Not just more of the same, and every sign of hope is precious.

Regarding nuclear weapons, the current administration is continuing policies of the previous one as did recent administrations before it: don’t work towards disarmament and pretend we aren’t upgrading our nuclear weapons or designing new ones. Despite his undeserved Nobel Peace Prize–his should be rescinded before Aung San Suu Kyi’s–and one over-played speech in Prague he never intended to honor, Obama’s nuclear legacy is one of delivery system upgrades, nuclear infrastructure growth and recalcitrant hypocrisy toward non-nuclear weapon states especially Iran. Yes, hhe did oversee the Iran nuclear deal, but that also is a noose around Iran’s neck, so that isn’t exactly a win for disarmament either.

Nuclear.Cloud_TreeStill, Trump and the Republicans are changing the rules on the ground, legalizing their thievery, making it legal for them to hide all their cards from any oversight or public awareness. The unfortunate lies of the Democrats are referenced to bolster their own, even more extreme lies and power grabs. International law, the laws of armed combat, international human rights conventions and treaties, the mandate of the International Committee of the Red Cross (and Red Crescent) have failed to make warfare less injurious to civilians over the last century, but they at least displayed an awareness that the concepts of war crimes and crimes against humanity should exist, and enforcement mechanisms should exist too. Shaming world leaders didn’t work really well, but now that ideas are threatened in their entirety by Donald Trump’s violent braggadocio.

Trump and General Mattis have said they want to make smaller nukes, ones that they have deemed usable. I didn’t think that anything could make me argue for deterrence! The logic of deterrence is a bit convoluted, but internally consistent. The presumption is that a nuclear armed state won’t attack a non-nuclear armed state out of fear that a retaliation will ensue. No defense against nuclear attack could be so fool-proof as to allow someone to launch a “first-strike.” A small nuke would probably leave the attacked state able to retaliate with its own surviving ones. Should they launch on warning? Do they wait and maybe not be able to retaliate? And then there is the question of what will the other nuclear armed states do in response even if they aren’t the ones attacked to begin with?

The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that George W. Bush pulled us out of, kept countries countries_with_the_biggest_nuclear_arsenalsfrom trying to design shields. For deterrence, countries need to think their missiles and command and control systems will survive a first-strike. Attacking countries need to think that too, so they don’t risk starting a nuclear exchange, afraid that a retaliation would destroy its cities. Small nukes and delivery systems that may or may not have nukes on them confuse countries under attack, making them unsure if they are being nuked or not.

Maybe the nuclear states need to say to one another, if you launch against anyone, we all will launch against you. I can’t believe I just said that! On some level, stepped up deterrence against the United States seems necessary to me. That is shocking and depressing. I still pledge to work tirelessly for total nuclear disarmament, even unilateral nuclear disarmament. The rest of the world needs to unite against us and Trump, or I fear war–even nuclear war–is on a near horizon.

Trump even has ordered the Department of Energy (which oversees nuclear weapons production) to be ready to restart nuclear testing which was suspended by the elder Bush in 1992. Bill Clinton’s “Stockpile Stewardship” program extended testing in other, less radioactive forms, and kept nuclear weapons “alive.” That Clinton creation provides the basis for Trump’s order to the DOE. Barack Obama quadrupled the capacity of the nuclear weapons complex to upgrade and make new weapons. The illegal upgrade of the B61 to the B61-12 gravity bomb was a program Obama embraced, and it is now full speed ahead, making them very targetable and hence capable of being used as a first-strike weapon. I think the United States could have led the world towards disarmament by renouncing first strike weapons years ago, but now, such a gesture is even further from the table than it was.

Threatening to use nukes on a non-nuclear country is illegal under international law, but the USA has done this many times, and of course, we did nuke the people of Japan, the Marshall Islands, Nevada and elsewhere.

How can militarists get away with arguing that the 20170424_Military_ExpenditureUnited States military and its nuclear component are a laughing stock around the world? We may seem unwise, ignorant and arrogant, but still, our military budget and sales are taken very seriously, with relish, by tyrants the world over. The Koreans know how devastatingly we’re willing to use it. So do the Japanese. The world sees us arm Saudi Arabia to kill Yemenis and Israelis to try to subjugate Palestinians. The United States has upwards of 800 military bases in over 1 in 3 countries. For comparison, Russia has nine foreign military bases. Trump and others like John McCain and Lindsay Graham shouldn’t be able to assert with so little challenge, that our military is shrinking and falling behind. And they want freer rein to use those weapons, bases and personnel.

