Another September 11. Another High Holy Days. (sigh) Not Giving Up!

I’m tired, but I’m not quitting! “Another September 11” is a feeling, but it also references the 1973 overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile that the United States instigated. In 1973 it was Henry Kissinger and Nixon elevating Pinochet to power; in 1979, Zbignew Brezinski got Carter to sign off on treating Afghans as pawns by fomenting intolerant, religious violence as a way of trapping the USSR there, and Osama Bin Laden became more than a wealthy Saudi engineer. Both presidential advisers cynically saw the pitfall that the murderous debacle of Vietnam was for the United States, and foisted that reality on others.

Let me re-share the moving statement that David McReynolds wrote from the War Resisters League offices as the Twin Towers were burning and falling in 2001. It remains profoundly true on pretty much every front. It speaks my heart in every way. It isn’t long:

Statement on September 11 Attack
David McReynolds, WRL
September 11, 2001

As we write, Manhattan feels under siege, with all bridges, tunnels, and subways closed, and tens of thousands of people walking slowly north from Lower Manhattan. As we sit in our offices here at War Resisters League, our most immediate thoughts are of the hundreds if not thousands of New Yorkers who have lost their lives in the collapse of the World Trade Center. The day is clear, the sky is blue, but vast clouds billow over the ruins where so many have died, including a great many rescue workers who were there when the final collapse occurred.

Facebook banner by a young Afghan friend of mine.

Of course we know that our friends and co-workers in Washington, D.C. have similar thoughts about the ordinary people who have been trapped in the parts of the Pentagon which were also struck by a jet. And we think of the innocent passengers on the hi-jacked jets who were carried to their doom on this day.

We do not know at this time from what source the attack came. We do know that Yasser Arafat has condemned the bombing. We hesitate to make an extended analysis until more information is available but some things are clear. For the Bush Administration to talk of spending hundreds of billions on Star Wars is clearly the sham it was from the beginning, when terrorism can so easily strike through more routine means.

We urge Congress and George Bush that whatever response or policy the U.S. develops it will be clear that this nation will no longer target civilians, or accept any policy by any nation which targets civilians. This would mean an end to the sanctions against Iraq, which have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. It would mean not only a condemnation of terrorism by Palestinians but also the policy of assassination against the Palestinian leadership by Israel, and the ruthless repression of the Palestinian population and the continuing occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza.

The policies of militarism pursued by the United States have resulted in millions of deaths, from the historic tragedy of the Indochina war, through the funding of death squads in Central America and Colombia, to the sanctions and air strikes against Iraq. This nation is the largest supplier of “conventional weapons” in the world and those weapons fuel the starkest kind of terrorism from Indonesia to Africa. The early policy support for armed resistance in Afghanistan resulted in the victory of the Taliban and the creation of Osama Bin Laden.

Other nations have also engaged in these policies. We have, in years past, condemned the actions of the Russian government in areas such as Chechnya, the violence on both sides in the Middle East, and in the Balkans. But our nation must take responsibility for its own actions. Up until now we have felt safe within our borders. To wake on a clear day to find our largest city under siege reminds us that in a violent world, none are safe.

On Sept. 11 this year I went to Palo Alto for an interfaith prayer service organized by Samina Sundas and American Muslim Voice. Samina was very influential to me and other Bay Area activists after 2001 as we came together as United for Peace and Justice to resist the war on terror, Afghanistan and Iraq. I often find such prayer services over-emphasize conflicts as ancient and religious even as they show us unifying. This gathering was more touching and less like that. My dear friend Mary Klein of the Palo Alto Friends Meeting certainly punctuated the need for us in the United States to pray and work harder for changes here to stop horrors here and abroad.

Let us seek an end of the militarism that has characterized this nation for decades. Let us seek a world in which security is gained through disarmament, international cooperation, and social justice not through escalation and retaliation. We condemn without reservation attacks such as those which occurred today, which strike at thousands of civilians. May these profound tragedies remind us of the impact U.S. policies have had on other civilians in other lands. We also condemn reflexive hostility against people of Arab descent living in this country and urge that Americans recall the part of our heritage that opposes bigotry in all forms.

We are one world. We shall live in a state of fear and terror or we shall move toward a future in which we seek peaceful alternatives to violence, and a more just distribution of the world’s resources. As we mourn the many lives lost, our hearts call out for reconciliation, not revenge.

###

Brian Terrel who I recently touted for crafting Ground the Drones Lest We Reap the Whirlwind in 2009 had this to say in Common Dreams: “When the catastrophic consequences of a nation’s policies are so clearly predictable and evidently inevitable, they are intentional. What has happened to Afghanistan is not a series of mistakes or good intentions gone awry, they are crimes….No, the war is not over. From a nation that should be promising reparations and begging the forgiveness of the people of Afghanistan comes the infantile raging, “We will not forgive. We will not forget. We will hunt you down and make you pay” and while pledging to perpetuate the conditions that provoke terrorism, the parting taunt “and to ISIS-K: We are not done with you yet.”

James Dorsey‘s posts continue to inform me. His podcast has an amusing name: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer. I recommend subscribing. For starters, check out his Sept. 9 entry: Bin Laden’s legacy probably surpasses his wildest dreams. And then there is Kathy Kelly…

I subscribe to Waging Nonviolence. Kathy Kelly is a friend I look up to more than almost anyone. She puts her body on the line for life and love like few others. WNV’s stories show that another way of seeing one another is possible and real. I see people under the gun not give up despite all the violence they face from local actors as well as greedy uber-states, especially our United States of America. WNV gives me hope and encouragement, even if paradoxically it also shows the countless risks faced by members of liberation movements the world over.

Images of Aghanistan from my visit there in 2011: The memorial sign to the children killed is on the grounds of an important medical complex, “Emergency” that treats any victim of violence. Emergency is an world-renowned Italian NGO whose founder passed away recently, Gino Strada. Our one day trip outside of Kabul took a third of our 27 person delegation up to the Panjshir Valley. The people there fought off the Russians, and have maintained more fierce opposition to the new Taliban rulers than other locales, or has been in the news of late. The large building is a memorial to Ahmed Shah Massoud whose assassination on Septermber 9, 2001 must have been deemed necessary to those carrying out the attacks two days later. The valley is steep, and I can see why it is hard to conquer. The sign from a park almost looks like a tombstone more than a sign of shared purpose and cooperation.

High Holy Day Reflection

I considered organizing a discussion time for people to reflect on Israel during the High Holy Days. It would have been a zoom thing. I crafted a first draft of some potential prompts for people. I haven’t been centered enough to get to the second draft. I want a space for keening, or to cry on each other’s shoulders with people who would understand why I think Palestine, if not Israel’s broader, heartless, global militarism, needs to be centered in our prayers of repentance. Both their personal and national aspirations are denied by we who cry out to God for our suffering.

It is funny that I haven’t already read more of Marc Ellis‘s work given that I am Jewish and a longtime advocate of Liberation Theology. He wrote the seminal book connecting the two back in 1987 as I was discovering the Catholic Worker movement. We both have found ourselves often to be Jews within Christian circles. I’m catching up. In 2018 Ellis wrote, “I told myself I wouldn’t write about Yom Kippur this year as I have for more than three decades. How many times can I write the obvious predictive scenario: On Yom Kippur, the Jewish community in Israel, America and beyond will refuse to confess our sins against the Palestinian people. My call for repentance and turning toward justice is repetitious. It is driving me and everyone who reads what I write to the brink.” And then we write…and act (I hope).

Looking at more of Ellis’s recent writings, I was struck by his 2019 reflection on Rabbi Brant Rosen’s efforts to re-imagine a Judaism that is rooted in justice instead of rooting injustice. Ellis lifts up Rosen’s as a prophetic voice and contextualizes the harsh and pointed judgements in his translation of Psalm 140.

Ellis writes, ““Oh lord deliver me from my people”: “I can abide them no longer.” Rabbi Rosen’s words here are fraught. Are these the words of an anti-Semite? A self-hating Jew? Or a person, a rabbi, a Jewish leader, who recognizes that there is no return to an ethical Judaism and is about to embark with other Jews of Conscience into uncharted Jewish territory? For those unfamiliar with the Biblical prophets, Rabbi Rosen’s words seem unbalanced and unduly harsh. Yet the Jewish tradition, starting with the Hebrew Scriptures, is full of these terrible notes. The people Israel have strayed too far. God’s judgment is on its way.”

Neither Marc Ellis, Brant Rosen nor I are leaving Judaism. May God and our lives of service and love help Judaism not leave us. With that in mind, as Yom Kippur approaches, may we read the psalm and take it to heart:

Psalm 140: deliver me
Trans. by Rabbi Brant Rosen

oh lord deliver me from my people
who wield their weapons with impunity
whose armies rain bombs on the imprisoned
whose apologists equate oppressor and oppressed
who punish resistance without mercy.

keep me from those who speak so easily of two sides
of dual narratives of complexities and coexistence
those who call submission peace and lawless laws justice
who never tire of intoning never again
even as they commit crimes again and again
who have forsaken every lesson they’ve learned
from their own history and their
own sacred heritage.

like jacob i have dreamed fearful dreams
i have struggled in the night
i have limped pitifully across the river
and now like jacob in my last dying breath
i have nothing left but to curse my own
whose tools are tools of lawlessness
who maim refugees who dare dream of return
and send bombs upon the desperate
for the crime of fighting back.

so send me away from this people
this tortured fallen assembly
keep me far from their council
count me not among their ranks
i can abide them no longer.

Family Moments

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Ice Cream, Biking on BART, and Staying Political

I’m buying ice cream again, Ben & Jerry’s. See below for an appeal from a Vermont coalition for my reasons. I wasn’t especially impressed at first with their announced plan to stop operating in the illegal Israeli settlements, but reading about the sickening threats against their independent Board Chair, I have decided to buy ice cream again. I hope I don’t suddenly expand!

I hope people make the effort to vote no on the recall of Newsom in California. I hope he gets taken to court later over the transfer of prisoners in the state prisons with absolute disregard for the covid danger. But I sure want him to survive this recall first! I’m glad voters are receiving paper ballots in the mail. That should help.

Heading to BART again.

For a couple of weeks I got a reprieve from driving my car to work in SF. My work truck will only be parked close to BART for a little while longer, but it has been a welcome relief as the traffic sometimes is as traffic once was. People are almost all masked, and almost all have mouth and nose covered. I see a lot of surgical and (K)N-95 masks. Unmasked people usually are grateful for the offer of a mask, in my experience. DRIVING TIP: If you are in SF and heading to the Bay Bridge after 2:00pm on a weekday, avoid 101 as it backs up to Cesar Chavez quite often, quite early. Folsom to Essex is the way to go. The parklets are getting more elaborate and established. They are okay. I don’t usually have a major problem parking. I want to ask a meter person if tow away zones are active where a parklet would interrupt the flow of traffic in the parking lane that now is never clear for moving vehicles. However, any time I have tried to ask a meter person a general question, they assume I’m a threat and get really hostile, thinking I’m complaining about a personal ticket issue with them. I can sort of understand, but still…

A couple of news portals I often recommend have their content on web pages, not just in emails with links. https://www.palestinedeepdive.com/ and https://portside.org/ have current stories that I just read. I find their headlines easy to read. James Dorsey‘s recent articles on Afghanistan continue to enlighten me as well. And of course, I still swear by Democracy Now! as well as Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The Daily Show and Full Frontal With Samantha Bee are on vacations.

It is upsetting to see how Britain’s anti-Palestinian sentiment is still eating at the heart of their Labour Party. The United States’ increasingly blue and progressive citizenry is heartening even though the gerrymandering and other rules intended to deny such popularity the political weight it should be due is scary. Those stories are in Portside now.

All these connections I make: Maybe they make me crazy. My diving into them can make friends of mine crazy or drive them away. I may have just lost a dear friend as I thought I skirted a rabbit hole, but in his eyes, I’m just repetitiously alienating people/him/cousins/employers and keeping myself from being a bit happier. I think being in pain is a fair reflection of our world. I don’t mean to wish it on anyone, but I have a hard time wishing my pain away. Having privilege is a privilege, but also a bit of a torment. [I say “a bit of” because what I suffer from is so mild from how some people’s lives are. I just can’t compare, or my “plight” is pretty rosy…despite myself!] I don’t want to wallow in it, but I confess to feeling guilty when I think of trying to shake it. If WE (royal we) are treating the planet and each other miserably, and if misery loves company, than out of love I join the world on the receiving end?

I think my mom and I have been looking pretty good in the selfies lately. I love leading exercise classes there and seeing her on a regular basis. Good people there. Adding more exercise has actually increased the ease with which people laugh. Eliciting laughter from exercising is easier sometimes than more “formal” Laughter Yoga.

Except that I also see the value of one life, and my life. “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” is not a teaching I take lightly. I’m not anti-joy, even for myself. This is an uncomfortable paradox. I still curse myself for some things I did in high school, and I rue my blind spots when I repeat errors to this day. But I believe in forgiveness, I just have a hard time forgiving myself. Good works don’t undo consequences of past harms. I expect a balancing out more than an erasure, on judgement day.

I’m trying to be the best Jim I can be, and I’m grateful for my friends telling me to lighten up on myself (and everything). May I be more present and on time for my friends and family. May my concern for so many things I haven’t even personally encountered be reflected with love in how I treat the people around me. So mote it be.

What follows is a bit of cut and paste. Item one is from World Beyond War and is included as another articulation of why I am so upset all the time by US exceptionalism. Then I include a straightforward report by Catholic Worker Michelle Neer-Obed of Duluth, Minnesota about her recent efforts alongside Native American leaders/organizers trying to stop the Enbridge line 3 pipeline. My final news item is from a Vermont group that has been working on Ben & Jerry’s to stop having operations in illegal Israeli “settlements” that are intent on dispossessing Palestinians. They make the facts far more plain than any Ben & Jerry’s pint has ever been, so check it out!

