Peace & Justice
Tuesdays, the Peace/Life Center is usually open from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. Bring brown bag lunch. Come by for some coffee or tea or to chat or to see a film or browse through various books and magazines. Beverages will be provided.
Download the Peace Essay Flyer here
The Modesto Peace Life Center and the Peace Essay Contest Committee would like to thank everyone who attended our first Harvest Gathering and donated money, food, coffee, wine and deserts and other special items. We raised about $1150.00 for the Peace Essay Contest.
Special thanks to Nancy Smith and David Rockwell who donated their house for the evening, and to John Frailing and Maria Arevalo for coordinating the event. Many folks were just delighted with the opportunity to socially meet with others from the peace community and catch up on what we were doing.
Peace/Life Center celebrates with holiday potluck
By DAN ONORATO
Peace work and peacemakers tend to be too earnest and serious. Emma Goldman thought they needed to laugh more, let their hair down, enjoy a good party. “If there’s no dancing, that’s no revolution I want to be part of.” Those aren’t Emma’s exact words, but that’s her spirit. And that’s the spirit in which Alice and Dan Onorato’s invite all peacemakers to a holiday party at their home at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 9.
The party is open to people already part of the Peace/Life Center community as well as to those curious about it or interested in possibly getting involved. The party will be a potluck, so everyone coming, please get creative in the kitchen and bring your tasty dish, a beverage to share, and your festive spirit.
Besides delicious food, we’ll have lively conversation and laughter, lots of singing, and maybe some dancing to keep Emma happy. There may also be some surprises. Rumor has it that Santa wants to practice his chimney descents early this year, and that he’s gone on a crash diet to be able to fit down the narrow chimneys of wood burning stoves. There’s a good chance he’ll try the Onorato’s chimney because he’s been informed there will be a special personage waiting for him, none other than the grand dame of merriment, Ms. Mildred Lovitt. If you haven’t met Mildred, that’s reason enough to come to this party. She’s part busy body, part storyteller, and three parts rascal.
So mark Saturday, December 9 on your calendar right now. Delight others with your potluck surprise, enjoy the kinship and mirth of kindred spirits, share your hopes, raise your voice in song, and maybe do a little slippin’ and slidin’ on the dance floor, so Emma can smile upon us.
ACTION: The Onoratos live at 1532 Vernon Ave in Modesto. See you December 9.
Modesto Brethren to hold Peace Academy
By REV. RUSS MATTESON
What better way to use the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday for students than to spend it learning to make peace with one another in practical ways.
The Modesto Church of the Brethren will host a 24 hour Peace Academy on January 14th and 15th, from 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Leadership will be provided by staff of On Earth Peace based in New Windsor, MD, an agency of the Church of the Brethren that has been providing hands on training to young and old in peacemaking skills for more than the 30 years.
The retreat costs $35 per person and is open to 8th through 12th graders of any faith background who are open to considering the call of God for all people to be peacemakers. Registration materials are available at the Modesto COB by calling 523-1438 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have questions contact Russ Matteson, pastor, at email@example.com.
Toys are for fun, not fighting From the Coalition For Peace
Cities For Peace BY KAREN DOLAN on TomPaine.com
Voices for Creative Nonviolence plan non-violent resistance
From Voices for Creative Nonviolence
We who work at Voices for Creative Nonviolence are privileged to be in touch with numerous groups, across the U.S., whose resolve and determination have fueled vigils, education events, fasts, and demonstrations to end the United States occupation of Iraq.
In early 2007, President Bush is expected to submit to Congress yet another supplemental spending request for at least $50 billion more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This will bring war funding for the current fiscal year to $120 billion (earlier, $70 billion was included for the war in the regular military appropriations bill).
We seek your participation in the “Occupation Project”, a grass-roots campaign of sustained nonviolent direct action which includes risking arrest to persuade elected representatives to oppose further appropriations to fund U.S. war in Iraq. We plan to launch the “Occupation Project” the week of February 7 and to continue weekly occupations for at least 8 weeks.
Here in Chicago, we plan to begin weekly occupations inside the offices of elected Representatives and Senators. The campaign will be entirely nonviolent, will consist of actions which risk arrest and will be based upon affinity groups. An affinity group is a grouping of individuals who come together for a specific action or for a longer period of time to make decisions together and support each other through a campaign of nonviolent resistance. Affinity groups will determine the type of action in which they engage.
