A conversation with Michal Halev on how she came to reject vengeance after the murder of her son by Hamas
Thanks for sharing Charles. This is truly a lesson of emotional knowledge
They did not die in vain. They are not dying in vain. They will not die in vain. As you spoke about before, with regards nature, with every death something of us dies too. Sadly, many are still with the hate. Many do not want to understand. Many are even using this tragedy to come out of the woodwork with their own pet hate. It is pointless to speculate on the calculus here but probably many more will die before these dark forces are sated. As you say in the video, it’s an initiation for humanity. Many will not pass it.
There is much truth and wisdom here. I believe this will resonate with most people. As a practical matter, there are people and institutions that are based on the opposite of seeing this interconnectedness of life, whose very existence depends on, and benefits from, hatred and destruction.
Additionally, we have non-responsive institutions that do not have the best interests of society, or the survival of our species, or even of life itself, in control.
I feel we must bring to the forefront the question of how do we address the institutional issues, and how to address these people whose power controls the narrative and whose material wellbeing demands more of the same?
Thank you so much for your insights.
Thanks Michal & Charles for stepping into these sacred spaces with such deep compassion and courage.
There is much here that I will make time to ponder more fully, and pray that I and many more choose actions for a better way amidst all the war, violence, and dehumanisation.
Allow me to share a link to a personal substack which attempts to speak to these themes. I include two poems which speak to turning to Love and away from Fear & Hate. An ongoing quest...
Thank you, for your courage, your grace, your compassion, your voice and for loving your son so deeply. I feel this, because only a truly deep love can keep shining light the way you are doing. I bow to your wisdom and beautiful heart. Several times while listening I felt my hand reach across the miles, to touch yours. I felt my heart hold your heart, tenderly. And I wanted to hug you. Your sons light shines brightly, through you, and with you. Thank YOU for reminding me/us what truly matters.
And thank you Charles for holding space and inviting Michal to share her light here.
Much love to all the mothers, to all the children, to the young men, the fathers., the ancestors. To all of us. I pray that we find the Grace to embody and BE love. Amen
Just now watching the video. Thank you, Michal and Charles...this madness must stop
Charles, this is profoundly soothing as a concept that no death in these atrocities is in vein.. that we as a collected conciousness may, from the darkest shade of black, learn to push and dig deeper within ourselves than we have ever before, to face ourselves and become the brightest of lights for mankind and our transient home...
My heart is filled with love and a projection of peace to all bearing the brunt of the world’s satanical type hate born out of greed. These people are our saints against the sinners.
Thank you again. 🙏
I know you don't respond to these messages but I guess I'll spend my precious energy responding anyway in case any person on here has an open heart to being able to see with clarity:
I wonder at what point you would share a Palestinian perspective? Have you met or spoke with any Palestinians? Or do you only relate with Israelis? We Palestinians are an absolutely incredible people, with incredible resilience from having now ancestrally and epigenetically endured profound violence and displacement, ongoingly. You will find many of these stories like you share about here, among thousands of Palestinians who have lost loved ones to the violence and deep corruption of the occupying forces over the past 75 and more years, as it began prior to '48...people who still dream of living side by side peacefully with Jewish neighbors in a freed Palestine, yet again, as we did prior to settler colonization. We only want ALL to be free and have basic, liberated human rights, rather than only some people, only israelis, who also continue recruiting for more all around the world. I have continuous and ongoing concern of how much you conflate these sides as "peers" to one another, and the ongoing voices you lift up that, while they are beautiful, continuously come from one side, from the side of people on the side of the oppressor in this dynamic who have the time, energy, space and privilege to forgive. You need to understand that forgiveness is a privilege, whereas for oppressed occupied people who are persistently under ongoing, 24/7 violence and threats to survival (not just occasional threats or even more rarely occasional experiences of violence by the hands of people resisting their oppression), the idea of one's murdurers even being investigated to be held accountable is out of the question, and the focus must be on staying close together to try to protect one another from violence that is indiscriminate and has total international impunity. There is no time to think about forgiveness and it is not a relevant question in this context, when widespread ethnic survival is threatened and daily needs for food and water are insufficient. Whereas for those whose physical needs are met and who have relative safety, there is ample time to contemplate the nature of humanity and to emotionally and intellectually consider what forgiveness looks like. These are not equal sides. You say you understand power dynamics, but if you did, you would drive hard into the marginalized position in this profoundly inequal dynamic, and you're not.
A poem for you and for brave and honest Michal. I'm sending heartfelt condolences to her.