World BEYOND War (WBW) is a global network of volunteers, chapters, and affiliated organizations advocating for the abolition of the institution of war. The following item is from WBW.

The U.S. government, according to its own reporting, accounts for 66% of all the weapons exported to the least democratic quintile of nations on earth.

Of the 50 most oppressive governments identified by a U.S.-government-funded study, the U.S. arms 82% of them.

The Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act (H.R.4718) would prevent U.S. weapons sales to other nations that are in violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.

Click here to email your Representative and Senators.

The U.S. government allows, arranges for, or in some cases provides the funding for, U.S. weapons sales to 41 of the 50 most oppressive countries in the world. Here they are: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Democratic Republic of Congo (Kinshasa), Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gabon, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Libya, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Oman, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.

Israel’s government, notorious for its violent oppression of Palestinian people, is not on that list but is the top recipient of “aid” funding for U.S. weapons from the U.S. government.

Here’s an easy step to radically reduce violence in the world: Stop arming it!

After taking this action, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends.
This work is only possible with your financial support. Please support World BEYOND War.

Peace,
The World BEYOND War Team

Background (all really great reads):
>> The Stop Arming Human Rights Abusers Act
>> David Swanson: “50 Oppressive Governments Supported by the U.S. Government”
>> Swanson, August 15, 2021: https://worldbeyondwar.org/afghanistan-so-what-do-the-filthy-commie-peaceniks-say-now/

Donate to support our people-powered movement for peace.

Michelle Naar-Obed’s husband, Greg, was a member of the antinuclear, Transform Now Plowshares team that was responsible for this powerful, scriptural graffito as part of their 2013 action at the Y-12 plant in Tennessee.

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Michele Naar-Obed <hildegardhouseduluthcw@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Aug 5, 2021 at 1:11 PM
Subject: July update regarding Line 3

August 5, 2021 Hello catholic workers and friends, This is your monthly update from the frontlines of the Enbridge Energy Line 3 tarsands oil illegal expansion and relocation project. Despite multiple work stoppage orders, violations of treaty rights, and violation of safety precautions, the construction goes on unabated. We are all left wondering who is running this show and how far up the line the corruption goes. 
On June 28, 2021, with a work stoppage order in place at the Mississippi River crossing in the Palisade MN area, and with a cease and desist order to stop violating the rights of the Anishinaabe people in the 1855 Treaty area, particularly as it related to a prayer lodge at the edge of the river, Enbridge drilled right under the lodge and across the river while water protectors kept 24 hour vigil in and around the lodge. I was one of those water protectors who felt our mother earth shake and tremble as the drill violated her. All legal protections were completely dismissed. 
From there, the drill moved over to the Willow River, also in the Palisade area about a mile down the road from the Welcome Water Protector camp. On July 3, the drill that makes the first pilot hole ran off course and hit an aquifer. This resulted in about 80 to 100 gallons of toxic drilling fluid to spill into the river channel. This is what is referred to as a “frac out”.On July 6,water protectors, including a Christian Peacemaker Team, spotted the spill, documented and reported it. It had been left leaking and unreported by the Enbridge workers as they went off for their July 4 holiday. After 10 days of cleanup, the drilling under the Willow River was completed despite nonviolent resistance and pleas to the Army Corps of Engineers to revoke their water permits. 

During early July, preparations for drilling ratcheted up along the Shell River, the Mississippi Headwaters and the Red River almost simultaneously. All three places set up frontline camps and prayers, ceremonies and nonviolent resistance took place pretty much daily. A call was put out to come to Camp Firelight from July 19-31. This would be a Treaty Rights Encampment with full support from the White Earth Reservation. The camp was set up along the easement of the Mississippi crossing in the LaSalle Valley in Solway MN, also within 1855 Treaty territory. This is also the site of the 8 day occupation by water protectors that came out of the Treaty Peoples Gathering in early June. Hildegard House joined the encampment. 
On July 20, one of our drone operators spotted activity in the wetlands that appeared to be another frac out. Myself and another water protector canoed down to the bridge at the Mississippi River crossing and saw workers frantically cleaning up something about 100 yards from the river bank in the wetlands. We got out of the canoe and amidst threats of arrest and interference, collected a specimen of the leaked drilling mud and videod the scene. We immediately called the MN Pollution Control Agency to report it. Samples were sent to independent scientists. Over the course of about a week, 4 more frac outs were confirmed and samples of sludge and toxic slicks were sent to an independent lab for analysis. 
Meanwhile, the Army Corp of Engineers came to investigate and again, a work stoppage order was put in place by the White Earth Reservation authorities but this too was disregarded. Drilling continued even though the frac outs were still seeping into the river channel. More prayer ceremonies and nonviolent resistance took place. A group of 32 MN State Senators and Representatives demanded a suspension of construction until the damage from the frac outs were fully investigated and until the extreme drought conditions in the areas of drilling are over. The demand was issued to MN Governor Tim Walz. No response from Gov. Walz has been noted. 
Drilling continues as of this writing. The pull through of the pipes under the Mississippi River crossing is imminent. The Army Corp of Engineers is still working through the muck of bureaucracy to try pull one of the permits. Firelight Treaty Encampment extended its stay until August 7. A prayerful healing ceremony took place on the easement on August 2, causing a temporary halt to construction. 7 water protectors were arrested. On August 7, a group of walkers for the water will launch from the encampment and travel to the MN Capital in St. Paul expecting to arrive around Aug.25. 
Red Lake Treaty Camp and the Shell River Camp continue with nonviolent resistance although it appears that the drilling under the Red River is completed. One of the 5 river crossings is completed at the Shell River. At this rate, construction is scheduled for completion by November. We are still calling for intervention- both Divine and human. Our waters are fighting for their lives. 
A side note for those that might not have heard – The Four Necessity Valve Turners, Allyson, Brenna, Daniel and Michele were found guilty of a misdemeanor damage to property charge in a 3 day trial which took place in Itasca County MN, July 6-9. The 4 were sentenced to 15 days in jail, 1 year unsupervised probation and a $75 fine. 
Peace, Michele Naar-Obed, Hildegard House Catholic Worker, Duluth MN

On July 19, 2021, Ben & Jerry’s released this statement saying next year it would end its licensing agreement with the franchise in Israel and cease selling ice cream in illegal, Jewish-only settlements in Occupied Palestine.

We commend Ben & Jerry’s for this bold and conscientious decision. Ben & Jerry’s Independent Board and its chair, Anuradha Mittal, guided the company to this decisive moment.  It was not easy; Ms. Mittal has received death threats and been vilely attacked. VTJP insists that Ben & Jerry’s should not remain in Israel by some other “arrangement,” as expressed by Unilever on July 19th. That was not sanctioned by Ben & Jerry’s independent board.  Ben & Jerry’s should not do business of any kind with apartheid Israel after 2022.

What made the statement of July 19 possible?  Many organizations and individuals, like you, came together to move a mountain.  Many dedicated people went out to distribute leaflets at scoop shops across the nation on ‘Free Cone Day’ and participated in several petition-writing and other campaigns.  More than 250 organizations in the United States and internationally endorsed the campaign. A petition by SumOfUs was signed by nearly 51,000 people and Movement for Black Lives played a powerful role in convincing Ben & Jerry’s to act.  Recently Decolonize Burlington joined with spectacular results.

But our work is not finished.  We will be working with you and other allies to ensure that the company honors its statement of July 19.  Ben & Jerry’s should not remain in Israel by some other “arrangement,” which is contrary to the wishes of the independent board.  The company should not do business of any kind with apartheid Israel after 2022.

What happens next?More organizing and protest.  The Israeli government is mobilizing its propaganda and lobby machines to trample on Americans’ constitutionally protected rights to boycott, and to intensify attacks on the BDS movement.  We must seize this moment and fight back. 

Immediately, please:

1. Share widely this joint statement from VTJP and allied organizations.
2. Publicly support Ben & Jerry’s July 19th decision and urge its parent company, Unilever, to uphold the decision. Call on other companies to follow Ben & Jerry’s example.
3. Please, publicly condemn the death threats and racist, misogynist attacks against Board Chair Mittal, and other attacks on Ben & Jerry’s board and management.
4. Organize against US federal and state bills that would curtail First Amendment rights to protest and boycott.  Demand that your elected officials do not endorse or vote for anti-boycott legislation. 
5. Support other BDS campaigns.
6. Stand with the Palestinian people until Israel’s occupation, settler-colonial project, and crimes of apartheid end.

In solidarity,
VTJP BDS Committee

I am worried about my Afghan friends, but remember, the US armed and supported rapists and murderers throughout. They can be every bit as bad as the Taliban. See Malalai Joya’s recent interview on Democracy Now! I remember when she was elected to the Afghan parliament only to be threatened and kicked out for her opposition to the seating of warlords who should have been tried for terrible crimes, not sitting in government halls. I got to meet her on a speaking tour in the United States in 2011 shortly after I spent a couple weeks in Afghanistan (mostly Kabul). Back in 2001, the US and allied forces only needed to round up 300 or 400 Al Queida fighters, and they could have. I believe they even had permission from the then Taliban government, but the US wasn’t really interested in justice for 9-11. I am worried about my friends, their families and their dreams. I am not sure yet what to do or ask you to do.

Look at Eamon now!

I hadn’t been east since January, 2020 on my way back from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegation. My next trip had to be cancelled; you know why. They came here in May, and now I finally got to see their new digs, not in DC. It’s a great house, and I was able to clean and fix and spend time with Eamon, Lacy and the family. It was great to see their parents, siblings and nieces and nephews.

Lacy’s sister, Lorien, is a PhD farmer, really in her element. I had a great time at the Silver Spring farmer’s market where she has a weekly spot. A meal at Eamon’s grandparents and another at another of the MacAuley sisters fit the bill. I got to spend a couple of days with Eli at home with the two little ones of ours. His mother Ann was around too, and we enjoyed our overlapping social/political networks. She read “I Can’t Said the Ant” to Eamon, a childhood favorite in our house.

Lacy is amazing. So many fields of view at once. So patient with the little ones. So giving of her time for their every little wish or tug on her leg. And baby Quinn is standing on his own as he turns one! So much fun. So much love. So much work, but so what? Fills the heart. I have a flight back in late September. With the Delta variant on the rise, it is too soon to be sure I will go, but I am hopeful.

For peace sake… (smile)

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Haiti, Lebanon, Cuba, Water Protectors…Prayers of Love and Strength

Greetings, Missivistas!

I have had some lovely family visits the last couple of months even as I stay generally cautious about unwise, hasty reopening of our country. This month there are a few pics of my mom and my sister Chava who just visited from Sisrael. (I kinda like that typo!) We had a lovely day trip to see cousins Phil, Cathy and Harry in Auburn too.

Covid-19 continues to do its thing world-wide, and rich leaders are literally practicing germ warfare by how they have weaponized access to care, treatment and other basic needs. It is a war on the poor as the nations and people of means flood impoverished countries with weaponry while denying them access to medicines, food and infrastructure. Israel, alone among the nations, stood with the United States as the tally was 184-2 with 3 abstentions. This is the 29th year in a row it has been like that. We are waging war on Cuba, for only the worst of reasons. The US has no real consideration for the Cuban people so hearing US politicians say they “stand with Cubans” is galling to say the least.

Cuba has vaccines, but they are in desperate need of needles and syringes. We are attacking Iran, goading them. Again, attacking the people to get them to turn out the regime. So cruel. So not the behavior of a savior. Bless the work of CODEPINK, ANSWER and the Venceremos Brigades for their longstanding solidarity!

I wanted to know what my Haitian friend Pierre Laboissiere wants us to know about what is going on there, so I checked out the Haiti Action Committee which he co-founded. (I looked on FB.) There was a video of him the day of Jovenel Moise’s assassination, but the next day, June 8, there was a newer one that included him, along with Margaret Prescod (new to me, but wonderful). It was moderated by Walter Turner who always asks great questions when I hear him on the radio, and it was hosted by Coumba Toure and Africans Rising. I found myself listening intently as I relaxed on the back porch after work taking copious no. Let me share some of my takeaways with you:

This Black Panther was painted by Mizrachi Jews, Israeli Black Panthers, in Jerusalem.

First of all be wary of the lingo around “gangs” in Haiti that most media allude to when they report on violence there. “These are death squads…intended to repress the population,” according to Pierre. They are a reinvigorated brand of the “Volunteers of the National Security” or their predecessor, the Toton Macout of the Duvalier regimes of the last century. They were armed and funded by Moise. Outside the bounds of the law, they were still armed by the government itself. Not to be believed in!

Connected to the questionable narrative about gangs is a former policeman, Jimmy Cherizier who goes by the nickname of Barbecue and is the front man for a group or alliance of groups, known as the “G9.” He has been implicated in a couple of massacres, but he has not been arrested. These aren’t gangs that are fighting police and each other. They are attacking organizers and people struggling as the pandemic makes already dire straits unbelievably treacherous. And it was also pointed out that Haiti doesn’t have a gun manufacturing industry. The influx of AK-47s and other arms and gear are due to outside forces and interests playing hari-kari on the populace and the opposition.

Pierre said that the streets of Haiti were largely deserted except in the neighborhood where the assassinated Moise was actually from. Evidently people there were streaming videos of others dancing in the streets to the news of his murder. Margaret said that the women of Haiti are paying the highest price. “The dictator is dead, but the dictatorship system continues,” Pierre added. Haitians wanted Moise gone but not assassinated! (Like in Turkey a few years ago when people who wanted Erdogan gone, still didn’t want a military coup.)

