It has long been a favorite marketing ploy to brand oneself in a manner that can give the maximum level of appeal. For example, those people in favor of abortion rights call themselves “pro-choice” rather than “pro-abortion,” to move the conversation from the killing of a fetus to one about a woman’s right to choose. It is brilliant and effective.
Over the past decade, the far-left liberal wing of the Democratic party began to make strides in taking over the party in both numbers and policy. As part of their hijacking the party leftward, they opted to re-brand themselves and their policies as “progressive” and “forward-leaning,” rather than “liberal.” The marketing maneuver was meant to demonstrate a path towards the future. In doing so, the liberals weren’t merely re-branding themselves, but trying to recast “conservatives” as older and backwards-thinking “deplorables,” to quote Hillary Clinton.
The marketing continues to be retooled, post the Democrats loss in the 2016 presidential election. The Democrats are giving pause as to whether to continue its leftward shift and push the likes of socialists like Bernie Sanders, or Elizabeth Warren and Keith Ellison. Would emphasizing the perception of being a bunch of “coastal liberal latte-sipping politically-correct out-of-touch folks,” as Barack Obama said be a good strategy, or should the party pivot itself as caring about ALL people and opinions?
Enter the next new thing for liberals: “pluralism.” It suggests a very wide tent open to all people and opinions – including conservatives.
But it ain’t. It’s just more liberal policies and people advancing a new tagline to try to win an election.
To be fair, it’s not just liberal politicians trying to win an election. It’s about all liberals who are trying to come to terms with their own biases. They still hate the people who “cling to guns and religion,” as Obama described, but by self-describing themselves as in favor of “pluralism,” they feel that they have pierced their liberal echo chamber.
Of course, it’s a sham, and one that left-leaning Jewish groups are embracing wholeheartedly.
Consider the Jewish organization the Shalom Hartman Institute. It proudly identifies itself as cross-denominational and calls for “radical pluralism.” Does it truly invite all people and opinions? Well, the group is run by a bunch of elite Ashkenazi intellectuals. Do the Israeli or American chapters have Haredis on its leadership team – the fastest growing group in Israel? No. Does it have a large number of Mizrachi Jews on its staff, representing the majority of Jews in Israel? No. How about any of the over 100,000 black Ethiopian Jews that have come to the country over the past few decades. Nope.
There are more Muslims on staff than all three of those Jewish groups combined.
But the left-leaning organization is working with left-leaning media outlets to advance the notion that it is pluralistic.
Consider the March 16, 2018 article in a major New York Jewish paper, The Jewish Week, which ran an article called “Across the Great Divide.” It posited the question: “Can Yehuda Kurtzer’s [president of the Shalom Hartman Institute North America] doctrine of pluralism heal the divides in the Jewish community?”
The Hartman Institute is only pluralistic in the sense that it’s members come from different denominations of Judaism including Reconstructionist, Reform, Conservative and Open Orthodox, but it’s politics are liberal.
Consider one of its recent topics on “Jewish Canon and Male Privilege.” Is this really a pluralistic organization that is open to a wide range of views, or is it simply seeking to bring in more conservative people to listen to the liberal talking points? Will the SHI host a discussion about “The Bible’s Prohibition of Homosexual Relations,” or “Why are Muslims Much More anti-Semitic than Other Religions Today?” I highly doubt it.
So it goes in the world with the word “pluralism.” The word is being co-opted by liberals and being stripped of its true meaning.
And it is a shame. Because the world could really use some genuine dialogue.
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