A problem in blogging is the need to imagine every insight is unique and indispensable. Nothing could be further from reality. To read, think, reflect and learn is more personally satisfying than trying to knock heads with others that do not care for any views besides their own, mockingly so, based on narrow agendas, paying lip service to toleration of others, yet adopting the fundamental approach of us versus them.
All of which brings me to this post. Peter A. Joseph is chairman of the Israel Policy Forum, a think tank that supports responsible U.S. diplomacy to achieve a sustainable, negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Joseph wrote an op-ed a couple of days ago that captures some of what I've expressed above. His subject matter was the boundaries dividing American Jewish opinion on Israel, and its policies regarding Palestinians. He says:
In truth, American Jewish advocacy, like Israel’s political realities, is complex and cannot be addressed effectively through sound bites. But that is exactly what voices on the fringes have offered as their efforts have been directed at rallying political bases rather than advancing reasoned policy concepts. Instead of staking out principled, nuanced positions that reflect an understanding of competing narratives, both sides have adopted an oversimplified rhetoric that feeds fierce debate in the American Jewish community and shrinks political space for pragmatic policy.
Ironically, while the American Jewish left is more vocal than ever, it also has become more irrelevant. While correctly promoting the idea that there is not only one way to be pro-Israel, the left has joined with the right to fuel a with-us-or-against-us paradigm that has resulted in the highly charged debate. The left’s vocal and consistent condemnation of the Israeli government, as well as its lack of sensitivity to Israeli public opinion, has significantly undermined its pro-Israel claims. Consequently, it has never been more politically expedient for politicians and community leaders to disassociate from liberal Zionists.
The American Jewish right shares equal blame. It has sought to capitalize on the left’s failings, seeking to turn Israel into a partisan tool that can be wielded against President Obama and undermining bipartisan consensus support for the Jewish state. Faced with a choice, many organizations, community leaders and politicians quite naturally align themselves with the right, lest they risk alienation from a comfort zone of support for Israel. Others are disengaging from Israel advocacy altogether to avoid the seemingly endless debates that often resemble a dog chasing its own tail.Similar divides extend into political discourse between activists. This helps illustrate why knowledge and durable solutions often are beyond grasp of activists. So long as the divisive mind set predominates, which denies the existence of any other truth besides one's own, the path to obtain a secure environment where humans take precedence over ideologies will be much longer and rockier than might otherwise be experienced.