Margaret went on to warn everyone to beware of COINTELPRO again/still. “The enemy can have a black face,” she reminded people. Most Haitians are under 35 years old, and despite the constant refrain we hear about Haiti’s poverty, it is actually full of resources and wealth. “Someone’s robbing us!” Pierre quoted someone else as saying. A weak government is what foreign exploiters want. Their 1987 constitution gives pause to the extractive industries and is under attack “from outside forces.” Under its current provisions, the government can’t sell off resources without a parliamentary vote.

CARICOM is a Caribbean alliance of nations, and Moise’s murder puts them in a delicate position. They issued a report quickly and has offered to help in transition on the ground. One of the men vying to be leader asked for US intervention, but the US declined on Friday although because two of the suspects are from the United States, the FBI and maybe the DEA have sent agents to Haiti a part of the investigation. That is messed up as it has come out that one of the foreign men was or had been a DEA informant. There are indications that Moise was murdered before the “assassination” team arrived which would be consistent with the sentiment expressed by the wife of one of the mercenaries, that he thought he was going there to protect him, not kill him.

It wasn’t until almost minute 48 for any mention of Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was overthrown by a joint US-Canadian-French coup in 2004. He has been back in Haiti for a number of years now, and is evidently still much beloved. At 1hr07min, the discussion of him turned to applauding his current work educating future leaders, doctors and lawyers at the University of the Aristide Foundation, UniFA. No one suggested that he might try to return to power. If you want to make a donation to help the people of Haiti we were directed to support the university, which is part of the Aristide Foundation for Democracy. You can donate through the Friends of UniFA website, http://www.friendsofunifa.org/, HaitiSolidarity.net or HaitiEmergencyRelief.org (The Haiti Emergency Relief Fund of the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant). Other resources include the Global Women’s Strike for current activism and the book, The Black Jacobins, is the classic text on the Haitian revolution.

Pierre Laboisierre was resoundingly thanked for his great temperament and energy. What a dear man, he is! Maxine Waters gets uniquely high praise for her advocacy on behalf of the people of Haiti. Pierre long ago got me to buy a copy of Aristide’s small and beautifully simply book, Eyes of the Heart, which was recommended as well as his 2011 book of his on “mental decolonization” which sounds like a must-read!

People are reflecting back to the 2004 coup against Aristide and his Fanmi Lavalas Party and to the muder of Patrice Lumumba who was assassinated sixty years ago in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I think there may be parallels worth looking at with the invasion of Grenada and the assassination of Maurice Bishop. Lumumba, Aristide and Bishop were all respected though, and gratefully, Aristide was removed, not murdered.

Israel and Palestine did come to mind as I was catching up on Haiti: The way the black Haitians, when they established their liberated country, tried to make their land a haven for anyone in need. That is a far cry from how the Zionist regime and citizenry create suffering and injustice. The Haitians I see and know continue to exemplify what white people need to understand in the United States and Israelis need to understand there: People want injustice to stop targeting them. For the most part, people just want to be able to go on with their lives and aren’t seeking vengeance!

Sign on a black man’s bicycle at an Oakland rally recently.

Nuclear Prisoners: Aren’t We All?

I had a heartening talk with Martha Hennessy who is mildly suffering through her time at a half-way house. In some ways, the supervision is at least as onerous, capricious and self-righteously cruel as what she endured behind bars. When she is allowed to return home with an ankle monitor, she hopes that the supervising agent is humane and compassionate rather than punitive and harsh. I haven’t been able to reach Carmen, but I hear he’s well, just hoping to be allowed to return to his home and work at the New York Catholic Worker. I haven’t heard from Steve Kelly. I understand he is “laying low.” Georgia did issue a warrant for his arrest for not reporting for probation supervision following his return and subsequent release in Tacoma, Washington. I guess they really wanted to “get” Clare Grady. Mark is behind bars finally and Patrick will probably be getting out in another couple of months. Time flies unless it drags on. Check out The Nuclear Resister at nukeresister.org for more on nuclear resisters. For more about the plans to build and upgrade nuclear weapons, check out Tri-Valley CARES at trivalleycares.org.

I also want to give a prayerful shout out to all the Water Protectors up in Minnesota and all over for braving unconscionable brutality and disrespect. The push for these pipelines is insane and unjust. Here is a report from someone from the Bay Area who recently returned from the indigenous led actions to stop construction of the Line 3 pipeline by the Enbridge company and other forces of evil. https://lagaiultraviolet.wordpress.com/2021/06/14/stopping-the-line-3-pipeline/ Thank you, Amanda! Our side must prevail!

Fallout: Afghanistan at a Crossroads

I went to Afghanistan with Kathy Kelly and Voices for Creative Nonviolence in 2011. Voices was disbanded last year. Among other things Kathy is doing now is an email newsletter she and a couple of other activists started called “To End All Wars.” I like it, of course, but there is no website I can point you to. In particular, I want to share the July 6 post that included Nick Mottern’s article about Biden’s plans for the United States to keep bombing and killing Afghans, just not with US troops in Afghanistan. Why should we believe that a US administration cares about a people it keeps attacking, like it’s for their own good?
You can read Nick’s piece here.

Links I haven’t been able to close:

No more air attacks terrorizing Afghanistan petition: https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/no-more-u-s-air-attacks-in-afghanistan (You gotta sign this!)

https://www.knowdrones.com/ (Nick Mottern, mentioned above, manages this)

https://palestinesolidarity.carrd.co/#home (Chase, another CJNV delegate like me manages this collection of resource links for background, keeping up and plugging in.)

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/28/us-carries-out-air-raids-on-iran-backed-groups-in-syria-iraq (The US and Israel are also attacking people and targets inside of Iran with deadly consequences.)

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScJdau_D-hSaKiOX2_B4mXCkLYhXaaaffN-eL8mEde7KVJt-Q/viewform (I signed this statement, as have some leaders at my synagogue and other great people and friends. It is in response to the current increase in attacks on Palestinians as well as antisemitic attacks elsewhere.)

https://english.palinfo.com/news/2021/5/31/IOF-displaces-15-member-Palestinian-family-south-of-al-Khalil (This is just one example. I haven’t closed this one although so many more tragedies have occurred since.

https://www.ongoinghistoryofprotestsongs.com/2020/01/17/album-review-strangers-and-friends-david-rovics/ (David Rovics’ creative juices keep me feeling the weight of the times, but also the uplift of collective struggle.

My friend Dennis Rivers creates beautiful mandalas full of magic, wisdom and purpose. He designed the tree of life above as well as the this antinuclear graphic. In the picture on the left, he was saying a grateful goodbye to an empty storage locker. Check out all the great connections he helps us make at https://earthcitizens.net/

Shukri and Mufid pages and writings

Here are a couple more short thought pieces by my friends Shukri Abu Baker and Mufid Abdulqader from the Holy Land Foundation who are unjustly incarcerated by the United States because they are Muslim and Palestinian humanitarians and philanthropists. Check out Miko Peled’s book, Injustice (Just World Books, 2018) about their case. It is a cautionary tale. I am always impressed and inspired by their love of humanity, and their sense of equanimity, even as they suffer in federal prisons because of their integrity, love and generosity. Mufid’s piece, “Greatness is in the Comeback” was inspired by the legacy of Muhammad Ali and is linked below. Shukri’s briefer note is entitled “In Transition” and is pasted in below.

Greatness is in the comeback
Salaam to everyone,
As I turn 62 years of age with the last 13 years being in prison and counting, here are a few thoughts that I would like to share with everyone:
https://haberjim.wordpress.com/mufid-abdulqader-writes/
ABDULQADER MUFID (32590177) 7/1/2021

In Transition
Danger is everywhere. Who put it there? Shots are being fired. Who pulled the trigger?
Or did the trigger pull itself? Oceans suffocate on land’s filth. Sun is no longer in love
with Earth. Mountains spew with molten rage. Hungry children suckle on their thumps.
Leaders wash their bad mistakes only to make room for worse. They promised prosperity
for all (except for those that have none.) Occupation has the right to defend itself
against the occupied. The occupied has the right to remain dead. The world demands
that the aggression must stop ( only after the agressed upon no longer could cry or complain).
Silence, indeed, is key to diplomatic breakthroughs. A cup of water is worth a bucket
of sweat; a pool of blood is worth next to nothing. There is nowhere to run to when
there is no road to take you in. Prison skin has no sensitive receptors for a mother’s touch.
Like a broken clock, her heart often stops ticking, while prison’s heart never stops shrinking.
Delicious dreams don’t grow inside caves. Caves are hostile to sunshine and fresh air.
They petrify the hospitable soil. Tears falling from the eyes of wounded birds cannot
replace beads of rain. And rain makes rivers run. Rain makes kids laugh and dance.
O’ Allah, help me think and put my thoughts together. Help me fathom the algorithm
of modern oppression. O’ Allah, make it all end. Set us on a new beginning where
an innocent life is no longer a tyrant’s livelihood__ where manna is freed from
the claws of plight. O’ Allah, let my children see in me not a broken man, but
a mountain of humanity strongly built pebble upon pebble. Day after day is growing
in my sight a pleasant vision. O’ Allah, put me in it. Make me it. Make it happen.
Shukri 7-7-21

Human Existence
I’m not an angel, I didn’t come with wings. Yet on a pair of feet I can fly, still.
I can reach places and span spaces and take you there. There where you can
find and follow your own bliss. I’m not holy. My sins are many. But shining
delight on dusted faces was not one of them. Breaking bread with the starved
was not one of them. Losing sleep over a bereaved nation was not one of them.
Being human is not a sin. The non-humans, I’m not one of them.

I’m only human. I’m you and I and he and she and all of us. Together.
Everyone can be human: a mountain exiting greatness; an ocean bridging
continents, a wind ushering peace to power. We can all be human if we insist.
Insist to leave no gem of joy undiscovered and no absented right unrecovered.
Be human. Insist. Resist. Exist.
Shukri 7-14-21

Chava’s visit

Sun-wise from the top left: My mom, Chava and I. (Where is the picture with Shelly too?); a couple of nice shots of mom and Chava in the gazebo courtyard at Baywood Court listening to a musical performance; with cousins Phil, Harry and Cathy (and dog Auburn); I made lunch for my mom and sis. I am living around the corner from where I lived the first few weeks of my life, and Chava, six years my senior, recognized the house on Prince St. in a heartbeat! I had the wrong number and thought it must have been torn down. It makes me smile to drive past now!

Posted in Afghanistan, Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nuclear Issues, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear IRS. Dear Kehilla. Dear Friends…

This Missive includes more of what I have written of late than I usually include, preferring to share the wisdom of others (with ample side commentary, I’m sure). I’ll start with my Fecesbook Memorial Day post (very short), followed by my letter to the IRS that I included with both my 2020 and newly filed 2019 1040s. I am catching up on filing as a war tax resister. Non-filers don’t enjoy the ten year statute of limitations on the government’s claim to collect, and I don’t want to be confused for a more general anti-tax evader.

It’s Memorial Day. Let’s vow not to join the military and to defund the Pentagon for so many reasons. Let’s remember victims of war as we remember fallen people in uniforms. “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
-John F. Kennedy

May 15, 2021

Department of the Treasury
Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888-0002

To Whom It May Concern:

Enclosed is my completed Form 1040 tax return for the year 2020. I have an unpaid tax liability. This letter, along with the enclosed War Resisters League handout, explains why, as a matter of conscience, I am not including any payment.

Briefly, I am not paying my calculated tax liability because of the twisted and dishonest way that United States taxes are overwhelmingly earmarked for war and the racist, greedy, dehumanizing subjugation of indigenous people the world over. Military hardware and personnel dominate expenditures when compared to other stated priorities. The federal budget is a drag that stalls the engine of positive social change, preventing it from propelling our positive aspirations upwards.

United States military outlays alone equal roughly all of those from the rest of the world combined. Our military is used hypocritically to support patriarchal and racist oppression here and abroad, instead of freedom and democracy for all. Presidents and legislators of both major parties defend and support gigantic, unsustainable Pentagon budgets and extremely undemocratic “leaders” such as the royal family of Saudi Arabia, the unelected Juan Guido of Venezuela and Israel’s apartheid state which I oppose with all my will and faith as a proud, diaspora Jew.

United States actions increase the likelihood that my worst fears will be realized: the instantaneous devastation of nuclear annihilation. The new administration continues to renege on the Iran nuclear deal, commits probable acts of war against Iran, Venezuela and others, disingenuously foments a cold war with China and globally wreaks havoc, killing people with 30 to 40 bombs and missiles per day.

I am not fundamentally against taxation or paying for some things I disagree with as a member of society. At times I have paid part of my tax liability. For many more years I reduced by necessary income below levels that even required me to file a tax return. I registered with selective service as a conscientious objector, and I try to live by the adage of “living simply so that others may simply live.”

The funding of militarism is spread throughout the federal budget and departments. It goes beyond the misnamed “Defense Department,” the police and the carceral state. It goes beyond the Dept. of Energy’s nuclear weapons budget. I will continue to redirect my taxes to public works and social betterment. This isn’t about me not wanting to pay my fair share, or seeing some slight imbalance of bad over good in federal spending priorities. I look forward to the day when federal expenditures and actions don’t overwhelmingly contradict the good we claim to be doing in the world.

