Hope you’re all enjoying the summer. I got back from a Fourth of July with the family in Oklahoma and Arkansas a couple of weeks ago — lots of babies, kittens, goats, chickens, bag-O, Catch Phrase, green hills, liquor, and explosives. Good times were had by all.

As for news on the book, the agent I sent it to at the end of May is still considering it, and when I went to a meta-meeting for several pro-justice, Palestine-focused groups a couple of weeks ago, the hostess walked up to me and said a mutual friend had told her about my book. She said she had a good friend who was a top agent whose sensibilities were right up my alley. She asked to read the chapters I had so far to see if she liked them enough to send them to her agent friend. Happily, she did.

Whatever happens, it’s clear that neither of these agents would have heard of me if I hadn’t physically moved to New York. It’s all about personal connections, face-to-face meetings, human interactions — which are much more satisfying anyway. So even though things are going slowly, I know I made the right decision in coming here.

Speaking of following one’s dreams — VIVA ESPANIA!!! So happy the boys in red won (even though they were wearing navy blue at the time). What a dream line-up, I’ve never seen a team so deep and broad and dazzling, nothing but all-stars. It forced the other teams to play all defense, which meant Spain had to play with a hand tied behind its back the whole time, and their games were generally low-scoring. But they prevailed and gave us a great show. Their victory over Germany was classic. (Germany had a fine team, which will only be better in 2014.)

Sure the final was ugly, but that’s mainly because the Dutch, knowing they were out-classed, tried to brutally foul their way to victory. Thank God they lost, otherwise it would have sent a terrible message. I wish they had just played, and let Spain play, and given us all a good, clean, beautiful game. They could have held their heads high to lose to such brilliance. There’s really no excuse for even eight yellow cards, and they deserved much worse, including a red card for the savage kick to Xabi Alonso’s chest. Hope they can get their heads back in the right space and get back to the lovely playing of 1998, when they were a joy to watch. Winning isn’t everything, guys.

Golden Glove rightly goes to Spain’s Casillas (incredible — conceded just two goals the whole tournament!), Golden Boot to Germany’s Thomas Muller, and Golden Ball to Uruguay’s Forlan — couldn’t have picked them better myself. I could go on, but I’ll stop talking about football now because I can sense about 90% of your eyes glazing over.

Finally, I’ve been active in a new campaign by the Jewish Voice for Peace to ask TIAA-CREF, one of the nation’s most prominent pension funds, to divest from companies that profit from Israel’s violations of international law. The fund covers 15,000 institutions in the academic, research, medical, cultural and nonprofit fields (including the Institute for Defense Analyses where I used to work), and its motto is “Financial Services for the Greater Good.” They’ve already divested from companies linked to the Sudanese genocide, so we believe there are inroads and arguments we can use. The campaign will be a long one, but it’s already moving faster than anyone anticipated.

Divestment, or telling companies there is a price to pay for abetting violations of international law, is an end in itself — much like the Freedom Flotilla trying to deliver aid to Gaza was an end in itself. But it’s also a political act — “an important strategy for educating, mobilizing and changing both business and governmental policy.” When people see a boat full of activists risking death to bring aid to a besieged people, or a Jewish group asking a mega-financial institution to divest from destructive (and self-destructive) Israeli actions, they might ask a few questions. And we’ll be right there to supply answers.

And you can help. Jewish Voice for Peace has drafted a petition that calls on TIAA-CREF to divest from five companies that are particularly active in supporting the occupation. You can read the petition here (just the first page — the last six pages are lists of prominent people who have already signed).

If you like what you see, you can go here and sign the petition. (You don’t have to be a member to sign. There’s a box to check to indicate whether or not you’re a TIAA-CREF participant.)

In a matter of days, Jewish Voice for Peace will hand-deliver postcards signed by hundreds of people to an annual CREF meeting, where they will formally and publicly raise the divestment issue. Hoping for some decent media coverage and a successful campaign.

Olé!

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