JAMen Forum Features Outstanding Debate on Israel and the Prospects for Mideast Peace
Is it possible to have civil and respectful debates about Israel in the Jewish community in a time of hyper-partisanship and major ideological chasms?
The answer is clearly yes based on the outstanding Jewish Austin Men’s Dinner and Speakers Forum (JAMen) held on Wednesday, December 13 at the JCC before more than 120 forum members.
Entitled “Left vs Right: The Battle for Israel’s Soul,” the one hour debate followed by a Q&A featured distinguished journalists J.J. Goldberg and Jonathan Tobin.
Goldberg, former editor-in-chief of The Forward and U.S. bureau chief of The Jerusalem Report, is a longtime champion of Labor Zionism and left of center causes.
Tobin, editor-in-chief of the Jewish News Service (JNS), writes for National Review, the New York Post and a host of other conservative publications. He formerly served as an editor of Commentary and editor-in-chief of the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia. Rabbi Daniel Septimus, Shalom Austin CEO, served as debate moderator.
Questions focused on four major areas:
• assessing the first year accomplishments of the Trump administration in the Middle East compared to the previous administration
• exploring the continued viability of a “two-state solution”
• evaluating the effectiveness of anti-boycott, divestment and sanction (BDS) strategies
• analyzing American Jewish voting behavior
Goldberg and Tobin also addressed the Jewish Federation Women’s Philanthropy Lion of Judah Society at a Thursday morning brunch.
The next JAMen Forum on February 7 breaks new ground and also promises an outstanding evening. Entitled “Forum for the Future,” the program features a series of three short “Tzed Talks” curated by Austin visionary entrepreneur Brett Hurt. [“Tzed” is short for Tzedakah, a Hebrew word referring to the religious obligation to do what is right and just in everyday living.]
Hurt, Co-founder and CEO of data.world, will address “The Linked Future of Data.”
Author and entrepreneur Byron Reese, publisher of “Gigaom,” will envision “The Future of Artificial Intelligence and Automation.”
Joshua Baer, Founder and Executive Director of Capital Factory, will discuss “Creating a Powerhouse Connected Tech Corridor in Texas.”