I’m an inveterate blog booster and proselytizer. Whenver I read something I admire about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict or any other subject that interests me a great deal, I always encourage the author to start blogging if they don’t already. My thinking is the more good blogs there are, the more readers will be drawn to our work, and the more seriously blogs in general and our blogs in particular will be taken. Though this is a subject for a longer conversation, I believe that blogs are generally (with a few exceptions) disrespected by the media and even by online resources like Wikipedia, which frowns upon blogs as legitimate sources.
I urged Gershom Gorenberg, whose work I first discovered when Israel Policy Forum hosted a talk by him here in Seattle this past year, to start blogging. I don’t want to take any credit for Gershom’s new blog since I probably had nothing to do with his decision. But I’m delighted that he and Haim Watzman have begun South Jerusalem described as “A Progressive, Skeptical Blog on Israel, Judaism, Culture, Politics, and Literature.” Another reason this particular blog is important is that most English-language Israeli blogs are right-wing. I’ve been on the receiving end of criticism from a good number of them. It is truly a breath of fresh air to read an Israeli blog written from a tolerant, open-handed perspective.
Gershom hasn’t explained to me his choice of title for his blog, but I think it’s interesting that the political heat generated about Jerusalem revolves around the east-west axis. West Jerusalem is generally Jewish and East Jerusalem generally (though less so as time progresses) Palestinian. I wonder whether their decision to name the blog South Jerusalem is a contrarian statement that the authors wish to probe a Jerusalem, THEIR Jerusalem, that is off the beaten track and not wracked by bloody ethnic rivalry.