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American Jews Stand Up for Their Own Rights in Israel, but NOT for Palestinian Rights

Jul6

by: on July 6th, 2017 | 6 Comments »

The chair of the Union for Reform Judaism, Daryl Messinger, announced this past week that she will boycott El Al, Israel’s national airline. Like other Reform leaders, Messinger is protesting the Israeli government’s decisions to suspend the creation an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall and expand the Orthodox Rabbinate’s monopoly over conversions. (1)

At the same time, the president of the Chicago Jewish Federation, Steven Nasatir, declared that Israeli lawmakers who voted for the Conversion Bill would not be welcome in Chicago. (2) And AIPAC board member Isaac Fisher will suspend his donations to Israel in protest of these recent Israeli government decisions. (3)

Under Hillel International’s Standards of Partnership, all three of these individuals would be barred from Hillel.

Read more...

Impeach Trump for the Right Reasons

May10

by: David Swanson on May 10th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

As in all Tikkun Daily Blog articles the opinions are those of the author and we print them without endorsement but only because we want views that you won’t find in the mainstream media to be considered by our wide readership.

http://davidswanson.org/impeach-trump-for-right-reasons/

The Constitution suddenly seems to have bestirred itself and
declared itself, through its many Washington spokespeople, to be in
crisis.

I’m sorry, interjects the world, but what the hell took you so long?

We laid out the clear Constitutional violations of Trump’s financial
and business interests on the day he became president (in the real
sense, not the media event months later when “He finally became
president” by bombing enough people) at ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org .

Since the later hours of Day 1 back in January through the present
instant, the clear and documented (when not openly bragged about)
Constitutional offenses have been piling up.

As of a 2015 disclosure to the Federal Elections Commission, Trump
owns stock in the maker of the missiles he sent into Syria, Raytheon, as
well as numerous other weapons makers, Canadian tar sands, etc. Trump
has continued, escalated, and threatened numerous illegal and immoral
wars. That he may be personally profiting from them just adds to the
supreme international crime, which of course already violates the U.N.
Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, supreme laws of the U.S. under the
Constitution.

Trump has unconstitutionally discriminated against refugees, been stopped by the judiciary, and immediately done it again.

Trump has pushed policies that will aggravate climate change, a crime
against humanity that can be prosecuted by the International Criminal
Court even against a non-member. On December 6, 2009, Trump signed a
public letter to President Barack Obama urging action to protect the
earth from climate change. “If we fail to act now,” the letter read, “it
is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and
irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” Trump is
knowingly endangering all human (and many non-human) residents of the
United States, right along with the other 96% of humanity.

Trump openly sought to intimidate voters prior to his election, and
fought the counting of ballots where they existed, was elected with a
minority of votes, was elected with numerous votes uncounted and
numerous voters blocked from voting by the partisan stripping of the
rolls and by ID laws, following a nomination principally decided by
dramatically biased media coverage. If none of that put the Constitution
into crisis, why keep the rotting document around at all?

Pre-presidency but still available grounds for impeachment, Trump
violated, according to the list in Alan Lichtman’s book on Trump
impeachment, the Fair Housing Act, New York charity law, tax laws, the
Cuban embargo, casino regulations, the RICO statute, laws against
employing undocumented immigrants, and of course laws against sexual
assault. You don’t have to have never been in Congress to spot a pattern
of criminality here.

Of course there is one charge against Trump that has not been proven,
risks confrontation with a nuclear armed government, and needlessly
adds a xenophobic excuse to the dozens of solid reasons that last year’s
U.S. election was illegitimate. So of course this is the one everybody
wants to focus on: blaming Russia for exposing the Democratic Party’s
slanting of its own primary against its strongest candidate. Let’s
remember that the people who have most vigorously pursued this approach
are the same people who nominated possibly the only candidate who could
have lost to Donald Trump.

Now we come to a charge of possible, conceivable, or an appearance of
possible or conceivable obstruction of justice ­ and perhaps something
or other at the base of the story around which justice was being sought.
If we can remove Trump this way, by all means, proceed. And proceed
with impeachment, not with a 2020 election campaign by some otherwise
repulsive candidate who plans to win by virtue of not being Trump and
somehow surviving four years of Trumpism.

