22 August 2010

Lots o' Thoughts

Helsing Junction August 2010Lots of thoughts as I return to Olympia after the weekend at Helsing Junction Farm. The sixth annual Helsing Junction Sleepover was this weekend. It's a festival to celebrate K Records, the farm, and many of the great talents in the local music scene.

I enjoyed the music and the people and the food and the farm. The sweet smell of hay and earth. A lot of the food we ate came straight from the farm. The weather co-operated for the most part, though there were some sprinkles as I was leaving this afternoon.

I left early because I wanted to attend a meeting at Temple Beth Hatfiloh that was sponsored by a group of people who are organizing against the Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors' decision to boycott products from Israel. It was an interesting meeting. Not easy. I am glad I went. I have a lot of thoughts about the meeting.

There were a few ground rules, like confidentiality, and being respectful. I thought that part was okay. I am okay with not identifying people by name, given the emotional nature of the issue, I think it is important for people to feel safe to openly express themselves without fear of being called out, or intimidated in other ways. I also think this type of confidentiality makes it easier for people to talk and share openly, and to change their minds when presented with new information and/or alternative viewpoints. I hope that the part about being respectful can more and more go without saying.

The group, which was pretty large, I would say there were 60 or so people there, did some brainstorming about what people wanted to work on. These topics were ranging from taking action to directly oppose the Board decision, to working to develop Jewish identity that is separate from the actions of the government of Israel. There were a lot of other different ideas in between.

The group I chose was community dialogue, which was merged into another group that decided to work on figuring out how people can best be allies to both Jews and Arabs. It was an interesting discussion, and I think I learned quite a bit. One important aspect of this that I am beginning to grasp in deeper understanding is how deeply some people feel about Israel. And while I disagree that the boycott is against "Israel," I do think that people feel threatened in a way that challenges their very identity, and their sense of safety, and their desire for survival. So that makes sense. A lot of conflict in the world is probably about survival.

Anyway, it's late, and I am tired after a good long day. I hope to flesh out my thoughts about this more in the near future.

Take care,
from Berd

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