Jim Haber’s Peace and Justice Blog

Bio article from Oakland Voices:

Jim Haber grew up in a liberal Bay Area home and has been a long-time peace and justice activist. For example, when he was 16, he attended a peace vigil at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in San Luis Obispo County. Later, when he was a student at UC Santa Barbara, he became active in protests at Vandenberg Air Force Base, near Lompoc, CA, where intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were being tested (and are still being tested); these missiles are designed to carry nuclear weapons. In fact, he more recently worked as coordinator of the Nevada Desert Experience, which organizes interfaith resistance to war and nuclear weapons.

In the mid-80s, Jim joined the Catholic Worker movement (http://www.catholicworker.org/), whose commitment to peace and justice issues aligned with his own. “I liked the soup kitchen idea. I liked that it’s a network of independent houses and there’s no overseeing body. I liked the commitment. Their willingness to put their lives on the line. Their honesty and integrity. Their willingness to do civil disobedience. Their willingness to risk. They’ve gone to war zones. They’ve gone to Afghanistan,” he said.

Jim’s Jewish background has had a profound influence on his activism on behalf of Palestinians living under a brutal Israeli occupation. In 2000, after the Second Intifada (the Palestinian uprising against Israel initiated by Ariel Sharon’s provocative visit to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Old Jerusalem), he began to meet with members of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) (https://jewishvoiceforpeace.org/), which is opposed to the Israeli occupation. He remains an active member of JVP because he is Jewish and American. “Because of the attacks on Palestinians, it feels important for Jews and Americans to speak up about the attacks on Palestinians,” he explained.

When asked about influences on his activism, Jim commented on how he is unable to ignore the plight of others. “I have a painful inability to look away. I take putting myself in other people’s shoes seriously,” he said.

Jim is a Contributing Writer at earthlearn.net.   His blog is haberjim.wordpress.com


It’s Personal: Israelis Killed My Friend

Suleiman al-Hathalein was from Um Il-Khair in Area C of the West Bank in the hills south of Al-Khalil (Hebron). In early January he was run over and dragged by a truck hired by the Israeli police to steal their cars. He died of his injuries about ten days later. Hajj Suleiman as he as known was my friend Eid’s father. His nephew, my friend Awdah​ shared this video about his recently murdered uncle. https://www.msnbc.com/ali-velshi/watch/velshi-a-palestinian-shepherd-peacefully-resisted-the-israeli-occupation-and-now-he-s-dead-131462213973? I am generally not impressed with MSNBC, but this story says it like it is. This incident/murder solidified my resolve to return to Um Il-Khair at my earliest opportunity. Applications for this summer’s delegation with the Center for Jewish Nonviolence are due January 31. If you need help finding the application portal, ping me. This Al Jazeera article about the incident explains a lot of the history and situation faced by my friends in Um Il-Khair. https://www.aljazeera.com/features/2022/1/23/suleiman-hathaleen

Awdah wote on Facebook:
“About Hajj Suleiman my uncle: He did not have ambition for status, rank, promotion, or material gain. So many times he found himself alone in front of barbed wire, his slender body gripped by soldiers as they threw him away to keep him from sites of confrontation. He was forced to drag his feet, to bear the weight of fatigue and the pain of violence, and to return to Umm Al-Khair to fight another day alone. He was not deterred by his loneliness, nor by road emptied of demonstrators after an hour. He knew one thing and it was enough for him: the land is his land. He knew that she felt the dirt whenever a soldier pushed him to the ground, whispering her pulse in his veins, her heart as his heart, her face is his face. Let the exodus from the land go to hell. With transcendent faith and a tireless voice, he did not care how the years passed, nor about power struggles, nor about Biden’s next decision. These things mattered to him less than a single penny. He did not comprehend defeat. He did not believe in weakness. He merely stood in the middle of the path worshiped by fugitives from destruction.

From the left: Tarek and Awda, Suleiman’s nephews, Eid, Suleiman’s son and yours truly in January, 2020. I hope to be reunited with my friends this summer, inshallah!

“He raised his hand to the wind and echoed with the eternal pulse of the earth…alone. He was so caring and compassionate that thousands came to his funeral. Hajj Suleiman Hathaleen left us without a leader, teacher and wisdom. Hear me that we have wounds in our hearts. I wish this all were a nightmare and that I could wake up to hug him, to tell him about the nightmare and hear his wisdom. We felt safe with his voice, and now we feel alone without our hero protecting us. Please remember him, keep him in your thoughts, keep his family in your hearts, so we do not feel alone. We are like orphans without him.”

After all that, it is no wonder that I have happily joined Tzedek Chicago. No wonder also that Tzedek Chicago is converting from a non-Zionist congregation to an anti-Zionist one. Read Rabbi Brant Rosen’s explanation and invitation: https://rabbibrant.com/2022/01/25/a-jewish-congregation-considers-articulating-anti-zionism-as-a-core-value/ The murder of Suleiman al-Hathalein is the true expression of what Zionism was intended to be. There really is not a kinder, gentler Zionism.

Your gift will help Afghan friends in so many ways. 

Kabul street art, 2011.

