We spent a warm inaugural week-end in Washington DC this past month and were inspired – rallying and marching to the White House with friends chanting, “No blank check for Israel.” There was a magnificent inaugural eve Peace Ball at Arena Stage envisioned and realized by friend Andy Shallal, Busboys and Poets, Democracy Now! and other great organizations. The venue throbbed with powerful, infectious words, music, and dance – from orators like Amy Goodman, Angela Davis, Ralph Nader, Julian Bond, Medea Benjamin, and musicians Sweet Honey and the Rock and Emma’s Revolution. We were uplifted, being in a space so full of energy and celebration on inaugural eve. Still, we found ourselves wishing we could take the crowd for just a moment across the world to a few places and people we had been so privileged to connect with this past year.
The night before departing from Israel after hearing the judgment of the Israeli court in the civil lawsuit we brought in our daughter’s case, we had dinner with Israeli Jewish friends high in the hills of Haifa. They, like so many others, had supported us through our long journey in search of accountability. We met the parents of Natan – a 19 year-old Israeli youth and conscientious objector. Since November 19th (after Operation Pillar of Defense), he has repeatedly been in and out of military prison subsequent to each of his refusals to serve in the Israeli military. Natan says, “We, as citizens and human beings, have a moral duty to refuse to participate in this cynical game.”