Monday, December 9, 2013


Rabbi Arthur Waskow walks in the prophetic footsteps of his late friend and colleague Abraham Joshua Heschel. 
Today ( he touched upon one aspect of the relationship between "mainstream," "official" Jewish organizations and Nelson Mandela.
Let me raise another - the role of sanctions in fostering moral and wise political action.  Over the past few days, we have heard much about how important economic sanctions were in freeing Mandela and South Africa.  And, over the past weeks, they have also been important in bringing Iran to the negotiating table.  Is it not time to begin implementing sanctions aimed at bringing about an end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza.  Two days ago, in response to that oft-asked question "Where is your Mandela, Palestine?", I asked elsewhere "Where is your de Klerk, Israel?"  Fact is, we know who Palestine's Mandela is.  He is Marwan Barghouti and, like Mandela, he has been in prison incommunicado for eleven years.  Trouble is, we're still searching for the Israeli de Klerk who will free Barghouti and the Palestinians from their physical imprisonment and, in doing so, free the Israeli people from their spiritual prison of fear and hard-heartedness.  And there are a growing number of Israeli and American Jews who feel that the time has come to use sanctions to speed up that process and break open the prospects for peace in the Holy Land. 
Why are Christians so reluctant to join them?  Rabbi Waskow referred to "the 'sha shtill' syndrome – 'Keep quiet! – [that] still afflicts some major elements of American Jewish life."  Unfortunately, it still afflicts Christian churches, most especially my Episcopal Church.  Isn't it time for us to grow up spiritually and display the wisdom of a Heschel, the courage of a Mandela? 
Just asking?

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