Jim’s January Missive 2: Political Moments, Laughter Balm, “Censored Voices”, Tax Resistance, Don’t Blame the Victim

  1. Energy and aftermath of the Womens March
  2. Laughter Balm
  3. Join me in being a War Tax Resister
  4. “Censored Voices” Kehilla Community Synagogue Film Series, Sat.Feb.4, 7:00pm (Presented by the Middle East Peace Committee which I am now part of)
  5. Discussion of several voices and sources that have touched me and “felt right” about this political moment we’re in.
  6. Don’t Blame the Victims

1 Energy and aftermath of the Womens March

A Reflection from my friend Kate Raphael that celebrates outpourings of energy, and calls on us to figure out how to keep engaged and not just retreat back to complacent acceptance of what comes our way, but to figure out how to be strong under attack and grow the movement for truth, justice, wisdom and compassion. There is much more to say and do about the racist, patriarchal, xenophobic, Islamophobic pandering and attacks that are being championed and encoded in law. It is easier to know what to say than what to do that will be effective.
I was happy for friends and minions going to DC to show opposition to the incoming swamp_monsters_b
president and his horrid team and building solidarity with women for the sake of humanity and the world. I worked on some great masks of Trump and his “Swamp Monsters,” and we got swamp monster outfits through a hunting outfitter. I am saving my travel-for-activism money and energy for other gatherings and push-back. I felt like I would just be going there to vent, so I marched in children_beat_swampmonstersOakland and San Francisco on Saturday instead.
A crew took outfits to DC and others of us went out Friday and Saturday. I was part of the betsy_jim_coweringteam that entertained people as they assembled before the Women’s March in SF. Roaring at
passersby (being swamp monsters), some children gave it  back to me/us for at least fifteen minutes, leading my character (Secretary of Education Betsy Devos) to cower in pain and dismay. (The top two images are links to short video clips. lso, visit TRUMP-DIS.ORG)
People were so grateful for the playfulness and the impetus to laugh, even if laughing at the pain of it all. Which leads me to…

2 Laughter Balm

I thought I would have some upcoming public Laughter Yoga sessions to advertise, but not yet. In part, Ghostship fallout has my preferred venues focusing on renovations.
I am very happy leading half-hour sessions with a bunch of retired folks every Saturday at Baywood Court in Castro Valley.chimp-2
For now, I want to share an exercise that I and others are finding very helpful, like a balm on my wounded spirit, as I live with my emotional distress at the unfolding political changes. It is called Cry Down/Laugh Up:
Whether you are sitting or standing, somehow you slide down into a crouch while crying (or fake crying, of course), and then you rise up enlightened and enlivened with laughter (faking it until making it if necessary). You can do this a few times and then take some nice, deep, cleansing breaths. I find the transformation of the crying into laughing helpful afterwards.

3 Join me in War Tax Resistance

First of all, know that there is a lot less risk than you think. Afraid of suddenly finding your wages garnished and being unable to pay your rent or mortgage? That is very rare and extremely slow in happening. Many, many warning notices are sent and resent. Also, there is support from a longstanding, nationwide community of resisters. Please don’t bank with the federal government. Have less taken out of your paychecks. Don’t think of a tax refund as a windfall. You are actually giving the federal government (and the military) a free loan, an advance on what you MAY owe for the year. Check out these resources for more: W-4 resistance: http://nwtrcc.org/PDFs/practical1.pdf and http://nwtrcc.org/PDFs/w4.pdf consequences of WTR: http://nwtrcc.org/resist/consequences/

This should be a watershed moment for this form of resistance to the new administration. It was deserved before, but all the more now when it is clear that the wealthiest of the wealthy often don’t pay. And as another WTR’er put it convincingly for me, if they have to take the money from me instead of me simply giving it to them, it more accurately reflects the nature of the relationship. It takes a lot of resources for them to get money, so even if they do add on penalties and interest, they still lose when we resist, especially if lots of us 99.99%ers resist!

4  “Censored Voices” Film Screening

“Censored Voices” (2015) Film screening
presented by Kehilla’s Middle East Peace Committee
Saturday, February 4 at 7 PM – 9 PMcensored-voices
Kehilla Community Synagogue
1300 Grand Ave, Piedmont, California 94610
The Kehilla Middle East Peace Committee will be hosting a movie night with the showing
of the award winning film, Censored Voices, particularly relevant as we approach the 50th anniversary of the occupation. It features previously censored interviews of Israeli Defense Force soldiers as they are returning to their kibbutzim after fighting the ’67 war. The interviews, by Amos Oz, are combined with archival footage, photos, contemporary news accounts and the now-aged veterans telling the story of the war and its aftermath.
NY Times Review.      YouTube Trailer.
Tell us on Facebook that you (maybe) are coming!
This program will be a fundraiser for the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, our partner organization that leads trips to Israel/Palestine, “engaging in creative, nonviolent activism with the aim of bringing an end to the occupation.”
After the showing there will be an opportunity to ask questions of Kehilla members Nikki Sachs and Jim Haber who have participated in CJNV delegations.
Suggested donation is $10-20. No one turned away. Sanctuary.

