Just a public letter to thank you for the opportunity to debate Eric Thomson. It was a good exercise in rhetoric, if nothing else. I'd like to make three points that I hope all readers will take to heart:
1) To find a reference in the Talmud is a truly Herculean task if one does not have at least a vague citation or an accurate quotation.
2) I do not, as Mr. Thomson writes, "agree on the pernicious nature of Zionism"; I merely disagree with extremist and expansionist forms of it. I am a Zionist, albeit a very left-wing Zionist. As I said, Israel has dozens of political parties for the simple reason that Zionists share one goal – a Jewish state in Palestine – but every other aspect of this state is subject to intense debate.
3) That notwithstanding, Mr. Thomson's summation is largely valid concerning the common ground that we found. Yes, my views on Judaism may be unpopular with other Jews, but I have only one judge (well, two, if I count myself). I do engage in dialogue with other Jews, and sometimes I can change a heart or mind. If I've done either through this exchange with Mr. Thomson, then it has been well worth it.
Thanks again and best wishes,
Andrew E. Mathis, Ph.D.