In June, I attended part of the Workmen’s Circle convention weekend at the Circle Lodge in Sylvan Lake, NY. In particular, I attended a session featuring the Shalom Center’s Art Waskow and United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ) director Leslie Cagan on the anti-war movement. In my question to them, from the floor, I mentioned that Israel and the so-called ‘Israel Lobby’ were falsely accused of creating the war in Iraq while also raising the fact that Iran’s threatening behavior and rhetoric is now placing Israel front and center in the crisis over Iran.
Rabbi Waskow acknowledged that Israel was not actually a reason for the war in Iraq. And Ms. Cagan came the closest I’ve heard her to endorsing a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine– but not quite that far; she voiced with a titter something of a throw-away line that Israelis and Palestinians should be able to make peace. If I had the presence of mind to say all that I might have at that moment, I would have added the following: that it’s important to emphasize that Israel and its supporters were not responsible for the war in Iraq, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict bears no real relationship to the war in Iraq (notwithstanding how the UFPJ has seen this) and that Israel is central to the Iran issue only because of Iran’s hostile actions and rhetoric.
Directly after this session, I privately discussed with Larry Bush (editor in chief of the Workmen’s Circle’s Jewish Currents magazine) exactly the concern he has just articulated on his blog:
What if the surge is working in Iraq? How should those of us who have opposed this war from the start respond? Jewish Currents is currently working with the Workmen’s Circle and the Shalom Center to organize a November 23rd activism connference, Jews Uniting Against the War and to Heal America, at Central Synagogue in NYC. [Speakers will include Meretz USA’s Lilly Rivlin.]
Click here to read the rest of his posting.