“Today I am taking sides.
I am taking the side of Peace.
Peace, which I will not abandon
even when its voice is drowned out
by hurt and hatred,
bitterness of loss,
cries of right and wrong.
I am taking the side of Peace
whose name has barely been spoken
in this winnerless war.
I will hold Peace in my arms,
and share my body’s breath,
lest Peace be added
to the body count.
I will call for de-escalation
even when I want nothing more
than to get even.
I will do it
in the service of Peace.
I will make a clearing
in the overgrown
thicket of cause and effect
so Peace can breathe
for a minute
and reach for the sky.
I will do what I must
to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.
I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love
without testing for deservingness.
So don’t ask me to wave a flag today
unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem
unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides
unless it is the side of Peace."
Rabbi Irwin Keller, October 17, 2023
Thank you Charles and Michal. Very touched by this. I'm also Israeli and I would just like to say something a little off-topic from the main subject here, but which i think is profoundly important because it's at the root of this conflict but yet almost no one talks about this, and that is that Hamas itself has been created, funded and kept in power by the zionist billionaire ruling class (some of the evidence available in English can be seen here https://www.pdrboston.org/israel-funds-hamas-keeps-it-in-power). In a moment I will say why they do that. Besides the numerous evidence above, another dead giveaway that Hamas is a zionist-created proxy is the fact that Hamas joined Israel, USA and ISIS in the zionist-american regime change operation in Syria in 2012. Yes, you read that right - just like the ISIS which is funded and armed by USA-Israel, Hamas was also fighting alongside Israel & USA to fulfill their imperialist objective in Syria!!! Yes, Hamas was fighting TOGETHER/ALONGSIDE Israel !!!
Why would the zionist ruling class do that? because, like USA, the Israeli gov't is run by a very wealthy zionist upper class that economically severely exploits Israeli ordinary people (Israel has the third largest gap between rich and poor and the highest poverty rate in the developed world). The right-wing zionist ruling class brainwashes ordinary Israelis by pretending to be our patriotic "protector" against our boogeyman enemy-- those "evil scary monstrous" Palestinians.
To make the Palestinians be an effective boogeyman enemy, the right-wing zionist billionaire class needs Hamas (which it created and funds and keeps in power) to be as frightening to Jews as possible, it needs the zionist-funded Hamas to espouse right-wing religious supremacist & exclucivist views that are threatening to non-muslims (and which are a mirror image of the exclucivist sectarian views espoused by right-wing Jewish religious supremacists), and it needs Hamas to deliberately direct lethal violence against non-combatant Israeli civilians (i.e. to commit terrorism) in order to make it seem (to heavily propagandized Israelis) as if ordinary Palestinians want to kill all the Jews in Israel..
Hamas plays the role of the scary monstrous Palestinian antisemitic terrorist perfectly; it is exactly what the right-wing zionist billionaire ruling class needs in order to scare ordinary Israelis into obediance (to not bring up grievamces against the ultra-wealthy ruling class which screws us all, but to "patriotically unite" around our great leader and rally around the flag in a nationalist frenzy to "fight the evil monster enemy of the nation") and thus it is exactly what the right-wing zionist billionaire ruling class needs in order stay in power and continue to transfer society's wealth upwards from the people to the 0.1%.
It's not just the zionist billionaire ruling class that plays this trick on its people, all right-wing billionaire ruling classes do that. To understand this principle which is at the root of our world system, I highly recommend this really insightful essay to understand how the ultra-wealthy ruling class in each society must constantly use a boogeyman enemy in order to keep the have-nots in each society under control and obedient to the "patriotic duty of fighting the monstrous enemy of the nation (or at least hate & blame it, or intensely fear it)" https://www.pdrboston.org/oppressors-need-bogeyman-enemies This is really a fundamental fact of how our world functions, a fact that I think every human should know about. Really a must-read article, in my view
And coming back to how this is applied locally - this excellent article explains quite well how Hamas and the Zionist ruling class operate according to the same right-wing ultra-conservative religious supremacist ideology and why they need each other; how each of them (Hamas and Zionist ruling class) take actions that strenghthen the other (in the eyes of its public), and help each other keep a grip on its own people, each of them provides for the other with a perfect boogeyman - a cruel monstrous enemy - with which to frighten its "own people" into obedience and support for them, the rulers of each of the societies, who present themselves as "protectors of the nation" against the scary monstrous boogeyman enemy over there. A truly eye-opening article
The long-time support of the right-wing ultra-wealthy zionist ruling class for Hamas is not a secret. When the subject comes up, right-wing zionists “explain away” this support by saying it was simply a clever way to divide Palestininan national movement and weaken the PLO (the secular 'Palestine Liberation Organization' which united almost all palestinians in a SECULAR call for freedom from zionist supremacy inhumanity and dispossesion, before the zionists brought religious Hamas into prominence and divided Palestinians) . However, what they never mention is that The REASON that the right-wing Zionist billionaire ruling class wanted to weaken the secular PLO and strengthen religious fundamentalist Hamas was because the PLO advocated for something that truly scared the supremacist zionist ruling class: equality of Jews and Muslims, that the entire land between the Jordan river and the meditarranean sea be a secular democracy, a state of ALL its citizens (not a supremacist state where the immigrants/colonizers who were given at birth the label 'Jew' are superior to the local palestinian people of the land but) a secular democratic state in which Jews Muslims Christians other religions and the non-relgious would have equal rights under the law and live without war in dignity, respect, safety, prosperity, equality and freedom (one of PLO's most memorable tenents was: Jews - yes!! Zionist racism & supremacy - no!! ).
