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ACJ Annual Letter

Stephen L. Naman
November 18, 2021

November 18,2021  
Dear Friends of the Council:  
We are pleased to announce that the ACJ has endowed a Fellowship at the Jimmy and  
Rosalyn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution at George Mason  
University. We are encouraged that this Fellowship will facilitate learning  
opportunities and promote global understanding.  
The recent Pew Center for Research survey of American Jewish adults found that  
10% support the Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions movement, 16% said that  
Israel is not important to their Jewish identity, and 37% felt the US policy  
toward Israel was too supportive up from 10% in the 2013 survey. These results  
appear to be skewed toward the younger set of respondents thus hopefully  
indicative of a continuing trend toward open mindedness and less dogma.  
About mid-year 2020 the noted author, columnist, journalist, and CUNY professor,  
Peter Beinart wrote a NYT Opinion piece titled “I No Longer Believe in a Jewish  
State”. In a subsequent NYT Opinion piece this year his subject was “Palestinian  
Refugees Deserve to Return Home. Jews Should Understand”. These are significant  
shifts in position coming from a liberal Zionist whose writings and appearances  
span a multitude of media and wide audiences.  
Also, this year an appeal, “Rabbinical and Cantorial Students Appeal to the Heart  
of the Jewish Community”, was posted online with nearly 100 signatories, and  
stating in part: “As American Jews, our institutions tell stories of Israel  
rooted in hope for what could be, but oblivious to what is. Our tzedakah money  
funds a story we wish were true, but perpetuates a reality that is untenable and  
dangerous. Our political advocacy too often puts forth a narrative of  
victimization, but supports violent suppression of human rights and enables  
apartheid in the Palestinian territories…”.  
Further this year an Open Letter, “Take Down the Israeli Flag”, was circulated  
stating in part: “We Jewish people internationally appeal to Jews and Jewish  
organizations around the world to remove Israeli flags from communal spaces,  
whether at Jewish schools, Jewish Federation offices or synagogues…It is  
increasingly important for Jews to distinguish between Judaism and the State of  
Israel and its policies. By featuring an Israeli flag prominently in our communal  
institutions, we permit anti-Semites to believe that our interests are  
inextricably linked to those of a state whose policies we abhor… We are appalled  
at the idea that it represents us. It should be taken down.”  
We point out these activities because the individual participants by the nature  
of the subject put themselves at risk and thus, they should be commended for the  
courage of their convictions, similarly to the founding rabbis and lay leaders of  
the Council. While these individuals may or may not agree with the total premise  
of the ACJ they enhance the broader debate and continue to move the dialogue  
forward. One can only hope that rabbinic, educational and organizational leaders  
within local communities and mainstream organizations will find a similar  
fortitude to address the real issues that confront us as American Jews and  
citizens of the global community.  
Some years back Jonathan D. Sarna, the noted Brandeis University historian and  
author of the seminal book American Judaism, said in an interview about the ACJ  
“Everything they prophesied dual loyalty, nationalism being evil has come to  
If you have already made a 2021 contribution to the Council, thank you, we are  
grateful for your support. If you have not yet contributed this year and choose  
to do so, contributions can be made by using the enclosed envelope or by credit  
card using the secure PayPal link on the Donations page of our website,  
www.ACJNA.org. You do not have to have a PayPal account to use this link and all  
major credit cards are accepted. Whatever your decision we thank each of you for  
your continued interest in and commitment to the American Council for Judaism,  
The Board and Allan Brownfeld join me in sending our best wishes for a Happy  
Thanksgiving and a Healthy New Year.  
Stephen L. (Steve) Naman, President  
American Council for Judaism, Inc.  

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