Sincerely,

Remarks as read by Jim Haber for the Middle East Peace Committee
for the Kehilla Listening Event on Israel/Palestine, May 24, 2021

[I didn’t write this alone, but I shepherded its drafting principally with Dana S. of the MEPC. We had vital input and feedback from Phil W., Rabbi Burt and Rabbi Dev. though I had the final edit as the event began. The listening and small group sharings preceeded our opportunies to speak. At the end, the MEPC and the Chavurah for a Free Palestine were given three minutes in which to share resources and action opportunities. I spoke for the committee, but I also spoke from my heart and experience (and library)]

The Middle East Peace Committee strongly supports following Palestinian voices and leadership. Just as we are working on following Black leadership, queer/trans leadership and women of color and indigenous people in all their/our struggles, the MEPC likewise sees a need to deeply listen to and follow Palestinian leadership. This will challenge many of our growing up narratives. Feeling uncomfortable is an almost certainty. In this light, we support the work of Linda Sarsour and MPower Change as well as Lara Kiswani and the other folks at the Arab Resource and Organizing Center, and we challenge baseless charges of antisemitism against them. And of course, we support the Middle East Children’s Alliance.

Almost the entire committee was in the streets on May 15 and after; some for their first time in this context. The current rise of Palestinian leaders, and Palestinian youth leadership, is moving us deeply. We support the Center for Jewish Nonviolence which requires its delegation members to pledge to follow our Palestinian leaders scrupulously when we are there.

We want people to see through blatant “false equivalencies” that seem to present the problem as a fight of equal forces. Military occupation of Palestinians is real, longstanding and still worsening. It is the primary problem, which means other issues should be treated as secondary, not as nothing, but also not as a distraction from the foundational problem.

Review the words of the early Zionists and see how they are being implemented in Israel today, and ask ourselves if Zionism is consistent with our Kehilla ethics and values. Israel explicitly denies Palestinans political and national rights, and early Zionists even spoke of being “settlers” and “colonialists.” See Rashid Khalidi’s new book, The 100 Years’ War on Palestine; also Except for Palestine: The Limits of Progressive Politics by Marc Lamont Hill and Mitchell Plitnick; also A Passionate Pacifist: Essential Writings of Aaron Samuel Tamares by Rabbi Everett Gendler.

Make a comparison of the arsenals of Palestine and Israel and see how imbalanced the situation is before condemning Palestinian violence as the source of the strife. We are proponents, even pracitioners of nonviolence. However we can’t ignore the fact that Israel has the fourth or fifth most powerful and deliverable nuclear arsenal in the world and gets $3.8 billion in MILITARY aid (not loans) from the USA every year. Check out Jeff Halper’s book, War Against the People: Israel, The Palestinians and Global Pacification. Also, Stephen Zunes’ book, Tinderbox: US Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism.

We oppose the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA) definition of antisemitism being twisted to silence and make Palestinian advocacy illegal. We confront the dual problems of antisemitism and unethical, dishonest charges of antisemitism intended to destroy people and organizations because they are Muslim, Arab or sympathetic to Palestinians. Check out Miko Peled’s book INJUSTICE: The Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five. While the Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism is seen as a significant improvement, almost all of our committee members recommend that the synagogue support the Jewish Voice for Peace/Independent Jewish Voices of Canada “Five Principles for Dismantling Antisemitism,” including its critiques of the JDA.

We want an official statement from Kehilla Community Synagogue to members of Congress on behalf of equal rights and justice for Palestinians. We need to support Bernie Sanders’ resolution to block the sale and gifting of additional missiles to Israel and Betty McCollum’s recent bill HR2407. We embrace and lift up Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.

Current news portals we recommend include Palestine Deep Dive. You know where they’re coming from by their name, but they almost always include articles from the Times of Israel and other not-left sources. +972 Magazine and Mondoweiss also are important as is Ha’aretz. Organizations we follow and work with include Combatants for Peace, Parents Circle-Families Forum and Friends of Sabeel North America (for a Christian Palestinian, liberation theology perspective). Through our late member, Allan Solomonow, of blessed memory, I have met the ground-breaking Palestinian journalist, Raymonda Tawil. She wrote My Home. My Prison with her Israeli friend Peretz Kidron while under house arrest in 1977. Her deep friendship with Moshe Dayan’s first wife, Ruth Dayan, is documented in Anthony David’s book An Improbable Friendship. Watch and be disturbed by a short documentary video that goes inside the community of the terrorist Baruch Goldstein, Inside God’s Bunker, about Hebron in the 1990s.

Finally, our committee has lost a couple of members, now of blessed memory, who went home in the last while, Judy Montel and Rich Yurman. A couple of other core members have needed to step back for other important, personal reasons. Moving forward, we want to help Kehilla engage with this heart wrenching issue as a community, in our activism and in our prayer life. We hope you will attend our events and even consider joining our committee. Thank you.

[There were too many references to look them all up and insert links. I tried to highlight all of the resources in the text to be easier to find for copying and pasting.

I sensed much relief among the attendees at hearing these reference points and parallels to other struggles. People were with us. At the same time, I know that a few participants felt our shares were not in keeping with the spirit of the evening as billed: listening (and implied: not advocacy). Some who came would have preferred it if the final two shares of the evening didn’t happen. Both entities at the synagogue that most closely track the goings on vis a vis Palestine and Israel spoke their hearts. The other one spoke on behalf of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions, BDS.

May the congregation listen. Those who would speak repentantly of Palestine or who question Zionism are the ones who for decades have faced harsh, pointed exclusion from Jewish spaces and the questioning of our loyalty to the Jewish people and our commitment against antisemitism. Palestinian rage is resistance, if not “pure and simple,” then, “first and foremost.” Antisemitism is being challenged on the left all the time, responsibly, without it being used to squelch growing inter-movement struggle, led by Palestinians, to stop the boot on their necks.]

One of the most successful and uplifting actions of nonviolent civil resistance that I have participated in was stopping Zim from unloading cargo back in 2014 when they came to Oakland. Already, currently, we have caused them not to unload when and where they want up and down the West Coast. Israel is starving, dispossessing and killing Palestinians. We must reject recalcitrant, apartheid-Israel enterprises! BDS is ethical and just! Free Palestine now! Block the Boat! Again!

Linda Thurston, Presente!

Finding out Linda Thurston had gone home was the one major bummer of a roller coaster of an emotional Monday last week. It wasn’t covid, I was told. Linda was brilliant, sensitive, powerful, but she died way too young. (I don’t know how young, actually.) This isn’t an obit. I wasn’t in touch with Linda a lot. The last few years, we probably shared a few stories if I called about getting some pie charts. Linda knew so much! And she knew tech. She kept the War Resisters League up and running for years and more than a decade. She was admin, not program staff, but she was representing more, the longer she was there. She was a prison abolitionist before it was a thing. To be around her was to revel in black women’s power, and to be welcomed. Linda was gracious. Her bullshit meter was legendary. She could tell! Linda Thurston will be sorely missed by so many communities and comrades. What is remembered, lives!
Linda and other WRL’ers in New York City. After the US Social Forum in Atlanta in 2007, this group of staffers and national committee members met to discuss our experiences and what to say about it.

I updated a Wikipedia page!

I added a paragraph and reference to the early 1970’s Israeli left group, Siah. An important action by Siah members in 1972 is documented in the book My Home, My Prison by Raymonda Hawa Tawil. “Following the refusal of villagers from Akrabeh to sell to Jewish settlers in 1972, the Israeli military declared fields used by the people of Akrabeh to be in a training, firing zone, dangerous and off limits. When no training appeared, villagers began to till and plant the land until April 28, 1972 when an Israeli plane dropped an unknown chemical on the fields killing the plants and poisoning the land. Eighty members of Siah demonstrated in support of “Palestinian self-determination” and the villagers of Akrabeh. Some were arrested and prosecuted, even court-martialed.[8]

Eamon, Lacy, Quinn Love!

Well, I’m so happy to have reconnected in person with Eamon! Lacy was amazing, bringing Eamon and big baby Quinn cross country so Eamon can stay connected to me, to give joy to “Gam-ma” and enjoy some of my friends and family. We had a lovely day to visit cousins Phil, Harry and Cathy (and Auburn, in Auburn). We had a delightful afternoon gathering in the Gazebo Courtyard at the retirement community my mom lives at. We laughed!

Eamon is solidly in his “t… twos” exhibiting willful defiance one can only hope is indeed a stage. It is special to see awareness grow in his little mind of cause and effect. It was gratifying to see him shift focus and pay attention. As he grows, I can feel my pull to be there to guide him. I pay lots of attention to parents with children, getting winsome and calm, with a light smile relaxing across my face.

At the airport, saying goodbye, he looked me in my teary eyes. He heard me tell him to do what his mother says, and that he’s a big brother, and how wonderful it is that he can be there for little Quinn. Eamon already knows letters and numbers, even that 1+1=2 and how to spell d-a-d-d-y (and point at me).

My sense of daddiness is fluid. I know day-to-day, in the home, dads. I honor all day-to-day parents. Your life is a special blessing and a special challenge, that I am not living. As Father’s Day approaches, I need to open my own heart to celebrating that day. I’m not second class, but I know the difference. My parenting remains a work in progress. It had been 14 months since Eamon and I were in the same room together. We were able to pick up, in a hybrid of where we left off, brought into the present. I look forward to continuing to drop in and play catch up. Feeling Eamon’s love and attraction to me, and his pleasure at being with my mom and family, brings home how innate a connection can be, and how much there is to live for.

###

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Hineinu! We Show Up!

CJNV: April 25 Report-back from Hineinu, Our New, Sustained
Solidarity Project in the south Hebron Hills

I am profoundly grateful for my activism with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence and for the vital friendships I have made because of CJNV. I have been on three CJNV delegations, in 2016, 2017 and over New Year 2019/2020. A new phase of CJNV intervention/accompaniment/witness is being tried out! HINEINU, in which fewer folks are enlisted, they actually become Israeli citizens and then they persumably can’t be deported. Former delegates like me were recently treated to an in-house report back, and now I am extremely inspired to invite you to a public presentation by the folks there now.

PLEASE REGISTER FOR THIS APRIL 25 WEBINAR! 10:30 am Pacific time. This isn’t about me; I’m not presenting. Register here. You can also find out more about Hineinu and watch a short intro video to CJNV on our website, cjnv.org

Here’s the FB event link if you want to help spread the word about the April 25, 9:30 am reportback: https://fb.me/e/zgVKAojX. Hineinu is emerging at a time when attacks by violent, Jewish exclusivists are increasing in severity, constancy and ubiquity against Palestinians as well as Israeli human rights activists like Rabbi Arik Asherman. The Times of Israel ran a not unsympathetic article April 11 in which Asherman is quoted (https://www.timesofisrael.com/rights-activist-rabbi-beaten-in-settler-attack-near-illegal-west-bank-outpost/):

“This is the last of some ten physical attacks in the last two months. Other volunteers and activists have been attacked as well. And there was an attempt to sabotage my car,” said Ascherman, who was attacked by a knife-wielding settler teen in 2015. “They loosened the lug nuts and two wheels almost fell off… It’s ongoing violence,” he said of the incident in January. “But the real story is our ongoing attempt to get the security forces to do their job and take care of this,” Ascherman told the Times of Israel, referring to settlers allowing their livestock to graze on Palestinian-cultivated land.”

Meanwhile, in Nearby Jerusalem…

An article by Yumna Patel in Mondoweiss focuses on the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. https://mondoweiss.net/2021/04/it-is-a-nakba-campaign-to-save-sheikh-jarrah-builds-momentum-as-forced-displacement-looms/ I took the following photos there in 2017. The CJNV work group I was in that year was in Jerusalem so we attended a peaceful rally in the parking lot of the UN building there. It was in solidarity with people’s hunger striking family members who were in Israeli detention or prisons. As everyone was leaving, Israeli police and military suddenly burst on the scene and arrested a couple of men. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ex0M4otkGbk You can see this video below.

Please sign this petition from Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA) trying to save families in Sheikh Jarrah from forced removal from their homes. I am sickened that people say they are acting in the name of my faith when they do this. It is hard to relate to Jews and family who think I’m the intransigent, ill-tempered one vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine. Last year I had to check out of a family Passover Seder because I was so offended by the liturgy’s hypocrisies that I interrupted a few times, increasingly upset. This year I kept my cool ans stayed, but if I mentioned the word Palestine no matter how brief my interjection, I was either shouted down or paternalized as though I was commandeering the gathering. The haggadah from Bend the Arc had contemporary political themes aplenty, but nothing of Palestinian rights and humanity. It was literally PEP. Excluding the Palestinian plight from Jewish practice today seems like a sin of omission. We have much to repent for, and may we do so before it is too late.

Wow! Betty McCollum, Member of Congress from Minnesota continues to introduce righteous legislation! Her new bill actually has succeeded in getting J Street and If Not Now to support something that Jewish Voice for Peace is also supporting. (So are many organizations.) Read McCollum’s own press release before believing any attacks that are sure to rise to smear her. https://mccollum.house.gov/media/press-releases/mccollum-introduces-historic-legislation-defending-human-rights-palestinian.

Last Missive I encouraged y’all to send money to Guy Hirshfeld of Ta’Ayush. Well, I think they haven’t bought their car yet, but they have a used Go-Pro I sent them. And remember to register for the CJNV report-back on 4/25.

This is another link to the arrest of a man after a peaceful rally in Sheikh Jarrah in 2017. The rally was by family members of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners on behalf of their loved ones.

Steve Kelly is Unincarcerated (for now, at least)!

I was happy to listen to the proceedings on April 13, 2021, my good friend Fr. Steve Kelly was physically in federal court in Tacoma, Washington. It seemed likely that he would be ordered freed from custody without conditions, and he was! The prospect of rearrest and extradition to Georgia for not reporting for the same type of supervised release ordered by the federal court in Brunswick, Georgia. Steve was given three days to check in. As in the Tacoma case before it, Steve asked the court simply to save everyone the hassle and just convert the probation to incarceration as he explained why he couldn’t comply: To do so would be to render to them a sort of authority he only will grant to God.