The right-wing Zionist billionaire ruling class intensely FEAR the possibility of Israeli have-nots (ordinary Israeli citizens) viewing Palestinians as human beings, as non-threatening human beings who want to live in safety & security just like them and to not be oppressed by the thieving heartless right-wing billionaire ruling class, just like them.
THIS is exactly the reason why the right-wing zionist billionaire ruling class began funding Hamas—to ensure that ordinary Israelis would (wrongly) perceive ordinary Palestinians as wanting to kill all Jews and therefore as their enemy, To ensure that ordinary Israelis & Palestinians would fear each other and so will never unite to create a humane thriving democratic state where we're equal under the law and where we can live together in mutual respect, dignity, security, freedom, peace, equality and prosperity (by throwing off our warmongering cynical manipulative billionaire ruling class that intentionally divides us and pits us tribalistically against each other, and screws us all by concetrating society's wealth in tne hands of the 0.1%
The right-wing billionaire class (in israel, in the muslim world and all across the globe) thrives on a world of nationalist fear of the other, nationalist division, hatred, conflict, violence and trauma. The more they can generate such a traumatic, violent and nationalist hate-filled reality, the more they can keep ordinary people divided and fearful of each other, and clinging onto them (the ultra-wealthy ruling class in each society) to be our so-called "protectors of the nation" from "those evil people" over there, that scary other tribe over there who supposedly "just wants to kill us all"
And that is also why the right-wing zionist ruling class do everything in their power to inflict as much cruelty and inhumanity and traumatize the local people of Palestine as much as possible, because they know that the more they can cruelly traumatize the Palestinians, the higher the likelihood that the palestinians will feel deep anger and resentment and hatred towards the abusive terrorist zionist state and its citizens, and will lash out in retaliation to the constant abuse dispossesion violence and cruelty directed at them, retaliation which is then cynically used by the zionist ruling class to further depict palestinians as "antisemite monsters" who hate jews for no reason (and the zionists can get away with such cynical manipulation because the corporate zionist media never shows the context of what palestinians are actually reacting to, but only show the reaction itself without any context, which makes it seem violent and hateful for no reason)
The nonstop cruelty and inhumanity that the zionist supremacists inflict on palestinians, and the palestinian inevitable reaction, in turn make reconcilliation impossible, which is precisely what the billionaore ruling class wants (reconcilliation and peace between ordinary people is the arch-enemy and the greatest fear of the right-wing billionaire class) AND the palestinian anger & resentment at the constant abuse discrimination violence & dispossesion directed at them make Palestinians appear very threatening and scary to ordinary Israelis (which, again, ensures that no cooperation would be possible, but rather that hateful trauma-driven nationalism will always reign, ensures that ordinary people will keep being bamboozeled into believing that our enemies are the ordinary people of 'the other side' and thus keep voting for the representitives of the right-wing billionaire class to be our rulers (because these nationalist deceivers pretend to be "the patriotic protectors of the nation" against those 'scary evil monsters over there'; even though IN REALITY the ultra-wealthy ruling class and their fascist representitives do THE EXACT OPPOSITE of providing security, but they are in fact the ones ensuring that the nation is in a constant state of hateful conflict antagonism & war against others (the scary monster enemy) AND ensure that the nation's wealth keeps flowing upwards from the people to the ultra-rich
Some crimes may be explained, maybe understood as coming out of a complete place of darkness but when a society is built on principles enlightened by deep spiritual insights, the crimes and injustices committed become infinitely more painful.