5  Random Related Reasons Reflections Resources

Support the Afghan Peace Volunteers, the friends I made in 2011 when I traveled there on a peace delegation with Kathy Kelly and Voices for Creative Nonviolence. Two specific projects they created at their “Borderfree Nonviolence Community Centre” that help people on the ground there are the Duvet Project and the Street Kids School. The first gives sorely needed work to widows and warmth to poor families in the cold Afghan winter. The second teaches some reading and writing skills to street kids in Kabul.
 who I find consistently intelligent, hard-hitting and good humored, all at the same time. Robert Reich has been consistently right-on and directly on point. I often click on more than one piece in some portals I receive including Portside Snapshot, LobeLog and AlterNet. Tom Dispatch has been consistent for a really long time too and This Modern World by Tom Tomorrow is a great boost in a cartoon. I watch Democracy Now! almost every day. I really like Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. I miss Larry Wilmore who was getting better and better. I have burnt out a bit on Samantha Bee who I have found belittling of honest efforts at democracy and is too uncritical of the Dems and Hillary for their own demise. Still, I keep up with her as a rare female late-night voice. For more than sports–outstanding politics–David Zirin’s Edge of Sports. I usually like Tavis Smiley‘s interviews, but he takes support from some really lousy corporate entities like WalMart. Frances Fox Piven just had a good piece in The Nation in which she said:
“Now the protests will have to aim not at winning, but at halting or foiling initiatives that threaten harm—either by redistributing wealth to the very top (the Trump tax and energy plans), or by eliminating existing political rights (the cancellation of DACA, the Obama executive order that protected undocumented-immigrant children, known as Dreamers), or by jeopardizing established protections and benefits (the looming prospect of privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, or the threat to turn funding for public education into a system of vouchers for charter schools).”
As regards less alternative sources, I have been receiving interesting articles from The Forward in my inbox as well as The Washington Post. I am finding them all getting stronger in their questioning and advocacy for truth and challenging The Liar in Chief and his manipulators. The Washington Post is still pretty hit and miss…very much amiss, especially regarding Russia and hacking. It took His Dishonestness getting elected for mainstream journalists to start awakening to their duty and snap out of the stupor that gave The Expunger of Truth free airtime to the exclusion of other voices. Even television journalists are pushing back some. It is noticeable. When will a journalist challenge His Liarness with recordings of him saying something repeatedly that he now denies? They’re getting there, but I am still waiting for a reporter actually to shut Trump up and have the last word–liar.

6 Don’t Blame the Victims

The horrid contrast of how the prayerful–as in praying–Native Americans at Standing Rock continue to be treated as opposed to the failed prosecution of the armed, white occupiers of the federal wildlife refuge in Oregon shows that the Indian wars never ended. To Exist is to ResistFirst Nations people will tell you it never ended because they have experienced brutality and unsolved murders continuously. But the fight at Standing Rock has brought people and tribes together in a beautiful if punishing way. “Which side are you on?” has never felt so right to cry out. Do what you can to stop this and other pipelines and unbridled extractive industries, especially fossil fuels. We need to stop, not expand this! As important as the climate change issue is, necessitating a stopping of this pipeline, not just a less racist re-routing, first and foremost, I am aghast at the continuing attacks on Native Americans IN THE PRESENT, BRUTALLY, INHUMANELY, AND FOR SURE, OUT OF COMPLIANCE WITH ANY USE OF FORCE GUIDELINES.
How could firing water cannons at unarmed people in sub-freezing temperatures not be automatically illegal? And as this fight continues through the North Dakota winter, as a non-Native American, I resolve to honor Native decision-making and not split or be split by their internal decision-making and disagreements. I honor Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault reaching out to meet with President Trump, and I honor the Indian people who are refusing to leave Dakota Access area.
The victims are being blamed for the violence being done to them, yet again:
Israeli violence against Palestininians is blamed on the victims.
Police violence against Black Americans is blamed on the victims.
State violence against Native Americans is blamed on the victims.
Patriarchal violence against women is blamed on the victims.
Religious violence against the people of Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iraq and other Muslims is blamed on the victims.
Poor people are being blamed for their wealth being stolen by the wealthiest of the wealthy. Last year half the world’s population (about 3.5 billion people) had as much combined wealth as the richest 63 people combined. Earlier this month that number dropped to 6 or 8! And we’re suppose to fear the poor refugee and asylum seeker?
And increasingly, activists are being blamed for the violence being done to them with increased charges, fines and jail time for nonviolent displays of resistance and activism.
Truth is being turned on its head.
I think about lives hurt and costs to people, society and the environment. I don’t like asking small, but I do think progressive legislators need to try to insert humanitarian exceptions and appeals processes in the language of the bills. Every little bit helps some people as we work on the more systemic front too. And the Democrats are so weak right now. God bless the people making forays into lower echelon, vital, local level Democratic Party committees. Way to step up. People forging ahead outside of that system, Godspeed.
Thanks for reading!
“There comes a time when silence is betrayal”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
“In a free society, few are guilty. All are responsible.”
-Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” -Dorothy Day
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Late April Message: Send Jim to Hebron. Jews Stand with Palestine. and Come Laugh with Me

