Salaam alaykum. Wishing Barack Obama salaam IN ANY LANGUAGE is beneath
me. He is not taking these trips for OUR benefit. {{Maryam}}

--- In, "visionaries4" wrote:
> Open ltr to Obama/ Middle East, Islam, Ends & Means
> Dear folks,
> I have already once posted this "Open Letter to Obama" on the
> Progressives for Obama list, but it has not appeared — at least not
> back to me, nor has there been any comment on it. So I am trying that
> again & also sending it to you-all. If you have any advice about how to
> make sure it gets sent to the whole list, I would appreciate it. Thanks.
> Shalom, salaam, peace -- Arthur
> Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director, The Shalom Center
> <> ; author  of
> Down-to-Earth Judaism  and a dozen other books on Jewish thought and
> practice, as well as books on US public policy; editor of  Torah of the
> Earth; co-author, The Tent of Abraham.  The Shalom Center   voices a new
> prophetic agenda in Jewish, multireligious, and American life. To
> receive the weekly on-line Shalom Report, click on --
> <>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> _to_obama_middle_east.html
> Open Letter to Senator Obama:
> The Middle East, Islam, Ends, & Means
> Dear friends, I am writing this out of personal experience and my own
> individual ethical concern, not on behalf of any organization or
> campaign.  It comes with Martin Buber's teaching ringing in my brain:
> that he had no idea what it meant to say that "the ends justify the
> means," but that for sure the means we actually use will become the ends
> that we actually achieve.
> Or as ancient Torah teaches, "Justice, justice shall you pursue."  Why
> "justice" twice? To teach that just ends can only be achieved through
> just means.
> A lesson for all who work to change society.
> Shalom, salaam, peace -- Arthur
> Dear Senator Obama,  I met you at your talk with Philadelphia Jewish
> leaders in April. It was I who as you entered the room handed you a copy
> of the original Freedom Seder, which I wrote in 1969, and which bound
> together the freedom struggles of Blacks and Jews. And during Q & A, it
> was I who asked you how as President you would deal with the
> peace-obstructing settlement policy of this and many previous Israeli
> governments.
> I asked that question because one of the advance speakers for your
> meeting, Congressman Roth of New Jersey, had just asserted that you
> believe the failure of the peace process has been solely the result of
> the absence of a Palestinian partner for peace.
> "Solely the fault of the Palestinians?" I thought. "Surely he doesn't
> believe that!" So I rose to say that hundreds of rabbis and hundreds of
> thousands of American Jews see Israeli settlement policy as obstacles to
> peace, and asked what as President you would do about it.
>   Your answer cited the vigorous debate on these questions in Israel --
> more vigorous than here; the recognition by most Israelis that for peace
> to unfold, there will have to be a shift in settlement policy; and your
> sense that most Israeli know that internal debate would be so wrenching
> that they want to know there is a partner for that decision before going
> through the debate.
> Though you avoided saying what you would do,  I was satisfied with your
> answer -- then.
> I was especially ready to be satisfied because I knew that earlier, when
> you met with Jewish leaders in Cleveland, you had gone even further,
> saying:
> "I sat down with the head of Israeli security forces and his view of the
> Palestinians was incredibly nuanced because he's dealing with these
> people every day. He was willing to say sometimes we make mistakes and
> if we are just pressing down on these folks constantly without giving
> them some prospects for hope, that's not good for our security
> situation."
>   It would be profoundly important to have a President who understands
> that! Yet more recently, in your speech to AIPAC, there was no such
> language. And you slid so far into simply repeating official shibboleths
> like "Jerusalem undivided" that you had to correct yourself the next
> day.
>   No one knows better than I that many of the "official" Jewish
> organizations would go ballistic to hear a presidential candidate bring
> such ideas to the fore in, say, a major speech about making peace across
> the whole region that Abraham, Hagar,  and Sarah walked.
