inside Israel that do, and that was their "Nation-State Law." But two, America is not to all Americans what Japan is to the Japanese. Israel is to the American Jews what Japan is to the Japanese. At best, they'll say, well, both countries are. Even though that's precisely what the anti-Semites mean when they accuse the Jews of dual loyalty. Still other times, Zionists will say that American Jews relate to Israel the way an Irish American relates to Ireland or an Italian American relates to Italy. But it's not true, because the way an Irish American relates to Ireland is number one, there's a reason for that, Because him or his family once lived in Ireland, which has nothing to do with the Jewish relationship to Israel. Most Jews never lived in Israel, here in America, those that live here. And yet, because they're Jewish, there's some type of ideological political connection. It's not an organic connection. It's not where you were. So it's completely different things. Secondly, no Irish American would say that the Irish army is his army. That the president, Prime Minister or ruler, or King of Ireland is your Prime Minister, ruler or King. Or no Italian American would consider the Prime Minister of Italy, their prime minister. And yet Zionists themselves. Talk about "Netanyahu is your prime minister." "The Israeli army is your army." Am I right about that?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:21:44):
Yeah, a hundred percent. Just to clarify one thing. I'm not yet an American citizen. I've been here for 10 years, but I'm still a green card holder. And probably in the next couple of years, I will get that citizenship. But just to one point of accuracy that, but it certainly, my wife is an American citizen, my children are US Citizens and the children in the schools where I was teaching were US citizens. So.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:22:06):
Okay. But you're a British citizen, right. A citizen of the UK. So that's still not Israel.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:22:11):
Yeah. The main point is, that one thing I'm not, is an Israeli citizen.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:22:15):
There's a political connection there, we're saying. There's an identification of being somehow part of Israel, not just having a nostalgic affinity for it or not just loving a country, but rather being part of it's political, not citizenship, but relating to it as your country in a similar way that Americans relate to America as America being their country. What does it mean, "Israel is your army" and "Netanyahu is your Prime Minister"? What exactly does that mean? When Natanyahu makes a law, it has no jurisdiction over American Jews.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:23:07):
So I'll tell you, I'll start with a couple of anecdotes just to, you know, as evidence of this, that, you know, for example, yeah. Netanyahu, my prime minister, supposedly your prime minister. So when I was teaching at one of these schools, I was teaching the younger grades. And I just remember, you remember a few years ago, obviously that Netanyahu came against the wishes of then-President Obama to address Congress. And it was done as a real sort of, it was a deliberate slap in the face to Obama.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:23:40):
It was in March, 2015.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:23:41):
Okay. So I was at a school then, a Hebrew Academy, a Modern-Orthodox day school. And there was a excitement in the school, that was built up. Now I was teaching second grade at the time. So these children are too young to really be involved in this. But the older grades, at the time when Netanyahu was addressing Congress then, everyone was ferried in to the synagogue of the school. And they had set up a video projector and it was built up with this excitement and tension that our Prime Minister Netanyahu, now Netanyahu is going to speak to Congress. And he's going to show them, you know, about us. Like, you know, this is, this is our guy going into Congress. Forget about the fact that, you know, there were legitimate Congressman from New York in Congress, presumably who had actually been elected as a representatives of the people in the school, the parents at least,
Rabbi Jacobs (00:24:38):
Yeah, it was our guy in Congress at that point. And yeah, it's just bizarre. The whole thing I remember thinking was like weird at that time, like doing it in the synagogue and, you know, it's like people could say, okay, fine it's a multipurpose room as well, but there was a gym in the school, which was, used on plenty of occasions also for screening things that seem to be part of the . . . it could be I'm totally wrong about this, but at least to me, it seemed to be the part of the broader message that, no, this is, this is a Jewish thing going on right now, your Jews in the school, this is Jewish thing - the Prime Minister of a country in the Middle East, of Israel, coming over and speaking to your, what should be seen as our, elected representatives in Congress there. And we're going to be proud of this and make a big deal of it.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:25:23):
So like I said, yeah, studies were suspended at that time because this took precedence. So that's one thing. And then more recently last year in a different school, a different Hebrew Academy, also in the New York area: There's a fellow called Steve Gar. Steve Gar is a South African guy who works in some Israeli counter-terrorism unit. And again, this is like big excitement, special assembly, cancel classes, everyone go in just to see this fellow, Steve Gar. And first everyone was sworn to secrecy because this is all like hush-hush, he's like a special elite guy. And he's bragging to us about how he's trained the LAPD, he's trained these other things, and we can't say who he is or anything like that. But he does a lot of speaking stuff. It's all publicized. And the whole message with principals from the school in the room was . . . at one point, he said, explicitly, "America is not your country. Israel is your country. The Israeli army is your army."
Rabbi Shapiro (00:26:24):
Wait, wait, say that again. He said, what?
Rabbi Jacobs (00:26:27):
Yeah. America is not your country. Israel is your country. Israel is your home. And the Israeli army is your army.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:26:35):
Now he said both "home" and "country".
