For immeidat release; May 8, 2023, Jerusalem
A special Judaism 3.0 event was held at the Begin Center to celebrated Herzl Day and inaugurate the Judaism 3.0 Think Tank, along with Kosovo’s envoy to Israel, Ines Demiri; Judaism 3.0 author Gol Kalev, and Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief Avi Mayer
Hundreds of people, in-person at the Begin Center and around the world on Zoom, took part in a monumental evening, discussing the shifting role of Journalism, the state of Zionism, Israel-bashing. and tying it all to Herzl’s vision.
The evening host Noa Amouyal framed the program by saying that “Gol [Kalev] has revolutionzed the field of Herzl reseaerch. He turned it from something of a study that was antiqueated and old to something that is modern, exciting, and maybe even a little bit sexy.”
Kalev said upon taking the podium that Herzl changed the course of Jewish history and of humanity, even though he did not make any new discovery: “Being an outsider to the Jewish world, he saw the same reality that others see, but from a different perspective, and with a different depth.”
Yet Kalev takes that depth and welath of Herzl writing further: “If we can dive into the depth of Herzl’s thinking and philosophy we can apply it to a lot of our strategic issues today.” Kalev discussed how Herzl’s frameworks can be used to deliberate the future of Europe, the Palestinians issues and the debate about the legal reform in Israel. “With the fast-moving news cycle and soundbite world, we have an opportunity to deploy Herzl’s frameworks, and the think tank can hopefully help in doing that.”
To give an example of a Herzl way of thining, Kalev mentioned the Uganda Scheme, which was a proposition to settle Jews in Africa. “But if you read Herzl very carefully, and understand the nuance of his words….Uganda was not about settling Jews in Africa. Uganda was about engaging the British government.” Kalev explained that the British proposal to establish a joint British-Zionist committee to explore the Uganda idea “created an official recognition by a global power [the British] in Zionism, and more-so, a recognition that Zionism is the representative of the Jewish people. That is huge!” Kalev said that through Uganda, Herzl was also able to enroot the idea of Zionism on multiple levels of the British government apparatus: The foreign ministry, the Colonialist office. “Thirteen years later this effort came to fruition with the Balfour Declaration.”
Saying that we should study Herzl in a similar way we study Moses, Kalev noted that it took centuries for Moses; transformation to take effect – same goes for Herzl’s transformation: “Just as Moses’s Judaism was not about migration into Cannan, but a transformation into what I call Judaism 1.0, Herzl’s Zionism is not about the migration into Palestine, but a transformation into what I call Judaism 3.0”.
Herzl died in 1904. “Before he died, he wrote one more article called Journey’s Blessing – an article directed to all of us”, which Kalev compared to Moses’ HaAzinu (Moses’ song). Both departure messages were not focused on how to get to Cannan/Palestine, but on how to preserve Judaism once there. Herzl reiterated in that final article that Zionism is infinite ideal, that deos not end with our arrival, “It is about the aspiration to moral and spiritual completion.” Therefore, Kalev says, the notion of post-Zionism is akin to the notion that the Hebrews’ arrival in Cannan is post-Judaism. “Moses’s Judaism just got started then, and we are still in the very early stages of Herzl’s Zionism today.”
Ines Demiri, Kosovo’s envoy to Israel began her remarks by saying that she is “honored to celebrate the legacy of one of the towering figure of the human history.”
Demiri, who is the first European mission head in Jerusalem, explained that “We see the Kosovo relations with Israel in two dimensions”.. The first dimension relates to the Holocaust. Demiri said she is proud that some Kosovo Albanians are on the list of the righteous amongst the nations, but at the same time “there were about 200 Jews that were deported to the concentration camps”.
The second dimension relates to “the time in 1999 when we had the war inside our country. The first to stand up and speak to stop the ethnic cleansing that was happening to the Albanians in Kosovo were the Jewish people – in Israel, in Europe, in the US, and everywhere, and we are deeply thankful for their advocacy.”
Demiri drew ovations when she spoke about Kosovo’s decision to open its embassy in Jerusalem.. “Working for the MFA (Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs] for a decade, two years ago I had the privilege to open the embassy here in Jerusalem, and proud of our cooperation in many areas with the Israel”
Demrii said that Herzl’s contribution was not just to Israel, but to humanity: “more and more innovations that are produced in Jerusalem and throughout Israel are impacting the lives of so many around the world, and we in Kosovo are aware of that and benefit from the fulfilment of Herzl’s vision.” This is seen in our today’s cooperation with our Israeli friends in all possible field.
Reflecting on 120 years since Herzl started the Zionist endeavour, Demiri said: “I think Herzl would be very proud that his vision came true. As Gol describes in his book, Herzl planted the seeds for the transformation of the Jewish nation. Menahem Begin along with other leaders of his generation executed this vision and built the county, and we – not just you in Israel – but also we in Europe and all over the world – are benefiting from all this.
