The real faith of Obama's new point man on international religious freedom issues.
A few weeks back the US Senate approved the appointment of "Rabbi" David N. Saperstein as Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, to head the Office of International Religious Freedom in the United States Department of State, an office that tracks the denial of religious freedom to people around the world. The Obama administration has been bragging about its high-minded pluralism in appointing a Jew to the office, the first time it was held by a non-Christian.
A past leader in the "Rabbis for Obama," Saperstein long headed the so-called "Religious Action Center" (RAC) of the American Reform synagogue movement. Despite its name, there is nothing remotely religious about the RAC. It is a liberal-leftist advocacy center, a lobby for the entire range of politically correct social causes, occasionally dressing up its agitprop with perfunctory attribution to "Jewish ethics." Many of its positions are explicitly and diametrically opposed to the text of the Torah and to traditional Jewish values.
Saperstein is a "Reform Rabbi," which should not be confused with a real Rabbi, someone who has demonstrated expertise in and command of the Torah, the Talmud, and other traditional Jewish texts. Media commentators have speculated about how the appointment will go over with the anti-Israel lobby and Muslim countries, evidently not realizing that Saperstein is not particularly pro-Israel. Saperstein is married to Ellen Weiss, who ran for years the maliciously anti-Israel program "All Things Considered" on National Public Radio.
The RAC has operated under the direction of Saperstein for almost as long as North Korea has operated under the Kim dynasty. It has been wishy-washy in all that is related to Israeli defense. Basically the RAC supports the Israeli Left. It also supports anti-Israel groups, such as the far-leftist New Israel Fund (NIF), "J Street" and the pro-jihad "Jewish Voices for Peace." Saperstein has been active in such outfits as People For the American Way, set up by the television producer Norman Lear to save the world from Republicans. The RAC web site links to a gaggle of advocacy organizations from the Left, including ACORN.
The RAC is in favor of expanded Obamacare, gun control, gay marriage, LGBT "rights" - note the fashionable inclusion of the "T" in LGBT on the RAC web page, affirmative action, abortion on demand (including partial birth abortions), banning capital punishment, and it endorses virtually every fad emerging from the environmentalist movement. It goes without saying that none of these have any support or basis whatsoever in the Torah or in traditional Judaism. Every single policy position by Saperstein and the RAC is adopted in the name of "social justice." Yet there is virtually nothing at all in actual Judaism that mandates social (as opposed to judicial) justice, and certain nothing that mandates forced income redistribution. The RAC also repeatedly proves its economic illiteracy, such as in its promotion and endorsement of increases in the minimum wage.
In one of the greater ironies, the one social reform most desperately needed to ensure the continued survival of the American Jewish community is opposed by the RAC: expanded use of school vouchers. The RAC has long led the battle AGAINST all forms of school vouchers. Saperstein has also campaigned against "Islamophobia" and he has hobnobbed and worked with Muslim jihadist groups. His opposition to welfare reform has been so radical as to earn him the praise of the American Communist Party. When the American Jewish woman Lori Berenson was convicted in Peru of participating in the terrorist activities of the local Maoist movement, Saperstein and the RAC raced to defend her and demand her release.
Saperstein loves "kibitzing" in Israeli internal decision making. He and his people opposed the construction of a security fence by Israel designed to prevent Arab terrorists from murdering Israeli civilians. The RAC under Saperstein continued supporting the suicidal "two-state solution" long after the vast majority of Israelis rejected it as being no solution at all but rather a recipe for escalation of Arab aggression against Israel. Saperstein's crew, which does not risk being blown to smithereens in Israeli buses and cafes, announced that they oppose administrative home demolitions of Arab terrorists. They prefer that terrorism be defeated by understanding the grievances of terrorists.
While granting lip service to the need for Israel to defend itself from security threats, most of the efforts over the years by Saperstein and his RAC SWAT Team regarding Israel have been devoted to promoting the leftist agenda inside Israel, including in at least one violent demonstration. The RAC operates an office inside of Israel and virtually all of its activities and efforts are devoted towards promoting "social justice" fads, including feminism and "gay marriage." Israeli RAC people have openly identified themselves with the tiny Far-Leftist "Meretz" party, which enjoys support from perhaps 3% of Israelis and is currently struggling to retain any parliamentary seats at all in the upcoming election.
The small Israeli RAC office has repeatedly demonstrated hostility to freedom of speech in Israel. It demanded that "racist" (meaning supposedly anti-Arab) books be banned in Israel and that Rabbis expressing opinions the RAC deems racist be prosecuted and indicted. When two rabbis composed an esoteric book discussing conditions in Rabbinic law under which enemy civilians could be targeted (such as in wartime), the wannabe book-burners from the Israeli RAC filed a petition to the Supreme Court demanding that the writers be indicted for the crime of expressing their opinion. Curiously, the RAC in the US has never dared to demand that the First Amendment be suppressed in order to stop "racism."
Israeli RAC has opposed proposals that would require Arab members of parliament to take an oath of loyalty to the country, something it regards as "racist." It tends to endorse carte blanche all demands from Israel's Arab radical groups, justifying these endorsements as part of the "battle against racism." It has never once had anything to say about Arab anti-Jewish racism. It also demanded and "achieved" the construction of paved roads for illegal Bedouin squatters living on state lands they do not own, and it supports Bedouin squatters in other legal matters. It has led the battle to allow unlimited numbers of illegal African infiltrators from Eritrea and Sudan to remain in the country and be naturalized.
Saperstein and his people have lobbied for what they call "religious pluralism" in Israel. By "pluralism" they mean the granting of official recognition to "Reform Judaism" as having a status on par with actual Judaism. The problem with this is that the percentage of Israeli Jews identifying with the "Reform synagogue" movement is miniscule, far less than 1% of the population, although slightly more will describe themselves in polls as "Reform oriented" when they really mean they are secularist non-religious. The RAC is particularly enraged that its "clergy" are not acknowledged within Israel as authorized to conduct conversions to Judaism, although immigrants to Israel who underwent Reform conversions abroad are usually quietly accepted as Jews under Israeli law. The main problem is that the "Reform Movement" demands that Israelis accept as a bona fide movement of Judaism what is essentially a political movement that mis-defines Judaism as the pursuit of liberal-leftist political fads. Reform "conversions" are suspected as being processes in which anyone who supports Obamacare, affirmative action, and action against global warming are considered to have converted to Judaism.
The biggest problem is that the same Reform leader now serving as Obama's point man on religious pluralism and diversity has made it clear that political pluralism has no room whatsoever in the his own "Reform" movement or in the RAC. Non-liberals are not welcome. Neither are people who practice actual Judaism. Saperstein's "theology" is a form of pagan political fundamentalism, impervious to challenge. It believes that the best chances of survival for the eternal and timeless religion of Judaism are through repackaging it so that it can appeal to Berkeley college students, drag queens in Provincetown, and actors in Hollywood. His "Political Liberalism as Judaism" pseudo-theology dominates the main institutions of the Reform synagogue movement, including its Central Council of American Rabbis (CCAR). The bottom line is that the Religious Action Center (RAC) and its Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom promote "religious action" that rarely, if ever, has anything to do with religion.
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