Dr. Alex Sinclair is undoubtedly correct that there are things that diaspora Jewry and Israeli Jewry can learn from each other (“Space for critiques of Israel opens essential two-way street,” November 8). But in the wake of the Pew Research survey report on American Jews, perhaps Dr. Sinclair could have been more modest in his assessment of his own community when he writes that “Israeli Jews need to be exposed to the remarkable, inspiring experience of American Judaism.”
Dr. Sinclair’s lack of humility is even more disturbing when it comes to his view that diaspora Jews ought to be encouraged to develop a “passionate, angry, caring critique” of Israel’s attitude in peace talks with the Palestinians. Yes, we have First Amendment rights to express our views. I am not advocating censorship of Jews, or anyone else, who criticize Israeli foreign policy and security policy. That is their right. But our sisters and brothers in the land of Israel live in a perilous region during an extremely threatening time. Their lives are on the line. It is easy for us to criticize, but they must live – or die – with the consequences of their decisions. Their children, not ours, must go into battle to defend their lives. Given these obvious facts, it would be better for those of us who truly care to exhibit more discretion and more modesty before we decide to vocally critique Israel’s security and foreign policy decisions with passion or anger.