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2016-11-04 digital edition

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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


 

November 4, 2016  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

A call for civility

Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to the two Letters to the Editor published in the Oct. 21- Nov. 3, 2016 issue of the Jewish Press of Tampa. The first letter was written by Noah Jacobson of Tampa and the second by F. W. Goldberg of Palm Harbor.

My purpose is not to debate the positions taken by either writer, although I certainly disagree with their positions. Instead I write to advocate for a more civil discourse in which dissenting views are expressed in a respectful way without the use of extreme language. As Jews, we must again be able to disagree in a way that doesn’t create divisions that are harmful to our common goals and values, and make it hard to achieve a productive reconciliation that allows us to work together on behalf of so many issues on which we agree.

In the first Letter to the Editor, Noah Jacobson, in referring to an article by Ron Kampeas of the JTA news service on the Iran nuclear agreement, says that the deal “may become the quintessential example of the worst piece of foreign policy ever written by a US President,” and that Kampeas’ defense of it “is reminiscent of the rare Jewish support for Hitler’s campaign in 1932.” In the second Letter to the Editor, F.W. Goldberg asks if Sen. Tim Kaine is an anti- Semite because he failed to answer a question about his decision not to attend the speech of Prime Minister Netanyahu before Congress.

Surely we can recognize that people of good will can and have disagreed on the Iran deal, and on the appropriateness of the manner in which Netanyahu came to speak before our Congress, and surely we can express our views without the extreme personal attacks. Unless we let the logic of our positions replace our disrespectful vitriolic comments, we may create divisions and wounds that will take a long time to heal. We will drive people away from participation in the Jewish community, and create enmity where friendships previously existed. I will always support the right of individuals to express their views but hope that we can truly serve the Jewish community better by disagreeing in a more respectful way.

Bob Friedman
Temple Terrace


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