I keep getting distracted by posts on Facebook about Palestine and Israel. In particular, people are posting pictures that say “Share if you support Israel’s right to defend herself” or a cartoon like the one on left of Israeli children unable to stand outside as the snow falls because instead of snow falling on them, rockets are falling.
When I see these images, my eyes fill with tears. I am so deeply saddened by this because I value caring for the well-being of all and taking responsibility for how our choices and behavior impact others.
One common question that Jews keep asking is “What would you do?” with a picture of bombs landing on icons from different cities around the world.
What this picture ignores is the daily, ongoing experience for Palestinians.
I have never seen these same people post photos of the suffering of Palestinians or raise concerns or questions about the Occupation, the building of the Wall, the destruction and demolition of Palestinian homes, the imprisonment and killing of nonviolent protesters, children, etc.
Interior Minister Eli Yishai, in a moment of disturbing candor, revealed what is for many in Netanyahu’s government the ultimate goal of its escalating military campaign on Gaza:
“The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years.”
Now, part of Yishai’s bombast comes from the fact that, as a known racist and head of the ultra-orthodox Shas party, he’d feel much more comfortable in the Middle Ages himself.
However, his statement reveals an essential truth few Israeli leaders dare to articulate. And that truth is this: the current military throttling of Gaza has less to do with security and more to do with destabilizing Gaza as much as possible.
Put another way, the military campaign is less about destroying Hamas’s weaponry and more about creating a situation in which Hamas remains both militant and strong.
I am sick of being made to feel guilty for asking my progressive friends to express concern for all lives, rather than just Israeli ones. Credit: Shani Chabansky.
This week, the daily grind is getting in the way of my life. I am frantic, obsessively sifting through the mainstream and alternative media sites for the most up-to-date on-the-ground facts. Three lives, four lives, ten lives, fifteen, twenty. The numbers keep rising, and my pulse keeps racing. The only thing keeping me going through this election war is checking facebook statuses to know that the friends and relatives I care about deeply are safe.
These same friends and relatives are pressuring me to limit my concerns for my family and the Israeli lives that are at risk. Yet I refuse to bow to the pressures of ethnocentrism. I condone no violence whatsoever, nor do I condone a “put the family above all others” attitude. All lives are vital. All lives are sacred.
Rabbi Eric Yoffie has penned a Haaretz opinion piece directed at progressive, U.S. Jews that is so deluded and insidious, it’s as though it was written in the same political and psychological vacuum inhabited by Netanyahu’s government.
Yoffie, former head of the Union for Reform Judaism, argues that progressives should champion Israel’s “get tough” Gaza stance. It’s a call he makes using shockingly misguided and narrow arguments. It’s a call I, and all progressives, should reject.
First, Yoffie fails to understand the strategic motivations behind Israel’s current “Pillar of Defense” campaign. He thinks it’s all about security – that the targeted assassination of Ahmed Jaabari, a top Hamas commander, as well as the countless bombs killing militants and civilians alike in Gaza are to protect Israeli citizens from a dangerous, militant Hamas.
They are not.
by: Roger S. Gottlieb on November 14th, 2012 | Comments Off
Yes, and it’s called prayer. And its power does not depend on faith in God or sacred texts, but on the passionate commitment of the person who prays. As Kierkegaard cautions: “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.”
Prayers may be voiced in anguish or wrapped in silence, mumbled dutifully or constructed with care, put to melody or tears. They can be wordless, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said that when he marched for justice with Martin Luther King “my feet were praying.” Or as the Hasidic Rebbe Pinchas of Koretz reportedly counsels, “When things are so bad you cannot even recite psalms just sit and hold whatever it is up to God in silence.”
Armistice Day Peace.
Let us not forget the start
of Veteran’s Day.
Cool November days,
Eleven Eleven is
a time to think peace.
Let us not allow
our love for warriors to
become love of war.
Veterans have seen
humanity at its worst.
We owe them our best.
