Spirit In Action

Change IS coming. WE can make it GOOD.


Leave a comment

Black Lives Matter — Go to an African American Church in Solidarity This Sunday Morning

Black Lives Matter — Go to an African American Church in Solidarity This Sunday Morning

Rabbi Michael Lerner 12/10/14 09:15 AM ET

Tens of millions of Americans are deeply disturbed by the racism that has recently gotten the focus that it should have had for the past many decades. The failure of juries to indict police who kill African American males was not new, but the awareness of this reality which has been just one of the many faces of racism that weigh down the lives of African Americans in this society was quite unusual and momentarily broke through the dominant discourse that “that problem has been solved decades ago after Martin Luther King, Jr. saved his people by ending segregation and winning the voting rights laws.”

Of course, even now there are many in the media who try to deny the ongoing significance of racism in our society. Yet the outpouring of anger that we’ve seen on college campuses and in the streets of the U.S. is a reason for hopefulness that when the media turns its attention away from this issue some of the consciousness about racism will remain alive beyond the peoples of color who can never forget it as long as it is shoved in their face by police, unemployment, hunger, poverty, harassment, and endless opportunities to experience the contempt that many whites feel toward them.

Is it any wonder that some young African Americans find it hard to believe that there is a strong connection between how hard they work and how well they will be treated in this society? Does anyone really think that if a Black cop had killed a middle class white youth or strangled and then let die a white man that the grand jury would not have indicted him? What we have been hearing more clearly than ever in the past few years is the tremendous fear that African Americans carry with them at all times — fear of white majority and their occupying force in communities of color that we call police and some of us call “pigs,” and fear of the way the system keeps on undermining them, manifesting contempt for them, and treating them as though their lives did not matter.

That’s why I am so glad that this Sunday, December 14, the Progressive National Baptist Convention has called for a morning of standing in solidarity with African Americans. I strongly urge you to find a Black church near you and show up in solidarity. The focus is not only on mourning but in publicly proclaiming: “Black Lives Matter.” That afternoon, we at the Network of Spiritual Progressives will be holding a strategy conference to assess what needs to change in the way the liberal and progressive forces have developed in the past few decades that has rendered them less influential and hence less able to defend the mini-steps that were taken in the past to overcome American racism. I’m hoping that our event will spur dozens of others.

This is a discussion which can’t stay at the level of pointing out how spineless and hence disappointing President Obama has been, how absent of a positive message the Democratic Party has been, how splintered and unable to cooperate have been the various organizations and movements of the liberal and progressive Left. We need to look deeper.

The issue of racism, after all, is really the issue of “othering” — taking some group and making them the demeaned other. What pain in people’s lives makes this othering so attractive?

We at the Network of Spiritual Progressives point to the corrosive impact of patriarchy and class society in dividing people and making it in the interests of the powerful to foster hatred among groups of the relatively powerless. This has taken much more sophisticated form in contemporary capitalist society where most people have been indoctrinated into the belief that they live in a “meritocracy” in which people end up economically, but also in terms of the quality of their lives, families and love relationships, in exactly the place they deserve. Those who are most successful deserve that, and the rest of us deserve what ever happens to us. The result: massive self-blaming which feels terrible. No wonder that many are attracted to religious fundamentalist or ultra nationalist movements or institutions which promise them support and caring (and this promise is often really delivered). However, the nationalist holidays pass, the Sunday church experience passes, and then people are right back in the very same capitalist marketplace in which they are seen as valuable only to the extent that they can accumulate lots of money and power. The selfishness, materialism and looking out for number one that so undermines loving relationships returns to the forefront, and the religious or nationalist high doesn’t last. And here the ultra-Right comes forward to provide an explanation: “there is some group that is destroying what would otherwise be a wonderful and nurturing society” and then point to whoever is the designated demeaned other, and blame it on them.

Jews were the identified demeaned other of Europe and it led eventually to genocide against the Jewish people (including many of my relatives). But in the US by the time my grandparents arrived here there already was a “demeaned other” that replaced Native Americans (once they had been genocided nearly out of existence), and so the demeaned other became the Blacks brought here as slaves and then eventually freed from legal slavery but subjected to various forms of domination and humiliation that continues to this moment. And the hatred of Blacks is layered over not only to function as an effective way to channel the anger that people might otherwise be feeling toward the larger economic system onto the backs of African Americans, but also as a way of protecting the American public from ever really having to face up to how debilitating and cruel has been the practice and legacy of slavery, then Jim Crow and segregation, then the more hidden but nevertheless pervasive ways that racism continues to function as a central dynamic in American politics and economics. We can witness how difficult it is for the American public to acknowledge the torture we visited on a wide variety of people in Guantanamo and other secret sites, even when a U.S. Senate committee report provides much of the evidence, and that was only a few thousand people being tortured by a handful of distorted people. Imagine then how hard it is for a society like ours to have a serious look at the way tens of millions of African Americans and other peoples of color have been living and suffering. Far easier to deflect attention by blaming the victim — particularly in capitalist societies where people have already been taught to blame themselves for their economic failures, and where othering is the coin of the realm.

A serious anti-racist movement must address these psychological dynamics. It must affirm the possibility of a world based on love and generosity even in the face of being dismissed as “unrealistic” because all of us have to some extent been immersed in the selfishness-generating worldviews that are taught in the schools and media and massively reinforced by our experiences in the capitalist marketplace, so most of us have come to believe that these behaviors reflect “human nature” rather than the products of a particular form of economic and social organization through which we’ve been living and then recreating in our own personal and economic lives.

Yet most people yearn for something quite different, and that is why we at the Network of Spiritual Progressives are building the Love and Justice movement. More of that in my next column! For the moment, I hope you might yet try to get to the Reclaim America conference this Sunday or at least join the Network of Spiritual Progressives and help convene such a gathering in your part of the world.

And given the now-documented torture that the U.S. Senate revealed yesterday that is being highlighted in the media today, we have a lot more from which to be reclaiming America. But in the long run, that torture is just another manifestation of the “othering” that permeates the consciousness of so many Americans. How else explain the collaboration with the torturers by the American Psychological Association? And that othering is most systematically manifested in the racism toward peoples of color and in particular toward African Americans. So do find an African American church this Sunday and show up and demonstrate that they are not alone and that Black Lives Matter to you no matter what your racial, religious or ethnic identity!

Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine and chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives. He is the author of the national best seller The Left Hand of God: Taking Back America From the Religious Right and of the national best seller Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation. He welcomes responses from people who wish to build a Love and Justice movement in the U.S. with people who will take the psychological and spiritual dimension of human needs seriously–contact him at RabbiLerner.Tikkun@gmail.com

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6301118

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/6301118


Leave a comment

Eyeless in Gaza by Uri Avnery  | from Tikkun

Editor’s Note: One of the most bizarre responses I’ve gotten to some of what I’ve written on Gaza is the whine “What can we do? They are shelling us?” This rarely comes with an acknowledgment that the shells almost never get through (for which I’m quite thankful, because I want my people to be safe. Of course, the obvious answer that seems beyond the capacity of these respondents to imagine is: What Israel can do is apologize for its part in creating the Palestinian refugee problem and for all the damage that has happened since then (not 100% responsible, but apologize for its part instead of pretend to be the righteous victim), end the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza (my book Embracing Israel/Palestine lays out how that culd be done in a way that would be both respectful to Palestinians and safe for Israeliswww.tikkun.org/eip) and assist in creating an economically and politically viable Palestinian state, and do so in a spirit of repentance, and genuine open-heartedness. That’s what Israel could do. It reminds me of the days when US liberals would say to us in the anti-war movement against the war in Vietnam, “You are right that this is a mess, but how can we get out now?” Our answer was simple: with boats and airplanes. At the time that was dismissed as simplistic, but after another thirty thousand Americans were killed, the ruling elites of the country figured out just what we had figured out years before–that it was as easy as getting into planes and boats and leaving. Of course, Israel is not the same situation–they live next door to the Palestinian people. But they could try generosity and caring for the other (no, when Israel left Gaza before, it wasn’t with a spirit of generosity, but as a trick, refusing to give control to the Palestinian Authority, saying there was noone to talk to, and knowing that that would be giving Gaza to Hamas, which is what the rightwing strategists wanted in order to precipitate a civil war among the Palestinians). This time they could try an honest strategy of generosity. Unlikely that they will until lots of more innocent people,both Israelis and Palestinians lose their lives or their limbs. And this continues to break my heart. -Rabbi Michael Lerner

Eyeless in Gaza by Uri Avnery

*THE TROUBLE with war is that it has two sides.**
**
Everything would be so much easier if war had only one side. Ours, of course.*

There you are, drawing up a wonderful plan for the next war, preparing it, training for it, until everything is perfect.

And then the war starts, and to your utmost surprise it appears that there is another side, too, which also has a wonderful plan, and has prepared it and trained for it.

When the two plans meet, everything goes wrong. Both plans break down. You don’t know what’s going to happen. How to go on. You do things you have not planned for. And when you have had enough of it and want to get out, you don’t know how. It’s so much more difficult to end a war than to start a war, especially when both sides need to declare victory.

That’s where we are now.

HOW DID it all start? Depends where you want to begin.

Like everywhere else, every event in Gaza is a reaction to another event. You do something because the other side did something. Which they did because you did something. One can unravel this until the beginning of history. Or at least until Samson the Hero.

Samson, it will be remembered, was captured by the Philistines, blinded and brought to Gaza. There he committed suicide by bringing the temple down on himself and all the leaders and people, crying out: “Let my soul die with the Philistines!” (Judges 16:30)

If that’s too remote, let’s start with the beginning of the present occupation, 1967.

(There was a forgotten occupation before that. When Israel conquered the Gaza Strip and all of Sinai in the course of the 1956 Suez war, David Ben-Gurion declared the founding of the “Third Israeli Kingdom”, only to announce in a broken voice, a few dates later, that he had promised President Dwight Eisenhower to withdraw from the entire Sinai Peninsula. Some Israeli parties urged him to keep at least the Gaza Strip, but he refused. He did not want to have hundreds of thousands more Arabs in Israel.)

A friend of mine reminded me of an article I had written less than two years after the Six Day War, during which we occupied Gaza again. I had just found out that two Arab road-construction workers, one from the West Bank and one from the Gaza Strip, doing exactly the same job, were paid different wages. The Gaza man was paid much less.

Being a member of the Knesset, I made inquiries. A high-level official explained to me that this was a matter of policy. The purpose was to cause the Arabs to leave Gaza and settle in the West Bank (or elsewhere), in order to disperse the 400 thousand Arabs then living in the Strip, mostly refugees from Israel. Obviously this did not go so very well – now there are about 1.80 million there.

Then, in February 1969, I warned: “(If we go on) we shall be faced with a terrible choice – to suffer from a wave of terrorism that will cover the entire country, or to engage in acts of revenge and oppression so brutal that they will corrupt our souls and cause the whole world to condemn us.”

I mention this not (only) to blow my own horn, but to show that any reasonable person could have foreseen what was going to happen.

IT TOOK a long time for Gaza to reach this point.

I remember an evening in Gaza in the mid-90s. I had been invited to a Palestinian conference (about prisoners), which lasted several days, and my hosts invited me to stay with Rachel in a hotel on the sea-shore. Gaza was then a nice place. In the late evening we took a stroll along the central boulevard. We had pleasant chats with people who recognized us as Israelis. We were happy.

I also remember the day when the Israeli army withdrew from most of the Strip. Near Gaza city there stood a huge Israeli watchtower, many floors high, “so that the Israeli soldiers could look into every window in Gaza”. When the soldiers left, I climbed to the top, passing hundreds of happy boys who were going up and down like the angels on the ladder in Jacob’s dream in the Bible. Again we were happy. They are probably Hamas members now.

That was the time when Yasser Arafat, son of a Gaza Strip family, returned to Palestine and set up his HQ in Gaza. A beautiful new airport was built. Plans for a large new sea-port were circulating.

(A big Dutch harbor-building corporation approached me discreetly and asked me to use my friendly relations with Arafat to obtain the job for them. They hinted at a very large gratuity. I politely refused. During all the years I knew Arafat, I never asked him for a favor. I think that this was the basis of our rather strange friendship.)

If the port had been built, Gaza would have become a flourishing commercial hub. The standard of living would have risen steeply, the inclination of the people to vote for a radical Islamic party would have declined.

WHY DID this not happen? Israel refused to allow the port to be built. Contrary to a specific undertaking in the 1993 Oslo agreement, Israel cut off all passages between the Strip and the West Bank. The aim was to prevent any possibility of a viable Palestinian state being set up.

True, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon evacuated the more than a dozen settlements along the Gaza shore. Today, one of our rightist slogans is “We evacuated the entire Gaza Strip and what did we get in return? Qassam rockets!” Ergo: we can’t give up the West Bank.

But Sharon did not turn the Strip over to the Palestinian Authority. Israelis are obsessed with the idea of doing things “unilaterally”. The army withdrew, the Strip was left in chaos, without a government, without any agreement between the two sides.

Gaza sank into misery. In the 2006 Palestinian elections, under the supervision of ex-President Jimmy Carter, the people of Gaza – like the people of the West Bank – gave a relative majority to the Hamas party. When Hamas was denied power, it took the Gaza Strip by force, with the population applauding.

The Israeli government reacted by imposing a blockade. Only limited quantities of goods approved by the occupation authorities were let in. An American senator raised hell when he found out that pasta was considered a security risk and not allowed in. Practically nothing was let out, which is incomprehensible from the “security” point of view of weapons “smuggling” but clear from the point of view of “strangling”. Unemployment reached almost 60%.

The Strip is roughly 40 km long and 10 km wide. In the north and the east it borders Israel, in the west it borders the sea, which is controlled by the Israeli navy. In the south it borders Egypt, which is now ruled by a brutal anti-Islamic dictatorship, allied with Israel. As the slogan goes, it is “the word’s largest open-air prison”.

BOTH SIDES now proclaim that their aim is to put an end to this situation. But they mean two very different things.

The Israeli side wants the blockade to remain in force, though in a more liberal form. Pasta and much more will be let into the Strip, but under strict supervision. No airport. No sea-port. Hamas must be prevented from re-arming.

The Palestinian side wants the blockade to be removed once and for all, even officially. They want their port and airport. They don’t mind supervision, either international or by the Palestinian Unity Government under Mahmoud Abbas.

How to square this circle, especially when the “mediator” is the Egyptian dictator, who acts practically as an agent of Israel? It is a mark of the situation that the US has disappeared as a mediator. After the futile John Kerry peace mediation efforts it is now generally despised throughout the Middle East.

Israel cannot “destroy” Hamas, as our semi-fascist politicians (in the government, too) loudly demand. Nor do they really want to. If Hamas is “destroyed”, Gaza would have to be turned over to the Palestinian Authority (viz. Fatah). That would mean the re-unification of the West Bank and Gaza, after all the long-lasting and successful Israeli efforts to divide them. No good.

If Hamas remains, Israel cannot allow the “terror-organization” to prosper. Relaxation of the blockade will only be limited, if that. The population will embrace Hamas even more, dreaming of revenge for the terrible devastation caused by Israel during this war. The next war will be just around the corner – as almost all Israelis believe anyhow.

In the end, we shall be where we were before.

THERE CAN be no real solution for Gaza without a real solution for Palestine.

The blockade must end, with serious security concerns of both sides properly addressed.

The Gaza Strip and the West Bank (with East Jerusalem) must be reunited.

The four “safe passages” between the two territories, promised in the Oslo agreement, must at last be opened.

There must be Palestinian elections, long overdue, for the presidency and the parliament, with a new government accepted by all Palestinian factions and recognized by the world community, Including Israel and the USA.

Serious peace negotiations, based on the two-state solution, must start and be concluded within a reasonable time.

Hamas must formally undertake to accept the peace agreement reached by these negotiations. Israel’s legitimate security concerns must be addressed.

The Gaza port must be opened and enable the Strip and the entire State of Palestine to import and export goods.

There is no sense in trying to “solve” one of these problems separately. They must be solved together. They can be solved together.

Unless we want to go around and around, from one “round” to the next, without hope and redemption.

“We” – Israelis and Palestinians, locked for ever in an embrace of war.

Or do what Samson did: commit suicide.


Leave a comment

Uri Avnery Interview, news from Israel, Palestine and global demonstrations from Tikkun

This is a very heartening read despite the many sad and disturbing references. We have always known that evil and cruelty exist, but when the people rise together across all of Earth to resist it, to call for its end-something beautiful is born from the horror.

We shall overcome. We shall cry, mourn the dead, the wounded and the pointless destruction. But then we will rebuild-not just Gaza, but the spirit of humanity.

We will rebuild our collective humanity as a species made not of war and hate, but of love and compassion, a beautiful thread woven in the tapestry of Life not a tear rent in the fabric of the Universe.
ohnwentsya
image

*
* *Listen to Uri Avnery’s interview from Tel Aviv*, and then read some other articles below from Israel and Palestine. As always, the views we send out reflect our desire to expose our readers to a range of discourse usually unavailable in the Western media–but NOT necessarily our views, which are expressed only in articles signed by Rabbi Michael Lerner or listed as Editorials in Tikkun magazine. We trust our readers to not confuse our desire to expand your range of analyses with a desire to advance any particular analysis unless it is filled with love, hope, compassion, open-hearted generosity and empathy!! Interview with Uri Avnery conducted by Rabbi Michael Lerner and Cat Zavis. Tel Aviv, Friday, July 25 Click here [ http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/israelgaza-teleconference-audio ]to listen or go to : http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/ [ http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/israelgaza-teleconference-audio ]israelgaza-teleconference-audio [ http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/israelgaza-teleconference-audio ] The first 15 minutes is background by Rabbi Michael Lerner while waiting for technological issues to be resolved till we could reach Uri Avnery on the phone. Lerner has some important insights on how to contextualize the current war in Gaza. Then most of the rest of the call is Uri Avnery, for the next hour or so. Then we have fifteen minutes of questions and conversations from call participants with Cat Zavis about the pain and strain that many who care about both the Israeli and Palestinian people are feeling as we watch the carnage contiue. If you wish Tikkun to conduct more interviews of this sort, but you are not yet a member of the Network of Spiritual Progressives or a subscriber to Tikkun, help us keep going by joining the NSP now by clicking here: www.tikkun.org/donate [ http://www.tikkun.org/donate ]
*Demonstators Assaulted in Tel Aviv After Protesting the Gazan War* Editor’s note: this is a communication we got from Tel Aviv last Friday evening. . It happened after the demonstration -the biggest in Tel Aviv against the war yet, estimates of over 6,000 demonstrators- had mostly dispersed. The now-familiar group of right-wing demonstrators had worked themselves up into a frenzy throughout the speeches by left-wing Knesset Members and bereaved parents and chants to end the war, end the siege, end the occupation, end the violence. They were screaming: “Traitors!” “Death to Arabs and Leftists!” “You all get fucked in the ass!” The usual. The two demonstrations had been tightly cordoned off by the police, though. And then, after. A large number of us were walking away, in a cluster, for safety’s sake, and then suddenly, there’s yelling, screaming, pushing. I don’t know how it started, but I do know that I looked over to see the rightists begin hitting people on the heads with their flag poles, blue and white flags crashing down. I rush over to try to calm things, speaking in an easy tone, making eye contact, and it seems to work with a few of the guys, who hesitate as they look at me. And then: Ffffsssst. And my eyes are burning. I blink rapidly. Could this be tear gas? No. My throat feels clear. But my eyes are stinging and fuzzy. I ask a bearded man next to me, also blinking and tearing up, what happened, and he says: “Pepper spray.” I don’t know if it was the right-wingers or undercover police. Next thing I do know is that I look up to see another demonstrator hit over the head with a aluminum crutch– and then blood starts pouring out, and everything seems more serious and scary. photo 5 [ https://morielrothman.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/photo-53.jpg ] Some activists -a few who I recognized as anarchists experienced at dealing with violence- ask everyone to stay together, and we walk away quickly, as a group. After a block or two, Kobi [ http://www.justvision.org/portrait/kobi-snitz ] asks me to take a few others off to the left, so five of us branch off, and the rest of the group begins to disperse in different directions. We walk, alternating between shocked laughter and silence, my eyes still fuzzy but the pain dulling. A group of about six guys- a few wearing kippahs, all seeming to be Mizrahi/Jews of Middle Eastern descent (a devastating element of these clashes is the race breakdown, with many of the leftists being Ashkenazi/white, and many of the rightists being Mizrahi. My friend, Daria [ https://twitter.com/nehedari ], who is leftist and Mizrahi said that at another demo, she wore a shirt with some phrase about being Moroccan, and folks on both sides of the barrier seemed terribly confused) saw us, recognized something or someone, and started yelling “You all get fucked in the ass!” “Fuck you all!” “We should kill you, traitors.” We kept our eyes down, did not respond, and they walked onwards. Then we got a drink -because we needed to process and because most of Tel Aviv seemed to be bopping along as usual, drinking, chatting, flags flupping, et cetera- and then went home. And the demonstration? The demonstration was good, considering. It was big, it was somber, it took itself seriously. The crowd was by far the biggest since the beginning of this recent violence, and it looked like people were trickling in all night. Here were a few of my tweet-observations: And that is all for tonight. Facebook and twitter report of more demonstrators injured, which is horrible but also really not the story, just the subplot. Gaza. All of the people there. I can’t imagine. I am wired and alert with sadness; it is 1:00 in the morning. Please, enough.

