I’ve been following the latest brouhaha in the Anglo-Israeli blogosphere with some interest. Nefesh B’Nefesh (NBN) is sponsoring the upcoming International Jewish Bloggers Convention, due to take place next Wednesday in Jerusalem, and debates are raging about everything from the convention’s target audience to the list of scheduled panelists. Adding fuel to the fire was an article that appeared in the Anglophile section of last Friday’s Haaretz, where the journalist in question seemed more interested in writing a divisive, sensationalist piece that served only to highlight the differences between various local bloggers and create controversy, using predictable quotes and selective background information to reinforce stereotypes.
And he succeeded. The Haaretz article has been used, predictably, as a springboard to attack those bloggers quoted as not being supportive of the conference. Frankly, I have a difficult time understanding what all the hype is about. The NBN agenda is not everyone’s agenda. I may be a Jewish blogger, but only because I’m a blogger who happens to be Jewish. I don’t necessarily blog about Jewish issues, and in the rare instances that I do, it’s most probably because the issue at hand has something to do with Israel. I don’t consider myself to be an aliyah blogger by any stretch of the imagination, and don’t feel anything more than a nominal connection to the realm of the blogosphere known as the Jblogosphere. I’m not interested in the Jewish blogosphere, and while I’m sure I have Jewish readers out there, I don’t consider the Jblogosphere to be my target audience. I never have. When I blog about Israel, it’s to present some aspect of Israeli life to those who don’t know about Israel, not to those who do.
From everything I’ve been reading on the local blogs though, there are definitely people who have a problem with that. At least one blogger has expressed disappointment over Lisa Goldman‘s stance on the conference, based on her quotes in the Haaretz article. Aside from the fact that the journalist obviously selected quotes designed to garner attention (and let’s face it – everyone knows that this is what journalists do), I fail to see the problem of Lisa not being interested in a conference that’s specifically geared towards Jewish blogging. Not everyone who moves here chooses to focus on the aliyah experience. I’ve been here for 17 years and came on my own. Aliyah issues aren’t on my radar, unless they involve my friends, and even then, they’re just someone else’s (often amusing) stories. Like Lisa, I’m far more interested in issues that all Israelis are facing than the issues faced by new immigrants. And also like Lisa, I would much prefer a convention for Israeli bloggers (I can think of at least three blogs written in English by non-Jewish Israelis) than a convention that’s strictly for Jewish bloggers. I’m just not interested.
As bloggers, we all have our own opinions and agendas. If we didn’t, we probably wouldn’t have begun to blog in the first place. My agenda is me – my thoughts, my opinions, my experiences – I don’t think that’s too unreasonable. NBN also has its own agenda, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. What is wrong is when people are bashed for their agendas, or more accurately, for having agendas that don’t mesh with the party line. One commenter (who seems to be connected with the convention’s organization) on the aforementioned blog stated “as to ONE of the agendas of this convention… this convention is hosted by NBN, and what of? They have an agenda, just like most bloggers have. If you don’t like it, then don’t make Aliyah.” So, if I don’t agree with NBN’s agenda, I shouldn’t be in Israel? Rather harsh, no? If this comment is representative of the convention agenda, it looks like I’m better off not attending. Somehow, I don’t think I’d be very welcome.
This entry was posted in Blogging, Daily life, Diaspora, Expat Musings, Hasbara, Israeliness, Rants, Religion and tagged Blogging, Haaretz, International Jewish Bloggers Convention, Jblogosphere, Lisa Goldman, Nefesh B'Nefesh by Liza Rosenberg