I read with great interest the opinions of both Max Kleinman (“Israel’s best strategy is to forego annexation,” June 25) and Stephen Flatow (“History proves that fears of Israel’s ‘annexation’ are unfounded,” July 2).
As a retired professor of communication at Saint Elizabeth University, what impressed me most was the civility of the discourses expressed in their comprehensive discussions and individual points of view. While differing in contexts and insights, both perspectives presented their positions in a polite, respectful, mature, educational, and passionate manner, while not posing a denigrating point of view toward the alternative considerations.
As an independent thinker and voter, I, like many others, have become weary and concerned about our Jewish community pitting their political views against every which side. While I have had the privilege and opportunity to share in discussion groups led by Kleinman on any number of current event topics, I am always taken by his ability to synthesize his thinking in a coherent and meaningful manner. And I always learn so much when in his presence.
And while I haven’t had the same opportunities with Flatow, it was with a great degree of respect that I was educated by examining his points of view so that I could better understand what annexation entails.
We all can take lessons from how each of these writers expressed differing points of view — respectfully and without finger-pointing or self-aggrandizement. During this challenging time when so many have polarizing claims and find it necessary to be virtue signaling with a seeming vanity of being on the only “right or left” side, so many in our Jewish community and in our leadership have become disparaging about others’ political views.
We need to monitor the words we choose and the ways in which we use our rhetoric to ensure the survival of our combined Jewish identities with far more kindnesses and consideration to respecting other points of view, to continue to create what I echo at the close of Kleinman’s essay, “shalom bayit, peace in our own home.”
Regardless of how one may choose to agree or disagree with another aspect of thought, I remain grateful to both writers for reminding us of how to be civil and respectful in our communications of importance and value.