Happy Father’s Day everyone! I have sometimes avoided this day since my dad died just as I turned 18 and by age 56, I doubted meeting someone to have a child with. Fatherlessness was an adult quality I began identifying with until Lacy asked me to help bring the amazing Eamon into this world. More than sperm donor, but not quite co-parent either, my role (and claim to the title) as father or dad is a bit unclear. I’m grateful to my family and friends, to Lacy and her family and friends, and first and foremost to Eamon, for making me feel special, even fatherly. What a joyous giggler you are. I feel you in my heart, and I look forward to being in yours all the days of our lives. Thank god for all the great examples of fathering I have seen and experienced.
My Father’s Day prayer: May I and fathers everywhere be clear and strong in our stands against patriarchy and misogyny as we parent and in “every think” we do. Eamon, I’ll be there for you whether you cry or laugh. Even if I’m not present every day in your life, may my love be a comfort to you, and may I be worthy of your love and trust all our lives.
Gonna stand against CUFI again soon
…this time in Washington DC. CUFI is Christians United For Israel. I proudly remember being ejected from my first of their “Nights to Honor Israel” in Las Vegas with my friend Dennis DuVal. At first we just spoke loudly to each other in response to offensive utterances from the stage, “educating” the people who were near us. When they showed a video of the Israeli ambassador to the US though, we couldn’t contain ourselves and stood shouting over him until we were made to leave. Then we greeted people with signs as they exited. The next year I handed out sheets with alternate resources since I remembered many questioning people in attendance that first year. At the end, they made me stand outside as I tried to distribute them, but the crowd was more one-sided. In San Fran, a couple times, small groups of us held signs outside their meeting spaces which were synagogues (!). If Not Now organized a prayerful presence one time, but they stayed away from the entrance, and were easily ignored. Finally, there is a more organized opposition to CUFI jointly led by Friends of Sabeel North America (FOSNA.org), the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, Jewish Voice for Peace and others.
The confluence of Zionism and antisemitism is pretty damning of Zionism today. It is almost unfathomable, but here we are! I know there were desperate, Jewish collaborators during WW II, and it is certainly true that some Zionists colluded with Nazis, but now we are backsliding shamelessly, and that needs special attention. It must remain a shame to be a white supremacist or antisemite, and Jewish leaders and organizations that work with antisemites need to lose their standing. We must remember that very few people really embrace violent nationalisms but can be whipped into a deadly frenzy through propagandistic, social media lies. We need to shake off our disbelief and act. As many are saying: It is not enough not to be racist; we must be anti-racist.
Many people are pointing out the myriad shortcomings about Kushner’s upcoming meeting in Bahrain that is ostensibly about ending the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. (See Hanan Ashwari’s powerful and charming interview on Democracy Now!) I don’t think this meeting was ever planned to address Palestine though; that is just cover for its real purpose. Kushner’s meeting is about consolidating power relationships among all players OTHER THAN the Palestinians. It is about pushing the agendas of the real “troika of terror”: The USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia. They want to destroy hope and opposition. Kushner, Netanyahu and Bin Salman want Arab and all countries to opt for a place at their military feeding trough instead of standing with the Palestinians. They will promise access to repressive, Israeli tools, tactics and training and US weapons contracts to beat down their people at home, and they’re going to be told they better sit still or be targeted themselves. I’m afraid that making the point that Palestinian needs aren’t going to be addressed (whether or not Palestinians attend) is going to distract us from stopping the consolidation of power and the spread of more–and more advanced–weapons to the area that is their real goal.
When Sadat and Begin met with Carter at Camp David in 1978, their goal wasn’t really about peace with the Palestinians (who weren’t invited to the table). The part of the agreement that did address Palestine and the region was subsequently denounced by the United Nations. The other part, about Israel and Egypt normalizing relations, breaking up the Arab block and ignoring Palestinian rights, has continued. Kushner’s meeting’s misdirection also feels analogous to the debates about the Trump/Republican tax plan: There were many issues being legislated in that bill that had nothing to do with taxes but everything to do with stealing the commons for personal gain, eroding public control of resources, impoverishing people with medical needs and destroying what remains of the social safety net. The debates about tax refund sizes and all that was ludicrous at the time. The goal wasn’t really about taxes; it was about robbing and destroying.
Islamophobia is real, but also, secondary to the plan to control wealth and resources and push more and more people into a horrific underclass regardless of race or religion. The Netanyahus and the princes and US leaders don’t care about poor Jews, Muslims, Christians, Kurds or US-ians. If you are very wealthy, they don’t care if you’re anything else; they will welcome you. “Wealthy” may not be enough though; you may need to be in the .01%, not just the 1% to be spared, but their plan is to confuse so many people that we can’t build a movement to stop their greedy, suicidal projects of theft and murder before they engulf the whole world. We must not let them unite around their greed and disregard for people and planet!
Zionists need to deal with the problem of today’s Zionist forces are aligned strongly with virulent, longtime antisemites, Nazi sympathizers and even avowed Nazis. These antisemites are far more likely to point to old, hateful tropes than any Palestinian or leftist/progressive who looks at what Israel is doing to Palestinians and what it is promoting globally in terms of nuclear hostility and repressive assistance to authoritarians worldwide.
Any of them better be able to beat Trump
I have expressed frustration at friends who get into denouncing the Democrats running in the presidential primary race. A post I saw name-calling supporters of Beto O’Rourke really surprised me. I was amazed, not because I am a Beto-head, but since we have to buoy each other up, not put ourselves down. That said, I wasn’t impressed when I heard that Marianne Williamson threw her hat in the ring. I didn’t pay much attention to her since I didn’t pay much attention to her before either. Now, I’m not solidly in her camp as I’m not in any of them really, but I’m grateful for her presence and message. This interview was inspiring! Like when I hear AOC or Ilhan Omar and I feel like someone in office (or running as a candidate) actually hears me and speaks for me. It is only 6.5 minutes: Check out this great interview with PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruf: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/why-marianne-williamson-thinks-she-can-defeat-trump
So much else matters!
It is pride month. There is debate about Jewish stars on flags at celebrations. I actually thought this article from The Forward was pretty good on presenting different issues, including pointing out that putting our religious symbol on the state of Israel’s flag was intentionally done to mute criticism of Israel because of this confusion. That history seriously mutes my outrage when people upset at Israel (the Jewish state) make a mistake. Murderers of Palestinians insist they are doing it on behalf of Jews everywhere. Despite my opposition and disgust, why should the world believe me more than them?
Samantha Bee and John Oliver have done good segments about the history of Pride (Stonewall Inn) and the need finally to pass and ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries about the Central Park 5. The Intercept has published what we must hope will be devastating revelations about judicial misconduct in Brazil, and maybe there has been a positive legal break in the USA about egregious, Republican gerrymandering and the question about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
Attacks on women’s control of their bodies need to stop. Yes, Republican women are women too, and I hope they come around before it’s too late. Black and indigenous women’s lives matter!