As the judge on April 13 finished reading the official edict of the court completing the case, Steve refused/politely declined to sign the document and he wouldn’t permit his esteemed council, the delightful and wise Blake Kremer, to sign either.

I encourage you to read my friend Leonard Eiger‘s outstanding article that smoothly weaves in details about Steve (his beliefs and motivations that prompt his activism) with the issues at hand (the fundamental immorality of accepting and normalizing nuclear weapons).
https://beyondnuclearinternational.org/2021/04/18/necessary-trouble/

“In addition to being what the US government calls “the most survivable leg of the US nuclear triad,” they are arguably a first-strike nuclear weapon, which is inherently destabilizing to any efforts toward cooperation and disarmament efforts with Russia. The continuing warhead modernization and current construction of the next generation of ballistic missile submarines, with plans for a new warhead and missile, is contributing to a new and dangerous nuclear arms race. As a person of deep spiritual convictions, Kelly understands that “It’s a Sin to Build a Nuclear Weapon,” as Jesuit Father, Richard McSorley, once wrote. McSorley explained that, “The taproot of violence in our society today is our intention to use nuclear weapons. Once we have agreed to that, all other evil is minor in comparison. Until we squarely face the question of our consent to use nuclear weapons, any hope of large scale improvement of public morality is doomed to failure.””

Learn from Steve. Learn from Indigenous Folks about Nuclear Issues

I try to bring voices of people fighting their own fight to the fore. Sometimes we must humbly try to articulate what we have been taught, and have permission to share, of another’s struggle. There is something to be said for acting altruistically and crying, “Foul!” when one isn’t the main target or victim. We still have a responsibility to present and uplift people as they assert their rights and the right to speak for themselves. Please try to attend at least some of the the 2021 Native American Forum on Nuclear Issues Speaker Series, April 26 to April 30. Great presenters, a few of whom I am honored to have met over the years: Ian Zabarte, Winona LaDuke, Joe Kennedy. Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network is speaking https://www.eventbrite.com/x/2021-native-american-forum-on-nuclear-issues-registration-142168051469

Visit nwtrcc.org, and learn about the different ways you can live your values by not paying taxes for war. Even partial nonpayment feels great, and the danger is way overblown in people’s minds. I made this 2 minute tour.

Stephen Zunes on The Sudan and More

My friend Stephen’s report on the remarkable nonviolent revolution in Sudan which overthrew one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships has finally been published. It is a very inspiring story from which those involved in popular struggles for freedom and justice worldwide can learn much. Sudan’s 2019 Revolution: The Power of Civil Resistance

Here are some previous articles of Stephen’s, along with a published interview, on Sudan:
Sudan’s Democratic Revolution is Being Undermined by the U.S.
Sudan’s Democratic Revolution: How They Did It

The Sudanese Ousted a Dictator Last Year—Why Is Washington Still Imposing Sanctions?
(Update: A few weeks ago, the Biden administration finally lifted sanctions against Sudan in exchange for the civilian government paying $355 million to the United States and normalizing relations with Israel.)

Below are links to a couple more recent interviews/panels he was on focusing on Western Sahara:

Here’s a link to a recent 50-minute interview conducted by activist and author, the brilliant and sensitive Bill Fletcher with Stephen and international lawyer Kaitlyn Thomas on the situation in the Western Sahara and U.S. policy towards that Moroccan-occupied country.
https://ideasandfutures.com/2021/04/02/commentary/the-situation-in-the-western-sahara-bill-fletcher-jr-interviews-stephen-zunes-and-katlyn-thomas 

Here’s a link to a great seminar in which Stephen took part connecting the Palestinian and Sahrawi struggles against occupation. Sponsored by Nonviolence International, the panel also included two prominent Palestinian activists, two Sahrawi women (one in exile and one inside the occupied Western Sahara), a Moroccan human rights activist. https://www.nonviolenceinternational.net/webinar_nv_resistance_to_occupations 

Ramadan Kareem ala Shukri Abu Baker

The following link is to a brief and wise statement/prayer from the former head of the Holy Land Foundation. It is a message for us all, at all times, of all faiths.
https://notesfromshukri.wordpress.com/2021/04/16/passing-the-covid-test/

Briefly, in light of Derek Chauvin’s conviction for murdering George Flloyd

My FB post yesterday: We don’t know the sentence yet. The verdicts were as just as the process would allow, but just is still light-years from justice.

Remembering my Cousin Sue Bell

A wonderful human being died suddenly and way too soon: My cousin Sue Bell, affectionately called Suey. She married my cousin Phil in 1979, and I knew her before then. I am so glad to have attended their joyous 40th anniversary re-nup re-up in August 2019. Suey had a big smile, a big laugh and a big heart. What is remembered lives! May Suey’s memory be for a blessing on the world. Your death has really hit me, and we weren’t in all that much touch. Phil, Lyndee, Sandy, Harry, Cathy, Curtis, Judy…my heart is yours. Much love.

Eamon Rocks the Walking World!

Next month’s Missive should have some very special Eamon pics! I can barely wait! Anticipating a very special birthday indeed!

Posted in Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nuclear Issues, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism, Peacemaking | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May the Balance of Equinox Help Us Be More Balanced and Strong

Challenging antisemitism with Communal Solidarity
Sun, 3/21, 3:00 to 4;30 pm Pacific Time
Panel Discussion organized by the Kehilla Community Synagogue’s Middle East Peace Committee.

Featuring Penny Rosenwasser, Rabab Abdulhadi, Liz Jackson and Binya Koatz. Moderated by David Cooper.

  • Antisemitism is real. We must confront it. How?
  • False accusations of Antisemitism are also real. How shall we confront them?
  • Both of these are serious obstacles for people in the Jewish community and for those organizing against the Israeli occupation and its oppression of Palestinians.
  • What can inter-communal solidarity/cooperation do to meet these challenges?

We were planning this event to be in person a year ago. I am gratified to see more programs in this vein happening recently and am thrilled we are bringing together such a panel as this. Please register here and join us!

Liz Jackson, an active Kehilla member, is a founding attorney of Palestine Legal. She focuses on supporting activists organizing for Palestinian freedom and related justice movements. She documents the chilling effects of repression campaigns and creates ways for lawyers to strengthen movements for liberation.

Binya Kóatz, an active Kehilla member, is a transgirl Jewish organizer in Huchian/Oakland. Coming from a lineage of Sefardi and Ashkenazi immigrant freedom-fighters, she’s committed to handing a better and queerer world to her children. She organizes with IfNotNow, Never Again Action, and in diasporic cultural spaces.

Professor Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Director and Senior Scholar of the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies, College of Ethnic Studies, San Francisco State University, is a leading Palestine Studies and Critical Ethnic Studies scholar who initiated Teaching Palestine: Pedagogical Praxis and the Indivisibility of Justice.�

Penny Rosenwasser, an active Kehilla member, is a life-long justice activist and author of Hope into Practice, Jewish women choosing justice despite our fears. She co-teaches Anti-Semitism/Anti-Arabism at City College of San Francisco and is a founding board member of Jewish Voice for Peace.

David Cooper, Rabbi Emeritus (part-time) of Kehilla will moderate.

Here is the link to the beautiful flyer by Norma Marks: https://kehillasynagogue.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Anti-semitism-Event-03.21.21-1.pdf

Wrestling with Zionism:
Another Outstanding Kehilla Community event
with Poetry, Storytelling and Discussion
April 5, 7:00 to 8:30 pm

Please join me for the premier event for a new group forming at Kehilla, the Chavura for a Free Palestine: “Wrestling with Zionism, an evening of story-telling and small group discussion.” The event will start with several members of Jewish communities, from within and outside Kehilla, sharing personal journeys and changing political relationships to Zionism. This will be followed by small breakout sessions, allowing participants to wrestle with this issue together. Register here.

This event is organized by Chavura for a Free Palestine, a group that recently formed to support critical focus on Zionism and to expand Palestine solidarity activism in the Kehilla community and beyond. We expect this to be the launch to a series of events.

Wrestling with Zionism will be held over Zoom on Monday, April 5, from 7-8:30 PM Pacific time. I hope to see you there! tinyurl.com/WrestlingWithZionism

Confirmed Presenters:
Tal Mor, a young poet from San Francisco and Haifa. In early lockdown, she graduated from Mills College with majors in “Global Humanities & Critical Thought” and
“Art & Technology.”
Susan Greene, a San Francisco therapist and internationally renown artist and founder of “Art Forces”;
Lisa Rofel, a UC Santa Cruz anthropologist and professor emeritus, also a national boardmember of Jewish Voice for Peace.
Introduced and moderated by chavura members Kinneret and Brooke Lober.

Sign My Petition to Biden!

https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/reverse-course-on-nuclear-weapons

Please sign this letter to President Biden that I created to commemorate March 1, Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day, the anniversary of the 1954 Hydrogen-bomb test known as “Bravo” that made human guinea pigs out of the people of Rongelap Atoll who were downwind from ground zero. It also sparked the Japanese antinuclear movement because a Japanese fishing vessel that was likewise caught in the fallout. I wanted to communicate our grave concerns about the nuclear posture of the United States to the new president. As a nuclear armed state, every overt and covert military operation overseen by the United States is backed up by its first-strike capable nuclear arsenal, making them life-threatening, potential violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and other international agreements.
The letter was to take the place of the usual Monday resistance action the Pacific Life Community stages after our meetings and reconnecting for a weekend. The sessions we did hold went well. I even got a reward, a letter from Steve Kelly, from purgatory, I mean transit-prison stasis in Oklahoma City. He’s still en route to Tacoma for a rather contemptible proceeding. thanking the organizers that inspired this letter. Some useful networking was generated, and some shared perspective was realized.

On March 21, in honor of the vernal equinox and Nowruz, I will send the petition with people’s names, zip codes, any comments people add, and a cover letter briefly explaining the timing and the nature of the Pacific Life Community. Please sign. Our goal was 100, then we surpassed 1000! Let’s see if we can make it 2000 by the day of celestial centeredness May the influence of the vernal balance help stave off infernal nuclear gamesmanship.

Dissenters–Turning the Tide Against Endless War

I am so glad I tuned into a webinar after work and after laughter on Thursday as I sat by the Golden Gate Park’s Panhandle as I often do. It was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and addressed the deadly oppression of the people of Kashmir,

“We focus on our role in dismantling US militarism, and respect the right of other movements to choose their own form of liberatory resistance….We take care not to undermine those allied movements elsewhere that are fighting their own battles for liberation. That means we don’t rally behind other government powers just because they aren’t aligned with US interests. We support liberation movements and everyday people that share our values….We demand an end to both domestic and global warfare waged by the US – from police killings in our neighborhoods, to drone strikes abroad.” And check out their great page of principles!

Wow! This was an amazing interview. She wasn’t listed in the billing, but Lara Bazelon the moderator deserves exceptional kudos for her outstanding framing of questions. Both Marc, who I have met and like, and Mitchell Plitnick who I have been friends with for years thanks to JVP, have such compassion, understanding, knowledge and wisdom that comes out in this book and interview. I’m thinking about Passover, and what can make a family seder service relevant in some intentional, productive way. This was great. I was tired but I stayed up through all of it. Check it out. It is very worth it.

Ten Years Ago with the Afghan (Youth) Peace Volunteers
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjuaPVPo

Noam Chomsky Interview in +972 Magazine https://www.972mag.com/noam-chomsky-middle-east-israel/?fbclid=IwAR2cFg4cIIF4IqEH6IiyGytoDQ-bEtIiVMhXsZK3xU-gcBheUQxi06aZHvg

Gideon Levy Interview with The Palestine Museum (DC) https://www.palestinemuseum.us/gideon-levy

I really enjoyed the end of this episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. She ends up interviewing a couple of wonderful activists while sitting out in a cold, snow covered field. Two activist nuns join the conversation on an old t.v. for a lovely touch. I love-to-tears many an old activist nun. God bless ’em all!

Mufid’s Secret

From:
ABDULQADER MUFID (32590177)
Sunday, December 20, 2020 9:49 AM
The Secret???
To: haber.jim@gmail.com
12/19/2020
What is the secret to success? Is there actually one? May be more than one? Here is my secret to becoming the best version of myself despite 12 years in prison:
The secret is to show up, do all the work, and do it again tomorrow, and the day after and the day after and never miss a day of doing what you have set out to do. It is a Palestinian Warrior (PW) work ethic married to indomitable will. It is literally that simple. Nothing interferes.
Nothing can sway you from your purpose. Once decision is made, simply refuse to budge. Refuse to compromise.

And accept that quality-term results require quality-term focus. No emotion. No drama. No beating yourself over small bumps in the road. (small bumps are a necessity). Learn to enjoy and appreciate the process. This especially important because you are going to spend far more time on the actual journey than with all those brief moments of triumph at the end.
Certainly celebrate the moment of triumph when they occur. More importantly, learn from defeats when they happen and they will definitely happen. It is not a question if they will happen, it is a question when they will happen. In fact, if you are not encountering defeat on a fairly regular basis, you are not trying hard enough or you are on the wrong track. We know that we will lose a few battles in our struggle. It is a given. But we also know that we will win the war at the end and it will be the sweetest triumph ever. And absolutely refuse to accept less than your best. Just remember what the Palestinian Warriors motto: The only easy day was yesterday. Throw out a timeline. It will t take whatever the f**k it take.

We learned along time ago, that you destiny is not shaped by your past but is shaped by the choices you make NOW.

We also learned and always being taught to us from childhood that you never live for yourself. If you only live for yourself, then you belong to all humans who are 6 feet under the ground not above it. It is not what you leave for people but what you leave in people. You also learn to die empty. You die after giving everything you learned and passed it on to others. That gives you many lives to live after your first one ends with your death.

