Monday, January 5, 2009


(First two paragraphs slightly edited from a comment over at PJ's.)

Yesterday at my "other church" (the one where I am three Sundays a month till May-ish) the rector (always a fine preacher) preached about Gaza and the refugee baby Jesus and the love of all humankind. That wasn't when I cried; I was actually distracted half the time. At the Prayers of the People we prayed for everybody on the planet including people serving in the armed forces, and in this congregation they name about four or five people specifically after the general prayer so people must have relatives on active duty.

And then we did what we do every single Sunday after communion and have been doing since the latest wars began (wars in the plural, yes): we kneel and sing "Dona Nobis Pacem" (the full round, several times) as a prayer for peace. I wept and wept while singing. Big fat tears rolling down my face into my mouth, singing for peace. All of us kneeling.

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I want to remind people that there is a diversity of views within Israel and that there are active dissenters there. There is also diversity in the U.S. Jewish community. Let me draw your attention to two organizations that used to be one but are now separate and both serve important purposes.

Jewish Peace News (JPN) offers an excellent news roundup to which you can subscribe on e-mail (free) by first going to JPN's blog here. Their sources are diverse. The mainstream media, whatever that is these days, does not expose us to this news. Neither, much of the time, does the alternative media, whatever that means. We do hear about the suffering of many --and there are so many more whose tears and deaths and fears we will never see or hear-- but we don't hear much about work for peace and voices of protest. Do have a look at their blog, where you can find subscription info and samples of the news they send out.

Which leads me to the second organization (which as I recall gave birth to the first, and, to no one's surprise, they are based in the San Francisco Bay Area, which is where I first heard of them), Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP). They send out e-mails too, but they also have a website which I urge you to visit.

On the JPN website, in addition to news from Gaza, you will find information about the recent campaign in solidarity for the Shministim, who are the young conscientious objectors in Israel. They are very young (high school seniors) and look as if they could be your children or mine and they have gone to prison for refusing to participate in unjust military actions.

There's also a helfpul "New to the issue? Start here." link. It leads to a FAQ on "Israeli Palestinian Conflict 101." You will see it is primarily aimed at the Jewish community since this is a Jewish organization, but it's worth reading if you are a Gentile, too.

There are also media campaigns (there was and is one about the news blackout on Gaza, which long predated the current military action; things have been very bad in Gaza for a long time and we haven't been hearing enough about it) and statements condemning anti-Muslim and anti-Arab bigotry. JVP also has a news blog called MuzzleWatch: Tracking efforts to stifle open debate about US-Israeli foreign policy.

If you are press, or even if you are not, there are fact sheets here about JVP and its mission.

So remember these names: Jewish Peace News and Jewish Voice for Peace, and stay informed.
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So much for blog break. I am still in hiding working on writing projects till mid-month and not really posting in a fully attentive way. The cat is doing better at it than I, and she has an Epiphany sermon for you. Also, I will post in a couple of days a link to my new essay at the Episcopal Café. I'm really still on break and not all there. But I cannot stay silent about Gaza.

Godde help us all.


Grandmère Mimi said...

Excellent post, Jane. Now to click the links.

Jane R said...

I'm adding a link for "Dona Nobis Pacem."

susankay said...

Jane -- ABSOLUTELY, ABSOLUTELY. There is, I understand, also a diversity of views in Gaza. Which does NOT mean that children on either side should be hurt. The whole world MUST stop seeing violence as an antidote to violence.

Ken said...

No, not free publicity, just a perhaps complimentary and less sanguine point of view:

Jane R said...

I think you meant complEmentary, no?

Just read your post over there rapidly (I am headed back to work) and not sure I understand it all, but will return to it when I have more time...

Jane R said...

P.S. Sanguine, me? I don't think so. Bleeding heart, maybe (same root as sanguine, though, from the word for "blood"). More like a lament plus some useful information.

Lindy said...

You've created an excellent resource here Jane. Thanks.

I used to think Israel and the territories were a complex issue, a cluster of complex issues. It seems so simple to me now. Just stop killing people.

Keep singing for peace!

MikeF said...

Thank you, Jane - as Lindy says, an invaluable resource!

Algernon said...

Just praying for all of humanity, this is the way. I just blogged the Shministim as well.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon has been writing some good commentary about the side-taking that goes on, and the madness behind it.

Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken said...

Someone doesn't understand MY writing? God help me, I must be using my long-discarded academic voice again. Oh, you're right about complementary. Oh well, that can be fixed. What cannot be fixed is the situation in the Middle East. My so-called epiphany over the last two days is that after 60 years of fighting and diplomacy, there is no hope. And for having to finally say that I am deeply sorry.

Where theocracy rules, God has been expelled.

And yes, I would rather be depressing than dishonest.

Caminante said...

That photo says it all. And seeing it more than words makes me weep.

janinsanfran said...

That photo ... I had just grabbed it from somewhere, thinking perhaps I'd use it if I brought myself to write about Gaza again.

War sure reminds us how helpless we really are.