web analytics
August 5, 2015 / 20 Av, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Fighting Even Where It’s Uncomfortable: Why The OU Voted As It Did At JCPA


Orthodox Jews are not a majority of the American Jewish population. It follows, therefore, that major communal institutions that claim to represent the views of American Jewry in the public square frequently do not voice the views and values of those committed to Torah-informed Judaism.

For decades, based on guidance from Rav Soloveitchik, zt”l, the Orthodox Union has sought to influence the actions and statements of these “representative” institutions – such as the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, United Jewish Communities, the Jewish Council of Public Affairs and others – by participating in their meetings and deliberations.

In late February, delegates of the Orthodox Union traveled to Atlanta to participate in the annual conference of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) – an umbrella organization of the more than one hundred Jewish Community Relations Councils (JCRCs) and fourteen national Jewish organizations (such as the ADL, American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, etc.).

Among the items on the agenda for this meeting was a proposed resolution commenting on the “Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process.” As in the past, the OU delegation worked to represent the views of the OU community in these deliberations. And as in the past, we had some successes (despite being vastly outnumbered) and some setbacks (because of being outnumbered).

The OU delegation succeeded in having this resolution call on American Jewry to “support the Government of Israel’s insistence that the Palestinian Authority recognize Israel as a Jewish State.” We also succeeded in defeating an amendment by the Reform movement’s delegation to call on American Jewry to view Israeli settlements as “impediments to peace” with the Palestinians.

The OU delegation failed to block the resolution’s call for American Jewry to support an Israeli government’s willingness to make concessions on Jerusalem and, as has been widely reported, we failed to remove the resolution’s call for American Jewry to support the “two state solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The OU delegation was able to insert into this latter portion of the resolution a statement that recognizes that Israel’s offers to engage in peaceful negotiations with the Palestinians has “been met, time after time, by violence, incitement and terror.” In a nightmarish turn of events, this statement would be fulfilled once again in Jerusalem ten days later in the murderous attack at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav.

(Deeply disturbing as well is that even had this tragic event occurred prior to the debate at JCPA over this resolution, it is likely that the call for support of the “two state solution” would have still been adopted. The majority of American Jewish organizations and their representatives automatically support the policies of the Israeli government – which remains, at least theoretically, committed to the “two state solution,” even in the face of such heinous attacks.)

When the resolution came to a final vote containing the mixed set of results listed above, the OU delegation abstained from voting yea or nay, but announced that, in keeping with JCPA procedure, the OU would file a dissent from the portions of the resolution with which we disagree.

The rationale for this action is that it does not put the OU in the position of voting against the provisions of the resolution we support, yet permits the OU to explicitly differ with those we object to, such as the call for American support for the “two state solution.”

Moreover, whenever JCPA circulates the resolution’s text to its member JCRCs or others, it will have to circulate the OU dissent along with it. The OU filed its dissent to the resolution last week, and it is available on the OU website.

In the wake of the adoption of the resolution, many OU constituents have asked why the OU would remain in JCPA. This is an excellent question – and one the OU’s leadership grapples with regularly with regard to its participation in JCPA and other communal umbrella organizations.

The short, albeit not simple, answer is that the OU believes our community’s values and interests are better protected by our being at the table as opposed to abandoning it. If the OU delegation is not at fora such as JCPA, who will speak out against the re-division of Jerusalem? Who will speak out against the perils of the “two state solution?” Who will speak out for Torah values on an array of other issues including aid to day schools, “civil rights” for gays and so many more?

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Fighting Even Where It’s Uncomfortable: Why The OU Voted As It Did At JCPA”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
The Quran
Dawa* at Chautauqua
Latest Indepth Stories
The Quran

Islamists spoke of “Love and Justice in a World of Suffering,” skipping the horrors caused by Islam

President  Barack Obama.

How and when is it appropriate for pulpit rabbis to comment publicly on the Iran issue?

David Menachem Gordon

David was many things: Brother, son, grandson, nephew, uncle, cousin, talmid, comrade, AND a WARRIOR

Graffiti at Duma home that was torched in Samara.

Some Israelis seem to have forgotten no one has yet tracked down the murderers of Ali Bawabsheh.

Aside from my own 485-page tome on the subject, Red Army, I think Jamie Glazov did an excellent job at framing things in United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror.

“Isn’t it enough that the whole world hates us? WHy do we have to hate each other?”

Who said Kerry won no concessions from Iran? He secured pistachios and Beluga caviar for America!

In 2015, Israel’s fertility rate (3+ births per woman) is higher than all Arab countries except 3

The New Israel Fund, as usual, condemns the State of Israel rather than condemning a horrible act.

I sought a Muslim group that claims to preach a peaceful and accepting posture of Islam, Ahmadiyya

While Orthodox men are encouraged to achieve and celebrated for it, Orthodox women too often are not

Jonathan remember, as long as you’re denied your right to come home to Israel you’re still in prison

Reports of a dead baby, a devastated family, and indications of a gloating attacker.

“The fear of being exposed publicly is the only thing that will stop people,” observed Seewald.

“Yesha” and Binyamin Regional Council leaders said the attack “is not the path of Jews in Judea and Samaria.”

The occasion? The rarely performed mitzvah of pidyon peter chamor: Redemption of a firstborn donkey.

More Articles from Nathan J. Diament

Orthodox Jews are not a majority of the American Jewish population. It follows, therefore, that major communal institutions that claim to represent the views of American Jewry in the public square frequently do not voice the views and values of those committed to Torah-informed Judaism.

It isn’t just about Israel. American Jews, whether politically liberal or conservative, can, should, and do work together with Evangelical Christians.

Headlines and stereotypes tend to hype the issues where a majority of (liberal) Jews are at odds with a majority of (conservative) Evangelicals – abortion and gay rights quickly come to mind. But there are many issues, and the list is growing, on which Jews and Evangelicals are working toward common goals.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/fighting-even-where-its-uncomfortable-why-the-ou-voted-as-it-did-at-jcpa/2008/03/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: