Jewish Community

“The existence of multiple moral frameworks with which to view the world is not a sign of confusion; it is a sign of sophistication and strength”

I recognize that there are those people, on the right and on the left, for whom their relationship to Israel is not just a moral imperative, but an exclusive imperative; and for whom, therefore, common cause with an opponent issue entails transgressing an impassable line. I respect this position, especially in its self-awareness of its hierarchy of moral choices. But I also believe it is a tragic position to take in a political moment that requires of us commitments to more than one moral imperative; and also because I wonder whether our willingness to work with outspoken critics of Israel right now, when we agree on many other issues, may, in fact, enable us to manage those tensions with those critics more effectively in the long run. I think a David Ben-Gurion-like position is a perfectly tenable moral position that balances multiple moral imperatives: We fight for our moral values in American political life as though there was no disagreement with our allies on these issues on Israel, and we fight on Israel with critics of Israel as though there was no domestic agenda. The existence of multiple moral frameworks with which to view the world is not a sign of confusion; it is a sign of sophistication and strength.

Yehuda Kurtzer, “Linda Sarsour and American Jewish Politics”, Jewish Journal (3-9 February 2017), 13.