Monday, July 31, 2006

Call & Response: Two Letters to the Ann Arbor News

Tuesday, July 19, 2006
Interfaith Council sacrifices its core ideas
Tis a pity that J. Albert Baily's "most pleasant evening" was spoilt (The Ann Arbor News, July 4). His woeful tale inspired me to paraphrase Daniel Berrigan's meditation on the actions of the Catonsville 9:

Our apologies, good friends for the marring of your leisure, the distribution of paper and the uttering of words, the angering of the clergy and other guilty bystanders in the front parlor of the charnel house. We could not, so help us God, do otherwise. For we are sick at heart, with no rest from thinking of the 734 Palestinian children and 121 Israeli children blown up or shot to death since the beginning of the second Intifada in September, 2000. We worry about the thousands more Palestinian children dead or at risk of death from malnutrition from "a deliberate Israeli strategy of putting the lives of ordinary Palestinians under stress" or of disease from contaminated water now that there is no electricity in most of Gaza.

In the face of this, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice sacrifices justice, peace, and its purported core value of "Advocacy for the oppressed" on the altar of an expedient but immoral interfaith unity with supporters of Israel and "suspends" its own Middle East Task Force.

We lament with the late William Sloane Coffin that "we have mediocre politicians, and the clergy is pretty mediocre also. ... The greatest recession in this country is not economic; it's spiritual. And so the great biblical mandates of pursuing justice and seeking peace are shortchanged."

Michelle J. Kinnucan, Ann Arbor
Tuesday, July 4, 2006
Reader sets us straight on 'liberalism'
Good for Gary L. Evans in his Other Voices essay for pointing out what "liberalism" really is and stands for (The Ann Arbor News, June 30). This seems particularly pertinent in our own community as well as nationally.

I was prepared to write off Ann Coulter as a feminine voice on the Rush Limbaugh side. But then I read that she was a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School! We might consider suggesting an "undistinguished graduate award" to be given at U-M commencements. Ted Kaczynski, the "Unabomber," could easily be a nominee, too.

Mr. Evans' comments on demeaning and discounting verbiage was brought home to me recently when my wife and I attended a performance of dance and music by a group of Palestinian students at a local church. Though I did not agree with some of the political remarks in the introduction, we enjoyed some excellent dancing and music.

It would have been a most pleasant evening had it not been for the presence of a well-known local group. They distributed political materials and confronted members of the audience with abusive comments, apparently designed to put forward their points. Not only were church officials embarrassed, but the tone of the evening was marred.

I now read that one of the leaders of this disruptive group, known to those at Ann Arbor City Council meetings, is considering running for council. I'm sure Mr. Evans would agree with me that in the next election, we should vote "while there still is time."

J. Albert Baily, Ann Arbor

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Comments:
Good letter, Michelle!

I'm not clear on the second letter's meaning: "
[quote]It would have been a most pleasant evening had it not been for the presence of [b]a well-known local group[/b]. They distributed political materials and confronted members of the audience with abusive comments, apparently designed to put forward their points. Not only were church officials embarrassed, but the tone of the evening was marred.

I now read that one of the leaders of this disruptive group, known to those at Ann Arbor City Council meetings, is considering running for council. ."[/quote]

Does the writer mean peaceworks, or METF, or someone else?? And who is running for city council?
 
The reference is, apparently, to Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends. There were two, separate leafleting groups at the church that night and neither of them were sanctioned by JWPF. The leaflet I distributed was from Break the Silence and members of the Middle East Task Force of the ICPJ. You can read it at: http://www.usol.com/~mjkinnuc/ICPJMETFLeaflet.pdf. There was a story in the AA News several weeks ago about Henry Herskovitz of JWPF running for City Council as a Green; he decided not to run.
 
Great blog! I just blogged on it. Expect some traffic. And pls junk this commenting system and try Haloscan. Thx.
 
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