A teachable moment for American Jews
You will recall that I reported on Thursday that the 'Palestinians' are objecting to reconfiguring the area around the Kotel (Western Wall) to allow for an 'egalitarian
' prayer area. Evelyn Gordon has a great idea to make this a teachable moment
for American Jews.
[I]deally, I’d like every Reform or Conservative congregation in
America to discuss this question with its membership–for two reasons.
One is that the new egalitarian section seems to matter more to
American Jews than to Israelis, since Israel’s Reform and Conservative
movements are so much smaller (about 7 percent
of all Israeli Jews). Therefore, it’s only fair to get their input
before making any decision. The more important reason, however, is that
this could provide a genuine teachable moment in the kind of trade-offs
Israelis face every day in dealing with the Palestinians, to which
liberal American Jews–i.e. the majority of the American Jewish
community–have lately grown increasingly unsympathetic.
Most liberal American Jews have two
main demands of Israel: They want it to recognize the non-Orthodox
denominations, and they want it to make peace with the Palestinians,
right now. The latter demand isn’t confined to fringe anti-Israel
activists; it’s routinely voiced by long-time Israel supporters like Rabbi Eric Yoffie or Leon Wieseltier.
So I’d like all these Jews to seriously consider this question: When
these two primary demands conflict, what do you do–capitulate to the PA
in the interests of “peace” and give up on being able to pray at the
Western Wall in your own fashion, or insist on your rights at the Wall
at the cost of further antagonizing the Palestinians, for whom
modifications of the Western Wall Plaza are no less objectionable than
new outposts in the heart of the West Bank?
Dilemmas no less wrenching confront Israel every day in dealing with
the Palestinians, but because they don’t affect American Jews directly,
the latter are often too quick to accuse Israel of being intransigent
over a trivial point it should just concede in the name of peace. They
deplore Israel’s refusal to agree to a border roughly along the 1967
lines, not understanding the enormous security risks this creates; they
deplore Israel’s refusal to release murderers to woo
the Palestinians to the negotiating table, not understanding the major
role freed prisoners have repeatedly played in fomenting new terrorism;
they deplore Israel’s reluctance to redivide Jerusalem, not
understanding how unlikely it is that the city would remain open
afterward, or how devastating a repartition would therefore be.
Read the whole thing
. She's spot-on.
Labels: Conservative rabbis, Kotel plaza, Palestinians, Temple Mount, Union for Reform Judaism, Western Wall, Women of the Wall