But here are my concerns:

The coverup is not worse than the crime. Serious crimes are available
as impeachment charges, and overlooking them effectively permits them
going forward, along with any other crimes, as long as there’s no
coverup.

We have yet to see any actual evidence of any actual Russian
influence on the U.S. election. Toying with hostility toward a nuclear
government is more reckless than anything (else) Trump has done. Can you
impeach and try Trump for obstructing an investigation into what all
the corporate media refer to as if it were established fact, without
actually focusing on whether there is any evidence, and without
demonizing Russia?

If some lesser crimes are proven that involve Russia in some way, can
you try them without advancing the notion that the fundamental crime is
friendship with Russians?

Can you keep in perspective the hypocrisy that all of this telegraphs
to the earth? Barack Obama recorded a campaign ad for a French
candidate in last week’s election, while Samantha Power was busy
accusing Vladimir Putin of trying to influence the French election. The
U.S. has openly sought to influence dozens of elections, including
Yeltsin’s (the Trump of Russia?), not to mention overthrowing dozens of
governments ­ still being pursued in Syria. How does this look? Wouldn’t
it look better to at least add in a few articles of impeachment for the
highest of crimes even if Russia isn’t involved in them?

And, yes, I mean even crimes committed by Obama and Bush and others
before them. I’m not expecting consistency. While I supported
impeachment for Bush and Obama as well as Trump, one cannot expect all
Democrats to have gone that far in supporting the rule of law when Obama
was drone master ­ although they may now ask Republicans to reach that
higher standard of integrity. I understand that partisanship is strong
poison. I just ask for at least the appearance of seriousness ­ even if
only because going into a trial in the U.S. Senate with charges that are
already proven makes a conviction far more likely.

The bigger concern, of tamping down the warmongering, of lowering the
risk of nuclear conflict should be made to appeal to as many as can
hear it.

Impeachment certainly should be pursued, and certainly cannot wait.
But it will only establish the proper threat of impeachment for the next
person to hold the office if it is done for the right reasons in the
right way. The right way includes being led by the public. We, not
Congress, must decide when there is a crisis.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

​Reading the Megillah for Purim

Mar9

by: Beth Kissileff on March 9th, 2017 | Comments Off

The New York Times ran aneditorial by Francis X Clines about “dystopian classics” that “are being consulted as a literary trove for plumbing the national Id.” While I did read Philip K. Dick’sThe Man in the High Castleand Philip Roth’sThe Plot Against Americaduring the Republican Convention instead of watching it, and I definitely plan to read Sinclair Lewis’It Can’t Happen Hereand Richard Condon’sThe Manchurian Candidate, and reread1984and Brave New World, I want to suggest one that might be best reading for the Jews.

The only book of the Bible not to ever mention the name of God, the Book of Esther is the historically latest book to be included in the canon of the Hebrew Bible. People have been divided for ages how toread it. Is the book a satire? A mockery of political language and an incompetently run palace? Wishful thinking that Jews might possibly defeat an advisor who wishes to do them evil? Wish fulfillment about the fate of the Jews in a world where they are in exile without political power?

I would like to suggest that much of the strategy and wisdom needed to foment resistance in America under Trump can be found in this odd book. It’s message ultimately? Though appeal is made obliquely to a higher power it is decisive human action that saves the day. In asking Esther to act, Mordechai tells her that if she keeps silent at this time, salvation will come from elsewhere(Esther4:14) which has been interpreted by classical Jewish sources as from God. But,whether because of this threat or not, Esther does act, does not assume that she, in the King’s palace will be spared the fate of the other Jews(Esther4:13).