When communities collide! Okay, not collide, more, collude, actually! I went to Afghanistan with Voices for Creative Nonviolence in 2011 on a peace delegation, as many of you may recall. We all want to help our friends any way we can. Starhawk, my dear Reclaiming friend and teacher has been connected with my friends/our friends for some time through her permaculture work. If you are wondering how to help Afghans in need, here is a way, and the need is immediate and dear. Please help here! https://secure.givelively.org/donate/alliance-of-community-trainers/earth-activists-emergency-fund-for-afghan-relief

The international permaculture community is mobilizing to find sponsors and communities that can welcome them and help them navigate the difficult immigration hurdles. We need funds that we can draw on swiftly when a chance opens—to provide flights, shelter, food, medical care and clothing, to help sponsors qualify, and for many more needs. Thank you so much for your generous donation to help these families who have lost so much. Every single dollar counts. 

With huge gratitude for your support,
Earth Activist Training

Sanctions Kill!

The way the United States has increased offensive use of sanctions against people and governments is not a kinder and gentler way of coercing other governments to do as U.S. leaders want. It is not a way to move despots to be more humane. Where there is justification for sanctions, the United States is dishonest and hypocritical in their targeting and mis-application. It IS warfare, if economic. Its effects are devastating even if buildings may stand. In the time of a pandemic, sanctions are even more immoral. When they target a non-nuclear armed state like Iran by a nuclear armed state, they are certainly illegal as well. Don’t buy into them as better than a military campaign. They are one and the same. See “Sanctions Kill” on social media platforms to see how affected communities are responding, helping one another. I can understand organizing for social and political change in some places, but the United States efforts aren’t to be supported! We must find a way, as my Palestinian friends challenge me, to walk and chew gum at the same time,as they stand by the S in BDS. The idea of withholding financial dealings with despots is reasonable. Civil society needs to make the call though.

Odds and Ends

This article gave me great appreciation for Jesse Jackson because of some very strong, quotable statements. Also, it seems he had great instincts for choosing fights to step into and really help. I’m glad to feel this for someone before they age out, and he’s getting up there. His voice also can be week, but his spirit and insights remain powerful. I am glad to have been at a rally outside the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC. in 2019. https://portside.org/2022-01-22/bottom-empire-homelessness-housing-injustice-and-jesse-jacksons-call-eradicate-poverty

Lithium and Heavy Metal Extraction Extract Huge Tolls on Indigenous Peoples. Check out this excellent piece from High Country News. I think it is odd that they don’t actually name the coup against Evo Morales specifically as probably motivated by his wanting more (for his country mostly, imho) from the industry, but it is a great piece with some great graphics and statistics. https://www.hcn.org/issues/54.2/infographic-energy-industry-electric-vehicles-drive-up-demand-for-green-metals?

‘Tis the season to look at taxes. Do so by checking out this great site: https://nwtrcc.org/ The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee. Consider withholding a bit of your taxes and telling them why (on a separate sheet of paper, not on their forms). It feels good, they don’t pounce on you, and you can go ahead and pay it off if you change your mind. They only just told me they might take what I owe from 2012 and 2013. A few months ago they told me they may collect my 2019 and 2020 tax liabilities.

Four Enlightening Takes on Ukraine…and a Question (actually, the question was answered in number four)

Democracy Now! segment from January 25: https://www.democracynow.org/2022/1/25/us_prepares_troops_for_russia_invasion

From Medea Benjamin and CODEPINK, also from January 25: https://www.codepink.org/ukraine_crisis_background

James Dorsey from January 25, 2022: https://jamesmdorsey.substack.com/p/ukraine-crisis-could-produce-an-unexpected?

This is a lengthy piece entitled (dramatic pause) “Article by Vladimir Putin “On the Historical Unity of Russians and Ukrainians”” dated July 12, 2021. http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/66181

The last piece was brought to my attention through the World Beyond War discuss list. I don’t think it indicates that Putin thinks Ukraine should be part of Russia rather than its own country, even the eastern, very ethnically Russian parts. He speaks rightly against anti-Russian fomenting by the United States. He gave several straight answers to questions I had been pondering already. It is a long, but very readable piece. Over half of it is historical, but the motivations behind his views as a Russian all resonated with my previous understandings. I already understood that the current leadership in Kiev includes actual neo-Nazis, if not Nazis, and came into power as part of a US-fostered coup more than a revolution. Putin’s critiques and concerns are easily understandable, and I’m sure many ethnic Russians would echo his sentiments. I can still fully repudiate his actions all over the place though. In this piece he speaks of neo-Nazi impunity for murders of ethnic Russians in Ukraine, I know that he is speaking from experience when he laments, “[F]or many people in Ukraine, the anti-Russia project is simply unacceptable. And there are millions of such people. But they are not allowed to raise their heads. They have had their legal opportunity to defend their point of view in fact taken away from them. They are intimidated, driven underground. Not only are they persecuted for their convictions, for the spoken word, for the open expression of their position, but they are also killed. Murderers, as a rule, go unpunished.” (Emphasis added.) Still, what he decries are real attacks on real people. I decided to search on “ukraine neo-nazis burn people alive, 2014” to see if I was just being sweet talked and falling for it. Several references came up like in Time and The Nation. The United States has been trying to turn other countries against Russia, including historic peoples and places with longstanding connections. At the same time, Putin’s promoting of Russian language in the Central African Republic to be able to count a place so far from the motherland as ethnically Russian is a bridge too far and smacks of colonialism and geopolitical gamesmanship. (The CAR isn’t part of the article.)

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