April 27, still during Passover, I sent out the following message which pointed to a fundraising page I created for myself which is also here.

Dear Friends,
It’s Passover, a time to retell and reflect on one of the most revered liberation stories of all humanity. I cringe when I think about Passover now though. Who is now in the role of Pharoah in the world, and who is either penned in, a refugee or both? I’m Jewish-American, but the answer, honestly, is the United States (“the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today” as MLK called us out 50 years ago) and its most revered ally, Israel. It pains me and makes me feel responsible.
I want your help to go there to stand nonviolently with Palestinians against their oppressors…my people. The Center for Jewish Nonviolence is organizing the delegation I plan to join in July.  It is called Occupation is Not Our Judaism: A delegation for nonviolent direct action and activism in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills.To learn more about what we’ll do there, why I picked this trip and this time, please check out my fundraising campaign. I can’t do it without you, and we’re all in this together. Thank you!

Laughter Yoga for Serious Fun and Health

with J-i-m Haber, Certified Laughter Yoga Leader

April 27 and May 11 (more dates to be announced)
7:00 to 8:15 pm

Terra’s Temple, 3051 Adeline St., Berkeley (@Ashby BART)


…and contact me for info about the “laughter parties on the phone” that I find wonderfully easy and uplifting–gain without pain! Remarkable
  • Laughter yoga is real (look it up). It’s Easy! Exhilarating! Mirthful!
  • Laughter for as little as 10 or 20 minutes affects the body and mind.
  • Laughter is exercise and helps circulate residual air out of the lungs (plus other health benefits). There is some light stretching, but none of the usual yoga poses.
  • Laughter can touch us tenderly and uproariously.
  • Humor not required. Grumps thrive too!
  • Even “Fake it ’til you make it” laughs count!

Sessions last between 60 and 75 minutes and are a combination of open laughter, some laughter exercises to help motivate the group, and a bit of explanation about the history of the practice and some of the medical benefits of laughing.

Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ha!


Laughter Yoga was started in 1995 in India by Madan and Madhuri Kataria. A medical doctor and a yoga teacher, they realized that people benefit from laughter even without humor or comedy. A little stimulus can be fun and evocative though, so they and scores of “laughter leaders” have created an array of short and playful exercises to help us revel in the real and immediate benefits of laughter.

J-i-m Haber is a Certified Laughter Yoga Leader. He discovered conscious laughter at a workshop in early 2015, and now laughs daily. J-i-m’s background as a spiritual and political activist, meeting facilitator, mental health counselor and teacher has inspired him to share laughter’s positive effects to merge social connection, spiritual awakening and world care.

For more info, contact J-i-m Haber
Haber.jim@gmail.com or 415-828-2506 and on Facebook.

AND FINALLY: I want to wish everyone a happy Mayday/Beltane. Dance a maypole. Jump a fire. March in the streets for immigrant rights and labor rights!
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June 2016’s “Approximately Monthly Missive”

[I am uploading to this blog earlier e-mail blasts I sent out that I am collecting together now under the guise of  “Jim’s Approximately Monthly Missives.” In the future I will be posting them here first and then sharing links to them in the hopes that comments will come here in a more publicly engaging way than when I send them out via the bcc feature in my email. I hope you find them stimulating and thought-provoking. This one was originally sent out on 22 June 2016 with the Subject line reading, “Summer Update: Hebron, Laughing for No Reason.” -Jim]

Send Jim to Hebron
In two weeks, on July 6, I will fly to Tel Aviv, connect with my family there for a couple of days and then head to Bethlehem and in and around Hebron to help the Palestinians living there. “To exist is to resist” as they say. I’m in solidarity with them against the brutal, ongoing destruction of their buildings and fields by Jewish settlers and the Israeli state (carried out in some part in my name as a Jew making it somewhat personal).
The Center for Jewish Nonviolence that is organizing the delegation has asked participants to raise a bit more for the trip as a whole and to help us support our Palestinian partners. I was very touched by how easily I reached my personal fundraising goal. If you were thinking of helping, but then saw that I was doing okay, I am asking you to consider following through after all. We’ll be doing some planting and some rebuilding; we want to provide the supplies we will be using, and other ancillary expenses have increased with summer pricing and just because the situation continues to worsen and get more oppressive. So more contributions to my on line campaign will be very appreciated and shared with CJNV for use on our trip. So, if you were wanting to support me but didn’t feel the need anymore, feel free to contribute to my campaign and I will pass it on, or give directly to CJNV, but let them know I encouraged you to, please).

