Rabbi Lord Sacks

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain, talks about his new book, Future Tense: Jews, Judaism, and Israel in the Twenty-First Century (Schocken, 2010).


Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Comments [37]

Daniel Freedman from UWS

The interview with Rabbi Sacks was a tad disappointing. He is an important thinker.

But many of Brian's questions simply invited Rabbi Sacks to play media critic, react to things other people have written and comment on his own Wikipedia page. It was all very disjointed and there were many missed opportunities.

Jun. 02 2010 02:05 PM
a g from nj

i don't know the context of the comments that l lopate reportedly made re lesbians,and man is this getting far afield from the rabbi sacks sement,but,are we living in a world where every off handed quip is scrutinized to death ad nauseum?
not that i disagree with the notion that leonard is inapropriate at times. but it seems to me that fear of being "inapropriate" sort of creates an atmosphere of affectation. btw- men live in a world where it is accepted as a given that gender specific insults and slights don't mean that much to them. not true,but we don't talk about it. ironically,i've found certain women to understand this better than men. we guys want to keep going along with the same old tired socially appropriate face masks and armour.

Jun. 02 2010 01:51 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Interesting reading of the tea leaves in the scoring system… I make a claim that quips and non sequiturs on WNYC dance on the line of offensiveness and I’m asked to back it up with links. When I do, it garners two negative points. So is life.

Jun. 02 2010 01:18 PM
Bob from Brooklyn from Brooklyn

I was amazed, but not really Brian....when you said...." even if Israeli troops were provoked "....provoked. What right under international law allows Israeli forces to board that ship, and act like pirates. If a ship was attacked near Somali waters, do the passengers their have a right to try and repell them?

Oh by the way Brian....Israel's illegal blockade of the Gaza Strip, has led to 60% of Gazan children to suffer from anemia

Jun. 02 2010 12:13 PM

Agree with adrienne from Upper West Side .

Brian, great show, and lively discussion in comments. Can we get numbers on the comments like on other comments pages so it's easier and clearer for later comments to reference earlier ones?

May goodness of soul and objective information prevail.

Jun. 02 2010 12:10 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Andrea Kay:
Billions of dollars in free money a year and unquestioned loyalty don’t really mean much these days. You can even figuratively sucker punch our vice president when he’s on a peace seeking mission and we turn the other cheek. You can’t acknowledged any support when you want to live as a perpetual victim.

Jun. 02 2010 11:53 AM
Ruth from Manhattan

Rabbi Sacks mentioned the Palestinian-Israeli organization of bereaved parents; I would like to know if they are registered in U.S.A. as a 501(c)3 organization so they can be supported here. I'm disappointed that Brian didn't ask the names of other "peace" organizations Rabbi Sacks supported. I'll be reading Rabbi Sacks book.

Jun. 02 2010 11:51 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Wanna Hear:
Here you go... March 24, 2008th show (Link: )
You might also want to check out Brian's pro abandon your children in the park and teach them religious intolerance position. (May 21, 2010. Link:

Jun. 02 2010 11:49 AM
Andrea Kay from Bronx

Dear Brian:
This segment with the British Rabbi was much misguided. To have someone come to say that "Israel has no friends in the world" at this moment shows very poor taste. Can't the Rabbi simply offer his condolescences to the families of the people who died on the flotilla? Or even better, does the Rabbi at least recognize that the US is a loyal friend to Israel? I think you showed your bias a bit too sharply this time.

Jun. 02 2010 11:46 AM
adrienne from Upper West Side

It's disturbing to hear all these negative comments about Jewish related programing/subjects on Brian or Leonard. NYC has the largest Jewish Community outside of Israel, in the world. Many NY Jews, myself included are interested in this and many other topics.

Isn't it a little weird that there are Jews that feel that WNYC is some what anti-Israel and non-Jews feel it is too pro? maybe we need to step back and look at our own predjudices, yes we all have them.

Jun. 02 2010 11:41 AM
wanna hear

"RE Mr. Lopate’s lesbians like to take it all off for men quip"

Gotta a link?

Jun. 02 2010 11:40 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Matthew from Astoria,
Unfortunately cutting off and talking over guests is all too common on both the BL and LL shows and the cutoffs are either leaps to force talking points and sound bites (also rampant on The Takeaway) or frequently crass or near bigoted (RE Mr. Lopate’s lesbians like to take it all off for men quip) non sequiturs meant to get a chuckle. It’s an arrogant and off-putting style that talk programming on WNYC has adopted and hopefully it will die off before WNYC’s listenership does.