What does Esther do? Esther says she will fast for 3 days and asks the rest of the Jews to do likewise. Then, after the 3 day fast she will try her luck with the king and “if I perish, I perish”( Esther4:16). Once she goes to him, she invites him first to one banquet and then to a second; intervening between the two banquets is a sleepless night for the king. To help his insomnia, he asks for his record book, literally his “book of memories, the words of the days” to be brought to him(Esther 6:1). It is found in writing that Mordechai had informed him of the plot by the two courtiers to kill him and that no consequent honor or dignity had been conferred on Mordechai. It is this written “memory” that causes the king to have an understanding that he must reward the loyalty of this trustworthy subject. This re-inscribing and then re-enacting of the events of the past, made possible through the vehicle of writing, turns the plot of this potentially tragic story decisively on its head. At the second banquet, Esther fingers Haman as the one behind the plot to exterminate her and her people and the king immediately declares that Haman must hang.

The eradication of the man who wished to kill the Jews is not enough to finish the job. Instead, letters must be written, not to countermand the king’s orders, since a royal decree once promulgated cannot be undone. Language itself is the weapon to combat the word of the king. Esther and Mordechai are nowin a position to write letters of their own.

There is something in the act of writing that is itself powerful. Recall that Mordechai’s report of the plot on the king’s life was recorded in writing, and that because his deeds were recorded, they were able to have an effect beyond the limited memories of the time at which they were done. When something is written it can have a potency and effectiveness that extends beyond when it happens. What do Esther and Mordechai do to consolidate their power? They write letters once(Esther 9: 20) and then a second time(Esther 9: 29). Writing puts ideas out in the world, disseminates them with effectiveness.

Writing does have power, allowing one to put into concrete form what has here-to-fore existed only in one’s head. I often wonder whether writing can have an effect on the world, what its purpose is, but at the same time, know that it can change things. Writing about something, expressing feelings and sharing them with others can catalyze others to action and to think in new ways, to have empathy or yearning for something new. The fascinating thing about the book of Esther and what makes it seem so modern and applicable to the world today is that humans have to use the tools at their disposal, including writing, to get their message out.

In fact, in the last few verses of Esther, it is twice mentioned in 9: 32 and in 10: 2 that these events were written in a book. Now, Jews have a book, a “sefer divrei hayamim” a book of the matters of the day, just like the Persians did at the beginning of the book(Esther2:23), and as the last two books of the Bible, Divrei Hayamim, usually translated asChroniclesin English, are called. Perhaps the scroll of Esther is really about the process of writing a book of history, which requires both words and deeds to be complete. So much of the plot of megillat Esther depends on the written word taking effect, having a force in the world – once a decree is issued it can’t be annulled. Mordechai’s recognition of Bigtan and Teresh’s plot against the king in chapter two becoming part of the king’s consciousness because it is written and then read, Jews defending themselves because decrees about this go out.

What Jews in the age of Trump can learn from Esther’s book is a threefold strategy.Listen and be vigilant, at the king’s gate and elsewhere, about what is going on in the precincts of the palace and where power is contained. Be willing to risk everything- lives are at stake if a tyrant is not stopped. Send letters, commit things to writingas an effective means of both protest and of establishing a new order from a baseline of truth.

Mostly though the book of Esther shows that human action and vigilance will save the day. The morning after the election, my husband said to me, “I feel like I am Mordechai in the book of Esther” andexplained that the first thing Mordechai did was to be vigilant, to sit at the king’s gate and see what was going on(Esther 2: 19,21). He added that sitting at the gate and observing, we have a chance to know what is going on and intervene. In his sitting at the gate, Mordechai overheard some terrorists plotting to assassinate the king, told Queen Esther(significantly, here in2:22is the first use of her title) and she informed the king who investigated and thwarted the attempt on his life.

Like Esther and Mordechai, not only do Jews need to use the playbook of the book of Esther to observe, but to write down facts and send letters and act. And believe it or not(see Elliot Horowitz’ bookReckless Ritesfor more on this) the Jews did physically I am not suggesting we need to fight physically yet, but I do think we need to observe all, pay attention to what historian Heather Richardson of Boston University has called a “shock event”meant to destabilize a society and throw it into chaos. We must also galvanize ourselves, even to risking our lives if necessary as Esther did. And continue to write letters that will help our lawmakers know our opinions as they promulgate law.