I am continuing to develop as a Laughter Yoga leader in different settings. I am hoping to start laughing with seniors where my mother lives and maybe where my dear friend Fr. Louis Vitale lives. I need to laugh. When I cry, I need to laugh all the more! This blog will keep you up to date on my laughter practice, availability and dates of upcoming sessions. I have one on June 28 in Berkeley! For more on that, visit my Facebook event: Come Laugh With Me!
And I can’t rave enough about the deep but dispersed laughter community I am part of on the phone (and in its FB group). The practice is open, non-threatening (it being anonymous if you want, and you can always just hang up), and independent of words and jokes. Check out Laughter Party on the Phone (with Celia and Friends)
“We have assumed the name of peacemakers, but we have been unwilling to pay any significant price. And because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total–but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.”       -Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ   (R.I.P. 4/30/2016)
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September 2016’s Approximately Monthly Missive

[I am uploading to this blog earlier e-mail blasts I sent out that I am collecting together now under the guise of  “Jim’s Approximately Monthly Missives.” In the future I will be posting them here first and then sharing links to them in the hopes that comments will come here in a more publicly engaging way than when I send them out via the bcc feature in my email. I hope you find them stimulating and thought-provoking. This one was originally sent out on 14 September 2016 with the Subject line reading, “Join me Sept. 28…and a few simple things to do with me for peace.” -Jim]

Dear Friends,

[Below this first, important event announcement are a couple of on-line actions to take on behalf of the Bedouins I got to know on my July trip the report-back is about. Also, some follow up on my/our work to stop the increasing militarization of police tools, training and tactics, and finally, save-the-date info for when the amazing, nonviolent organizer from Hebron, Issa Amro of Youth Against Settlements, is speaking around northern California. Thanks for reading on, and coming out.   Yours, Jim]

Please join me for a report-back about the delegation to Palestine I went on in July that was organized by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence (CJNV),
Wednesday, September 28, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Alan Blueford Center for Justice 2434 Telegraph Ave. Oakland, CA 94612.
Here is the link to the Facebook event I created. RSVP’s appreciated but not necessary. 

Donation hat will be passed and will be shared with CJNV, our Palestinian partners, and the Alan Blueford Center. Here is a link to some photos I took on the trip. The presentation on Sept. 28 will NOT be a mere re-showing of these images. What I experienced were all of the following: upsetting and inspiring, chilling and touching, profound and pathetic. We were a group of 50 Jewish activists following the direction of our outstanding Palestinian partners in their “existence is resistance” struggle for liberation. The oppression and dispossession are worsening in the weeks since my return, so I am compelled to share about it any way possible, as soon as possible, as much as possible. Get in touch if you want more references, or if you want more details, or if you want to set up something more.
Here is a link to a radio interview with me with KALW’s Dore Stein on the August 20 edition of Tangents about the CJNV trip. Tangents is dedicated to genre-blending, cross-cultural music. Each week, Dore’s show includes a segment called “Gaza Corner” that has news from the Middle East. I was honored to be a rare guest in studio. Go to the link and scroll down to August 20. I also got to pick and introduce a couple of songs as a musical interlude, so it was also the debut of my alter-ego, dj-i-m!
To my Las Vegas friends: I will be in Las Vegas from October 6 to 12 for the national Catholic Worker gathering. I will be giving a report on the CJNV delegation on Saturday, October 8 from 9:45 to 11:15 am. 500 Van Buren St., 89106. It is free and open to the public. I would like to gather with friends the Thursday prior to that in the evening, but am still not sure how formal to make that. If you have an idea, share it with me, and if you’re feeling flexible, keep the evening open for whatever moves us.
Please sign this petition to get the United States Treasury Department to stop according federal nonprofit status to Regavim, an organization that is actively promoting the destruction of Bedouin communities on behalf of encroaching, Jewish-only settlements. They are dispossessing the Palestinians including villagers I lived and worked with in July in Susiya and Umm Il-Kheir. Please sign and circulate the petition. It is part of a growing effort to undercut U.S. support for the increasingly brutal apartheid system Israel has put in place.
 From Donna Baranski-Walker of the Rebuilding Alliance:

> On International Peace Day, September 21st, three Palestinian children and their parents and guardians will address Congress. They are from Susiya, Umm al Kheir and Al Aqaba, all villages in Area C of the West Bank that experienced unjustified home demolitions in this past year. It doesn’t have to be like this.
> The children with their Pinwheels for Peace will tell Congress of their vision for peace. Their briefing is scheduled for 2pm in the Hart Senate Office Building, Room 902 on Sep. 21st.
> Please click here to send an email invitation to your Members of Congress. On Sept. 21, they are bringing Bedouin children to testify before Congress will deliver Pinwheels for Peace to them!