******************************************************************************************

*HUMANIZE PALESTINE*

by Mazin Qumsiyeh

The holiday at the end of Ramada brings mixed feelings and we could sense
this here in Bethlehem on the faces of our Muslim neighbors, friends and
colleagues. They tell us of their sadness at the massacres of whole
families but they also tell proudly of resistance, persistence, resilience,
self help and help to other. It is still a month of blessings. I was at the
bank of Palestine on Saturday and saw lines of people sending money to
colleagues and friends in Gaza. We had cloth and food drives. Convoys
bringing medical aid are finally being allowed to enter even as 150 bodies
were pulled from under the rubble in one neighborhood alone. Israeli
soldiers speak to Haaretz of large scale destruction of civilian
neighborhoods in Gaza and surprise and fear at the resistance fighters.
Most people understand that Gaza is a big crowded prison that is being
subjected to a most ruthless occupation that destroyed its economy and
means of livelihood. Yet, some Zionists want to convince people that
somehow resistance should not come from within this population! But there
are no winners in the latest conflict started by Israel even though both
resistance forces and Israel claim victory. Israel can claim victory by
destroying so many neighborhoods, killing nearly a thousand civilians (very
few resistance fighters). This they hope will teach a lesson not to resist.
That is a foolish dream for all this does is stoke hatred and call for
revenge from the killers and not decrease support among the population for
resistance. Israeli intelligence agents know this (see for example below
interview with ex-head of the Shin Bet). Israeli leaders know that with
every strike on “Arabs” as they like to call us, resistance actually grows
in strength and supporters. Hamas and other resistance forces gain in
stature and Netanyahu appeared tough and gained some voters from teh racist
right quarters in Israeli politics. Yet, Palestinians lives are lost that
are irreplaceable and faith in human dignity tarnished as western leaders
were forced to defend a an ongoing genocide so that they can please their
Zionist lobbyists.The price paid by all humanity is far too high.

Let me start by actual pictures and names of those Israel murdered. They
are not just numbers (1070 murdered so far including over 200 children).
PLEASE take time to get to know some of themhttp://humanizepalestine.com/ [ http://humanizepalestine.com/ ]
(there were also at least 45 Israeli soldiers killed by resistance fighters
and in some cases directly by Israeli forces; see below)

Now what is the real reason for the Gaza attack? Benjamin Netanyahu blamed
Hamas for taking three young Israeli settlers (colonial squatters in
occupied areas). It turns out even Israeli police knew that Hamas leaders
were not involved (even though teh suspects were never apprehended let
alone charged). Hamas itself said it was not involved. see
http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/killed-turning-onslaught.html [ http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/killed-turning-onslaught.html ]

But maybe this is the real reason
Armed robbery in Gaza: Israel, US, UK carve up the spoils of Palestine’s
stolen gas
http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2489992/armed_robbery_in_gaza_israel_us_uk_carve_up_the_spoils_of_palestines_stolen_gas.html [http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2489992/armed_robbery_in_gaza_israel_us_uk_carve_up_the_spoils_of_palestines_stolen_gas.html ]

Governments lie, people die. Netanyahu is a consummate liar interested in
one thing only: his political and economic career. Most Israelis know that
he told them lies about this latest attack on Gaza, most know he lied to
them about settlements and why he opposed Oslo accords. Most know their
government lied to them about the success of the so called Iron Dome” (a
scam to make millions with success rate below 30%). After all they could
see for themselves falling home made rockets on their cities regularly.
They also know much more. They know that Israeli forces sometimes do the
unthinkable: e.g. Israel Murders IDF Soldier to Prevent His Capture
http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/07/26/israel-murders-idf-soldier-to-prevent-his-kidnapping/ [ http://www.richardsilverstein.com/2014/07/26/israel-murders-idf-soldier-to-prevent-his-kidnapping/ ]

Yuval Diskin was the director of Israel’s internal security service Shin
Bet between 2005 and 2011 and he recently 24 July 2014 had an Interview
with Der Spiegel/Reuters. He was asked ” Is Israel not essentially driving
Palestinians into the arms of Hamas? He answered “It looks that way, yes.
The people in the Gaza Strip have nothing to lose right now, just like
Hamas. And this is the problem. As long as Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim
Brotherhood was in power in Egypt, things were going great for Hamas. But
then the Egyptian army took over and within just a few days, the new regime
destroyed the tunnel economy between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula, which
was crucial for Hamas. Since then, Hamas has been under immense pressure;
it can’t even pay the salaries of its public officials.”

Divkin also Stated that “The army is now trying to destroy the tunnels
between Israel and the Gaza Strip with a kind of mini-invasion, also so
that the government can show that it is doing something. …It is in equal
parts action for the sake of action and aggressive posturing.” But then he
even reveals something that all Israeli leaders know but choose to ignore:
“They [Palestinians] will never accept the status quo of the Israeli
occupation. When people lose hope for an improvement of their situation,
they radicalize. That is the nature of human beings. The Gaza Strip is the
best example of that. All the conditions are there for an explosion. So
many times in my life I was at these junctions that I can feel it almost in
my fingertips.”

He goes on to predict accurately increased shifts to extremism in Israeli
society and admitted that Israel deals with Palestinian terror different
than it does with Jewish terror. Full interview here:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-with-former-israeli-security-chief-yuval-diskin-a-982094.html [ http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/interview-with-former-israeli-security-chief-yuval-diskin-a-982094.html ]
His observations while from a Zionist colonial perspective fits in
predicting a pressure cooker about to explode with other observers for
example see this from someone who lived in Jenin for a while: The Paper
Thin Underpinnings to Peace: Occupation and Intifada in 2014

Those of us who cut through the lies act. There were demonstration in over
100 cities including Tokyo, Paris, London, Chicago, New York, Washington,
Cairo, Tunis, Rabat etc). Some had tens of thousands and some over 100,000
participants. Here are just some inspiring photos:
http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/worldwide-protest-israeli.html [ http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/worldwide-protest-israeli.html ]
There was even a demonstration of a few thousand in Tel Aviv objecting to
the slaughter in Gaza. Some Israeli soldiers and reserves refused orders to
mobilize to Gaza. All these demonstrations had mixed groups of people (all
ethnicities and all religions). The few demonstrations for Israel and in
support of killing Palestinians were tiny and included only Jewish Zionists
(the largest was as expected in New York with a few hundred particularly
angry and racist ones). We must concentrate on doing more positive actions
and publicizing them. “Lighting a candle instead of cursing the darkness”
as the old Chinese saying goes. I leave you with poignant note that a
Church in Gaza is now home to dozens of displaced Muslim families. The
pastor said that Islamic prayers in his church are welcome as Israel
destroys mosques. That is the Palestine I love. That is the Palestine that
will win. Decent Jewish citizens in the US were arrested as they
demonstrated inside the NY offices of “Friends of the IDF” (a group
supporting child killers tax deductible). That is the humanity that I love.

Let me end again with the pictures of Gaza Palestinians. Meet them and
remember them http://humanizepalestine.com/ [ http://humanizepalestine.com/ ] for they are not just numbers
(1060 so far including 200 children)

Action is the best antidote to despair

Best

Mazin
#Gaza_under_attack


Leave a comment

A Prayer for Peace by Rabbi Lerner of Tikkun

image

A Prayer for Peace

Avinu ve’ emoteynu sheh ba shamayim, tzur Yisra’el ve’ go’aloe

Our Father and Mother energies in the cosmos, the rock of Israel and our salvation,

Bless all the peoples of the Middle East with peace, security, environment sanity, and a sense of being genuinely cared for by the world and by the God/dess of all flesh, however they conceive of this God or Goddess, whatever names or language they give to the ULTIMATE SOURCE OF LOVE AND MEANING IN THE UNIVERSE.

In this hour of war, violence, and pain, we reaffirm the humanity and decency of all the people on our planet, and our ability to see the humanity and God-presence in the Palestinian people, the Israeli people, and all people on the planet. We understand that each of the many sides of the conflicts tearing our world aparttoday have their own legitimacy, but we also know that violence cannot be the path to a peaceful and safe world. We may be outraged at the behavior of governments, political parties, or groups acting in hurtful ways, but we will not accept any attempt to generalize that righteous indignation into generalities about all people of a certain nation, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other such grouping.

We ask YOU, the Force of Healing and Transformation in the Universe, Yud Hey Vav Hey, ALLAH, the Cosmis Christ, Krishna, whatever name people give to this Force, to open up the hearts of all humanity to each other and to the earth itself. Let us quickly see a new consciousness permeating the human race, a consciousness which recognizes that peace and “homeland security” can never be achieved through strategies based on domination and “power over” others, but only through a strategy of genuine love, caring, kindness, and generosity toward others.

As Spiritual Progressives, we will do our best to practice that openheartedness, love and generosity, xtoward the Palestinian people, our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, and toward the Israeli people, even while still retaining our critical consciousness enough to wish that each side would stop being hurtful toward the other and would adopt the New Bottom Line of love, kindness, caring for each other and the planet, that provides the only sustainable path for us and all peoples on the planet.

We know that peace can only be sustainably achieved when the world is reorganized along principles of social justice, caring for each other and caring for the planet Earth–and so we will commit to putting our energies into that task. Give us the strength and wisdom to know how to heal the many hurts of people who have responded to their own pain by acting in painful ways toward others. Give us the capacity to show empahty and to learn how heal the wounds, not only of the oppressed, but also the wounds that distort the behaviors and generate the fears that are the basis of racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, and every other form of distorted consciousness. And give us the humility to recognize our own blind spots and the courage to work to heal ourselves even as we seek to heal others!

