and a small commentary on ongoing Obamania

“[This rhetorical structure] is surely not an effort at serious historical explanation, and like any utopian statement it is accountable to history only as a projection, from the scant historical grounds for hope, of how history might be transformed.”

ok, it’s actually a quote from Robert Alter about the nature of critiques of social order in “thanksgiving” psalms, especially the royal ones. But still.

This, friends, is the central point

from a statement by Richard Silverstein and Jeremiah Haber:

We affirm the rights of both Israeli and the Palestinian peoples to self-determination and self-defense, as we affirm the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

This, friends, is indeed the central point. It is not a question of “one state, or two states, or no states, or blue states.” Not a question of federation or union, and certainly not subordination or transfer. Not the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state, or, for that matter, the right of the Palestinians to a state of their own. All these political frameworks are means to an end, but the end is as [Daniel] Barenboim or we say it: equal rights and dignity to both peoples, without any privileging of the other side.

Once the end is accepted, the question then – and only then – will be what is the best political framework to achieve this end. A two-state solution in which one side dominates and controls the other is no better than a one state solution in which one side dominates and controls the other.

Until people of good faith can agree on this bottom line, and get a significant segment of the both the Israeli or Palestinian peoples to buy in, then all the wearying talk of a peace process will be doomed.

There are preconditions to successful outcomes – and the principle underlying both our statements is one of the preconditions for this one.

Oy, such a Friday and Neko Case

So, after ten years, I was laid off today — my agency is hurting financially, and they decided not to do what I do anymore.


Can’t really bear to say much more about that.

In better news, Neko Case has released the first single from her new album, out in March. Download it via this link below. And if you blog, post it so your blog! Every post is a $5.00 donation to the amazing Best Friends Animal Shelter.

The song:

Wednesday night

Too much work to do still, getting ready for tomorrow’s workshop, and kinda too overwhelmed, to begin to review everything that went past today. Maybe later, if I still have the ability to string prose together.

Tomorrow morning I have a workshop (which is four students and one faculty discussing one poem by each student) with poet Martin Espada, for whom I have so much admiration I’ve barely been able to say two words to him here! I’m paying too much money for this experience, and rearranging my life too drastically, to let my fear win out over my strength, so the poem I put in is both a form that’s new for me AND explicitly anti-Zionist. (It’s up here already, called “With so much complexity, nothing was inevitable) Martin writes poems that are strongly political and deeply poetic, so I think the politics will be fine. The form, though, well, we’ll see. Tonight I was talking to one of the other students who’ll be in the workshop, and we came out to each other as Jews with long histories of supporting Palestinian rights and being horrified at what Israel does in our names. Really long, for Kathy, who organized her first Jewish/Israeli/Palestinian poetry reading against the Lebanon war in 1982. So I think I’ll have at least one ear that is able to help me wrestle with the form and the content. Yeah!

Went to the library today, where I can check out books for six months cause I’m a grad student. Embarrassingly enough, it has been so long since I’ve been in an academic library that I was stumbling about trying to recall how to read call numbers on shelf ends. Egads. But hey, six books that I don’t have to buy! And, finally, online access to the world of scholarly journals, closed to folks outside of The Academy.

Mainly, though, my mind is on Gaza, about which there has been so far near silence here. But now I know I’m not alone, so everything changes.