Monday, November 14, 2016

Trump, Netanyahu and Anti-Semitism

LA Times: 11/9/16
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is celebrating Donald Trump's victory in last week's election.  Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett is celebrating the death of the Palestinian dream: “The victory of Trump is a huge opportunity for Israel to immediately announce that it renounces the idea of establishing Palestine in the heart of the country."  In other words, We've been aiming for this moment all along.  Across the Israeli government, the plan seems clear: more expansion, more settlements, fewer Palestinians between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.  And no Palestinian state.  Ever.

Here's the link: 

It seems the election--for all its brutality--has once and for all revealed the Israeli government for what it is: determined to extinguish all Palestinian aspirations and hope.  Think of it.  Here at home, Trump is excoriated (justifiably and wisely) for appointing a White Nationalist and Anti-Semite as his chief counselor; critics from many perspectives call him out for what he is: bigoted and dangerous.  In Israel however, the same Trump is heralded by Netanyahu and Bennett as a kind of savior: the one coming to make Israel's annexation of the West Bank permanent and eternal.  Netanyahu and Bennett are not the least concerned--it would seem--with Bannon's Anti-Semitism or Trump's alliances with White Nationalists and racists.  As long as they can destroy Palestine's dream, all is well.

In light of all this, and in solidarity with dear Israeli peacemakers and Palestinian friends, I'm more committed than ever to satyagraha, creative nonviolence, and economic strategies designed to change the hearts and minds of world leaders and people of conscience.  It's meaningless to simply denounce Trump's election and Bannon's elevation--without turning to compassionate and loving nonviolence and daring to act with integrity and hope.  On the matter of Palestine, and in response to Palestinian dreams, we in the West have to act, embracing satyagraha and risking the contempt that comes with prophetic nonviolence.  (Amoz Oz, the great Israeli novelist, says, "Almost every person who steps out of the consensus is accused of treason by his contemporaries, or by her contemporaries."  The time has come for us to stand up and be counted.)

This is also true in other arenas: Black Lives Matter, racism and economic inequality; climate change, earth care and global warming; women's rights, violence and rape culture.  We simply have to learn how to act--in organized and strategic ways--rather than lose our minds in perceived powerlessness and despair.  Faith requires it.

Here in Santa Cruz, our congregation is exploring, with some urgency, the "HP-Free Church" campaign--as a way of taking a stand with Palestinian Christians and Muslim allies.  It's just one step, but an active and nonviolent one, to urge people of good will to join this movement for justice and peace and Palestinian liberation.  The new American administration--in concert with Israeli officials--will not pursue justice of its own initiative.  That's just not their agenda.  So we--Jews and Christians, Muslims and others--must join in King's Beloved Community to pursue Gandhi's satyagraha: a principled, effective and daring campaign of nonviolent love, aimed at turning the hearts and minds of leaders toward justice for all.

To do nothing do nothing.  And that doesn't cut it.  Not now.  Not ever.