Jewish Journal

Facts on the Ground

by Bob Goldfarb

July 30, 2010 | 1:19 pm

Symbols are not as important as the things they represent, but sometimes it’s easy to forget that.  Take the current disagreement over the proposal to construct a mosque at the World Trade Center site.  The Anti-Defamation League says it opposes the plan; JStreet favors it.  Of course the deeper issue is not Cordoba House or its planned programming about (among other things) Arab-Jewish relations.  The building is being debated because of what it stands for.

A guest column in todays’s Jerusalem Post takes the opposite approach.  Ari Hart, co-founder of the Orthodox social-justice organization Uri l’Tzedek,  writes about the planned encirclement of the Palestinian village of Walaja by an extension of the separation barrier.  For him it is not a metaphor for some abstract policy question.  It’s about the lives and livelihoods of 2000 human beings.  It’s well worth reading—both because of the issues it raises, and because it is a model of placing human concerns over rhetorical ones.

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Bob Goldfarb has been president of the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity, based in Los Angeles and Jerusalem, since 2007.  Before getting involved with the Jewish...

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