As any of us who are at all politically involved can attest to, it’s pretty damn hard to stay optimistic about world politics.  We’re surrounded by immense amounts of pain and suffering, and the governmental structures that supposedly exist to improve those conditions usually move far too slowly, often doing too little too late.  I observe this dynamic everywhere I look – on Israel-Palestine, US domestic issues, foreign policy, and global financial problems.  Particularly for progressives, who by definition are interested in “progress” – that is, substantive change in the way the world works – it’s incredibly frustrating to have to abide by the glacial pace of most policy discussions.
I bring this up for several reasons.  First, I’ve been fairly absent from blogging for the past few months, and it’s always nice to get back into the thick of things with some good old generalized political philosophy.  On a more serious note, though, I can relate the lack of real developments in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to this feeling of stagnation.  As I become more and more aware and interested in the world of politics, I become more and more frustrated with how hard it is to get anything done, while simultaneously losing the outsider position which previously would have allowed me to just be pissed off and then move on.  In other words, now that I spend so much time on political causes, I actually have to take responsibility for their many faults, and try to do something about it.
Right now is a hard time to be an idealistic Israel-Palestine activist, because there’s really not much going on.  But I think it’s important to remember that there are still concrete actions we can take even in the absence of a serious peace process.  Right now, J Street is running a campaign asking Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen to return campaign contributions from Irving Moskowitz, “…a notorious funder of settlements in East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighborhoods.”  This isn’t just political posturing; Ros-Lehtinen is a staunch defender of Israel, no matter the circumstances (I wrote a short post on the self-contradictory nature of her sponsorship of HR 867,) and she’s now chairwoman of the House Foreign Relations Committee.  J Street’s call for her to clarify her position on a two-state solution is a welcome one.  If she’s in support, she should immediately return the money in question, and if she’s not, well, Florida’s 18th district had better start thinking about a new candidate.  Palestinian self-sovereignty is too important to be thrown under the bus by someone as high up in the house GOP leadership as she.