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ACJ Responds to Charge That It Is Out of the Jewish Community’s “Consensus”

Allan C. Brownfeld
Special Interest Report
August 2011

An article in The Jerusalem Post of June 6, 2011 concerning divisions within the American Jewish community with regard to Israel, declares that the American Council for Judaism is outside of the community’s “consensus” on the subject.  
In response, Allan C. Brownfeld, editor of Council publications, responded in a letter which was published in The Jerusalem Post of July 4, 2011.  
The letter declares:  
In “A Split Community, “about sharp divisions within the American Jewish community with regard to Israel, Prof. Jonathan Sarna is quoted as saying, “In the late 1940s, the supporters of the American Council for Judaism (ACJ) were effectively written out of the community’s consensus.  
For more than 60 years, the ACJ has proclaimed that Judaism is a religion of universal values, not a nationality. Judaism is centered on the worship of God, not the idolatry or worship of any political entity. Americans of Jewish faith are American by nationality and Jews by religion — just as other Americans are Protestant, Catholic, or Muslim.  
The reality is that there is a silent majority of American Jews who are not represented by the national organiza-tions which speak in their name. Through the very fabric of their lives, they reject the basic tenets of Zionism, that Israel is the “homeland” of all Jews and that Jews living elsewhere in the world are in “exile.”  
The Israeli government, sadly, has never recognized that Jewish Americans are very much at home and are not “Israelis in exile.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly called upon American Jews to make a “mass aliya” to Israel. No other foreign government argues that millions of Americans — because of their religion — are in “exile” in the United States and that their real “homeland” is that foreign country. While we wish Israel well and hope for a lasting peace in the Middle East, we believe that Israel should content itself with being the government of its own citizens.  
The American Council for Judaism, in our view, represents the views of the vast majority of Jewish Americans. As early as 1841, at the dedication ceremony of Temple Beth Elohim in Charleston, South Carolina, Rabbi Gustav Poznanski declared; “This country is our Palestine, this city our Jerusalem, this house of God our temple.”  
How can it be, then, that the ACJ is, somehow, outside the “consensus” views of American Jews? •  

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