Re: [yellowspringshavurah] passover and peace in Jerusalem
- thanks larry. have a great passover. jesse's on his way. liana is here and of course so is mori since he lives here. so we'll all be together.On Mar 24, 2013, at 7:06 PM, Larry Turyn wrote:
Well done. Jay. I think you have shown us a realistic optimism for peace.--Larry Turyn
--- On Fri, 3/22/13, jay rothman <jrothman@...> wrote:
From: jay rothman <jrothman@...>
Subject: [yellowspringshavurah] passover and peace in Jerusalem
Date: Friday, March 22, 2013, 4:29 AM
Happy Passover All, Love, Jay
Peace in My Mind’s Eye
March 21, 2013
The Mind's-eye – the human ability to experience visual mental imagery – can be a powerful source of insight. It merges the mind and the heart together in order to reconstruct memory, encounter reality and envision a future.
In my mind's-eye, twenty years ago I am sitting in the White House Rose Garden, watching President Clinton pull Prime Minister Rabin and Chairman Arafat into the famous, now infamous, handshake. My heart leaped. "Finally, finally," I intoned to myself, recalling Rabin's words just moments before: "Enough of blood...enough of tears." In front of me, Henry Kissinger sat stony-faced. I imagined him saying to himself, "This is my worst nightmare...it will never work."
Fast forward, this morning I get ready to sit in an audience watching another U.S. president. Like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I got a ticket. As the first full-time Professor of Conflict Resolution in Israel, maybe it wasn't so much by chance. What President Obama will say, obviously, won't make much of a difference to war and peace here. But in my mind’s eye, he will speak to us directly and with passion, commitment, perhaps even love and, with that foundation, will demand and elicit sacrifices for peace.
I see myself telling President Obama at a private meeting after his speech: "This conflict fought over territory is, at its deepest core, about identity. You understand this first hand. It's about who we are - as Jews, as Palestinians, as the dispossessed and deeply rooted, as the proud and defeated, as the hopeful and terrified, as the strong and weak - all of us are all of those things, separately and together. It is a conflict that cannot be ‘resolved,’ if resolved means it will end and the past will be forgotten. We have done unspeakable things to each other; of course they must be spoken about. Forgive and forget is not suited to this part of the world. Nor can the conflict even be ‘managed’ if that means that a rational and coherent settlement is selected, implemented and maintained but is unable to settle the passions and keep them from erupting and ‘ruining the peace.’
"However, Mr. President, as you know, peace is essential and therefore possible. Here's how: first we must set our sites lower than resolution but higher than management. In short, we must learn, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘to live together as brothers or die together as fools.’ How? By knowing that our conflicts will continue forever and still finding ways to engage them creatively. Just as two people in a relationship have differences that may be hard to reconcile, so our two peoples have differences that are impossible to bridge. And yet, the violence and destruction, the deepest hurts and hatreds can, I believe, be overcome. A new future of co-existence and interdependence is possible, and necessary, and with your active support and assistance, we will 'keep on keeping on.’"
Now...I have returned from the speech and, of course, I didn't get the chance to say what my mind’s eye imagined. But I do believe Obama may have restarted the peace process tonight. For those who said he might step aside and let us fight it out ourselves, they were wrong. For those who said Obama empathizes deeply and understands the dignity of identity, as reflected in his own story and that of his own people, they were right.
Peace, said Obama, is both necessary and possible. In my mind’s eye, I fully agree.
Jay Rothman is a professor in The Program on Conflict Management, Resolution and Negotiation, Bar-Ilan University and author of From Identity-Based Conflict to Identity-Based Cooperation.