Rabbi Jacobs (00:26:37):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:26:39):
Because home is this amorphous word that doesn't really mean much, it's some emotional thing, but "America is not your country."
Rabbi Jacobs (00:26:47):
Correct. I discussed it with one of the principals who had been in the room afterwards, a really nice guy, actually a very, very sweet, sincere guy who, unfortunately he's sincere in what he's been fed as well, which is all this stuff, which has been given, you know, since he was tiny. And I said, to him why aren't we offended by that? Why, why does someone have a problem with, with him saying this? Why do we think it's a, it's a smart thing for him to say to children, you know, in third grade, this was the, the younger children and the school only went from first to, actually from kindergarten to sixth grade. I don't know if the kindergartens were there. I don't think so. Like, why do we think it's acceptable or appropriate or important enough, frankly, you know, even if it's true that he should be saying this stuff to children that young, if it would be true. And he was humming and hawing and saying, yeah, maybe it could have been worded differently. Maybe he . . .maybe, no . . . he didn't really, he wasn't planning on having the guy speak in the school, but one of the parents put pressure on them to have him. And then we got to the key point, which is, you know, I'm kind of laughing about it, but it's depressing and just insulting, which was just, "but at the end of the day, we are more loyal to Israel."
Rabbi Shapiro (00:28:07):
Woh, say that again. He said at the end of the day, we're more loyal to Israel. He meant politically loyal.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:28:12):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:28:15):
Jason Greenblatt wrote in his article quote, "this is not a matter of political loyalty, but a question of personal identity." So we're saying no, in these places that you're talking about, the principal told you in one of them that let's face it, we are more loyal to Israel than America.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:28:34):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:28:36):
And that's the idea that you were describing in the article that's generally pervasive in these other schools.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:28:42):
Yeah. I mean, I even downplayed it in the article, just suggesting there was "dual" loyalty. A lot of what I saw was is definitely, yeah, you could still say it's dual loyalty, but it's definitely off balance in favor of, in my experience, in favor of Israel. I mean, he went on to say, you know, we are more loyal to Israel. If we could, we would all move there right away. And you know, and there was another teacher in the school when Israel sent out rocket to the moon, which crashed.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:29:07):
Rabbi Jacobs (00:29:07):
Again, class canceled. Show the, show the rocket launch to your class, instead of whatever you're planning on teaching.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:29:16):
Now there were no human beings that died in that crash.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:29:20):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:29:20):
It was just that Israel failed to land this vehicle on the moon.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:29:28):
Right. So actually when they, when he told us to cancel class, that was when they were still hoping it would be successful. And a source of, uh, as it was described, Jewish pride. This is, this is a great moment for the Jewish people. And that was like the kind of line given over.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:29:39):
So if Israel succeeds at something - they land something on the moon, they win a gold medal, they win a Eurovision contest - this is not Israeli pride. This is Jewish pride.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:29:52):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:29:52):
That's Zionism. See that's exactly what Zionism is. Israel is different than all other countries in the world. All of the countries in the world, other countries of their citizens. America is to America, what Japan is to the Japanese what China is to the Chinese, what Britain is to the Britons, what Israel is to the Israelis. But Israel breaks that formulation according to their ideology, not according to reality, according to Israeli ideology also known as Zionism, America is to Americans, what Israel is to the Jews. That's the difference between Zionism and Judaism. Zionism says - one of them, one of the differences, there are plenty - but that's the, that's the innovation of Zionism that I'm not an American in the same sense that everybody else is an American because everybody else, all the other Americans, are exclusively American. Here, Israel is to the Jews, what Japan is to the Japanese.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:30:50):
So then these were just like my own examples of what I saw in my schools. When I saw the reactions to the article, I wrote, I'll admit there was a, you know, an element of doubt in my mind, like what if I had an inaccurate sample? What if, what if I just like struck unlucky? And I happened to be in like the weird wacko schools that were totally off-kilter? So I looked into it a bit more. It doesn't seem to be the case. First, as I said, this guy, Steve Gor, the, you know, America's not your home, Israeli army is your army,
Rabbi Shapiro (00:31:21):
America is not your country.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:31:23):
America is not you your country. Yeah. He's been around like, he's been to a lot of schools in this area. He's, he's a, he's a regular on the school, senior teams. Then I found some things, SAR Academy, a high school in Manhattan there, I got a quote from a newsletter a few years ago, about a final piece of the celebration for Israel independence day. "Not a sound could be heard in the room where Sergeant Anthony told a story and made his case for our defense of Israel and the IDF," blah, blah, blah, "he told us to take pride in our Jewish Homeland and in our army who are there to protect us within and beyond the borders of Israel. Simply because we are Jewish for Israel is not just our state, but also our people." One example there.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:32:02):
Now the "our people," he means Jews, I assume. How about non-Jews in Israel? Israeli Arabs. Does he mean they are our people too? Look how he phrased that. He said, besides being our state is also our people. That means the "our state" is assumed as a given. He's adding also, we should know that it's also our people. But the fact that it's our state is, is a given.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:32:34):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:32:35):
Several months before you wrote this article, there was another article in the Forward, March 11th, 2019 by an Aaron Freedman. He was not a teacher, but he grew up in a, he said a Jewish high school. He starts off the article: "Every time a Jewish leader grandstands against the antisemitic canard of Jewish loyalty, I groan. Not because this trope is not real." He explains, throughout Jewish history, people have accused Jews of that.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:33:07):
Then he says, no. "What frustrates me is how Jewish leaders from local rabbis to the American Jewish Committee, condemn legitimate criticism of Israel by people like Representative Ilhan Omar as dual loyalty, while simultaneously making allegiance to Israel a requirement in American Jewish life. I should know." He says, "I saw this firsthand at my Jewish high school" and he gives many examples. One of them, he says, quote, "this school-mandated allegiance seeped into even the most casual conversations. I remember once debating with my group of friends, whether we'd rather serve with the Israeli defense forces or the US military. Even though all of us and our parents were born and raised in the United States, we were unanimous. We'd rather fight for Israel. With any other cultural group in America for any country, these statements would be shocking. After all, when was the last time you heard of an Italian-American birthright trip to Sicily, but for American Jews, the centrality of allegiance to Israel in our communal organizations is the norm."
