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WATCH: Noam Sheizaf at J Street: Nobody is talking about Gaza

Speaking at the 2015 J Street Conference in Washington D.C. on Sunday, +972 co-founder and writer Noam Sheizaf participated in a plenary panel called “Does Liberal Zionism Have a Future?”

Sheizaf called out both the conference and liberal American Jewry for the lack of discussion about the latest Gaza war. (Watch the full panel here.)

Later in the discussion, Sheizaf explained the dichotomy between liberalism and Zionism as it manifests itself in Israel, concluding that talk of diplomatic solutions must be preceded by a real civil rights movement.

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    1. Brian

      Scheizaf for Prime Minister of Israel! Listening to Noam one cannot help but think: THIS is the Herzog we’ve been waiting for. THIS is the moral clarity and refusal to BS and stand by when others BS about “the Arabs” and such and THIS is the political clarity we never saw with Herzog. (Let’s face it: Herzog is pathetic. I am totally unsurprised Israelis were unmoved by Herzog. The only reason PedroX says Bougie would be a good PM is because Bougie is in fact a cute tame little lapdog who won’t stand up and threaten PX’s pet project one bit.) Edo Konrad wrote something similar here yesterday. Israel is crying out for this kind of moral, intellectual, political leadership from the left. Crying out. Scheizaf for Prime Minister!

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    2. Cina

      WOW! That was unbelievable! Brought tears to my eyes. It is exactly what a J Street audiance needed to hear. Noam, it’s impossible to argue against your logic. Judging by the applause, a good portion of an audiance strongly devoted to liberal zionism had an eye opening experience just listening to you.

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    3. Thank you for your plain speaking: Gaza needs to be talked about, its people need to be able to circulate freely, it needs to be visited and protected by committed political leaders (Where are they?) and if not, by a committed civil society, starting in Israel (Women Wage Peace and how about Citizens for Peace?).

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    4. Tony Litwinko

      Bravo Sheizaf! Bravo Bravissimo!!!

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    5. Bryan

      Wonderful clarity of thinking. Thank you +972. What actually happens in Israeli politics is almost an irrelevance. The growing enlightenment of a young American population (many in the audience were young people) is what can bring progress.

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    6. George P. smith

      Compelling points eloquently made, Noam! And look how the audience responded every time you brought up the centrality of equal rights. There were many in that auditorium who, unlike J Street itself, were not on board with a Jewish ethnocratic state.

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    7. Baladi Akka 1948

      Great points, Noam. Just sad that we have to wait for Americans, and particularly American Jewry, to wake up before a change will come.

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    8. Thierry Blanc

      It’s simply uplifting. Great

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    9. Richard Witty

      Good to identify the boundary between what you are willing to do and what you are unwilling to do.

      Where is that exactly for you, relative to the rockets, that Amnesty yesterday reconfirmed was a war crime in conception, development, implementation.

      Its also a very good to identify what is wrong, so that one can pursue constructing what is good and right.

      I think J Street is on that second step already, to trying pragmatically to solve critical foundational issues (though not perfectly, who is able to?)

      The issues of human rights were articulated widely at the conference (from what I’ve seen, both within Israel proper and in the occupied areas).

      My criticism of all of the comments on the panel that you sat on were that they were political/religious in orientation.

      What I mean by that is that they were oriented to identifying who (more than even what) is wrong, who is “them”.

      That contrasts with an activist approach of “there is no them”. (There is no way to perfectly apply that value in practice, as the value of equality is a Platonic like perfect shape – that doesn’t exist and can’t exist.)

      Starting from and referencing “there is no them”, the political responses are pragmatic efforts to structure talking and listening rather than warring, to help tangibly, to respect, to improve (not to revolutionize).

      Both the left and the right self-talk, seeking to rally, rather than seeking to foster respect.

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