Thursday, January 27, 2011

Two Jews, and how many opinions?

I like the old saying that whenever two Jews come together, you have three points of view. However, I haven’t experienced that process at TBS when it comes to the issue of the Israeli government’s policies on the Palestinian question. My experience has been that it’s difficult and awkward to bring up points that counter official government policies. Perhaps that’s only a reflection of my own insecurities, but I wonder if it may be a more widespread experience.

So I’m writing this blog post to find out how TBS members would feel about hearing other points of view from our various guest speakers and forums. For example, the Israeli media is widely and justifiably praised for presenting all viewpoints on the volatile issue of I/P (settlements, Gaza, statehood, etc.), but it’s rare to hear anything apart from unconditional support for Israel’s policies in the American media. A recent local attempt to host a respected speaker for the so-called peace perspective was cancelled at the last minute (when Newton’s Temple Avodah abruptly disinvited the head of J Street).

That sort of action is very troublesome. I would love to hear the J Street perspective on these issues as a complement to the AIPAC view that we are so often presented with. I’d love to hear a Palestinian or Muslim perspective on current events – for example, this year’s impressive Yom Kippur Colloquy speaker should be invited back to talk about, well, anything he’d like. I’d be curious to know what the spectrum of opinions is among TBS members – a membership survey would be fascinating, asking how many of us support settlement expansion, how many think recent actions might be illegal, how many want to extend the security wall, etc.

After all, at times the world seems nearly united in opposition to Israeli government policies. How divided is American Jewish opinion? What do TBS members think? I’d be surprised if, unlike the proverbial two Jews, we have only one opinion.

1 comment:

  1. Better question, "One Jew, how many opinions?" Shabbat shalom!