Precisely at this moment, we refuse to be realistic, but instead recognize YOU and your presence in our lives as an incitement to put our energies and money behind our highest values-love, kindness, generosity, ethical and environmental sustainability, and awe/wonder/and radical amazement at the grandeur and mystery of the universe. It is from this standpoint, rooted in our Torah and in our tradition for some, for the Koran or the Netw Testament for others, and for many other spiritual sources, that we affirm that love and kindness will triumph on our planet, and we will do our part to make that actually happen. In so acting, we will become Your partners in Tikkun Olam-the healing and repair of the world.

Written for Tikkun magazine RabbiLerner.tikkun

image

images 67


1 Comment

More Sorrow in Palestine/Israel

I have tears running down my face as I type this. My heart and prayers go out to everyone involved in and affected by the conflict in Palestine/Israel.

I’m so sad that more children have died on both sides. More families are broken hearted, and the warmongers predictably clattering swords ominously without any respect at all for the real human beings suffering from their idiotic knee jerk responses.

I believe Rabbi Lerner is correct that peace will only come from everyone reaching out to one another in their common suffering, recognizing one another’s humanity and acting from love, forgiveness and hope for a better future.

We cannot change the past but we can change now.

Please join me in praying for this terrible situation to be transformed into an opportunity to create peace instead of an excuse for more endless violence and suffering.
ohnwentsya

We at Tikkun are in mourning for the three teens murdered in the West Bank. We find this act painful and outrageous. There can be no excuse for this kind of act.

AND we know that the revenge/retaliation acts of Israel will only bring about more acts of violence. The cycle will continue until Israel ends the Occupation and accepts a peace arrangement generous enough both in its particulars and in the spirit in which it is offered as to undermine the support for Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza and to empower the voices of Palestinian peace-makers.

Those terms are presented in my book “Embracing Israel/Palestine” (www.tikkun.org/EIP) ; and in the Winter 2014 issue of Tikkun magazine, and they require a deep change in approach from both Israel and Palestine (there are no pure victims or pure oppressors–but there are many people locked into fear and anger and hatred and until that is healed and the cycle of violence actively opposed by people in both communities, the leaders and the haters will shape the realities people on all sides will continue to face).

We plead with the leadership of Israel to take the first steps because Israel is the more powerful force, not because we believe that Israel deserves all the blame for the current mess. Those first steps would be to embrace the strategy of generosity and caring for the other explicitly called for in the Torah over and over again.

Until that happens, we urge all Israelis and people from around the world to not endanger their children by bringing, sending or funding them to be in the West Bank, which is defacto a war zone. We fear that the hatred generated by Israel’s acts of retaliation will eventually blow back onto Israelis and world Jewry.

The choice is simple: endless war, violence and suffering, or a new spirit of generosity, caring, empathy for “the Other,” and with that an explicit willingness to admit and atone for the sins that each side has committed against the other. Both sides need to stop all their self-righteousness, break the cycle of violence, and reach out to the other side with unequivocal acts of atonement.

Below, we present two responses, one from a regular Tikkun columnist Ury Avnery, chair of the Israeli peace movement Gush Sholom, the other from a Palestinian human rights activist whose perspective differs radically from ours but must also be considered because there will be no peace till both sides have their stories told. Meanwhile, we remain in deep grief for the loss of lives on all sides, for the children and teens (and yes, their parents and grandparents and families and communities) on both sides who have been murdered, victims of terror, imprisoned unjustly, or otherwise fallen victim to this conflict which could have been ended many years ago. All the violence, all the hatred, so terribly and tragically unnecessary! As a rabbi and a Jew, I call for fellow Jews to reject the one-sided focus, to mourn all the victims on all sides, because although of course we feel a special pain for the loss of these teens who are our own, part of the family of the Jewish people, and so understandably we care especially about them, nevertheless we must model a different way of being in which we show our caring also for the suffering of those in the Palestinian world who have seen their children beaten, tortured, imprisoned, shot or killed. So we stand with all those in pain, all those in need of healing, not only among our own people but among those whom we have unintentionally hurt. It is only with this open-hearted compassion and empathy for all that we can hope to break the cycle of violence before it escalates to a level that will never ever stop. And this way of being “unrealistic” is precisely what the Torah commands when it tells us “do not take revenge” and instead proclaims an ethos of “love the Other” (not just tolerate, but LOVE). May it soon be the case that we will hear from the hills of Juday, and in the outskirts of Jerusalem a voice of joy and gladness, kol sason ve kol simcha, a voice of peace and reconciliation.

–Rabbi Michael Lerner RabbiLerner.tikkun

*A Response from Israel: Uri Avnery from Gush Shalom: *
“The kidnapping and murder of three boys is a crime deserving all condemnation”, says former Knesset Member Uri Avnery of Gush Shalom. “No political cause can justify such an act, and among other things the perpetrators caused grave damage to the Palestinian people. The three boys now join the very long and terrible list of victims, members of both peoples, who were killed in the cause of a bloody conflict which has already lasted for more than a century. Also and especially on this harsh and tragic moment, it must be said: *only the achievement of peace between enemies can end conflicts and put a stop to bloodshed.* It is a stormy moment, when inflammatory cries are made for revenge and the landing of a blow on the other side. It would be a grave mistake for the State of Israel to take such a route, which would lead only to bloodshed and more bloodshed, revenge and counter-revenge and counter-counter-revenge. Only peace between Israelis and Palestinians, between the exisiting state of Israel and the state of Palestine which will arise at its side, bears the hope that these three boys will be the last victims.”

*A Response From Mazin Qumsiyeh, a Palestinian Human Rights Activist from Bethlehem*

*When will this Insanity End? *

A sadly familiar scene over the past two weeks here in occupied Palestine: 10 Palestinians (including a 7 and 15 year old) and three Israeli settlers (16 – 19 year old) were killed. Dozens of Palestinian homes were demolished in the past two weeks. Over 570 more Palestinians were kidnapped in these two weeks making more than 6000 abductees languishing in Israeli gulags/prisons. 1500 Palestinian homes invaded without due process. 12 million native Palestinians still await their freedom from colonial occupation and displacement. And Israeli leaders are promising to “do more” (genocidal mayhem?). But the question remains when will this insanity end? Can it end by negotiations between occupied and occupier; negotiations that have been going on for 22 years while Israel gets $12 billion profit every year from its occupation? (that is not counting the billions from US taxpayers).

When will Israel be led by people like the previous speaker of the Israeli Knesset Avraham Berg instead of racists like Netanyahu. Listen to the wise words of Berg:

“Here are Israel’s shallow prime minister and the bumbling police, the masses who cling to futile prayers and not to a moment of human peace. Here are the country’s hypocritical chief rabbis, who just a month ago demanded promises from the pope regarding the future of the Jewish people, but in their daily lives remain silent about the fate of the people who are our neighbors, trampled beneath the pressure of occupation and racism under the leadership of rabbis who receive exorbitant salaries and benefits….Despite the enormous and inspiring success of Breaking the Silence (an NGO that collects testimony from soldiers who’ve served in the West Bank), our own total silence is still the loudest thing around us. We are willing to go out of our minds over one odd and troublesome Pollard, a lone kidnap victim or three kidnap victims, but we are incapable of understanding the suffering of a whole society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us. This, too, needs to be said and heard during this moment of clarity – and as loudly as possible.”
“The Palestinians: A kidnapped society: We are incapable of understanding the suffering of a society, its cry, and the future of an entire nation that has been kidnapped by us” By Avraham Berghttp://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.599318 [ http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.599318]

And how about the inspiring and wise words of Catholic Patriarch Michel Sabbah writing from Jerusalem congratulating Muslims on the start of Ramadan:
“We all are sectarian, Christians or Muslims. We all need to continuously purify the faith in us to overcome the sectarian. The believer is one who remembers God and sees all as his creation, So he worships God and respects all his creation no matter any religion they are. ..He sees any other as a brother or sister. The sectarian has strife in him and is distant from God. He sees only himself or his family or his clan. … I hope that we all become believers, and our faith overcomes all sectarian tendency.”

I am reminded of the good spirited picture someone shared on Facebook, a family where the father carries a sign that said “I am Sunni”, the mother a sign that said “I am Shia”, and the little girl carries a sign “I am Sushi”. In another video I noted fraternizing between members of the Syrian army and the opposing “Free Syrian army” that reminded me of 1914 when opposing German and British soldiers disobeyed orders of their commanders in WWI and decided to get together in Christmas and become friends. (see http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/trenches.htm [http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/trenches.htm ]). The war mongers do not stop unless the people stop them. But at this moment is when we see candles of light in this darkness being lit everywhere. Palestinians and Israelis working together to achieve peace (e.g. Israeli and Palestinian association of bereaved families). A small group of activists including Jewish Voice for Peace and Palestinian Americans recently managed to outmaneuver the well-funded movement that hijacked US policy. These good people managed to get the Presbyterians to divest holding in three companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. The whole world is getting tired of this apartheid and is starting to shake-off the intimidation.

Netanyahu can only kill more people, can only create more false flag operations. He has decided to speed-up the Judaizing of Jerusalem and removal of its native people. He can work for what he calls “Kurdish independence”. The US and Israeli governments can continue to try and fund sectarianism and create divisions. They pursue the silly and dangerous notion that creating other sectarian states will finally give legitimacy to the “Jewish state” and its systematic ethnic cleansing of Palestine. They produce few “successes” like strengthening the Mujahideen to remove the soviets from Afghanistan or strengthening the “Sunni” Mujahideen to fight the Iran/Shia Boogie man. But beware of the monsters you create and instead try to create the peace that will be only based on justice. And beware of the sophistication and power of people who are increasingly not buying all your propaganda.

Peace in Jerusalem = peace on earth.

Ramadan Kareem to our Muslim Brothers and Sisters

And to all: Stay human!

Mazin Qumsiyeh
Bethlehem, Occupied Palestine

Editor’s Endnote: I find some of the language in Mazin Qumsiyeh’s message offensive, particularly when he describes the 3 murdered Israeli teens as “settlers” which they assuredly were not! While Israel has created an apartheid reality on the West Bank, it is not intrinsically “an apartheid” state (ask the Israeli Palestinians who have equal rights with Israeli Jews) nor is its policy one of “systematic ehtnic cleansing” (again, ask Israeli Palestinians how much they’ve faced such ethnic cleansing). There is little point in inflammatory rhetoric when what is needed is a spirit of reconciliation. But then again, the Netanyahu government has had the opposite of a rhetoric of reconciliation–and some of the elements in his ruling coalition are even more extreme. So, I present his views not because they represent the voice of those who are seeking reconciliation, but because he articulates a perspective that is widespread among Palestinians who want to end the struggle and who reject Hamas’ direction but whose anger at the evils of the Occupation make it hard for Israelis to feel safe in any path but continuing to tighten their hold on the necks of the Palestinian people. Oy, what a terrible mess! Perhaps this is a moment when we should be calling on the mothers of Israel and Palestine to come together for the sake of all the children and demand that their leaders end the violence.

