OK, so I do my share of travel. I admit this is a bit dense, though, even for a road dog like me.
I flew to Washington, DC on Friday in order to be here in time for an orientation session that began on Saturday. The group seems strong, with a broad diversity of different personalities and contexts, and the orientation sessions were well-done and thought-provoking. Orientation continued on Sunday morning, then Sunday afternoon we boarded an overnight flight to Vienna, Austria.
We landed in Austria Monday morning and went into town where we visited a museum dedicated to Jewish history in Austria and Israel, had lunch, then met with Hans Koechler, of the International Progress Organization, which works with the UN on Middle East issues. It was both informative and challenging to hear him talk about the obstacles to peace, one of which is our own government’s blocking of any efforts to enforce international law, even when it is almost universally agreed upon.
After the briefing from Mr. Koechler we got some lunch in Vienna and took the train back to the airport, where we boarded for Tel Aviv.
And that’s where I am as I write this, on that plane. It’s been about forty-four hours since I slept. Between the orientation sessions, some intense reading, ongoing conversations with the other thirteen delegates and the lecture today I’ve taken in a great deal of information since I left home. Doubtless there’s also been much more information that flowed past that I wasn’t able to absorb.
I’m trying to approach this trip with a great deal of humility and awareness of my ignorance. We’re not going with great wisdom to impart or much to contribute to the peace efforts, but to learn and experience some things, then to be able to share our own experiences, and to give voice to some perspectives that don’t get much airtime in the U.S. press, including voices for peace on both sides of the conflict, but including voices from many angles all across the political spectrum.
Stay tuned if you’re so inclined. I’ll be trying to update this page every day or two.