The location of the actions will likely vary. One possibility is to focus upon a specific Senator or Representative because of their position on the war or in Congress (especially if they are on the Appropriations Committee which will initially vote on the war funding). Another possibility is to rotate the action from one office to another: week one is at Senator A’s office; week 2 is at Senator B’s office; week 3 is at a Representative’s office; week 4 is back to Senator A and the cycle is repeated.
The type of action will also vary as affinity groups decide what to do, so long as the action is based firmly within guidelines of nonviolence which will be developed for this campaign.
One possible action is to read the names of U.S. and Iraq dead, tolling a bell for each name read, until all names have been read or the Senator / Representative publicly pledges to vote against any additional war funding or we are placed under arrest and removed from the office.
Another possible action is to toll a bell once each minute for each Iraqi and U.S. person who has died since the U.S. led invasion. Even using Iraq Body Count’s conservative estimate of about 50,000 Iraqi dead would mean ringing a bell once a minute for over 850 hours. The tolling of the bell would continue until it tolled once for each person who has died in Iraq or until people are placed under arrest and removed from the office.
Other possibilities might include an interfaith prayer service; a silent vigil; posting of the names of Iraqi and U.S. dead; bringing in photos of those who have died in Iraq; etc.
Throughout this campaign, we will maintain a website listing all of the places participating in “the Occupation Project.” On this website, activists will also find sample press releases, fliers, informational updates, announcements of actions happening across the United States, and guidelines to assist with nonviolent preparation to participate in the campaign. We will begin developing this section of the Voices website over the next two to three weeks.
During the coming weeks, we plan to contact people and groups who have organized previous nonviolent efforts to end economic and military warfare in Iraq. We plan to continue to work in collaboration with other organizations which promote nonviolent civil disobedience to end the war in and occupation of Iraq, especially the National Campaign of Nonviolent Resistance (www.iraqpledge.org ) and the Declaration of Peace (www.declarationofpeace.org ).
ACTION: To learn more, contact us as soon as possible at Voices for Creative Nonviolence, 1249 West Argyle Street, Chicago, IL 60640 or call 773-878-3815. Email firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.vcnv.org
By ANNIE AUKEMAN
My friend, Antonia Marison, and I are organizing a project to help child victims of sex trafficking in Cambodia. We are currently working with a group of roughly 24 children (mostly girls) in a shelter in Phnom Phen, Cambodia, organizing English classes, art therapy classes, and raising money for schooling.
The problem of trafficking in Cambodia is endemic as a result of severe poverty after decades of bloody civil war. Poor children and young women living in the rural provinces are sold by their families and trafficked to brothels in Phnom Penh where they will work as sex slaves for most of their young lives. There are approximately 10, 000 to 15,000 commercial sex workers in Phnom Penh, of which around 39% are HIV positive. The average age of a trafficked victim is between 12 and 16 years. Prostitution is embedded in Cambodia society, where the old tradition of polygamy is kept alive by men frequenting brothels.
Also, Cambodia has recently acquired a reputation as one of the world’s most popular destinations for sex tourists and, most worryingly, pedophile sex tourism. As AIDS prevention increases, the number of sex workers with HIV is decreasing, however, the tragic irony is that as people become more aware, the demand for younger and younger girls has ballooned. Young girls are deemed clean and disease free irrespective of whether they are virgins or not. However the fact that their bodies are not ready for sex with full-grown men makes them even more susceptible to contracting fatal diseases.
The problems associated with child prostitution are endless, however many local and international NGOs are working hard in stemming these violations. The Cambodian Centre for the Protection of Children's Rights (CCPCR; http://www.humantrafficking.org/organizations/48) is dedicated the prevention and protection of children from trafficking and the rescue and rehabilitation of victims. They conduct many activities and are doing amazing work, yet the future of the children rescued and taken into care still looks bleak.
CCPCR has 4 shelters in Cambodia one of which is in Phnom Penh. There are around 24 children and young women living in the Phnom Penh shelter at any time, all victims of trafficking, sexual abuse or severe domestic violence. They receive life skills training and counseling, however, there is no program of formal education which would help provide future opportunities for them due to fund limitations.
