Left Vs. Right Submitted Questions

The Left v Right: The Battle for Israel’s Soul with J.J. Goldberg and Jonathan Tobin event was part of the “Let’s Talk” series. The discussion was held on Nov. 17, 2016 at Congregation Shalom.

At this community program, there were more questions than time to answer them. Below are all the submitted questions, organized into general themes Do you have more to say? Add your questions. Share your opinion.

Submitted Questions from the Community:

Two-State Solution/ Peace Process

  • The talk has been Land for Peace, which has not worked yet, aka Gaza & Sinai Peninsula. How about Peace for Peace? Why not discuss peaceful actions/stance to each other?
  • While in Israel, I spoke with an Israeli shopkeeper who is the mother of four sons, all engaged in the Israeli army. She said tearfully, “For 19 years, I have failed to sleep peacefully. One of my sons has been at the front for 19 years.” Should Israel’s strength fortify her? Or should Israel’s reconciliation release her?
  • What conditions, what force, what viral scenario can create the paradigm shift in hearts and minds to allow peace?
  • Doesn’t it make more sense to work toward getting the Palestinians to stop trying to pretend that Israel doesn’t exist and that the Jewish people should be destroyed and then, and only then, start to negotiate with them? Why should anyone negotiate with people who want to kill you?
  • How can Israel negotiate with people who have publicly stated that they will not rest until Israel no longer exists? It is impossible as a Jew to support this view?
  • What do you make of the recent news that the PA is suing the UK over the Balfour Declaration? Does it undermine the ’88 acceptance of the partition [in the Palestinian Declaration of Independence]?
  • Does a form of apartheid exist in Israel against Muslims and people of color?
  • Who benefits by keeping this conflict going?
  • We hear about the “right of return” for Arabs with monetary compensation. What about compensation for the Jews forcibly expelled from the Muslim countries after 1947?


West Bank/East Jerusalem

  • Why aren’t Jews allowed to pray at their holiest site, the Temple Mount? This is like preventing Catholics from praying at the Vatican; this is a disgrace.
  • Goldberg asserts that “settlements,” i.e. Jewish communities, are an, if not the, impediment to peace. Even if that was the case, why should a demand that a Palestinian state be Judenrein not be clear grounds for rejecting such a state?
  • What happened before 1967? No one complains against Jordan in the West Bank?
  • Would giving up the West Bank be another Gaza – destruction of greenhouses – rocketing?
  • None of the Israeli offers included the settlement of Ariel. Have the Israeli offers been generous?



  • What influence will Trump’s son-in-law have on his dealings with Israel? Kushner is “modern Orthodox.”
  • Why is the mainstream media attacking Steve Bannon when Alan Dershowitz, the ZOA and the ADL apologized for calling him anti-semitic? Why aren’t they attacking Keith Ellison, who is friends with Farrakhan, has relations with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas?


US Government Policy/Actions

  • What leverage does the US have on the Palestinians?
  • Jerusalem: Should Trump move the US embassy there? Should the Democrats oppose that?
  • Dennis Ross believes that the US has never been hurt in the Arab world by any closeness to Israel. Do you agree? (He faults administrations since Truman for getting this wrong.)



  • I am troubled by J.J.’s dismissal of BDS as an insignificant threat on college campuses. As a parent of two college children, I have witnessed the impact and significance (and disruption) on students, parents, staff, and administration. It is frightening. At one of those universities, it was disguised as just “Divest,” acknowledging their organization was in support of BDS. Do you have college-aged kids? Have you sat in or watched these debates? It is extremely dangerous precipice and not to be underestimated.


Land of Israel

  • What are your thoughts on the fact that the West Bank is the biblical heartland of Judea & Samaria? If given away to a non-Jewish government, is that the same thing as forfeiting Hashem’s land and the prophecies of Israel’s return from the dispersion/exile?


Existential Threat/Anti-Semitism

  • Do you believe, as I do, that much of “world opinion” underestimates or is indifferent to the danger Israel and the Jewish people live with, as a minority? Why or why not?


American Jewish community

  • Can you talk about the general difference between J Street and AIPAC? Are they at odds?
  • I am struggling with my Jewish values and how the Israel government is treating the Palestinian people.



  • Subject for this program was supposed to be to define what is Israel’s left view vs. Israel’s right, not a discussion of Trump, BDS. What are the policies/platforms of Israel right vs. left?