Light is Returning, but I’m still scared

“Light is returning, even though this is the darkest hour. No one can hold back the dawn. Let’s keep it burning. Let’s keep the light of hope alive. Make safe our journey through the storm.”

For the record, I was already planning to start with those two lines from a beloved, Charlie Murphy chant before I received my end-of-year newsletter from yoga and voice goddess Suzanne Sterling who started hers off with the same reminder and charge. Solstice blessings everyone. My dear friend TL who I am visiting in Milwaukee, just said that even for just three or four days, he can notice the longer light of morning. I agree. May winter be gentle and cold, but not crazy cold, wet and snowy but without destructive blizzards, and may California receive abundant rain in the coming months, mixed with beautiful days of sun and brisk mornings. Please, God!

Education for a Just World

I am sure that you all have received many appeals from nonprofits than ever this year. I have been donating beyond real reason, each request being so deserving and important. I’m spreading it around. Some people like to give more money to fewer charities. Either way. The number of donors is also important.

I want to encourage you to support Just World Educational Foundation  (JWE). I work for JWE now and really like the emphasis of our different projects. Your donations will really help us power up our programs and build a better informed public in 2018. We are building something substantial for Earth Day 2018 with the message that fighting militarism needs to be added to the climate change agenda. I’m hoping we will be able to offer books, on line resources and discussion materials to schools and community organizations for inclusion in their observance programs. I want us to stir pressure from the grassroots so that groups like and the Sierra Club stop ducking the largest fossil fuel consumer in the world–the United States military. WER, FB cover, v.3The scourge of war- profiteering must be on the progressive, activist table more explicitly than it has been. If racism and economic exploitation or classism are being confronted, militarism must also be named and shamed. As we also approach the 50th year commemoration of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., we must honor him and follow his example by expanding our field of view from the evil twins (poverty and racism) to the giant triplets (poverty, racism and militarism).

I hope you will help Just World Education in our effort to expose the ties between militarism and environmental harm. Gar Smith has contributed an outstanding resource that needs wider distribution and incorporation into plans by libraries, schools and communities as they envision and create their Earth Day activities.

J20 acquittals!

A cause for celebration, or at least a sigh of relief. Six full acquittals for the first handful of people scooped up and arrested on January 20 in Washington DC for having the temerity to show up to demonstrate their outrage at the installation of Donald Trump as president of the United States. This trial and other cases show just how fragile past gains are in terms of developing cultures of mutual respect, shared dignity, and as sense of common humanity. We’re backsliding even on the agreement that civil discourse helps build understanding.

Other trials remain pending, spread out over months and years, and among several judges. They all are part of a growing tide of cases that criminalize even moderate push back against the control of the tenth of a percent. (Forget one percent! Even 0.1% is perhaps too large a number.)

I hope that Just World’s forthcoming educational campaign about civil liberties and Palestinian rights advocacy strikes a chord for people. Injustice: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five, by Miko Peled, is due out in early February. What has happened to these men and their families is a travesty. They deserve our attention and support. It’s another Martin Niemöller moment, people! We’re all in this together!

We Need International Bodies

“To that end, they would like to, if they\ could, UNtold, chosen coverto dismantle the UN.” -Alan Nairn, reporter and journalist, in an interview with reporter and journalist Amy Goodman on Decemer 26’s Democracy Now! He went on later to say, “So, you know, the idea that Trump would be less militant was insane from the start. And he’s proving that blood is the tool. That’s how he wants to reach out to the world.” Anarchists and pacifists are willing to fight for international law. I hope people who are less fringe start unifying in defense of the commons…and common decency!

This would be a good time to see how to keep international norms and institutions both empowered and in check. For a lively explanation of the United Nations, Ian Williams’ charming expose comes from someone who believes in its mission and eve the UN itself. Williams criticizes, but respects the UN, and the cartoons by Krishna that are interspersed throughout give it an additional dose of levity along on top of Williams’ own naturally easy going style.  Buy good books!

Whither the Anti-war Movement?

I respect and stand with United for Peace and Justice. The groups that share info among the steering committee and working groups benefit from the regular connection created by the umbrella organization. The UFPJ-Activist listserve is unfortunately often riddled with distasteful comments by a handful of people, but sometimes the posts there are constructive (as well as provocative) like UFPJ was intended to be. As a positive case in point, I recommend this article from The American Conservative which makes some fair observations and points about our work and organizing. I appreciate the tone and content of this article and in the comments thread. Regarding this paragraph:

“In addition, the few on the anti-war left who oppose war based on pacifist or religious reasons need to acknowledge that the majority of Americans believe in a strong national defense as outlined in the Constitution. Most people are willing to accept that there’s a big difference between that and the terrible waste and tragedy that comes with waging unnecessary wars overseas.”

Actually, I and other pacifists often argue not from my more extreme position. I try to put myself in the shoes of non-pacifists and pro-military, anti-waste critics, setting


aside my point of view. This activity is a fundamental part of nonviolent discipline and process, to imagine the point of view of the other. I have advocated cutting the Pentagon budget by 15%, 10%, 5%, even just 1% as a way of funding other parts of government that serve people. Really, I think we all would be safer if the in-Defense-ible Department were zeroed out! Instead, the war budget keeps going up even as more and more waste is uncovered, as funds and equipment are actually diverted to the stated enemies of the state, and as proposed oversight is voted down and existing accountability measures are eliminated as though they, not what they uncover, threaten peace and prosperity. Pro-military, peace advocates (Peace-hoping, military apologists?) need to make good on their efforts or stop deluding themselves that being anti-war-lite can actually stop our slide towards doomsday.

I don’t see success coming from and other Libertarian, anti-war efforts because their vision remains wedded and subservient to profit and greed. Hunger_Strike_vigil_Sheikh_Jara_Old_LadyIf there is a kinder, more compassionate capitalism, it better get rolled out asap before empathy is outlawed as aid to “the enemy.” I hope Ayn Randian, Ron Paul Libertarians can infuse a bit of sober sanity into the Republican Party. I have sat on panels with their representatives. They need to grow from the right, not by diluting or undermining the efforts of pacifists or others. Can they deliver on their pro-market, anti-war ethos? I doubt it, but I’m not the one standing in their way. This is a failure of the anti-war-right…

…and the ignores-war-left, as I was speaking to above about the need for anti-racists and environmentalists explicitly to expose and confront warfare as the racist, “terracidal” force it is. Social movements are so caught up battling against immediate attacks that poor kids are preyed upon by the ruling elite to enlist in the military in the hopes of getting out of a bad situation, a process known as “economic conscription.”

Don’t blame pacifists for our collective failure at making peace. Jerry_Jim_PLC2016People who see the Pentagon as necessary need to make it less offensive! Hiding its dirty secrets makes us vulnerable, not stronger! Stand by your calls for accountability and measured reductions in arms spending. Push back against charges of exposing our secrets to the enemy (whoever they are). Grow from the right to winnow away their violent strength!

I think we can have lots of material comfort and not be besot with all this war and deceit. The problem with and other libertarians is that they don’t see capitalism as a problem. They seem to trust in the market place even as it is used to steal from people and communities. In the name of the free-market, any success by other means has been attacked as a threat to be undermined and its leaders killed. There are a few good apples among corporations and business, of course, but by and large, the system is a toxic tree. I have eaten a few good pieces of fruit from sick plants, but mostly they’re fruitless, and the plant dies seedless.

I’m a longterm anti-war activist, antimilitarist, even a pacifist. jim_bike_richmondI don’t attack the rights of individuals or individual societies to stand up for themselves against attack, and I oppose the attacker for being on the offensive. I haven’t seen a war that wasn’t based on lies, scapegoating and fear-mongering.

As we enter 2018, I remain charged up by the loving friends I have made along the way. We’re not alone in the struggle. We’re all in this together.

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Brothers and Sisters in the Military: Refuse to Fight! Refuse to Kill!

Dear Friends,

It is November 11 again, Veteran’s Day here in the United States. This date was first proclaimed “Armistice Day” in 1919 by Woodrow Wilson because at 11:11 am, on November 11, 1918, the armistice was signed that ended World War I, thought to have been “The War to End All Wars.” FDR made it a national holiday in 1938. After the massive death and destruction of World War II and the Korean War, President Eisenhower and others in government decided to drop the reference to World War I, and in 1954 turned it into a celebration of military personnel in general.

It seems like a fitting time to encourage members of the United States armed forces to lay down their arms, refuse orders and abandon their posts. I’m not kidding. I, James Glenn Haber, willingly and knowingly appeal to members of the United States military, in violation of 18 USC Sec. 1381 and 18 USC Sec. 2387, to refuse all orders to deploy or fight. My plea is inspired by a similar one that was circulated by Jonah House and Washington DC’s Dorothy Day Catholic Worker community in the early 2000’s. I therefore also pledge to help mitigate the suffering of any soldier who goes out on such a limb, and to share in it as much as I can.

Accidentally or by design, the name change represented a clear switch in emphasis. Off the marque went “Armistice” (fighting’s cessation), replaced with “Veterans” (fighters). Instead of recalling the end of war, it became a celebration dedicated to the people who wielded its weapons. Instead of a day to dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of peace, it became a day for parades and military recruitment. Instead of a day to reflect on and learn from past mistakes, it became a day for military recruitment and to justify our war-making while ostensibly thanking veterans for their “service.”

I haven’t heard of a war that wasn’t prosecuted with coercion, lies and greed. Humanitarian motives are overwhelmed by war’s destructive barbarity and trauma. The United States military is being used in violation of its own and international law, and this actually requires military personnel to stand down instead of following illegal orders. Everyone is personally responsible for our actions as per the Nuremberg Principles.