We are proposing to implement a varied education program that will include courses in arts and English within the shelter and help fund public school education for long-term residents and the scholarship of one resident for university. We want to start the English teaching program immediately as the demand for knowledge of English in Cambodia is absolutely essential in almost all employment fields. We would like to hold a month-long jewelry making skills workshop, focused on traditional Khmer culture to help preserve Cambodian cultural heritage that was almost completely lost during the civil war. The jewelry making will provide a therapeutic and creative activity for the residents as they rehabilitate themselves and get over their trauma, and also provide the possibility of generating some income.
We drastically need help with funding for all these activities. Your support we can really make an impact on a few lives and give them some hope for the future. These children had no choice over the poverty and lasting conflict they were born into and subsequently the sale of their bodies, but through our help, perhaps they can have more choice in their futures. Cambodia is still absolutely crippled after years of gruesome civil war which resulted in the loss of around a quarter of the population. To this day, you will not meet a single person who was not directly impacted by the war. With 50 percent of the current population aged 15 and under, the young generation is the hope for this nation that lost everything. If they can learn today, they can change their world tomorrow.
Please consider donating a small sum of money (even $5!) to help us fund this project, and help these children. Some of your donations will go to setting up a website (already in progress) so you can follow and read more about our work. If you donate, please send us an email so we can keep a record of donations and can update you about our activities.
ACTION: to securely donate visit the author’s blog at http://www.annieaukeman.blogspot.com. For more information, email email@example.com If you'd like to read more about Cambodia and the project, check out Antonia's blog at http://www.antoniamarison.blogspot.com/
Note: The author is the daughter of Modestan, Calvin Aukeman
From Center for International Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The School of Medicine at Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, Iraq, and The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University—in cooperation with MIT’s Center for International Studies—have released a report on the under-examined question of civilian deaths in Iraq since the U.S. invasion in March 2003. Its central conclusion, based on a population-based survey conducted at some risk by a team of Iraqi and American public health researchers, is that approximately 600,000 people have died violently above the normal mortality rate. Including non-violent deaths that are nevertheless linked to the war, the total is estimated to be more than 650,000.
On October 12, 2006, the survey results were published in the British medical journal, The Lancet (http://www.thelancet.com/).
“The Human Cost of the War in Iraq: A Mortality Study, 2002-2006” explains the cluster survey method; discusses how so many fatalities are possible; looks at the overall status of health in Iraq; examines U.S. military casualties and deaths and their long-term consequences, and discusses policy implications of the study. The report is available at http://web.mit.edu/cis/pdf/Human_Cost_of_War.pdf.
For questions, contact Tim Parsons, Director of Public Affairs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, (410) 955-7619 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cost of War: How Are So Many Fatalities Possible?
Precisely how so many people have been killed in Iraq is a natural question. While the survey is not designed to answer such a question, apart from general attributions, a few observations may be helpful in grasping the scale of mortality during the war.
• Much violence is occurring far from the view of journalists and widely cited mechanisms for counting the dead. Most Western reporters are based in Baghdad. Even there, large-scale events tend to gain attention, not the numerous but scattered incidences of violence that also occur.
• Baghdad has one-fifth of the nation’s population, or about 5 million. Another 5 million live in the three Kurdish provinces in the north, which are relatively peaceful. Some 15 million live in the remainder of Iraq, and with the exception of Mosul, Kirkuk, and Basra, where there is some foreign press presence, Iraq is largely hidden from the view of Western journalism [emphasis added]. This mortality survey also suggests much more violence is occurring outside Baghdad.
• Those who read the Arabic press say that many incidences of violence are reported in such news media that are never reported in the English-language press.
By JOEL SCHALIT
In the weeks immediately following the September 11 attacks, some of the most frequent guests on American news programs were Israeli diplomats and security consultants who were asked to share their battle-hardened wisdom on the tragedy. Nearly every time they spoke, it was though they were all reading a variation of the same script: Now America knows what it’s like to be subject to Islamic terrorism. Now America understands that we are struggling against the same enemy. Now America understands why it must support Israel in its fight against Arafat—because behind him stands Osama Bin Laden.
