When faced with contradictions and confusion, it’s easiest to withdraw and surround yourself with people and ideas you agree with. I have the privilege to be able forget the Israel-Palestine conflict and return home to the States. But the more I grow up, the more I realize how important it is to experience discomfort, to expose ourselves to people and situations that frustrate us a bit.
The premises underlying the practice of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) often stand in stark contrast to the messages we receive in the culture at large – whether from our parents or teachers while growing up, or from the media or other cultural venues for the rest of our lives. They also, often enough, belie what we see around us in terms of human behavior.
I am not going to recapitulate the sad story of what happened at Congregation Bnai Jeshurun in Manhattan this week except to say that progressive Jews (and others) thought a new day had dawned when its rabbis hailed the General Assembly vote on Palestine. But then, within two days, the rabbis at Bnai Jeshurun were forced to clarify following a firestorm of abuse, ginned up by the usual suspects.
I recently joined the planning team of Building Bridges Vancouver. I feel great compassion for all the people who are suffering in this ongoing struggle, Palestinians and Israelis, be they Muslim, Christian or Jewish, and I wish to support an end to the Occupation, granting all people a safe home with human and civil rights guaranteed. My views, sadly, are not welcome within parts of my own family or in the mainstream Jewish community. Until the night before the rally, my fears of confrontation and of being seen as a traitor to the Jewish community had overwhelmed my ability to act. But when I looked myself in the mirror and gave serious thought to the source of my fears, I suddenly realized that my own personal anxiety was not useful at all in such a critical matter. This is about human survival, the survival of humanity. I have to go.
If inescapable Christmas music, endless JUST FOR TODAY GET IT NOW! sales, and long lists of gifts for everyone from your brother-in-law to your daughter’s day-care provider are getting you down, let’s see what some challenging spiritual virtues have to offer instead.
Britain and France are coordinating unprecedented diplomatic protests of Israel’s planned settlement expansion in the wake of the Palestinians’ U.N. statehood bid.
In retaliation for Palestine attaining non-member state observer status at the U.N. on Thursday, Israel announced that it would retaliate by building 3,000 new units in a West Bank area, E-1, long considered a red line by Europe and the U.S.
Within the next few months, eight other protesters and I will stand trial in Sacramento. The trial comes in the wake of our Oct. 30 protest at Beale Air Force Base, where roughly 100 of us called for an end to drone warfare. Beale is home to the Global Hawk Drone, a surveillance drone that is used to determine drone targets. After stopping traffic onto the base for four hours, nine of us were arrested for trespassing onto federal property. I took this action because I am convinced that the use of drones for targeted assassinations is immoral and illegal and that their use threatens us all.
More often than I like, when I look around me, or hear the occasional news that breaks through my voluntary media fast, or in some other way come in contact with the world at large, my response to what I notice and observe is one of grief. This past week, three different pieces of news caught my fancy and brought a smile to my face. Then I saw a connecting link, and that’s when I decided to write about them here.
Disguised with branches from the nearby wood, the hostile army approaches Macbeth’s castle, fulfilling another vision of the witches: Birnam Wood is closing in for the destruction of Macbeth. A vision was also involved at the start of the first Zionist immigration wave: Eretz Israel.
An interesting debate has broken out over Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln.” The debate revolves around whether the film adequately credits the role of the abolitionists and of the rebelling slaves in bringing about the end of slavery. A second question is the relevance of the film to the Obama Presidency, and the possibility of comparing Lincoln and Obama.