I have decried war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by past Presidents of the United States.  The current occupant of the Oval Office has shown repeatedly that he doesn’t care about due process or facts that don’t fit his existing beliefs. He is lashing about with the largest and most destructive thing ever created by humans, the United States military. Even compared to past war criminals who occupied the White House, Donald Trump shows little regard for, or understanding of, the consequences of his pronouncements or actions.

Since World War I, most casualties of war are not service members. They’re civilians…civilians and the environment…and days raising them up are sadly understated looking at September 21December 10 or May 15 . I’m reminded of what I was told on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day when asking, “How come there isn’t a Children’s Day?” The unsatisfying response was always, “Every day is Children’s Day.”


Veterans Day is cynically used to tell us that we need more soldiers and that we must trust the war-planners blindly with all of our money. Meanwhile the government unfunds all we say we hold dear, like care for our elders and our children and having sufficiently clean places to live, work and play. A small fraction of the profligate, Pentagon waste could fund all human needs imaginable and leave the military enough money to be a defensive force (if such a thing could truly exist).

Meanwhile, many injured vets are hypocritically blamed for their own suffering (visible and invisible). The government goes to extreme lengths to avoid paying for their necessary and deserved care. Economic conscripts are treated as cannon fodder and often receive less than honorable discharges due to minor offences, reducing their access to benefits. I heard this from caller after caller when I volunteered with the G.I. Rights Hotline. Many calls are from people fighting their command, not trying to get out even though it was started during the Vietnam war to help people apply or conscientious objector status. Now it more often helps callers who the military is trying to short-change.

I’d happily say I was wrong and that there can be a benevolent military, but it is hard to find a politician or political party that will advocate for overseeing, much less cutting, the military one iota. So instead, I want to appeal directly to enlistees and encourage them to quit, again saying…

I, James Glenn Haber, willingly and knowingly appeal to members of the United States military, in violation of 18 USC Sec. 1381 and 18 USC Sec. 2387, to refuse all orders to deploy or fight.

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October’s What-is-Remembered-Lives Missive

As Wiccan and Faerie folk say, “the veil is thin between the worlds” around Samhain aka Halloween aka the Witch’s new year, so this is when we hold rituals to honor our dead. The annual Reclaiming Community Spiral Dance was as always, beautiful, powerful, meditative, sobering and uplifting. What needs to be remembered this year isn’t just loved ones who have passed away, but events we lived through that are being retold in horrifically distorted and dishonest ways, deceitfully standing truth on its head to make us forget our own experience. The liars are stealing everything they can and selling everyone a bill of goods. (Did that phrase originate because someone actually walked off with a receipt instead of the items themselves?) Their stated justifications are so obviously disingenuous that I am especially disheartened by the seemingly uncrazed people (that is to say, not the InfoWar devotees lampooned on late-night talk shows) who shrug them off. I really don’t understand how anyone can make light of the rise in blatant xenophobia and misogyny or downplay and normalize abusive, even murderous blatherings. And fiscal conservatives evidently don’t actually want to spend less prefering to throw hundreds of billions of dollars away to cripple and destroy the social safety net.

Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee still insists on pinning their hopes on big money instead of big ideas or big groups of underrepresented people. They remain  unwelcoming to fresh, progressive voices. This dismays me as much as the global spread of truly fascistic leaders like Duterte, Trump and Putin, and the rise of violent, hateful movements, even if some of their numbers are overstated by “trumped” up social media “likes” and re-shares. Trump’s lies, ignorance, narcissism and bombasity are heartbreaking, as is his joy at appointing people so they can destroy helpful institutions or undo or change rules so as to maximize his profits for corporations and the tenth-of-a-percent while excluding everyone else. His ignorance propels him, but it is a widespread indifference to ignorance that paves his way.

Misogyny and patriarchy aren’t new, but people and groups pushing back against them are under increasing attack. Basic liberties are actually being undone, and people are already being hurt by legislation outlawing the boycotting of Israel by groups and individuals and more are in works at all levels of government! Bills to criminalize protests are pending to allow the state to start a fight at a public demonstration (either with provocateurs or police batons), declare it a riot, and then charge people with felony being at a riot. Bills are pending to exonerate in advance road rage murder of demonstrators, and the police already hesitate to treat cars as deadly weapons in protest cases. Look at what is happening to demonstrators who were in Washington DC on January 20 during the inauguration. And terms like economic terrorism and eco-terrorism are double-speak to get the public at large to see us as threats to society on par with bombers and mass shooters. Weapon of mass destruction is also being redefined to undermine abolition movements against threatening civilians with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, and making economic activism as prosecutable as beating someone up.

In Texas, the Houston suburb of Dickinson was requiring applicants for hurricane relief to swear that they don’t boycott Israel because of a new state law. Public outcry caused them to revise their process for individuals, but not businesses. You better hope it is all struck down on constitutional grounds asap. Avowed Nazis can get aid, but not someone who boycotts Israel! Israeli journalist Gideon Levy made a daring point in Haaretz:

“Anyone wishing to understand how anti-Semitism is born and how the seeds of its violence are sown is invited to visit Dickinson. The obligation not to boycott Israel is the essence of everything anti-Semites claim: Jews control the money, power and influence, everywhere. One doesn’t need “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” we have Dickinson.”

At the same time, The Forward may call him a “Jewish advocate” but Trump’s pick for the top civil rights position at the Department of Education, Kenneth Marcus, is really just an ardent supporter of Israel which is decidedly not the same thing. He hates the Israel boycott campaign, so I have terrible fears for the safety of Palestinian students and faculty, their right to organize, and the chilling impact on all organizing.

If you don’t stand up for boycotters, blockaders and knee-takers…women, water protectors and Palestinians…Muslims, immigrants, and African-Americans–If you only stand up if something is personal to you, or you withhold your support because something wasn’t quite perfect about a particular protest or manifesto, then it’ll be Martin Niemöller all over again. I predict that it won’t be long until the Liar-in-Chief tells us that he has always been the most feminist man alive. He will proclaim that his highest priority is stamping out violence against women. Then he will unleash Jeff Sessions’ (in)Justice Department to investigate anyone who used the #itwasme hashtag in a public apology for something they did that they regret, that they know crossed a line. In the same breath, the Narcissist-in-Chief may even “remind us” that he has always loved Muslims too. Just look at his concern for the Rohingya being massacred in Myanmar and his outstanding relations with rich Saudis. It is all so galling and yet possible.

We must be careful about what we proclaim in public in a similar way that one is well-advised not to make small talk if you are ever taken into custody. Something that seems irrelevant, inconsequential, petty or beside-the-point can open an unanticipated line of questioning down avenues you never considered. Other people may get caught up in a dragnet not related to you or why you are being held. Maybe Sessions could turn anything into a crime if he wants to, but apologizing while admitting to a potentially indictable action can’t help your case.

Now, more than ever, we have to remember to live, and somehow, we need to encourage people to remember what they have heard and seen, because we’re being told repeatedly not to believe our own eyes and ears and threatened if we remind people about the words and actions of decision-makers. And we need to stand together and protect each other’s backs.

Two Actions on November 8:
1. Protest Free-Speech-Chilling Lawsuit against SFSU and
2. Anti-Occupation Coalition Building with Achvat Amim

Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave., San Francisco

The Northern District of California Court will be hearing Dr. Abdulhadi’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. In June 2017, the pro-Israel group The Lawfare Project filed a lawsuit against San Francisco State University (SFSU) and Professor Rabab Abdulhadi falsely charging them with anti-semitism. On August 21, Dr. Abdulhadi filed a motion to dismiss this frivolous and specious lawsuit whose aim is to suppress and punish campus debate, scholarship and activism for Palestinian freedom. Dr. Abdulhadi maintains, “This will fail, because, as an educator, I have the right to seek truth and justice, and to study Palestine.” To help plan the rally and for more information contact:

Nov. 8, 7:00 to 8:30 pm, Kehilla Community Synagogue’s Fireside Room, 1300 Grand Ave., Piedmont (Facebook)

Karen Isaacs and Daniel Roth founded the program Solidarity of Nations – Achvat Amim to help young diaspora Jews engage with anti-Occupation work on the ground in Jerusalem. I was very impressed as I worked alongside them during the CJNV delegation I was on in May. Dedicated to the principle of self-determination for all people — Achvat Amim offers young activists a way to find their place in the struggle for freedom and dignity for both Palestinians and Israelis.

Until recently, Achvat Amim received funding from Masa Israel Journey (an organization funded by the Jewish Agency). But after recent pressure from the far-right-wing organization Ad Kan, Masa Israel withdrew its funding, further silencing the voices of anti-Occupation Jews. But we know the stakes are too high to stand idly by now: not as Palestinians live the nightmare of the Occupation daily, and not as Israelis face the horrors of upholding it.
Karen + Daniel (partners in life + activism) are way more than co-founders of Achvat Amim. They co-founded All That’s Left: Anti-Occupation Collective and This is Not an Ulpan, and were crucial actors in the coalition of Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jews behind the صمود : مخيم الحريه Sumud: Freedom Camp צֻמוּד: מחנה חירות.

I will be speaking in Las Vegas Nov. 12 and 13
about my Center for Jewish Nonviolence experiences.

