On the road to Jewish self-government
As I mentioned in my post on the latest WJC scandal, I desire to see a MoveOn-like organization that would empower Jewish individuals to have more direct democratic control of the Jewish communal agenda. While the fulfillment of this vision is quite a ways off (it will take at least two years to build up such an organization) there is at least some light on the horizon.
Often, when I publicly fantasize about “a Jewish MoveOn,” people say to me, “but MoveOn is the Jewish MoveOn,” citing the prevalence of Jews in both MoveOn’s leadership and constituency. While that’s certainly true — there are a lot of Jews involved with MoveOn — there is nonetheless nothing about MoveOn that lends the authority of the wider Jewish community’s voice to the positions of the MoveOn community. It is a secular organization, comprised of not only Jews, but the wider American progressive community. Furthermore, MoveOn does not focus on internal Jewish community issues, nor on the America-Israel relationship.
Now, thankfully, moving us further in this direction, there is JSpot.
Though its scope is limited to domestic social issues (ie., it too says nothing of foreign policy nor of internal Jewish community issues), JSpot has just launched a remarkable new initiative that invites the wider American Jewish community to participate in setting our own policy agenda as a Jewish community.
What are your priorities for 2008? Child care, civil rights, education, the environment, health care, housing, immigration, Katrina/Rita relief, seniors, wages? Pick your top five issues and JSpot will average out the top five of greatest concern to all participants, and forward our collectively-drafted agenda to all the 2008 presidential candidates, along with our signatures and a request for their stated positions on these issues.
Again, this is a direct democratic initiative, and one that provides a clear alternative to both the JCRC bureaucracy-driven representative model and the Conference of Presidents oligarchic model. This gives you, the individual, the power to call the shots, rather than entrusting so-called “Jewish leaders” to decide on our behalf that which is in our own best interests.
It’s a great start, and hopefully something that will grow into a more concrete and powerful initiative over the course of the 2008 campaign cycle, and perhaps within American domestic politics in general, in the coming years.
Kol hakavod l’JSpot.