The most disconcerting thing about hearing such testimony was how utterly calculating it appeared to be. America had just weathered its first domestic attack since Pearl Harbor, and “experts” were spinning the event as though it were an opportunity to shore up American support for Israel’s fight against the Palestinians. Behaving as though they’d already bought the argument, networks repeatedly broadcasted scenes of jubilant Palestinians celebrating Al Qaeda’s attacks on the streets of Nablus and Ramallah, as if to document what their Israeli guests were saying.
For conspiracy theorists searching for evidence that Israel disingenuously goaded America into invading Iraq, such examples provide a triumphant degree of validation. However, what’s more important is asking why Israelis were so quick to link their own struggles to those of the United States. Despite Israel’s longstanding strategic alliance with the U.S., it was not in Israel’s best security interests to blur the distinction between its own conflicts with the Arab world with those of its patron. In 2001, Israel’s conflicts were relatively contained and far more localized than those being fought in the region by the United States. At peace with neighboring states, Egypt and Jordan, and having just withdrawn from Lebanon in the summer of 2000, Israel needed to keep its focus on the second Palestinian uprising. Certainly, the last thing Israel needed was to add to its already impressive collection of enemies. Especially when it was trying to get rid of them.
Israel’s Alliance with the U.S.
Nevertheless, one does not need a doctorate in Middle Eastern political psychology to understand why certain members of the Israeli establishment promoted this problematic position. The fact that the September 11 attacks were carried out by Arabs, and were primarily a response to American foreign and military policies in the Middle East — particularly since the first Gulf War — represented an ideal opportunity to reinvigorate a strategic alliance that had benefited Israel enormously since the Six Day War in 1967. Indeed, irrespective of one’s political positions on Israel’s relationship with the United States, it would almost be impossible to conceive of Israel’s continued existence over this period of time without American military and economic support.
September 11 offered Israel an unparalleled opportunity to maintain the high level of intimacy that had existed between the two countries during the Clinton years and that Israelis feared was threatened by a new, potentially less friendly Republican administration. What better opportunity to renew the emotional bonds between the two countries (and to maintain the military and economic ties Israel needed) than to point out to the American public that both countries faced a growing Islamist threat? Israelis were happy to tell Americans that the anger directed against them was not the fault of American-led sanctions on Iraq, American support for authoritarian regimes, or American control of Middle Eastern oil: the problem, Israel could say, was one they shared—a history of ethnic conflict that cast both Jews and Americans as reviled Westerners.
What went unspoken, however, was how much Israel needed U.S. political support. Though Israel’s conflicts with neighboring states were contained, its struggle with the Palestinians was raging in 2001. The Israeli security apparatus had seen Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 as a rehearsal for leaving the Occupied Territories—and was stunned when the Oslo peace process failed. With the second intifada, Israel saw itself as having no choice but to hitch its wagon to American efforts to combat Islamic terrorism and impose a new regional Pax Americana. The model was America’s victory over Iraq in 1991, which helped push the Palestinians and Syria toward the negotiating table. In this model, whatever was not accomplished by negotiations would be imposed by force—the force of Israel’s counterinsurgency campaign against the Palestinians, and that of the United States waging an all-out war on any regional powers providing material and financial succor to the new Palestinian resistance.
Called upon as America’s most militarily powerful ally in the Middle East, Israel did everything in its power to support the Bush administration’s new strategic doctrine in the region. The problem with the position that Israel took, however, was that it gave little thought to the possibility that America would not prevail politically or militarily over its adversaries as it had in the first Gulf War, and, most importantly, in the Cold War. Nor did Israel take into account the possibility of how its alliance with the United States would constrain Israel’s ability to make decisions on its own behalf, without having to prioritize U.S. interests over its own.
The renewed relationship between Israel and the United States that developed in 2001 was in fact a desperate embrace, in which each party’s attempt to gain strength from the other has only led to a deeper collapse. Every new crisis created by the War on Terror managed to encourage their most illiberal political tendencies to come to the fore, to the point that in each of the ally’s misfortunes, they would look for opportunities to advance their respective political ambitions. The problem is that none of the analyses that identified these openings reflected the military and economic realities that have emerged in the Middle East since President Clinton first assumed office.
