Israel a surrogate religion?

Henry Siegman has credentials. He should be able to participate in the argument, but he has been more than marginalized by those who dominate the discussion in the U.S. of the fate of Palestinians and Israelis. Henry Siegman is a pariah.

The Korean War [where he served with combat troops as a chaplain], coupled with his own childhood experiences in Europe, inclined him to those in Jewish life who saw social justice as central to faith. He went on to become the head of the American Jewish Congress for 16 years, before joining the council [the Council on Foreign Relations].

But for many Jews, he says, there came to be new definitions of faith, ones that he says turned the ideology of the Jewish state into "a surrogate religion."

"The support for Israel fills a spiritual vacuum," he said in his corner office on Park Avenue. "If you do not support the government of Israel then your Jewishness, not your political judgment, is in question."

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Published on June 14, 2002 3:18 PM.

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