They are pushing back against any scrutiny or self-disclosure. In the past I would have said “almost any scrutiny” and been pleasantly surprised at some of their own reports. Now, they don’t want ANY, and they’ll just say “national security” until we’re blue in the face screaming in protest or maybe until we’re blue because we’re all dead. Republicans and the leadership of the Democratic Party seem to be okay with that. Sadly, most rank and file Dems and even radical environmentalists don’t seem to grock the extremely dangerous changes Trump’s swamp is making to the international lay-of-the-warfare land. If they kill you, you were by definition, the enemy, and if we destroy a village or a city, it was necessary to save it. And if he and his spokespeople claim that actually, the people are grateful for the intervention and thriving, well, that is good enough, that they say it, and time to move on…

Military actions are suppose to target military targets,please-dont-defend-us-with-wmm-30x20.jpg not civilian ones. A cynic might say that such strictures will never be honored by one’s mortal enemies and can’t be trusted and we can’t fight with our hands tied behind our back. But it was war-like parties that agreed to such things to begin with. That negotiations could lead to such agreements despite all the bad blood in the world is amazing, and a testament to something in the human spirit that strives for the common good over individual greed. Even despots knew that it was wrong to go too far, even if they then justified it to themselves. Armies were more aware that they were supposed to treat civilians differently, and saw them as different than armed enemies. That knowledge sometimes has made a life and death difference for someone, a family, a village even though in the past 100 years, civilians began to face the  overwhelming brunt of military violence. That sense of shame, or at least the not wanting to get caught, actually meant something on the ground in a war zone.

Trump is undoing even such minimal humanitarian efforts. Others started it, but Trump is pushing militarism so hard that despots around the world feel no shame, guilt or event expedient qualms about killing anyone they want, be they journalists, opposition candidates, labor leaders, environmentalists, or any random person someone in trouble might name to get the spotlight off of themselves. Attacking opponents isn’t new, but limits did help mitigate harm, and that being the norm did foster a more civil society which allowed lives, structures and routines to continue amidst fighting.

Our World Needs You to end warNow, we seem hell-bent towards massive destruction, and it is hard to take hope in the pushback that is actually growing, but is also casting about all over the place, diffused and often at odds with itself as much as with the forces of wanton cruelty. Movements for the sake of the environment, racial justice, gender equality and economic opportunity are often led by people who don’t include one of the largest contributors to their problems: militarism and especially The Pentagon. Perchlorate from rocket motors is in every women’s breast milk in the planet. The Pentagon uses more petroleum than any other institution in the world even though it has/d been developing alternative fuels. Most of the oil goes to the air force for airplanes and other transportation excesses among the different branches of the military.

The idea that using a nuclear weapon could be done in a way that doesn’t harm and kill civilians is murderously crazy and ignorant, indifferent to facts and fallout. Maybe other leaders will be more grounded than expected, and they won’t retaliate with their own nukes. I hope so, because Trump seems like the most unglued of the lot, but somehow, the world needs to unite against Trump and Trump-ism, or there is little cause for hope.

TNP_discovery1I take solace in every glimmer of hope that rises. Having children is a sign of hope. Good people having kids and raising them with loving, sharing values instead of some Ayn Randian “me first, me always” ethic gives me great hope! Radical parents give me hope. Seeing any signs of loving and friendship give me hope. Sharing and generosity are in abundance, and they give me hope. New configurations of activism give me hope. Black women running for office give me hope. Groups like Bay Peace, the Afghan Peace Volunteers, Youth Against Settlements, and Movement Generation give me hope. The Water Protectors give me hope. Jewish Voice for Peace and the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust give me hope. Environmentalists and journalists give me hope. The amazing young adults I have seen grow up in the Reclaiming Tradition give me great hope!TruePinknik

My friends and lovers give me hope. You are amazing. I thank you all for instilling and nurturing hope in me and people around you wherever you are. Thank you!


Posted in Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nuclear Issues | 1 Comment

Incredible. Unbelievable. But not ridiculous.

Before talking about why nuclear weapons and the military budget need to be on the agendas of more activists (in the next post-ette of this belated, Approximately Monthly Missive), I’m feeling called to say a word about words, certain words that I often have a reaction to. Okay, I’m just going to talk about one word:


Ridiculous gets under my skin when people use it. I find it disconcerting when articulations of murderous, spiteful or hateful policies are dubbed ridiculous. I look at the word and think: Something is ridiculous if it is worthy of being ridiculed. But I don’t want to ridicule something that scares or threatens me or the world around me. I want to build opposition to it. I don’t just want to mock or make fun of it. I want to stop or change it. If I make a joke about it, it is an uncomfortable use of wit (I hope) because we have to keep a sense of humor about ourselves and the fights we are in to keep our spirits up. Staying lighthearted in the struggle is essential to keeping from beating each other up when we disagree. It helps us pause and return to seeing the best intention in others on our side. But that sort of humor isn’t about ridicule but laughing at our common and sometimes absurd humanity.

swamp_monsters_bWriting this post will help me move on. I don’t want to lay a trip on people mid-conversation to take on this word. It’s like how people misuse the word “literal” in the most absurd ways that are anything but literal. Then some people really get upset at the loose language. I don’t want to be one of those. Satire and parody have their place, and that was me in the Betsy DeVos “swamp monster” costume with the Trump Dis-organization as evidence.

