A revolutionary approach to countering Israel-bashing unveiled at Judaism 3.0 book launch
Jerusalem, March 14, 2022 – Gol Kalev’s new book, Judaism 3.0 – Judaism’s transformation to Zionism, was launched at the landmark Rashut Hashidur building in Jerusalem.
Kalev demonstrates that Judaism is going through a historic transformation, and Zionism is becoming its organizing principle. “This is the primary way Jews and non-Jews relate to Judaism – in positive and negative alike.”
After an Israeli wine reception, Kalev spoke and took questions, focusing his remarks on the latter part of the book: How recognizing the transformation would address existential threats to Judaism, first and foremost, the expanding threat of Israel-bashing, which has replaced anti-Semitism as the currency of age-old opposition to Judaism.
Kalev argues that “Hasbara” (Israeli PR) is insufficient given the depth and popularity of the Israel-bashing culture, “Herzl mocked committees against anti-semitism, since you can not convince people who have dogmatic thinking. Same with Israel-bashing today. The Israel-bashing ideology is too entrenched in mainstream society, and rational arguments are of limited use.”
Therefore a radical approach is needed – the change of global consciousness of what Judaism is. “Once there is a broad recognition that Judaism has transformed to Zionism, than Israel-bashing, becomes Jew-bashing, and that alters the nature of the threat.”
Kalev argues that the lethal part of the threat comes from what he called the Israel-bashers-light, some of which he confessed to be his friends. “Those have the mechanisms to inflict severe damage through their organizations and governments, but they are also the component of the Israeli-bashing coalition that is most sensitive to accusations that they are driven by hate.” Kalev explains that Israel-bashers must stay in Judaism 2.0 in order to be successful. “If Judaism’s organizing principle is still its religious aspect and not its national aspect, they can say they are pro-Jewish and anti-Zionist. Once it is recognized that Judaism is transformed and its national aspect, Zionism, is now its organizing principle, they would only be able to be Israel-bashers if they are okay with being Jew-bashers…..Hence, a broad recognition of the transformation would be a natural back-stop to Israel-bashing.”
In answering questions about how this plays out in current events, Kalev stressed the explosive nature of the Israel-bashing culture, and the unpredictability of where it can erupt: “Look at Russia ……Right now the world came together nicely to stand up to a tyrant….Once this conflict gets resolved, and let’s all hope it gets resolved soon, those forces stay and they need an outlet. Who is the next tyrant? Who are the next war-criminals we need to deal with? It’s all of you, It’s us, it’s Israel. I am not the one who is saying this, Amnesty is saying this, various organizations of the UN are saying this – so let’s take those wonderful forces and redirect them at Israel – and to do so out of love – to protect the Palestinians just as we protected the Ukrainians.”
Kalev underscored that Israel-bashing is an existential threat to all Jews, including those who bash Israel. He referred to Israeli Defense Minster Benjamin Ganz saying that “when Amnesty publishes their outrageous Apartheid report, houses of prayers in California are targeted.” But Kalev claimed the threat goes much further than to the safety of individual Jews – this is about the survivability of Judaism. “It took 70 years for the anti-Semitism movement to mature from an amorphous unorganized coalition to being the ideology on which the genocide of European Jewry was grounded in. We are now in the early stages of the Israel-bashing movement, and the parallels to the late 19th Century are startling.”
He compared today’s transformation to Judaism 3.0, anchored in Zionism, to the previous transformation of Judaism from being anchored in the Temple, ritual of sacrifices and physical presence in Judea and Jerusalem (Judaism 1.0 – Biblical Judaism), to Judaism that is anchored in the synagogues, the prayers, the insular Ghetto, and the yearning for Zion (Judaism 2.0 – Rabbinic Judaism). “Maybe someone back there wrote a book called Judaism 2.0 – Judaism’s transformation to Rabbinic Judaism, and there might have been people who said: I have nothing against the Jews, I love the Jews, but I hate those Jews who go to synagogues, celebrate Hanukkah and wear a Kipa. I am ok with the Jews, but I am against Rabbinic Jews. Well, by now it is clear that anti Rabbinic-Jews is the exact same as anti-Jews. I bet in a few decades the terms Zionism and Judaism would be synonymous, and it would be intuitive that anti-Zionism is the exact same as anti-Judaism.”
“But for this to happen,” Kalev addressed the crowd of opinion-leaders, “you need to be ambassadors of this message. You need to be convinced by the argument of the book that Judaism is transforming and Zionism is now its anchor, and then you need to share this message broadly with your networks.”
After the presentation, which took place in the site of the old synagogue of the building, the crowd proceeded through the halls of the mansion to the after-party hosted by the Beerbazar.
Photos: Hanna Taieb
In a few decades the terms Judaism and Zionism will be synonymous:
Startling parallels between the early days of Israel-Bashing and early days of anti-Semitism:
Opposition to Judaism is a European concept. It changes as Europe evolves:
Hasbara (Israeli PR) is insufficient. Herzl realized that one can not change dogmatic thinking. Hence, there needs to be a more radical approach to dealing with anti Semitism then, and with Israel-bashing now:
Can the coalition against Russia be redirected against Israel?
When the opposition to Judaism came from the right, haters may not have cared if called Jew-bashers, but now that the threat is coming from the left, Judaism 3.0 becomes the best construct to address existential threats to Judaism:
We might be heading towards global public-opinion that would support doing something radical against the “pariah” Jewish state: “This is where the new existential threat to Judaism lies, and therefore we need a new framework that addresses it.”
Judaism 3.0, launched on March 7th, was chosen by the Jerusalem Report as the cover of its 2022 New Year issue. The book was unveiled on January 12th in a pre-launch Garden-party.
There will be various events in the coming months, as well as webinar, briefings and private events. For information, email email@example.com
|January 12 – Pre-Launch Unveiling Garden Party |
|February 14 – Anniversary of Herzl’s The Jewish State |
Hosted by the Jerusaelm Wine Salon
Public – Registration required
Judaism 3.0 Launch events
|March 7 – Launch Party|
Castle in Jerusaelm
|March 21 – Tel Aviv Rooftop|
Hosted by Tribe Tel Aviv
Public – Registration required
|March 30 – Begin Center |
Public – Registration required
More public events in April and May in Israel, including in Culinary Market, Social Space, Powers Cafe and more.
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For more information: Judaism-Zionism.com
“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 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
“A courageous, compelling, and thoughtful 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
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
“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