That is my secret. I hope that I gave you something to think about.
Thoughts and feedback are appreciated.
M. Abdulqader, #32590-177
FCI Seagoville
P. O. Box 9000
Seagoville Texas 75159

[I already apologized to Mufid for it taking a while to share this piece with you. Keep your prayers coming for him and his wife Diane and family. Still holding our breath for his request for compassionate release. My other prisoner correspondents are all holding up as well as possible. I’m grateful to have heard from Ghassan, Shukri and Reality recently as well as Martha and Clare. God save us from ourselves and our carceral state! Oh, what’s that I hear in my head? Ach! God’s putting it back in our court…something about free will, maybe.

Meanwhile, on the Ground in Palestine

Guy Hirshfeld needs us to help him and Ta’Ayush buy a tougher car for his/their work. Maybe you have heard of this Israeli human rights group. I have been guided by them on several occasions. In early 2020 with CJNV I helped tend some Jordan Valley watermelon starts and mud over holes in a Ottoman era building oddly spared by Israeli courts and bulldozers, and Ta’Ayush were present, as they were for every action I have taken in and around A Tuwani in the south Hebron Hills. Guy’s the real deal, and he and Ta’Ayush need our help to help stand with and provide some protection to Palestinians. Click here to see numerous ways of donating.

In this picture he’s with my friend Bob Suberi, until very recently of St. Louis. We met on my last CJNV delegation. Now he has returned to Palestine as a new kind of delegate, one who makes aliyah so he can’t be deported for his Palestinian advocacy.

A message (excerpts) from Guy Hirschfeld:

My activist colleagues and I do most of our work in the Occupied Territories, accompanying
Palestinian shepherds and farmers who suffer from harassment, from being blocked from land
access for grazing and agriculture, from demolition of homes and other hostile acts. All of this is being done in violation of international law (including the laws of occupation) by Israeli settlers, army and police. Their aim is getting Palestinian residents to leave their land. In less polite words: these activities promote and accelerate ethnic cleansing.
We defend the Palestinians as much as possible from harassment in the field and argue their
case before the courts and governmental authorities. For the past six months I have taken a break from my activities in the Occupied Territories and invested my time 24/7 to the protest in Balfour Street in Jerusalem near the home of the Prime Minister, the person responsible for our dismal situation. Now, as we go to the polls (a development largely due to the protest, in my opinion) and as the reports of escalation in the Jordan Valley have increased, I have decided that it is time to return to full activity in the Occupied Territories.

Most of my activity there takes place in the field – in the desert, on hills, in areas without roads – and that is exactly why I need your help. In order for me to get together with other activists in the places where our presence is required, I need a suitable vehicle. Therefore, I need a 4 X 4 vehicle, which is able to travel to any place where the army jeeps and ATVs of the settlers are chasing the farmers and shepherds. The most basic second-hand vehicle suitable for such activity costs about NIS 100,000 (about $35,000). I can put up 20,000, so I’ll need another NIS 80,000. Please note that there are daily expenses for the activity in the Jordan Valley such as fuel for activists’ vehicles and for legal assistance, so that any amount we manage to raise above the cost of the vehicle will be directed to paying those costs.
My work in the Jordan Valley is carried out in collaboration with the “Torat Tzedek” organization headed by Rabbi Arik Ascherman. Rabbi Ascherman has been a human rights activist in the Occupied Territories and in Israel for over 25 years and was formerly the Director of Rabbis for Human Rights.

Donations may be made to the Torat Tzedek organization. Please indicate that the contribution is being made for the purchase of a vehicle for the Jordan Valley project.
Attached are some links to articles and a short film that shows my activities.
You can also follow my work on my Facebook page guy hirschfeld .
Please contact me if you have any questions.
+972527025743
alfetta79@hotmail.com
Many thanks!
Guy Hirschfeld
Click here to see numerous ways of donating.

Great Eamon pics

There are some great family shots too, but these are amazing just of Eamon. See how much he’s moving out of toddlerhood at just 2 year 3 months. The photo with the swing, feet on the ground with the green pants, what a classic kid swing pose! l love the Mona Lisa inscrutable look of the purple sweatshirt image. That’s a grown up look. I could make up a story about his expression, but it would be my story, not his. Look at the big bite out of that apple too!

Posted in Afghanistan, Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nuclear Issues, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Springing into Inspired Resistance and Resilience!

Hi Everyone! I have been very busy organizing like I haven’t in a while. As you’ll see below, the Pacific Life Community is meeting on line this coming weekend. Instead of a welcome visit back to see my Vegas tribe as an attendee, I have been shepherding our on line effort instead. I’m enjoying the necessity for some phone conversations instead of screen-time organizing. But creating events and updating the PLC social media that we let sit for far too long. Well, here I am, finally!

I’m relieved that F. in state prison and Morganne of Vegas seem to be recovering from their covid infections. Prayers and energy still welcome, of course. I was scared thinking about my friends in Texas, especially the three I know there in federal prisons. I was relieved when I heard back from Mufid and then Reality. I had heard of power out at a women’s prison near Ft. Worth, and I figured it must be Carswell. She said that they weren’t muchworse than everywhere in this instance, and Mufid said he was warm. Mufid is still hopeful for word on his request for release. He deserves to be free, and his wife needs him. He was even was momentarily pronounced not guilty on all charges, but then the jury was polled and one changed to guilty, so it was a mistrial and he got 20 years at the rigged second trial. Next Missive I’ll be sure to include another story he sent me.

Marshall Islanders Call for Short Videos for March 1 Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day; deadline 2/24, 6 pm Pacific Time

From: Ariana Tibon <educate@rminuclearcommission.net>
Subject: Nuclear Remembrance Day Videos
Date: February 20, 2021 at 9:55:32 PM MST
To: stillhere-coalition@rethinkmedia.org

Iakwe from the Marshall Islands, 
In our decades of fighting for nuclear justice in our home, we join hands with other frontline communities worldwide addressing the legacies of nuclear testing. We also take great comfort in receiving support from around the world reminding us that we are strong and resilient people and that we are not alone in our pursuit of justice for the Marshallese people. This year’s Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day theme, “We Are Not Alone,” reflects our shared efforts to uplift and provide comfort to one another.

I humbly ask that you send a short “you are not alone” message to the people of Marshall Islands and to encourage your networks to do so as well. We ask that videos be no longer than 15 seconds. 
These videos will be compiled and played during the commemoration ceremony on March 1st, 2021.
Here’s the link for video submissions below:

https://forms.gle/MCwzV2fWX4Ls6yZg6

Best,

Ariana Tibon, Education and Public Awareness Director, Republic of the Marshall Islands National Nuclear Commission Tel. Office: +692-625-3394/3291 Ext. 240 

WEBINAR: Arab American Studies Is Ethnic Studies!
Jewish Educators Say YES to Liberatory Ethnic Studies 
Thursday, February 25, 5pm PT / 8pm ET
Register here.  

Ethnic studies is under attack. Anti-racist, decolonial, and liberatory ethnic studies is being attacked for being too critical of US history, too centered on the stories of the most marginalized communities, and not patriotic enough. But these attacks started because California’s proposed Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum included Palestine. And at the heart of the attack is the claim that teaching Arab American studies and including Palestine is antisemitic.   We will address:

  • Why Arab-American studies, including Palestine, is central to ethnic studies.
  • The difference between antisemitism and criticism of Israel, and why it matters.
  • Why all students will benefit from a liberatory ethnic studies curriculum that promotes collective liberation.
  • How teachers can prepare for and deal with backlash for teaching authentic ethnic studies.

Bowing to pressure from pro-Israel and other rightwing lobbyists, the CA Department of Education is about to approve a watered-down, “all lives matter” Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that marginalizes Arab American Studies and erases Palestine. How did we get to this point?   Please join us to hear from Jewish educators who support an authentic ethnic studies curriculum that faces the true history of the United States and explores the connections between US policies abroad and the racialization and marginalization of people of color here in the United States.    Featuring:

  • A special guest appearance by Josh Healey, spoken word artist and comedian
  • Ethnic Studies Instructor Margot Goldstein
  • African American Studies Professor Alex Lubin

…and others   Moderated by Jody Sokolower of the Middle East Children’s Alliance’s Teach Palestine Project and Save Arab American Studies Campaign.   Register here. Join the Facebook event page for updates.  
“If we can find the courage to tell our children the truth, they can begin to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems.”   — Jeff Duncan-Andrade , professor of Latina/o Studies and Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Pfc7u2z2S46ImggfhYeV1g

Pacific Life Community 2021: Going Global!

Click here to visit the information about the 14th annual Bravo Nuclear Test Weekend of Repentence and Resistance. (I just made that up, but it’s what we do.) The way the 3 pm session is being shared is exciting for me because the question seems to have struck a cord for people. The network will take time to check in with ourselves in a couple of morning sessions first. We are small, and last year’s gathering coulda/shoulda been cancelled as covid was really starting to emerge sorta up where we were, outside of Seattle. A couple people do think/know they got sick there, but I don’t think severely so. I still went and then decided to get arrested as you may recall. It was great reconnecting with folks, if a little insular. This year is NOT insular, that is for sure! I was looking forward to returning to Vegas, but no! Not only no fun travel, but also, I seemed to be the one to step up and help shepherd our weekend into a gathering (not alone, but principally) or we might not have met this year. Now seems like a time to engage, not disengage, so I am very glad people are glad we are to meet. It is needed.

Check out and sign our petition/letter of grave concerns about the US nuclear posture to President Biden. He may never see it, but I think it came out pretty clear and strong, but not vitriolic. For 14 years, the creed and annual practice of the PLC is to cry out against the immoral and illegal madness of nuclear weapons and the decades long, nuclear racism of the United States. This year, as the struggle for Black Lives Matter continues to resonate and internationalize, we are duty bound to draw attention to the fact that this struggle is yet another case of deadly, violent, white supremacy and settler colonialism.

I’m hosting a movie watch ‘n’ talk on Sunday with a 15 minute intro at 3:00 pm. followed by a post-movie check in from 5:00 to 5;30. https://fb.me/e/Avx8AQGm

We’ll gather on zoom, but people will stream the movie, most easily renting through Vimeo for $5. It is a very good film, but not a blockbuster. A little remuneration to Adam J. Horowitz who made it will be some worthy positive reinforcement for his great effort.

Challenging Antisemitism with Communal Solidarity
Sunday, March 21 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Kehilla Community Synagogue’s Middle East Peace Committee is pleased to present an powerhouse panel of wisdom and sensitivity featuring Liz Jackson, Penny Rosenwasser, Professor Rabab Abdulhadi and Binya Koatz to discuss creating Communal Solidarity as we Challenge the rise in Antisemitism. Rabbi David Cooper will be moderating the program.
Antisemitism is real. We must confront it. How?False accusations of Antisemitism are also real. How shall we confront them?Both of these are serious obstacles for people in the Jewish community and for those organizing against the Israeli Occupation and the oppression of Palestinians.
What can inter-communal solidarity do to meet these challenges?
For more details and to learn more about the panelists for this important discussion, here is the download link for a beautiful flyer and the link to the Facebook event . Please join us as we explore these challenges – REGISTER HERE

Eamon 2.2

Eamon is amazing me all the time. At 2 years and 2 months, he has a picture of me and can say and spell out d-a-d-d-y which I doubt I could have done at that age. I get wistful as I see parents with small children on Page St. or in the Panhandle near where my work truck is kept. Little ones on little wheeled bikes and scooters, or walking, learning. They all make me smile and chuckle and get quiet. Sometimes we visit and I’m on my computer instead of my phone. I have been playing with capturing moments with screen shots. That has been fun too. Eamon also loves my favorite all time book (maybe), and we both have copies. Today I read him a couple of stories from over WhatsApp. I am looking forward to holding the squiggly wiggly wonder this year, sometime, but for now, as he keeps learning, our distance does shrink a little each day.

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A Year of Plenty. A Year of Renewal

Let’s do what we can to make it so. 2021, a year of plenty and a year of renewal.

A Difficult Year for So Many, but Positive Environmental Stories Emerged: “In a difficult year, species were brought back from the edge of extinction; new protected areas were created; and Indigenous women leaders got long-overdue recognition. Mongabay looks back at some of the top positive environmental stories from 2020.” https://portside.org/2021-01-02/difficult-year-so-many-positive-environmental-stories-emerged

Covid Stuff: I wasn’t clamoring for vaccine access for myself in any way, A. I don’t like being a guinea pig for big pharma, B. I have to deal with white privilege guilt about getting protected when others are at least as in need and being denied it. With my work though, which involves going into other people’s living spaces to fix and move things, I know I deserve whatever protection I can muster. Work came through, and I got the first of two Moderna shots the last day of 2020. Soreness at the injection site ramped up over the next six or eight hours and lasted for two and a half days. Not bad. I expect worse after the second dose.

I had hoped to wait for one of the less profit-driven versions to come my way, but given the opportunity, it would not have been right to wait. It helped that almost all of my more diligently informed friends were clear on recommending going forward. Publicly funded research shouldn’t lead to large corporate profits. That isn’t the whole story though, and I must not be overly cynical. It did spark renewed interest in what is being developed elsewhere. I am aware that even in news outlets like Democracy Now!, when discussions of the covid vaccine variants is discussed, Cuba isn’t mentioned or other efforts other than the Oxford one and maybe the Chinese one. Today I found some answers, and something comforting of my fears for Iran due to sanctions. https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/456441/Iran-Cuba-coproducing-COVID-19-vaccine

500 Richest People Added $1.8 Trillion to Combined Wealth in 2020: “Surging billionaire wealth hits a painful nerve for the millions of people who have lost loved ones and experienced declines in their health, wealth, and livelihoods.” https://portside.org/2021-01-02/500-richest-people-added-18-trillion-combined-wealth-2020 This Common Dreams article by Julia Conley (not familiar to me) can help when the stark numbers are needed to punctuate a point.

