1/27/10 NOTE: Today The Jewish Funds for Justice ran an open letter/ad in the Wall Street Journal asking for Glenn Beck To be sanctioned by management.  That ad,the situation surrounding it, and additional information about the Jewish Funds for Justice are discussed in a post written today called Latest Attack on Glenn Beck Shames The Rabbinical Profession and Desecrates God’s Name. Please click here and read this updated information.

Thursday an organization called the Jewish Funds For Justice (JFJ) delivered  to Fox News a petition with 10,000 signatures requesting that Glenn Beck be fired from his daily 5pm slot on their network.  The group called Beck an anti-Semite and suggested their petition was a message from the Jewish community.

Fox News Host Glenn Beck recently evoked anti-Semitic stereotypes to attack prominent Jewish philanthropist and Holocaust survivor George Soros. In his three-day “Puppet Master” series, Mr. Beck accused Soros of “helping send the Jews to the death camps” while seeming to draw his material straight from the anti-Semitic forgery, the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But this is just the latest in a series of very thinly veiled attacks to come out of Mr. Beck’s mouth. It’s past time for him to go.

Having previously addressed the ridiculousness of the charges of Antisemitism against the Fox broadcaster both on these pages and on the Beck radio show itself I will instead attempt provide some background on “Jewish Funds For Justice” and its agenda which disparages all white people. I will also try to explain why the JFJ’s positions disqualify it from representing the Jewish Community.

It would be easy to say that the reason JFJ is attacking Glenn Beck is the fact that it receives significant funding from Soros’ Open Society Institute, which gave the organization $30,000 in 2008 $150,000 in 2009 and $200,000 in 2010, (H/T Ken Larrey)but that is only part of the story, the Jewish Funds for Justice fears Beck as some of their key messages are redistribution of income and social justice, and the continued collective guilt of Caucasians (especially Men).

On its website JFJ has a online library of articles, leadership and facilitation exercises, templates, and other helpful resources for you to utilize in your organizations. Feel free to download and share any of these materials.

An entire section of the library is about the “White Man” as the oppressor. A series of articles which say even if they don’t know it, the Caucasian is a racist and an oppressor, which gives insight into their beliefs behind social justice. This position seems to echo some of the positions of Black Liberation Theology, which have been exposed by the Fox broadcaster. The thought that we are collectively guilty and our salvation only come if we collectively repent against the social crimes that we have done.

For example, one of the articles in their library is called Male Privilege and White Privilege” by Peggy McIntosh

I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. This paper is a partial record of my personal observations and not a scholarly analysis. It is based on my daily experiences within my particular circumstances.

I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was “meant” to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, assurances, tools, maps, guides, code-books, passports, visas, clothes, compass, emergency gear, and blank checks.

Another called The Culture of White Supremacy argues that the culture in the US is “White Culture” and that culture

..is intertwined with other major cultural manifestations of the is U.S: the greed competition and individualism of capitalism; male supremacist fear and hatred of the power of women; historical Christianity’s hatred and fear of sexuality, and its compulsion to divide humankind into the “saved” and the “dammed;” and the militarism’s glorification of war and conquests as proof of manhood and nationhood that has roots in European culture going back thousands of years.

White culture is a melting pot of greed, guys, guns and God. Its a deadly brew.

The document also claims that calls for people to take personal responsibility is just another way of keeping the non-White races inferior.

Many of the other documents in that section promote the same view that all Whites (especially White Men) are racist oppressors including:

With the belief that Whites continue to oppress the non-whites its no wonder they believe in Government led social justice. The Government has to do it, because the Caucasian Man either wont or doesn’t realize that he should.

JFJ has developed seminary programs to prepare rabbinical students for “the challenges of engaging their communities in the critical and profoundly Jewish work of meaningful social justice” – i.e., the redistribution of wealth. These seminary programs are outgrowths of JFJ’s emphasis on “congregation-based community organizing” (CBCO), which is described by Benjamin Ross, JFJ’s Director of Organizing, as “a social change strategy developed by Saul Alinsky.” Aiming to “challenge [religious] congregations to address systemic issues relating to poverty and social injustice,” this type of organizing is spearheaded by four major national CBCO networks: the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation, the PICO National Network, the Direct Action Research and Training Center, and the Gamaliel Foundation. JFJ works in partnership with local affiliates of each of these organizations.

