The Obligation to Speak Up in the Age of Trump

 

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
dlehrer@cai-la.org
Community Advocates, Inc., 865 South Figueroa St., 3339, Los Angeles, CA 90017August 2018
 Editor’s note:
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.

AntiSemitism & Corbyn’s run for Prime Minister of the UK

 

[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.

Another Anti-war Hero Passes: David McReynolds

A Death in the Family:

David McReynolds, Pacifist, Socialist, Ailurophile

by Judith Mahoney Pasternak

A great force for a peaceful world left the planet when David McReynolds, who for decades was the best-known voice of American radical pacifism, died August 17 of injuries from a fall in his East Village home. He was 88 and had spent almost 40 years on the staff of the War Resisters League as a self-described “movement bureaucrat.” He ran twice for the presidency and once for Congress, traveled the world promoting nonviolent resistance, wrote one book and innumerable articles and pamphlets, came out as gay long before most people in public life did, and documented the movements of his time in indelible photographs. He was one of the last (and youngest) of a heroic generation of pacifists who resisted war and militarism between World War II and the Vietnam War and went on to help forge a vibrant peace movement in the aftermath of the wars.  

Life Before WRL

Born in 1929 into a comfortable Baptist family in Los Angeles, McReynolds early on evinced his commitment to pacifism and Marxism, saying much later that he “didn’t see how one could be one without being the other.”  Equally apparent by his adolescence, if not before, were the outsize contradictions that would characterize his adult life. A tall, gangling teenager, aware of his homosexuality from the age of ten and, as he later wrote, “haunted” by it, in high school he joined the World Fellowship Club to oppose U.S. Cold War policies.

Can the World Unite Against Trumpism?

Editor’s Note: Thanks to our media ally TomDispatch.com for sharing this article with Tikkun. Can Donald Trump Unite the World (Against Himself)? The Rise of an Anti-Trump Movement Globally — and on His Home Turf
By Dilip Hiro

One thing already seems clear in the Trump era: the world will not turn out to be the American president’s playground.  His ultra-unilateralist, rejectionist policies on trade, the Iran denuclearization agreement, the costs of defense, and climate change are already creating an incipient anti-Trump movement globally (and in the United States as well). To a remarkable degree, the countries he has targeted are banding together to oppose him and his policies.  That still inchoate but gathering opposition assures that, whatever Donald Trump’s view of America may be, it is no longer — in the phrase coined 20 years ago by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright — the “indispensable nation.” Abroad or even at home, with the president facing increasingly strong headwinds on climate change at the state and local level, we’re entering a new world order on the heels of the collapsed American domination of the past three-quarters of a century. Let’s consider the opposition Trump has generated on an issue-by-issue basis.

Dr. Jerome Segal forms Bread and Roses Party

BREAD AND ROSES – NEW PARTY ESTABLISHED
 

A new political party has been formed in Maryland, ahead of the November elections. It’s being spearheaded by philosopher Dr. Jerome Segal, a conflict resolution expert at the University of Maryland, who received over 20,000 votes in his run against Ben Cardin in the Democratic Senate Primary in June.  

Earlier this week, Segal submitted 19,500 petitions signed by Maryland residents to the state Board of Elections, in support of the establishment of the socialist “Bread and Roses” party. Under state law, ten thousand signatures are required to organize a political party.  

Segal spent more than $1.4 million on his campaign against Cardin in the Senate primary.

Support the NAACP opposition to Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

Tikkun and the NSP encourage you to speak out to your elected representatives and ask them to speak to U.S. Senators about the importance of blocking any Trump nominee till the new Congress to be elected in November takes office in Januarny 2019–the same procedure that the Republicans insisted upon when blocking Obama’s nominee for this same office. And we fully agree with the position of the NAACP on this particular nominee. And we’d add that this nominee is likely to vote to overturn Roe v. Wade and many other important past liberal, civil liberties and human rights decisions of the Court in the past 100 years. –Rabbi Michael Lerner

 

BALTIMORE (July 9, 2018)—NAACP, the nation’s foremost civil rights organization, issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court:

Today, our nation celebrates the 150th anniversary of ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment transformed our democracy by guaranteeing to all persons the right to equal protection under the law.

