Friends of Israel In Short Demand

November 24, 2016 22:57

I have been reading with interest many of the blogs on the JC and have grown increasingly dismayed with the level of debate and what appears to be divisive arguments and petty point scoring between many of the people who regularly post comments on these blogs. In my opinion these do not reflect well on either the JC or the Jewish community.

I am not sure that most of the blog postings on the JC represent the views of the majority of British Jews. It is my belief that most British Jews support the state of Israel and would sincerely like to see a peaceful solution with concessions made on both sides. However I have reservations about the route Israel has taken in its treatment of the Arab population within the West Bank and Gaza. The introduction of the Conversion Bill and it subsequent debate are particularly worrying in its potential to split Israel from the more progressive sections of Diaspora that love Israel equally dearly and cherishes the right of return despite not being part of Orthodox Judaism. Israel needs strong allies and support from the Diaspora, and this bill, if passed, will not shore up this support. The bill proposing an oath of allegiance for non-Jewish citizens of Israel can only increase divisions within Israeli society and lead to those who are not Jewish feeling more excluded from Israeli society. Therefore to support Israel without examination of its policies and occasional criticism is impossible for me.

I also feel strongly that the blame, obviously, cannot be laid exclusively at Israel’s door. As a supporter of Israel it frustrates me daily that Israel is continually blamed for various incidents and for being intransigent over the peace process when it is equally apparent that many in the wider Arab world use the conflict and the plight of the Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank as a tool to get Western support and to attack Israel without a thought or care for those living in these locations. I also wish that more people in the US/Europe would take a keener interest in the situation in the Middle East and actually read the facts, the history and look past the often biased and highly emotive mainstream media reports.

These are my personal opinions; however they are not the main point of my post. The point of my post is that I see myself as an average British, Jewish man, I am not deeply observant and when it comes to Israel and the Middle East I am not possessed of an enormous wealth of knowledge however I do try to keep up to date on Israeli news and read a variety of sources to keep me informed. The point of my blog is that I feel that as someone who is part of the mainstream and not from either extreme of the spectrum of views that the JC blogs comment boards are not for me. I read the blogs daily with a mix of horror and fascination at the comments I find on there. It appears that the moment anyone questions the actions of Israel they are deemed to either be anti-Semitic or a self-hating Jew. Others are attacked for writing behind pseudonyms – however can you blame anyone for writing behind a pseudonym on here? If this is the virtual abuse they receive for expressing an opinion, I imagine that most people would be quite worried about printing their actual name on the site.

Don’t get me wrong I am not here to support those who wish to stir up hatred and trouble, all I am asking for is a little more understanding, respect and give and take on the JC blogs so that more people will feel able to contribute to the debate without feeling that it is the preserve of a few extreme people (from both sides) who monopolise the comment boards with their constant sniping and baiting of each other. I prevaricated about posting this because I was worried about the reaction it would receive however I decided that I would rather potentially suffer the comments and insults to get my point across that the average person probably feels excluded from commenting on the JC blogs due to the strength of response many comment engender. Everyone has their views and variety is the spice of life but maybe if people moderate the tone of their own comments and are slightly more respectful of each other I will be able to read and participate in some healthy debates as opposed to feeling like I am reading the written equivalent of a car crash.”

Extremism just leads to more extremism and what Israel needs is some positive PR and support from the diaspora not anti jewish anti zionist or anti anything else.

November 24, 2016 22:57

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