I was toying with the idea of attending a joint 17 Tamuz/Ramadan iftar this year, when my wife made an excellent point.
"How is that in keeping with the spirit of 17 Tamuz?", she asked. "Its a day that we use to mourn the loss of Jerusalem and you want to share it with people who want to make us lose it again?"
She conceded that the Muslims who are likely to attend an interfaith iftar are not the same people who want to throw the Jews out of Jerusalem, but I still take her point: The symbolism is schizophrenic.
I fast on 17 Tamuz to show that I'm sad that the Jews lost sovereignty over Jerusalem. I'd attend a joint iftar to show that I don't think all Muslims are extremist lunatics and that a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Israel is possible.
These are both true and good, worthy things to demonstrate, but I concede that it may not be possible to demonstrate them simultaneously. As the great Isaiah Berlin taught us values can be equally valid, yet mutually incompatible.
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