Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Respecting our Diversity

Among the teachings of Ben Zoma in Pirkei Avot is the oft quoted "Eizo hu mekhubad? Ha-Mekhabbed et ha-bri'ot Who is Honored? The one who honors others." Kavod - honor - is to be given to friend and rival alike.

Recently I was disappointed to learn that Rabbis for Human Rights, an organization for which I have had great hope and affinity, launched a public campaign to attack the Jewish National Fund regarding a specific  real estate conflict in Silwan, the City of David in Jerusalem.  Admittedly, any conflict in Silwan is going to have multiple layers of tension and agitation.  It is precisely the area that I would expect RHR to examine, and perhaps be active.

I am not convinced of the injustice claimed by RHR in this case, but wiser voices than mine are disputing it.  My complaint, and it has profoundly shaken my enthusiasm for RHR, is that they attacked a cornerstone organization of Zionism without a courtesy call. Where was the polite inquiry on behalf of the family as advocate?  Where was the conversation between RHR and JNF before going to the papers? It seems clear to me that the "splash in public" on this issue was the main goal of RHR.  The call to publicity, rather than relationship, bodes ill for our people. It may be good for fundraising from their base, but it is not the ethical approach which I would have expected from a human rights organization.  More's the pity.

There is a strident arrogant tone afoot in many of our strongest institutions today.  This must be tempered and replaced with clear attempts at common cause.  Again, we seek unity over uniformity.  Justice would be better served in quiet kavod than shrill or triumphant shouting.  We are all on the same team.

No comments:

Post a Comment