Like so many others I am deeply troubled and saddened that the Council of Presidents rejected the application for membership by JStreet. Let me reiterate the premise for inclusion: the voices of all legitimate groups deserve a seat at the table so they may be heard in the collective that is supposed to be this council. This is not an endorsement of any particular view but rather a respect for the right to express ideas and hopefully add to meaningful discussion within Klal Yisrael. The Council’s rejection of JStreet runs contrary to this foundational principle and I support the URJ’s position that the Council’s vote reflects that the Council “no longer serves its vital purpose of providing a collective voice for the entire American Pro-Jewish community.”
At this juncture, we can either walk away or fight to amend the corrupt system now in place. As tempting as the former may be, we should seriously try to change the system before throwing in the proverbial towel. Because we believe in the need for a collective voice, we are obligated to do our best to maintain it. So it would seem that the first course of action would be to change the already existing community to return it to the basic premise that drove creation of the Council.
I urge all those who are disappointed by this sad turn of events to join together in an attempt to salvage the Council. To walk away without first doing this is an admission that there is no chance for everyone to sit at the table together. I would rather we tried and have those who won’t abide such an enlightened viewpoint opt to leave instead. First we fight for that in which we believe. Only if we find the fight is futile can we in good conscience walk away from the table.