A small group of British Jewish academics has launched a new digital platform, jewthink.org, which they say is an effort to provide an opportunity for “diverse voices” who have something to say, but who are not currently being heard in existing Jewish media.
Two of the men behind the initiative, Nathan Abrams and Keith Kahn-Harris, were due to host an open forum at JW3 in March, before lockdown meant the cancellation of the meeting. The plan then was to discuss “the relationship between the ‘mainstream’ Jewish community, Jewish academics and the Jewish cultural sector”.
The discussion was due to take place in the wake of the closure of the Jewish Quarterly magazine.
Instead, because of lockdown, it has been decided to begin Jewthink, whose launch announcement says it is not in competition with any of the three main Jewish papers — the JC, the Jewish News, and the Jewish Telegraph — but that a “rule of thumb” should be whether or not the contributor could not get their offering published in UK Jewish media.
Nathan Abrams, professor of film at Bangor University, said: “The start up costs were minimal and we are relying on goodwill at present. Many people have come forward to offer content already”.
He added that “in the medium to longer term, we will be looking for ways to generate capital either through sponsorship or advertising, but that is all to be decided”.
Jewthink, he said, would not be news-led, and all material would be reviewed by an editorial team before publishing. While the platform would be open to all shades of political opinion, “we will not tolerate abusiveness and factional attempts to delegitimise other Jews.
“We note that angry and divisive debates over the emotive issues of Israel and antisemitism are common in both Jewish and non-Jewish publications. JewThink seeks to encourage a different kind of conversation. We will challenge contributors to ‘tell us something we didn’t know’; to find fresh angles and fresh ways of telling them”.