Each year at Passover, my family reads the story of the Four Sons–the wise son, the contrary son, the simple son, and the son who is too young to know how to formulate a question. Every year, we read:

The contrary son asks: “What is the meaning of this service to you?” Saying you, he excludes himself, and because he excludes himself from the group, he denies a basic principle. You may therefore tell him plainly: “Because of what the Eternal did for me when I came forth from Egypt” I do this. For me and not for him; had he been there, he would not have been redeemed.

There have always been Jews who feel like the contrary son. There will probably always be Jews who feel that way. But they’re not so easy to identify these days, because they don’t separate themselves from their Jewishness–at least, not publicly. Publicly, they proclaim their Jewishness and their Judaism from the mountaintops, while decrying the “misdeeds” (or even “crimes”) of their fellow Jews.

We have all seen them, the anti-Zionist Jews. They’re the ones marching against Israel in every “peace” march held across the planet. They’re the ones that do not get barred from speaking at ANSWER-organized marches because they are not against Israel’s policies enough for the taste of the organizers. (One would think this would be enough to stop these Jews from trying to work with organizations like ANSWER. One would be wrong.)

We’ve all read them, the anti-Zionist Jews. They’re the ones putting their drivel in New York Times op-ed pieces. They’re the ones writing the outraged (always against Israeli actions, never against terrorist attacks) letters to the editor. They show up in comments threads, proudly announcing themselves as anti-Zionist Jews.

I am tired of them, these so-called Jews. I am tired of reading their words, I am tired of seeing their names, and I am tired of their insistence that because they were born Jews, that gives them some kind of defense against being known as one of the cadre who hates us. The term “self-hating Jew” has always been a difficult phrase to define or explain. It is a label that is now used against the person who presents it, and the reasons for its use become clouded in the obscurity of the indignation of the person to whom the label was applied. And now that I think about it, I don’t believe it is applicable to most of these people. These Jews, you may be sure, do not hate themselves. They have divorced themselves from their Jewishness. There is nothing left in their own selves to hate.

I am proposing a new term for these people. If a Jew says, and truly believes, that the State of Israel today should not exist, that person is not a Jew. That is an ex-Jew. If a person calling herself a Jew thinks that Zionism–the founding and establishment of a state for Jews in our ancestral homeland of Israel–is an evil idea that should never have been acted upon, that is not a Jew. That is an ex-Jew. If someone stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Yasser Arafat or his brothers-in-blood, the PA, marching against Israel–that is not a Jew. That is an ex-Jew.

These people are Jews who have decided to abandon the major tenets of their faith yet still insist they be known as Jews. These people are Jews who allow themselves to be used by the enemies of Jews and turn a blind eye to the poison they are inflicting upon their people. These people are Jews who actively work against their fellow Jews, and turn a deaf ear to the tales of the harm they and their cohorts are doing to the Jews.

These are not Jews. They are ex-Jews. They have exiled themselves from our Tribe.

These are the Adam Shapiros. If you are actively working for the palestinian cause without requiring them to stop completely all terrorism, you are an ex-Jew. If you are blindly adhering to the palestinian calls for statehood while walking past the victims of suicide bombings, you are an ex-Jew. If you are raising money for palestinian organizations, knowing full well that some of that money will be funneled off to pay for terrorist attacks against Jews in Israel, you are an ex-Jew.

These are the Norman Finkelsteins. If you write books minimizing the Holocaust and deriding Jewish organizations for not wanting to do so, you are an ex-Jew. If you write books filled with lies about other Jews who are trying to clear the air of the horrific anti-Israel and anti-Jewish lies, you are an ex-Jew. If your work is touted by the likes of Jew-hater David Duke and appears on the pages of the Arab News, you are an ex-Jew.

These are the Noam Chomskys. If you spend your entire career demonizing Israel, standing with her enemies against her, magnifying all of her flaws while minimizing the atrocities committed against her by her enemies, you are an ex-Jew. If you think that the state of Israel cannot, must not exist as a Jewish state, you are an ex-Jew.

These are the Stanley Cohens. If you defend Hamas–if you defend the terrorists that murdered your own cousin; if you accepted a sympathy call from the leader of Hamas over the death of said cousin, if you have been doing this for over a decade, you are an ex-Jew. If you represent the palestinians who firebombed a synagogue in New York, you are an ex-Jew.

I won’t be using the term “self-hating Jew” again. And though there are anti-Semitic Jews, I won’t be calling too many Jews anti-Semites. Instead, I will simply use my new name for them: Ex-Jews. They have chosen to remove themselves from our midst. That is their choice. I wish they would simply stop being Jewish and not bother the rest of us by actively working with our enemies to do us harm, but I can’t do much about that.

