While I agree with Martin Raffel’s “Are liberals a lost cause?”
(Nov. 14), he makes two critical errors that render his conclusion of being more tolerant erroneous.
First is the fact that a “friend” who gives support to a mortal enemy is not a friend to be tolerated. The stated goal of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement (BDS) is the dismantling of the Zionist state. Groups that join these Israel haters believing they are serving a noble cause of helping the downtrodden Palestinians are only fooling themselves and endangering the Jewish people.
The best approach to these type of friendly opponents is to point out their fallacious arguments, misreading of history, as well as how their actions are serving our true enemies in the conflict. We should not search for the positives in their approaches.
The second error is the implication that we American Jews, especially we liberal Jews, think we have the right or moral responsibility to publicly criticize everything we dislike about Israel. Once we give a donation and vote for pro-Israel candidates, we think we can protest the wrongs of Israeli society: the religious, the conservative parties, the treatment of Israeli Arabs, etc. Who ever heard of such a case? Israel is a democracy. Its citizens get to vote for their government, and make the decisions that may put their children in harm’s way.
When you disagree with policy you should respectfully approach the leaders, write letters to people who live there, explain your arguments, and try as an outsider to influence them.
Let us not forget that “Zionism” is nothing more than the desire of the Jewish people to have a homeland free of the many enemies who have tried, and continue to try, for centuries to destroy us.
Let us engage the American political left, point out the errors in their arguments, but not pander to them.