1. Scott B. Schaffer
    June 16, 2023 @ 9:27 am

    I agree with your approach. The point that “we don’t make peace with our friends” is well taken. We might not be able to change their minds about judicial reform or conservative and reform Judaism, but perhaps we can make it clear that loss of our support could pose an existential treat to the State of Israel. Gone are the days when Israeli leaders can tell us to “shut up and pass the check.”

  2. David Berson
    June 16, 2023 @ 10:21 am

    Josh, with all due respect I think that you are caving in. Fingerhut and Daroff are giving legitimacy to Chikli and Smotrich and their like by meeting with them. It’s not like these ministers are going to change their tune. They have insulted our movements in an era when they can easily be informed about who we are. They answer to and follow Netanyahu and want and prioritize this judicial overhaul more than anything else. This should be a hard no. You are giving them cover with this post of yours and legitimizing these meetings. This is not a time when we should be quiet and our communal leaders in Canada and the States are once again appeasing a government that will send all of us to gehenom . Shabbat Shalom

  3. Dr. Arthur Weinstein
    June 16, 2023 @ 10:51 am

    Meeting with Smotrich was symbolic, not meaningful, as far as easing to a better place, so it depends on the symbol one hopes to convey. Personally I believe not meeting with Smotrich or Ben Gvir or Levin is also symbolic of the total disagreement with their hateful policies which has torn Israeli society apart and can change the democratic character of Israeli society.

  4. Dean Lawson
    June 16, 2023 @ 1:43 pm

    Your question of “should we shun, boycott, and refuse to meet” is, at its very root, a non-Jewish attitude. We meet. We discuss. We don’t behave childishly and think we have all the answers. We are family. We don’t shun… that’s just nonsense. Don’t cower from an argument, but don’t go in with your guns cocked and loaded, either.

    Israel needs judicial reform. The judicial system there is corrupt. They have the power to say who can and who cannot run for office. They wield an unbalanced amount of power. Israel need checks and balances, like we have here. That’s what this judicial reform is all about.

    By the way, the term “homophobe” is abusive, combative, and ugly. There are people who, like the Torah itself, consider the lifestyle to be abhorrent. They have as much right to their much longer and widely held position on the matter as you. Calling someone a homophobe is just as ugly as calling someone a faggot or using the n-word. Let’s stay above that.

  5. Bill Hess
    June 16, 2023 @ 1:59 pm

    Daroff and Fingerhut were acting responsibly in meeting with MK Smotrich in their respective institutional capacities. ARZA should have met with him also, after all he is Finance Minister for the moment.

  6. Ann Ingram
    June 16, 2023 @ 3:27 pm

    I DO think we should keep lines of communication open with people and countries with whom/which we disagree, especially when the alternative is armed conflict or, at lease, enmity. For example, I believe we should support peaceful competition with China rather than
    sword-rattling. I think we must be careful about Russia as well. We can oppose their actions by carefully supporting Ukraine. We must not breach their borders. Similarly we should keep lines of communication open with Israel despite the fact that we disagree with their assault on their judiciary and their occupation of the West Bank. (I am glad I am not a professional golfer, however; for sidling up to the Saudis might be a step too big for me!)

  7. Alan Warshaw
    June 17, 2023 @ 3:14 am

    Dear Rabbi Weinberg….kol hakavod for your thoughtful treatment of this awful situation…whether or not to engage with these evil people. Predictably, they only want to meet our liberal leaders so others will legitimizes their behavior. They have publicly stated how stubborn they are about collaboration and compromise…no interest! Rabbi, your recent treatment about zealots really was about them. As liberal as I try to be, inclusiveness to any viewpoints, I’m sorry that these Israeli political leaders (who I don’t want to name like we don’t like name Amalek and Haman) should be shunned. They deserve that. I know that everyone, and especially our Jewish leaders like yourself, never have enough time in the week so your time is better spent on what we know you do well…making the world better by engaging the Jewish community with Israel and Zionism. I asked my Israeli cousin about U.S. leaders meeting with them and I got a resounding “NO”. Rabbi, you asked for our thoughts. Sorry that I couldn’t be more upbeat.