I’ve just asked to be unsubscribed from the “jewish-boston” mailing list. I just can’t take it anymore.
Although the list is intended to be non-denominational, the membership is overwhelmingly Orthodox, and messages which display intolerance toward the non-Orthodox are posted to the list, and allowed by the moderator, on a regular basis. For example, in a recent message to the list, a member objected to a resolution adopted by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs calling for American Jews to support a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict (a solution which, incidentally, the Israeli government itself has consistently supported for many years). Such an objection would have been part of a perfectly reasonable political debate, had its author not also stated, “This would be no different had the JCPA publicly proclaimed the American Jewish community’s support for eating pork or violating Shabbat,” thus suggesting that anyone who disagrees with his political point of view is a sinner and a bad Jew.
In a recent political discussion, a member of the list made the sweeping generalizations that any Republican candidate is better for Israel than any Democratic candidate, and that Democratic candidates “just don’t see that the US is at war with militant Islam and Israel is an important ally.” These statements were allowed to appear on the list. However,when the leaders of eight major national Jewish organizations published an open letter to the Jewish community, calling for an end to the smear campaign claiming that Barack Obama is anti-Israel and anti-Semitic, the moderator did not allow that open letter to be forwarded to the list.
The moderator recently polled the list and announced that the responses he got “overwhelmingly” indicated that members did not want political discussion on the list (he did not publish the actual results of the poll). Leaving aside the fact that the “poll” was entirely inaccurate because most people who didn’t mind the status quo wouldn’t have bothered to respond, he created a separate mailing list for political discussions and instructed members of the list to direct all political content to the the new list rather than jewish-boston. Since this occurred, several openly political messages have been allowed to appear on the jewish-boston list, all of them espousing right-wing positions, and responses to those messages presenting the other side’s point of view have not been allowed.
I have repeatedly asked the moderator of the list to either apply the no-politics policy consistently and uniformly to all political messages, or to eliminate the policy so that discussion on the list can be fair and balanced. He has not even acknowledged my complaints, let alone acted in any meaningful way to address them.
I tire of being subjected to the intolerance displayed on the list. I tire of being forced to read other people’s political propaganda but being unable to respond to it with an alternative point of view, because I am actually following the rules laid down by the moderator, and even if I were to try to break them, he would block (and indeed has blocked) my responses.
If this list is to be truly representative of Jewish Boston, then it should be overseen by a panel of moderators from all different parts of the community, not by a single moderator from one synagogue with no oversight of or accountability for his actions. If this list is to be truly representative of Jewish Boston, then it should be either unmoderated so that anyone can speak their views, or it should be consistently moderated, with the same standards applied to everyone. Silently moderating some members but not others is completely unacceptable.
Until then, perhaps the list should be renamed from “jewish-boston” to “intolerant-right-wing-jewish-boston”.