Next Year in Jerusalem, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Too–Nakba Recognition Group Tours U.S.

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 18 Comments

The American Friends Service Committee has helped organize a tour in the U.S. of a Nakba recognition group from Israel/Palestine. Many Jews are involved in this effort, for instance Jewish Voice for Peace. So are many Palestinians.

We all know that material and geographical issues are not enough to make peace in the Middle East–water issues, right of return, land-swaps, etc. This is a spiritual problem; and the recognition of ethnic cleansing is all important in that process.

The group is speaking at DePaul in an hour or so, in Chicago tonight. Then to the west coast, then to New York this weekend. Then on to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the guests of a Mennonite church.

Oh my god, America is a great country. Blacks were once three-fifths of a man; next year a black man may be our president. And day by day my country’s heart is opening to the humanity of Palestinians.

18 Responses

  1. jonathan ekman
    March 31, 2008, 12:18 pm

    How many people are aware of the large
    sums of money donated to "anti-war" Obama
    by the not very pacifist and very Zionist
    Crown family?

  2. Rowan Berkeley
    March 31, 2008, 1:09 pm

    "day by day my country's heart is opening to the humanity of Palestinians"

    — that's a damn good point, phil. in this particular department you are doing sterling work.

  3. Jim Haygood
    March 31, 2008, 2:15 pm


    "Then on to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the guests of a Mennonite church."

    In thinking about the question of tribal identity, the Mennonite and Amish plain people, with their traditional sense of separateness, provide an interesting comparison to Jews in several respects:

    1. The plain people have not sought nationhood as zionists have, though they are increasingly alarmed at the intrusive demands of governments, and some have moved as far away as central and South America in their quest to be left alone.

    2. Unlike the Jewish passion for study, the plain people tend not to encourage formal education beyond the 8th grade.

    3. Though they favor frank exchanges with government officials as equals, the plain people don't seek participation in government or related "commanding heights" of the economy, such as finance. They are consistently anti-interventionist, while Jews who want U.S. support for Israel are perforce pro-interventionist.

    Which separateness strategy will be more successful in the long run? The Jewish approach has created more billionaires by far. But it's also a high-risk, high-profile, high-volatility strategy, vulnerable to sharp reversals of fortune in a way that the resolutely low-profile plain people are not.

  4. Michael Blaine
    March 31, 2008, 10:35 pm

    "And day by day my country's heart is opening to the humanity of Palestinians."

    Not to throw cold water on the project, but in my home state of Minnesota there is hardly the faintest inkling of what the Palestinian experience is like.

  5. the Sword of Gideon
    March 31, 2008, 10:59 pm

    And what exactly would that be Michael, Jihad?

  6. Rowan Berkeley
    April 1, 2008, 12:09 am

    By the way, my own project – which so far no Jew appears to have grasped the value of – is to open the hearts of the anglophone world to the experience of jewish israeli youth, which I propose to report in its own words, concentrating mainly on the expression of distress, as found in the very lively punk scene.

    Unfortunately the so called jewish left displays its learned stupidity in this, as in all other respects, and insists on regarding me as an embittered failed convert, or something equally stupid, corny, insulting and irrelevant.

  7. Rowan Berkeley
    April 1, 2008, 12:24 am

    After that, I have a more ambitious project, in which I want to explore the pasts of some of the older settlers, in search of memories of their psychedelic years, before they became religious. I have a theory about this, which is basically that Chabad has a sort of production-line approach to rehabilitating former acid-heads and turning them into religious zionist fantasists.

  8. Rowan Berkeley
    April 1, 2008, 12:51 am

    Neither of the above will be possible if I am forced to go and flip hamburgers for a living instead of capitalising upon my laboriously and partially self-taught hebrew. I make no apologies for nagging about this, since my plans have very little to do with personal comfort and a great deal to do with averting WW3.

  9. Rowan Berkeley
    April 1, 2008, 1:16 am

    While I am on a rant, let me draw attention to the extraordinarily humiliating fact, for US Jews, that to find serious analysis of the war (such as Gareth Porter's, for instance), you have to go to a source which still carries the poison pellets of Pat Buchanan :

  10. MM
    April 1, 2008, 3:24 am

    Rowan, consider flipping burgers not in London, but in Tel Aviv. Yes, you'd be slaving over a hot grill, practically showering in burger grease daily while annoying teenagers told you what to do for them, but at least it'd be shlepn to some vestige of Hebrew fluency when you were through (after the burger grease blinded you in one eye, leaving HM Govt no choice but to reinstitute your compensation).

    And on converting, Rowan, you're more than welcome to join my tribe, the human tribe. Admittedly not very exclusive, that's also its selling point, according to the 82 year old Vietnamese door-to-door salesman who got me my membership a while ago.

    "We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness," Nhat Hanh said.

    "Your true home is in the here and the now. It is not limited by time, space, nationality, or race. Your true home is not an abstract idea. It is something you can touch and live in every moment."

    The only thing "chosen" about any human being was its mother. (And man did she look good that night!)

  11. Richard Witty
    April 1, 2008, 8:24 am

    You read Thich Nhat Hanh?

    Wonderful. A great man of peace.

    And, you can misrepresent the meaning of the word "chosen" in the same breath?

  12. Rowan Berkeley
    April 1, 2008, 8:49 am

    MM, I have got to the point where any 'conversion' would arise out of some other situation than looking for one.

  13. MM
    April 1, 2008, 2:59 pm

    Yes, Zen-master Witty, I am greatly indebted to the Vietnamese sage for my universalist perspective on life.

    How do you interpret the sentence, "We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness," with regards to Judaism? I am curious.

    Rowan, I see, but don't forget though, sometimes God just comes out of nowhere and makes commands.

    "Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
    Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
    God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
    God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
    The next time you see me comin' you better run"
    Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
    God says, "Out on Highway 61."

  14. Rowan Berkeley
    April 1, 2008, 3:22 pm

    absolutely, MM, and I have no problem with that. In terms of christian culture, kierkegaard is the man for that sort of thing. he is marvellous, although, as is well known, he was a miserable little fellow, and too cowardly to marry the girl he loved.

  15. MM
    April 1, 2008, 5:21 pm

    …or what we call, an honest spitzer.

  16. Rowan Berkeley
    April 2, 2008, 12:46 am

    it really is odd about kierkegaard. he wrote so beautifully, and good heavens, the girl loved him too. clearly the effect of inculcating the celebate ideal in children can be unexpected and tragic.

    at least from a literary point of view, I think kierkegaard deserves the accolade he wanted most, namely, to be the last christian "knight of faith".

  17. MM
    April 2, 2008, 2:57 pm

    Absolutely, for example, "Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads."

    Can't we just see those infamous "neo-con 25," twiddling their thumbs in their fetid think-tanks, for years, while even the philosemitic Clinton admin steadily rebuffed their sheer lunacy, as an illustration of Soren's apt observation? Boredom advances eventually into shock and awe.

  18. Rowan Berkeley
    April 3, 2008, 12:23 am

    wonderful quotation, thank you.

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