In these tough times, I want to share with you a few thoughts that give me hope and that, I believe, will give you hope as well.
President Obama is speaking our language of linking Jewish values to the quest for peace. In recent days, President Obama has shifted, in a very positive way, his discourse on Israel-Palestine. Today, he is speaking OUR language – a language that directly connects core progressive Jewish values (OUR values) like democracy, pluralism, equality, tolerance, and peace – with the imperative to achieve a two-state solution that resolves the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He juxtaposes these values with the pernicious policies and practices of Netanyahu and his government(s) – policies and practices that promote not democracy but proto-fascism; not pluralism but racism and divisiveness; not equality but discrimination; not tolerance, but bigotry; not peace, but, rather, ever-deepening occupation. By shifting to a values-focused discourse, President Obama is today eloquently articulating the strong bond between core American values and progressive Jewish values, and expressing his frustration – and the frustration that exists equally in the hearts of most American Jews – with the growing gap between these values and those that are increasingly manifesting themselves in Israeli public life.