Starting On The Wrong Foot


In the title of their Opinion article “Marching For Israel With Love And Criticism” (May 27), Rabbis Jill Jacobs and David Rosenn reveal the error of their premise that the Celebrate Israel parade is a legitimate venue for expressing criticism of Israel. I disagree with them. If they believe that they can march in the parade and use the occasion for criticizing Israel they are starting off on the wrong foot.

The people who wave their flags, eat falafel and cheer exuberantly are there for one reason only and that is to celebrate and support the founding and existence of the State of Israel. To interpret their enthusiasm as a blanket approval of all of Israel’s policies is naïve. Many of them may object to some of the laws passed or political actions taken at times by Israel; they may even support some of Rabbi Jacobs’ and Rabbi Rosenn’s positions. But they are at the parade for a love fest with the concept and reality of Israel, which does not preclude their awareness of or ability to appreciate political and humanitarian issues.

The rabbis cite Israel as an imperfect society that therefore must be subject to criticism in order to right the wrongs as they see them. I believe that Israel is like every other society in the world — imperfect. I find nothing revelatory about that. As for criticism of Israel, it abounds in the world at this time, some of it going so far as to question the legitimacy of its existence.

I am in no way questioning the authors’ sincerity, purpose or professed love of Israel. But a “teaching moment” the parade is not. I believe that it is perfectly legitimate for the New Israel Fund and other groups with their agenda to march in the parade. Their presence and banners can speak for their vision, but in keeping with their oft-mentioned love of Israel.