Zero Tolerance: An Open Letter from Jewish Writers about U.S. Immigration Policy

Several days ago, Donald Trump was forced by mounting protests to end his policy of separating children from parents accused of illegally crossing the American border. Once separated from their mothers and fathers, these boys and girls were transported to mass detention centers or put in foster care.  More than 100 of the 2,300 children were younger than four years of age. To those of us who doubted that any protest would have an effect on Trump, this change in his strategy comes as excellent news – indeed, it is proof that if enough of us join together in protest, we can force him to back down. And yet, at the same time that the U.S. President signed his Executive Order and eliminated the most inhumane part of his anti-immigration program, he boasted that he would continue his so-called “zero-tolerance” policy with regard to immigration. Furthermore, his new instructions failed to address the plight of the children who were previously taken from their parents and housed in shelters.

Ariel Dorfman: I was not in a cage, but was scarred for life

Many questions swirl around Donald Trump’s executive order that supposedly reverses his policy of breaking up families at the border, but one thing is certain amid so much confusion, hypocrisy and ineptitude: permanent damage has already been done, and more is to come. Damage to the children and their parents, and damage to the United States and what it stands for.  

Ariel Dorfman

I think of them in the dark, when their keepers have turned off the lights, when the children sob themselves to sleep. I think of when they awake and neither mamá or papá are there, just other kids and unknown adults hovering nearby, strangers charged with caring for their basic needs. I think of the toddlers, above all, eating their American breakfast, old enough to be asking a question in Spanish — dónde está mi mami?

Families Torn Apart …. and the continuing cruelties and a way to activist compassion

 

[Editor’s note:  Rabbis Arthur Waskow and Phyllis Berman present below an important perspective on the ongoing atrocities of the Trump Administration’s treatment of immigrants. We must continue to object to its cruel and inhumane incarceration of people desperately seeking asylum. But we also need to answer the question about a long-term strategy. And that is precisely what we at Tikkun have developed by proposing a Global Marshall Plan that aims to change conditions in the from which people are fleeing, often fleeing as a result of economic hardships that evoke domestic cruelty and the need for flight. That level of economic hardship was caused by U.S. trade policies that essentially wiped out small farmers in Central and South America, forced many into cities where they could barely survive, and created havoc from which some have sought refuge here.  Please read www.tikkun.org/gmp and then get your local city council and elected representatives to state and federal government to endorse this plan, or to pass resolutions endorsing Congressman Keith Ellison’s H.Res.

YES, I am a Socialist…A note from candidate for Dem. nomination for U.S. Senate from Maryland

[Editor’s Note: Tikkun does not endorse any candidates for office. We are publishing this only to let you know that in Trump’s America, a socialist can run for office, and even be heard by some people. That broadens the public dialogue, whether or not you agree with him.–rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com ]

Yes, I Am A Socialist
 
and, you might be one too, listen to your body
by Jerome Segal
Did you ever stare at a picture of a naked child? Full frontal? And did it stick in your mind?

The Audacious and Inspirational Gift of Pride: How 50 Years of Hopeful Resistance Can Inspire Us Today

by . Rabbi Mike Moskowitz and Rev. Dr. Amy Butler 
A prominent progressive faith leader posted a question on Facebook this week asking other faith leaders and scholars “How are you doing with everything that is going on politically?”  This has been a week in which all of us are feeling the deep divisions in our country.  

Those of us to inhabit spaces of privilege may feel a growing hopelessness, like a chasm opening up in front of us these days; it’s like the advent of a deep nighttime that perhaps we have not seen in our lifetimes. We are waking up to the realities of injustice and oppression that have defined the daily living experience of too many of our neighbors. For those of us who tend faith communities and teach people of faith how to birth into the world more kindness, justice, and peace, well…times are hard.  

Folks answered the question with comments like:

“I’m angry, really angry, and when not angry, deeply depressed.”

“I kind of lost my shit in preaching class today.  I’m the professor.”

“I’m tired and worried.”

“Pretty scatterbrained and struggling to focus.  My sleeping is erratic.”

“Exhausted.”

“I felt physically ill driving to the office this morning, and realized it was a physical reaction to the news I was listening to.”

“Helpless to change the situation.”

 

Any one of us paying even the slightest attention to the atrocious policies being implemented by the American government, both within, along, and outside our borders, can’t be unfamiliar with feelings like these.  Sometimes the darkness of this world, the evil all around us, steals our joy and cripples our resolve.