How do we de-escalate the hostility in our discussions about Israel?
Please note that due to demand, only one ticket is available per person
Can the British Jewish community ever have constructive conversations about Israel, or is the current fragmentation and polarisation playing out in communal discourse unavoidable?
Many people feel that the way differences of opinion in our community over Israel are played out publicly are more damaging than ever before, and that we risk alienating large sections of the community, especially younger generations, if we can’t find ways to have civil debate and “disagreements for the sake of heaven”. Others argue that the differences between us are no more extreme than in previous generations, although perhaps social media amplifies the anger and enables division. And there are still those who feel that this is just another fuss about nothing, that it’s our duty as Jews to speak with one voice when it comes to supporting Israel, and that there can be no room for public dissent.
What impact is the current style of disagreement and debate on the Jewish community, and especially the younger generations? Is it healthy to air our differences, or damaging to a community where many already feel under external threat? And does the use of “good Jew”, “bad Jew” tropes simply play into the hands of antisemites outside of our community, or should there be red lines that are enforced somehow?
Is Sir Mick Davis right to warn, as he has on his widely shared front page Jewish News opinion piece this week, that: “Jewish discourse around Israel has never been more polarised, vicious or impoverished. The damage this could do to Jewish communities, our confidence in our values, our long-term viability and the long-term viability of Zionism – and with it the state of Israel – is an existential threat.”?
Or do you agree with Rabbi Schochet’s criticism of communal leaders who spoke up against at the level of abuse directed at attendees of “Kaddish for Gaza”, writing of them in the Jewish Weekly: “The irony is, such supposed leaders are not part of the solution, they are an integral part of the problem…”.
And what do you make of Dr Edie Friedman’s assertion in this week’s Jewish Chronicle that: “Dissent, disagreements and debate have always been cornerstones of our tradition – would we really want it any other way?”?
In response to the current tensions being played out publicly over our differences on Israel, JW3 and UJIA invite you to join us for a calm, thoughtful conversation about how we talk about Israel civily, even if we don’t agree with each other. This is explicitly not a discussion about Israel, or the policies of the Israeli government, or the rights or wrongs of any aspect of the current Israel-Palestine conflict. This is not a discussion about politics, rather about how we deal with dissent, disagreement and differences of opinion; and what, if at all, is the responsibility of communal leaders, and of every member of the Jewish community?
We have invited a panel of leaders from across the community, who themselves have differing views of Israel, and of how British-Jews should act when they disagree with Israeli government policies or actions. They will be representing only their personal viewpoints, and their role is to help frame the conversation and trigger the discussion to which everyone in the audience will be invited to contribute, “town hall”/ Question Time style. We are honoured that highly respected QC, Henry Grunwald OBE, has agreed to moderate the evening’s proceedings.
The panel will feature:
Henry Grunwald QC, OBE
Please note that this is a free event, and tickets must be pre-booked via this page, or directly from the JW3 Box Office. Tickets will be limited to one per person, and are not transferable.
Add to Calendar 17/07/2018 19:00:00 17/07/2018 19:00:00 CEASEFIRE! Click here to book Please note that due to demand, only one ticket is available per person Can the British Jewish community ever have constructive conversations about Israel, or is the current fragmentation and polarisation playing out in communal discourse unavoidable? JW3 JW3 DD/MM/YYYY