I encourage you all to sign up for notices from the Rebuilding Alliance. They are involved in many impactful ways with and on behalf of our Bedouin friends (as well as getting construction materials to Gaza and solar-powered lights to children there).
Finally, I want to say that it has been an honor to organize as a representative of Jewish Voice for Peace in the Stop Urban Shield Coalition which organized a very successfully disruptive morning of action last Friday in Pleasanton. The work is not over. In fact, action now and for the next month is crucial. WE HAVE A CHANCE TO CONVINCE THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS NOT TO FUND THE 2017 URBAN SHIELD, BUT ACTION NOW UNTIL MID-OCTOBER IS CRUCIAL.
Stop Urban Shield Town Hall
September 19, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
West Oakland Youth Center
3233 Market St., Oakland
At this public forum, the new, outstanding, 10-page report prepared by the SUS research team will be presented, and organizing efforts for the next month will be discussed since this is the time when the county Board of Supervisors is deciding on whether or not to host Urban Shield again in 2017.
We have a real chance of stopping the 2017 Urban Shield! I get chills thinking about the message that would send. JOIN US!
And from October 19 to 25, Issa Amro, founder of Hebron’s Youth Against Settlements will be in northern California. He was amazing to work with. We totally followed his lead, and he is a powerhouse of an angel. You want to meet him! For details, check out his schedule. but here is a sketch of his dates:
Oct. 19: Sacramento
Oct. 20: Santa Rosa
Oct. 21: Oakland and Berkeley
Oct. 22 afternoon and Oct. 23 morning: Santa Cruz
Oct. 24: San Francisco
There is still some availability, and we’re working to get him on the radio as much as possible. Contact me for more info.
That is it for this blast from me. They have been monthly, approximately, and are prompted by work I am engaged in that I think/hope my friends and family will maybe be interested in learning about if not actively joining me in. They are long-ish, but few-ish. If you don’t like getting them, tell me, or just delete them.
Solidaritally yours,
Jim Haber
Posted in Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nonviolence, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

October 2016’s Approximately Monthly Missive

[I am uploading to this blog earlier e-mail blasts I sent out that I am collecting together now under the guise of  “Jim’s Approximately Monthly Missives.” In the future I will be posting them here first and then sharing links to them in the hopes that comments will come here in a more publicly engaging way than when I send them out via the bcc feature in my email. I hope you find them stimulating and thought-provoking. This one was originally sent out on 18 October 2016 with the Subject line reading, ‘Israel/Palestine in Nor. Cal.: Issa Amro speaks (this week) and 2 more “Occupation is Not Our Judaism” reports-back (Nov).’ -Jim]

[Here are a few events and pieces of news to keep up on, IMHO. Thanks for checking them out, and if you are in the Bay Area, I especially hope to see you at one of Issa Amro’s events later this week and one of my reports-back about the profound delegation I was on in July during which I was privileged to work a little with Issa!  -Jim]

Come see/hear/meet Issa Amro of Hebron’s Youth Against Settlements (YAS)

Issa Amro is an internationally recognized, human rights defender in Hebron/Palestine and founder of many pro-active, nonviolent organizations including Youth Against Settlements (YAS). The flagship YAS campaign is “Open Shuhada Street.” Issa enlisted the Center for Jewish Nonviolence’s “Occupation is Not Our Judaism” delegation I was on in July to commence a new campaign: Cinema Hebron, for which we began cleaning up the future movie theater’s site in Tel Rumeida  YAS also educates young Palestinians in nonviolent resistance.
Oct. 19, Sacramento
Oct. 20, Santa Rosa
Oct. 21, Oakland
Oct. 22 and 23, Santa Cruz
Oct. 24, San Francisco
Oct. 25, Rutgers, NJ
Two more reports-back about July’s
“Occupation is not our Judaism” delegation
The July delegation to Hebron, Bethlehem and the south Hebron Hills of 45 people was organized by the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. I have two reports-back coming up in November:

Nov. 6, 4 to 6 pm
Kehilla Community Synagogue, 1300 Grand Ave. Piedmont

The Center for Jewish Nonviolence is partnering with Kehilla to create a west coast hub for CJNV organizing. This event is a fundraiser with a presentation by three of the four local members of this summer’s delegation plus Kehilla member Nikki Sachs who was on CJNV’s first trip.

