Dear Family, Friends, Loved Ones, and Other People,

I realize of course that many of you, if not most of you, likely find such things frustrating to read about, learn about, know about, care about…or even more than frustrating…annoying. While of course, others of you are junkies for it like I am, and are already engaged in your own ways. But as far as I can tell, there are things going on, frankly, that…low and behold, the American public is not aware of…and this frightens me (call it my youth…granted I am pushing 30)…

I am sending along these links to offer a series of well written, highly informed, alternative views in regard to current happenings in Israel/Palestine and in the Middle East in general (SEE LINKS ON RIGHT)…Perhaps these are alternative views to your own, perhaps views you share…But regardless, all infomred views deserve attention…or so I would argue.

All the more reason to read on…I am hoping that some of you might be interested in beginning a dialogue, conversation, discussion around such topics…I have an idea for a project to begin (at a later date), and you might think of yourselves as my pilot study. My not so random sample of American voters…

Many of you on this list are Jews, and proud you should be. We are good folks (if I might essentialize for a moment). We eat well, we tend to be funny, cute, caring, and we have prayers specfically focused on sex. We have bagels, Bob Dylan, Marx, and Wiezel…I mean please, the best made-for-TV movie ever focuses on our origins, and let’s face it, we have Seinfeld.

All said, because we are Jews, by default…like it or not, we are implicated in this mess (you too mom). Moreover, most of us Jews on this list are innately Zionist. That is, most of us equate our Jewish identity, in part (and some obviosuly more than others), to Israel. This is part of our culture…we have been told every second, since the moment we were born (at least those of use born in the 60s, 70s and 80s) that Israel is an oppressed country of Jews who are gathered from around the world in our natural homeland. And in a never ending chain of historical repression and persecution, since our venture to Israel, we have been continually battered by terrorism, barabarism, and tragedy. Fair enough. That is the discourse, and I am not going to engage it here.

But I will say this, and here is where many of you might begin to get frustrated with me (which is not my intent…but I expect it anyway)…I am of the opinion that it is possible to be identifiably Jewish, and yet not necessarily a blind Zionist. “Jew = Zionist” is a myth, and a myth worth investigating.

I of course do not mean to suggest that Zionism is anything bad, shameful, or what have you. I am not suggesting that Israel does not have a right to exist, or that it does not have a right to defend itself, or anything along those lines. I am also not suggesting AT ALL, that the activities of various organzations who target civilian populations are not immoral, unethical, and murderous. Far from it. What I am suggesting is that “blind nationalism” in whatever form, is dangerous, and blind nationalism rooted in “purity of belonging” is perhaps the most dangerous thing of all (think WWII).

As we all know, whether we choose to think about it or not, the things that are happening in the Middle East are connected. Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iran…These are not random, not coincidental, and they are not things to disregard. It might stress you out. Again…you might find this email annoying for whatever reason…but I implore you to read on (SEE LINKS ON RIGHT). I implore you all to take a look at some, perhaps, alternative views…some from within the US, some from here is Turkey, and, crazy as it may sound, some from scholars and opinion makers who live in Middle East itself.

If you find something you don’t agree with…poke around for yourself, form an argument, with sources for me check out, and get back to me. That is what I want to try and develop. A Discussion. And by all means…forward this email along to anyone you feel might be interested in getting involved in my little experiment.

Below is how I propose to get started.. (I realize maybe 2 of you on this list will do something other than “delete” and say to yourself “ahhhhhh Yosh…#$%^&^%) But hey…I just got to do something, and why not start with the folks you know and love.

I hope all are well and happy. Sorry for the length…Just trying to channel…toward something productive