–Rabbi Michael Lerner


Leave a comment

Free the Kidnapped Israeli Teens By Rabbi Michael Lerner 

This is heartbreaking.

“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind”.

I pray these children are returned safely and that this situation does not escalate the hostilities between Israel and Palestine.

It is time for all Israeli and Palestinian parents to sleep peacefully knowing all their children are safe. And all parents everywhere from Syria and Ukraine to Florida and Mexico.

Let’s all pray together for an immediate end to all wars, all oppression and injustice.
ohnwentsya
image

*Free the Kidnapped Israeli Teens *

By Rabbi Michael Lerner

Kidnapping anyone, anytime is always a violation of a basic human right. But is even more outrageous when done to children or teens who are particularly vulnerable.

So it is with shock and outrage that we at Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives respond to the kidnapping of 3 Israeli teens who were returning from their study at a yeshiva in an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

We demand the immediate release and safe return of those teens to their families!

We were shocked and outraged at the kidnapping of hundreds of Christian girls by Muslim fundamentalists in Africa, with the implied story that these girls would be raped (the functional equivalent of “forced marriages” along with forced conversions to Islam).

We are shocked and outraged when girls are kidnapped (or sold or persuaded by starving parents who see no other way to get money for their remaining starving children) into sexual slavery or forced marriages.

We are shocked and outraged when children or teenagers are forced into armies (whether through a supposedly “legitimate” draft process or through outright kidnapping) where they are forced to kill or be killed.

We reject any attempt to imply that somehow these acts are understandable given the oppressive conditions faced by the perpetrators. In the case of the Israeli teens some commentators have rushed in to remind us that there are thousands of young Palestinians, some of them younger than the teens who were teenagers, who sit in Israeli prisons or “detention camps,” without trials and sometimes for many months. Yes, this is also a human rights violation. But so what? It doesn’t justify or legitimate the crime committed against these Israeli teens.

There are those who have pointed out that the teens were attending a Yeshiva in a right-wing settlement and that that Yeshiva doesn’t teach about the humanity or the suffering of the Palestinian people, but instead justifies and defacto increases that suffering by participating in discriminatory practices that are part of the daily reality of the Occupation. Again, so what? No matter how reactionary the teachings, it is never appropriate to kidnap or inflict pain on others, except possibly in circumstances of immediate self-defense.

And these teens were not the perpetrators or the creators of the Occupation. They were children doing what their parents had brought them up to do and to be.

I’ve recently heard another such ridiculous attempt to “contextualize” this kidnapping. Just as, when Palestinian children have been shot or killed by Israeli forces enforcing the Occupation, some Israelis and American Jews have said (publicly and in a variety of Jewish newspapers) “these Palestinians don’t really care about their children, else they wouldn’t let them participate in activities that are known to be at risk,” so now some are saying that “Israelis don’t really care about their children, else they wouldn’t be sending them to study in a war zone in which violence against Palestinians is sometimes met by violence against Israelis-so anyone raising their children in the settlements or sending them to study in the Occupied West Bank really have only themselves to blame for whatever happens to them.” This reasoning is as obnoxious when applied to Israelis as it was when applied to Palestinians (or for that matter, when applied to parents who let their children get drafted into an army). The reality is that most parents whatever their religious, national, ethnic or racial backgrounds care equally and intensely about the well-being of their children, and the reasons that they get convinced to put their kids into situations of danger have little to do with how much they love their kids. When I signed permission for my own son to serve in the Israeli paratroopers, I was terrified and remained so throughout the time he was jumping from airplanes and serving in the Israeli army. I cared deeply for my son’s welfare and loved him intensely, spent all week waiting for him to return to our Jerusalem apartment just before Shabbat so I could wash his clothes and feed him home made Shabbat food. I’m not going to go into all the factors that led me to allow him to serve (“allow” because the Israeli military won’t allow an only child to serve in a combat unit without the signed agreement of their parent), but it certainly wasn’t lack of love. And I’ve spoken to many Palestinians whose children have been wounded or killed and they too care just as much about their children as any Israeli or American or any other parents on the planet.

For those of us who want to see an end to all this kind of suffering, it is appropriate for us to demand an end to all wars and all violence, and to an end of conditions that create this violence, including ending global poverty, ending the xenophobia and racism and homophobia and demeaning of “the other” (whether that other be Jewish Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or whatever), and to urgently seek to end the environmental destructiveness that will soon become the source of more violence between “the haves” and “the have nots.” And it is appropriate to demand an end to the Occupation of the West Bank, to the occupation of Tibet by China and Chechnya by Russia and an end to every other unjust denial of rights to people who want their freedom.

Yet none of this should replace our outrage at the acts of kidnapping that go on “in the meantime.” And that is why we start and finish this note with a demand that whoever has those Israeli teens must return them immediately and safely to their families. And as a rabbi, I add to that demand a prayer for their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their families.

Rabbi Michael Lerner

Editor, Tikkun magazine and Chair, the (Interfaith and Secular-Humanist-Welcoming) Network of Spiritual Progressiveswww.spiritualprogressives.org [ http://www.spiritualprogressives.org ] , rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue in Berkeley, Ca. and author of eleven books, most recently “Embracing Israel/Palestine.”

RabbiLerner.tikkun [ mailto:RabbiLerner.tikkun ]

P.S. None of our outrage should be taken as legitimation of blaming the entire Palestinian people for this kidnapping or for assaulting the people of Gaza or a renewed military assault by the IDF beyond a narrowly pin-pointed search for the kidnapped teens. Punishing an entire population for the sins of a few was developed by Roman imperialists two thousand years ago and remains a disgusting and God-denying act of brutality that should never be tolerated by any humane society.
image


Leave a comment

Presbyterian Divestment – A Jewish Perspective by Cantor Mich ael Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council | Tikkun

image

Until all areas of oppression, genocide and state sponsored terror against the disadvantaged are cleansed of this spiritual and moral cancer, we will not have peace or progress toward a just and prosperous future for all.

If you can do nothing else at least remember the forgotten people who are suffering invisibly from Palestine to Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, much of Africa and South America and the Pacific, in even the US and Canada the ongoing genocide of First Nations has yet to let up.

We can speak out. We can pray. We can boycott and divest from companies who profit from these miseries.

I disagree with this author on one point- I believe that boycott and divestment from Israeli corporations that profit from the occupation is also a valid choice that respects the Israeli companies and people who oppose the occupation instead of acting as though Israeli citizens and Jewish people are a monolithic entity like the Borg.

Imho it is racist to lump ALL of ANY ethnic group into such a monolithic nonsense.

People are individuals with hearts, minds and moral choice-how insulting to act as though Israeli citizens cannot choose to themselves divest from and boycott corporations that are endangering their lives by placing profits ahead of human rights and safety of everyone in the region!
ohnwentsya
image

Editor’s Note: We invited the Relgious Action Center of the Reform Movement and J Street, both of which have opposed the Presbyterian divestment, to respond to those who support the Presbyterian resoluiton. Neither agreed to do so. Tikkun has sought to be a safe space in which both sides could present their thinking. But it’s hard to get the two sides in the Jewish world to sit together and discuss the issues, since anyone who supports even the very limited form of divestment proposed by the Presbyterians is, as J Street’s Jeremy Ben Ami said recently, crossing “a red line” and hence, in the view of the Jewish establishment, automatically suspect of being anti-Semitic. We believe a public debate is a more healthy way to conduct this discussion, and so we are disappointed that neither J Street nor the Reform Movement accepted our invitation..–Rabbi Michael Lerner
image

Presbyterian Divestment – A Jewish Perspective
by Cantor Michael Davis, Jewish Voice for Peace Rabbinical Council

image

The first time I wore a kippa and talit outside of a synagogue setting was four year ago outside a hotel in downtown Chicago overlooking the Chicago river. I was singing with a group of my colleagues, local Reform cantors, to protest the mistreatment of hotel workers. I had the privilege of getting to know worker leaders, edit a national clergy report into worker conditions and organize my fellow clergy in Chicago. This was an exciting time – we took over the lobby of a Hyatt hotel with a flashmob, met with senior executives, collaborated with Christian clergy, traveled to other cities and on and on. Last summer, four years after their last contract expired, the Hyatt workers finally won a fair labor contract from management.

The lessons I learned from this successful worker justice campaign have relevance for me in thinking about how to end Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank.

The lasting lesson this experience taught me was that in any dispute between two parties of disparate power, the more powerful party will object to the involvement of third parties. In the case of the Hyatt labor dispute, management argued that this should be resolved between management and labor; the public should stay out of it. Israel, is by far, the more powerful side in the Israel-Palestine conflict: militarily, financially, politically. In Israel’s case, American Jews are told that only the Israelis have the right to an opinion on the Palestinians. After all, their future is at stake not ours. Americans, including Jews, have been accused of anti-Semitism or being fellow travelers of Jew-haters. We are told to stay out of it.

image

Yet our involvement in Israel-Palestine as Jews and as Americans is necessary and valuable. In the case of Hyatt, management was clearly disturbed by the public’s engagement with the issue. Hyatt Corporation’s most senior executives devoted many hours to meetings with clergy – particularly rabbis – who supported the workers. In the case of Israel, the international movement speaking up for Palestinian human rights is of great concern to Israel.

In Detroit, in a couple of days, the Presbyterian General Assembly will debate divesting from three companies that are complicit in Israel’s military occupation and colonization of the West Bank.

image

I, an Israeli national who served three years in the IDF, and who has served the Jewish cmmunity in Chicago for over 20 years, support the right of our Presbyterian friends to freely explore their conscience on divesting from American companies that benefit from Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank. I will be at the Presbyterian General Assembly arguing for divestment. I believe, along with a growing number of Jews and Israelis that BDS is the best non-violent option to stop the downward spiral to inevitable violence. For Jews – and for Christians – divestment is a principled position. As a supporter of BDS myself, I know how much effort the mainstream Jewish community is putting into shutting down this debate and excluding BDS supporters from the Jewish community. I would challenge those who are trying

to shut down the Presbyterian debate to show how the motives of those supporting divestment are anything less than honest. This is unworthy of us as Jews and particularly egregious when directed at our Christian neighbors.
image

First, we should note that under international and American law, Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is illegal. Any business involved in the occupation is therefore illegal too. That alone should be enough to keep American companies away from the Occupation. The Israeli government argues that the occupation is necessary in order to keep Israel safe. How does building Jewish cities on stolen Palestinian land or the daily harassment and humiliation of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians make Israelis more safe? All indications are that antagonizing Palestinians imperils Israeli lives.

