Who are we?
This site is a project of the Israel/Palestine Working Group of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA). As grassroots Democrats active from the bottom up, we share President Carter’s timely critique of US foriegn policy in the Middle East. We hope this ‘fan site’ we hope to promote the book and empower Democrats – and others – to demand a change in US foriegn policy. Everything about this site has been done with volunteers using free software, and we are not raising funds.
My name is Charles Lenchner and I’m the editor of the website and thank you letter pages. One of my motivations in setting this up was to see if I could emulate the ‘thank you Stephen Colbert’ meme using my own limited technical skills and access to a Democracy In Action software package.
I was born in the United States, grew up in Israel (in and around Tel-Aviv) and returned to the US in 1999. While living in Israel I was active in the peace movement, including a stint in military prison as a refusenik during the first Intifada. I majored in Middle East Studies in college and worked for Israeli, Palestinian, and international NGO’s from 1995-2002. During the recent presidential campaign I worked for Dennis Kucinich as assistant to his campaign manager, Dot Maver. Since then, I’ve been working professionally in the Jewish community, currently as a rabbi’s assistant in a New York synagogue. These days, you’ll find me working on my essays for my application to seminary, so I can become a rabbi someday. (Wish me luck!)
At the risk of sounding trite, I believe in the power of stories. When people express their feelings, hopes and dreams, they can accomplish amazing things together. Growing up in Israel, I was disgusted by the everyday racism and callous disregard for the Palestinians, be they citizens of Israel or not. While the establishment of Israel seems to have solved some problems for my people, our liberation cannot be considered complete as long as innocent people suffer in exile for our benefit. While I don’t have a magic solution to generations of conflict, or to the severe tension inside my own community, I do know this: opening my heart to the pain of others is the least I can do, be they Palestinian refugees or Israeli settlers. I also know that all of the children are innocent. They deserve better.