This view of social justice has as much to do with the group’s false attacks on Glenn Beck as the money from Sugar Daddy George Soros. A frequent subject of Beck’s broadcasts has been how social justice is a personal, rather than a government responsibility.   He’s warned against houses of worship getting involved with government-directed social justice. JFJ argues the opposite.  President Simon Greer wrote 

To put God first is to put humankind first, and to put humankind first is to put the common good first. The prosperity of the common good is tied to our government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”….If we all attended houses of worship that put government last, humankind would be last, and God would be last too. From where I stand, the house of worship you desire – where God is divorced from human dignity – is not a house of worship at all. When churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship across this country advocate for social justice, advocate for the common good, advocate for America, they, and we, walk in God’s path

Greer’s position does not agree with the personal responsibility espoused by the countries founders, and even more importantly (for a group who’s first name is Jewish), it runs contra to Jewish tradition.

We are taught that all are created in God’s image, thus Jews believe that  “All men are created equal,” This does not mean, as the JFJ may tell you, we all should have the same big screen TV, wireless internet, savings account balance or even healthcare. Jewish tradition respects economic success, so long, as it is obtained honestly, and proper respect is shown for the social responsibility that comes with it.  However, that social responsibility is a personal duty and a job for the community led by its religious leaders, but not for the government. The Hebrew word for charity, tzedaka, has in its root the word tzedek which means righteous, because we are taught that personally giving charity is one of the keys to righteousness.

Judaism also teaches us that we cannot rely on the Government to bail us out all of the time, the responsibility to take action falls upon each and every one of us. The famous story of Moses splitting the Reed Sea teaches that lesson (Red Sea was a typo made when the Torah was translated into Greek). In Exodus Chapter 14-15 Moses sees the Pharaoh’s troops bearing down on the Israelite nation, who are trapped against the sea. Moses starts praying to God (who was the government at the time), but God says stop praying and do something!

And the LORD said unto Moses: ‘Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.

There is a rabbinical story that when Moses lifted his staff the water did not part. The Egyptians were closing in, and the sea wasn’t moving. The Israelites stood on the banks of the sea, frozen in fear until a man named Nachshon took the responsibility upon himself to act; Nachshon just walked into the water. He waded up to his ankles…his knees…his waist… his shoulders, and just as the water was about to reach is nostrils the water parted.

This story teaches us that it’s one thing to have faith and believe God will eventually help us, but we cannot get that help until we take personal responsibility and act on our own.

On the other hand the Jewish Funds For Justices assumes citizens that the government will always bear the responsibility of protecting you; there is no individual responsibility, just the collective bailout. Instead of each one of us assuming a personal responsibility and using our good deeds to gain closeness to God, we become part of an overall group with no responsibility.

Jewish Fund’s For Justice’s teaching that all Whites (especially White Men) are racist oppressors runs also runs against Jewish teachings. Jews do note believe in the concept of “collective guilt.”

 The soul that sins, it shall die; a son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and a father shall not bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. Ezekiel Chapter 18, Verse 20.

The use of collective guilt in any form should make the average Jew a bit nervous. of the Antisemitism of the past two thousand years uses collective guilt as its rationale, be it the deicide of Jesus or the blood libel that was in the news much of last week.

The Jewish Funds for Justice uses racist tactics to push their social objectives. In its protest in front of the Fox News building, the group also claims to be the voice of the Jewish people even though it is a tiny fringe group that is not well known outside of progressive circles. Additionally based on its positions of collective guilt and social justice it is clear that the group does not really understand Jewish tradition and thought.

With its false attacks on Glenn Beck, Jewish Funds for Justice is actually breaking Jewish laws against Loshen Hora (evil tongue). Jews believe that the harm done by speech is even worse than the harm done by something like theft because one can repay stolen money, but harm done by speech can never be repaired. As the Torah says Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people (Lev. 19:16)

An old Chasidic tale teaches: A man once went around spreading lies about the rabbi. Eventually he began to feel remorse for the wrong he had done. He went to the rabbi and begged his forgiveness, saying he would do anything to make amends. The rabbi said, “Take a feather pillow, cut it open, and scatter the feathers to the winds.” The man followed the request gladly. When he told the rabbi that he had done the task, the rabbi said, “Now, go try and gather the feathers.” The man said, “But Rabbi I cannot gather the feathers they are all scatter to the winds.” The Rabbi replied, “Exactly! You cannot take back the damage your words have done, the same way you cannot than recollect the feathers.”

Its time for the Jewish Funds for Justice to stop slandering “White” people with a tag of racism and Glenn Beck with charges of Antisemitsm. Either that or take the word Jewish out of their title, it is disingenuous to exploit loshen hora as a regular tactic and still be considered Jewish organization.