Back from Israel &"Palestine"
by Jerome Armstrong, Wed Apr 16, 2008 at 06:37:55 AM EDT
I made a mention here that I was going to Israel a week with the NJDC (National Jewish Democratic Committee), and just returned back yesterday. I took the opportunity to pretty much ignore what was going on here in the US, not even checking email until a day before I returned, to allow for as full a focus on the many meetings that were arranged, with a full spectrum of voices.
When I was approached by the NJDC about making this trip, it was described as an informative trip, not a junket, and that's what it wound up to be. A group of about 15 of us --progressive partisans, bloggers and journalists, staff and members the NJDC, and the wonderful Israeli organizers and security on the trip trip-- all woke up early each morning and went to bed late, holding meetings and touring every single day. In fact, it wasn't until the last day, that we had a couple of hours of freetime to wander around Jerusalem. This was entirely due to a legitimate security concern. I would love to return for a vacation trip at some point.
I don't plan on making this a full description of the events, the speakers, as that would take too long and I'm way behind on every other part of my life, so blogging more will have to wait. I was amazed to see the indomitable Chris Bowers was making full-on posts while we were touring, and he's got a couple that I would point out, here and here.
As a campaign hack, I spent most of my time figuring out how the Israeli political institution worked, the parties, and the future election prospects. And I came away with a much better understanding, and a full hand of contacts to keep in touch. As for the issues, I made the transition from having little of an opinion, to sharing the hope that Bowers talks about in regards to support for a two-state solution, to wind up settling on the realism of what really is happening. On that 'big picture' thought, I'll follow-up later, and respond to any questions or comments.... about Clinton vs Obama...
nah nah, I really didn't miss the one week lapse at all, but am immensely looking forward to, after this week, a more election-based six weeks of campaign activity.