Jim’s April Missive

“Our only hope lies in our ability to go out into a sometimes hostile world declaring eternal opposition to the giant triplet of racism, economic exploitation and militarism.”

Today is a day to reflect on war and its impact on the world, humanity and each of us as individuals. 50 years ago today Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most important speeches of all time. It was prophetic in that his descriptions remain truer than ever as his warnings remain less heeded than ever. Exactly one year later, he was shot and killed. Today even those who hate him disturbingly try to claim something of his mantle. I bring MLK’s words up a lot because I think they get glossed over far too readily in favor of treating him as an icon (by people who want to dismiss him, but also by organizers who revere his memory). It is important that progressives seek out and bring to the fore new voices rising out of oppressed communities, and this I try to do. But sometimes, we must revisit the lessons of our elders and modern-day prophets to better turn their loss into an ultimate gain. (How about “One step back. Two steps forward,” for a change?)

As I wrote in one of my January Missives, I am inspired by a version of this talk that MLK gave, in Chicago, on August 31, 1967, at the first (and only) National Conference on New Politics. In that presentation he focused more on the “radical revolution of values” our society needs to undergo and less on the specifics of Vietnam. He spoke in detail about the “giant triplets” or “triple evil” of “racism, economic exploitation and militarism” (emphasis added). He gave examples that are eerily similar to fights for rights going on today.

In 1958 he spoke of the “inseparable twins of racism and economic exploitation.” His radical trajectory was pointed to confront militarism as an inseparably destructive, third tine of that demonic pitchfork, against which he implored us all to organize. Despite earlier attempts on his life, many commentators feel that his growing work against United States military aggression and racist, corporate greed was what led to his assassination on April 4, 1968. “I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government.”

Explore more of King’s wisdom…Beyond Vietnam and beyond his wonderful but over-referenced “I Have a Dream” speech. This Stanford link easily allows you to read or hear other speeches from his life too. I especially encourage you to explore the wisdom he gained and shared in the last year of his life to better understand how his radical trajectory was growing and deepening, leading the way to what today is generally referred to as “intersectionality.”

People are starving in Yemen because of
racism, greed, and militarism. 

Martin Luther King Jr is famous for saying, “Injustice anywhere threatens justice everywhere.” Actually, I think he understated the point. Injustice anywhere diminishes justice everywhere. I feel less free because I know others are enslaved. I am typing from the office of Voices for Creative Nonviolence in Chicago. In the bathroom is a sign with a great quote by Eugene Debs: “While there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”

And now, the United States is poised to throw even more of its military force against starving people in Yemen, people our nation has helped push to the brink of famine by our heartless support for Saudi military brutality there. How many times can the USA wear a people down and then attack them or goad a few of  them to some desperately violent act and convince people that it was all their own fault?

Please check out this sign-on letter/action item produced by the Yemen Peace Project. Also, in New York, across from the United Nations, several groups including Voices for Creative Nonviolence (VCNV) and Catholic Workers will be holding a week long vigil and fast for Yemen starting on April 10. Please join them if you can. For background ala one of my favorite people and fellow activists, Kathy Kelly, check out this VCNV post. And while I am mentioning VCNV, I must share this heartwarming video from the Afghan Peace Volunteers. The kite is a wonderfully ironic symbol of liberation, of something flying free. Ideally, a kite is held, tethered somewhat. Free but grounded. May we all be free, and grounded.

Who is the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world today?”

Not Iran. Not Russia. Not North Korea. Not the Houthis. Not Hezbollah. Not even Saudi Arabia, France, Sweden or Mexico. Not refugees or asylum seekers. About half of all military spending in the world is by the United States, and over 60% of arms sales are brokered by the USA too. The United States gives 75% of its military aid to Israel and Egypt. The US military budget is about equal to the combined military budgets of the next seven or eight nations down the list behind us. “The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government,” said Martin Luther King Jr, and that is only more true now than when he said it 50 years ago.

We have a duty to doubt every single justification and call to arms that comes from the White House or the halls of Congress. “We had to destroy the village to save it” was so Vietnam! History is repeating itself, although currently, there really seems to be shockingly little, if not blatantly dishonest, concern about saving anyone. (A sobering aside about forgetfulness: At the JVP National Member Meeting in Chicago, I was talking with Cindy Corrie, the late Rachel Corrie’s mother. She told me that many younger activists she met last weekend didn’t know who Rachel Corrie was or that she was killed by militarized, Israeli bulldozer in Gaza. And this was a gathering of 900 activists who focus on this issue! We need to watch our assumptions. What is old is still new, and what doesn’t seem that old, may be totally unknown to some people. May I keep learning new things until the very end too.

