Friday, June 5, 2009
Blessed Are the Activists
Obama ended his Cairo speech with "Blessed Are the Peacemakers." How can you not say, "Amen" to that line, originally coined by a nice Jewish boy? But I am writing this from Jerusalem, the city that knows no peace. And I wouldn't be making a bad bet if I said that there won't be peace for decades, if not centuries to come. So who do we bless in the meantime? How about the "Justicemakers"? The men and women on the West Bank (and in Gaza, when they can get in) who fight to protect the life, liberty, and property of those who have no protection -- the Palestinians. A few days ago, I had coffee on Emek Refaim street with my former student Joseph Dana (the Ibn Ezra blogger) , his buddy Jesse Hochheiser (the Across the Borderline blogger), his friend, Mairav Zonszein, former head of the Union for Progressive Zionists (UPZ), and her mom. The three young folks are activists in Ta'ayush. If you don't know about Ta'ayush, look at their website. Or get David Shulman's book Dark Hope, which I blogged about here. Back to the activist bloggers. Let me start with Joseph Dana, who studied Spinoza with me a few years ago (no comments about heretics, please.) His Ibn Ezra blog is terrific; he has been hanging out with Max Blumenthal recently, and last night went downtown with him to make for Phil Weiss a video featuring interviews with American Jewis-on-the-street. Watch it on his blog or here. (Not for children, but then again, nothing here is for children). piece about Ezra Nawi, the hero of all activists, a truly great individual. Bookmark both those blogs. With folks like that, I am looking forward to retiring. So, once again you have "elu va-elu" -- on the one hand, the young American Jews in the video who are drunk and stoned on their Jewish power, the bigots, the racists, the crazies, not to mention the violent settlers and the Judaeo-nazis, who hang around downtown Jerusalem, City of Peace; on the other hand you have the young American Jews (and others) who come here to protect the unprotected, whether in Bil'in, South of the Hebron Hills, Ni'ilin, or East Jerusalem. It's a great project. Do you think I can get Tzedek Hillel to be involved with it? Blessed be the activists. And as for the others, shuvu banim shovevim. Return you wayward children.