Friday, June 24, 2011

“The world rests on three things: justice, truth, and peace" (Avot 1:18)

What a peaceful world it might be, if even in the face of opposing view points, without politicing…people rested their arguments on the topic at hand in a direct and respectful manner. More often than not, reasonable people could find reasonable solutions. One need only regard the nightly news to find sensationalizing of current events, false analogies and character assasinations that all but completely veil the original and true concerns.

Consider recent political news: A new flotilla of Pro Palestienian activists is ready to set sail and try to break through Israel’s navel blockade. Brg. Gen. Yoav Mordechai has said on Israel Radio, “There is an unequivocal directive from the government to enforce the navel blockade that is recognized by international law, and we will not allow it to be broken.” News of the proposed fotilla comes nearly a year after the flotilla, where nine were killed, and Israel has already warned of a potential use of force, yet activist set to participate still insist on refering to themselves as “peace activists”. Is there really any doubt as to their true agenda?

Further, consider the proposed ban on circumsision in San Fransisco. Is it really about children’s rights, as ‘intactavists’ claim or is it a ban intent on hindering the practice of Judasim? The writer of the proposed ban in SF, Mathew Hess, is also the author of the notoriuosly anti-semetic comic “Foreskin Man”, which has been sited by the Anti Defefamation League for “gross Anti- Semetic imagery and themes.” ADL Associates representative Nancy Appel has been quoted as saying, “This is an advocacy campain taken to a new low. It is one thing to to debate it, it is another thing to degrade it. This reaches a new low and is disrespectful and deeply offensive.”

When did it become good debate or quality discussion to disparage and degrade one’s opponent? I cannot help but think that these types of tactics betray not only an argument without substance, but often an agenda and are acts of hatred. “Tale-bearing and unkind insinuations are proscribed, as is hatred of one's brother in one's heart (Lev. 19:17).”

At worst, humans fall prey to particpating in this, inadvertantly or not. At best, we can guard against it and demand facts, direct sources, and laws in support of a position, rather than emotion and hearsay. We have to trust each other with the truth and the ability to make democratic decisions. The facts should not be eclipsed or silenced by retoric. It’s okay to ‘fight’, but fighting fairly and ethically is paramount. “The reputation of a fellow man is sacred.” (Ex. 21:1).

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