I still need some help with funds for my return to Palestine/Israel
with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence in May

Thank you to everyone who has responded to my various appeals for money so I can return to Palestine/Israel in May on another delegation with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence: End 50 Years of Occupation: “Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue”. I still need some support. If you have PayPal, you can easily send me money that way with a debit or credit card. (Paypal has terrible politics, but I have had it a while and don’t use it much.) Checks can be made out to:
James Haber
15 Mirabel Ave.
San Francisco CA 94110

Last year I exceeded my minimum goal of $3000, and I really needed it for getting there and back, and also for some of the many follow ups I was able to do as a result of that inspiring if disturbing trip. There is so much to support and so much need; I appreciate everyone’s generosity.

Personal Transition

For the past two years I have been helping care (part-time) for a stroke survivor in Oakland. He has finally decided to move into a care facility. I’m not sure what I will do to support my comfortable but precariously, minimally financed lifestyle. I will need some income or financial support, but I’m not sure exactly what I will do. I want to wish David and his family all the best moving forward. I think it has worked out very well for all of us.  I prefer to stay in the Bay Area so as to be close to my mother, but we’ll see. Would I move for love or a job? for community? We’ll see what develops over the next couple of months. Hopefully I’ll have a plan before I leave for my trip on May 10. If not, I will surely come up with one on May 30 when I return!

And happy birthday to my mom! It’s the big 8-0 on April 15! I look forward to laughing out loud together and celebrating as we all grow longer in the teeth day by day, as long as they don’t fall out!

We’re all in this together!

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Jim’s March Missive!

Hello Friends,

Disbelief. I shake my head in disbelief a lot. Plus I sigh and feel a little tightness in my chest. I constantly wake up early, having fallen asleep easily but reluctantly. Then some thought or pang of awareness jogs my consciousness just a little too much forswamp_monsters_b slumber. I don’t think I’ve had a nightmare, and I know I am not in immediate danger like some people are, but I still cringe, shiver and think of people who are under attack, looking for help, and then treated as perpetrators of the violence they are fleeing. If today’s refugees have the saying, “Out of the frying pan, into the fire,” they must also wonder, “No way! That wasn’t the fire already?” (Click image for @trumpdis link.)

TNP_discovery1Patriarchy. Trump and the Republican leadership are globalizing their violent misogyny and racism and fomenting war. They almost have the ability to legislate out of existence anything that stands in their way, namely anything gentle or humane, generous or self-reflective. They are prosecuting their patriarchal worldview, in what deserves to be termed a war on women, on the people of the United States and the world, attempting to steal whatever they set their eyes on and destroying everything else. The Women’s March in January was phenomenal and inspiring. On International Women’s Day, I was touched and uplifted watching the morning’s Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman. Eve Ensler was just astounding, along with Christine Schuler Deschryver. Give it a listen or a watch.

Kinship. I listen in disbelief as more sane sounding, less ridiculous sounding, Trump supporters get airtime, and I wonder how these people can feel more kinship and trust with Donald Trump than they do with someone crossing desert or sea, desperately fleeing whatever is behind them for the sake of their families. They repeat administration and right-wing assertions that anyone who questions (no matter how minimally) what the Republican leadership is pushing down our throats is a paid, white dupe of China (or someone) and doesn’t see, much less care about, their white, if unpaid suffering. I just don’t understand why anyone would expect Trump to be an honest player at anything, how someone could think that he has anyone else’s back but his own, ever. The Democrats came in second to violent racism and misogyny! That does say something about the Democrats, I’m sorry to say and they need to start listening to the likes of Robert Reich if they really care.

Hearing and Listening. I hear Trump supporters say that they aren’t listened to by the old establishment nor by activists like yours truly. But they talk like evidence doesn’t matter, that history is totally subjective. JVP-All-Responsible-logoThey somehow are the ones threatened by violence even though they and the USA have most of the arms. If something doesn’t support their view, it doesn’t exist and anyone who supports the opposing view is a legitimate target for any response. I am not doing that to Breitbart and sources like that.
I am not the one using, confusing or advocating violent means. My allies from across the world are fleeing and opposing violence, not making, inciting or shrugging off violence the way they are. Journalists and environmentalists are attacked globally as they are treated as enemies of the state. Honest inquirers are being attacked and killed, but their struggles continue, despite all odds. Well-meaning people are being turned against those who are standing up for them. Evidence is being ignored and even destroyed. I don’t know how justice will be possible without evidence. Our opponents are anti-empiricists, seemingly proud of it and largely okay with any discrimination and violence that is done to impugn and beat down anyone drifting out of step. And we’re being robbed blind, eyes wide open.  Right-Wing Billionaires Have a Project Going to Rewrite Our Constitution, and They Are Shockingly Close to Pulling It Off.

