When our dialogue, our debate, has been at the higher levels of engagement, I have literally kvelled; when the few of you have forced me to censor your attacks on me and on each other, I have drawn the line. I have to admit it is hard to tolerate those who accuse me of lashon hara without citing facts in support of your own and expect me to print those accusations; or those who, wrongly, accuse me of printing only those Comments which support my points while censoring others. I particularly can't stand the few who write "You are totally wrong," cite no specifics, and consider that to be a Comment...it isn't. If you wish to write: "You are wrong and here is how..." citing the specifics of my errors, that will get you printed.
And, many of you seem to believe that others are not entitled to express their opinions on these pages because they totally conflict with yours. So, rather than engaging on the merits of your "disagreement," you attack the Commentator (or me for printing it). I have expressed my view that healthy debate promotes better decisions and transparency -- debate is not an echo chamber. We should be able to disagree with civility whether it be on the pages of this Blog, at meetings or elsewhere in the "public square." I recall a Jewish Agency Board meeting some years ago at which a rare substantive debate was on-going. A senior JFNA lay leader, close friend of the then Chair of the Executive, entered the discussion to assert that "we should not be debating this in public; these matters should be resolved in private;" I objected, arguing that "this is exactly where we should be debating this issue." That was one of those moments that I was later reminded of by the Board Chair when I was accused of some institutional "treason."
One of the inherent issues in permitting Anonymous Comments to not just the Posts on these pages is that statements and accusations that you would never permit to be associated with us if we had to attach our names, become "fair comment" if anonymous. One of you properly observed in the midst of a spate of a back and forth among the anonymous with regard to certain organizational leaders:
"Richard - are you not ashamed at what you're allowing to take place here? This is on you."And, I have to admit that I do have some shame under the cited circumstances inasmuch as the Comments in question had little if anything to do with the Post that I had written.
I have received a number of disturbing Comments that I have been forced to reject for one reason or another. Some have been hysterical -- not in the funny hysterical sense, just hysterical. One of the best was a recent one from an Anonymous Commentator, of course, whose diatribe I had rejected, that read: "You're not going to publish my reply?" I didn't know how to respond inasmuch that one "Anonymous" can't be distinguished from another. So, to all, if you don't see your Comment published, it's because I rejected it...period. This does remain my Blog, after all -- even though it may appear from time-to-time that Paul Jeser thinks it is his.
I have particularly enjoyed those Posts that I have considered innocuous but which have inspired debate that has been fascinating and far off the subject of the Post. Those debates/discussions have often been the best.
I do love you guys.