Sunday, December 29, 2013

In dialogue with J Street

On October 20, I participated in a dialogue event at Congregation B'nai Shalom in Walnut Creek. The synagogue's Israel Engagement Committee invited me to discuss issues relating to Israel with the Northwest Regional Director of J Street, Gordon Gladstone.

The event was intended to be a model of civil discourse in which our different perspectives could be aired but in a fashion that respected both each other and the audience. This built upon the recent Year of Civil Discourse initiative in the Bay Area. I participated in that effort, believing that this is an important principle in discussions among supporters of Israel, the state of the Jewish people.  There were disagreements between us, and I hope that I highlighted them well. But it's also important to recognize that those differences--while important-- are minimal compared to those between both of us on the one hand, and anti-Israel groups (such as Jewish Voice for Peace and Students for Justice in Palestine) on the other.

One correction after the fact: I misspoke in stating that AIPAC supports candidates as well as legislation. As a long time AIPAC member, I know that AIPAC does support legislation but neither rates nor endorses candidates!

(The video and sound were taken from the synagogue's webcam. You might need headphones.)

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