July 19, 2001
Let us now praise Jewish disunity.
The com-munity-wide rally in solidarity with the people of Israel, this Sunday, is proof that there is power in what many people consider our communal weakness.
The 40-odd groups that have come together to support the July 22 rally have very different ideas on how to resolve the current Middle East crisis. Some decry Israeli policies that they believe have contributed to the crisis; others maintain the Palestinians alone are to blame.
But beyond Israel, these groups represent Jews who stand on opposing sides of many issues: vouchers, immigration, welfare -- not to mention cultural and denominational differences.
It's fair to say the groups that met to organize the rally represent a Jewish community as disunified and diverse as can be.
This fact is not lost on organizers. They are stressing that the rally is "apolitical," which of course must sound absurd to Palestinians and, for that matter, Israelis, whose futures will be determined by this crisis' political outcome.
What organizers mean is that a broad swath of L.A. Jews is united in support of the people of Israel in this difficult time. Anyone who tries to deliver a more politically-charged message than that, as Ronald Lauder did at a Jerusalem rally last January, will no doubt find him or herself alienating a good chunk of those present.
But the rally's clearest message should go not to organizers and participants, but to politicians, the press and the public-at-large.
The fact that we are not a monolithic community makes the message of our coming together that much stronger. When a community that rarely speaks in a single voice finally does so, its message is that much harder to ignore.
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