This is a fundraiser for CJNV, so come prepared to donate as generously as possible, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Nov. 13, 2 to 4 pm
East Bay Peace Action Annual Gathering
St. Paul’s Towers, 2nd Floor, Fred Weaver Residence Center
100 Bay Place (near 27th and Harrison), Oakland
East Bay Peace Action contributed to my travel fund for the July trip, and I was honored and pleased to be asked to give a report on the delegation in order to receive their support.

IN THE MEANTIME, a few other events and items worth noting:

ongoing now through October 23
The Center for Jewish Nonviolence has compiled an educational packet which includes background information about the campaign and the villages, special Sukkot rituals that speak out against demolition, and materials you can print out and put up in your sukkah. Host an event with your community to teach and learn about the policies of displacement that threaten these communities and the inspiring campaigns of resistance that they are engaged in.

Keep updated about Global Sukkot Against Demolitions activities by following #GlobalSukkotAgainstDemolition on Facebook and Twitter, and by following the Four Villages Campaign, All That’s Left, Center for Jewish Nonviolence and Haqel pages.


Please continue to follow their work in Facebook and websites:
An extensive description of the Women’s Boat to Gaza can be found in Ann Wright’s article “Women’s Boat to Gaza Participants See the Israeli-Imposed Perpetual Darkness on Gaza

October 18, 7:00 pm
First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison St., Oakland
This is a benefit for Middle East Children’s Alliance. More info is on their website.

PROFILES IN ABOLITION: STRONG COMMUNITIES BEYOND POLICING…a Critical Resistance event featuring Art//Performance//Books//Conversation
Friday, November 4, Humanist Hall, 390 27th St., Oakland 94612
5:30 Happy Hour and Food; 7:00 Event
$10 to $20 suggested donation/no one turned away for lack of funds

“Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English or France to the French…And now a word to the Jews in Palestine. I have no doubt that they are going about it the wrong way. They can settle in Palestine only by the goodwill of the Arabs…As it is, they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done no wrong to them…According to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.”
-Mahatma Gandhi, 1938
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Jim’s December (2016) Missive

[I am uploading to this blog earlier e-mail blasts I sent out that were in the vein of  “Jim’s Approximately Monthly Missives.” I will be posting them first here and then sharing links to them in the hopes that comments will come here in a more publicly engaging way than when I send them out via the bcc feature in my email. I hope you find them stimulating and thought-provoking. This one was originally sent out on 10 December 2016. -Jim]

Dear Friends,

It has been over a month since I was in touch. A sea change is afoot in our socio-political world. How are you responding? Just a couple of short notices and a few brief notes on the presidential election follow. Thanks for reading and letting me know what you think.
 Apply by the end of Monday, December 12 to join the May 2017 Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegation to Palestine, “End 50 Years of Occupation: Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue.” This will be a continuation of the solidarity work I did last July as part of the “Occupation is Not My Judaism” delegation. No money needs to be put up until sometime in February, but you need to submit your initial application by the end of the day, this Monday. This is your final chance to submit an application for the May 14 – 22, 2017 delegation,
Click here to watch a great, short video about the July delegation I was on. There’s a lot of work on the ground in Israel-Palestine. Our Palestinian and Israeli partners are calling upon us to stand with them in solidarity.  We have 60 scholarships available for those in need. Click here to see my Flickr photo album from last July too.
You’ll want to be there. Let’s do this together. Apply now!
Wednesday December 21 Join Jewish Voice for Peace and the Network Against Islamophobia for “Rekindling Our Commitment to Justice,” a prelude to Chanukah, candle lighting action in Union Square. From 4:00 to 5:30 pm. Find us near Geary and Powell Streets. This is being replicated in 20 cities across the country. Locally, the demonstration is co-sponsored by Bay Area Women in Black, CAIR-SF, and Kehilla Synagogue’s Middle East Peace Committee. Let me know if you have any questions.
A few random thoughts on the elections:
  1. Republican gerrymandering and rampant voter disenfranchisement efforts that target poor people and especially people of color. These have been underway for years, and are clearly intended to shift the electorate to the right. So many of these efforts are blatantly racist, that it is hard to believe they’re upheld in courts.
  2. Democratic Party leadership that fears their own party membership so much that they have refused to push back meaningfully against those efforts; some, yes, but not as strongly as they should have. The DNC, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and others have not worked against these efforts enough and have left the party weak on the ground out of fear that if it grows too much, the party will become more progressive and less economically tied to pro-development industry that funds them. Even after their widespread losses, the leadership continues not to see that big donors aren’t going to win the day against the 0.1%.
  3. Dishonesty by the DNC during the primaries ensured Hillary Clinton would be the nominee after blatant, dishonest efforts to undermine the Bernie Sanders campaign that probably violated their own party’ rules. They didn’t trust the people or the process, and they delivered to us a candidate who was very impugnable.
  4. I don’t blame third party candidates for splitting the vote or taking small percentages away from Clinton as the deciding factor. To blame people working for what they believe in instead of really taking on the dishonesty and racism that mark our society undermines any chance for democracy to have its day, and is a fundamentally hopeless and simple-minded analysis that pushes aside systemic problems that must be addressed.
  5. Trump isn’t alone. He is part of a fascistic rise of leaders around the world.
  6. I knew that Truimp would be able to play Clinton as the dishonest one, galling and absurd as that was. She lied and supported so much war and anti-democratic efforts abroad that Trump could be a horrific truth-teller and deflect needed attention to his bald-face lies.
  7. Clinton, Obama and the Democratic leadership weren’t willing to fight for the victory they actually earned! Yet again, like in 2000 with Gore, they didn’t stand up for themselves. They didn’t want to assert constitutional means as fully as they could have. They didn’t stand up for themselves, so why should people believe in them? They don’t believe in themselves!
  8. You don’t know which female candidate I voted for. A vote for either Stein or Clinton was defensible. I don’t think either choice deserves rebuke.
  9. I have little patience with people who blame Stein, or Bernie supporters or Julian Assange or anyone pointing out Clinton’s faults.
  10. Misogyny certainly was a factor, for sure, and patriarchy remains debilitating for all our liberation. But that isn’t why everyone who didn’t vote for Clinton chose otherwise.
  11. Socialism wasn’t going to be the damning label some people thought it would be.
Gotta run: Laughter Yoga awaits!
Posted in Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jim’s January Missive 1: Return to Palestine and MLK’s Revolutionary Radicalism

