A few weeks ago I wrote an essay on a subject that has bothered me for years: how can I as a Jew have anything in common with other Jews who espouse radical hate and mass violence in the name of the Jewish God and Jewish people? The essay, Conflating Judaism and Zionism: Bad for the Jews was a long meditation on a complex and difficult problem (for me as a Jew).
As many of you may know I’ve organized a series of webinars over the past year on subjects from the Israeli and Palestinian responses to the COVID epidemic; the Trump normalization process with Gulf states; and a program arguing that focusing on preventing Israeli annexation was a waste. I decided that doing a similar event devoted to the clash between religion and politics in Israel could disseminate these ideas to a wider audience.
Then I read an article in Haaretz about Avrum Burg’s lawsuit against the Israeli state seeking to deny its right to define him as Jewish. Essentially, Avrum argues that religion and religious supremacy poisons the Israeli state and it must carve out a national identity shorn of religion, or at least independent of it. I asked him if he would join me in a panel on the subject and he heartily agreed.
I noticed that Independent Jewish Voices had done a successful program with Ken Stern, the co-author of the IHRA anti-Semitism definition, who now declares that the Israel Lobby is abusing it. I approached Prof. Adam Sutcliffe, one of the convenors of the group and he was enthusiastic. IJV added Anglo-Israeli human rights lawyer, Miri Weingarten to the panel and Prof. Sutcliffe will moderate.
It will take place on Tuesday, March 9th at 10am Pacific (1pm New York/6pm London/8pm Israel). To participate you must register on Zoom. I’ve uploaded here the flyer for the event. We already have over 300 guests registered. There is a Facebook Event page: please help expand the audience by inviting friends to join the page, which offers instructions to register.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.