Israel is not a partisan issue

Israel is not a partisan issue

Jeffrey Kigner’s attack on Tom Malinowski is misguided and wrong (Letters to the Editor, “Malinowski misleads,” Sept. 6). Kigner’s letter is factually wrong regarding Malinowski’s position on Israel, and makes the terrible mistake of turning support for Israel into a partisan campaign issue. The American-Jewish community has scrupulously avoided politicizing U.S. support for Israel, and for very good reasons.

The best example of this is AIPAC, which takes great pains to be bipartisan. They do this out of the compelling conviction that strong bilateral relations between the U.S and Israel are consistent with America’s strategic and moral interests — not Republican or Democratic, American. A broad spectrum of political views agreeing upon a rock-solid commitment to the security and well-being of Israel is the best proof that the U.S.-Israel relationship transcends our political differences. Shame on any American Jew who tries to turn Israel into a wedge issue.

American Zionism is pluralistic; in this way it mirrors the Israeli political landscape. Bona fide lovers of Israel can reasonably and legitimately express that love through different political philosophies and social visions. That’s the beauty of democracy. We don’t have to agree. In fact, Jewish tradition has always placed a high value on a culture of respectful disagreement as a tool in service of the quest for truth.

How fortunate are we in the 7th Congressional district that we get to choose between two candidates who are supporters of Israel? Maligning Tom Malinowski as being somehow disloyal to Israel is a distortion of the truth and frankly absurd considering how many prominent rabbis — among them leading Zionists — are supporting his candidacy. Among them are leaders of AIPAC and great champions for the cause of Israel in many other ways.

The last thing the American-Jewish community needs is for those in the Zionist camp to seek to delegitimize one another. There are plenty of real enemies of Zion without our labeling our own as such. Only those who negate the legitimacy of Israel’s existence deserve to be so labeled. Among the rest of us, let the debate go on, just as it does in Israel where the right and the left seem to be able to disagree without demonizing the other. 

Temple Beth-El, Hillsborough

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