But more importantly, for us as Americans and Jews, the argument itself is irrelevant. The law does not recognize Israel’s perceived self-interest as legitimate grounds for making another population suffer. Jewish tradition teaches the same lesson. On Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year, we read of the education of the Prophet Jonah. Jonah was commanded by God to prophesy to the city of Nineveh: let them repent their evil ways and be saved. But Jonah boards a boat to escape that mission. Rashi on the first verse of the Book of Jonah explains Jonah’s thinking: “the non-Jews will likely repent. If I prophesy to them, they will turn to God. And so, I will have shown Israel in a poor light since the Jews do not heed the words of the prophets”. Jonah was willing to let a non-Jewish city be destroyed, fearing what saving them might mean for the Jews. The ancient rabbis selected this reading for Yom Kippur to teach us that even when saving others in immediate danger now may imperil Jews later, we must choose to save our fellow human beings. If that is the reason for the Occupation, then Jewish tradition rejects that argument.

Let us also remember that the Presbyterian resolution does not call for divestment from the State of Israel, from Israeli companies, from individual Israelis or even from Jewish-owned companies. Rather the resolution calls for divestment from three American multinationals implicated in documented human rights abuses.

The Presbyterian General Assembly will consider divestment from three companies: Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola.

Caterpillar (CAT) sells heavy equipment used by the Israeli government in military and police actions to demolish Palestinian homes and agricultural lands. It also sells heavy equipment used in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the construction of illegal Israeli settlements, roads solely used by illegal Israeli seIlers, and the construction of the Separation Wall extending across the 1967 “Green Line” into East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The number of outstanding demolition orders in East Jerusalem alone has been estimated at up to 20,000.

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) provides biometric ID equipment to monitor only Palestinians at several checkpoints inside the West Bank. 2.4 million West Bank Palestinians are required to

submit to lengthy waits as well as the mandatory biometric scanning, while Israelis and other passport holders transit without scanning or comparable delays. The biometric ID is also used to regulate residency rights of non-Jews in Jerusalem. Since 1967, Israel has revoked more than 14,000 Jerusalem residency cards, with 4,557 being revoked in 2008 alone. HPQ sells hardware to the Israeli Navy that enables it to maintain the ongoing naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. This blockade has included interdicting humanitarian supplies and attacking Palestinian fishermen.

Motorola Solutions (MSI) Motorola Solutions provided an integrated communications system, known as “Mountain Rose,” to the Israeli government which uses it for military communications. It also provided ruggedized cell phones to the Israeli army utilized in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The company also sold wide-area surveillance systems for installation in the illegal Israeli settlements.

Plainly put, corporate revenue is built on the back of Palestinian suffering. And Jewish tradition is clear in its rejection of ill-gained profits.

Caterpillar profits from the destruction of Palestinian homes and the uprooting of Palestinian orchards by supplying the armor-plated and weaponized bulldozers that are used for such demolition work. Destroying homes is not a Jewish value.

Motorola Solutions profits from many aspects of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, including developing perimeter surveillance systems installed around dozens of Jewish- only settlements in the West Bank, built on Palestinian land. Defending stolen property is not a Jewish value.

Hewlett-Packard provides ongoing support and maintenance to a biometric ID system installed in Israeli checkpoints in the occupied West Bank which deprive Palestinians of the freedom of movement in their own land, allows the Israeli military occupation to grant or deny special privileges to the civilians under its control, and denies residency rights to a number of nonJews in Jerusalem by virtue of not being Jewish. Discrimination and segregation are not Jewish values.

Christians, like Jews, have a special interest in what happens in the Holy Land and a special responsibility to its peoples. The Presbyterian Church should be free debate the issues on their merits without fear of being branded as anti-Semites or any of the other harsh responses that have been circulating recently in the Jewish community. Friends allow friends to have their own opinion and to freely discuss their ethical choices.

Let us show our Christian neighbors the same respect that we expect and enjoy from them. Hillel said: Love your neighbor as yourself, this is the whole Torah.

image

*************************************************************************************
To Support Israelis Fighting The Occupation, Presbyterians Should Vote “YES” On Divestment by M.J. Rosenb erg

A number of people have written to ask if I support the motion before the Presbyterian Church to divest from three companies which produce machinery Israel uses to sustain the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza.The companies are Caterpillar, Hewlett-Packard and Motorola.

Why those three companies?

Caterpillar manufactures the bulldozers used to demolish Palestinian homes to make way for settlements. Hewlett-Packard supplies Israel with the hardware to maintain the blockade of Gaza and the software to enable Israel to segregate and separate Palestinians at West Bank checkpoints. Motorola provides the surveillance equipment used to monitor Palestinian civilians throughout the West Bank.

These three are to the occupation what Dow Chemical was to the U.S. war in Vietnam.

The Presbyterian Church, with some $9 billion in investment assets, is being asked to divest from all three companies,

Actually, I don’t understand why any religious group would invest in any of these companies in the first place. All three are members in good standing of the military industrial complex and have been involved in unsavory activities around the globe. But that argument is for another day.

Right now, the Presbyterian Church has the opportunity to say NO to the occupation in a tangible, concrete way. It has the opportunity to support Palestinians without harming Israelis. I can hardly imagine any progressive voting NO on this resolution, choosing big corporations over the people of both Palestine and Israel.

Don’t overlook the latter: the Israelis. There are hundreds of thousands, maybe a few million. good Israelis who are desperate for outside help to end the occupation. Due to the quirks of their political system, they are saddled with Binyamin Netanyahu and his coalition of religious extremists and settlers. Time after time, they have looked to the United States for help and, time after time, the Netanyahu government and its lobby have blocked the Obama administration from providing any.

This resolution provides hope.

For the record, I oppose the Boycott, Divestment & Sanction of Israel in general because I believe that the BDS approach targets all Israelis, not just the government and certainly not just the occupation. The Presbyterian resolution targets only the occupation which is fair and right. If I thought it was anti-Israel in any way, I would not support it. But I believe that being pro-Israel requires opposing the occupation.

This resolution is pro-Israel, pro-Palestinian and, above all, pro-peace. It must be approved. Voting “NO” is a vote for the occupation.

************************************************


2 Comments

CA Leaders Ask SF Archbishop To Cancel Participation In Anti-Gay Event Family Research Council And NOM Behind June 19 DC Gathering

image

We are proud that Rabbi Michael Lerner, co-chair of the NSP– Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls that meets in S.F. and Berkeley, stood with other community leaders in urging the conservative Catholic archbishop of San Francisco to withdraw from an anti-homosexual group’s rally in Washington, D.C.

This is nothing new for Rabbi Lerner or for Tikkun. Tikkun critiqued homophobia in the Jewish world starting in 1988, kand the famous Rabbi David Hartman, founder of the Hartman Institute in Jerusalem and a champion of tolerance in other respects, resigned from the Tikkun Editorial Advisory Board after telling Lerner that Tikkun’s support for gay rights “might endanger the Hartman Institute’s legitimacy in the orthodox world, given the opposition to homosexuality in the Orthodox Jewish world. Rabbi Lerner officiated at gay and lesbian marriages from the time he was ordained in 1995. “Every form of demonizing or ‘other-iing’ is a violation of the highest Jewish standards of Tora

h, which call upon us to see every human being as created in the image of God, and to LOVE THE STRANGER/The Other as a central Jewish religious duty. Spiritual Progressives of every religion and none stand behind this same Torah command,” said Rabbi Lerner in explaining to a media figure why he had signed this statement in support of glbtq rights. Read the story below.

CA Leaders Ask SF Archbishop To Cancel Participation In Anti-Gay Event

Family Research Council And NOM Behind June 19 DC Gathering

BTL Staff

Originally printed 6/11/2014 (Issue 2224 – Between The Lines News)
image

*
*
*
*
*
*
*

*SAN FRANCISCO -* Top California and San Francisco officials, along with faith, LGBT and civil rights leaders, have signed an open letter to San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, asking him to cancel his participation in an upcoming march and rally against civil marriage for same-sex couples. The June 19 event in Washington, D.C. is being organized by some of the nation’s most virulently anti-LGBT organizations and leaders, including the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and the Family Research Council.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, State Senator Mark Leno, State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco Treasurer Jose Cisneros, and Supervisors David Campos and Scott Wiener are among the more than 70 leaders and organizations calling on Archbishop Cordileone to reconsider his participation in the National Organization for Marriage’s march and rally and, instead, “join us in seeking to promote reconciliation rather than division and hatred.”

“We respect freedom of religion and understand that you oppose civil marriage for same-sex couples,” write the diverse group of signers, which includes the Episcopal Bishops of California and Wisconsin; the Very Rev. Dr. Brian Baker, Dean of the Cathedral at Sacramento’s Trinity Cathedral; Rev. Will McGarvey, Executive Director of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa and Community Presbyterian Church; Rev. Dennis W. Wiley, Pastor of the Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ in D.C.; Rev. Dr. Karen Oliveto Sr., Pastor of Glide Memorial UMC in San Francisco; *and Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun Magazine.* “Many people of faith who have different opinions on the question of civil marriage for same-sex couples have come together in respectful dialogue and discernment to discuss those differences. Sadly, the actions of NOM and its invited speakers push us farther apart rather than bringing us together.”

The signers point to NOM’s “long and well-documented history of publishing material that connects homosexuality with pedophilia and incest and falsely suggests that gays and lesbians are trying to ‘inculcate children.'” The Family Research Council, which is co-sponsoring the event, has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The letter points out that the actions of NOM, Family Research Council and several of the invited speakers contradict the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “which states that lesbian and gay people ‘must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.'”
image

Please join or make a tax-deductible contribution to the Network of Spiritual Progressives at http://www.spiritualprogressives.org.

If you live in the Bay Area, come to our July 4th celebtration honoring those who stand or has stood up for human rights, peace, social and economic justice, environmental sanity, etc–at Live Oak Park in Berkeley. Details at http://www.beyttikkun.org/calendar_event.php?eid=20140611150037653


Leave a comment

Why Do Israeli Soldiers Bully Palestinians? | Tikkun

image

“The violent behavior of the soldier videotaped aiming his rifle at a Palestinian teen, setting off a storm in the media, especially the social media-was not exceptional.”