The results of this alliance are to be found in the second Lebanon war. Responding to a cross-border attack in which eight Israeli troops were killed and two were taken prisoner, Israel decided that it was time to destroy the Shi’ite militia organization Hezbollah once and for all. After Israel conducted massive air and naval bombardments of its installations and missile sites, followed by the introduction of Israeli ground forces into the southern part of the country, Hezbollah responded by firing thousands of missiles at northern and central Israel. By the end of the second week in August, a million Lebanese civilians were refugees, 954 were dead, and 3,600 reported wounded. On the Israeli side, 161 combined military and civilian deaths and 1,750 wounded had been reported, and hundreds of residential homes and buildings had been damaged. According to news reports, almost half of the country’s northern population fled southward, with estimates of displaced Israelis rising as high as 500,000.
The most notable military aspect of this war was its unprecedented brutality. For the first time in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a conventional war was directly waged on each side’s civilian populations. Instead of just targeting Israeli military forces, Hezbollah’s gunners fired rockets and missiles at dense urban areas. Instead of assaulting military installations, Israeli fighter-bombers and artillery aimed their fire at apartment buildings, houses, bridges, cars, and telecommunications hubs. Hezbollah offered no rationale for delivering their payloads onto civilian targets other than that they were acting in self-defense. Israel conversely explained that it was impossible not to cause civilian casualties because Hezbollah had dispersed its infrastructure and weaponry in urban areas and villages throughout the country. Nevertheless, the IDF and Hezbollah appeared to be operating according to the same set of principles. Functionally, everything was fair game.
The question is why both parties chose to risk such a conflict at this point in time. Being willing to offer up their respective civilian populations to such dire risk clearly meant that both Israel and Hezbollah perceived much higher stakes at play than a simple border skirmish. It gradually became clear that Israeli officials were conducting the campaign against Hezbollah as part of a much larger regional struggle. Israel pointed to evidence that the weaponry the Shi’ite militia was using was supplied and manufactured by both Syria and Iran (and in certain instances, operated by Iranian personnel). Israeli politicians and journalists began to piece together a picture of a war initiated by Tehran through Hezbollah, and fought on behalf of its interests, with Syria playing the role of facilitator. Israel was not fighting just to weaken Hezbollah, and found itself on the frontline of a new regional struggle being fought against a global Jihad aimed at Western liberal interests. Israel was fighting a vicious war at least partly on behalf of its U.S. patron.
The tragedy of this situation is how long it took for the rhetoric of Israeli security conservatives during the aftermath of September 11 to finally meet reality. For the first time in the country’s history, Israel found itself in the position of being attacked as a surrogate for America by an Islamic guerrilla organization also acting on behalf of the interests of a foreign power. As easy as it might be to argue that such scenarios have always played themselves out during the Arab-Israeli conflict—first the United States versus the Soviet Union, now America versus Iran—there was never a time when the use of Middle Eastern countries in a game of strategic chess played by third-party states was so utterly transparent. Why? Because as the costs suffered by both Israel and Lebanon so clearly show, neither country had anything to benefit by going to war. The only winners would be those rivaling nations needing to keep one another’s ambitions in check by promoting regional turmoil.
For neoconservatives in the West agitating for an American-led confrontation with Iran, the war in Lebanon was part of a larger strategy. Tehran had finally shown its hand and was actively engaged in the destabilization of the entire region, far beyond the confines of Iraq. Using fundamentalist Lebanese guerrillas as their proxy, it had finally opened up the front against Israel that it had been threatening ever since the elevation of Mahmoud Ahmadinajad to Iran’s presidency in June 2005. And Israel, the United States’ most loyal ally, had risen to the occasion and was conducting the war for America.
Perhaps the greatest irony of this conflict, however, is what a picture of powerlessness it paints of the United States during its fifth year of war. Unable to contain Iran’s ambitions to expand its regional hegemony, incapable of quelling a civil war caused by its own invasion of Iraq, America has had to entrust Israel with the final responsibility for restoring its lost power of deterrence in the Middle East. Mirroring the Israeli failure to anticipate how a failed U.S. policy in the region might impact Israel, America has returned this trust to Israel for its own protection, with little to no acknowledgement of how Israel’s war with Lebanon might further erode U.S. opportunities for regional dominance.
America’s prospects don’t look good. Given the kind of shockwaves the Israeli-Lebanese fight has sent throughout the Middle East, it may just be a matter of time before Arab states that are allied with the United States, and distantly, Israel, experience rising levels of public discontent that they did nothing to prevent the immolation of Lebanon. U.S. forces will undoubtedly find Iraq more ungovernable than ever. Further, with Iran gaining regional power, it remains possible that whatever gains the Americans have made by occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, they may now undergo a process of reversal at the hands of an Iranian-sponsored regional uprising.
