Chancellor Arnold Eisen’s steps towards a renewed consensus on Israel are all based on a premise that few American Jews, and particularly younger American Jews, would agree to (“Appreciating, And Learning To Talk About Israel,” Opinion, May 6).
The premise that Israel is the most important project of the Jewish people, that it is the proving ground for our Jewish values and the wellspring of Jewish culture flies in the face of the American Jewish experience.
American Jews find the project of living, contributing to and nurturing a tolerant, free and pluralistic society to be a critical and rewarding project that continually tests and refines our understanding of Jewish values. American Jewish culture has flowered independently of Israel, too. If there is to be a new consensus on Israel, perhaps it should be founded on the dignity of Jewish life outside of Israel, alongside the bravery of Jewish life in Israel.