It’s sad but true that people who have been brutalized often end up being brutalizers of others. It happens in the U.S., it has happened to many Israelis, and it happens throughout the world, including the Arab and Muslim worlds. While we support the right of the Palestinians to their own national self-determination and the right of Jews to their own national self-determination, we’ve never romanticized the Palestinian people or the Israeli people (or for that matter, any other national entity including the U.S., U.K. etc.).
After Kavanaugh’s nomination, Jim Sleeper postulates that the Democrats did quite as much to widen the civic and political vacuum into which Trump has swept as did the follies of conservatives.
Rabbi Phyllis Berman shares her reflections on the #MeToo movement in powerful support for Dr. Christine Blasely Ford.
Yossi Khen and Jeff Warner take a closer look at the tipping point that prompted Democrats to start examining Israel’s actions with respect to their principles, and what’s being done today to drive change.
Review by Bill Roller of Daniel Ellsberg’s book The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner
It’s Midnight in America
There was a game that children in the southern Midwest played
during the early days of the Cold War. It was called, “What Time is it Mr. Fox?” It was a version of “tag” and went something like this. We children gathered at the brick wall in the school yard. One of us was given the role of “Mr. Fox”, and that child faced the brick wall, hands on the wall and eyes closed. As the rest of us approached the wall slowly, one step at a time, we asked, “What time is it, Mr. Fox?” Mr. Fox replied
“Five-thirty” and we took another step forward.
The nonviolent protest will gather at the Supreme Court at 8:30 am on Monday.
[Editor’s Note: At a moment when religion is being blamed for Trumpism, it is good to hear some alternative perspectives. While the perspective presented is different from some of the reasons a portion of our readership embrace a wide variety of spiritually progressive religions (and many do not embrace any religion), it nevertheless deserves to be given serious attention.–Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor, Tikkun . firstname.lastname@example.org]
Religion is Emotional Therapy
by Stephen T. Asma
Religious extremism comes in many forms. Sometimes it clings to arcane doctrines despite mountains of scientific evidence. Such was the case during the famous Scopes Monkey trial of 1925. John Scopes was slapped with a $100 fine for teaching evolution in Dayton Tennessee, violating a law making it a misdemeanor to “teach any theory that denies the story of the divine creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended from a lower order of animals.” Even though Scopes lost the trial, his defense attorney Clarence Darrow successfully put prosecutor William Jennings Bryan on the stand and demonstrated the tortured and impossible logic of scriptural literalism.
Can you feel the Earth quaking? Simon Mont’s prose asks us to envision a beautiful world beyond the pain of oppression and trauma.
This past week the Jerusalem District Court decided that the Mitzpeh Kramim settlement—which no one denies was built on private Palestinian land, and no one contests that that land was taken from the original Palestinian owners by extra-legal means—can remain in the hands of the current settler residents. The reason the court gave was that the deal that was made between the settlers and the World Zionist Organization, who had been given ownership over the land by the army, was executed in “good faith”—tom lev in Hebrew, pure or whole heart. “Good faith” as we shall see, is nothing more than a legal term of art rather than a phrase which describes the actual intentions of any of the parties between the initial Palestinian owners and the current Jewish settler owners. It being the week before Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the idea of good faith or pure heart is in the front of peoples’ minds. Maimonides in his Laws of Repentance writes: “Anyone who confesses verbally but does not commit in their heart to abandon [their previous actions], behold this is like one who ritually immerses [in a mikveh for purification purposes] and is holding vermin [which is radically impure] in their hand, and the immersion is not effective until they throw the vermin away.” This powerful illustration sets in stark relief the type of “good faith” that the court was satisfied with.
Eric Kandel explores the effects of aging on memory and the brain.
