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Sundown: NYT On The Jews. Discuss.

Plus the Jordan Riverbed, and more

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The Jordan River.(Flickr)

• Four people have probably already emailed this to you, but the Times reports on the Israel-related disconnect between American Jews and American-Jewish institutional leaders. The article fails to mention J Street, though. Just kidding! [NYT]

• In a similar vein, J.J. Goldberg argues that the silent majority of American Jews is getting drowned out. [Haaretz]

• An environmental group warns that the stretch of the Jordan River from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea is in danger of drying out. Between Israel, Jordan, and Syria, 98 percent of river water is diverted. [JTA]

• Yuri Foreman: The ESPN profile. [ESPN]

• Prime KO, a Japanese joint on the Upper West Side “where kosher aspires to be cool,” opens. [City Room]

• Jewish Funds for Justice, which initiated a Gulf Coast charity after Hurricane Katrina, is asking for donations related to the oil spill. [Jewish Funds for Justice]

Check out Deputy Editor Gabe Sanders’s interview with Chilean-American author Ariel Dorfman from the PEN festival.

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fw says:

I don’t disagree entirely with J.J. Goldberg’s plaint, but I think he glosses over a few issues. First, he implicitly equates social activism with a progressive political stance. What he sees as apathy may, however, be a perfectly legitimate reaction to Arab rejectionism. Two offers of peace, from two Israeli prime ministers, were rebuffed by two Palestinian leaders, whose professed interest in a negotiated solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict we had previously taken at face value. And we got slapped in the face for it. Add to that the two wars that followed Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and Lebanon, and the instinct to throw up ones hands in frustration and despair is understandable. It may not be acceptable to the paladins of left wing politics, but it’s not indifference or complacency. It’s a choice, whether or not you agree with it.

Second, just as Lee Smith describes a worldview that sees Middle East politics exclusively through the lens of the Arab-Israel issue, so too is there concomitant tendency to look at all politics through the prism of the Middle East conflict. In fact, there are many outlets for social activism, even Jewish social activism, and our leading role in championing the policies of Barack Obama is evidence of strong political engagement, of the kind to which I would imagine Goldberg is favorably disposed.

Again, I share his frustration in a lot of ways, but ultimately, Israel is going to step up the plate again, because it will have no choice, and we’ll just have to see if the third time’s the charm. I hope so.

But I do wonder if the anger and calls for action on the part of Jews of goodwill to overcome our self-created obstacles of paranoia and reaction doesn’t mask a deeper, more profound fear that our desire for peace, which is ultimately a desire for acceptance, our deepest longing, will be met with refusal. If we can keep telling ourselves its our own fault, we can hold out hope for acceptance. But maybe that acceptance just won’t be forthcoming. And maybe there is nothing we can do about that fact.

max says:

In reply to FW. I can tell you that the Moslems will never accept the presence of a Jewish country in the middle east. They may, on the other hand come to the conclusion, like Jordan and Egypt did, that Israel is too strong to defeat militarily and we will make peace. That does not mean that they like us, or if Israel shows signs of weakness that they will not try and destroy us. It’s not an ideal situation, but that is the reality.

fw says:

Max, I’m sure you’re right, and would add that peace between any two formerly warring parties is probably never a matter of choice, but of accommodating reality.

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Sundown: NYT On The Jews. Discuss.

Plus the Jordan Riverbed, and more

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