> And no one knows better than I that millions of American Jews ,
> Christians, and Muslims want exactly that kind of honest talk and
> vigorous diplomacy. They would support any President who insisted on
> exactly the kind of broad pursuit of peace you have sometimes affirmed,
> and the changes in not only Palestinian, Syrian,  and Iranian but also
> Israeli and American behavior it requires.
> I know some people who carry a strange mixture of cynicism and
> wish-fulfillment in their heads -- who think you can, will, and should
> say anything to calm folks like the AIPAC membership and thereby get
> elected, and later will work hard for a real peace. I know people who
> think that you can, will, and should pretend you never met Palestinians
> and heard their suffering, never got to understand their understanding
> of their history as you have so eloquently explained that you have heard
> and understood the Jewish story  -- all in order that once you are in
> office, you can bring your "true" knowledge into policy.
> But I don't think it works that way. Not only would that kind of
> campaign be an ethical failure and a personal self-betrayal, abandoning
> the honest, nuanced, politics of change that you claimed to represent
> -- but I think it won't work politically.
> First of all, that kind of campaign will greatly weaken your appeal to
> the passionate supporters you have had -- just like your betrayal of
> your own understanding that the FISA bill violates the Fourth
> Amendment's prohibition of searches without warrants. Already, the
> drop-off of small contributions to your campaign suggests that  these
> people are dismayed. And they are the core of your strength, as you
> yourself have repeatedly said.
> Secondly,  it will weaken your ability if you are elected President to
> take the steps necessary for peace. For it would weaken and delegitimate
> the millions of American Jews, Muslims, and Christians who seek
> precisely a policy of peace for Israel alongside a peaceful Palestine,
> and peace between Iran and the United States. Who would thank God --
> literally! -- for a President who would seek to meet the crucial needs
> of all these peoples while refusing to humiliate or subjugate any of
> them. There will be many people and organizations ready to attack any
> President who takes such positions. There need to be people and
> organizations motivated and mobilized to support them.
> To strengthen such a faith-based coalition, you will also have to make
> clear --  by where you speak as well as what you say -- that of course
> American Muslims are as much a part of American society as any other
> religious group. So your unwillingness to speak in any mosque --
> presumably for fear that might reinforce the wicked rumors that you are
> really a Muslim --  simply strengthens the mind-set that thinks to
> demonize you on the false grounds that you are a Muslim, and any Muslim
> must be anti-American.
> I remember being moved when in your speech to the 2004 Democratic
> National Convention, you said, "If there's an Arab-American family being
> rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens
> my civil liberties." That  line had no political pay-off in numbers of
> voters. It was a principled statement,  fearlessly swimming against the
> tide of public opinion.  And -- against all "realistic" calculation --
> it won vigorous applause from those assembled number-centered
> politicians!
> You owe it to Americans of all faiths, to Jews around the world, to the
> Arab and Muslim billions - - to treat all these people as part of the
> world community that must work together to heal our planet from war and
> eco-disaster.
> Just as in Philadelphia you expressed compassion for white working-class
> anger without surrendering to right-wing policies that ignore Black
> poverty and despair   --- so you can express compassion for Jewish fears
> without surrendering to oppressive right-wing Israeli policy. And in the
> same new approach to change, you can include Muslims in the body politic
> and express compassion for some Muslims' anger and fear,  without
> affirming violence and terrorism.
> You will need to address these questions honestly if you are not to be
> caught against your will in years of war and terror that would destroy
> an Administration you might lead as it did the last one, will damage
> America at least as deeply as our deafness to others' narratives has
> damaged us this past seven years.
> Just as the racial chasm has haunted and daunted American democracy two
> centuries and more, the growing chasm between "the West" and "Islam"
> will haunt and daunt every effort to make peace and heal our planet, if
> we and you do not address it in all its depth and difficulty.
> So just as you spoke in Philadelphia with nuance and compassion about
> race, I implore you to speak as clearly with nuance and compassion about
> these  questions.
> With blessings of shalom, salaam, peace --
> Rabbi Arthur Waskow

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