Jun. 02 2010 11:36 AM
Soubie from NYC

Damn good question HughSansom - can ANY Israeli name one right the Palestinians have?

I watched the live feed the other night. I saw what happened, to say the Israelis overreacted is a gross understatement. I am now very concerned now about the Israelis having nuclear weapons. What if they decide the US is a threat? - do we all end up in a concentration camp like Gaza?

You are an intelligent people, your fears have completely overshadowed your ability to reason at this point. Wake up and see what you are doing before you destroy yourselves.

People don't hate the Israelis, they hate the Israelis behavior. Change your behavior, treat your neighbors like you want to be treated.

Jun. 02 2010 11:33 AM

To many school superintendents in Israel!

Jun. 02 2010 11:32 AM
Matthew from Astoria

Brian is generally very polite to his guests, even those who don't always deserve it. (e.g., Ed Koch.) And I know that sometimes he has to interrupt a guest to keep the show moving or to keep the guest on topic.

But it seemed to me that Brian was interrupting Rabbi Sacks and talking over him an awful lot during that segment. Not at all typical Brian behavior.

Jun. 02 2010 11:29 AM
george from astoria

Criticizing the actions of a country is democracy in action. Israel and Jews calling all critiscism of Israeli actions anti-Semitism is a way of diverting the topic to not dealing with the reality that Israel is doing to the Palestinians what they wished Hitler didnt do to them. They are abusing their power and should be heavily criticized for it. Dont block my freedom of speech Israel. It is my American right!! You are doing things that are wrong and i will let you know. Maybe one day you will thank me for it.

Jun. 02 2010 11:29 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Has the dear Rabbi ever thought that Israel might want to negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians for a national home for the them?
The illusion is that Israel can go forever while a Palestinians population grows exponentially. Israel will need to have more then half of it’s own population guarding the West bank and Gaza. What a future for any country.

Jun. 02 2010 11:26 AM
a g from nj

"hard to pass judgement" seems like a convenient cop-out clause. passing judgement should not be the only altenative either. the whole intellectual construct of zero sum duality is insane and non-productive for everyone.

Jun. 02 2010 11:26 AM

thomas freidman,
iran syria etc are ruled by tyrants I would not expect them to behave in a civilized manner.

Jun. 02 2010 11:24 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Sally Barber,
I would assume the selection of topics discussed reflect the prerogative of each host and each host, being Jewish, would most likely choose to discuss topics important to Jews. There is also a large Jewish population in the listening area.
That said, the tone of such topics on both shows is troubling including the globally anti-Islamic tone of broadcasts coming over WNYC’s listener and corporate sponsor supported airwaves. The tone would be branded as anti-Semitic if roles were reversed. Also, shows recently seem more intent on provocation and less on information and understanding. This taints the image of WNYC and its corporate sponsors.

Jun. 02 2010 11:23 AM

Egypt is also the second largest recipient of US aid and is under pressure to crush the Palestinians from Israel and the US.

Here's a question for Brian Lehrer and all apologists for Israel atrocities: Can you, Mr. Lehrer, name ONE RIGHT you think Palestinians have?

Jun. 02 2010 11:21 AM
SuzanneNYC from UWS

Whoever he is, he sounds like James Mason. Typical of Brian to find someone extremely rational and moderate to discuss this.

Jun. 02 2010 11:21 AM

sally barber:


Jun. 02 2010 11:20 AM

israel has built a cage for itself.

war without end

Jun. 02 2010 11:20 AM

So criticism of Israel is anti-Semitism. Here we go again. And what do we say of
Noam Chomsky
Richard Goldstone
Norman Finkelstein
Judith Butler
Tony Judt
Naomi Klein
Howard Zinn
Uri Avnery
Tanya Reinhart
Amira Hass
Allison Weir
Philip Weiss
and thousands of others -- all Jewish -- who powerfully criticize Israel and some of whom could be called anti-Zionist, others of whom strongly identify as Zionists.

As for Thomas Friedman: He ignores as usual the FACT that we aren't giving Syria $5 BILLION per year.

Jun. 02 2010 11:19 AM
soubie from NYC

This is ridiculous - now we are all anti-semitic because we want to stop the modern day concentration camp known as Gaza?