When I awoke on the morning after the election, I was not completely overjoyed. Instead, I felt battered and exhausted. This was partly because the candidate I supported in a local race lost to a homophobic good ole boy. But it was also because as happy and relieved as I am about the reelection of President Obama, we on the Left simply cannot rest on our laurels. We have elected a center-left president, when what we really need is a left-wing president.
When Binyamin Netanyahu began meddling in the U.S. election on Mitt Romney’s behalf, he began an unprecedented and brazen gambit that, this morning, has disastrously backfired.
And Israelis know it.
With Netanyahu’s own election only months away (set for January 22), pundits this morning in Israel recognize the clear damage Netanyahu has done to himself by disrespecting President Obama and betting on the wrong man.
Larry Derfner of +972 Magazine thinks last night may soon lead to Netanyahu’s demise:
If there is one loser in the U.S. election outside the U.S., it is Benjamin Netanyahu – and all of Israel knows it. No one is fooled by his denials that he backed Romney and opposed Obama as demonstratively as he possibly could. The widespread conviction, now that Obama has won four more years in the White House, is that Bibi has endangered Israel’s relationship with America in a way that is unprecedented in its recklessness. No Israeli prime minister ever took sides in a U.S. presidential election like Netanyahu just did, and his side lost.
If Romney had won, people here would be hailing Bibi right now as a genius, a prophet. But Obama won, which makes Bibi, in Israeli eyes, a screw-up of historic magnitude. He went and tracked mud on the Oval Office carpet right in front of the president’s eyes. The president couldn’t say anything during the campaign because of American domestic politics, but the campaign’s over and now Israelis are wondering when and how this newly-liberated president is going to take revenge on them for their prime minister’s spectacular arrogance. Conclusion: The only way to get America back on our side is to get rid of Bibi.
I voted yesterday, Election Day Eve, at my city’s Board of Elections Commissioner’s office. I had errands to run yesterday, and I wanted to work uninterrupted today. So, I went to the third floor of City Hall and cast an in-person absentee ballot. I was happy to have the choice to vote early, yet the convenience of it did not in any way detract from the importance and the beauty of casting my vote.
The office is a small room, and when I arrived there were only a couple of people in line ahead of me. I took a number and filled out the requisite paperwork. As I was doing this, the office became full when a young woman and her children, and elder woman and another young man arrived. The staff was courteous and patient in explaining the process. The presence of the children reminded me of the days when my own children were young, and I took them with me to vote. When I was a girl, my mother would let me pull the levers, and I continued the tradition with my children.
Biblical wisdom teaches: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) I take voting seriously; both of my children take it seriously; and I expect that the example this young mother is setting for her children will cause them to take it seriously.
As I sat in the office, the beauty of Election Day became clear to me. This young woman, the elder woman, the young man, and I were equal to any other American on this day. We each were equal to the richest billionaire who can drop several million dollars on a campaign advertising buy without blinking. We were equal to the owners of whatever business who have no moral compunction about telling their employees that if President Obama wins they may lose their jobs. This is political blackmail. On Election Day we have one vote each.
by: Teresa B Pasquale on November 5th, 2012 | Comments Off
Hurricane Sandy Image c/o Huffington Post
This month has been one of personal, professional, and national shifts, storms, and graces. So much so that I can think of no better way to represent this conflux than by sharing my “sermonette” from last night’s worship service in my young adult ministry program.
In the last 30 days I turned 33, I found some beautiful progress and graces in the world of my ministry work, and struggled at a distance with the pain and tragedy of my home state, New Jersey and our neighboring adjacent-hometown of New York City. I spent my life, at different points, wandering the coastline of the Jersey Shore during summer vacation, hopping through the subway and wandering around the Lower East Side when I cut school as a high schooler (oops!) to sitting in Washington Square Park in between graduate school classes at NYU. Now my middle school in Summit, NJ is a “heating station” and crisis center, the YMCA is where mass showers are being taken, and no one is hopping on the subway to anywhere.
From my personal heart to yours I share the “sermonette” I gave last night to my spiritual seekers in Delray Beach. Blessings and prayers to all who suffer and are lost–in this tragedy and in the world at large. This essay was written for all of you.