I’m thrilled to return to Las Vegas at the invitation of Jewish Voice for Peace-Las Vegas to give a presentation about my trip to Israel and Palestine in May. Join us on Sunday, Nov. 12 from 2:30 to 4:30 at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at 4550 South Maryland Parkway across from the main entrance to UNLV.  I am also giving a talk that Monday night with more of the Catholic Worker/Nevada Desert Experience community. Everyone is welcome to either. Monday is at a private home, so if you want the address, get in touch with me for details. (It’s not far from Trop. and Decatur). Also, if you would like a pdf and informal guide to the slideshow I have made, contact me.

My remarks will focus on:
• CJNV’s mission, vision and actions
• Palestinian life in Jerusalem, Bethlehem and south to the Israeli border
• “Jerusalem Day” protest that was violently broken up by Israeli security forces and how this relates to JVP’s Deadly Exchange campaign.
• The value of joining a delegation and info about upcoming opportunities.

Just World Works

I continue to learn more in my new position with Just World Books and Just World Educational Foundation. JWB’s authors bring to light important and understated issues for us all to contend with. JWE is working to bring different issues and communities together in new ways.

We are here to expand the discourse in the United States and worldwide on issues of great international concern.

I’m captivated by Zohra Drif‘s recently translated memoir (Inside the Battle of Algiers, translated by Andrew Farrand) of being a woman freedom fighter in Algeria as they fought for liberation from France in the mid-1950’s. You may be surprised at some of what this admitted bomber said that felt fair and reasonable, even to my pacifist heart. The morning after her first deadly mission, reading the French press about it, she explained that:

IBA-20 - Arrest of Zohra Drif, cropped

Zohra Drif being arrested.

“What bothered me was their double standard for indignation and their dirty work as a colonialist propaganda machine: ‘Why don’t they tell the truth? What these papers call a ‘civilian population’ are these European settlers who their army brought by boat to colonize our country. Those they call a ‘civilian population’ are the agents without which our country would never be considered three French départements today!”

WER, FB cover, v.3 Gar Smith‘s anthology, The War and Environment Reader, is timely, alarming and fascinating reading. The discussions it is sparking are vital to the success of movements that need to work together or fail.

Gar Smith Events: In person
11/29, 7:00 pm: Resource Center for Nonviolence, 612 Ocean St., Santa Cruz, CA
12/12, 6:00 reception, 7:00 presentation: Mt. Diablo Peace and Justice Center, Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 1035 Carol Lane, Lafayette

Gar Smith Events: Radio
Mon. 11/6, 10:00-11:00 am: KALW, 91.7 FM, San Francisco on Your Call Radio with Rose Aguilar.
Tues. 11/7, 6:00-7:00 pm: KZFR, 90.1 FM, Chico on Ecotopia with Stephen and Susan Tschudi.

Center for Jewish Nonviolence (and Friends) Updates

Trial Continues for Issa Amro in Israeli Military Court on Charges Related to Peaceful Protest

The trial of Palestinian human rights defender Issa Amro continued on October 29 in Israeli military court on 18 charges for peaceful protest against Israel’s theft of Palestinian lands, illegal settlement project and discriminatory policies. It was clear in court that this is a case of political persecution. The witnesses accused Issa of inciting against the Israeli occupation and admitted they follow Issa on social media and target him during demonstrations. Read more of the details and the context of yesterday’s court hearing here. As I have said repeatedly, I found Issa to be one of the most inspiring nonviolent leaders I have followed and worked with.

Jewish-Palestinian Activists and Artists Space to Open in Jerusalem!

Uri who was my workgroup guide in East Jerusalem in May sent an appeal that I am very happy to encourage you with: There is quite a large community of activists working in Jerusalem, but they have no space to call their own.


Uri of Free Jerusalem was our guide and interpreter in Issawiya. Mohammed Abu Hummus (right) is a community leader in Issawiya who was our community liaison. Sondos is in the middle.

A group of Jerusalem-based activists and artists, Israelis and Palestinians, are working hard on opening a new collective space in Jerusalem. It is something they have been talking about for years and finally decided to make happen.  The place will be named Imbala, in hebrew this means “if she wants” and in arabic “Actually, Yes!” The money is for the first months of rent, renovation, and some cafe/bar equipment. (And also for books!) Things are going well, but they hope to have the support of the diaspora as well. This space will also serve radical activists from around the world when they come here.  See the Imbala crowd funding page And Facebook post and be generous.

Sumud Freedom Tour, 21 December 2017 to 3 January 2018

This delegation is organized by Holy Land Trust and Nonviolence International. This trip is about taking your activism and integrating it into the global movement of liberation. Other longtime activist friends like Jeff Halper Sumud_tree_logoof the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions are involved. The itinerary looks phenomenal and includes meetings and visits to Ramallah as well as Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, and solidarity work in the south Hebron Hills villages of Sarura and Um Il-Khair.
Early bird tour cost (available now through November 10, 2017): $1840. Late bird tour cost (November 11 until registration closes): $2240. Registration info is here.

Um Il Khair Suffering Even more Abuse and Attacks by Settlers and the IDF

As I was finishing this Missive up, I got more upsetting news (received October 27):

The situation in Um al-Khair took a very sharp for the worst. Eid’s car was confiscated by the Israeli forces. This is a big blow to the community, not just Eid. As now they will be almost entirely dependent on either neighboring communities or expensive taxis to travel even for basic needs.

Following Israeli settlers throwing stones, the families of Um al-Khair have issued several complaints to the police. In response, the settlers of Karmel have leveraged their political connections in response. The military and civil administration has threatened to enact the pending home demolitions, including the destruction of the main tent area, and declare portions of Um al-Khair a closed military zone. There is a clear precedent that the IDF could create a situation to isolate Um al-Khair from international support.  To help my friends there and their just cause:

  1. Share the Um al-Khair page for updates.

  2. Because Facebook doesn’t privilege posts made by pages, more importantly, ask people to sign up for Um al-Khair alerts. . Email this link and share it on your social networks.

“With these home demolition orders and the expansion of the settlement, my community – my nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles – are facing expulsion. Despite this, we believe in change. In our community, we believe that we can work together for peace and justice. Join us this winter in Um al-Khair.”
Tariq Hathaleen | Um al-Khair Human Rights Acivist

Open Shuhada Street (Hebron) with Youth Against Settlements
February 15 to 26 in Hebron Travel_to_Hebron_(1).jpg

Travel to Hebron and take part of the annual Youth Against Settlement’s Open Shuhada Street campaign. Learn how to use nonviolent protest and call for the opening of Hebron’s main street, closed almost entirely to Palestinians since the 1994 Ibrahimi mosque massacre when Brooklyn born settler Baruch Goldstein opened fire in the mosque killing 29 Palestinians in worship.

For the 2018 delegation you will stay with Palestinian families in Hebron, participate in nonviolent resistance trainings, visit cities and villages across the West Bank and join Hebron activists for a week of activities and protests to gain freedom and equality.

Cost: $2,200 plus individually purchased airline fare. Delegation costs include 10 days of food, housing with families and transportation within Palestine. Option available to stay longer as a Youth Against Settlements volunteer. Some discounts and scholarships may be available. APPLY NOW to join the delegation or make a donation to to sponsor others to attend!

Gaza 5k Walk/Run/Brunch Success


Photo credit: Samsudin Kamis

Please, support UNRWA’s work in Gaza even though this particular fundraiser is over. The people of Gaza don’t deserve to be cut off from the world by Israel. The UN Relief Works Administration provides a basic lifeline as necessary now as ever. I find it increasingly troubling to know that some of my friends think Gaza was freed by Israel a decade ago as though Israel has no responsibility for the care and lives of its inhabitants instead of being first to be held to account for their deaths. I also can’t stand being told that Israel is at war with Gaza. Israel is destroying Judaism.

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Jim’s September Missive

High Holy Day Reflection

L’Shana Tova. Happy New Year. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, continuing into the celebrations of Sukkot and Simchas Torah, give Jews ample points for meaningful reflection. We celebrate the harvest as we move into the darker time of the year, day and night somewhat balanced as the light wanes. I often observe the light in the dark and the dark in the light, like the little spot of the opposite in a yin-yang sign. I pray for that awareness to sow in me understanding and compassion and make me slow to judge, yet also strong in my work to alleviate suffering even when I dance, sing and laugh.

We celebrate on Rosh Hashanah, but we also cultivate humility and are especially ready to apologize and are slow to cast aspersions, deflect blame or shirk responsibility. May our Yom Kippur fasts not be for show. May our hunger pains remind us to feed the divine within and help each other fulfill our God-given potential.Sarura_cave_shade

The precarity of a sukkah (a temporary, outdoor shelter) for us to eat and dwell in feels very poignant personally and politically. I am still not sure of my future housing despite my recent expectations at something more permanent. Still, I am blessed with a comfortable house-sit in Berkeley that was extended a few more months. It’s not all about me though, and the recent devastation in the Caribbean, Mexico, Houston, Yemen, Bangladesh, Burma and elsewhere that has led more and more people to flee or be forced from homes eclipse my own insecurity on a whole other scale. I tend to diminish my own discomfort or needs by reminding myself of all that I have and the privation and torture I am free of.

And then Simchas Torah comes as the reading through of the five books of Moses is completed and started anew. The end and the beginning are shared–a reminder of eternity and the wheel of life like the ouroboros. I always want to highlight the Yom Kippur morning Haftorah portion (A reading from the non-Torah part of the Hebrew Bible, in this case, Isaiah 57:14-58:14). There are many passages that I try to take to heart and live by. This is one of my favorite bits, in this case, taken from a translation by The Velveteen Rabbi: “If you banish oppression, scornful finger-pointing and hateful speech;
if you offer compassion to the hungry and sustenance to the famished; then your light will shine in the darkness, your gloom will disappear like fog at noon. Adonai will guide you. God will slake your thirst when you are parched, God will give you strength deep in your bones. You will be like a watered garden, an unfailing spring. You will rebuild yourselves, you will restore foundations laid long ago. You will be known as one who restores what has fallen.”

