Sunday, April 29, 2007

What Else Can I Do?

Today is Day 14,260 of the Maintenance of the Immoral (and Illegal) West Bank Settlements and almost the 40th anniversary of the start of the immoral (and illegal) occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

Micah.6:8 “He has told you, O man, Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God

This morning a friend sent me this excerpt from Lee Iacocca's new book entitled Where Have All the Leaders Gone" which you can find at

http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/iacocca.asp

In response, this is what I wrote:


Hi

“Where have all the leaders gone? … You can’t call yourself a patriot if you’re not outraged.”

We watched the debate Thursday night. Have you read the comments about Gravel? Is that what happens when a candidate gets outraged?

BUT then again, I have a still vivid memory involving Gravel.

I was a delegate to the 1972 Democratic. Some of us met with Gravel and I became a supporter of his for the vice-presidential nomination. Our “outraged” delegation (headed by Father Robert Drinan) was upset with McGovern because although he committed himself to an “open” nomination of Vice-President (that meant he would ask for the delegates’ thoughts about nominations) appeared to be poised to unilaterally announce that Kevin White would be the nominee. We caused a ruckus and while Mike Gravel was giving his own nominating speech, some of us were hearing that he had used red-baiting techniques to defeat Ernest Greuning and become the senator from Alaska. I still picture myself standing near a wall on the side of the convention hall becoming more and more anxious. I had this ominous vision unlike anything I have ever experienced. I heard what I thought were the words of a demagogue, one who was going to be elected Vice-President and then somehow become President and then ……….. But eventually, McGovern nominated Eagleton. The next night, the Massachusetts delegation plastered the hall with fliers about something, we asked for a roll call, and McGovern gave an acceptance speech about 1 or 2 AM heard by no one, Nixon was reelected by a landslide and Gravel never did become VP.

I wonder now … Was I so traditional in 1972 that I did not recognize that Gravel’s speech was appropriate “outrage” and what we should have listened to during the Nixon presidency seeing as Gravel now has been given some credit for his 1971 filibuster that ended the draft and his release of the Pentagon Papers.

OR is the lesson that you should be careful what you do when you are outraged for fear you might elect someone who would form an administration that is willing to pretend that it is totally incompetent to simply cover its being totally corrupt - one that would trample on the constitution?

Whoops, didn’t we ALL do that because we were NOT outraged.

SO I am outraged and don’t know what to do about it. Lee Iacocca has written about it. What will he DO? Maybe he is waiting for a Republican draft for the Presidential nomination.

Perhaps, in default, the only thing I can think about doing is writing. For me the outrage is directed primarily against the Israeli government with special emphasis on the Jewish Israeli settlers (who I refer to as squatters) in Hebron so I write and write http://judaismandisrael.blogspot.com/

But there must be more I can do. I don’t blame the leaders? I sadly believe that the politicians are followers. They will do what we tell them to do. To some extent I believe it is a waste of time to watch these people debate. While I am not doing it, I believe that what is important is that WE decide what should happen and DEMAND that our congressional “followers” do it.

I know what I think should happen – George W. Bush and Richard Cheney should realize that they are the worst President and Vice-President this country has ever had, that they have formed the worst administration this country has ever had, that they are a shameful embarrassment, and should resign effective immediately.

Word, words, words.

What else can I do??

Ron

Deutoronomy 16:20 – “Justice, justice shall you pursue that you may live and inherit the land which God gave you” and the footnote in the 1980 Hertz Edition “(T)here is international justice, which demands respect for the personality of every national group, and proclaims that no people can of right be robbed of its national life or territory, its language or spiritual heritage.

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

What can you do? In response to the Israel/Palestinian issue there is plenty. Start as a volunteer for ISM (International Solidarity Movement) or go with a peace based group or contact Grassroots International in Boston or volunteer with a law practice in the OT-THEN return as a witness-lots of pictures and tour the US, Contact Wheels for Justice and tour with them. Speak at every Temple that will accept you. Have small gatherings at the homes of friends and inviote people. You will lose friends (or they will revale that they were not people you needed in your life) and family members will get angry/uncomfortable and you will get a lot of pressure because you are straying from the herd. BUT, if you REALLY want to do something you can. Just Do It.

Ron Fox said...

Thank you, Elizabeth, for your positive response and suggestions. Of course, there are things we can do and actions that we can take. They are not , however, without consequence. It sounds as though you have had personal experience or know others who have had to face negative reactions from family, friends and others because you were willing to speak “truth to power”.

I have written in another post that by simply making a comment about Israel not wanting peace during dinner with two other couples, the response of a long-time friend (and relative) was so bitter and insulting that our relationship is now fractured.

But I vividly recall Hilda Silverman’s closing comments after the presentation by Guy Grossman a soldier in the Israel Defense Force who refused to serve in the West Bank because of the immorality of the occupation. She said that if Guy Grossman could do what he has done in the face of possible conviction and imprisonment, we should have the courage to say what we think.

