Sunday, July 19th, 2009
It’s a funny thing about rabbis who love “dialogue.” Their dialogues always seem to end up as monologues for the other guys. The dialoguing Jews usually go quietly. Very quietly. They never seem to challenge anything that’s said or heard, no matter how ugly. Every dialogue they participate in is a love-fest, a fantasy, something positive, held to no critical standards whatsoever. Check out this interview with one prominent dialoguer — Rabbi Burton Visotzky — at the recent ISNA (Islamic Society of North America) conference. He says it went swell. ISNA are “friends we can count on.”
Now check out this item on the exact same conference by Daniel Pipes. We get a broader picture of what happened, a more honest picture. We’re told that the Investigative Project on Terrorism published a report, “‘Mainstream’ Islamist Convention Features Hate Speech and Hezbollah Defense” in which it broke the news that the conference “featured speakers spewing raw anti-Semitism, homophobic rhetoric and defense of the terrorist group Hezbollah.”
After reading the Pipes’ item, ask yourselves: Were Jewish Week readers served or totally misled by Visotzky’s spin on ISNA? Do you think Visotzky gave us an honest account of the conference? Do you think the people at ISNA are “friends we can count on”? Do you think, then, that Visotzky is someone we can count on? If he can’t even tell the readers of The Jewish Week what ISNA is all about, what do you think happens when he’s actually “dialoguing” at an ISNA conference that ”featured speakers spewing raw anti-Semitism, homophobic rhetoric and defense of the terrorist group Hezbollah”?
Based on his interview with The Jewish Week, I’ll bet Visotzky’s dialogues are monologues by the other guys, while Visotzy goes quietly. Very quietly.
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