The positive thing about all this is that Purim is the one holiday that will remain operative in the time of the Messiah, according to tradition. Why? Maimonides inHilkhot Megillah2:18, quotes Esther9:28about the endurance of the holiday in every generation. Even when the Messiah comes, and no action is needed on our part, still Jews should remember this one holiday above all others. I would suggest that humans can value the fact that even without divine intervention, sometimes we are capable of making good decisions, in order to put power in the hands of those who will use it well.

Until then, the words of Philip Roth’sThe Plot Against Americaremain in my mind. “The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.” But I remember that though we can’t see and foresee everything we still can and must act, and can learn from the playbook of histories, fictional histories and enduring histories.

 

—-
Beth Kissileff is the author of the novel Questioning Return and editor of the anthology Reading Genesis. Visit her on line atwww.bethkissileff.com

 

Trump is a Symptom of Obama’s Failures

Mar6

by: Jeff Vogel on March 6th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

Societies, like the people who populate them, can be become quite ill — especially if their condition fails to receive the proper treatment.

In 2003, our nation still reeling from the terror attacks of 9/11, became quite ill. We were attacked by one of the most virulent germs ever known to humanity, the illegal war virus.

This virus caused our nation to embark on the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq, an illegal and immoral blunder that left hundreds of thousands killed and wounded and destabilized an entire region. George Bush and Dick Cheney were the primary carriers of this deadly virus, but we soon discovered it was a very contagious strain which quickly infected Barack Obama. So instead of trying to cure our nation of this deadly virus by quarantining Bush and Cheney in prison, Obama proceeded to bomb Libya and double down on drone warfare. President Obama will soon leave the White House with a tragic distinction. He has become the first president in history to be at war for his entire time in office.

In 2008 our nation was attacked by the deadly Wallstreetium Corruptus bacterium that flourishes in greedy, secret environments that get very little sunlight. This bacterium initially attacked only our nation, but the infection quickly spread to many other countries, nearly destroying the world’s economy and costing many millions of people their jobs and homes.

President Obama contracted this disease early on when he took in more Wall Street campaign cash than his opponent John McCain — and then did not take the necessary steps to cure us. Instead of jailing and isolating the Wall Street carriers of this toxic bacterium, the President judged these financial terrorists too big to jail and too big to fail, leaving them able to continue to incubate one deadly germ after another.

And now we are faced with perhaps the most dangerous disease of all, our addiction to fossil fuels. This addiction is causing the Earth to overheat and destabilizing our global life support system. Catastrophe lies ahead.

Out of this fetid, festering, feverish swamp of untreated disease, our body politic is now manifesting the ultimate symptom of a sick society. From this quagmire has a arisen a pathogenic demagogue- Donald Trump, an old-fashioned quack offering phony treatments for chronic ailments, has become the president.

We have had, of course, deadly pathogens in our social system before, and we still suffer from one of the oldest and worst of these: the virulent and highly resistant virus of racism. We once had a leader in Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. who understood how to treat — how to beat back — this vile virus. We needed to practice, Dr. King taught us, nonviolent civil disobedience.

Dr. King was murdered before the cure could be completed. But he knew that the path forward to recovery demanded that we also treat the equally deadly and symbiotic germs of greed and militarism.

Let’s heed his legacy and follow his shining example — before time runs out.

Jeff Vogel- bryan10023@nyc.rr.com

 

Broken Hearts Bring Hope

Feb21

by: Susan Bloch on February 21st, 2017 | 6 Comments »

When a Seattle mosque was burned down, an unlikely alliance of kids gathered outside to support those who had lost their place of worship. Holding signs that said, “We Stand with our Muslim Neighbors,” were kids with yarmulkes, hijabs, and others wearing golden cross earrings. These kids later came together at a Kids4Peace and Muslim Association of the Puget Sound-AMEN Conference, united in their fight against Islamophobia. They were here to learn the power of advocacy in the media.

Making sure her hijab was securely pinned in place, twelve-year-old Sabreen Tuku, a 14-year old American, Muslim-Ethiopian girl, stepped up to the podium, her voice unsteady. “I have a dream,” she began. “I dream that one day every person, no matter their ethnic group, religion, or sexual orientation, will be treated respectfully. One day, I want to walk down the street and not have to fear . . . only feel love and acceptance.”