Rabbi Shapiro (00:34:14):
Well, first of all, like I said, Italian Americans are Italian Americans because they once lived there. This is not the case with Jews, but he's making a good point here. He's saying that Israel makes a call to action to the Jews. Aliya. Come live in Israel. And not only from a religious perspective, Jews belong in Israel. Come make Alia. Even the nonreligious, atheistic Zionists have this goal in mind. And that was one of the original goals of Zionism that Jews should, should all move to Israel. Italy doesn't have any objectives that anybody necessarily, any group of people should move to Italy. Then he says, "even at synagogues, allegiance to Israel has literally become part of the Jewish liturgy with many congregations, including the one I attended as an adolescent saying the prayer for the state of Israel immediately before the prayer for the United States every Saturday." So this political concept of Israel had become part of the Jewish religion, or actually what's really happening is that they're taking the Jewish religion and making it into political allegiance.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:35:25):
Yeah. And it's interesting what you're saying there, because I saw two different approaches to this in the last two schools I was in. Again, this stuff sounds amusing until we realize the implications of it. It just sounds like farcical, almost stuff. Just to sort of say, at the moment I'm teaching in a very different kind of school and there aren't any of these issues that I've seen, or it's never come up, this kind of stuff. So when I'm talking about the schools, I'm teaching and it's not anywhere that I'm presently employed.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:35:54):
Right. And so it's important to make that clear, that these type of schools, this is not a Jewish thing, this allegiance to Israel, this is, there are plenty of schools. The vast majority of schools don't do this. On the contrary, you're coming to condemn this
Rabbi Jacobs (00:36:06):
Precisely. Yeah, my daughter's school. They don't do it. That's it,
Rabbi Shapiro (00:36:10):
My children's schools, they never heard of such a thing. They would look at this as like bizarre and weird. There is a, a group of this hardcore Zionists schools that do this, but only those schools, r.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:36:21):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:36:22):
You're not the only one. We all condemn that. If somebody would talk about Israel being our country, they would be condemned at least by any normal Orthodox Jew. In that political sense, we owe our allegiance to the United States of America. However, there are Zionist schools in which this is taught and it should be condemned. It certainly should be condemned. And I commend you for this.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:36:50):
Yeah, I think it's important. And also just the distortion of Judaism and presents, which again is something that they start with and really try to enforce in the schools itself. So you mentioned the religious aspect of this politicization. The school of this type that I was in most recently, there were classes, a lot of the daily prayers and the structure of the daily prayers in the class was left to the class teacher's discretion, which worked out to my benefit because certainly there was pressure to incorporate some of these, you know, prayers for the state of Israel, not prayers for people worldwide, not prayers for the Jewish people. Prayers for the state of Israel as a specific entity. And there are even classes, no small number percentage-wise in the school where at the end of the service in the class - it's just a weird spectacle to me - just to see that the teacher would call up a child, hand them an Israeli flag, everyone would stand and then the child would wave the flag while everyone sings Hatikvah, the Israeli national Anthem.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:37:58):
So that's just one thing. And then this school before that also in this area, and also it purports to be Orthodox and to be giving over Orthodox Judaism to students, there was this almost like comical situation where they got a new principal at one point, and he happens to be also a very, very nice man. And the principals in these schools by the way, are under a tremendous amount of pressure from all sorts of perceived, both real, both non-real forces to bring in this Israel stuff a lot of time. There's two ways this was explained to me and you'll see that both possibilities are problematic. The first is that he wanted to start saying the Pledge of Allegiance in school. It hadn't been said in the school before his arrival. And he wanted to Institute that the children should say the Pledge of Allegiance every day.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:38:48):
And what happened? Version one is that he was then told, well, if you're going to say the Pledge of Allegiance, then you also have to sing Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem. The second version is that he wanted to start singing the Israeli national anthem every day in school, and was told, well, if you're going to do that, then you have to at least say the Pledge of Allegiance as well. Whichever was the way he went, every day in that school, it was the Pledge of Allegiance - at least the Pledge of Allegiance came first, I guess - and then the Israeli national anthem. Now just as an observer of this, what was always fascinating to see was the Pledge of Allegiance, nobody knew the words, nobody. It was just mumbled, completely just like, this bizarre thing. There's kids kicking knapsacks, like throwing things to each other, just like mayhem. Hatikvah starts playing and suddenly everyone takes it seriously. And that's like, you know, Shh Shh, teachers are shushing the students. Everyone's got to stand straight, like ramrod straight. And there's a, there's a reverence that has to fill the, the gym, which is where they used to say it. So yeah, that's, that's how it went there.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:39:54):
