To the Editor:
By means of a selective quotation, accompanied by a misleading headline in an ad in the June issue of COMMENTARY, Breira gratuitously attempts to identify me with its position. Although it labels me as “a tough critic,” it would have the reader believe that I offer a sympathetic answer to its question, “Why Breira?” I don’t. My support of the right to dissent does not constitute the remotest endorsement of Breira. Instead, I argue for the need to debate issues within the organized structure of Jewish life as a means of heading off dangerous schisms of which Breira is the prime example. I consider Breira a divisive element which has made demands upon Israel while consistently refusing to make equivalent demands upon the Arabs. This is not dissent. This is reckless brinkmanship. It suggests that Breira is run by some whose vision of peace in the Middle East is skewed to Israel’s disadvantage.
Characteristically, Breira advised me that it was running its ad when the June issue of COMMENTARY was already rolling off the presses, so that the responsibility of alerting me would be discharged, but just too late. More than affront to me, this tactic speaks loudly about an organization which preaches to American Jews in lofty moral tones.
Breira’s ad did note that in one of my articles I refer to its “lopsided position.” Nevertheless, it chose to exclude the following, which gives added weight to my opposition to its policy: “[Breira] headlines its demands on Israel and buries its demands on the Arabs in fine print.”
Why Breira? I understand how it emerged, but I find no justification for its existence.
[Rabbi] David Polish
To the Editor:
Passages from a talk I had given to a group of Jewish faculty in England, and which I subsequently published in interChange, were quoted in a full-page ad by Breira in the June COMMENTARY. I do not disagree with what I wrote in the original talk, or with what was reprinted from that talk in the Breira ad. But I did not intend, when I published the article in interChange, that it should be part of the warfare over Breira. I was sorry to see it used in this ad, and I was not consulted on its use.