September 11th: A Familial Debate on Israel Relations

cbi0916For we who love Israel, there are differences of opinion: In the coming American elections, how much should Jews choose the candidate based on his or her positions on Israel? Are settlements justifiable or a barrier to a two-state solution? Should American Jews voice their concerns publicly about the Netanyahu government? When Black Lives Matters movement states that Israel is an apartheid State, what should be the American-Jewish response?
Two Jews, three opinions is a popular Jewish saying. We like to debate. The Talmud, a core traditional text, is an expansive debate on Jewish law. And yet, there is all too often too little public debate in the Jewish community on Israel due to the intensity of the emotions. On September 11th at Congregation B’nai Israel of Tustin, two of our people’s preeminent thinkers will speak candidly about the issues that matter to us as American Jews. Danny Gordis and Peter Beinart, represent the right and left of center in communal positions. They have the ability to express themselves sharply and yet with civility and mutual respect. This is not the first time that the two have squared off. Their last debate drew over a thousand people in Toronto.
Peter Beinart is an associate professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York and is a prominent voice in challenging the American Jewish establishment’s support of Israeli government policies. He is the former editor of The New Republic, a senior columnist at Haaretz, a CNN political commentator, a contributor to numerous newspapers, and a frequent guest on Sunday morning news shows.
Dr. Daniel Gordis is Senior Vice President and the Koret Distinguished Fellow at Shalem College in Jerusalem. Gordis claims that those on the Left of the political spectrum do not have adequate answers to the security questions that emerge from a potential Israeli withdrawal. As a regular columnist for the Jerusalem Post and for Bloomberg View, he repeatedly asks what would prevent a Hamas takeover of the areas now controlled by the Palestinian Authority, and what if the Palestinians in the street are not committed to peace.
Barbara and Joseph Baim and The Roslyn and Joseph Baim Family Foundation are sponsoring the event on September 11th. “We felt that we wanted to bring this program to our community because it is a way of engaging a wide cross section of people in this important topic,” Joe explained. “I believe that bringing the highest quality speakers to Orange County is good for the whole community – Jews of all denominations, all ages, all political philosophies.”
“People have different ways of affiliating with the Jewish community,” Barbara added. “We feel it is vital for everyone to find their own way of connecting to Israel and to Judaism.”
The entire community is invited to attend. Rabbi Spitz will moderate the debate, which will begin at 7 p.m. For additional information, contact Congregation B’nai Israel at (714) 730-9693. Tickets are available at www.cbi18.org.

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