Just World events in the Bay Area

I am settling into my job as western representative of Just World Educational Foundation. JWBAs I mentioned in my August Missive, Just World Books has some great authors and titles. One of them, Miko Peled, will be speaking in the Bay Area on October 5 (Petaluma) and October 6 (Lafayette). Check out the Just World calendar of events.

Right now, I’m organizing mostly about Gar Smith‘s forthcoming anthology, The War and Environment Reader. I’m excited at the response I’m getting when I call stores, organizations and radio stations to pitch this important work that brings together many voices and issues into a shared focus. I hope people come to the bookstore readings and buy copies there to support brick-and-mortar book sellers. First though, I really hope people come on out to the book launch event on October 7 in Berkeley!

October 7 Book Release Party — Refreshments at 7:00. Event at 7:30.WER, FB cover, v.3
Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, 1924 Cedar at Bonita, Berkeley, CA 94709.

October 11  at Diesel, A Bookstore — 7:00 pm
Marin Country Mart, 
2419 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, CA 94939

October 17  at The Green Arcade Bookstore — 7:00 pm
1680 Market St. at Gough St., San Francisco, CA 94102
(Note that this is NOT Green Apple Books out in the Richmond!)

We are also setting up other events in the Bay Area including in Santa Cruz in conjunction with the Resource Center for Nonviolence and local organizers there and in December in Lafayette with the Mt. Diablo Peace Center. The reaction to this work, which brings together two struggles that need to be seen in one light, has been UNtold, chosen coveroverwhelmingly positive. Gar Smith will also be on the radio: October 5, 10 to 11 am on KALW, 91.7 FM San Francisco on Rose Aguilar’s Your Call Radio.  Also, on November 7, 6 to 7 pm on KZFR, 90.1 FM Chico he’ll be on Ecotopia with Stephen and Susan Tchudi.

Zohra Drif’s translated memoir  (Inside the Battle of Algiers) about being an Algerian freedom fighter in the 1950’s is a totally engaging read, and her events, though delayed by visa issues, went very well on the east coast. Coming out in November is yet another important work to be published by Just World Books: Untold, by Ian Williams. This is a compelling expose of goings on at the UN by someone dedicated to its mission, not its destruction. Delightful artwork by Krishna helps bring this work of truth-telling to life.

Gaza 5k Walk/Run Saturday, October 14
benefiting the United Nations Relief Works Administration

Move for mental health with UNRWA USA at the fifth annual San Francisco Gaza 5K on Saturday, October 14! I haven’t participated in fundraisers like this before, but I know that they can raise awareness with people who don’t follow politics as much as I do, and it can raise important money for help for the people of Gaza. The United Nations Relief Works Administration (UNRWA) has been a key lifeline for the people of Gaza going back to the start of the Palestinian refugee crisis in 1948.

Jewish Voice for Peace-Bay Area has been a very helpful team in years past, and I want to help this year’s effort to hold up as well! Register to join Team JVP or donate via my page which then shows I’m helping our team (beyond my own registration fee), and more importantly, helping help UNRWA help Gaza. This year’s money is going to UNRWA’s Community Mental Health Programme (CMHP) which changes lives and restores hope for children impacted by trauma.

Lake Merced Park, Sunset Blvd and Lake Merced Blvd, San Francisco
Sign up and save! Early bird rates are available until October 1:
Adult: $35
Child (12 and younger): $20UNRWA 5k header group image
Student/Senior: $25

Race day timeline:
9:00 am – Check-in begins
9:45 am – Program begins
10:00 am – Race begins
11:00 am – Closing Ceremony

News from my Center for Jewish Nonviolence partners

Anyone thinking of being in Israel/Palestine at the end of the year should consider joining the Sumud Freedom Tour from December 21 to January 3. It looks like I’ll be giving at least one report-back in Las Vegas in November. Jewish Voice for Peace Las Vegas and I are honing in on the where and when, but pretty sure I’ll speak at a public event they’ll host on Sunday November 12.

Achvat Amim

Jews in Israel who I got to know and respect on my trips with CJNV definitely include activists with  Solidarity of Nations – Achvat Amim. Now, Masa Israel (an organization of the Jewish Agency) has withdrawn it’s support for the Jerusalem-based program. They had given participants scholarships to take part in critical education focused on the conflict and meaningful human rights for the past 3.5 years. Why are they withholding the scholarships? Because of pressure from the right. Co-founder/Educational Director of Achavt Amim, Karen Isaacs talks about the situation very movingly in this article in 972mag.

They’re determined not to let this stop them from building and growing this movement. Help them out via their crowdfunding page to make sure none of their participants feel the material impact from this attack or visit Also, folks are spreading the word with the hashtag  #IStandWithAchvat.

Issa Amro and Youth Against Settlements (Hebron)

(From YAS on 9/24) Last week, 3000 settlers forced their way into the Ibrahimi mosque. The Israeli military provided them with protection.


Jim and Issa in Sarura in May, 2017.

This followed last month’s declaration by Israel that Hebron settlers would receive their own municipality and official settlement status.

Meanwhile Issa Amro, Palestinian human rights defender who I speak of in almost every missive, still faces his Israeli military court “trial” in October, but on September 4 he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for social media posts he made. He was released a week later, on bail, but many Palestinians are raising their voices against the new “electronic crimes” law enacted by the PA’s head, Mahmoud Abbas that Amro denounced. It is important to decry Palestinian leadership when called for, but we must never lose sight of the fundamental problem faced by the Palestinian people–the violent dispossession they continue to face at the hands of Israel. Support Youth Against Settlements!

Um Il-Khair

It is heart-wrenching to see Facebook posts with images and videos of destruction in Um Il-Khair. The settlers of illegal Carmel Har Hebron, save_Um_Il_Khair_headerwith their well-built houses connected to water, power and other municipal services, are increasing their violent attacks on the people of Um Il-Khair. All of September settlers have been throwing rocks at anyone they can hit. They sent a journalist, Guy Butavia, to the hospital. Last month I showed a picture of a bulldozer the settlers ordered to destroy a Bedouin structure. It is hard to know how to be very helpful. As Isaiah said though, the less we look away in embarrassment or powerlessness, the more we create the world in which we want to live.

Racist, antisemitic threats and attacks in the USA are fostered by mainstream Jewish and Christian groups, not Muslims

I was aghast to see posters that the David Horowitz’s foundation put up at UC Berkeley FOR ROSH HASHANAH.horowitz_ucb_racist_poster-e1506360067681.jpg Even more disturbing are the posters that have been put up at San Francisco State. They really feel like images I was shown as a kid in Jewish Sunday school about the propaganda created by the Nazis to dehumanize Jews. I didn’t want to sully my Missive with them, but in the spirit of Emmett Till and his mother, and in the spirit of Isaiah’s admonition not to look away from our people in need, I have to show them to you. These posters mock and threaten people I know, like and respect. They impugn whole groups and the people in them. To people who believe that Rasmeah Odeh is a convicted terrorist and shouldn’t deserve any standing or rights, I say, “By what right do you demand nonviolence of another? Do you renounce violence and armed struggle in general? Would that you wanted to banish, ostracize or imprison the likes of Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon or some US war-criminal.” More broadly, I can’t stand how sfsu-racist-poster-bothHorowitz and Canary Mission don’t give any credence to fundamental wrongs being perpetrated on the Palestinians, blames them for the violence being done to them and acts like they have nothing to fight against. And they alternately deny Jews like me exist, or they threaten us and say that we harbor violent antisemites when really they work with the likes of John Hagee and Christians United for Israel!

In Jewish schools, we talk a lot about Rabbis Hillel and Shammai. In the Talmud, Horowitz_Abdulhadi_racist_posterHillel is always the one appealing for mercy, to let “sins” be forgiven rather than cause for punishment. Shammai is generally the stickler for detail and seen as unforgiving. Naturally, I usually prefer Hillel’s interpretations of law. These days though, it is Shammai I resonate with, and I hear him crying out against Horowitz, Pam Geller, David Brog, Netanyahu, Jared Kushner, Chuck Shumer,  and other dismissers of anti-Palestinian violence as he rolls over in his grave.

Pushing Aside the “Asides” in Political Asides

I’m really feeling the weight of the bombs the United States is dropping all over the place. Both real and metaphorical bombshells are killing people. I refuse to give into feeling powerless to help, or that the downward, so I don’t want to avoid thinking about the death and destruction caused 100% by humans like in Yemen and to the Muslims of Burma I the devastation caused by joint human/natural disasters like violent hurricanes in Florida, Houston, Puerto Rico, Cuba, other Caribbean Islands, Mexico…and Bangladesh where 30% of the country has been poisoned by sea water, dead things and toxics of all kinds.

Donald Trump went to the U.N. and made threats there that violate the UN’s own Charter. His ignorance and braggadocio are extra scary, but it is standard operating procedure for US presidents to extol the value of OUR exceptionalism and denounce that of others and undermine international treaties and norms that level the playing field for all nations. [Double entendre alert: Trump and Co. are leveling the playing field too, but in his case, Trump is leveling the field by destroying its features, not by cultivating equal opportunities.] I have been arrested demonstrating against the frequent missile test the United States conducts. I am aghast at the nuclear arsenal that now is in the hands of a modern Nero and that most Americans, including activists, act like don’t exist or are a threat worth bothering about.PLC2014_Nellis_group2

We’re arming the Saudis to kill Yemenis. Even though 15 of 19 hijackers from September 11 were Saudis, we have destroyed much of Afghanistan and Iraq and are helping Saudi Arabia’s wealthy elite kill many more in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere, and  and continue to spread a violent brand of Islam. I don’t want us to ban Saudis or kill their families, but the hypocrisy of ignoring what they are doing is as unforgivable as anything I can think of.