Access Denied -Asian Dub Foundation (late 2020 release): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRnDtTLgA0c or purchase it or some tracks wherever you do such things. A lot of old groups have some inspiring, powerful new works coming out.

Fr. Louis Vitale and Dennis Duvall outside Creech Air Force Base in 2009.
After entering Creech Air Force Base, the group knelt reverentially and were threatened by a nervous guard with an M-16. They were arrested and taken to Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Ground the Drones Lest We Reap the Whirlwind” was true in 2009 when we said it as the Creech-14, and sadly it is truer 12 years later. Looking into the sudden surrender of Armenia in Ngorno-Karabakh, I found a very revealing Forbes article. I was intrigued to learn that in addition to Israel, Turkey has a robust and effective drone development, production and export industry in the region. https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidhambling/2020/11/10/the-magic-bullet-drones-behind–azerbaijans-victory-over-armenia/?sh=535867b05e57 I am guilty of a tad, bittersweet feeling of relief that Israel can’t automatically woo and buy off despots worldwide. There is competition, if not balance of power in the murderous drone industry. It would appear that Israel’s drones helped Azerbaijan, but their recent purchase of Turkish drones was decisive. Armenia’s new, handful of fighter jets were of little consequence. I’m not cheering for Erdogan’s militarism or violence! Just before posting this Missive, I received another article worth sharing from James Dorsey, an academic based in Singapore who I started receiving notifications from. I learn a lot about geopolitical machinations and large scale projects from him. This one is about Turkish influence being substantial and growing in the greater Middle East amid Erdogan’s own imperial intentions amid tensions with the UAE, Israel and others. https://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com/2021/01/erdogan-positions-powerful-turkish.html

12 of the Creech 14 outside of court in Las Vegas, Nevada in 2010.

Armed Right Wing Groups Aren’t ‘Militias’–We Need to Stop Calling Them That (Time Magazine, Richard Stengel, Oct. 30, 2020) Here is a great and extensive article in as quintessentially mainstream a news magazine as has ever existed. https://time.com/5905374/armed-rightwing-groups-are-not-militia/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=social-share-article&utm-term=ideas_extremism&fbclid=IwAR0UEdVNJoAd8QtPtyUV94Ira236hbxI8o8yiBY81LH-3MSb8uh6CtGHZlg The link is to the article via a Facebook share. When I tried to simplify the link, it worked, but I hit their paywall. Hopefully this link works for you too.

Meanwhile various prisons if not the entire federal Bureau of Prisons are starting to return mail that is printed on home printers. First it was Pine Knot, Kentucky, but I just got a Missive returned from Carswell outside of Ft. Worth, Texas. I send Missives to people as you know. The photos mean a lot, I know. Some people can type better than they can write. Maybe it is the printing of articles they want to stop, so they overreact, assholes and their “security” concerns!

In the last Missive, I had a simple list of resources that inform and inspire me. I included a good one (The National Priorities Project), but I actually was confused and meant to plug The Cost of War Project. (https://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/papers/2020/AirstrikesAfghanistan) Works out to include it here, now though since this leads into my next item.

Dr. Hakim, chief advisor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, joyously making a point. 10 years later, and several of the youth in this picture are still active together; some are in university also.

In March, it will be 10 years since I visited Afghanistan (mostly Kabul) with Voices for Creative Nonviolence and the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. Here are my pictures from that trip on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimhaber/albums/72157626321254424. Let me know if you want more details of any. The impetus for that trip–which was a large, ungainly delegation full of touching, lifelong inspiration and connection–came from organizing against drones at Creech Air Force Base. I quickly learned however, that bad as drone strikes were, most deaths and US-inflicted terror were actually due to night raids with boots on the ground. Now, both are terrible problems as my friend and guide Kathy Kelly wrote in The Progressive a little over a month ago. https://progressive.org/dispatches/unending-war-in-afghanistan-kelly-201125/

Clockwise from lower left: Tank graveyard on the outskirts of Kabul. Woman in Kabul refugee camp next to tank graveyard washing pots. Memorial to children killed in a bomb at the site of an important hospital operated by the Italian group “Emergency.” Peace dove on wall near one of our hotels. One of the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteer banners.

Speaking of delegations, I will always remember that for New Years 2020 I was in Sarura outside of A Tuwani in the south Hebron Hills of the West Bank. It was a warm gathering in many touching ways, and the weather could have been far more of a problem than it was. I was with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, Youth of Sumud (resilience), friends from Um Il Khair, A Tuwani, Bethlehem, Jerusalem. It was heartwarming and bittersweet, like so many stories that move me. Reporting back got truncated by the corona virus and black lives matter focus, and maybe the election. In my January and February, 2020 Missives I covered the delegation’s beginning in Masrura, Jerusalem, learning about the plight of the Mizrachim brought in as human shields by the European Zionist leaders in the 1940s. I also shared how great it was to see Chava, David, Yona and friends on Kibbutz Gezer, and of course, my most recent visit with Eamon was on my way home from that excursion. Here are a few images from Isawiya on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a very beleaguered neighborhood I also visited in 2017.

Clockwise from the right: The home of the man in the wheelchair was just demolished for the fourth time. Officially, just the top floor was deemed illegal and destroyed. The ceiling of the first floor is clearly not okay. Where the second floor was, you can see his parents’ home next door. The second floor would have given easier wheelchair access. During the third demolition was when the man was thrown from his home, and he became disabled.

Clockwise from the left, Dec. 31, 2019: CJNV’ers planting olive saplings on rocky terrain in A Tuwani. Neat rows of trees were impossible there due to the large rocks. The army arrived when we did for our first work day. We did our thing, but they declared a closed military zone where we were planning to have our New Years Eve celebration. We pivoted well, having it in the caves of Sarura: the Sumud caves we cleaned up in 2017. On the other side of the village, I helped prepare olive trees on a hill so the little berms would keep some water from running quickly downhill. Nearby, Palestinians show us where an IDF bulldozer destroyed a shed.

Upon my return, three of us held a quick report back at Kehilla, and I shared a few stories by others about helping Palestinians reassert their right to access water at the Ein Al Beida spring near A Tuwani. That action remains poignant for me since my role was to try to protect a Palestinian friend and leader from arrest during whatever chaos and response the settlers and IDF would confront us with. Since 2020 saw black activists, politicians and regular folk being threatened and attacked in the United States with increasing shamelessness and visibility, I feel like saying–and I hope I will never have to say– “Over my dead body!” to a white supremacist attacking a person of color. The prep and action days a year ago definitely come to mind when I imagine what it could be like and what I might do.

I want to apologize for taking so much of your time, but I still need to recommend six more important, outstanding articles. They all bear on longstanding issues I will continue to bring to your attention. They start with Israel but lead into nukes. (Surprise!) Then we’ll finish up celebrating MLK birthday awareness and Eamon. Share back sources you rely on, please, or let me know if you find fault with my suggestions, please.

  1. About bullsh*t charges of antisemitism derailing careers of people of integrity fighting for justice: Here’s an article in Mondoweiss about the situation in Labour in Great Britain should ring alarm bells for people everywhere. https://mondoweiss.net/2020/12/the-real-corbyn-tragedy-and-jewish-currents-refusal-to-publish-an-opposing-view/ The object in this piece, the longstanding British Zionist publication Jewish Currents, is one I am familiar with because of my work for Allan Solomonow who died a year ago. (May his memory be for a blessing…) In his files were quite a few contentious back-and-forths between he and the editors. I’m sad to see they are still pushing the racist anti-Palestinian line there. I pray for a reprise of Jeremy Corbyn somehow, and that any friends of mine see the smears of him for what they are.

2. “The Israeli Nation-State Law Had Its Day in Court” by Orly Noy in 972 Magazine on New Years Day. “During the hearing, the High Court justices saw no problem with demoting the status of Arabic and claimed that ‘equality’ is something best left for the future.” I saw the article through Portside Snapshot. https://portside.org/2021-01-01/israeli-nation-state-law-had-its-day-court

3. Here was an interesting article from The Forward about Birthright: New data suggest Birthright effect on Jewish marriage, connection to Israel lasts up to 2 decades. (https://forward.com/news/national/459286/birthright-israel-study-data/) Birthright would be okay if it really weren’t about pumping up young Jews not to give a sh*t about dispossessing, dehumanizing and invisiblizing Palestinians. Feeling connected to Biblical places and to our existence as Jews is good. The bad stuff doesn’t make up for it though.

4. Desmond Tutu says (The Guardian, 12/31/2020): Joe Biden should end the US pretense over Israel’s ‘secret’ nuclear weapons: “The cover-up has to stop – and with it, the huge sums in aid for a country with oppressive policies towards Palestinians.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/31/joe-biden-us-pretence-israel-nuclear-weapons Now would be a particularly poignant time for the world to force Israel to stop ducking its responsibilities as a nuclear weapon state, especially with its formidable, operational and very advanced nuclear weapons arsenal.

5. Tutu’s call came as Israel’s nuclear armed “Dolphin” submarine was passing through the Suez Canal to be more illegally threatening to Iran. Thanks, Sisi! Israel and the United States have already been attacking Iran and Iranian leaders as well as ratcheting up the sanctions regime, even during the pandemic. https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2020/12/30/israels-german-built-nuclear-armed-sub-opens-new-front-against-iran-and-allies/

6. I had to add this article by James North which I only saw a few minutes ago. Maybe it is why I didn’t send this Missive out last night, knowing it (and James Dorsey’s article) would show that my fears of Trump and Netanyahu goading Iran into more retaliatory violence aren’t just my own trumped up fears: https://mondoweiss.net/2021/01/trump-and-netanyahu-keep-trying-to-goad-iran-conflict-they-have-18-days/ North also names the horrid Sheldon Adelson of Birthright infamy as a major force pressuring Trump and Pompeo to nuke the Persian state.

January 22: The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) Comes Into Force! Here is the best page I have found for background on this monumental treaty: https://www.icanw.org/updates What might you do to pump up the potency of the day? We don’t have the luxury of surrendering to these quintessential weapons of mass destruction.

Let’s Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birth and Life: Nothin’ new here. I am still so moved by the sermons and speeches of the Reverend Doctor King that I consider him a prophet. My two favorites of his teachings for the past couple of years have been the sermon “Love and Forgiveness” (May 20, 1964, transcript) https://drive.google.com/file/d/1vNe7kEkNR89vvrU_OdTTOgpMp6HjWUFm/view?usp=sharing, and his keynote address, “The Three Evils of Society” (August 31, 1967, audio) https://youtu.be/6sT9Hjh0cHM.

Our Cat can be a Comfort, but I Really Miss Eamon!

It has been a year since I got to hold Eamon, for him to feel my strength and love in person. A year since I had the joy of rocking them to sleep, or watching him throughout a day or a night. I don’t expect this separation to last much longer, but I know it isn’t over yet. I try to nurture the patience of a lifetime, or multiple lifetimes (lived concurrently, not all mine). I’m moved by how stable he seems in their body. Not a baby anymore!

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The Fruit of Justice is Peace

“Fruit of Justice is Peace” T-shirts are Ripe for the Picking!

Someone made a run of t-shirts with this profound quote/image in 2015, and mine is pretty well worn out. I decided to get the image and find a shop to print me a new one. Instead, I had 40 made thinking that some of you would also like one. Half are v-neck; half are regular. All are a charcoal grey/heather to sort of match the background which is the stucco color of the uranium processing building (reputedly the oldest building in the nuclear weapons complex) at the Y-12 facility in Oakridge, Tennessee.

The photo of this graffito was obtained by the defense as part of the discovery process of the trial of the Transform Now Plowshares in 2013. Yes, I do take a certain joy in using a photo taken by the forces of evil to highlight the good work of my friends.

The image I use is the detail above. I got sizes S to XXL. I ordered them through 4imprint, so they don't have a union bug. (Sorry.) However, the material is 100% recycled content. I am making them available on a free will offering basis. That means I'll send you one as a gift, or we can work out the money thing when you tell me which style and size you want and where to send it. They cost me $12 or $13 each (plus postage). I got them to share and show, so just ask if you want one.

Watch the Spiral Dance…Free at Reclaiming.org…but just until Winter Solstice

https://www.reclaimingspiraldance.org/reclaiming-spiral-dance-2020

It was amazing! I finally made time to watch the ritual in its entirety. I was preoccupied with hosting the Awe Cult Cafe which morphed into welcoming people who didn’t quite find their way to the event through the Reclaiming Spiral Dance page above, instead, happening on the tail end of the earlier, interactive zoom gathering the Beloved Dead team produced.

The power of the magic shines through, and there are so many different voices that together raise the energy from all over the world! It made me proud of our tradition, what we do and how much we have grown. So much beauty was included by the tech wizards, on top of the poetry and potency that imbued each element, deity and remembrance…It will draw you in and lift you up. It is a heart-touching introduction to this form of spiritual practice, and you will learn a little ASL as well! It’s about the length of a movie, so next time, reach for this instead and enjoy the floe flow! And let us bring in the “rains of justice and renewal” with each step we take.

From Colonization to Solidarity: Narratives of Defeat and Sumoud (Steadfastness/resilience)

JVPBA was a co-sponsor of this event.  Here’s information about how to watch the recording.

Thank you for your support and co-sponsorship of our event From Colonization to Solidarity: Narratives of Defeat and Sumoud. We appreciate your continued support and solidarity with AMED Studies.