You know the difference between Hatikvah and the pledge of allegiance? The American pledge of allegiance mentions God, Hatikvah doesn't.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:40:03):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:40:07):
Why do you think that this Freedman article that came out several months before yours did not elicit such strong opposition from Zionists across the board, but yours did.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:40:21):
I could only speculate that it's related to what you mentioned at the beginning of this broadcast that I imagine that Freedman isn't rejecting wholesale the idea that there's a connection between himself and Israel, but that he just thinks it's presented in an unhealthy manner. And that would seem to be the big difference there.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:40:43):
It could be. I mean, he does say quote "at a time when antisemitism is on the rise in this country and blank check political support for Israel is being challenged. It's more important than ever to maintain the difference between American Jewry and Israel." He mentions about how he supports BDS and his politics are, quote, "driven by Jewish values of ethics and morality rather than blind political loyalty to a foreign country." I think it has to do perhaps also with the fact that he's an individual. And he could say that this is his perception as a student, but you are a teacher. And you're saying that this was a required thing in several schools that you taught in. Yeah, I think that makes a difference. And I want to get back to the Greenblatt article. I just mentioned that this Freedman, he said that at a time when antisemitism is on the rise in this country, it's more important than ever to maintain the difference between American Jewry and Israel, implying, correctly
Rabbi Shapiro (00:41:48):
so in my view, that this dual loyalty business or this loyalty to Israel, whatever you want to call it, increases antisemitism. It certainly does. I have no doubt about it. Now Greenblatt on the other hand starts off his article by saying how the dual loyalty canard was always used to hurt Jews and then quote, "at a time of surging antisemitism in America. It is shocking to see an author write an op-ed in the Forward accusing day schools of preaching dual loyalty. It is the kind of piece that likely delights anti-Semites from all sides of the spectrum, whether they hate the Jewish people and/or the Jewish state, they undoubtedly will hold up this op-ed long into the future as the basis for their bigotry." Have you found any anti-Semites holding up your op-ed as the basis for their bigotry? I haven't.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:42:39):
No. I certainly haven't seen that. I've seen anti-Semites pointing to the fact that dual loyalty is taught. I mean, my, my op-ed was not creating this teaching of dual loyalty. You know,
Rabbi Shapiro (00:42:55):
It was condemning it.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:42:56):
It was condemning it and it was pointing out that it's a real thing, which if we're serious about wanting to decrease antisemitism, then Hey guys, you've got to sort of look in the mirror here at what's going on and think maybe there's something we could do better in this area. It wasn't intended to just like publicize this dual loyalty. It was, it was there to condemn it. And to point out that this is actually a negative thing, this is a bad thing that could be used like anti-Semites. And in fact, it is used by anti-Semites and had been used by anti-Semites long before, you know, as, as it's accepted in every
Rabbi Jacobs (00:43:27):
long before the article came out and that if we're serious about wanting to decrease antisemitism and really wanting to do something productive about that, then here seems to be a fairly easy fix of, you know, maybe we should consider, is it smart to be singing foreign national anthems in our schools? Is it smart to be encouraging our children that you know, that a foreign state's army is their army and that a foreign state is their state. And this is just something that's, it just seems so obvious if you take a detached view from it, in my opinion. Even something like let's say every year, there's this parade on Fifth Avenue, the Celebrate Israel parade. And the way that it's dealt with in these schools is it's mandatory for at least some of the grades. Some say all the grades, some say just the older children, but there's certainly always an element of the school that for whom attendance at this parade is mandatory. This is stuff that's easily verifiable. And you know, my article did not make this stuff happen like this. This stuff can be verified in Google then searched before.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:44:33):
In fact, in the Freedman article, he says, quote, "every year we would be" quote, "strongly encouraged to attend the Salute to Israel parade on new York's Fifth Avenue. Teachers were marshals and mocking stories about pro-Palestinian activists were exchanged in class the following day." His thing is with the Palestinians, but you want to know what's funny here? Greenblatt writes, this is a quote "at a time of surging anti-Semitism in America, it is shocking to see an author write an op-ed in the Forward," et cetera. Freedman, where he says we should stop teaching dual loyalty says quote "at a time when antisemitism is on the rise in this country and blank check political support for Israel is being challenged." It's a funny thing. They're using the exact same words almost: "at a time when antisemitism is surging,"" at a time when antisemitism is on the rise," we have to stop doing what you're doing,