Chaotic Bedfellows. chimp-2I have long associated with anarchists who are clearer on what that means than me. Anarchism isn’t the same as chaos or simply anarchy. It includes ideas about process, responsibility and accountability. I feel reluctantly called to denounce anarchy, the destructive, chaotic one. The vast majority of people would take somewhat repressive normalcy over rampant, wanton, large scale random violence and
disorganization. I’m a long time war tax resister, and I support not paying for war, but now, I have to weigh how that plays into the hands of a regime hell bent on destroying its own mechanisms and body, some of which I use and appreciate. I even support some parts of the CIA compared to Steve Bannon’s version of reality, but that doesn’t mean I support the CIA and its dirty tricks. I would still take the Democratic Party over the Tea Party, but that doesn’t mean I buy into the Democratic National Committee’s delusions, collusions and dirty tricks. It is devastating that their arrogance, incompetence and militarist dishonesty brought them down against the blatantly violent, dishonest, anti-democratic, idiotic and ignorant vitriol of the eventual victor. The Democrats. over the course of multiple administrations, set the stage for the resurgence of violent nationalism, the diminishment of diplomacy, the stealing of The Commons.

End 50 Years of Occupation: “Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue”

  • I mentioned in January’s missive (pt.1) that I am returning in May on another delegation to the West Bank with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. Thank you very much to people who responded to me already.  I have received pledges for about 60% of the $3000 I need to raise for my travel and to help purchase work equipment we will use when there. See just below for a couple of Bay Area benefit events that benefit CJNV and this trip.
    If you have PayPal, you can easily send me money that way here. Checks can be
    sent to James Haber, 15 Mirabel Ave., San Francisco, CA 94110Forward_activists-1468604402
    If you want your donation to be tax deductible, then donate through CJNV’s donation page and indicate that you are donating in honor of my participation. T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights is CJNV’s fiscal sponsor.
    I have decided not to create a Generosity.com or GoFundMe campaign. Based on my experience last year, those platforms are more for new ideas to get support from new circles. CJNV itself is launching one for the May delegation, but I am looking for support from people I know first.
  • +972 Magazine CJNV video This is a great 10 minute report produced for +972
    Magazine about the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. It was filmed during the July 2016 delegation.
  • San Francisco Social: A fundraiser for CJNV on March 26, 3:00 pm.4th Floor Clubroom
    170 King St. / 177 Townsend St., San Francisco, CA
    Dial #0809 on callbox for entry
    Call (415) 336-0507 if you’re lost.
    Through film, photos and stories from past participants, and a taste of za’tar and falafel, learn what ‘Occupation is Not our Judaism’ and ‘Existence is Resistance’ means and how you can support an upcoming CJNV trip – Justice, Justice You Shall Pursue: End 50 Years of Occupation.
  • Film and Discussion: April 8, Al Helm (The Dream): MLK in Palestine film screening at Kehilla: benefit for the Center for Jewish Nonviolence. I promoted this film a lot when it came al heim 6 sponsorsout and am glad for it to be featured again. It is about a play about King being interpreted by the Palestinian National Theater. It is about the dynamic between the Palestinian actors and the American gospel singers for whom being in The Holy Land was as significant a motivation as was connecting the songs and King’s life and message to the lives of the Palestinians. Timed to be near April 4, the 50th anniversary of King’s Riverside Church speech in which he powerfully called on people to resist war. He was murdered on April 4 the next year, and now, there are emerging various initiatives to raise the profile of King’s sermons and work against war, side by side with the necessary organizing against economic exploitation and racism. May his memory help us redouble our efforts for justice, for “peace is the fruit of justice” to quote scripture ala the Transform Now Plowshares.
  • Israeli television comedian host really calls his people OUT! Assaf Harel nails it in what Ha’Aretz calls a “searing indictment of Israeli society.”

JVP anti Islamophobia window signWe Support Our Muslim, Arab and Immigrant Neighbors.

Jewish Voice for Peace Bay Area Interfaith Committee, in conjunction with a number of partnering organizations, organizes very uplifting and successful canvassing of neighborhoods offering signs to put in windows of homes and businesses. The response has been overwhelmingly positive at the three I have helped with. The next two will be held April 23 in San Francisco and May 20 in Walnut Creek. To find out more, e-mail BayArea@jvp.org and put “canvassing” in the subject line.

Confronting Nuclear War and Militarism DIRECTLY:  Here are some resource recommendations that emerged for me during this year’s Pacific Life Community gathering during which we demonstrated in the snow at the Kitsap-Bangor Trident submarine base near Tacoma, Washington. The PLC concerns ourselves with important Rivers_anti_Nuke_sign_jhanti-nuclear, anti-military, pro-self-determination issues that include the entire Pacific. We were privileged to view a pre-distribution copy of The Coming War On China by John Pilger: It included rarely publicized footage and interviews about the impact of US war preparations in different countries including Japan, Korea, the Marshall Islands, the Philippines and China.

Nuclear Savage by Adam Horowitz: About nuclear testing and the plight of the people of Rongelap in particular.
Village Versus Empire: by Mark Kaplan: Featuring performance artist Dohee Lee who is from Jeju Island, about Jeju and Gangjeong Village’s history in becoming “the island of peace” and their fight against the destruction of their beautiful and sacred coral reef, rocks and way of life.

Thank  you, everyone for reading and for your work in the world. I encourage people to share any of these missives, and even more, to leave comments so we might generate a discussion on any or all of what I ponder and share in my Approximately Monthly Missives.

Solidaritally yours,

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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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