In this week’s C.Ha, an email newsletter for Jewish tweens and teens published by Torah Aura Productions, which I edit, I’ve included several articles related to the increasing differences arising in the American Jewish community on the relationship and role of American Jews with Israel, the limits (if any) of responsible criticism, and how all this plays out in relation to the war in Iraq, what might happen with Iran, and all the brou-ha-ha surrounding AIPAC.
George Soros’ piece in the NY Review of Books "On Israel, America, and AIPAC" has stirred as much controversy as the paper "Progressive Jewish Thought and the New Anti-Semitism" published last December by the AJC.
I also included a Ron Kampeas article from JTA regarding the timidity of organizational American Jewry to speak out against the war in Iraq.
Then for just the hint of perfect irony, a reference to Shimon Peres’ recent pronouncement to the settlers in Hebron that peace may ultimately be more important than holding on to Hebron. (He said he’d rather see them living in Kiryat Arba anyway.)
About the Peres piece, I asked readers: "What would our ancestors, our prophets, our rulers do? What do Torah and Judaism teach us about this situation? Should we give up a Jewish presence in Hebron for the cause of peace?"
About the Soros piece, I asked readers: "Criticism of AIPAC is part of the wider debate in the American Jewish community regarding the relationship between Israel and America’s Jews. Is criticism of AIPAC by Jews appropriate? Does AIPAC’s influence with the Bush administration play into the hands of anti-Semites who see Jewish conspiracies everywhere? What are an American Jew’s obligations when it comes to support and criticism of Israel? Is there a tipping point where American Jewish criticism of AIPAC simply plays into the hands of Israel’s enemies and anti-Semites?"
About the Kampeas piece, I asked readers: "It’s another complicated piece of the American Jewry and Israel discussion. Should support for Israel and tough stances against Iran and other threats to Israel by the Bush administration overweigh Isaiah’s prophetic call to beat swords in plowshares?"
I ask you, dear readers, the same questions. I ask myself, as well. Not sure I have all the answers.