Rabbi Shapiro (00:45:23):
Greenblatt says, and the other one, Freedman says, we have to stop doing what the schools are doing. I certainly agree with you. I have not seen any basis for Greenblatt's point that condemning dual loyalty or condemning teaching loyalty - whatever word you want to use for it - to Israel creates antisemitism. On the contrary. It's the opposite. The idea that Jews do teach loyalty to Israel, or that Jews are loyal to Israel is well-known by the anti-Semites and condemning it is what Jews should do to say "they don't represent us." I have seen no evidence of it at all, what Greenblatt is saying. It just seems to me that he's going on this "best defense is an offense" kind of thing to accuse others of being antisemitic, which Zionists do anyway, including Jews that don't agree with Zionism. I heard a podcast. I think it was from Forward, actually. It was Peter Beinart and Deborah Lipstadt. And Beinart asks Lipstadt, if anti-Zionism is antisemitism, because that's, that's what the Zionists say, then what about the Orthodox Jews such as the Satmar Hasidim that are anti-Zionist, are they anti-Semites too? So she says "the jury is out on that." The jury is out on that ... well maybe they're an exception," but the jury is out on that.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:46:51):
Well let me know when they, when they decide.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:46:53):
See that was part of the quote, "the jury is out on that." Do you hear that?
Rabbi Shapiro (00:46:58):
So we're all anti-Semites. But you know what? I have a question for Jonathan Greenblatt, Jonathan Greenblatt - if he's listening to this podcast, I gladly would have him on - I'd love him to answer the following. He says, claiming that Israel is a state of the Jews or that Jews are loyal to Israel or should be loyal to Israel, encourages antisemitism. Okay. And the problem is he accused you of doing that when you were doing just the opposite, you were condemning it. Okay. I wonder if he would condemn Netanyahu, because in March, 2015, when Netanyahu came to America, and you mentioned that your school was instructed to stop classes and listen to his speech, he then said that he came as quote "an Emissary of all the citizens of Israel, even those who don't agree with me and of the entire Jewish people," end quote. The entire Jewish people. Netanyahu represents the entire Jewish people,
Rabbi Shapiro (00:48:00):
Okay? In September, 2011 at the 66th General Assembly Netanyahu stated, quote, "on behalf of Israel and the Jewish people I extend that hand again today. As the Prime Minister of Israel, I speak for a hundred generations of Jews." He speaks for a hundred generations of Jews? How's that? Netanyahu not only speaks in the name of the Jewish people, but a hundred generations of them.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:48:30):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:48:30):
In the 2015 Saban Forum, Netanyahu said about himself, quote, "You can't be a leader of the Jewish people and not have hope." Now he's a leader of the Jewish people, not Prime Minister of Israel. On October 21st, 2015, Isaac Herzog, who is the head of the opposition party, Labor, scolded. Netanyahu for saying that the Mufti of Jerusalem gave Hitler the idea to kill the Jews. Quote - this is what Herzog said:
Rabbi Shapiro (00:48:58):
"Netanyahu has forgotten that he is not only the Israeli Prime Minister. He is also the Prime Minister of the Jewish people.” Just about a year before that Naftali Bennet, who's head of the National Religious Party, he wrote on his Facebook site in response to - you remember this - an anonymous Obama administration official who referred to Netanyahu as a coward using a nasty colloquialism. He said, quote, "the Prime Minister of Israel is not a private person. He is the leader of the Jewish state and the entire Jewish people." So I wonder if Jason Greenblatt is willing to condemn these people as well. In the Times of Israel, October 4th, 2015, there was an article titled quote "Netanyahu is the Leader of the Jewish World, Says Top Aide." It describes a Sabbath sermon in a Manhattan synagogue given by Elie Groner, who was the Director General of the Office of the Prime Minister of Israel.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:49:57):
Now, what did this sermon include? Well, the article doesn't recount any biblical interpretations. Instead it describes a conversation Netanyahu had with the secretary general of the UN, then Ban Ki-Moon. Groner said, quote, "I wish that every Jew in the world would have been in that room" end quote "to witness the eloquence with which the" quote "leader of the Jewish people, the Prime Minister is by design the leader of the Jewish world" end quote, spoke on their behalf. He referred to Netanyahu as the leader of the Jewish people. He said the "Prime Minister is by design the leader of the Jewish world." Yeah. I wonder if he'll condemn Anne Pollard, Jonathan Pollard's wife, who, during an interview on 60 Minutes said regarding her husband's spying on the US for Israel quote, "I feel my husband and I did what we were obligated to do and what our moral obligation was as Jews," Jonathan Pollard himself said that he's he committed his crime do to a sense of quote: "racial imperative," Al Dershowitz quotes that. I wonder if Jason Greenblatt would condemn them. So the whole world knows about these things. These are not secrets.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:51:26):
And the schools themselves don't keep the secret. Like I said, I've got lots of tabs on my computer open right now where they just say this stuff very, very clearly with pride. In fact, you know, the,
Rabbi Shapiro (00:51:39):
