The March 4 Voice had four disturbing political stories: the shouting down and suppression of Charles Jacobs and the State House rally calling for caution on Syrian refugees; Jim Rosenberg’s column which in a softer way discouraged dialog on Syrian refugees by expressing anger at a specific Jewish individual and group and calling them out for “fear, cynicism, hatred and despair;” the cursing and assault of women praying at the Western Wall by haredi zealots; and the threat of violence by anti-Israel protesters that ended a talk by a pro-peace Palestinian at the University of Chicago.
What they all have in common is an undermining of tolerance, civil discussion and exchange of ideas, a trend we see playing out in national politics, too. In the case of Syrian refugees both sides have a point – distressed people should be welcomed, especially by Jews, but as Europe shows, caution is called for in accepting large numbers of refugees from a region whose culture is hostile to Jews.
Rabbi Rosenberg and Howard Brown have a right to express their opinions. But in the interests of promoting amity in our community, I suggest that perhaps they meet over coffee and try to understand each other’s viewpoints.
North Providence, R.I.