Pain Management

Close your eyes, take a deep breath and fast forward four years when Trump’s administration will be roundly rejected. Feel in your body the hope that will overwhelm you. Conjure up your future restored faith in humanity when people from all walks of life stand together against hate.

I have never felt so pessimistic and defeated than in the last week. The press will normalize him, the Democratic minority will indulge him, and voters will grow apathetic and disengaged. No matter the scandals, past and future, that will embroil Trump and his goons; they will continue to consolidate power. He can’t be “exposed” for who he really is, it has been in plain sight all along.

Trump and his kind will not go away, and the establishment is not coming back to rescue us. Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama, or any other Democrat star will not pull us out of this tailspin. They will try to convince us, as Hillary tried, that the electorate will embrace a competent centrist. They won’t, and the right will only grow in influence. This nightmare can endure for decades.

The only thing that will save us from a populist racist oligarch demagogue is a populist anti-racist anti-neoliberal progressive with a mobilized movement behind them and serious contenders up and down the ticket.

Before Trump got elected, we already had our work cut out for us: Black Lives Matter, equitable health care, reproductive rights, equal pay, housing justice, clean water, criminal justice, equitable education, prison abolition, gender justice, free Palestine, voting rights, indigenous rights, refugee rights, migrant rights, campaign finance reform, friggin’ climate change and climate justice.

We don’t get to put those issues aside until the next Obama is elected and we clear up our heads. We *amplify* those struggles and use their leverage to restore democracy and propel us forward to a revolution. We don’t have four years, we need to have our ducks in a row for the midterms in two.

Am I being too preachy? I’m sorry. This is my catharsis. It’s the take-charge method Penny Simkin recently taught us in class.

There are countless people who’s security and future are called into question with this turn of events. If you, like me, are shrouded in privilege – don’t let it paralyze you. Don’t be an ally, be an actor. Own this struggle. I would bring up that famous Murri quote, but you already know it.

I know many smart, strategic, and dedicated people who work on this stuff every day, and I am so humbled and thankful they do this work and the sacrifices they make.

We are anticipating a wonderful life transition soon (more on that later?), as the dust settles from this election and as we find our stride as a family I look forward to working on our liberation with you all.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and borrow just a little bit of the hope and restored faith you will feel in four years.

Pain Management

It’s MLK Day and It’s Not Too Late to Do Something About It

For the last three years I have had the opportunity to send out a reminder to Mozilla staff that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is coming up, and that U.S. employees get the day off. It has turned into my MLK Day eve ritual. I read his letters, listen to speeches, and then I compose a belabored paragraph about Dr. King with some choice quotes.

If you didn’t get a chance to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy and the movements he was a part of, you still have a chance:

It’s MLK Day and It’s Not Too Late to Do Something About It

Nation Of Misguided Teenagers

“I still don’t understand what I did wrong. Seriously, I don’t understand!” Eden said during a morning radio interview after pictures of her posing next to blindfolded Palestinian detainees were found on her Facebook page.

Of course she doesn’t understand, she spent “the best years” of her life serving in an army of occupation, immersed in a culture that is blind to the humanity of it’s subject population. It’s not a sentiment reserved for the lower ranks, or the middle ranks, it goes all the way up. It’s a mentality where the only people with mothers are people who speak Hebrew. The Israeli army is where youthful experimentation occurs, you get to humiliate, you get to intimidate, and if you are lucky: you get to kill.

“I’ll rephrase my question, Eden, so that perhaps we can learn together how it was wrong…”, the radio host will walk her through it, slowly.

She crossed an invisible line, specifically she embarrassed the IDF, “I hoped there wouldn’t be any media interest” an IDF spokesperson said. But the media showed interest, and that is what turned Eden’s souvenir into “shameful behavior”.

And now Israel’s military, media and political elite must fulfill their solemn role: behave like disappointed adults, and wrinkle their noses in distaste. Another delinquent youth has infiltrated “the most moral army in the world”.

This isn’t of course the first morally corrupt soldier that the IDF has disowned. There are many more, and they have done worse deeds. Mostly these individuals don’t exceed the rank of second lieutenant.

And this is how the IDF keeps it’s legitimacy in it’s own eyes. While the Israeli government and it’s army are accused repeatedly of war crimes and violating human rights, the IDF, through internal inquiry, discovers that all of those heinous acts were committed by the rank and file alone. Where were the brigade and battalion commanders? Where was the regional command? The general staff? They were giving compassionate orders of the utmost morality, but a few teenagers spoiled it for everyone.

“We are a nation surrounded by enemies” Eden tells the the radio host. She doesn’t understand she is outside the fold, she is now a joke. She will repeat all the mantras and clichés she was told that enabled her to see Arabs as less than human. That allowed her to enjoy those army years so much without a hint of remorse or regret. Everyone else will shake their heads: “she doesn’t “get it”, she doesn’t understand how bad this makes us look.

Nation Of Misguided Teenagers

Young Jews Are Fantastic!

During work hours my web browser will often find itself in some political blog, occasionally I can’t help myself and I will spend time banging out some ranty comment in the post. Often the comment is moderated since I inconveniently didn’t confirm the blogger’s point of view.

Daniel Gordis wrote this, and I couldn’t help but reply. Since I spent time writing it, maybe it’s worth a post of my own? You’re welcome.

You may not like it, but I am extremely encouraged by where young people, in particular young American Jews are taking us. A new generation is taking a fresh look at Israel today, and it doesn’t like what it sees.

On one hand we learn about the American civil rights movement, about separation of church and state, about a progressive immigration policy, about multi-cultural multi-ethnic society, and about the rule of law. We learn to cherish and defend these principles especially as Jewish minority, especially after our experience in the Old World. And then we go to Hebrew school, where first we are lied to (“a people without a land, for a land without a people”), and later we are told to love Israel, an ethnocentric state where one set of laws does not apply to half of it’s population, where a secret police reigns supreme, where it views 1/5 of it’s population at best as a blight in the landscape and at worst as a fifth column or a “demographic time-bomb”.

We are lucky that this new Jewish generation is not outright schizophrenic, but overall has understood these contradictions in its education.

“Pro-Israel” advocates will try to re-brand and encourage the narrative of a pluralistic, secular, gay-friendly and technologically advanced Israel that is contrasted with its dark, backwards, violent, and poor neighbors. This is meant to appeal to democratic and progressive ears, but it is nothing more than veiled racism that simply rekindles our fear of the unfamiliar, of the brown, and of smelly poor people.

You say “the only association they have with Israel is the conflict with the Palestinians”. A good observation. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict rightly eclipses every other aspect of Israel’s image. It cannot be overstated, any attempt to trivialize it is simply dishonest. Even the word “conflict” deceives, as it implies the clash of two equal parties, where the reality is of an occupying power and a (increasingly) dispossessed and disenfranchised population.

Judging by the comments on this post, it seems like your readership is mostly middle-aged and concerned about their children’s attitude towards Israel. I just hope your kids manage to remind you what it’s all about and help you snap out of the euphoria and delusion you have been in since ‘67. Your children’s expensive education does not teach them to agree with you, even though you are footing the bill.

I was reminded of my moderated comment when I saw this essay by Peter Beinart that was just posted on The New York Review of Books.

Young Jews Are Fantastic!