So says veteran Israeli reporter Amira Hass intoday‘s issue of Israel’s most respected newspaper, Haaretz. You can read her story on the Haaretz website [ http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.590048].

From Tikkun’s standpoint, we need to point out that there’s nothing unusual about this behavior: occupying armies regularly brutalize the populations they are sent to police as part of the way they justify to themselves their presence on the streets of someone else’s cities or villages. The task itself is dehumanizing not just for the occupied but also for the occupier.

Consider the situation in Hebron, a city of over 100,000 Palestinians built around the site holy to Jews, Christians, and Muslims where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah are believed to have been buried. It was around this site that Israeli settlers occupied buildings and built a small enclave, and now 18-to-22-year-old Israeli youth are sent to protect the settlers from the anger of Palestinians who are frequently blocked from approaching this holy site. The settlers themselves have been documented to attack Palestinian school children, to deface Palestinian buildings, and to harass Palestinians, under the protection of the Israel army (IDF).

Now, send a young 18-20 year old Israeli teen into this situation with the orders to “protect” the settlers, and after a while you get a dynamic in which the soldiers-to justify to themselves their presence in someone else’s city, and faced with the outrage of citizens who have been systematically harassed by settlers-start to feel outrage at those whom they are sent to police.

We at Tikkun want to insist that this is not because these soldiers are beasts-this behavior eventually emerges among any occupying army: the occupation itself elicits brutalizing and bullying behavior from the ranks of the occupiers. This happens in every occupation, from the Chinese occupation of Tibet, to the American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, to the police occupations of America’s central cities. It’s the same behavior that prison guards exhibit in prisons around the world.

While some Jews believe that their army is an exception, human rights organizations like B’tselem: The Israeli Human Rights Organization and neutral visitors like Christian Peacemakers teams have reported on this behavior for several decades now, each week documenting the inhumane behavior of the IDF in the occupied West Bank (and previously in Gaza).

It is the Occupation, not the evil of individual Israeli youth, that is the essence of the problem, and that is one of the reasons why we at Tikkun have been challenging the legitimacy and morality of the Occupation since we began some twenty-eight years ago. Our teach-ins to the Congress and the Administration, sponsored by our Network of Spiritual Progressives, have conveyed this message to many in Congress: the Occupation is not only evil for Palestinians, it is also evil for Israelis. The Occupation dehumanizes the dehumanizers, distorts the fundamental decency of the Israeli population, and must be ended.

Yet, given the fundamental inequality of power in this situation, it is the ethical responsibility of the Israelis, and those who support them (particularly the people of the United States and Jews around the world) to do every nonviolent thing in our power to do to end this Occupation quickly.

Please read Rabbi Lerner’s book “Embracing Israel/Palestine” to further understand the psychological traumas as in the histories of both peoples that have led to this horrific situation (order it on Kindle at Amazon, or in hard copy from www.tikkun.org/EIP). We in the Network of Spiritual Progressives refuse to demonize either Israelis or Palestinians. It is precisely because we care about the well-being of both sides that we seek to end this horrific situation. You can help us by joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives [ https://org.salsalabs.com/o/525/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_ ] at http://www.spiritualprogressives.org.
image

_________________________________________

Why Do Israeli Soldiers Bully Palestinians?

by Amira Hass

Published on Haaretz.com [ http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.590048 ]

May 12, 2014 

Why did his commanders send a soldier with a record of violence to bully Palestinians in Hebron? The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit chose to respond to Haaretz’s question with “no comment.” Perhaps that’s because the right answer is: Violence and bullying are what the Israel Defense Forces’ presence in Hebron and the West Bank is really all about. And another right answer: The IDF’s first mission in the West Bank is to ensure the continuation of the settlement enterprise, which means expelling the Palestinians from their land. The violence of the army and the settlers serves this mission. The proof? The hundreds of buildings in Hebron’s Old City that have been emptied of their owners and tenants. 

The violent and bullying behavior of David Adamov – the soldier who was videotaped [http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.587922 ] aiming his rifle at a Palestinian teen, setting off a storm in the media, especially the social media – was not exceptional. What was exceptional was that the Israeli public initially believed he was sent to military prison because of his violence toward Palestinians. 

By what authority did Adamov and his fellow soldiers detain several Palestinians for two hours at a military checkpoint whose entire purpose is to ensure that members of the Chosen People can march proudly down Shuhada Street and that Palestinians are kept away? This incident predated that of the now-famous video. To this question, too, the IDF Spokesperson declined to respond. In any event, soldiers (and employees of civilian contractors) detain Palestinians freely at every checkpoint and roadblock. 

The robbery of the Palestinians’ time by the Israeli authorities – at every level, both military and civilian – is an integral part of the Israeli domination regime. 

Why do soldiers bark obscenities at Palestinians? I didn’t ask the IDF Spokesperson this question. Since I first began covering the occupation, nearly a quarter-century ago, I have learned that soldiers must do so in order to overcome the cognitive dissonance in which they operate. After all, 18 and 20-year-olds can think and feel, in short, be responsible for their actions – and here I part ways with the military experts, obviously. Clearly, 18- and 20-year-olds know the Palestinians are human beings just like us. The trash talk and humiliation builds up the dehumanization, until the soldiers are convinced that the Palestinian is different. Commanders don’t want to stop this, because only then can the soldiers fully carry out their mission: to prevent the Palestinian from walking down the street where he lives, to prevent him from living on the street where he and his parents were born, to destroy the livelihoods of many thousands of people. 

Humiliation of the Palestinians by every level of the civilian and military apparatus is an inseparable part of building a nation of overlords. 

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit also chose not to respond to questions concerning the arrest of Saddam Abu Sneinah, the youth from the video [ http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.588842 ] who was holding prayer beads, and who Adamov said was holding brass knuckles and supposedly threatening him, the poor guy. Threatened? In a settler area, in front of a checkpoint manned by armed soldiers? Next to a military camp? Chief of Staff Benny Gantz – With soldiers who are so weak, insecure and delusional, you should be very worried. 

Soldiers beat Abu Sneinah when they arrested him. The IDF Spokesperson did not deny or respond to this assertion. Because it’s the norm. Soldiers beat handcuffed Palestinian detainees. It’s part of the dehumanization, of the routine violence. It’s gone on for 47 years (the occupation), for 66 years (the State of Israel), and we’re not done yet. Nor did the IDF Spokesperson issue a response when asked whether the fact that such beatings are the norm meant the commanders support the beating of detainees. The soldiers kept Abu Sneinah handcuffed and blindfolded for an entire night, on a concrete floor with no mattress. The IDF Spokesperson did not deny or respond when asked if this was torture. The IDF Spokesperson did not identify either the commander who ordered Abu Sneinah’s arrest or the commander who was responsible for the atrocious conditions in which he was kept. The IDF Spokesperson also did not respond when asked why, when Abu Sneinah was released, after 24 hours, he was rearrested by different soldiers at the checkpoint near Shuhada Street. He was held for another hour, and the heroic soldiers beat him some more. 

There was no point asking the IDF Spokesperson why the soldiers don’t speak Arabic. The center operated by Youth Against Settlements – that’s the organization that published the videos of the encounter between Adamov and Abu Sneinah – has a Hebrew class for Palestinian children from Hebron’s Old City. So they can understand what the soldiers are saying, so they’ll remember that despite their job, the soldiers are human beings, with hearts and minds. “How are you?” one of the “youths” asked a soldier in Hebrew a few days after the Adamov incident. “Praise God,” answered the soldier, leading some settler children to shout at him: “Why are you talking to an Arab?” 

“You son of a bitch, as soon as I get a chance, I’ll shoot you,” a soldier named Effi told Issa Amro, one of the founders of Youth Against Settlements. “Keep your ugly mouth shut,” another soldier told Amro. On the orders of a Russian-accented civilian – a woman – the soldiers raided the organization’s center, ostensibly in search of rock-throwers. 

One can understand the soldiers and the way they talk to the Palestinians: The curses, the derogatory language, help the armed Israelis to pretend to be superior and righteous. It’s hard for them to confront the courage, nobility, determination and restraint with which the older Palestinian activists receive them. It’s hard for them, and others like them, when they are confronted with the courage, nobility, determination and restraint with which the vast majority of Palestinians continues to bear our violent and brutal presence, in the confident knowledge that it will end.


Leave a comment

Tikkun | Roundup of Recent Articles April 30, 2014

image

Sue Bell Cobb: WWJD? Reform Alabama’s horrible criminal sentencing laws [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/25/wwjd-reform-alabamas-horrible-criminal-sentencing-laws/ ] Apr 25, 2014 01:30 pm | Sue Bell Cobb

As the former Chief Justice of Alabama, I am proud to have devoted my career to the cause of justice in our state. But as a lifelong United Methodist, it shames me to know that if Jesus came to our state today, he would chastise me and every other Alabama Christian for our nearly complete silence on a terrible injustice taking place under our noses and in our names every day: ineffective, absurdly harsh sentencing laws that lead to overcrowded, dangerous prisons that breed more crime. What would Jesus do? Fix our criminal sentencing laws.

Rabbi Howard Cooper: The Last Temptation of Noah [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/09/the-last-temptation-of-noah/ ] Apr 09, 2014 08:00 pm | Rabbi Howard Cooper

I once gave a sermon, at the Jewish New Year, during which a thunderstorm broke out and water started to pour through the synagogue roof. I’d like to claim that this was a cleverly-orchestrated special effects stunt that I’d managed to engineer; or even an example of my special relationship with what our tradition calls “Our God in Heaven”.

David Harris-Gershon: Racists Worse Than Cliven Bundy Who Actually Demand Our Viral Scorn [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/24/racists-worse-than-cliven-bundy-who-actually-demand-our-viral-scorn/ ] Apr 24, 2014 07:30 pm | David Harris-Gershon

Cliven Bundy – the freeloading rancher who hates America – always seemed to be a fairly despicable, self-interested person. Despite this, Fox News and right-leaning conservatives desperately celebrated him as a brave insurgent fighting government overreach.

New Monastic — Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove: NC Clergy Send Open Letter to State Government Leaders [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/24/nc-clergy-send-open-letter-to-state-government-leaders/ ] Apr 24, 2014 06:48 pm | New Monastic — Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

As Jews and Christians across North Carolina celebrated Passover and Holy Week, clergy from our Forward Together Moral Movement in North Carolina sent the following letter to our General Assembly leadership. Last summer, over 100,000 people came to the General Assembly to protest extremism and call for a new moral center to our common life. As we prepare for another legislative session this year, we pray for those in authority, that they might have ears to hear.