Like all violent, religious exponents, they have more in common with one another than with most people of their faiths. Antisemitic, Islamophobic Christian Zionists team up with Jews who seem to care more about Israel than about Judaism and Jewish teachings. And somehow they get otherwise righteous people to blame the Palestinians for the systematic violence being done to them. Like if they aren’t perfect in their resistance, they are to be damned.

The prophet, again, calls us to be our higher selves. Looking away breeds cynical hopelessness. Confronting our problems is a duty and a blessing that creates beautiful communities of resistance.

On a Personal Note…


I’m still house-sitting in Berkeley at least through November. I am grateful for the friends I have to lean on, and I am grateful for you all. I also feel like the streets aren’t that far away.  I may soon find that to have a residence, I need a more substantial income than I am used to earning. Housing requires money, which is easier to work for having a place to live, which requires money, which is easier to work for having a place to live, which requires money, which is easier to work for having a place to live, which…is a treadmill I have generally not ran on. The way I have lived and worked is akin to living in a rickety sukkah. It feels a bit unsafe, windblown, piecemeal, fresh, exposed and liberating: blessed, but with no guarantees.

I’m hanging in there/here. I hope you are too. The grace and resilience of people less fortunate than myself really does inspire me beyond belief! Let’s continue carrying on carrying on. We’re all in this together.

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Jim’s august August Missive

I am honored to start this Missive off by inviting people to a talk I am privileged to give at noon prayer time at Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque on August 25 in Berkeley. Qal’bu Maryam was dreamed into being in April 2017 by founder Rabi’a Keeble to be a safe, welcoming and inclusive space. I am grateful to my friend Naji Ali for asking me to talk with their community about Palestine and the Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegation I was part of in May. Rabi’a asked me to extend an invitation to my friends and network to attend my presentation and to visit anytime to pray or if you “are curious about Islam and want to get to know us in a relaxed, no pressure environment of support”. The presentation is at noon to be followed by (optional) prayers at 12:45 and then refreshments with Q&A. Again, it is August 25 at noon. Qal’bu Maryam is located at Starr King School of the Ministry, 2441 Le Conte Ave, Berkeley, 94709. Parking is tight around there, and I expect this will start pretty much on-time, so plan accordingly.

August Missive Contents

  1. August 25, noon presentation to Qal’bu Maryam Women’s Mosque, , 2441 Le Conte Ave, Berkeley CA about Sumud Freedom Camp, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence and Palestine. See above.
  2. Updates from Palestine and Palestinian Partners of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence
  3. I am now West Coast Rep. for Just World Educational! (very part-time though)
  4. Trumpian Dystopian Outrages: White Supremacy and Nuclear Bombast (Bombass?)
  5. Local Action Alerts
  6. A Few Personal Notes and Remembrances

2. Center for Jewish Nonviolence Partner Updates

  • My article about the CJNV delegation was published in Waging Nonviolence on July 23. I think it gives you a sense of what we did to help create Sumud Freedom Camp, and how inspiring the Palestinian return to their lands in and aroundSumud_signs_flags Sarura has been. My June and July Missives, though a bit messy (in my self-critical view), covered a lot of what CJNV’ers did during our trip. CJNV partners continue to inspire me. I still welcome opportunities to share about the trip and its ongoing impacts on the ground. Look for me in Las Vegas, probably in November, but I’m open to other invites and locales! I promise a rousing back and forth and information that is eye opening for any audience.
  • Meanwhile, Issa Amro‘s trial was set to restart on July 4 but it was postponed to July 9. When it finally convened, Issa_speaking_Sumud_welcomethe proceedings were pushed back to October. Fortunately, Issa is not being held while the case is pending, and he continues to build the nonviolent movement for his nation’s liberation in large and small ways. Read Issa’s article in The Forward about the Al Aqsa Mosque and the massive nonviolence over its access and control.
  • Please support Youth Against Settlements and their new campaign called Segregated and Unequal:
    Things are tough in Hebron right now. Additional checkpoints are being constructed, neighborhoods are imprisoned and a few weeks ago settlers illegally entered a Palestinian house near the Ibrahimi mosque. Soldiers set up a post on the first floor of the house to protect the settlers and Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Liberman ordered the army to let the settlers remain. They are receiving water, gas and other services from Israel and have installed a street sign giving the house a Hebrew name.
    We’ve launched a new campaign called Segregated and Unequal. It calls for an end to roads that are divided by religion, fences and checkpoints that imprison Palestinian neighborhoods and setter signs that change the names of streets from Arabic to Hebrew, erasing the Palestinian identity of our city.
    Along with challenging the settlers signs in Israel’s supreme court we are putting up our own signs to maintain the identity of our city. Our signs tell the history of our city and the stories of our nonviolent resistance. On Tuesday we installed the first of our signs. It tells how we used nonviolent protest to establish our activist center, reclaiming it from occupation by settlers and soldiers.
    Make a donation to help us purchase more signs and build our Segregated and Unequal campaign
    Hebron is the most heavily occupied city in the West Bank. Within our ancient city are staffed checkpoints and over 100 movement barriers. Around 1,500 soldiers are stationed to protect between 600-850 of Israel’s most violent settlers. They try to make life as difficult as possible so we will leave. However, we are steadfast in our commitment to remain in our homes and on our lands. Your support helps us to remain.
    In steadfast commitment,
    Issa, Muhanned, Ahmed and everyone at Youth Against Settlements
    P.S. Even U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders is showing his support for Palestinian rights. Read about the letter from Sanders and three other prominent U.S. Senators.
  • I was touched to read this Interview with my friend Tareq Hathaleen of Um al-

    Eid, Awdah, Jim & Tareq

    Khair by Cody O’Rourke. Once again: Existence is resistance. Rock on, my Bedouin friends. It dumbfounds me that anyone would want to hurt and steal from them. They have so little, but their dignity and ongoing sense of shared humanity motivates me to carry on with them. Um_Il_Khair_bulldozer_destroys_home“You can’t be neutral on a moving train” as the late, great Howard Zinn said.

  • Very sadly, I must insert a very sad note about Um Il Khair. Awdah, Tareq’s brother, shared this and other photos of Israeli bulldozers destroying homes in their small village. This photo was posted on August 13. Organize, pray, speak, join a delegation or support others to go, carry on, be steadfast…

3. Just World Educational

I have a part-time job now, as the west coast representative for Just World Educational. At present I am doing a fair amount of regional networking to foster events and discussions on topics raised in upcoming publications of its related enterprise, IBA, cover 1-20-17Just World Books. JWB has four titles due out in the next few months. Three highlights:

  • JWE’s first “#GazaChat” tweetchat on Tuesday, August 1 was a roaring success! It is part of the larger #Gaza51Days effort running from July 7 to August 27. The next Gaza Chat is scheduled August 22. If you’re on Twitter, I urge you to join it! Details of how to join the tweetchats are here. You’ll find info about the timing and topic of the August 22 chat at the bottom of that web-page.
  • Inside the Battle of Algiers: This memoir by Algerian revolutionary, lawyer and statesperson, Zohra Drif is available now. Drif and her translator, Andrew Farrand will be touring the eastern United States in September. Drif is one of the WER, War & Enviro reader, chosen coverwomen who’s experience is depicted in the classic 1966 film The Battle of Algiers.
  • The War and Environment Reader: Edited by Gar Smith (editor emeritus of Earth Island Journal and a former editor of Common Ground magazine), this collection brings together engaging texts drawn from a wide array of diverse voices and global perspectives. Look for author events in the Bay Area once it comes out October 3. I was pleased to see this volume includes the text of one of my all-time favorite handouts: War Resisters League’s Superpower/Superpolluter tri-fold (front and rear).

4. Trumpian Dystopian Outrages

This missive is coming out just after the deadly, white supremacist violence in Charlottesville over the weekend. I was already struggling with how to deal with all the ways Trump and his team are doubling-down on racism, injustice, militarism, misogyny and are going out of their way to attack just about everything that is half decent in the world. He even attacks his own, but they don’t seem to care! See Helena Coban’s response to repeated alt-right violence in Charlottesville, Virginia where she and Just World Education (my new employers) are based. See also “Top 10 Misconceptions about Charlottesville” by David Swanson, another compatriot of mine and author of War is a Lie, who also lives there.