Let me take a moment to refer to definitions. This is the first that popped up in Google for me:

ri·dic·u·lous /rəˈdikyələs/ adjective
deserving or inviting derision or mockery; absurd.
“when you realize how ridiculous these scenarios are, you will have to laugh”
synonyms: laughable, absurd, comical, funny, hilarious, risible, droll, amusing, farcical, silly, ludicrous; (rare) derisible, senseless, silly, foolish, foolhardy, stupid, inane, fatuous, childish, puerile, half-baked, harebrained, cockamamie, ill-thought-out, crackpot, idiotic, absurd, preposterous, ludicrous, risible, laughable, nonsensical, senseless, outrageous

I thought maybe ludicrous would feel more apt, so I looked it up too:

lu·di·crous /ˈlo͞odəkrəs/ adjective
so foolish, unreasonable, or out of place as to be amusing; ridiculous.
“it’s ludicrous that I have been fined”
synonyms: absurd, ridiculous, farcical, laughable, risible, preposterous, foolish, mad, insane, idiotic, stupid, inane, silly, asinine, nonsensical; informal; crazy

Well, I like a lot of the synonyms listed above and could see using them for monstrous, political ills that are anything but funny. But I’ll still avoid ridiculous in favor of unreasonable or incredible or any number of words from the above definitions. Something can be unreasonable, even though someone will build an argument for it. Something can be incredible when its advocate lacks credibility even if other people give them more credence and standing than they deserve.


The idea that more guns will protect us from gun violence is unbelievable even though it seems many US-ians believe it. Still, it is anything but laughable…or ridiculous. The idea that one country could spend almost as much money on its military as the rest of the world combined and still argue that it needs to increase its military expenditures should be as unbelievable as it is incredible and unreasonable, but here we are, and I’m not amused. Building massive walls around cities by absurdly Zippyfearful, armed outsiders shouldn’t be “a thing.” My look in the picture to the left was bemusement, not amusement at the “welcome” sign on the wall Israel has built around Bethlehem, a scant six miles from Jerusalem, that is designed to choke Palestinian society into submission if not out-and-out death.

In the immortal words of Zippy the Pinhead (okay, Bill Griffith): “Are we having fun yet?” And no, I don’t think micro-encephalitis is a laughing matter…or ridiculous!

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For the children’s sake

For Tu Bishvat, Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area and Kehilla Community Synagogue teamed up for a ritual event. It was a lovely evening, fun and playful as well as serious with political intent about the theft of native Ohlone lands here (all of here), and the dispossession of Palestinians from ancestral lands and homes. I made a handout that we didn’t end up using that featured some important groups and work going on. A celebration of trees, because of the incarceration of Ahed Tamimi and her 17th birthday coinciding with her January 31 birthday, there was a lot of focus on children and youth as well as trees.

I wasn’t able to fit in more groups, so let me briefly add the extremely vital Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association which is a “Palestinian non-governmental, civil institution that works to support Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.”

I just received a letter from Brad Parker, Co-leader of the #nowaytotreatachild campaign, Attorney and International Advocacy Officer for Defense for Children International – Palestine:

On November 14, 2017, lawmakers introduced the first-ever bill on Palestinian human rights in Congress, something the #nowaytotreatachild team has worked toward over the second half of 2018.

Join #nowaytotreatachild campaign co-leaders, Brad Parker and Jennifer Bing, for a webinar on February 27 at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET for updates on the bill and the situation on the ground for Palestinian child detainees. We’ll also be launching a new action that we are excited to share with you!

Click here to register for the webinar.

The bill, H.R. 4391, is titled the Promoting Human Rights by Ending Israeli Military Detention of Palestinian Children Act and was introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) with nine additional co-sponsors. It prohibits U.S. tax dollars from supporting human rights violations against Palestinian children during the course of Israeli military detention.

H.R. 4391 requires the Secretary of State to certify annually that no funds obligated or expended in the previous year by the United States for assistance to Israel have been used to support the ill-treatment of Palestinian children detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank.

Please follow the campaign on Facebook and Twitter so you don’t miss anything!

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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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