So what do you think is really going on here? This is so weird because the Zionists are saying this, they're not making a secret of it. They're telling everybody that Israel is the country of the Jewish people, even the Jewish people outside of Israel. Israel is the nation-state of all the Jews, Netanyahu is their prime minister. He's the leader of all the Jews, Netanyahu himself says it, even his opposition, Herzog said that. And yet, if somebody condemns that they get condemned by people like Jason Greenblatt and all the other Zionists that condemn your article, because you're revealing to the world that these schools agree with what Netanyahu says and what the Israeli government says and what Zionism says. So which way do they want it? Do they want the world to believe that Israel is the state of the Jewish people? Or do they want the world not to believe that? I don't think that has an answer, you know, and I think, I think they want people to believe that Israel is the state of the Jewish people and Netanyahu is their prime minister, but they shouldn't think about the dual loyalty ramifications there.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:52:49):
Precisely. They want to, I mean, you know, this seems to be an example to me, of why the phrase have your cake and eat it exists because this is what they want there, they want, they want to have this dual loyalty. They want to have this allegiance to a state. They want to be able to really let's call it what it is, propagandize this in the schools to [unintelligible] extents, by the way. I mean, back to the salute to Israel, celebrate Israel - it's changed his name at some point, I forget which way it went - parade. Like I said, it's a mandatory thing, a mandatory thing on a Sunday that these children have to go into Manhattan and march with some banners. And there's preparation goes into this. They have the girls practice waving flags and dancing behind and get this. The teachers, you know, Freedman mentions the teachers being marshals there as though all the teachers are really into it.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:53:34):
Now, a huge number of them are. That's true. There's definitely a lot of the teachers who gleefully volunteered for this. Been at least one of the schools that I taught, where the teachers tended to be more traditionally Orthodox, meaning not Zionist, themselves. What's common in these schools is that the school will write it into the contract. First, they'll specify attendance at the, the Israel parade. And then there's a clause that says that if you take that day off, if you don't attend, it's not like any other day that you take off. It's it counts as two days vacation instead of one.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:54:13):
So it, it's worse to take off on a day where there are no classes, but there's the Israel day parade., then there is a take off on a day where this classes, even a day you would have to give a test or something,
Rabbi Jacobs (00:54:25):
Correct. Or even another day. Let's, let's say somebody thinks, okay, well, and it must just be a logistical thing about chaperoning and making sure everyone's safe . No, because there'll be a day where let's say Lag B'Omer, where traditionally, you know, places go out and play games and fields, that kind of thing. A lot of these scores it's become the tradition. I could take off that day. And no problem, no question asked.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:54:48):
So for a holiday where they go out and take field trips for religious reasons, there's no problem with you taking off,
Rabbi Jacobs (00:54:55):
Rabbi Shapiro (00:54:55):
but not going to the Israel parade you are penalized for.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:55:00):
Right. I mean, certainly if I took off on any other field trip day it would be frowned upon and they wouldn't like it it'd be inconvenient, but you know, it's still just be the one day
Rabbi Shapiro (00:55:07):
You wouldn't be docked the extra day.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:55:10):
Correct. And it's not written in the contract that you would be, or
Rabbi Shapiro (00:55:12):
Can I tell you a story? When I was a kid, this was 1968, our school, which was not officially a Zionist school, had an assembly. I was a little kid. I didn't really understand the ramifications of what was going on, but I do remember the assembly and our principal got up and spoke about the 20th anniversary of the state of Israel. I remember they gave out these pins and we were all wearing these pins that had one of these little maps of Israel. And he was speaking about how, when he was a kid, he was jealous of the Spanish kids because the Spanish kids had Spain and the Italian kids had Italy. But what did the Jewish kids have? And now we have Israel. Okay. Now it's, it's weird because I wonder if he was jealous of the American kids, you know, what does that mean?
Rabbi Shapiro (00:56:12):
There are Jews in Italy that have Italy. They are Jews in Spain, that have Spain, and there are Jews in America. What does that even mean? But listen to this, I left that school shortly afterwards. Not for that reason. I didn't even know. I didn't even realize what was being said to us. We were just being indoctrinated. We moved, we moved out of the neighborhood. And I switched schools. I happen to have met that principal 40 years later. Okay. I had already grown up. I had already understood what I was being taught. And I knew that this particular principal was a regular Orthodox Jew. And he was a student of the yeshiva in the city of Baranowicze, which was a regular, anti-Zionist, normal, Orthodox Yeshiva in Europe, in Lithuania. And I asked him, I said, rabbi, I remember in 1968, you made this speech. This is what you said.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:57:14):
How does it make sense that a regular Orthodox Jew would talk like this? So, you know what he said? He said, "Listen, I had no choice. The Board of Directors forced me to say that."