  • Racism and white supremacy, Islamophobia and antisemitism all need to be named and denounced explicitly and unequivocally. White skin privilege oppresses people of color. Environmentalists (especially around the world), Black Lives Matter marchers, Water Protectors, Palestinians, Muslims and immigrant rights activists get treated as violent threats no matter what they’re wearing, where they are or what they’re doing. Candlelight vigils ARE a threat to the unjust state, BUT THEY AREN’T A VIOLENT THREAT, and that should make a difference, morally AND LEGALLY!
    There is no consistent and just logic that protects the rights of angry white marchers carrying assault weapons, body armor, shields and lighted torches over the people they are scaring and compared to all the other communities that protest in public and are severely policed. Compare how the white supremacists who attacked Charlottesville are being charged (not!) with how activists at Standing Rock, Montana or the inauguration day protests in Washington DC have been treated and charged. They even have the gall to tell us they’re protecting us from agents provocateurs as they start riots then threaten us with years in prison for being at a riot! I certainly hope that the murderer of Heather Heyer isn’t allowed to take the fall for all the violence in Charlottesville.
  • Police and other armed minions shouldn’t be allowed to say that their fear of the unknown justifies their deadly use of force. They’re suppose to have been chosen and trained to keep their cool in tough and mysterious situations. They’re not serving us if they are presuming unknown persons are armed and dangerous. This is nothing new for people in poor and predominantly black and brown neighborhood. People need to rise up against police impunity for racist violence.
    The failure to render aid I find especially damning. If someone is wounded, shouldn’t police immediately render aid and call for an ambulance? Mustn’t there  be a protocol getting ignored there? Even if you grant police the fear card when they’re rolling up on a scene. If someone is injured or bleeding out though, and they don’t call for medical help, that must qualify as some sort of misconduct or violation of official policy, mustn’t it? If not murder, how could it not be a “wrongful death” and grounds for termination if not prosecution? Even if a killer is fired or prosecuted, as a newly released Washington Post study reports, another problem is that superiors and  police oversight bodies often make procedural errors leading to bad cops getting their jobs back on technicalities…with back pay!
  • Trump is way less stable than Kim: Don’t let the worst nuclear proliferator and scofflaw PLC_Vandenberg_2016_marchers(the USA) tell you who should or shouldn’t have nukes and missiles and what to do about it. Listen to the rest of the world! The nuclear hypocrisy of the United States is so long-standing and bipartisan that it is hard to fathom being more upset now than I was before at how people talk about nuclear dangers as though we ourselves aren’t even a part of the problem, much less the biggest part by far!
    I actually have compassion for Kim Jong Un and North Koreans wanting nuclear weapons. Getting rid of weapons of mass destruction may have hastened the downfalls of both Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi. I’m against all nuclear weapons, but I can’t rightly demand that they lead the way towards unilateral disarmament. The hypocrisies of Putin and Russia—and Stalin and the USSR before them—pale by comparison to those of the United States, the most dishonest, two-faced renegers of agreements, nuclear and otherwise, on Earth.
    North Korea has always offered to stop their nuclear weapons program if the United States would finally negotiate a peace treaty with them. Sadly, typically, the US has never followed up on the overtures. The United States killed 30% of their population and destroyed 80% of their structures including some dams which is a war crime. Somehow, we have to make the United States include that history in its foreign policy planning.
  • Voter suppression, not voter fraud, is the real assault on democracy, but tragically, the Democratic Party leadership refuses to support its progressive base, preferring its doomed strategy of wooing hesitant Republicans and blue-dog Democrats. And that commission the Liar in Chief set up is scary, but it is giving an opportunity for Republicans to break ranks in numbers and piss off His Orangeness.

5. Action Alerts and Local Efforts of Note

  • Attacks on Palestinians  and people who support them are growing. In Oakland, a focus of solidarity is Reem’s Bakery in Fruitvale Plaza just outside the BART entrance because they have a mural inside of Rasmeah Odeh who I was honored to hear and meet in Chicago at the JVP National Member Meeting in April.
  • Meanwhile, at San Francisco State, horribly chilling and dishonest lawsuits have been filed against the university administration charging it with not combating antisemitism even as racist attacks on Palestinian students, student groups, faculty like Prof. Rabab Abdulhadi and JVP have grown more offensive and threatening. SFSU poster 5-3-17Islamophobic posters have appeared that (as much as I try not to relate current affairs to Nazi Germany) are eerily reminiscent of cartoonish antisemitic cartoons from the 1930s. My compatriot in JVP, David Spero got the J Weekly to run this very good article about the situation there.
  • Take a strong stand against efforts to criminalize free speech that outlaw  individuals, organizations and companies in the United States to participate in boycotts of Israel or the territories it illegally controls. Israel shouldn’t privilege Jewish visitors and immigrants, but it does. Now though, they are questioning the politics even of Jews trying to go there.
    Scary legal machinations include measures that are already enacted in states like California and New York.
    At the federal level. S.720 and HR.1697 would create a minimum sentence of a fine of $250,000 for some participation of an Israeli boycott. These bills are bad because of how they address Palestine. They are bad because they intend to confuse people and chill free speech. They are bad because they undermine international efforts to build pressure on Israel to stop dispossessing Palestinians, and in fact, are an assault on humanitarian norms and international law.
    Palestine Legal in conjunction with other groups including Jewish Voice for Peace released an outstanding critique of these bills as did the ACLU. Best info is from the links above, but if you want to hear yours truly talk about it,  I was interviewed about the federal bills for Myrna Lim Live on San Francisco  public access television alongside Stephen Jaffe who is challenging Nancy Pelosi for her Congressional seat next year.

6. A Few Personal Notes and Remembrances

I am being paid to house sit in north Berkeley until the middle of September. It’s quiet, but pleasant with very nice neighbors. There is a lot of overgrown yard and little clean-and-fix things to do, so I can find plenty of distraction when I want to step away from my computer. The apples, blackberries, peaches and plums are wonderful, as is the mint smell all over the place. Thank you to the Graniches for their welcome and trust.

Starting September 15 I’ll actually be spending more time at home in Bernal Heights with Bob and Marian. Aidan is going to make some space for me in his old room before he heads back to Leeds for his final year of undergraduate studies.

I’m very pleased finally to have figured out Blogger to the point that I could turn into something to point people to. So I’m pointing you to it. I have some content to fix up more so people understand better what exactly I am offering if


they want Laughter Yoga for an ice breaker or longer sessions cultivating “childlike playfulness” and how exercises an be tailored to a group’s purpose (if there is one).

I loved Kate Raphael’s first murder mystery, Murder Under the Bridge. Now the second installment of this emerging series is out, Murder Under the Fig Tree, and I can’t wait to read it. Go ahead, and beat me to it. Buy yours now!

And finally: My friends Jerry Zawada and Bill Doub passed away since my last missive.

That’s Bill on the left in 2015 during one last backpacking trip to his beloved Yosemite. I love that wry, knowing look on his face. Whenever I use my car I think of Bill and feel a little guilty, but in a good way, especially when I could have planned a little more and used my bicycle or public transit instead!
The picture of me and Jerry is from the Pacific Life Community gathering in 2016. The next day Jerry was detained at the main gate of Vandernberg Air Force Base demonstrating against US ICBM tests that are routine there, making world-class hypocrites of the United States vis-a-vis North Korea. Other people were arrested, but they just detained Jerry. They didn’t want to have to be responsible for him and his physical needs, but his spirit and body compelled him, yet again, to get in the way of injustice.
Jerry was so meek and self-effacing. He never wanted to be a bother, and sometimes that was hard for me; I confess! Talk about finding your power when you need it though: When standing up to authority, blessing The Host or offering a prayer, Divine Glory would imbue his words with a rare power. I was going to say I’ll miss it, but I can feel it right now as I type! THANK YOU, JERRY!
Thank you, my friends, for teaching me about activism, integrity, passion and faith. What is remembered lives!

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Jim’s June Missive, vol.3: Getting Right to It!

[This missive starts with a few event announcements and a call to keep public, international pressure up on Israel to drop the Sarura_Iftar_Tariq_19Junefabricated charges against Issa Amro. His next court date is July 4.  Then there is a letter to the editor I wrote about false charges of antisemitism at SF State, a report from me about the harrowing experience I had on Jerusalem Day. And finally, some personal updates and some old, heart warming, family photos. Before I even start though, here’s a photo my friend Tariq took just a couple days ago at a Ramadan iftar in the cave CJNV and I helped prepare for Fadal and his family in Sarura to reclaim and re-inhabit after 20 years. People are still on the land there, after a whole month! This is empowering despite the ongoing harrassment from nearby settlers and soldiers, exceeding most expectations. This photo thrills me!
Thanks for caring, everyone. -Jim]


Starting off: Some immediate self-promotion…

Listen to me on KALW (91.7 FM) at 11:00 pm this Saturday, June 24, talking about my second Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegation, including Sumud Freedom Camp, my time in East Jerusalem, in Israel, the horror of Jerusalem Day, and what it all means coming home. Listen in live at, webcast on Berlin’s or at 91.7 FM on an actual radio.  Gaza Corner segments are archived at the Tangents Radio website. Dore Stein’s Tangents Radio (Saturday nights, 8:00 to midnight) has a regular segment at 11:00pm called Gaza Corner. It isn’t always about Gaza, but generally something about the Middle East. I was on last year after the 2016 CJNV trip, and I am happy to be welcomed back.


Joanna Macy Center Fundraiser Concert with Rising Appalachia,
Joanna Macy & Thrive East Bay Choir!

Monday, June 26, 7:00 to 9:00 pm (Doors open at 6.)
First Congregational Church
2501 Harrison, Oakland 94612

I just love Joanna Macy and her work. This benefit is for the Work That Reconnects Center at Canticle Farm (Oakland). It is going to be uplifting and beautiful. I hear amazing things about Rising Appalachia. Tickets are free, but donations are gratefully accepted in the spirit of free will offerings and the gift economy to support their work. This event was sold out, but then they shifted the venue, so more tickets are available again.


Support Issa Amro Now!Issa_speaking_Sumud_welcome

I gave space in the second June missive about Issa Amro. He and his case are very important to me and for the Palestinian liberation struggle. The letter being circulated in Congress is gaining some traction. Initially there were four sponsors of it, and now there are at least fifteen; small still, but a large increase. It calls on the State Department to try to get Israel to drop the 18 trumped up charges against Youth Against Settlements organizer, Issa Amro of Hebron. The link above has several other links to articles, the “Dear Colleague” letter by Congressman Marc Pocan, summaries of his two recent court dates, supportive UN statements, the determination by the EU that Issa is officially a “human rights defender” and more.

