To The Editor:
As Jews, we revel in our tradition of debate. That tradition has been threatened by incivility. The JCPA’s civility campaign is dedicated to protecting debate in our increasingly polarized world, not squelching it, as Dr. Stephen Steinlight suggests.
Civility is neither the lack of difference nor the silencing of dissent. Fostering civility is not a partisan pursuit. From all quarters we can find examples of those who have been uncivil and those who have risen above the fray, helping lead us to solutions for problems we thought were intractable.
Last year, more than 1,400 Jewish leaders representing hundreds of Jewish organizations across the spectrum signed a civility statement. They dedicated themselves to uphold the basic norms of civil discussion and debate, not to stifle free expression of views but rather to protect it.
During these Days of Awe, we must rededicate ourselves to finding ways to work for a common good, toward Klal Yisrael. We each have a sacred obligation to heal our broken world. We cannot do this unless we listen carefully, speak carefully and show care for the dignity of every human being, even those with whom we may strongly disagree.
Vice President and General Counsel
Jewish Council for Public Affairs