I sent this approximately monthly missive out the morning of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday to a list I have of old and new friends and family. I will be re-posting them here so others can see them, and also so we can have some discussion about them, something that is precluded when simply using the bcc field in an email. I will be asking permission from a some of the people who sent in responses and see where it goes.

I look forward to anything you have to offer (including support for my planned return to Israel/Palestine with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence in May).

Thank you for being in my life,


Dear Friends,
I keep these communiques simple and unformatted. This time I decided that instead of making you scroll down for the later items, I would break this one up into two parts. I may have to trade simplicity for formatting and employ a system so you can click on an item no matter how long the previous item is, but for now, I am separating this one into two messages. I’m sure your inbox can handle it. If I am bothering you, please do let me know.
Thanks. We really are all in this together,
  1. Follow up Trip to Palestine with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence in May under the banner: “Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue”
  2. Reclaiming MLK’s Revolutionary Radicalism – ANTI-MILITARISM

Next message:

  1. “Censored Voices” Kehilla Community Synagogue Film Series (I am a member there now and on the Middle East Peace Committee)
  2. Laughter Yoga
  3. Discussion of several voices and sources that have touched me and “felt right” about this political moment we’re in.

An important impetus to writing you now is to tell you that I intend to return to Palestine and Israel in May with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. We’ll bring two or three times as many Jewish justice workers this time. I feel a little shy asking for support for what could seem like a re-visit, but this is about building and maintaining trust, showing commitment and continuity of purpose. I would like to visit somewhere I haven’t been, but I feel a need to return to Hebron, to Susiya, to Silwan, to Umm Il-Kheir, all communities that have seen increasing attacks (physically and administratively) since I was there last July. I need to return to my sister’s kibbutz to continue budding conversations there.


I need to decide in the next month and a half if I have the wherewithal to go. If you will support me financially for this, please respond to this e-mail with a pledge or query.
I will be setting up a donations system, but for now, I just want to know that some of you think this is a good idea and is worthy of support.
 I must say that my experiences during the July trip have given fuel and direction to my work here. I have given well over a dozen presentations about it, and the discussions are always appreciated and give people news and ideas they hadn’t thought about before. Here are just a few relevant resource links to check out. I have seen some amazing pieces also by Amira Haas, Noura Erakat, Gideon Levy, Max Blumenthal and others:

Reclaiming MLK’s Revolutionary Radicalism –

Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday is here. In Oakland, the Bay Area and all over there will be a week of resistance and consciousness raising mixed with crying out against the looming political landscape ahead. Not that we were in a great political place before, but there is a lot of political backsliding now that is as offensive and delusional as it is scary. jim_jessica_mlksigns2017-3We’re all threatened. Some are closer to a bullet point than others, but we are all threatened, if not already under attack. MLK said, “A threat to justice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.” I usually re-phrase it to be, “Injustice anywhere DIMINISHES justice everywhere.” The problem is in the present, not the future.
I listen to a lot of MLK and have read a number of his writings. Even among people who raise his image up these days, most people don’t.  There is a lot of ignorance about what he said and where he saw our work needing to head. I just found a new, favorite MLK speech! In July of 1967, King spoke in Chicago at the National Conference for New Politics.  It is stunningly relevant to our situation today even though it is 50 years old. It speaks more clearly across time than his April 4 address at Riverside Church which anti-war activists usually try to bring to people’s attention.
If we want to reclaim MLK’s revolutionary radicalism. Let us march and meet and organize, but we must also study what he meant when he spoke of a “radical revolution of values” As he said, “”Our only hope lies in our ability to go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring our eternal opposition to racism, materialism and militarism.” and in the same speech, “The issue of civil rights cannot be separated from the issue of peace.”
Too often, I find today’s radicals wanting to deal with the economic and racist problems in society but choosing not to mention militarism’s role in denying freedom and justice. Maybe wars abroad seem too removed to have import in the face of local onslaughts of militarized authorities and attitudes.
By 1967, King was speaking out against war in general and the war in Vietnam particularly in direct and historic ways. He called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” and now we actually sell as many weapons to the world as the rest of the world combined. He connected the challenges of local and global racism, greed and violence, wanting us to see what he saw increasingly clearly. People need to read and listen to King’s sermons, not just watch a few seconds of him marching or listen to a few minutes of the famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
Even as I extol the value of this recently unearthed speech, I want to mention a few others of his presentations you can easily find online to read or hear:
“The Drum Major Instinct”  in which he wrote his own eulogy and (sadly, unused) epitaph. He also makes the important distinction for us between necessary self-promotion and delusional self-aggrandizement.
“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” People need to listen to the entire speech from the night before he was assassinated in Memphis (“Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness.) The last few minutes are often shown for their prescience, but this was also a serious and powerful call to action.
“On Love and Forgiveness” (not to be confused with another, earlier sermon “Loving Your Enemies”) in which he calls on people to be intelligent, not only kind. “They weren’t BAD men. They were STUPID men.”
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” which should be essential reading and discussion material for all activists whether or not you consider nonviolence a strategy, tactic or way of life. People have heard of it, but usually not read much if any of it.
“Christmas sermon, 1967”
Great talks evolve and are adapted for different audiences, and I have an amazing recording of a similar sermon he gave later that month at Ebenezer Baptist Church that was based on the “Beyond Vietnam” theme and has this passage which also appears in “Drum Major Instinct”.

“Don’t let anybody make you think that God chose America as His divine, messianic force to be a sort of policeman of the whole world. God has a way of standing before the nations with judgement, and it seems that I can hear God saying to America, ‘You’re too arrogant, and if you don’t change your ways, I will rise up and break the backbone of your power, and I’ll place it in the hands of a nation that doesn’t even know My Name. Be still, and know that I’m God.'”

In 1958 Martin Luther King Jr. decried the “inseparable twin of racial injustice: economic injustice.” But by 1967 and until he was assassinated, he was uncompromising in his insistence that there was a third tine to this “triple prong sickness”: MILITARISM. King said, “The issue of civil rights cannot be separated from the issue of peace,” and in the same talk, “Our only hope lies in our ability to go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring our eternal opposition to racism, materialism and militarism.”

In the August 1967 speech, he was less focused on the history of Vietnam and more on political change that was needed. He mentioned good programs being unfunded for political reasons. He mentioned poverty that went ignored. He mentioned strange lies that seemed to win the day in the face of truth.

He spoke of truth being made to stand on its head like we are seeing today. He spoke about the “radical revolution of values” our nation must undergo for the sake of all humanity if not more. The Lying, racist, materialist, violent Donald Trump gets to shut up the opposition party (and to some extent the mainstream media as well) in this country because it has also failed on all those counts. Just as King calls Communism a judgement on the west not following through on the revolutionary spirit it inspired, Trumpism is a judgement on the Democratic Party for leaving behind the very people it was supposed to champion.

I think militarism is often pushed aside as inconvenient or as a seeming distraction when most domestic justice movements address the other two, in particular in connection with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. If we are truly to celebrate and reflect on his radical, revolutionary legacy, we must include all three prongs in our discussions, analysis and actions. Otherwise we do his memory a disservice, lessen the possibilities of his legacy, and participate in reducing him to an icon. For one example, let me just point out that the United States has made it it’s unique business to sell weapons to the world. The United States sells fully 50% of the weapons in the world according to a recent Congressional study. We foment and promote more bloodshed than any other country and profit from it, even as we denounce and further threaten others for the selfsame inhumanity.

So, this year I encourage you to listen to, think on and discuss this particular Martin Luther King speech.

Solidaritally yours,
Posted in Anti-Racism, Jim's Approximately Monthly MIssives, Nonviolence, Palestine Israel Zionism Isalmophobia Antisemitism, Peacemaking, Strategy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment