Thank you for publishing Rabbi Anson Laytner’s essay on dialogue between and among Jews with differing viewpoints regarding Israel and Palestine (“We need to talk,” April 16). It amazes me, as a committed Jew, just how obvious our dislike of Arabs/Palestinians is when our ancient right to eretz Israel is asserted. In fact, some Jews say there are no Palestinians and no Palestine, even.
I don’t understand how a gap this big could develop from a people known, admired and envied for their history of major intellectual accomplishments, achievements and survival against the odds. That’s our story. Why are Jews splitting and factionalized, fearful of stating to each other differing opinions on Israel’s political policies?
I applaud the JTNews for running articles from a wide range of rabbinic and intellectual opinions in the Seattle community. Americans live in a democracy. As Jews and Americans, upholding those “inalienable rights” and having the right to express different opinions are essential to maintaining that democratic standard. As Jews, we must also try to respect and care for one another — especially in times of divisiveness. Many rabbinic quotes can be cited, at the very least the great Rabbi Hillel’s, ”If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?”
That question of the ages remains as relevant today as ever. We must strive to find a middle ground. That is what I will pray for.