Both sides of the story


Why do we present many points of view in a Jewish newspaper?

How can we be pro-Israel when we discuss BDS in a positive light?

On the opinion pages in the last two newspapers, Jewish Rhode Island printed two very different opinions on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and the referendum calling for Brown University to divest its interests in Israel. In April, we ran an op-ed explaining the down-side of the Brown Divest movement. In May, two Jewish Brown Divest organizers explained their opinions.

BDS is a contentious subject in our Rhode Island community – and in the greater Jewish community as well. As you can imagine, we have received many responses to last month’s op-ed written by the Brown students. Most of them take the students to task for their viewpoints.

You can read some of the responses in this month’s opinion pages. Other writers did not want their letters published. The responses were from across the community. Some called us courageous for publishing the op-eds.

As the “Voice of  Greater Rhode Island’s Jewish Community,” we have an obligation to present both sides of this story no matter what the response.

There are those who were horrified by our choice to run the pro-BDS piece. Some asked to be deleted from our subscription list.

While that saddens me more than I can tell you, I think that we all deserve a seat at the discussion table. Young and old, liberal and conservative,  we are Jews who care about the future of our people and of Israel.

I have met very few among us who do not advocate for a strong, vibrant, healthy State of Israel. Beyond that, we often differ.

And that’s where this newspaper can help give voice to the wide variety of viewpoints in our community.

In this period when the media is on trial at every turn, I’m proud to be leading a media outlet that tries to tell both sides, supports its community and does so without taking sides. You’ll find more truth and more passion about our community here than you ever will in your Facebook or Twitter feeds.

As media layoffs continue around the country, and the number of working journalists in the United States drops to less than half of the 55,000 who were in its ranks in 2008, our community needs to support this paper and other media outlets to help maintain the diversity of opinion that makes our communities stronger and healthier.

Without your support, this voice, too, could be reduced – or disappear altogether.

This is the final month of our annual fundraising effort for Jewish Rhode Island. We hope you will consider making a donation.