Anna Challet: Young Muslims Choosing to Wear the Hijab Despite Rising Tide of Islamophobia [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/24/young-muslims-choosing-to-wear-the-hijab-despite-rising-tide-of-islamophobia/ ] Apr 24, 2014 03:13 pm | Anna Challet

A generation of young Muslims grew up in the shadow of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the rise of Islamophobia in America. Some have personal experience with hurtful speech and ignorant comments about their faith. Yet many still choose to show their faith through practices like prayer and fasting, wearing a hijab (head covering), or growing a beard.

Ayana Nir: The Crisis in Israel’s Holocaust Education [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/23/the-crisis-in-israels-holocaust-education/ ] Apr 23, 2014 07:43 pm | Ayana Nir

Israeli Minister of Education Shai Piron’s plan to introduce Holocaust education to Israeli public schools starting as early as the first grade has been controversial. Alongside the concern voiced by many parents about traumatizing young children with gruesome details of systematic ethnic cleansing, many begin to question how the continued rehashing of communal wounds shape the development of national identity and what political interests the perpetuation of historical trauma might serve.

Tikkun’s Spring 2014 Issue: Does America Need a Left? [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/23/tikkuns-spring-2014-issue-does-america-need-a-left/ ] Apr 23, 2014 05:17 pm | Tikkun Staff

The sprawling American Left knows what it opposes, but it rarely articulates a shared vision of the world we want. Don’t miss the fierce debate put forth in Tikkun’s Spring 2014 Print Issue: Does America Need a Left?

Warren J. Blumenfeld: No “Honor” or Respect in Colonizing Native American and Jewish Culture [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/23/no-honor-or-respect-in-colonizing-native-american-and-jewish-culture/ ] Apr 23, 2014 02:46 pm | Warren J. Blumenfeld

The continued use of American Indian likenesses and images by sports teams has resulted in widespread racial, cultural and spiritual stereotyping which promotes hatred and disrespect of American Indian people. Using American Indian slurs like ‘Redskins’ is no different than the use of Black Sambo which offended African Americans or the Frito Bandito which is offensive to the Hispanic community.

Ibrahim Sundiata: Hirsi Ali, Islam, and Cultural Relativism: The Brandeis Controversy [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/23/hirsi-ali-islam-and-cultural-relativism-the-brandeis-controversy/ ] Apr 23, 2014 01:53 pm | Ibrahim Sundiata

In an age of identity politics can we criticize the formerly colonized or semi-colonized “Two-Thirds World” (in the faculty letter’s terminology)? How to address female genital mutilation in Somalia, slavery in Mauritania and the lynching of gays in Kenya? Especially when such occurrences are clothed with the authority of religion, how do we respond?

Elizabeth Cunningham: Resurrection Garden, Resurrection Feast: A Post-Easter Reflection [http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/22/resurrection-garden-resurrection-feast-a-post-easter-reflection/ ] Apr 22, 2014 05:42 pm| Elizabeth Cunningham

In John’s account of the Resurrection, Mary Magdalen mistakes Jesus for the gardener. Or perhaps it is not a mistake or not just a mistake but also a poetic truth. In any event, John’s Gospel makes clear: the Resurrection takes place in a garden!

Annie Pentilla: Jeff Gipe’s “Renegade Art”: Protesting Development Near Rocky Flats Plutonium Plant [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/21/jeff-gipes-renegade-art-protesting-development-near-rocky-flats-plutonium-plant/ ] Apr 21, 2014 06:00 pm | Annie Pentilla

When artist Jeff Gipe talks about the renegade sculpture he created to protest the construction of a housing development near the former plutonium plant Rocky Flats, what he has to say sounds incredible. The entire Rocky Flats’ story reads like a made-for-Hollywood movie, replete with leaking drums of nuclear waste, FBI raids, and so-called government cover-ups. Gipe grew up near the mysterious facility, leaving him with experiences he’ll never forget.

David Harris-Gershon: How the Progressive D.C. Community Helped Me Defeat the Right-Wing, ‘Pro-Israel’ Silencing Machine [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/19/how-d-c-helped-me-defeat-the-right-wing-pro-israel-silencing-machine/ ] Apr 19, 2014 12:01 pm | David Harris-Gershon

On February 6, my inbox was inundated with messages from people I did not know. I’m so disgusted, they read; You’re going to hear from us again, they read; We’re going to fight this, they read.

Warren J. Blumenfeld: Jews as Racialized Other as Reflected in the Kansas Murders [http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/18/jews-as-racialized-other-as-reflected-in-the-kansas-murders/ ] Apr 18, 2014 08:29 pm | Warren J. Blumenfeld

Why did a self-described “white supremacist” target apparent white people at Jewish community centers? The answer is quite simple: Though Jewish people are members of every so-called “race,” even Jews of European heritage (Ashkenazim) have been and still continue to be “racially” othered by dominant Christian European-heritage communities in some quarters.

Alex Kane: A Challenge to the Jewish Mainstream: Will You Stand Against Islamophobia? [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/17/a-challenge-to-the-jewish-mainstream-will-you-stand-against-islamophobia/ ] Apr 17, 2014 05:19 pm | Alex Kane

What’s the ideology undergirding opposition to the construction of mosques in the United States? How are anti-Muslim groups funded? How have Jewish groups reacted when confronted with issues like the proposed construction of the Park51 Islamic center near Ground Zero in New York City? Elly Bulkin and Donna Nevel answer these questions and more in their new book “Islamophobia and Israel”, a sobering analysis of the Jewish establishment’s dalliance with anti-Muslim bigotry.

Timothy Villareal: America’s Fork in the Road: Endless War or Democratic Reform? [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/16/americas-fork-in-the-road-endless-war-or-democratic-reform/ ] Apr 16, 2014 08:27 pm | Timothy Villareal

Add a 227-year-old Constitution with a 60-year-old collective military defense treaty, like the NATO Charter, and America could be at war in the blink of an eye. Will we reform our Constitution before getting dragged into another pointless war?

Saadia Faruqi: When One of Us is Hurt, We All Feel Pain [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/15/when-one-of-us-is-hurt-we-all-feel-pain/ ] Apr 15, 2014 02:15 pm | Saadia Faruqi

Make no mistake, the attack on the Jewish Community Center was an attack on all of us, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs – people of every religion and no religion. The perpetrator, apparently a former KKK member with ties to Nazism, is not just a person, but an embodiment of the hate culture rising around us.

Rabbi Howard Cooper: The Challenges of Seder Night [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/13/the-challenges-of-seder-night/ ]Apr 13, 2014 12:00 pm | Rabbi Howard Cooper

The challenge of Seder night is not just to remember the past, not just to recall the extraordinary longevity of our story with its roots in servitude and its mythos of the Jews as a people liberated into a different kind of servitude – servitude to a vision of how things could be, how freedoms of many kinds could be the inheritance of all peoples.

Uri Avnery: In One Word: Poof! [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/11/in-one-word-poof/ ] Apr 11, 2014 06:22 pm | Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery’s analysis helps cut through the cloud of lies and distortions in the American, Israeli, and Palestinian media so we can understand and face reality.

Donna Schaper: Book Review – From the Psalms to the Cloud: Connecting to the Digital Age [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/11/book-review-from-the-psalms-to-the-cloud-connecting-to-the-digital-age/ ] Apr 11, 2014 05:01 pm | Donna Schaper

You don’t have to be an environmentalist to wonder about technology. Will it be our great savior or will it be another thorn in the flesh, another opportunity to hear Thoreau’s lament? “Human beings”, he says, “have a tendency to become the tools of their tools.”

Jill Goldberg: The Art of Revolution: The River and the Sea, A Documentary Play by Danny Bryck [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/10/the-art-of-revolution-the-river-and-the-sea-a-documentary-play-by-danny-bryck/ ]Apr 10, 2014 09:06 pm | Jill Goldberg

When it comes to Israel/Palestine, Actor and Writer Danny Bryck isn’t the first to consider this question: “When everyone tells a different story, how do we tell the truth?” He may, however, be the first to work so hard to hear quite so many different stories that come from the thin strip of land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.

Special Passover Seder Messages

If you had been subscribing (for free) to our Tikkun Daily blog, you’d have recieved these messages in time for the holiday. To subscribe to the Tikkun Daily blog, go to: www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/join-tikkun-daily/

But save these articles for next year. They’ll still be relevant!

Selected by Rabbi Michael Lerner and useful for thinking spiritually about Judaism or Christianity or Islam.

Three writings by three spiritual progressives-Jonathan Granoff, Shari Motro, and Rabbi Arthur Waskow-who further elaborate on universal messages emerging specifically from Jewish customs and practices. Also read the articles below by Robert Cohen, Ariel Vegosen and Rae Abileah.

Robert Cohen: “In Every Generation…” How Mainstream Approaches to Passover Lock Shut the Jewish Imagination [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/11/in-every-generation-how-mainstream-approaches-to-passover-lock-shut-the-jewish-imagination/ ]Apr 11, 2014 02:02 pm | Robert Cohen

Via mouthfuls of bitter herbs, salt water, nuts and raisins mixed with wine, and unleavened bread, do mainstream approaches to Passover promote the damaging mindset that tells us that we are the world’s eternal victims?

Ariel Vegosen and Rae Abileah: A Seed on the Seder Plate [ http://www.tikkun.org/tikkundaily/2014/04/13/a-seed-on-the-seder-plate/ ]

Apr 13, 2014 01:00 pm | Ariel Vegosen and Rae Abileah

Returning in springtime, with Passover on the horizon, has given us time to reflect on the liberation story of our ancestors and ask what needs liberating in our current world. Control over seed means a control over our lives, our food and our freedom: a dangerous and deadly business. It’s time we collectively stand up for seed freedom, which is why this year we are proposing adding a seed to the Seder plate.

If you find our articles valuable, please help “Tikkun” continue this free service by subscribing to our quarterly magazine (with totally different content available onlyto subscribers) available in print or online form attikkun.org/subscribe [ http://www.tikkun.org/subscribe ]. Even better, support us by joining the interfaith and atheist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives at tikkun.org/join [https://org.salsalabs.com/o/525/p/salsa/donation/common/public/?donate_page_KEY=3793 ]. When you join the NSP, you get a free one year subscription to “Tikkun” magazine.

Copyright 2009 Tikkun Magazine. Tikkun is a registered trademark.
2342 Shattuck Avenue, #1200
Berkeley, CA 94704
510-644-1200
Fax 510-644-1255