David Lehrer, who headed the West Coast ADL for 27 years, and now runs Community Advocates, Inc., a non-profit since then, sent Rabbi Moshe Levin this piece he published. Rabbi Levin adds: “I can not imagine a better expression/response to the Jewish establishment who say, Sha, Shtil, don’t be political – we just want religion from the pulpit. ” Rabbi Lerner adds: For those who use the High Holidays to address everything except the destruction of the life support system of planet earth, the immoral treatment of refugees, the vast economic and political inequalities in this society, the reactionary nationalism that Trump’s election has promoted both here and around the world, and who instead focus on narrowly theological questions or urge a spirituality that is focused on being present to the present moment in their lives, but never includes in that present moment what is happening to the tens of millions of people who are being badly hurt by what the U.S. is dong and what Israel is doing at the present moment [implicitly denying that we are all ONE and part of the unity of all being and that the pain of others around the world and in our society ricochets into all of our lives creating depression and despair in ways of which we need to become conscious), I say: please read and re-read the Haftorah for Yom Kippur in which Isaiah, 3500 years ago, standing outside the ancient Temple in Jerusalem to those going to worship God while ignoring the evils and suffering around them. (Isaiah 57, sentences 14 to ch. 58: 14). The Obligation to Speak Up in the Age of Trump
By David A. Lehrer
Community Advocates, Inc., 865 South Figueroa St., 3339, Los Angeles, CA 90017August 2018
Many in the Jewish world has been fascinated by the internecine discussion on the role of our leaders, from Federations to rabbis, regarding speaking up about Donald Trump.
[Editor’s note: this article appeared in Mondoweiss, an important cite presenting frequently accurate critiques of Israeli policies. It is written by an author who has never been willing to write for Tikkun, perhaps because we address not only the suffering of the Palestinian people but also the ongoing PTSD of the Jewish people as well. Nevertheless, his criticisms of those who critique leftist critiques of Israeli policy are often on target. In presenting his views, we do so not to endorse them but to alert our readers to this debate about Corbyn’s antiSemitism. While I do NOT accept many of the arguments put forward in this article, I do agree with its major thesis–Corbyn, the head of the British Labor Party, is not an anti-Semite, and it is a disservice to the Jewish people to raise that claim against progressives whose primary sins are that a. they have strong criticisms of Israeli policy toward Palestinians, and b. that they refuse to allow the pro-Israel lobbies around the world to define what is or is not acceptable criticism of Israel.
THE NORMALIZATION DILEMMA
by Yoav Peck
With the death of Uri Avneri, we have lost one of our bravest and clearest voices. I knew Uri and liked him, we met several times in the last few years. In one of his last written statements, Uri writes: “We must decide who we are, what we want, where we belong. Otherwise we will be condemned to a permanent state of impermanence.” In this neighborhood, impermanence is a pretty permanent state of affairs.
Tikkun grieves and mourns the passing of the founder and leader of Israel’s peace movement, Gush Shalom, Uri Avnery. Until the last moment he continued on the way he had traveled all his life. On Saturday, two weeks ago, he collapsed in his home when he was about to leave for the Rabin Square and attend a demonstration against the “Nation State Law”, a few hours after he wrote a sharp article against that law. For several decades, Avnery was a columnist for Tikkun magazine, sharing his wisdom and insights with our Tikkun readers. When I met with him in Tel Aviv I found him to be a wise and passionate and sensitive human being, capable to seeing the humanity of the people who criticized him and capable of seeing the faults of his allies in both Israel and Palestine. Avnery devoted himself entirely to the struggle to achieve peace between the state of Israel and the Palestinian people in their independent state, as well as between Israel and the Arab and Muslim World.
Tikkun Editor’s Note: Tikkun does not have a position on the issues raised by the Syrian revolution, except to say that we oppose all violence and know that the forces seeking to replace Syrian dictator Assad were committed to non-violence until Assad starting torturing and killing them. We welcome critiques of the perspective put forward by Andrew Heintz below. Homage to the Syrian Revolution
The American Left has had an ongoing war of words about what to do about Syria. The result has illuminated the consequences of groupthink and dogmatic anti-imperial absolutism. It has been heartbreaking to witness so-called leftists refuse to recognize the sadistic brutality of the Bashar al-Assad regime.