April 4, 2012

Philip Weiss - My spirit is American (a religious manifesto)

This is a great essay and an affirmation of the American spirit.
My spirit is American (a religious manifesto) 
By Philip Weiss 
April 2, 2012

One of the worst things about the Israel lobby is the demands it makes on an American Jew’s spirituality. As Jewish identity has been merged with support for Israel, all the mythic horse feathers of the Israeli project get dumped on an American Jew. Israel is your "birthright," say the rightwingers. At J Street, Peter Beinart says that the lands of the West Bank have "deep meaning to us," and the collapse of the Jewish state would leave tremendous spiritual rubble, also for "us." In Raritan Todd Gitlin says American liberal Jews have lost touch with the spirit of chosenness and messianism that gave "the project of founding a Jewish state... a transcendent dimension."

These are alien spiritual claims to me. I’m an American Jew, emphasis on America. I didn’t ever get to Israel till I was 50, and only then after I woke up politically and realized it was hurting my country. I refuse to fake devotions: My spiritual life has never had anything to do with Judea and Samaria any more than the father and the son and the holy ghost or the white salamander. It's cool when Gitlin speaks of “Israel’s wild and foundational God, its God of both mystery and justice,” but I can find that god right here with a little g. I do not want anyone to tell me what my beliefs are because I call myself a Jew; it is a hard enough process for me to figure out my beliefs on my own, let alone with some pious minder.

Continued. . .