Rabbi Jacobs (00:57:29):
That's exactly it.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:57:30):
That's exactly it. Yep. And the response that you received being a self-hating Jew that was heaped upon you, that you, you encourage anti-Semitism. This is the strategy that Zionists use across the board, even though it's the opposite. What you're doing is helping to reduce antisemitism, hoping to reduce antisemitism, just like this writer, Freedman said several months before you did, I'll give you an example that they, after 9/11, one of the popular sports radio shows in the country, WFAN Mike Francisco and Chris Russo. They were discussing the day after 9/11, the loyalty Americans owe America, even if they have quote "roots in other countries." Suddenly a call comes in from somebody named Ellie from Brooklyn.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:58:28):
So Ellie says in front of millions of listeners all over the United States, "if you were to ask the Jews, 90% of the Jews would go support Israel," which is of course a lie. Ellie was a Zionist. Okay, no question about it.
Rabbi Jacobs (00:58:44):
He wishes, he wishes they would.
Rabbi Shapiro (00:58:46):
Yeah. So the host says, "wait a second, are you American?" So Ellie says, “yeah, I'm American, but it has nothing to do with that." Which country would you protect first?" the host asks, "the United States or Israel?" So this Zionist says "Israel without a question." And the host can't believe what he hears. So he says, again, "Israel, over the United States?" And Ellie says, "that's correct." So the host tells him, "I have a problem with that. I think that you would have to protect country that you live in."
Rabbi Shapiro (00:59:24):
I have a problem with that too. And so to you, and so would all Orthodox Jews if they are not Zionists. Now, but just to make sure - the host was being extremely fair to him - he asks again, he says, "if it came down to sacrificing the United States or Israel you'd sacrifice the United States?", He says, "right." So he says, the host says, "that's like me saying, I'm going to protect the Vatican before I protect the New York, not happening." Now, the truth is the host was wrong. I don't expect him to be educated in Judaism, but the Vatican is not to the Christians or the Catholics the same as Israel is to the Jews. The Vatican does have a connection to Catholicism, but Israel has no connection to the Jews. It's a political ideology, but okay. That's what he said. Now, the host was very fair to him. I agree with everything the host said, and every normal, non-Zionist Orthodox Jew would as well. But the next day the usual happened.
Rabbi Jacobs (01:00:28):
Can I guess?
Rabbi Jacobs (01:00:31):
He's either fired or he has to go through a groveling apology or the usual, that kind of stuff.
Rabbi Shapiro (01:00:37):
A firestorm of accusations in the news outlets was unleashed against the show hosts, accusing them of antisemitism. Anti-Semitism, for what? What did they do? Of suggesting? They said that they suggested that she was in America or more loyal to Israel than the United States. That's what, no, he, they didn't say that Ellie did. Right. Somebody, one of the news outlets said they suggested that American Jews should submit to make-believe wartime loyalty oaths to either America or Israel. This is nuts. None of this was true, right? Whoever this Ellie from Brooklyn was, he portrayed himself as a Jew. And he was the one who proudly proclaimed that 90% of the Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States. And this, on the day after 9/11. The astounded host - he was astounded - he didn't even address this piece of defamatory speculation about American Jewry. He appropriately -this was his job -
Rabbi Shapiro (01:01:38):
He did the right thing. He only focused on Ellie statement about himself. He didn't even ask Ellie, what did you say about the Jews? What would the Jews do? He didn't even do that. He was very professional and very appropriate. He said, Ellie, what would you do? The only thing that could possibly be called antisemitic in his words was the unintentional comparison between Israel and the Jews, to the Vatican and the Catholics, saying Israel represents the Jews the way the Vatican represents Catholicism is antisemitic. But seeing as Israel claims to represent the Jews, how could he be expected to know the difference?
Rabbi Jacobs (01:02:12):
So one of the things I hope to get a step closer to when I wrote this article was this, you know, the idea that if somebody like us, Ellie calls up and says such a disgusting thing on the radio and such a disgusting thing and sensitive time, like outrageous that it should be as obviously absurd as if he had called up and said, Hey, I'm Ellie, the Jew from Brooklyn here. And I'm thinking of going and poisoning a well right now, because that's what Jews do. Like, you know, it should be as obviously like disconnected and fake Judaism as such a thing. Unfortunately, there's a way to go here. Especially as long as these schools continue to do this. And you reminded me, you know, when you're saying about the, the specifically what this Ellie fellow said about choosing between fighting for Israel, fighting for America, it came up a few times in my classes, these poor children who, you know, they don't choose to go to these schools, but they get sent there by their parents who do choose. And it really confuses them because several times I'd have them ask me in class, "but what would happen if Israel and America had a war? What would we do? Would we fight for?"
Rabbi Shapiro (01:03:27):
The kids, asked this?