For the United States, Israel’s friendship comes with a high price. As for Israel, it clearly has earned a great deal of respect from the U.S. by assuming such a remarkable burden. But maybe, just maybe, the price of being America’s best ally has become a little too high.
Joel Schalit is managing editor of Tikkun. Visit www.tikkun.org to learn more.
Jews, Palestinians dialogue for peace
By LARRY MITCHELL
Staff Writer, Chico Enterprise-Record
Jews and Palestinians spoke about their efforts at mutual understanding in Chico last week.
The founders of the Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo and two other group members were in town to talk at the annual dinner of the Chico Area Interfaith Council.
The dinner was last Thursday at the Newman Catholic Center. The following evening, founders Libby and Len Traubman and group members Elias Botto and Arnon Moscoma gave a presentation before an estimated 85 people at the Congregational Church of Chico. All four live in the Bay Area.
In an interview, the Traubmans, who are Jewish, explained how the dialogues started in 1992.
They said during the 1980s they became very concerned about the Cold War. After traveling to Russia for a visit, the couple began arranging for Americans and Russians to visit in each others’ countries and get to know one another.
This direct approach to international relations led to the founding of a peace organization called Beyond War.
Libby said she and her husband were asked by some people to try to bring Palestinians and Jews together in the hope personal communication could improve their relations.
At that time, Len said, “almost no Jews and Palestinians had had a face-to-face, in-depth relationship.”
“We started looking for people who were interested,” Libby said. It was 1992 when “we finally built our little core.” It included about a dozen people, Palestinians — both Muslims and Christians — and Jews.
The first sessions were held in the Traubmans’ home. Then the meetings began rotating among the homes of members.
“We meet once a week,” Libby said. “We socialize for half an hour and then for two hours, we engage in meaningful, purposeful dialogue.”
At the beginning, people tell their own stories, she said. “Then, we begin to tackle more difficult issues.
“We listen. We try not to interrupt and correct. Sometimes the meetings are very friendly. Sometimes they can get very tense. Sometimes we have to pause and settle down.”
Often, the tone of the meeting depends on how the past week has gone in the Holy Land.
Botto, a Christian Palestinian who was born in Jerusalem, said he’s been with the dialogue group almost since its beginning.
Those who join the group are asked to make a commitment to keep coming, but not all continue. Botto said he was sorry to say that it seemed more Palestinians than Jews have quit the group.
“Many Palestinians expect us to take a stand,” he said, but the purpose of the group is to talk and listen, not take positions. “For those who quit, it is black and white. They feel they are the victim.”
“The Jews feel we have been the victim,” Len said. “There are two different narratives — two different views of life that occur in the same time in history.”
While Jews have had the chance to tell their story in America, to a large extent Palestinians have not, he added.
As the Palestinians see it, Botto said, “we are the victims. It was our home that the Jews of Europe came to occupy without any regard to our situation.”
The Jews suffered terribly in the Holocaust, he said, but many Palestinians wonder why they should be made to pay for it.
When he was growing up, before the creation of Israel, Botto said Jews, Christians and Muslims in Palestine enjoyed friendly relations.
Moscoma, a Jew who was born in Nigeria and who moved to Israel where he served in the army, said he joined the dialogue group in 1997.
When he left Israel and came to America, he “was seeking,” he said. “I was on a spiritual path.”
He felt Israel was not treating the Palestinians right and not abiding by the principles upon which the Jewish nation was founded.
“For me it’s been an important thing,” he said of the dialogue group. “I tell people, I don’t know if this process is going to change the world. I know it’s the right thing to do. My world was dominated by war and fear and worries — why do these people hate me? Now, I don’t have enemies. All the Palestinians I know are friends.”
A number of spin-off dialogue groups have formed, based on the one begun by the Traubmans. An annual family camp is held, also, bringing together Jews and Palestinians, including many from the Middle East.
If there’s enough interest, said Rabbi Julie Danan, the newly elected president of the Interfaith Council, a Jewish-Palestinian dialogue group might start in Chico.
Staff writer Larry Mitchell can be reached at 896-7759 or email@example.com.