Monday, February 7, 2011

A Plea for Radical Moderation

I don't support the Jewish Voice for Peace.

Their call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions is misled and will harm Israel and the cause of peace. Their grouping of the occupation with bigotry is a gross oversimplification of the myriad of factors which play into both.

But I also don't support the childish and shocking antics of whomever, this morning, decided to place a "wanted" sign on the JVP Los Angeles chapter leader's front porch. The sign accused JVP chapter leader Estee Chandler of treason, consorting with anti-semites, and inciting further violence against the State of Israel. The sign ends by mentioning Ms. Chandler's niece and nephew. By name.

Evidently, this is the tone of the Israel debate in America in February 2011. That someone would go to the point of intimidation and trespassing to stifle debate speaks to the desperation of those responsible and those who support them.

But there is a bigger picture. While JVP and the center-left pro-Israel camp are quite distinct, such actions have a chilling effect across the spectrum. Today's attack is an attack on the moderate majority of Israel supporters, left right, and center. It is clear and undeniable.

And it is unacceptable.

Our moderate community of Israel supporters is held hostage by those on the radical fringes, left and right, who would rather engage in petty frat-boy antics like today's "wanted" sign than engage in a problem where human lives are at stake. All the hours and money we spend fighting with each other about who is more harmful to Israel could be better spent fighting the immediate threat of physical harm which those who live in the Israel and the Palestinian territories face every day.

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