I have mentioned Issa before since he has been an important leader for me in both CJNV delegations I have gone on. I was amazed at his good humor and composure while dealing with the army busting into our camp during the night. [Click here or on the image of Issa to hear him welcome us to Sarura and the Sumud Freedom Camp. There is a bit of wind, but you can feel how fully he understands the power of organizing with nonviolent principles as he tells us to keep them in mind in case we are attacked by settlers or soldiers.]


See the SF Mime Troupe this year!Poster

The show is entitled “Walls.” They have had to scale back their production size due to income stream problems. This was the case the last couple of years too, but the shows still packed quite a punch, musically, thematically and emotionally. Go to their website and be sure to come out. Donate to them through their website too. Free shows in Bay Area parks start in Berkeley on July 1. Dolores Park on Independence Day or Labor Day are always good, and remember to donate at the end when the thespians surround you. Also, their shows are great places to give out political literature.


At San Francisco State: Stand with Palestinian Students,
Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi and Middle East and Islamic Studies Program Against Trumped up Charges of Antisemitism

I just sent in this letter to the editor to the SF Chronicle in response to this article about a lawsuit being filed against San Francisco State University. They printed my friend Clyde’s letter which was great. JVP also created great talking points since the lawsuit garnered articles in other papers like the Washington Post and Ha’aretz. The university is being unfairly smeared as though it has an antisemitic administration. Actually, the administration is not nearly as supportive of its Arab students and faculty as it needs to be since they are under attack.

Concerning your article about the frivolous lawsuit being filed against SF State University for allegedly being antisemitic and not protecting Jewish students from threats or attack: The Jerusalem mayor was shouted down, and the outside investigator’s assessment was that the Palestinian students were not threatening (unless you consider interrupting menacing). Some level of civil unrest is valid, even necessary to express outrage. The Jerusalem mayor is overseeing the “Judaization” of Palestinian neighborhoods with increasing dispossession of their people. Video also shows they weren’t threatening. And as for Hillel and being welcome or not at the human rights fair: As David Spero, who was there, reported to our Jewish Voice for Peace chapter, “It was a bunch of talks by law people and a lot of human rights and activist orgs with tables.  Hillel students were all over it, but they were not allowed a table at it, which makes sense to me as they are not a human rights group.” The lawsuit is frivolous and offensive against the university and any expression of Palestinian solidarity, even by Palestinians, who must be allowed to advocate for themselves. I’ve been a Jew at SF State. I think Palestinians have more to fear there.

I am concerned about how bullshit charges of antisemitism are used to silence and attack people and groups. This is not a new phenomenon, and the existence of real antisemitism doesn’t excuse the recklessness and methodical intentionality of these cases. From the files of my friend Allan Solomonow I have examples going back to the late 1960s. We all, activist and non-activist alike, need to be smart and discerning.


What Happened on Jerusalem Day?

I can’t go into everything about the CJNV trip at once, and a gestalt analysis is still percolating, so right now, consider what happened the Wednesday after the delegation ended, May 24, Jerusalem Day 2017. Jerusalem Day is a real thing. It is a day when Jewish Israelis and their friends parade all over the city including the Palestinian Quarter of the Old City. They are rude as they do it, proud, arrogant, at times violent, always a bit threatening. In the afternoon, small bands of white-shirted people with Israeli flags roam the old city singing loudly. Any sign of disapproval is met with a bit of in-your-face-ness. On Jaffa Street as I walked up to the bus station, it felt more celebratory than threatening as it did in and around the Old City. Jaffa_Street_masses.jpgAround 4:00 pm, Palestinians vacate and are made to close their businesses because of the impending invasion. Damascus Gate is cleared by Jerusalem police at a busy time on a week day. Later, the large parade evidently snakes its way in and through the Old City. I didn’t stay that late since I needed to get back to Kibbutz Gezer. That was a bit of a relief as the vibe was starting to wear me down, and for my part, I wanted to keep a good demeanor.

We were encouraged to shop before the stores closed to show support for J_Day_inside_Damascus_GatePalestinian business. That was a funny part of the action, but I was happy to spend a little money there in commercial solidarity. When a small group would go by a store I was in, I would go to the front of the store in case someone wanted to break something. Shopkeepers were appreciative of a customer showing concern for them. I think I over-relied on that to get me better deals than I did. I still needed to haggle more! As I approached Damascus Gate from inside the Old City a group walked past me. The nearby police officers gave me a blank looks when I asked them, if they arrest anyone who causes damage. [Click here or on the image to see a 40 second video.]

Some people I was on the trip with were Jerusalemites who along with internationals planned IMG_0382to nonviolently occupy part of the Damascus Gate plaza to hold space, maybe enough to make it hard for the white-shirts to march through. Some of us planned to link arms, and even pile on one another to make it hard to clear them out. I wasn’t at the meeting and was willing to be pushed around, but I wasn’t planning on pushing to the point of being arrested. It felt good to walk out Damascus Gate at that point and see my new friends, arms linked, singing, holding space. I immediately joined the line. It was an awesome few minutes before we were pushed hard, most people falling to the ground. I was on the end and didn’t go down, so I got my camera out, no longer part of the scrum, shifting from “most-risking” to “less-risking,” expecting more to be pushed and shoved than pulled and dragged. Click on image above or here for short, video of chanting and dragging, singing and more.

INTERESTING POINT: Time and again throughout this trip, the police and army would be rough, mSarah_broken_armaybe detain people for a while, but they went out of their way NOT actually to arrest people. They just wanted everyone out of the way of the large march yet to come. They were rough as you can see in this video clip, and they broke the arm of Sarah Brammer-Shlay, my friend from both CJNV trips, and in fact, one of my small group leaders. Even

J_Day_Palestinians_sidewalk_scenewith Palestinians, once they pushed us out of the plaza and across the road, they just wanted us out of the way. At times a tourist would come and they would let them cross the road, or a Palestinian resident of the Old City. There was a moment when it seemed like police and army were grabbing someone, but people were able to be in the way enough that the people were liberated. You can see this short incident start at about 1;45 here or by clicking on the image to the right.


 …and Personally?

I feel the political turmoil in my bones and soul. It creeps into my about-to-wake moments and my conscious, doing life.Issawiya_work_group It is important to find joy and bliss amidst the constant backdrop of escalating violence. I’m looking forward to Pride this weekend. And mixing the bliss and pain: my birthday was a real mixed bag in East Jerusalem.

We saw a peaceful vigil in support of the hunger-striking political prisoners end violently when police tased one man sending him to the hospital and arrested three others. And we weren’t able to work in Issawiya because of someJim_birthday_thumbnail confusion I will talk about another time. Still, our friends there arranged an amazing dinner for us and a heartfelt talk by Omar, an Issawiyan. We took a group photo in the wedding reception hall (something we weren’t expecting to encounter). Then, I was surprised with the most uproarious cake and singing for me since my 40th party.

I have found a paid house-sit gig in north Berkeley that will start sometime in July. I think it will last at least a couple months, depending on how fast the family can clear their mom’s stuff out, but it seems like that could be a slow, methodical process. I haven’t seen the place yet, but I believe it is going to work out great. I have long said if I had a place to live and a few hundred dollars a month, I could survive quite well. We’ll see. I did like settling in here, feeling like I had a room that was mine, but I may be entering a nomadic period again. We’ll see. I can’t define a trend yet.

I have some possible employment irons in the fire too, but I don’t want to get into them at this point. I am missing two weeks in a row of laughter yoga where my mom lives because of a virus in a wing there–not my mom’s–that causes them to cancel activities. Darn! I hope people get and stay well asap. Prayers for Baywood Court.

As I prepare to move out after a couple years, I am looking through books and boxes of Aunt_Marilynphotos and journals and letters, wanting to clear out space in my storage unit to put stuff back, but  not to bury everything. I am enjoying looking at old photos and scanning some of them. My beautiful Aunt Marilyn passed away shortly before I left on my May trip. I missed the funeral, but there is a memorial gathering for her this Saturday that I am looking forward to. My heart is always warmed at remembrances. They soften people in my experience, amidst the sense of loss and grief. What is remembered lives.

Parents_Grandparents_wedding_photoAnd I realized that I have photos in my room of people from my life, but I was missing my own grandparents. Hardest to come across are shots of my mom’s dad, Papa Irv. Second hardest is my dad’s mom, “Nanny” to me. Here is a wedding photo that has them all in it, looking mighty good too! That was in 1955.

And finally, the classic Longs photo of my dad when the Serramonte store was opening in Daly City in 1968. I always knew my dad as a Longs Drug Store manager, so in a lot of ways this pic is quintesentially him. Loving and missing you, dad.Dad_Longs


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JIM’S JUNE MISSIVE vol.2: The Personal is Political

Dear Missive Readers, Here are a couple of urgent action items followed by some reflections sparked by my trip to Palestine and Israel. The urgent actions keep me from ruminating too long, but the first action item is really the end of the day Tuesday (tomorrow). I still have lots of lessons to process and share from my time away: too much for one sitting or post. In this Missive, I touch on various parts of our time together, but I focus a little more on the hunger strike that was going on at the time. I will fill in the holes about Issawiya, Sarura, Sumud, Battan Al Hawa, Gezer, Istanbul, interpersonal lessons and dynamics in the next couple of missives. Ask me for any clarifications. Your questions will help guide my reporting. Thanks for your interest, support and patience.  -Jim


Tell Berkeley City Council Not to Participate in Urban Shield
or other Insidious, Militarized, Police Training Programs

(Speak up, even if you aren’t a Berkeley resident)

In an unprecedented move, the Berkeley City Council is considering fully withdrawing their participation in Urban Shield. A decision in favor of pulling out of Urban Shield by the Berkeley City Council paves the way for other cities in the Bay Area to do the same. The Council has scheduled a special hearing on Urban Shield for vote on Tuesday, June 20th at 6pm at Longfellow Middle School, 1500 Derby St in Berkeley. Rally Facebook event.

