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The Death of the Colorado Progressive Jewish News…

November 16, 2014
The publisher and associate publisher of the Colorado Progressive Jewish News

The publisher and associate publisher of the Colorado Progressive Jewish News

Nobody even noticed – not even me – the editor/publisher/main article-special feature writer. Sad but true.

Actually, it is not that sad, not at all. It died a natural death and had a short but vibrant life.

It all started in 2006-7. I was trying to read an edition of The Intermountain Jewish News, but I couldn’t get past the first page. It was so much pro-Israel happy talk, so little content. By the way – I come across it today – and while the Zionist slant is still as potent as ever – its reporting on local, Colorado issues has improved. Still, I could never and will never bring myself to subscribe, it being, like me, little more than a cultural dinosaur, a relic of another age – the Cold War.

Anyhow, at the time, I complained to my wife about how thoroughly bankrupt was the publication and she, in classic form, threw a psychological dart at me: “Stop Kvetching – Do something.”  Hmmm I thought, that is good advice, and thus was born, the Colorado Progressive Jewish News. For the first few years of its life, it was a printed newsletter, usually of 6-8 pages, in which I wrote virtually all the articles, although on rare occasions there was a guest writer. I paid for the first edition myself. It cost me $250 as I recall. After that, I was able, believe it or not, to raise contributions for each issue. I came out four, five times a year, usually a run of 500-700 copies, hand delivered here and there. A number of friends helped with the distribution, some Jewish, some not. One column in every printed issue which seemed to strike a chord was “Goy Of The Month”. I’d like to find a way to continue with that tradition but haven’t figure out exactly how…

The purpose of the publication was several-fold – of course it was primarily to show that there are Jewish voices in Colorado – or a Jewish voice – who is critical of the Israeli treatment of the Palestinians, calling for an end to the Occupation of the 1967 Territories, for the creation of a viable Palestinian state and for an end to the unflagging U.S. support for Israel’s occupation. That continues until present. If anything the Occupation has become more aggressive, oppressive in every way and the strategic alliance between the United States and Israel as strong as(or stronger than) its ever been. But it was also an attempt to create Jewish voices on other subjects, so much had the Zionist narrative infected American Jewry. Of course, the first criticism hurled my way: you are not religious, how can you even claim to speak as a Jew, to represent Jewish trends? Fair enough. Frankly I am not the only Jew who is not religious, an atheist at heart – there are many. As for “speaking for the Jewish Community” , I never claimed to do that – only to underline, through the publication, that there are Jewish voices other than those of the Colorado rabbinate, the Anti-Defamation League, or the Intermountain Jewish News.

I must admit I have always disliked the title “Colorado Progressive Jewish News” – what an awful expression, really…but, it said what I wanted it to say and I couldn’t come up with anything catchy-er and didn’t and so I stuck with it. I also understand quite well that the impact of the publication was quite light, but so what? On occasion, the publication had an impact, it was read and I know that in certain politically sensitive circles, it struck a chord. No need to overstate the case…or to understate it. But then it simply became too difficult to sustain in a printed edition. It was not for financial reasons though. Contributions continued to come in – $100 here, $25 there – for  every printed issue after the first one. But with job and family responsibilities it become more than I could handle so I turned it into a blog. The blog has not done badly – with something like 210,000 visitors over five years, a respectable number as far as I am concerned and I intend to continue writing for it…but the title has changed from Colorado Progressive Jewish News – Rob Prince’s Blog to View from Left Field – Rob Prince’s Blog, the latter reflecting both my politics (obviously) and my life long love of baseball, even though it is a boring sport…but I played it as a young man, loved it then and still do.

The fact of the matter is that for some time now, such a publication is no longer needed, no need to cling to it. Publications, like social movements have an organic quality – a birth, a youth, full maturity and when the time comes, they die. No need to keep something alive after its moment has passed, and that for this publication has indeed been bypassed by events, and frankly this is a fine thing.

Today there are left and liberal Jewish organizations that did not exist in 2007 – among them Jewish Voice For Peace  and J-Street, to name just two. I know, they don’t particularly like or cooperate with one another and certainly my personal sympathies have been and will continue to be with the former rather than the latter, but that is not the point. Then what is it? The point is that today there are growing alternatives to the left of the ADL  and the rabbis that exist on a national level and are starting to have an impact. They exist in Colorado as well and are headed up by new people with new, positive energy and organizational skills. While I am not exactly packing my bags, going to the mountains and smoking dope, still there comes a time to step aside, to let that new energy find its own level, not to hog the scene. There is something desperate, even pathetic, undignified about those who try to cling to the past and monopolize the present.  This is difficult for some people I know – they don’t know when to quit, they think they are ” indispensable” – but frankly, none of us are. Today there are many Jewish voices – in Colorado and nationwide – that have come to openly criticize the Israeli Occupation – some are on the left, in the peace movement, many are not, being of a  more liberal bent. This is a far cry from the situation in the late 1960s and the early 1970s when the Jewish voices in support of Palestinian national rights and critical of Israel’s indefensible practices in the Occupied Territories were few and far between. I will always be proud that I was one of them, small and isolated as folks like me were at the time and for decades there after.

But today, there is a far different, more hopeful social chemistry emerging in the Jewish Community. It is a beginning of a trend that I have confidence will grow and prosper. It remains, for all its energy, small. But it is a different world, both in Colorado and beyond. And it has its own personalities, its own energy. There will be difficult moments, but what struggle for social justice has had an easy birth? None that I can speak of.

My personal goal is to keep on keeping on….to do what I can, say what I think needs to be said, when it needs to be said, join those organizing for peace and social justice in Israel-Palestine, wherever…try to help build the social forces that can not only change U.S. policy towards Israel and Palestine, but frankly towards that whole increasingly crazed domain known as U.S. foreign policy, but not in the name of the Colorado Progressive Jewish News, but in my own name, with my own voice.

The Colorado Progressive Jewish News is officially dead! Don’t kvetch, organize!




3 Comments leave one →
  1. akismet-5bacf664b010ee27f47848fb92b03dc0 permalink
    November 17, 2014 7:45 am

    Requiescat in pace!

  2. Kane, John permalink
    November 17, 2014 11:21 am

    Read quickly – left uncertain – end of CPJN or of the entire blog effort? John Kane

    • November 17, 2014 11:25 am

      John…blog will continue under new name…and will continue to comment on Israel-Palestine, Jewish-American dynamics, etc…among other things.

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