Credit: Creative Commons

On August 4th, we held a conference call for NSP members and Tikkun subscribers with Sami Awad, a Palestinian nonviolent peace activist in Bethlehem, Palestine. Mr. Awad has been working to counter Hamas’s hate talk among his fellow Palestinians. Sami Awad talked about the importance of being visionary – putting forth a vision of the world you want and not something more “realistic.”

He talked about the importance of having prophetic voices in each of the different communities – Jewish, Muslim, Christian-to counter the impression that each community has that there are very few people in the other communities that care about a solution to the Israel/Palestine struggle based on justice, security, and peace.

According to Sami Awad, the assault on Gazans in the past month has caused many people in both Israel and Palestine to doubt the efficacy of many of their own efforts to build local face-to-face peace making between Israelis and Palestinians. Awad thinks one reason for this heightened despair by people who have spent months or even years in building dialogue and trained people in peace-making is that the efforts were grounded in the wrong motives, often out of fear of the other (unless we can tame them, they will hurt us) rather than a genuine deep commitment and care to the well-being of all.

This is exactly what Tikkun and the Network of Spiritual Progressives does every day. Rabbi Lerner’s most recent piece in Salon.com- Mourning a Judaism Being Murdered by Israel -is an example of showing real caring for “the Other”(if you haven’t read it yet, please do – it’s up here). Tikkun and the NSP put forward visionary proposals for how to transform our world from the current bottom line that measures success based on whether the corporation, government or institution maximizes money and power. Instead we advocate for a New Bottom Line that defines efficiency, rationality and productivity in terms of the extent that corporations, governmental actions, and social policies, and institutions maximize love and caring, kindness and generosity, empathy and compassion, social and economic justice, peace and non-violence, environmental sustainability, and encourage us to transcend a narrow utilitarian approach to Nature and other human beings (in the US and around the world) and instead respond to them with awe, wonder and radical amazement.

Our mission is to get people in every profession, every work place, and every social change movement to move beyond a narrow focus on what we are against and toward a focus on developing a clear picture of the world we actually want. And that’s what NSP chapters and our Transformative Activism trainings are aimed at doing. And the more we can help people articulate that vision, the more they will be able to see a commonality that is often obscured in the detailed struggles that are highlighted by the media.

This is precisely what is needed at this time – in the US, in Israel/Palestine and around the world.

PLEASE donate to support getting these prophetic voices into the world. We rely entirely on memberships, subscriptions and donations from people like you. We do not receive large grants or money from corporations. If you want to continue to hear these voices, please donate now.

If you want to get involved in our work, please email Cat Zavis, the Executive Director of the Network of Spiritual Progressives at cat@spiritualprogressives.organd let her know how you’d like to get involved.

Click here to listen to a recording of the call with Sami Awad.


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