Which brings us -- finally -- to the purpose of this email. My friend Diane Perlman, a political psychologist and activist has formed a new organization, JAIPAC (Jewish Analysts Investigating Peace and Conflict), and has written a compelling letter under the title: The New Pro-Israel, Mutually Assured Survival. There are indeed real problems and real conflicts in the Middle East, and Diane turns her wisdom and experience towards alternative ways of addressing them -- instead of doing what we’ve always done and being surprised when things are like they’ve always been, only worse. Please read and circulate this letter.
Can We Stop the Ticking Toxin in Time?
Reports from Russian intelligence say that the United States plans to bomb Iran on April 6th. Was the information purposely released to give the Iranian government one more chance to drop the program? Was it released by the Soviets to alert the world? Is it a bluff? We don’t know. We do know that this Administration is in deep trouble and has demonstrated that it will do anything -- anything -- to promote its own survival. An escalation of the state of war could empower them to declare a martial law state of “emergency.” It would be risky for them, but then again their ass is just about grass anyway.
I am hoping that Jewish people of conscience allow themselves to lift the lid on AIPAC and ask themselves if AIPAC represents their true values. Here is a link to the upcoming issue of New York Review of Books where George Soros -- a key Democratic Party funder of Jewish heritage -- takes on AIPAC. I wish there was some kind of concerted action that would make a difference in preempting this preemptive war. Perhaps the field of awakening will be enough, perhaps it won’t. Maybe there needs to be a letter-writing -- real mail, not email -- campaign to key members of Congress. Perhaps we need to follow the lead of former army Colonel Ann Wright who has urged the military to “refuse to drop bombs” if ordered to in Iran. The influence of the military cannot be underestimated at this time, particularly when we consider the loss of support for the current war on the part of troops in the field, not to mention the extraordinary editorials in all the official military publications the day before Election Day calling for Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation.
When I was a kid, one of the things that made me proudest of my heritage was the willingness of Jews to be a stand for the rights of all, not just Jewish people. You may remember that two of those three civil rights workers killed in Mississippi in 1964 were Jewish, but what you may not know is that the NAACP was co-founded by Joel Elias Spingarn, a Jew. These days, the cry of “never again” no longer means never again a holocaust for anyone, but “never again for the Jews.” This is an understandable nationalist sentiment, but it contradicts the spiritual foundation of Judaism.
As with every religion, there comes a time when we have to distinguish between the spiritual essence, and the distortion being used to keep the powers that be in power in power. Or, as some wit once said, “Spirituality is our relationship with the Divine. Religion is crowd control.” I hope this article and the connected links provide plenty of cognitive dissonance for both Jews and non-Jews alike. Which do we choose -- mutually assured survival, or mutually assured destruction? Given the delicate balance of life on earth at this point, the zero-sum game of “me or you” may end up as a big zero for all humanity and an F in works and plays well with others.
P.S. I expect lots of letters telling me I’m a self-hating Jew (with plenty of evidence of how Israel is absolutely right and justified), and other letters accusing me of being a zionist (including tons of evidence of how Jews have been responsible for any and all evil since the beginning of history). Please spare me these. I’ve read plenty on both sides already. Please DO send me any links to organizations and actions designed to preempt the preemptive strike on Iran. These will be sent to this list later this week. Meanwhile, pray for healing even if you’re an atheist. As Swami says, “Who cares whether you believe in God? What really matters is, do you believe in Good?”