Rabbi Michael Lerner told CNN Thursday morning that the Jewish ideals of compassion and empathy had gotten lost in Israel’s military campaign against Hamas, and argued that Jews should have greater freedom to criticize Israel without being labelled “self-hating.”
“Judaism came into the world as a critique of the empire and the view of the world that says that security can be achieved through domination and power over others,” Lerner said. “Unfortunately Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza has been the opposite, it has been a policy of oppression and domination without any serious attempt to negotiate a final peace agreement.”
Lerner called Hamas a terrorist organization, but argued that the larger battle in Gaza was a “people’s rebellion” against the Israeli blockade.
“God taught us the world should be based on love, generosity, caring; this is the essence of the Jewish message,” Lerner said. “That message has been abandoned. Instead people give blind loyalty to the state of Israel. …That’s a tragedy, but the biggest tragedy is for Judaism itself because when Judaism is represented by the Israeli army as though this is what Judaism is about, it’s a desecration of god’s name and an abandonment of our Torah and an abandonment of our highest values.”
Watch the clip below, via CNN:
[Image via screengrab]
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