Saturday, November 17, 2018

Driven to ideas that will hopefully liberate us all from Zionism

November 15

GUEST: Heather Tenzer, documentary filmmaker and human rights activist, talks about her latest project, a film called "The Rabbis' Intifada" that tells the story of the Neturei Karta, a group of Orthodox rabbis speaking out in support of Palestinian liberation.

The Rabbis' Intifada 

Heather was a great guest, in part because she is still searching for the truth. Growing up in a Zionist household, she was shocked by the Neturei Karta. Rabbis against the occupation? Calling it a disaster visited on the Jewish people?

We didn't spend too much time on how the Neturei Karta dressed or even on what their other beliefs are. The issue is justice and how some rabbis come to put their religious values above nationalism and apartheid. Of course, Rabbis don't have to belong to that community to hold these beliefs. I went on the Gaza Freedom March several years ago and made a documentary about Jews who had come along on our trip. Some were Rabbis and some were not, but they all put human life above the needs of the theocracy that is Israel.

Talking to Heather I became more interested in her awakening than I did in the Neturei Karta. I think that is why her film will be so powerful. Heather is a fearless explorer, driven to ideas that will hopefully liberate us all from Zionism.

Secret from no one else but the American people

November 8

GUEST: Cambiz Amir-Khosravi, widely recognized, award-winning documentary film and video producer whose work ranges back to the early 1980s, talks about his latest film, "Inheritance," that explores his life as an Iranian American with family ties to the CIA coup of 1953.

Finding Father: Cambiz Amir-Khosravi’s Inheritance

Cambiz gave us a lively interview. It wasn't just about the good guys and the bad guys in Iran; too simple. Why do Americans always think in those terms? Does it have to do with how idealistic we are, or how ignorant?

Cambiz doesn't spend too much time on the US role in his country, but it is always there beneath the surface. Even the title of his film has a double meaning. It is certainly his inheritance as a son of a prominent Iranian politician. But it is also the inheritance of the US for what it did to Iran's first democratically elected president, Mohammad Mosaddegh. How do you destroy the hopes of a whole nation for a few oil companies without making a lasting enemy? But that is the secret history of the US since the end of WWII. Secret from no one else but the American people. Others on the planet are all too aware. 

Turn around and risk your life again

November 1

GUEST: Michael Hanes, former Marine Force Recon staff sergeant who was part of the initial 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and former US Army Ranger deployed to Afghanistan 2002 - 2004, talks about his life as a war resister and his visits to the West Bank, Okinawa and Japan as a member of Veterans For Peace
U.S. Veteran Visits Palestine

Mike Hanes is a soft spoken ex-Marine. He just tells you what is happening in the American empire, no holds barred. His story about becoming aware of US war crimes is a compelling one. He followed a fellow Marine around because he feared for his friend's life. Not from enemy fire, but from those in his platoon who didn't like what the two of them were talking about: illegal invasions and occupations in the Middle East.

His trips with Vets For Peace must have been a cakewalk after that. VFP exists to expose US militarism around the world, and they had each other's backs in Okinawa, Korea, and the West Bank.

Oh that more soldiers could turn that corner and look at what they did in other countries more objectively. But it still takes a special person to risk his life once for an occupation, and then turn around and risk it again to fight for human rights. Yes, I admire Michael Hanes.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Destroy any hope of reform

The charge of antisemitism is becoming the slander of choice in our corrupt and corporate controlled political system. Cynthia Nixon was not alone in being undermined by such baseless charges. There was Mal Hyman, Democratic candidate for Congress in South Carolina; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democratic candidate in NY; Ilhan Omar, Democratic candidate in Minnesota; Scott Wallace, Democratic candidate in Pennsylvania; and Keith Ellison in his run for head of the Democratic National Committee. 

Bernie Sanders had the charge leveled against him during his progressive campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. In England, the reformist Labour Party leader Corbyn is fighting the same lies. Even locally the one true progressive on the Dutchess County Legislature, Joel Tyner, faced this despicable charge before his reelection. 

The common thread for all these politicians is that they are reformers who oppose the corruption and war mongering of the corporate state. They favor the rights of working people over the rich elite, and oppose the racism used to win elections. But why is the charge of antisemitism used so often to damage progressives?