I will, however, consider them, now and forever, ex-Jews.

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12 Responses to Ex-Jews

  1. Dread Pirate Gryphon says:

    Huzzah, Meryl.

  2. Sabba Hillel says:

    I consider them exactly the same as a Jew who has converted to Islam, or one of the Eastern religions that is actual idol worship, or one of the cults that have cropped up in the last century. I cannot call them exJews, because no matter how much a Jew attempts to divorce himself from Judaism and the Jewish people, he will fail. That does not mean that his status as a born Jew gives him any protection from being called an anti-semite. In fact his position is worse than the nonJewish anti-semite because he is not only sinning against G-d and man, but he is a traitor to his own family.

    The talmud uses the analogy of a man and his wife for the relationship between G-d and Israel. G-d is considered the man and the people of Israel the (erring) wife. In Jewish law, a divorce can take effect only if the man gives the get (divorce decree) to the woman and she accepts it of her own free will. Neither condition obtains in the relationship between G-d and the people of Israel. G-d has not cast us out (though he has punished us) and we have not (as a people) accepted any such decree. As a result, these people are in the circumstance of the adulterous wife who is attempting to flaunt her adultery without getting a divorce.

    These people have all of the responsibilities of Jews and none of the rewards. They will be punished as Jews for what they do that Jews are forbidden to do (even if nonJews are allowed) as well as being treated as nonJews if they try to shoehorn their way back into the Jewish community.

    These idiots have the worst of both worlds.

  3. Elisson says:

    This post should appear on the Op-Ed page of the New York Times…but it won’t.

    Well put…and, unfortunately, all too correct.

  4. Lil Mamzer says:


    Naomi Klein
    Stanley Cohen
    Neturei Karta (all 12 of them)
    Uri Avneri
    Adam Shapiro

  5. cond0010 says:

    Hi Meryl,

    I read your piece on Ex-Jews and thought it very good.

    I have felt the same way about many liberals in this country. Still, I always seemed to search for more pieces to the liberal puzzle as this suicidal irrationality inflicts so many people.

    I came across another piece to the puzzle that seemed to sate me (some what) better. It is at this link:


    The Idea of the ‘Envy Deflection Device’ seemes to fit rather nicely. Still, it is no excuse to being a traitor. I hope you like the article and find it as interesting as I did.


  6. The Doctor says:

    I must agree with Sabbah Hillel. No matter how much I disagree with their politics, I cannot define a Jew by that. Unless you are willing to lay this same rap on the Satmar Hasidim, who hate Israel because it wasn’t founded by Moshiach, and who blame the Holocaust on Zionists, but are affirmedly and definitely Jews, this won’t fly.

    Is a Jew not a Jew because we despise his or her politics? I can’t buy that…because the next issue will be whether they are a Jew based on another political issue, and the next thing you know half the Jews in Israel won’t be Jewish because they disagree with something.

    Call them idiots, call them fools, call them anything else, but don’t call them ex-Jews!

  7. Rahel says:

    The Doctor,

    How about enablers of terrorism and murder against their own people?

    These people are worse than fools or idiots. They are traitors.

  8. Ben F says:

    Meryl: They’re ex-Jews.
    Ben F: You’re right.
    Sabba Hillel: They’re still Jews.
    Ben F: You’re right.
    Anon: Wait, Meryl and S.H. can’t both be right!
    Ben F: You’re also right!

    Actually, when push comes to shove, I really really like Meryl’s essay, but I don’t think it’s “right.” Jews are always prone to factionalism, and factionalism can lead to error, which entails forgetting “Kol yisroel arevim ze l’ze” (All Israel is responsible for one another).

    Example: Before Israel was created, there were many anti-Zionist Jews. But after the fact, many of those Jews reassessed, because they could not be allies of Jew-killers. This, IMO, was correct.

    I still think it’s possible for a Jew to be anti-Zionist, but there is a right way and a wrong way to give expression to that belief. The great prophets warned Israel that transgressions would lead to national disaster, but they did not join with the enemy to bring about that disaster.

    This is where I think the “settler movement” showed its greatness this year (or, if you are on the Jewish calendar, last year). It showed that its “ahavat yisroel” was stronger than its “ahavat eretz yisroel.” It did not abandon its factionalism, but neither did it give that factionalism free rein.

  9. The Doctor says:


    You may call them traitors if you wish [I wouldn’t, for reasons already explained]. Just don’t call them “ex-jews.”

  10. Herschel says:

    I agree with what you are saying, but there seems to be a problem with the call out “ex-Jew” to some individuals.
    How about using the term “kapo Jew,” because that is what they truly are.
    Self loathing Jews joyfully collaborating with the enemy.

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