As you can imagine, having Eamon in my life now fills everything with a bit more gravitas. As if I weren’t already concerned about the world at large, now I share responsibility for having foisted existence upon another human being. What a joy he is to behold…and to hold, even more so. I miss his wondrous gaze and expressions.
I resisted the urge to post a Missive after my mid-February trip east to see and care for Eamon for a few days. I’m not the only person involved in new parenting, and other people I know are more day-in-and-day-out caring for their little ones and how often do they posts about little milestones? I get self-conscious sometimes, not wanting to take credit that isn’t due. I’m not caring for Eamon every moment like Lacy is. I’m just tickled pink when I see and comfort him.
He’s growing by leaps and bounds, obviously, and he’s very precocious for 2+ months, already pushing himself up and over! He’s smiling and giggling delightfully in response to all sorts of stimuli, and he’s already in size 6-month onesies!
I’ll be back with him March 10, but for now, here are a few images from February, followed by a short litany of news items, events and anniversaries you may have missed. Remember, Peace to all means justice first!
March 1: Remember Bikini. Solidarity with survivors of Rongelap. NO MORE US NUCLEAR HYPOCRISY!
Every year at this time, I bring up the Castle-Bravo nuclear test that destroyed Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands on March 1, 1954. It was the largest bomb ever tested by the USA. The people of Rongelap that was known to be down wind at the time of the detonation, continue to suffer physical and emotional harm from its fallout. Look up “jellyfish babies” if you dare. And look up the 2011 documentary “Nuclear Savage.”
Also, bringing this to the present. please don’t take up any of the nuclear-fear hypocrisy of the United States and Israel. Don’t fear North Korea or Iran, especially vis a vis nuclear attack. Unstable Pakistan and Hindu-nationalist India do scare me, but neither Russia nor China have pushed the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation as has the United States. And now we may give nuclear technology to the murderous Saudi crown prince! Talk about a global troika of tyranny or axis of evil: The United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
New US nuclear warheads are rolling off the assembly line as of the end of February. The W76-2 is less than a third the size of the bomb used on Hiroshima and is considered “usable” by some “people.” It is highly targetable and concealable as it will be based on Trident D-5 submarines, the most destructive weapon ever built. At the same time, the updated tailfin design for the B61-12 was being tested. It will be highly targetable and of a more “usable” size with a “dial-a-yield” feature.
You never hear about our nukes. Denuclearize North Korea? Give me a break! Social justice and environmental activists from other causes: you better stop acting like taking on nuclear weapons is beside the point (or worse judgments I don’t want to go into now).
The government is led by people that want to destroy it, in part, by unfunding itself. Still, resisting war taxes must continue and grow, at risk of playing into the hands of people who say they want small government just so they can pollute wildly and steal from the rest of us. Please, don’t fear the IRS like they are really going to hurt you. They can harrass, of course, but they don’t suddenly garnish your wages. Mostly they send notices, or more often, but still not frequently, phone calls. More often, I get spam calls, not related to my tax liability. And when they “assigned” my case to a private collection agency, their ability to harrass me or take my money decreased! Check out the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) for a wealth of info, stories, and counseling. Don’t bank on tax refunds. Don’t give free loans to the US military. Resist war taxes now!
In league with NWTRCC, the Bay Area group, the People’s Life Fund, makes grants with money people have deposited instead of sending all or part of their tax bill to the government. Some people put money in escrow accounts for use if and when they do come after us to collect. The interest (and outright donations) to these funds are given out by local groups around the country. Here is the People’s Life Fund’s Facebook page for more info and to “like” or follow. The PLF is receiving grants for local work in the Bay Area. The deadline to apply is March 15, 5 pm. Help applying is available if you need it. Here is a link to the application.
Inspired “Equivocations” on Israel’s Brutal Hypocrisy
First of all: I support Ilhan Omar in Congress and for calling out AIPAC and other funders of Israeli crimes against humanity. She is speaking to contemporary events and alliances in support of Israeli moral and political crimes, not regurgitating old tropes. I’m not impressed at the prospects for Palestine even if Netanyahu has to step down as Israeli prime minister. Zionism’s links to white supremacy are strengthening, and liberal Zionists…not having much impact. The lies and inconsistencies are too big and longstanding; the implications too painful. I am not familiar with the author, but I received this Forward op-ed through Portside Snapshot): Wake Up American Jews: You’ve Enabled Israel’s Racism for Years!”
Meanwhile, after years of debate and discussion, Jewish Voice for Peace has declared that we are an anti-Zionist organization. The first paragraph of “Our Approach to Zionism” boldly states: “Jewish Voice for Peace is guided by a vision of justice, equality and freedom for all people. We unequivocally oppose Zionism because it is counter to those ideals.” While I mostly align with the statement that follows, I was viscerally struck by the use of the word “unequivocal” at the beginning. I have been party to countless JVP discussions, debates and events about Zionism. After so much (legitimate) equivocation, it feels too late for us to say anything we do is unequivocal. Evidently the clarity at the Board level is such that they wanted to emphasize the point. If so, it is theirs to make, but I don’t think it reflects the membership to that degree, to warrant such underlining. It felt like a real dismissal of something that was essential to the fact that Jewish Voice for Peace didn’t fade away and instead navigated a shifting landscape of Palestinian liberation efforts and “facts on the ground” to become what it is today.
I applaud JVP’s leadership for once again not succumbing to the fear of losing members in order to take a stand for truth and justice. A similar juncture was crossed when we signed on organizationally to the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions calls from civil society. It proved to be good to clarify what we stand for, something substantial that sets us apart from other well-meaning Jewish groups including If Not Now, J-Street and Tikkun.
I think the statement includes ample description of the reality of what self-described Zionists have done to the pre-existing and descendant people of historic Palestine. I still hold Martin Buber, Henrietta Szold and Judah Magnes in high regard, but their legacy isn’t important in the name of Zionism lost. Or at least, it doesn’t feel right, asserting their recognition as a need for coalition-building. Palestinians today deserve to call out Zionism, as well as Judaism for what has been taken from them and for making them a diaspora and refugee people and almost outlawing their very identity. We need to deal with that and stop pretending that some other good thing deserves to be seen and extolled first, or that some attacks on us need compensation instead.
How Do You Sum Up All of Torah?
There are a number of scriptural passages that have been equated with the whole kit-and-kaboodle. “Do justice. Love mercy. And walk humbly with your god.” (Micah 6:8) is one. “That which you abhor, don’t do to others.” (Pirket Avot 2:1, a rephrasing of part of Leviticus 19) is another.
So often, the militarists of Israel quote some proverb or rabbi telling us that if we think someone is going to attack us, that we should attack them first. I couldn’t find it just now, online. I would appreciate the reference if anyone has it for me/us. Also, have you ever heard it put forth as though it is the sum total of what we are to glean from our faith? I like to think that there is a preference for the mercy (with a healthy respect for the need for justice mixed in). I think Micah’s sentiment and the Golden Rule deserve such raising up, but not a call to preemptive strike. What do you think? I think…
Eamon is a Big Ball of Adorable!