Peter Beinart Killing the Messenger; avoiding/ignoring the message we do not want to hear.

Peter Beinart

By Yoram Getzler An article in the June 2010 issue of The New York Review of Books has ignited a full scale debate in the Jewish Zionist world. WHAT DO YOU THINK ?

Much of that debate has chosen to attack the messenger rather than discuss in intelligent adult terms the unpopular and uncomfortable findings that Mr. Beinert brings to our table.

I think this is an old technique to avoid dealing with a difficult problem. It is so understandable; after all, who wants to confront an issue which challenges one beyond our comfort zone and abilities?

Of course we can always kill the messenger / ignore the reality and continue on as before.

It is true that Mr. Beinart brings some unpleasant ideas to the table. Ideas we would rather not hear, know or think about. Then in attempting to understand and explain them Beinart makes statements that frighten and insult many Zionists. So lets smash the mirror and return to the comfortable assumptions of the past.

If you do not ask questions, you will not get answers that make you uncomfortable, that you do not like. This is also a process that inhibits learning and changing. Both of which can develop as a result of answers to difficult questions arising from concerns or observations.

So, somebody, dafka, a Republicans wanted to know what the young generation of American Jews thought and felt about Israel. Why dafka a Republicans? Could be in pursuit of the Jewish vote in future elections? Who cares, I am not a Republican but I am interested in the question, which I consider critical to our future, as Americans and as Israelis.

That our policies visa-a-vi the Arab residents of the areas we conquered in the 1967 Six Day War (of defense) are offensive to most of the world is not news. It is also well known that there are Israelis, young & old who also object. The idea that diaspora Jews, young and not-so-young are uncomfortable is not a surprise. So maybe one of the real question should be; should we adopt policies that might endanger the state in order to satisfy those who are unhappy and alienated? I think the answer is clearly NO. However it may be that there are efforts we can make, statements we can refrain from making,..

Are there policies that we could safely peruse that would mitigate the negative perceptions. Can Peter Beinart’s essay stimulate a potentially creative and fruitful conversation that we could engage in that might have a positive outcome? NOT if we reject it out of hand because we disagree with its basic premise or with the political affiliation of the author.

Is there something useful we could learn from the article and its insights?

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