I also am aware that although I was quoted at length in the local Jewish Journal of the North Shore (of Boston) in support of the Three Jerusalem Women presentation (more on that in a future post), I received no negative comments, calls or e-mails.

That and other experiences lead me to believe that the broader Jewish community is not as shallow and as unthinking as those who hold themselves out to be the voices of the Jewish community and that the great majority are either ashamed and embarrassed by the actions of the Israeli government or, simply do not care what is happening in Israel or in the Occupied Territories.

Your message reminded me that in the newsletter of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, there is usually a list of Opportunities to Israel and Palestine.

I have excerpted below information about some of them.

Thank you again, Elizabeth. I invite you to read and comment on other posts on this blog.

Ron

* Spring - Fall 2007 Schedule: May 26th-June 9th; July 28th-August 11th; October 27th - November 10th: Interfaith Peace-Builders Delegations to Israel/Palestine Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) sends delegations to Israel and Palestine so that US citizens can see the conflict with their own eyes. For more information, contact the IFPB office directly by phone (202-244-0821) or email office@ifpbdel.org.

* Spring - Fall 2007 Schedule: April 21st - May 1st, August 12th - 22nd, December 2nd - 12th: Global Exchange's Delegations to Palestine & Israel Global Exchange's delegations to Palestine & Israel provide first-hand exposure to the daily struggles and realities of Palestinians living under Occupation. For more information you can contact Global Exchange (800-497-1994 x. 251) or email palestine@globalexchange.org.

* Summer 2007: Resisting Occupation—Constructing Peace: 2007 ICAHD Summer Rebuilding Experience July 14 - July 29, 2007: For the fifth year in a row, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions [www.ICAHD.org] is offering a summer work camp intended to foster learning and friendship between Palestinians, Israelis and internationals. For an application form and all inquiries regarding the camp please contact Richard Wark at summercamp@icahdusa.org.

* May 24th - August 16th, 2007: Join Middle East Fellowship for Palestine Summer Encounter 2007 Middle East fellowship, in partnership with Holy Land Trust invites you to participate in the fourth annual Palestine Summer Encounter, a two month Arabic-training and volunteer program, starting on May 24th, 2007. The purpose of the program is to create a dialogue between Palestinians and members of the global community. Click here for more detailed information.

* May 26th - June 9th, 2007: Join Interfaith Peace-Builders (IFPB) & the Americans Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to travel to Israel Palestine: Assessing the Prospects for Peace: 40 Years of Occupation, 40 Years of Nonviolent Resistance Delegation to Israel/Palestine May 26 - June 9, 2007 Join Interfaith Peace-Builders (IPFB) and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) to travel to Israel/Palestine. June, 2007 marks the 40th anniversary of the 1967 war and the beginning of the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, which remains as one of the greatest obstacles to peace in the Middle East. Click here for more information.

* June 2nd - 20th, 2007: Zajel International Voluntary Work Camp An-Najah National University is pleased to invite youth and adults up to 35, to take part in the "Step in the right direction" summer work camp. This project has been designed to provide international students and professionals the opportunity to meet and discuss the Middle East conflict, share ideas, enhance practical skills, foster relationships, and give assistance to members of the Palestinian community. For more information, please click here (http://youth.zajel.org/summer_camps/camp2007/announcing.htm)

* July 20th-25th and August 20th-25th, 2007: Birthright Unplugged Delegations to Israel/Palestine Are you thinking of going to Palestine/Israel this summer? Are you interested in meeting Palestinian families, activists, community leaders, and political figures, and learning about life under occupation? Are you committed to turning education into action and working for justice? Then BIRTHRIGHT UNPLUGGED is for you! For more information about the itinerary, costs, trip leaders, and application materials, visit www.birthrightunplugged.org.

* MECA Delegation August 2007: Come with MECA to Palestine/Israel! For seventeen years, MECA has taken small groups to the West Bank, Gaza and Israel. MECA staff and local guides introduce you to activists, journalists, aid workers, teachers, social workers and others living under occupation. We'll stay with our "Ibdaa family" in Dheisheh refugee camp, and visit other MECA partners and friends throughout Palestine/ Israel. For information, please contact: Deborah Agre or Josie Shields-Stromsness deborah@mecaforpeace.org, josie@mecaforpeace.org 510-548-0542

* Volunteer in Tel Rumeida! Tel Rumeida Project is an organization solely for work purposes (i.e. it is not an organization for its own sake.) Therefore, volunteers are expected to be able to function well with instruction and independently. Volunteers will be working in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, Hebron, keeping a presence on the streets to prevent against settler attacks and soldier/police harassment of the Palestinian residents who live in the neighborhood. For more information, please see http://www.telrumeidaproject.org/Volunteer.html