Peaceful warriors working together |

Peaceful warriors working together

Wendy Hartley and Carol Ann Jones
Special to The Union

By Wendy Hartley

and Carol Ann Jones

Special to The Union

When I went to Israel and Palestine with an Interfaith Peace Builders delegation in May, 2008, I was somewhat prepared for seeing the “separation/apartheid” wall, the rubble of Palestinian homes demolished on orders of the Israeli government, uprooted olive trees, harassment at checkpoint crossings, and segregated Israeli-only roads.

I was not prepared for the indestructible dedication to nonviolence of the many Palestinians and Israelis with whom the group met, talked and shared food while listening to their tales of oppression, suffering and resistance.

The visitor who is privileged to sit with Bassam Aramin, co-founder of Combatants for Peace, spend a night in Daheisheh Refugee Camp, and hear Rabbis for Human Rights member Rabbi Arik Ascherman talk about his valiant efforts to protect Palestinian children and shepherds from attacks by Israeli Defense Forces soldiers and West Bank Jewish settlers, witnesses a steadfast commitment to nonviolence that embeds itself in the soul.

Our panel presentation Saturday in Nevada City, presented by the Peace Center of Nevada County through its Season for Nonviolence program (see box on page C1 for coming events), brings three experienced advocates for peace in the Middle East:

• Jacob Pace – Communications coordinator for Interfaith Peace Builders, based in San Francisco.

• Lisa Nessan – Leader of multiple fact-finding delegations to Israel and Palestine, whose work involves coordinating with Israeli, Palestinian and international organizations.

• Lynn MacMichael – Peace activist and Diablo Valley College faculty member who has made four trips to Israel and Palestine between 1998 and 2004.

Pace explains the work of Interfaith Peace Builders like this:

“There are both Israelis and Palestinians who are struggling jointly and nonviolently to end the occupation and assert a positive vision of a shared future based on equal rights and dignity. It is those nonviolent voices that must be lifted up and supported. Our role as U.S. citizens is to strengthen the voices of the nonviolent peace builders in Israel/Palestine by working in solidarity with them.”

On Sunday, a second panel will review how generations of people have struggled with the question of how to bring lasting peace to the world and when, if ever, war is justified.

Panelists range in age from the Vietnam War era to people in their 80s and 90s:

• Harry Bailey – A World War II conscientious objector, co-founder of BriarPatch natural food co-op market.

• Harold Blickenstaff – World War II conscientious objector who volunteered for starvation experiments

• Mary Jorgensen – Activist for civil rights and alternatives to violence

• David MacLeod – A major retired from the United State Air Force, aerospace engineer, United Nations Association

• Anita Wald-Tuttle – Community activist, counseling youth, for 56 years active leader in Unitarian Universalism

• Ron Wright – Served 12 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, later became a war resistor and community activist

When is there a responsibility to protect using military or other force? Who decides? When is there a responsibility for civil dissent or to disobey an order?

These are some of the questions the panelists will consider.

For more information and a full schedule of events during “A Season for Nonviolence,” visit or call (530) 265-0200.

What: “Israel and Palestine: Nonviolent Efforts Towards Peace with Justice”

Who: Panel led by Jacob Pace, of Interfaith Peace-Builders, describing what is being done to support voices for peace

When: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20

Where: Community room, Madelyn Helling Library, 980 Helling Way, Nevada City (next to the Rood Administrative Center)


What: “A Council of Elders: To War or Not to War?”

Who: Panelists including former members of the U.S. military and conscientious objectors discuss the militarization of American culture, pacifism, conscientious objection and “just” war

When: 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21

Where: Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains, 246 S. Church St., Grass Valley

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