In order to properly defend any position you have to understand the other side of the argument, and be thoroughly prepared to address it. If that were the goal of Irwin Mansdorf’s program, to provide participants with a broader perspective on issues pertaining to Israel and the Palestinians complete with the tools to better defend Israel’s position, then it would be beyond criticism (“Outside Of My Israel ‘Comfort Zone,’” Oct. 25).
But this program seems to be more about criticizing Israel than defending it, with the probable effect of pushing more than a few students who come into the program as strong supporters of Israel, if not to the opposite point of view, at least to a more equivocal feeling about their support for Israel.
It isn’t as though there aren’t enough alienated young Jewish students, with little background and fed a distorted view of Israel at their universities, who either oppose much of what Israel stands for, or are wholly apathetic towards its continued existence.
I recall a very disturbing article in The Jewish Week about some liberal rabbinical students who studied in Israel and later returned home bashing it, having bought much of the negatively biased propaganda prevalent on American campuses. And that is in the Jewish world.
In the non-Jewish world, Israel is persona non grata throughout Europe. One thing we really don’t need is to turn Israel’s few remaining friends in the Orthodox community, its youth, or better put, its future, against Israel, or at least to be cooler in their feelings towards it.
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