Way back in October 2001, a prominent and widely respected liberal London rabbi, Dr. David Goldberg, made what I thought at the time was the most remarkable statement ever made by a Jew in the 53 years that had passed since the creation, mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing, of the Zionist (not Jewish) state of Israel. He said that Israel’s “colonization” of Palestine had left many Jews “questioning their unconditional support for Israel.” Then this: “It may be time for Judaism and Zionism to go their separate ways.”
The report I read of Goldberg’s remarks was by Andrew Johnson in The Independent On Sunday. Its headline for his story was BRITISH JEWS AT ODDS AFTER RABBI CRITICISES ISRAEL’S “COLONIZATION”. As the report indicated, what Goldberg said had provoked a “passionate argument” in the pages of the Jewish Chronicle, editorially a standard bearer for Israel right or wrong,
I once had the pleasure of talking with Rabbi Goldberg over lunch, just the two of us. From my research I knew that he was what I like to call a GHB (Good Human Being) and a man worthy of respect. He was, for example, the first prominent Jew in the UK to call for recognition of legitimate Palestine rights – he did so in an article for The Times in 1978; and he was the first rabbi to initiate dialogue meetings between Judaism, Christianity and Islam when the Regent’s Park mosque opened in the same year. But what I liked about him most of all was the quite rare thing he had in common with my dear friend Ilan Pappe. He was without a trace of the self-righteousness that is the hallmark of Jews everywhere who have been brainwashed by Zionist propaganda.
He is also a thought provoking author. His books include The Jewish People, Their History and Their Religion, The Divided Self: Israel and the Jewish Psyche, and, in 2012, This (Zionism in action) Is Not the Way.
In his review and endorsement of the latter, Avi Shlaim, a leading Jewish “revisionist” meaning honest historian, wrote this. “In the aftermath of its victory in the June 1967 War, Israel lost its moral compass. Many diaspora Jews suffer from selective moral vision about Israel. Rabbi David Goldberg is an admirable exception. He places Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians under an uncompromising lens. After the critique comes an eloquent plea for ethical Zionism – Zionism grounded in Jewish values.”