Rabbi Jacobs (01:03:28):
Rabbi Jacobs (01:03:30):
And it's a good question because, you know, and he came back to Pollard, like, you know, one of the biggest defenses people had for Pollard was yeah, but it's fine because Israel and America are allies. And that seems to be like, one of the big things, is like, everything's fine. Like, you know, don't worry about it because circumstances are that they're allies.
Rabbi Shapiro (01:03:46):
The reason Pollard got such a harsh sentence was not because of who he spied for , but because of the nature of the material that he stole. That RASIN manual was so sensitive, it's being stolen did enormous damage to American security. There was even concern that some of the information may end up in the hands of the Russians.
Rabbi Jacobs (01:04:01):
Right. But yeah, people think that, you know, everything's fine because Israel and America basically have the same common goals and common outlooks.
Rabbi Shapiro (01:04:09):
If what you're saying would be a valid argument, if that were the argument, then Greenblatt wouldn't be saying, no, don't believe this guy, Shmuel Jacobs, he doesn't know what he's talking about, he doesn't even have the courage. He would say, "Yes, what do you mean? Of course, this is all true, but we're proud of it. Israel has the same interests of America." And you want to know how far, I want to show you how far this nonsense, this fake accusations of antisemitism, go. Listen to this. So he gives examples of other places where this canard of dual loyalty is presented. And he actually did condemn President Trump. He said, President Trump raised the specter of dual loyalty when he said that, quote, if Jews vote for a Democrat, they're being disloyal to the Jewish people and very disloyal to Israel, right? Trump did say that. And that is disgusting.
Rabbi Shapiro (01:05:02):
And it was condemned by many Jews and Greenblatt is right about that. But over here he mentions President Trump. He mentions the Dreyfus affair. He says, even here in the United States, the disloyalty charge has reared its ugly head. President Richard Nixon infamously spoke of a Jewish cabal in his administration. Then listen to this. He adds: "Last year, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib tweeted that senators promoting legislation against boycotts of Israel," quote, "forgot what country they represented." They have in the Forward a picture of this Rashida Tlaib's tweet. She says in response to a tweet from Bernie Sanders. So Bernie Sanders said, "It's absurd that the first bill during the shutdown is legislation which punishes Americans who exercise their constitutional rights to engage in political activity." He's talking about BDS, right? So she retweets this and she comments, "they forgot what country they represent. This is the US where boycotting is a right. And part of our historical fight for freedom and equality, maybe refresher on us constitution is an order." Now, first of all, you know what the dumbest thing about this is? She wasn't even talking about Jews. She was talking about the congressmen that legislated against BDS. They weren't all Jews. That was the Congress.
Rabbi Shapiro (01:06:30):
So what is this dual loyalty about Jews? There's a canard against Jews? She didn't even accuse Jews of this. Not only didn't she accuse APAC. I mean, APAC is the Israel lobby. She was talking about the senators in general, whether they be Jews or not. And secondly, really the implication over here is not the way he presented it. She's not saying that they're more loyal to another country, what she's saying is that they forgot that in the US boycotts are part of our freedoms. We're free to make boycotts if we want. So they should take a refresher on the constitution and they forgot what country they represent. Not that they're loyal to another country. That's not, it doesn't sound like she meant that at all. She meant, you forgot this is America and in America we have a right to make boycotts. But aside from that, she wasn't even talking about Jews. This is crazy. Yeah, this is absolutely crazy.
Rabbi Jacobs (01:07:27):
It's what they do.
Rabbi Shapiro (01:07:28):
So listen, I'm glad, I'm glad that you feel safe now that you're out of those small amount of schools that are Zionists schools that teach this kind of stuff. And we really need to explain to the world that this is not Judaism. Not only is not Judaism. This is not Jews.
Rabbi Jacobs (01:07:50):
Yeah. I think it's an important message to give. Unfortunately, these schools are not mainstream as far as Judaism is concerned. And I, again, that's based on experience having the job there, teaching Judaism and seeing what other people were doing other members of faculty, that kind of thing, and how they wanted regular Judaism given across. They do claim to be Orthodox but this is just one of the problems with them that manifests in this Zionism. Problem is with these schools is that they tend to be the more vocal ones. They have a lot of press coverage. They put themselves in the media, they have flashy websites. You know, my daughter's school, I don't think has a website at all. So anybody unfortunately searching Orthodox Jewish schools, Israel is sadly likely to find these sham scam artists.
Rabbi Shapiro (01:08:40):
What the public needs to know is that Orthodox Jews in general are busy studying, praying, fulfilling their religion. They're not politicians. And generally speaking and we have other things to do with our lives. Then go around chasing the Zionists who have unbelievable Hasbara machine with seemingly unlimited resources that amplifies the voices of these schools as if they represent all Jews. And when people like you or other loyal Jews blow the whistle you're accused of treason,
Rabbi Shapiro (01:09:24):
Treason, self-hating Jews, antisemitism. Yup. Well, hence the name of this podcast: Committing High Reason, which is what it really is.