Demiri’s remarks was followed by a conversation moderated by Amouyal, between Kalev and Avi Mayer, the new editor-in-cheif of the Jerusalem Post
Mayer said that “this is a particularly fascinating time to be in the world of journalism…Just as Gol has suggested that Judaism is transforming, I believe that journalism is transforming as well.”
Mayer said that there is much more of an emphasis on opinion journalism, which “actually often delves into the realm of advocacy rather than strict journalism and strict news reporting.”
Mayer said that he is “somewhat of a purist” and that “journalism and journalists should report the facts as they are, devoid of bias.”
On the same token, Mayer said that he believes that it is important that newspapers have values. Therefore, he dedicated his inaugural article as editor-in-chief to addressing what are the values of the Jerusalem Post: “The first thing I said is that we are a Zionist newspaper.”
Mayer said that while it was always implied, “this is the first time that this statement had ever been made.” Mayer said it was important for him to say it outright because “this means that we will not stand for assault on Israel’s right to exist, we will not stand for those who denigrate the very right of Jews to have self-determination in the land of Israel…We are a pro-democracy paper and we will stand against efforts to undermine the principles of democracy that were enshrined in Israel’s Declaration of Independence. We are anti-racist paper. We will not tolerate antisemitism, anti-Zionism or bigotry….Within the boundaries of those principles there is a lot of space for debate.”
Kalev said that in his view there is an opinion component in objective articles as well. He shared that when he first read the articles that Herzl wrote during his time as his newspaper’s Paris correspondent in the 1890s, he thought they seemed objective. “But then I found out that Herzl was under investigation by the French government for being anti-French and writing anti-France articles,” Kalev said that when he read those same articles again, he noticed the layers of opinion embedded in them in nuanced way, “such as skepticism about the essence of French democracy and French political structure”.
In response to Mayer’s question if Herzl considered himself to be a journalist even after launching the Zionist movement, Kalev said that Herzl did not separate himself into silos. He understood that much of his power comes from his press card. “It is a fascinating act of balance he played when he broke away from the line of his newspaper, and began promoting Jewish nationalism….He is doing this to promote Zionism, knowing he can get fired at any day for doing that, which will take away his press card, which in-turn might take away Zionism.”
With the question of whether that “press card;” still wields power today, Amouyal shifted the conversation to Social Media, and asked how it is affecting the journalism landscape.
Mayer said that “when anyone with a smartphone becomes a citizen-journalist, you know there is a transformation coming to Journalism.” However Mayer identified a bifurcation: “There is a qualitative difference to having an established news organization behind you that simply cannot be matched no matter how many twitter followed you have.” Mayer shared how this impacts him personally: “Avi Mayer the random guy who has [150k] followers on Twitter is not the same as Avi Mayer who is speaking on behalf of the Jerusalem Post, and I will say that I chose my words more carefully now.”
Responding to Amouyal’s question about what kind of Social Media Influencer Herzl would be today, Kalev said that “Social Media is a reflection of the populous”….and Herzl observed very carefully the behavior of the masses, and “how people are being controlled through all sort of messages in all sort of ways….Herzl observed the early stages of what later became the pivoting of the German nationalist movement.” Kalev notes that Herzl studies Bismark very carefully – the father of united Germany – in particular, the tools that Bismark used to master the masses’ sentiments (akin to today’s Social Media).
Mayer said that Herzl in the early years of Zionism would have been considered a Twitter provocateur. While today Zionism is the dominant ideology in the Jewish world, “it was very much counter-cultural, it ran against the grain of European Jewry….I think he might have even been considered someone of aTroll.”
Kalev agreed: “Herzl would have been blocked by many people – by many Jews.”
Shifting to the topic of Hasbara (Israeli advocacy), Amoyyal said “we are in 2023 and Israel has still not been able to figure it out…What can be done?”
Mayer cautioned against telling a sanitized version of “a Disneyland perspective” on Israel. “This is doing no one any service,” he said given there is an abundance of information online. “Ultimately I believe Israel has a compelling story to tell and I think that once we tell that story in all its complexity….this will be the strongest argument that Israel possibly could have.” Mayer said that his role as editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post is to tell this story in such a way.
Kalev said that Herzl did not believe in Hasbara. “He concluded that dogmatic minds cannot be changed…,Therefore, what is needed [to combat Jew-hatred] is a paradigm shift, and that paradigm shift is a Jewish state.”
Kalev said he applied this logic to Judaism 3.0. “Israel-bashing is now dogmatic, and therefore Hasbara is ineffective.” Kalev argues that once again what is needed is a paradigm shift, and that paradigm shift is Judaism 3.0: “Once you accept that Zionism is the anchor of Judaism, you can not hide behind this notion that you love the Jews and hate the Zionists. The Jew-hater has to stay in Judaism 2.0.”
