Joining Larry Derfner on “Israel Reconsidered”

As of this week, I’ll be joining Jerusalem Post columnist Larry Derfner on the debating blog “Israel Reconsidered“. Larry has opened the blog as a discussion platform between himself and Richard Silverstein, but Richard has recently left the project; he explains his reasons here.

When Larry contacted me last week and asked if I knew someone who’d be willing to replace Richard, or perhaps would consider joining myself, I was more than happy to jump on the opportunity. Apart from the thrill of working with Larry – a columnist whom I’ve been reading with tremendous enjoyment and appreciation for many years now – I thought it was time to begin dividing my attention between chasing the events of the day-to-day and addressing some more fundamental questions. There’s scarcely a better way to address such questions, without slipping to navel-gazing, than debating them with someone with whom you respectfully disagree.

None of this means, of course, that I’ll stop blogging here at +972; in fact, many of the posts will be cross-posted on the two blogs when appropriate, both for the benefit of my own thinking process, and to invite readers from one blog to visit the other and vice versa.

Larry’s extremely generous welcome announcement is here. Below, I’m cross-posting my elaboration on why I decided to join the blog – and why I think a debate within the Left, in English, is crucially important for the here-and-now.

I’m very happy to begin blogging here at Israel Reconsidered. There are certain projects and ventures that are right and ripe for their time, and this blog is one of them. We’re now living through a crucial transition period in which much of what we know about Israel, Palestinians, Zionism, two-state, one-state, right, left, religion, state, gender roles and nationalism will all be reshaped and remodelled – some by visionary and reactionary individuals, some by overwhelming historical shifts.

One of the many conversations that need to happen alongside these processes is a dialog and mutual rethinking between the Zionist and the non-Zionist Jewish/Israeli Left. It’s particularly vital for at least one such conversation to be happening in English: English-speaking readers and writers are tremendous stakeholders in the conflict, beginning with many in the Palestinian and Jewish diasporas, continuing through the passionately engaged global audiences, and ending with the fact that the “third man” in this conflict – the United States – perceives, shapes and sells its policy through the English language. Through all these avenues, English readers play a part at least in some ways in the mess here and in the attempts to sort it out. Writing “outward” about the questions and dilemmas arising in this age seems as essential as writing “inward” – within and between our own communities.

See you here, and there, and here again.