This occurred to me when I discovered this entry:
“Judaism. A rule of reciprocal altruism was stated positively in a well-known Torah verse (Hebrew: ואהבת לרעך כמוך): You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki
Golden Rule - Wikipedia“
An elderly friend of mine was just severely beaten and hospitalized because she does not want to believe that some bad guys may in fact be irredeemable. She is willing to take on the blame for the attack and completely forgive and that of course is her choice. Thankfully in my state the victim does not have to file charges. The system will incarcerate her attacker regardless, so none of her friends have to worry now that he will do it to her again, at least for a long while. Martyrdom centered religious thought, whether pacific or violent, makes no sense do me. Neither vengeance or even justice, which so often is simply a more legalized form of vengeance, appeal to me either. I just want to stop the bad thing happening in the moment and hopefully find a way to prevent the bad thing in the future, or at least try my best. Sometimes this means bringing all parties to the table to negotiate. If this is not possible because some parties are unwilling or unable to negotiate in good faith, then I have no problem using physical force to stop the aggressors from doing the bad thing again. It really is that basic. I do not believe that our ideas about love and forgiveness can always stop the bad thing. Within an intimate relationship or with a child this may or may not be true, but it is usually not the truth in the larger world. I cannot possibly accommodate or tolerate all of the bad behavior in the world, nor do I believe that I should. For me this has nothing to do with forgiveness or hatred or love. It has to do with accepting the reality of life as it is and protecting what I feel responsible for as best I can. I do not blame lions for making war on hyenas, leopards and cheetahs. However if I were a hyena, leopard or cheetah and I had the ability to stop lions from ever making war on my clan again, I would do so. I would not hate lions just because I was committed to stopping them. I can understand and have compassion all the way around, however I do not have to tolerate bad things happening to those I am responsible for if I can possibly prevent it. If someone has shown how far into barbarity they are willing to go, then it is unlikely I will trust them to be self-regulating in the future. So I will try to contain them in such a way they are no longer a risk to the rest of us. It seems to me that many good people can no longer tell the difference between the badly tarnished good guys and the truly depraved really really bad guys. This idea that there are no good or bad guys is extremely dangerous in my opinion. My elderly friend was not the only one harmed by the attack on her. All those who care about her were. All of us who had to drop our lives to help her were. However I do not make the mistake of blaming the victim, even when she insists on blaming herself. She did not pick up a pipe and beat herself or another up. Did she put herself at risk with her good intentions? Perhaps. Did she set herself up by making herself vulnerable to someone she knew was unstable and who had threatened deadly violence to others several times? Maybe. But I do not blame her. I put the blame on the man who picked up the pipe and beat her and could have killed her if she had not gotten away. Is he mentally ill? Yes, but that does not excuse his actions, and it definitely does not mean he should be allowed the freedom to do it again. Just because I hold him accountable and see him as a 'bad' guy and a direct threat to our community does not mean I hate him. If he can get real help in balancing himself. Great. If he cannot, then I will not lose sleep over that and I certainly would not open my home to him with a giant welcome sign saying 'beat me please' because I deserve it, because I am part of a system that made you the way you are.
Hi, Charles and others! I have a question I'm not sure where to place, so I'm going to try here. I used to be in the NAAS Mighty Network Community that Charles hosted. I thought that might be the best place for it, so I could rally some communal answers, but maybe some of you will see it here.
I'm wondering about practical financial advice, specifically around the ideas of "savings" and "budgeting," if one is rooted in and truly wants to live into "sacred economics." I haven't heard Charles speak on these anywhere, specifically. Even after taking the majority of his "Living in the Gift" course, these are two things I'm curious about at an individual, practical level when one wants to be "anti-growth" and live into the gift economy. I have some assumptions based off of philosophies shared in Sacred Economics and elsewhere, but still would love to hear his thoughts on it. If anyone has seen any videos, writings, podcasts, or anything else where you've heard Charles speak to this, would you let me know? Or, if there are other resources you've drawn from in order to formulate your own values and practical ways of being, I'd love to hear those, too! Grateful to any of you who respond!
Please read Jeremy Hammond's work on Gaza. The before and after pictures following the total devastation of the Israeli bombing of northern Gaza--and soon the same will be completed in the southern half--show clearly that this is genocide. It is no longer appropriate to speak in vague or terms.