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Movement of the US Embassy to Jerusalem

Feb13

by: Maya Haber and Larry Lerner on February 13th, 2017 | 5 Comments »

MEMO TO PRESIDENT TRUMP AND PRIME MINISTER NETANYAHU

THERE’S A REASON WHY EVERY PRESIDENT SINCE JOHN F. KENNEDY HAS NOT MOVED THE US EMBASSSY TO JERUSALEM AND EIGHTY FOUR COUNTRIES HAVE THEIR EMBASSIES IN TEL AVIV AND NONE ARE IN JERUSALEM

The facts of the matter:

The Fourth Geneva Convention (1948) prohibits countries from annexing territories conquered in war. The UN Security Councils there ruled that the annexation of East Jerusalem ws illegal under international law and are not recognized by the international community. This is in response to WWII where Germany conquered countries and made them part of greater Germany. Russia also wanted to make countries such as the Baltics and Crimea part of Russia.

The international community regards Jerusalem as a city whose final status willl be determined in direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians.. Both sides want Jerusalem as their capitol.

Three main reasons to oppose moving the embassy to Jerusalem.


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Amona is the Brazen Face of the Occupation

Feb7

by: Maya Haber on February 7th, 2017 | 2 Comments »

The Israeli police have finally moved to evict the forty families residing in the illegal Amona outpost. Anticipating the police operation, some rabbis called on the public to converge on Amona and resist. As a result, police arrived to face hundreds of mostly teenage settlers. A real battle erupted as the young settlers fortified their positions, poured oil on the main settlement road, burned tires, hurled rocks, shoved and cursed police, and barricaded themselves in houses. The police had to forcibly drag settlers from their homes, kicking and screaming while several Knesset members offered the settlers support. The entire melee was broadcast live on Israeli television. Settler teenagers have wounded over 60 police officers with stones and acid.

The occupation creates a topsy-turvy system where settlers have the power to invert legal hierarchies. Religious zealots commit violence, dispossess innocents and subvert the democratic state since they, not the state, exercise authority.

Palestinians, on the other hand, are not just thrust into a separate legal system administered by the IDF. This system places Palestinians into a juridical labyrinth that reinforces subservience not simply through punishment but also via procedural dysphoria.


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Words

Jan12

by: Sara Yamasaki on January 12th, 2017 | 4 Comments »

“My dad killed people like you,” Bobby Jones yelled.

My five-year-old body twisted into a tight knot. Heat in my stomach travel up my chest and settled in my throat. I kept my head down, blinked hard, and watched the ground—one saddle shoe, then the other, moving me in measured slow motion to kindergarten.

I didn’t know what it meant to be killed. Didn’t know anyone who had died, hadn’t seen death on television, and hadn’t even lost a goldfish. But every day, Bobby waited at the bottom of the hill to taunt and follow me to school. As much as I wanted to run, I knew I’d get caught. Bobby was bigger and older than I was. So I listened to the calming sound of gravel underfoot and said nothing, my throat burning, my pace quickening.


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Why Monsanto Wants Me in Jail

Jan10

by: Reverend Billy Talen​ on January 10th, 2017 | Comments Off

I am facing some jail time for standing up to the evils of Monsanto and other Big Ag usurpers of the Earth. My trial beginstomorrow.

The prosecutor in Iowa appears corrupted by Monsanto and has proposed to a judge that protesters of its toxins be deprived of their constitutional rights at trial. Let’s repeat that. A Des Moines assistant District Attorney has filed a motion that would preclude any “referencing” of the 1st Amendment or free speech protections of the Bill of Rights in my trial. This would retroactively strip a protester, me, of the right to protest simply. Here’s a link to the motion.


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Sister Giant Conference – Rabbi Michael Lerner and Cat Zavis to Speak

Jan5

by: on January 5th, 2017 | Comments Off

Rabbi Michael Lerner and Cat Zavis will be speaking at the Sister Giant Conference in Washington, DC February 2nd-4th. For more information about this fantastic event, please see http://sistergiant.com/the-event/. To get you excited we’ve posted a link to their video below!