[The measure passed unanimously. Let’s see what comes of it]
Among the issues to be debated at the annual plenary of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs next week is what the umbrella group considers a growing loss of common ground and tendency to disagree stridently among groups that ostensibly have the same agenda of concern for Israel and the Jewish people.
The organization, which sets the policy agenda for community relations councils across North America, wants to adopt a resolution that “addresses the issue of civility as a broader mandate and
calls for a Campaign for Civility.”
“Civility is neither the lack of difference nor the squelching of debate,” reads the resolution. “It is the application of care for the dignity of every human being, even those with whom we may sharply disagree.”
Just because of the potential for irony, you can be sure the debate at the plenary for this resolution will be extra-polite, although the journalists who attend may well appreciate a dust-up just for the headline possibilities.
The resolution will have no teeth — Mort Klein won’t be fined for denouncing a member of Americans for Peace Now without calling him sir. But it’s always a good idea to reinforce good principles and to codify them even when they should be obvious, especially when you’re trying to keep diverse people inside an increasingly uncomfortable tent.
Some may say the issue isn’t important enough to address at the conference, or argue that there’s nothing wrong with a bit of passion when dealing with issues that affect Jewish destiny. Hopefully, they’ll do so amiably and take a minute to listen to the other point of view.