The marriage of Trump to the Israeli state explains part of it. Sheldon Adelson, an Israeli/American billionaire, is Trump's largest contributor. But the corporate wing of the Democratic Party has its own Zionist billionaires. In fact, Israel has bet heavily on the repressive and often racist status quo in our country. How else to shore up support for its militaristic and apartheid state than to destroy any hope of reform in America?

Fred Nagel

Creatively maladjusted

October 18

GUEST: Marilyn Garson, a New Zealander who worked with communities affected by war in Afghanistan and later in Palestine, where she was Economic Director of Mercy Corps, and a consultant to UNRWA, talks about the life of a Jewish peace activist during and after the 2014 invasion of Gaza.

Contrapuntal: the music of hope is contrapuntal 

There are some people who live their lives for others. Not some of the time, like most of us, but all of the time. I am spending some time this Friday morning writing about Marilyn Garsons' experiences in Gaza. I don't live there, and my one attempt to get there was thwarted at the Egyptian crossing. I feel deeply committed to Palestinian rights, but I will play my guitar later and catch up on my emails. I know the difference.

So a Marilyn Garson is a treasure and an enigma. She makes me feel great about helping her spread the word. But all along, I know that I could be doing so much more.

Kathy Kelly was one of our very first guests on Activist Radio and she spent the hour with us in our little studio at Vassar College. She is a normal person with a good sense of humor, quick to laugh at some incongruity. But when she starts talking about her life's commitment, the differences become apparent. She won't pay any taxes to support the empire, so she makes no money that can be taxed. She laughs about her particular need to stay poor. We enjoy her quandary, and so does she.

"Human salvation lies in the hands of the creatively maladjusted." MLK

So few speak out

October 11

GUESTS: Emilie (Em) Clark, administrator at Peace Action New York State, and Emily Rubino, Grassroots Campaigns Coordinator For PANY supporting 21 campuses across NYS, talk about their joint trip to Japan for the International Youth Relay Peace March and World Conference Against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs held in Hiroshima.

Peace Action New York

Em and Emily had some heart to heart talks about what to say to their Japanese hosts. Were they simply sorry about what their government had done in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Is being sorry enough? What did they really feel, in fact? Do most Americans feel anything about the killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children in these two atom bomb blasts?

Peace Action NY talks about the unspeakable. Of course, nuclear weapons pose the threat to us all. But do the people living in the empire feel any real remorse about what has been done in the name of their great country? USA! USA!

Or do empires create a climate of moral ambiguity? It is hard to fine studies of Japanese and German remorse after World War II. German sensitivity about the Holocaust is a state sanctioned policy, not a popular movement. Was there real remorse while it was happening? So few spoke out against the imperial ambitions of Japan and Germany. So few speak out about America's imperialist wars. 

It was the part about "good white liberals"

October 4

GUEST: Dennis Trainor Jr., actor, filmmaker, and veteran of Occupy, Standing Rock and the Jill Stein campaign for president, talks about his most recent project, his one person show entitled "Manifest Destiny's Child" that is previewing in Woodstock, NY on Friday, Oct 26 (7:30 pm. at the Mountain View Studio).

Go Fund Me for "Manifest Destiny's Child"

Dennis is both an activist and an insightful commentator on the left movement in America. He is not afraid to take apart some of the more questionable assumptions of Occupy and Standing Rock. He doesn't let liberals off the hook either. Like Michael Moore, he traces the ascendency of the ultra right to the sellout of the corporate wing of the Democratic Party.

In doing publicity for Dennis' upcoming event in Woodstock, NY, I got complaints about how it was written. See if you can guess the sentence that some people didn't like:

Friday, October 26, “Manifest Destiny’s Child,” a memoir play by Dennis Trainor Jr, 7:00-9:00 PM at the at the Mountain View Studio, 20 Mountainview Ave., Woodstock. Critically acclaimed writer/director and activist, Trainor brings his experiences at Occupy, Standing Rock and the Jill Stein Campaign to the stage for an inside look at idealists and screw-ups, at revolution vs. reform, and at “good white liberals” and the myriad ways that privilege manifests itself.
Yes, it was the part about "good white liberals." That is what makes this play interesting. White privilege has brought us to the edge of fascism. It is time we took an honest look at the role of good white liberals in creating the climate for empire.