Kalev applies Herzl in another way, pointing to an unexpected asset we have in our contemporary fight against Jew-hatred : “Today, saying that you hate Jews is not popular…It can end your career, but saying that you hate Zionists can help your career, so once we create that equation, once there is a broad global recognition thar Zionism is the anchor of Judaism, than Israel-bashing and Jew-bashing becomes one and the same.”
Ines Demiri – Charge d’Affaires of Kosovo to Israel; head of mission of the first European embassy in Jerusalem
Gol Kalev – Author, Judaism 3.0: Judaism’s Transformation to Zionism
Avi Mayer – Editor-in-Chief, The Jerusalem Post
Moderated by Noa Amouyal
“Gol Kalev picks up where Herzl left off”
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem
Talking about Judaism 3.0:
This event is in cooperation with our partners:
The Menachem Begin Heritage Center
Judaism 3.0 Think Tank
Judaism 3.0 is back at the Begin Center for the fifth time
Press-release of previous Judaism 3.0 events:
From Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – Zionism’s religious revival
Zionism and the Nationalism-Universalism debate:
Prof. Gil Troy and Gol Kalev debate Judaism 3.0
Amb Michael Oren and Gol Kalev discuss impact of Judaism 3.0
Watch Gol Kalev discuss Judaism 3.0 in an i24 interview with Emily Frances:
A revolutionary approach to countering Israel-bashing unveiled at the Judaism 3.0 book launch:
Watch video-clips, read a recap of the book launch party
Watch Gol Kalev’s address the Jerusalem Leaders Summit: “Anti Zionism is a threat to humanity”:
Judaism 3.0 by Gol Kalev
In this landmark book, Gol Kalev demonstrates how Zionism has turned into the organizing principle of Judaism. It has become the primary conduit through which both Jews and non-Jews relate to Judaism – in both the positive and negative.
Through an in-depth analysis of long-term shifts in Israel and in North American Jewry, as well as assessment of global trends that impact Judaism, Kalev shows that the anchor of the Jewish nation-religion has shifted from its religious aspect (Judaism 2.0) to its national aspect (Judaism 3.0).
Tying Theodor Herzl’s original vision of Zionism to today’s realities, Kalev shows that Judaism 3.0 is not only the most accurate reflection of the contemporary state of Judaism, but also the relevant framework to address emerging threats to Judaism. First and foremost, the existential threat of Israel-bashing, which has replaced anti-Semitism as the primary currency of age-old opposition to Judaism.
“Gol Kalev does not just know Theodor Herzl – he lives and breathes Theodor Herzl…This book should trigger the conversation the Jewish community needs about Israel, Zionism, Judaism and Identity. Bravo!”
Professor Gil Troy, author – The Zionist Ideas
ייA remarkable ideas book that is about much more than the state of Judaism…One of the most important books about Judaism, Zionism and global trends of our times.”
Catherine Carlton, former Mayor of Menlo Park, Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur
“This book should play an important role in the discussions about the future of world Jewry and its relations with Israel.”
Natan Sharansky, former Chairman of The Jewish Agency, former Deputy Prime Minister of Israel
“Gol Kalev’s book has the merit to transform the very essence of the State of Israel to becoming an objective expression of Jewish identity“
Dr. Georges Yitzhak Weisz, author – Theodor Herzl: A New Reading
“This book has sparked as much conversation as it has because the premise is so interesting, so counter-intuitive and demand of us that we think many thing anew. That is perhaps the greatest gift a book can give.”
Dr. Daniel Gordis, author – We Stand Divided
“Fresh new thinking about the relationship between Judaism and Israel. Kalev picks up where Herzl left off…A must read for people of all religious and political backgrounds who want to get a deeper understanding of the state of Zionism and Judaism today.”
Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem
“A courageous thesis that must be part of any serious discussion of the future of Israel and the Jewish people.”
Michael Oren, historian, former ambassador of Israel to the United States
About the Author: Gol Kalev is a former Wall Street investment banker who has been researching Herzl and Zionism. Growing up in Tel Aviv and serving in the Israeli army, he then lived in New York and now resides in Jerusalem. He also spent time in various European cities and has traveled through both the American and European countryside, learning about contrasting world-views.
He is chairman of The AIFL Think Tank, which explores Zionism and Judaism, and has been writing analysis articles about Zionism, Europe, and global affairs for the Jerusalem Post, Jerusalem Report, Israel Hayom, The Daily Wire, The Media Line, Newsweek and Foreign Policy.
He has been praised for his unique understanding of Judaism by people throughout the political and religious spectrum. In this book, he delivers the state of Judaism as he sees it: Zionism as the anchor of Judaism.
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For comments and inquiries: info@Judaism-Zionism.com