The community wants resources for mental health crises, earthquake and fire preparedness. We say no to increased militarization of police, our emergency medic services and our communities.

We want to redouble our efforts at the upcoming meeting in showing the Berkeley City Council that they need to stand on the side of the people and not on the side of militarization and oppression. More background is in this great op-ed in the local Berkleyside.

First: Fill out this poll conducted by the City of Berkeley itself:
(non-Berkleyites too, please)

Second: All letters sent to will be sent to the Mayor and each council member, and will be included in the agenda packet (which is also posted online for the public). (non-Berkleyites too, please) I think the Facebook event above also has phone numbers of councilmembers if you want to call them.

BERKELEY RESIDENTS: Sign the Berkeley petition to demand Berkeley pull out of Urban Shield.

ALAMEDA COUNTY RESIDENTS: Sign the Alameda County petition to demand county officials pull out of Urban Shield.

Act Now to Help Keep Issa Amro of Hebron Free.

“In the midst of nonviolent struggle, I have never
trusted anyone more!” -Jim

Past petitions have helped Issa and other nonviolent activists hold their own against biased Israeli courts and military and civil administrations. Stand With IssaPRESSURE LIKE THIS CAN ACTUALLY MAKE A REAL DIFFERENCE! Despite fickle Democratic leadership (at best) on human rights, and despite the way Palestinians are generally treated as inherently violent and guilty, members of Congress (including Republicans) have stood up for Issa and others before, so please click on this link to share a letter with your representatives:

Here is a short video clip of Issa addressing CJNV and others as we arrived at Sarura where we all created the Sumud Freedom Camp. Here is an article by Issa that also came out in May.


I was amazed by Issa’s creative, steady, brave and uplifting leadership in 2016. He had us start cleaning up a shuttered factory to turn it into a movie theater for the people of Hebron and Tel Rumeida. After being injured during that action, he still directed us as we wound our way through Kiryat Arba to demonstrate outside the police station where our friends were being held.

I was even more impressed this May as he led us to create, defend and maintain Sumud Freedom Camp in Sarura, a Palestinian village in the south Hebron Hills that Israel cleared out in the late 1990s. Issa Amro was instrumental in formulating  and carrying out such a clear and powerful plan with a winning spin no matter how it played out.


Jim and Issa at Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura.

The Israeli military (IDF) came into camp at 11:30 pm on May 20 to steal equipment, rip up tent and shade material, and harass our legal, peaceful gathering. They produced no orders or legal basis for their intrusion. They acted afraid even though they were the ones with the guns. They came as armed invaders into a camp organized not just in the name of justice and peace, but as an explicitly nonviolent effort.In the face of their imposed authority, Issa met them time and again with good humor, even jokes, but also with his good-sized but non-threatening body. He addressed them in Hebrew, English and Arabic. He directed us as we held our space. He even took a moment to ask me to cover food so it wouldn’t get ruined. There was chaos in the dark. Cell phone lights barely helped. People chanted, yelled, tried to engage in dialog. Issa knew what was what and led us warmly and selflessly. Then, when it was obvious that we couldn’t keep them from leaving with our supplies, he directed us back to camp, to regroup and check in with a levity that was so genuine it was quite surprising. Issa kept our spirits up. I want to go back and stand with him again. I want to be like Issa when I grow up! (smile) Right and wrong are so clear sometimes. Which side are you on? Please act now!

Hunger Striking Political Prisoners and a Young, Freed Detainee

The May delegation took place near the end of what would turn out to be a rather successful hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners that lasted for forty days. My work group attended a rally/vigil in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of


Ali Jeddah was freed in a 1985 prisoner swap. He was remarkably gentle for all he has been through


It felt like a rally I could have helped organize in the USA. And like what sometimes happens here, at the very end of the peaceful gathering, the police moved in and picked out a few people to arrest. A Palestinian pointed out that supporters of Israel better hope that their nonviolent efforts bear fruit. Hamas negotiates prisoner exchanges for a few Israeli soldiers and hundreds or thousands of Palestinians. It makes Hamas look successful, even to Palestinians who don’t like them. There is power in nonviolence, but we need to win some fights, or people will  continue to turn to violence. As John F. Kennedy put it: “Those who make peaceful change impossible make violent revolution inevitable.”

Speaking of prisoners: For our first three days, CJNV divided us up into six work groups. Mine went to Issawiya, a village near/neighborhood in East Jerusalem. It is near Mt. Scopus and Hebrew University. A national park continues to be planned on some of the only open space there even though the people of Issawiya continue to move their master plan ideas successfully through the Jerusalem civil administration process. Even when they win, a new hurdle is suddenly created, so it seems like they lose no matter if they win. More on that in my next Missive.

In Issawiya we met a sixteen year old girl named Sondos who was just released from Israeli detention after five months. She was held on suspicion of planning to carry out a knife attack, but she was released because there must not have been any evidence against her. She was presumed guilty and spent five months in jail as a minor.

Uri of Free Jerusalem was our guide and interpreter in Issawiya. Mohammed Abu Hummus (right) is a community leader in Issawiya who was our community liaison. Sondos is in the middle.


Relating her story to my sister and others on Kibbutz Gezer garnered a response that I am disturbed by: Since I don’t really know this person, how can I take her side? Even though the system is biased against her, I should remember that I don’t really know the whole story. There is truth in that, but still…The system formally treats her as guilty until proven innocent whereas it would treat an international or Israeli as innocent until proven guilty. To ask me to suspend judgement in the face of such injustice is to ask me to buy into the separate and unequal legal systems instituted prejudicially against Palestinians. I won’t do it, and I don’t want other people to either. The system convicts Palestinians over 99% of the time, and almost never convicts settlers or soldiers. In this case, the arrested must be treated as victims by well-meaning people. The rights and needs of victims’ families must not be cynically used to justify wrongful detention and to mute the outrage of good-hearted people. And the real possibility of trumped up charges being used to oppress activist Palestinians or their communities can’t be overstated, as in the case of Issa Amro.


  • My gratitude and respect for the Center for Jewish Nonviolence continues to grow. The way they helped us follow the lead of our Palestinian partners who’s invitations/pleas/asks for help we were responding to could be a model for nonviolent resistance and solidarity for the whole world (not that one size fits all).
  • Work done during the May trip continues on the ground. It wasn’t just relevant
  • Sarura_cave_shadeThe IDF invaded on Saturday night. On Sunday, we used a sizable remnant of material to make a smaller canopy in the courtyard outside Fadal’s cave. He and his family have moved back in despite threatening visits from the military and nearby settlers. Sumud Freedom Camp has continued to be a rallying point for Palestinian, Israeli and international activists. People hope to keep a presence in Sumud and Sarura through the end of Ramadan at least.  I just saw photos of a Ramadan iftar held in Fadal’s cave that we helped prepare for living in. Palestinian life in Sarura continues!
  • I get teary-eyed when I think about the people I met sometimes. I’m very sensitive that way.
  • Sumud_camp_Eid_Awdah_Jim_Tarek_UmmIlKheir

    Eid, Awdah and Tariq of Um Il Khair, with yours truly in Sumud Freedom Camp. New friends from 2016, together again in 2017!

    I have been so touched, enriched and empowered by everyone involved, sometimes I cry for a warm remembrance, and sometimes I cry in dismay and outrage. The time together is very intense with an amazing amount of trust flowing across presumed walls of difference and indifference. There is a deep connection between Palestinians, Israelis and Jews from the diaspora in this work. This emotional response comes up for me with people from my sister’s kibbutz as well as with Palestinians and other people from the delegation.

  • For three days in Sarura, we cleared paths of rocks and thorny weeds. Sarura_FadalWe helped pave a road so water can be brought in more cheaply (by pick up truck instead of farm tractors) since Israel refuses to let Palestinians in Area C have water, sewage or power hook ups. We mixed and poured concrete to floor the cave of an elder named Fadal so he and his family could move back in after twenty years in exile. In between military raids, they fired up their oven and made the first pita bread on site since 1997! And as I type this, they are still there! Seeing the FB post this morning of last night’s iftar there really drove home to me how important every little effort is for peace since big ones are built on little ones…and EXISTENCE IS RESISTANCE!
  • A SOMEWHAT MORE PERSONAL LESSON/REFLECTION: I need to stop interrupting people so much. Am I really that impatient for the other person to get to their point? Am I so scared that I will forget what I was going to say? Am I afraid my thought or question will no longer be relevant? Do I feel a need to be the first to make a good point? Do I think my point won’t be said, and then the conversation will go off track or get bogged down? Do I really know where the conversation had better go? Answering “yes” to any of those questions doesn’t justify interrupting people. And yes, men interrupt women more often than the other way around. That point isn’t lost on me either, though I think I’m an equal opportunity interrupter. In this case, the political is personal!

NEXT MISSIVE: The personal is political continues; More lessons from my trip; The problem and attraction of police dramas on television; If I no longer have David Nesmith to care for and I am no longer staying at his wife Annie’s home, where am I, and what am I doing?

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