Steven Nadler in the New York Times:
In February of 1927, the historian Joseph Klausner stood before an audience at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and delivered a lecture on the “Jewish character” of Baruch Spinoza’s philosophy. As he neared the end of his talk, Klausner dropped the usual academic idiom and, with great passion, announced his intention to bring Spinoza, excommunicated in 1656 by the Portuguese-Jewish community in Amsterdam, back into the Jewish fold. “To Spinoza the Jew,” he declared: “The ban is nullified! The sin of Judaism against you is removed and your offense against her atoned for. You are our brother! You are our brother! You are our brother!”
Klausner’s theatrical performance was the first of several efforts in the 20th century to revoke Spinoza’s excommunication. No less an eminence than David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, publicly argued for “amending the injustice” done to the philosopher, insisting that the 17th-century rabbis had no authority “to exclude the immortal Spinoza from the community of Israel for all time.”
All these efforts were unsuccessful (not to mention unauthorized). Unlike most of the bans issued by the Amsterdam Portuguese in that period, the ban on Spinoza was never rescinded. In fact, in 1957, Rabbi Solomon Rodrigues Pereira of Amsterdam even reaffirmed the excommunication. Like Galileo, disciplined by the Roman Catholic Church just two decades before him, Spinoza has gone down as one of history’s great thinkers punished by intolerant ecclesiastic authorities for his intellectual boldness.