Following my talk last week at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government on Israel/Palestine, leading American Jewish blogger Phil Weiss adds a few reflective comments of his own, especially in relation to convincing like-minded Jews to speak out against Israeli crimes:
Loewenstein is reflecting the problem that I have with the idea of dialogue. How much information do people need? They get the information again and again, about Palestinian human rights abuses, and they do nothing; still, they want to have dialogue about it. Zach Wales, a former Columbia student, once explained this to me–that these people seek a private means of atoning, and doing nothing, even as they gather “more information.” (In the information age, that’s what we always need!)
It is for a similar reason that I said the other day that I do not think that progressives on this issue should truck with the Jewish community. Richard Witty promptly said it was like shunning the U.S. government. The U.S. government is powerful, and official. The Jewish community tends to be locked into denial. It’s just not very useful to be spending a lot of time working with that community when you could be building bridges elsewhere. Though I’m not for shunning; I feel engaged with the Jewish community. But I don’t particularly wish to talk about this stuff with my Jewish friends and relations.