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No to criticism
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No to criticism

There are old Jewish teachings about lashon hara (speaking evil) and shande fur die goyim (a shame for the gentiles). Both should be taken into consideration when wondering how we, the Diaspora, should act in accordance to Israel (“Cheerleaders — or partners?” May 8).

Is your “criticism” really going to make a difference and thus help Israel; or is it merely going to join the chorus of anti-Israel sentiment, and, as it is being done by a Jew, to give a hechsher to what is, outside our community, mostly hidden anti-Semitism?

The venue is also important. Are you speaking to Israeli leaders? People who can actually make a difference? Most often the answer is no. You’re usually speaking to Americans (many already confused on the overall righteousness of Israel) or to the non-Jewish public in your publications or social media. Again, the answer then should be no.

It’s common wisdom that it is more often better to be wise than right. This is especially true when your self-righteousness could end up getting you and the rest of your fellow Jews killed.
If you want to be “partners,” then please, move to Israel; buy in! Live and die with those you feel you are “partners” and wish to control. But if you’re not going to make aliya, then help your fellow Jews and be an advocate, or in the author’s words, a “cheerleader.”

If both of the above fail, follow the brilliant advice of your mother: If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

Gideon Jones
Los Angeles

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