It's obvious that the Israelis do not feel safe and I want them to feel safe. I want Israel to be a peaceful country but this has gone so far overboard that people can't look the way anymore. No matter how much the Jewish people have suffered in the past it DOES NOT give you the right to inflict the same type of suffering on others.

News Flash: Stop doing things that make people hate you and people will stop hating you.

Jun. 02 2010 11:19 AM


In this video we only hear gunfire starting at 4min 40sec.

From the start of the video the reporters and those around them are fairly calm and do not show fear, even as the soldiers are descending down(at 1min 30sec), as well as for the 3 minutes that followed,

during which the crowds are trying to beat the Israeli soldiers to death, as other videos show.

The descending soldiers clearly were not expecting such violence, and in other videos they claim that they were carrying painball guns which are used in riot control.

Hamas has beaten to death Palestinians, and Palestinian mobs have previously beaten to death Israeli soldiers.

Jun. 02 2010 11:18 AM
Seth Aaron from Jersey City

And it's not Anti-Semitic to be Anti-Israel.

What does he think about a One-state solution. That is all but ignored by our media.

Jun. 02 2010 11:17 AM
Seth Aaron from Jersey City

Why is this relevant? His argument that Jews need to be less isolated makes sense but it isn't going to happen by forcing this nonsense down our throats.

Anti-Semitism is brought on because we are forced to comply with ALL Israeli policy. The difference between here and Europe is that Europeans actually get FACTS in their news. Here we get AIPAC.

Jun. 02 2010 11:13 AM
Helen from Manhattan

In the USA, we have a definite separation of church and state. So I have issues with Israel being a religous/Jewish state.

Is it possible to disagree with the actions of the state of Israel, without being considered anti-Semitic?

I, by the way, am a Jewish woman.

Jun. 02 2010 11:12 AM

in NYC every synagogue is protect by the NYPD on holidays, is it like that in the UK?

Jun. 02 2010 11:11 AM
Sally Barber from Ridgewood

Over the past few months I have kept a log of all the times Brian and Lenny have had Jewish or Israel related subject matter. Despite only being like 1 or 2% of our population both shows seem to have a disproportionate amount of Jewish related shows. Why?

I have no idea but it is almost daily, especially for Lenny.

Now for this is "Flotilla." Brian and Lenny did NOT cover it yesterday and today it seems they are just throwing AIPAC like pro-Israel PR at us.

It is beyond me why this slaughter is being ignored by the media. Even Rachel Maddow refused to cover it last night. WTF!

Jun. 02 2010 10:43 AM
Michael from long Island

I second bernie from brooklyn remarks.
Why not have someone from the Israeli government try to justify the slaughter of the Turkish civilians on the relief ship going to Gaza.

Jun. 02 2010 10:35 AM
Sally Barber from Ridgewod

Day 2 and Brian nor Leonard are willing to cover Israelis attack on the flotilla. If it ain't pro-Israel they will not cover it.

Jun. 02 2010 10:35 AM
bernie from bklyn

sorry but you're off base....the whole point is that subjects such as this(flotilla issue) should have it's OWN segment. it shouldn't be part of a 'science vs. bunk' segment. the listeners expect this from this show in conjunction with segments like this one w/ the british rabbi. there has been a trend in the production of this show to program segments that i, as a longtime listener, find a bit out of left field. brian's show has always paid attention to the news of the day and leonard's show was more of the magazine type show.
and don't insinuate; my comment wasn't left here for any reason but to voice my general opinion...could've been on the science vs. bunk page also.

Jun. 02 2010 10:04 AM
Alvin from Manhattan

"Bernie", Rabbi Sacks is well-known and highly respected on both sides of the Atlantic, and this is an unusual opportunity to interview him. If you really wanted to criticize the lack of coverage of the flotilla's attempted incursion into Gaza, your comment should be on the "Science vs. Bunk" segment. That one will feature a local author who can easily be re-scheduled, and his subject matter is not particularly time-sensitive. Why did you really place your comment here?

Jun. 02 2010 09:39 AM
bernie from bklyn

i really miss the old producer of the brian lehrer show- i'm sorry to offense intended but the choice of these segments is either misguided and aloof or proof that guests aren't being sought after properly.
e.g.- the chief rabbi of GB? seriously? no coverage in the past 2 days of the flotilla attack near israel and the turkish response? this is important stuff and your listeners expect your show to cover issues such as this. brian, please take over and don't lose touch with your audience. i write this with much respect but a bit of dissappointment lately......

Jun. 02 2010 09:09 AM

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