If you missed the event you can watch it here: https://fb.watch/259crG8VnM/

We ask that you please share the following links with your circles and social media followers:

Recorded Facebook Live: https://fb.watch/259crG8VnM/

Evaluation form to help AMED improve our future programs: https://forms.gle/awGc5KU1U2WXqPmbA

The bios of Panelists/Moderators link:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1_p7BISUIHwtIg2-ZKNgD5rGO-4iXZOW0ASOEyfJcPDo/edit?usp=sharing

Please encourage others to donate and support AMED’s Teaching Palestine project: https://donorbox.org/teaching-palestine

You can find us on social media platforms below:
 
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Best,

AMED Studies
Teaching Palestine at SFSU

Center for Jewish Nonviolence-Great vid…and Hineinu project pilot

The Center for Jewish Nonviolence is starting something new: A pilot project of a few diaspora Jews staying for three months or so with our friends in the south Hebron Hills. This is a pivot in response to sharp uptick in wanton and dispossessive violence by the Jewish state and its marauding “settlers.” Since the onset of covid-19, Jewish groups in Israel that work in solidarity with Palestinians are not able to go in support and to add a bit of protection as much as before, and the need is worse than ever.

I’m not looking to go at this time, and the folks who are, are already making their plans. On my trip at the beginning of this year, I pledged to myself to go back for a longer trip, and one that wasn’t part of a delegation moving together all the time. That isn’t happening right now. I also pledged to engage with my family more, and especially young cousins who may enjoy Sheldon Adelson’s inherently racist Birthright trip. Family interactions are lifelong, our personal microcosms. I have written in dismay of loved ones who thought (think) Jeremy Corbyn of England is an antisemite, or who could think that there isn’t homelessness in (or caused by) Israel or that I must not have any Israeli friends, given my incessant (really?) ranting. I have failed, alienating and withdrawing instead. Well, here are a couple articles that make me want to try more and succeed. And I ask that you support the Center for Jewish Nonviolence (with their wonderful fiscal sponsor, Nonviolence International) as generously as possible at this end of year time of giving.
https://forward.com/news/national/459286/birthright-israel-study-data/
and
https://tribunemag.co.uk/2020/11/we-fought-apartheid-in-south-africa-and-were-appalled-by-jeremy-corbyns-suspension

Please, don’t conflate Judaism with Zionism. I beg you even more fervently not to conflate anti-Zionism with antisemitism. You might not go as far as I am, seeing Zionism as a hypocritical attack on Judaism’s more wonderful tenets, but if we don’t change course soon, you’re likely to hate me or agree with me. I’m not abandoning Judaism to the assholes, but neither do I think that I or my good-hearted friends and family are the ones in a position to define Judaism for the world today. Israel and the many Christian Zionists who don’t care about a just God seem to revel in their support of despots with vicious arms, tech and training in exchange for ignoring Israel’s boot on the neck of everything Palestinian.

Normalization with Israel is normalization with genocidal aims against Palestinians, and leaders in the Arab world for the most part continue not to have backs of their brethren. May we, the people, including Arabs, Persians and us all over, care and stand with Palestine.

Woman at War
https://youtu.be/U2v3_jHrvBQ
(Watch the trailer)


[I was inspired to send an email to a few fine folk after I watched a movie. This is basically what I sent. I hope yu’ll explore the paragraph of recommendations. I am often tempted to send out impulsively Missives featuring one or another news portal’s wide ranging, weekly or morning roundup of news and thought. They all deserve featuring. For example Palestine DeepDive shares four or five stories per email, and the sources are all there, and they’re Israeli, and not left Israeli, so look inside.]

I actually recommend the whole film, Woman at War, to be sure! I saw a bit of this 2018 Icelandic/Ukrainian film outside during a free last year in a little outdoor theater in Patricia’s Green in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. I finally just watched the whole thing.
If that trailer isn’t enough for you, and you want a bit more wild fantasy for your viewing, you could always catch two seasons of Warrior Nun or The Umbrella Academy.
Mitchell just had me watch Eurovision, The Fire Saga Story, and I cried and laughed a whole lot, softie that I be. And for your listening pleasure, I highly recommend Public Enemy’s 2020 album “What You Gonna Do When the Grid Goes Down” including but not only for the “Fight the Power” remix.

And I will always recommend (too many links for me to bother activating. Cut and paste; you can do it, or get in touch) This is a very partial, partial list.

East Side Sushi

Singin’ in the Rain

Democracy Now!

OurJourneytoSmile.com

EdgeofSports.com

Portside Snapshot

Palestine DeepDive

Popular Resistance

World Beyond War

Color of Change

MPower Change

Jewish Voice for Peace

CODEPINK Women for Peace!

Stop Making Sense

Akeela and the Bee

Dawson City, Frozen Time

Al Helm (Clarity Films)

National Priorities Project

Nina Simone

The Nuclear Ban Treaty actually comes into force on January 21! We have to make it happen even if we have to fake it ’til we make it.

This is no joke, and improbable as it seems, the legal truth, despite how far from the facts on the ground it seems, is to be celebrated…and acted upon! Join groups worldwide in challenging nuclear assumptions, lies and hypocrisies.

As my friend Ardeth Platte who died recently pointed out at every opportunity, every anti-nuclear activist is a nobel peace prize winner as part of ICAN, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Think of something to do to help enlarge this milestone and turn it into an earthen berm big enough to stop a runaway train. Thank you Tri-Valley CARES, Western States Legal Foundation and United for Peace and Justice for reminding me to include this item.

And at this writing, Steve Kelly, having served his time in Georgia for his Plowshares action there in April 2018, remains locked up! As far as I know, he is still in Glynn County Detention Center in Georgia awaiting word of extradition to Washington because he followed through on his refusal to cooperate with parole “obligations.” He was given more parole in Georgia, but he hasn’t been released, so he can’t yet not have reported. They don’t know what to do with his form of respectful refusal to honor any presumed authority they have over him, but they don’t want to let him go. God bless Steve Kelly and all who risk freedom for peace, which as we all know, is the fruit of justice.

Eamon is Two Years Young!

I am confident that I will make it to Maryland to visit Eamon and company in 2021. I don’t know when though. I’m thankful for the encouragement I receive to make it work, but at this point, that means being patiently grateful for the first year of visits.

I miss seeing Eamon grow at this stage and to see his learning and growing. I miss seeing him grow knowing my mother and family here, but life can be long, so taking that view helps.

Ralph went home on December 9, 1999. Debra went home on November 2,2020. What is remembered, lives.
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So many emotions! Singing in the Rain!

We need rain. Rain is good and lacking. Yesterday we got a few drops in the afternoon. A blessed bit of relief, hopefully a good omen, not a cosmic tease. Literally, and figuratively, I am going to be singing in the rain for the time being. I do have shelter and access to warmth, after all. May it pour. May the mud slides and mud slinging be minimal and merciful. (Lots o’ luck!) May I remember to look up. For a little musical moisturizer Listen to “Raining Revolution” by Arrested Development. Singin’ in the Rain is also one of my favorite comfort films. One time I just wanted to see Donald O’Connor’s phenomenal “Make ’em Laugh”, but I had to watch the whole thing. I laugh to tears throughout that old musical.

I am relieved more than happy or excited about the elections; dismayed by the increased millions of all types of USians who voted for more of the current administration. I haven’t rained on other dancers’ parades (much), I’ve even celebrated a little (fake it ’til you make it), but I have pain and tightness in my chest when I think of this country. A little less in power, the rabidly right wing is still strong, ignorant and deadly. May the lives of asylum seekers, Iranians, Venezuelans, and indigenous people everywhere know some relief from US driven suffering. I have minimal hopes that Biden will raise a finger to stop Saudis from slaughtering Yemenis or Israelis from butchering Palestinians in their homes. (Okay, my hair-splitting loved ones: At this point, Jewish Israelis are just demolishing villages with 15 minute notice, shooting eyes out of people in windows and attacking people who are harvesting olives at this crucial time.)

Cemetery of Injustice- My Spiral Dance/Dia de los Muertos Altar

Click the link below to read my brief artist’s statement about this scene. The skeleton and skull date back to my childhood, by the way, justifying years of paying for a storage space.

https://haberjim.wordpress.com/cemetery-of-injustice-samhain-2020/

Here are links for information about the legalized immoralities named on the headstones.

Debra McGee, my sister: What is remembered, lives.

Before and after Ralph died in December 1999, Debra always called me her brother. Our connection was a balm. He went home way, way too soon, like dad. It is heartwarming seeing all the photos in deb's online memorial book. https://www.swartzfuneralhomeinc.com/obituary/debra-mcgee

Biden and Harris Won Pennsylvania and the White House! A bit of relief among the heartache.

I wasn’t surprised by the close vote, since I have been writing about the weaknesses and internal contradictions of the Biden candidacy all along. As one radio commentator pointed out, there are perhaps a few thousand disenchanted, turncoat Republicans as opposed to millions of progressives and less wealthy people. The Democratic Party AGAIN doubled down on courting a few less-than-loyal, wealthy, (mostly, but certainly not only) white folks instead of sincerely including poor people and their issues. As I put it in a Facebook post sometime after Biden was anointed the candidate of choice and the putting down of progressives escalated, “They may fear Trump and company more than they fear us, and they may hate them more than they hate us, but they fear us more than they hate them, and they also hate us more than they fear them.” Looks topologically like something out of an MC Escher painting, but I think it rings true of the Dem Party leadership.

This election was a Hail Mary situation, but many people’s fears and the catering to wealth and power led the coaches of the Democratic Party to call a swing pass instead. To play the metaphor out: We’re nowhere near the goal line. Joe and Kamala are going to have to muster an incredible run after catch. We keep blocking upfield, but instead of following us towards the end zone, they keep turning towards the other team we’re clearing out of their way! It felt like fourth down, but not fourth and goal. The chains had to come out, but we got the first down. We made it, just barely, thanks to hella blocking up front by BLM outrage and organizing (and the voter registration spike it led to). Only the great timekeeper in the sky knows if it’s the final seconds of the last period, if there will be overtime, or where we are in the game. Just gotta get our game on, and keep playing because it really is life or death.

Juan Gonzalez‘s analysis of demographic trends stands out compared to many I have heard referred to including an oft cited New York Times report. Maybe Latinx voters saved the day. https://www.democracynow.org/2020/11/5/2020_election_ballots_electoral_college

I’m relieved that Trump didn’t siphon off a shitload of Jewish votes with the brutally cynical “normalization” deals with arab states recognizing Israel. These are horrific if minimally disguised arms deals for attacking domestic activists like me around the world. Did they contribute to the increases Trump saw with Muslim voters? Biden lost Florida because of Orthodox Jews in Miami said a Democratic pollster in a piece by Phillip Weiss on November 6 in Mondoweiss. How went the Zionist vote in the end?

I am excited that a Black woman is set to be vice-president, that she may become president. My problems with Harris don’t overshadow that truth.

Jessica Wildfire‘s piece I saw in Medium really knocked my socks off. I’ve noticed a lot of what she articulates very clearly. https://medium.com/the-apeiron-blog/donald-trump-won-no-matter-what-happens-next-203f7c3a55c7 I see that her next piece is about how Trump is smarter than we think, and that we got played. We may be getting played, but Trump’s ignorance of pretty much everything is manifest. When is the last time you think he actually went into a store to buy something? When was the last time he got into a car to drive somewhere…and he drove? What could he actually operate because he learned how to? Not much, I reckon. And he can barely read! He isn’t smart in an idiot’s disguise.

I wonder how many white voters went in thinking they would vote Biden/Harris, and then thought twice because Kamala is a woman of color? It would be very typical. Have pollsters figured out to figure that into their prognostications? I remember being relieved he chose her over former UN Ambassador Susan Rice who was also in the running. I would have bet on her because she is a proven, liar of a hawk in foreign affairs. The need for domestic appeal led to Harris’ nomination?

Biden and Harris got elected on the backs of communities of resistance and resilience, carried over the finish line by progressives they don’t want to be seen with. They intend to rule while standing on our backs too, making it still hard to impossible to breathe as they turn their backs from our cries for justice.

King’s Bay Plowshares 7: Major Updates

Final Sentencing hearings are scheduled for Nov. 12 and 13 for the four, outstanding Kings Bay Plowshares activists. At the same time, “The U.S. Navy on Thursday placed a $9.4 billion order with General Dynamics Electric Boat for the first Columbia-class ballistic missile submarine.” (DefenseOne.com) I listened to Steve Kelly’s proceeding, but I missed Patrick O’Neil’s the next day. So much has been said and cast aside, it is hard to do anything but shake my head as judges show such little discernment or wisdom despite all their pomp and faux equanimity.

Update on the Latest Revision of the CA Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum: It’s worse than we expected!!!!

This update just came in from JVP Bay Area leader Ellen Brotsky about the fight over the ethnic studies curriculum. I will happily put you in touch with her if you want to follow up on this at all. Ellen wrote:

“Friday, Nov 6th, the CA Dept of Education (CDE) posted its latest revision of the CA Model Ethnic Studies Curriculum. It was even worse than anyone imagined it could be. Tony Thurmond held a press briefing on Friday morning to announce the changes which have turned the original, robust, liberatory, anti-colonial ethnic studies curriculum into an All Lives Matter, multicultural curriculum. All mention of Palestine has been removed and it promotes teaching about antisemitism which defines criticism of Israel and Zionism as antisemtic.”

Click here to see four key changes and also next steps.

Veteran’s Day is a Militaristic Day that Dishonors Vets by Re-Branding Armistice Day, but I’ll take the paid day off.

Just look up Armistice Day, and check out World Beyond War. Send them or CODEPINK: Women for Peace or Veterans for Peace or Courage to Resist or the War Resisters League some money. Any little bit helps.

Eamon is almost Two, Runs and Talks and even asks to call “Daddy”!

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