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Another woman who rocked..... "Grace Halsell was the daughter of a West Texas cattleman whose curiosity about “a wider world” led her to write books about her trans-racial adventures–the most famous occurring at the height of the civil rights movement when she impersonated a black woman in the Deep South–has died. She wrote of her experiences pretending to be a black woman in Mississippi in the 1969 book “Soul Sister.” In other books she told of how she adopted the traditional garb of a Navajo woman and assumed the desperate strivings of a Mexican immigrant illegally crossing into the United States in the 1970s. In the 1980s, buy myambutol in us she went undercover with a group of Christian fundamentalists. Not everyone was impressed by the extremes she took to find out. But remarking on her jarring transformations, buy myambutol in us Gore Vidal once said of Halsell: “She has led the most interesting and courageous life–or lives–of any American of our time.” "She hunted lions in Paraguay, buy myambutol in us traversed the Amazon by tug and shared a fishing junk with a family of 28 in the waters off Hong Kong. Buy myambutol in us The articles she wrote were printed in newspapers throughout the Southwest. By the mid-1960s she was a reporter in the Washington bureau of the Houston Post. At a news conference, buy myambutol in us President Lyndon Johnson recruited her to join his White House staff. Buy myambutol in us Although he didn’t say so at first, buy myambutol in us he really wanted her to be his secretary. When he asked if she took dictation, buy myambutol in us she said, buy myambutol in us “No.” Halsell eventually took a position writing his official statements and was the highest-ranking woman on his staff during her three years there. Shortly after the Rev. Buy myambutol in us Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968, buy myambutol in us Halsell left the White House, buy myambutol in us intent on a journey she described as “embracing the Other."  Author of above article:  Elaine Woo/Los Angeles Times  Connie's note: I had not heard of Grace until I came across a couple of her pieces unexpectedly.   What I like most about Ms. Buy myambutol in us Halsell's writing is the fact she writes from personal experience. Buy myambutol in us Halsell went directly where the action was, buy myambutol in us immersed herself as one of the 'herd', buy myambutol in us whether she joined a Christian Fundamentalist group, buy myambutol in us an African American community of women, buy myambutol in us or a Jewish kibbutz in Israel. Buy myambutol in us I wanted to share one of her articles.  Coming from a Christian background, buy myambutol in us I found it compelling. xoxo  What Christians Don’t Know About Israel American Jews sympathetic to Israel dominate key positions in all areas of our government where decisions are made regarding the Middle East. Buy myambutol in us This being the case, buy myambutol in us is there any hope of ever changing U.S. Buy myambutol in us policy? President Bill Clinton as well as most members of Congress support Israel — and they know why. Buy myambutol in us U.S. Buy myambutol in us Jews sympathetic to Israel donate lavishly to their campaign coffers. Buy myambutol in us . The answer to achieving an even-handed Middle East policy might lie elsewhere — among those who support Israel but don’t really know why. Buy myambutol in us This group is the vast majority of Americans. Buy myambutol in us They are well-meaning, buy myambutol in us fair-minded Christians who feel bonded to Israel — and Zionism — often from atavistic feelings, buy myambutol in us in some cases dating from childhood. I am one of those. Buy myambutol in us I grew up listening to stories of a mystical, buy myambutol in us allegorical, buy myambutol in us spiritual Israel. Buy myambutol in us This was before a modern political entity with the same name appeared on our maps. Buy myambutol in us I attended Sunday School and watched an instructor draw down window-type shades to show maps of the Holy Land. Buy myambutol in us I imbibed stories of a Good and Chosen people who fought against their Bad “unChosen” enemies. In my early 20s, buy myambutol in us I began traveling the world, buy myambutol in us earning my living as a writer. Buy myambutol in us I came to the subject of the Middle East rather late in my career. Buy myambutol in us I was sadly lacking in knowledge regarding the area. Buy myambutol in us About all I knew was what I had learned in Sunday School. And typical of many U.S. Buy myambutol in us Christians, buy myambutol in us I somehow considered a modern state created in 1948 as a homeland for Jews persecuted under the Nazis as a replica of the spiritual, buy myambutol in us mystical Israel I heard about as a child. Buy myambutol in us When in 1979 I initially went to Jerusalem, buy myambutol in us I planned to write about the three great monotheistic religions and leave out politics. Buy myambutol in us “Not write about politics?” scoffed one Palestinian, buy myambutol in us smoking a waterpipe in the Old Walled City. Buy myambutol in us “We eat politics, buy myambutol in us morning, buy myambutol in us noon and night!” As I would learn, buy myambutol in us the politics is about land, buy myambutol in us and the co-claimants to that land: the indigenous Palestinians who have lived there for 2, buy myambutol in us000 years and the Jews who started arriving in large numbers after the Second World War. Buy myambutol in us By living among Israeli Jews as well as Palestinian Christians and Muslims, buy myambutol in us I saw, buy myambutol in us heard, buy myambutol in us smelled, buy myambutol in us experienced the police state tactics Israelis use against Palestinians. My research led to a book entitled Journey to Jerusalem. Buy myambutol in us My journey not only was enlightening to me as regards Israel, buy myambutol in us but also I came to a deeper, buy myambutol in us and sadder, buy myambutol in us understanding of my own country. Buy myambutol in us I say sadder understanding because I began to see that, buy myambutol in us in Middle East politics, buy myambutol in us we the people are not making the decisions, buy myambutol in us but rather that supporters of Israel are doing so. Buy myambutol in us And typical of most Americans, buy myambutol in us I tended to think the U.S. Buy myambutol in us media was “free” to print news impartially. "It shouldn’t be published. Buy myambutol in us It’s anti-Israel." In the late 1970s, buy myambutol in us when I first went to Jerusalem, buy myambutol in us I was unaware that editors could and would classify “news” depending on who was doing what to whom. Buy myambutol in us On my initial visit to Israel-Palestine, buy myambutol in us I had interviewed dozens of young Palestinian men. Buy myambutol in us About one in four related stories of torture. Israeli police had come in the night, buy myambutol in us dragged them from their beds and placed hoods over their heads. Buy myambutol in us Then in jails the Israelis had kept them in isolation, buy myambutol in us besieged them with loud, buy myambutol in us incessant noises, buy myambutol in us hung them upside down and had sadistically mutilated their genitals. Buy myambutol in us I had not read such stories in the U.S. Buy myambutol in us media. Buy myambutol in us Wasn’t it news? Obviously, buy myambutol in us I naively thought, buy myambutol in us U.S. Buy myambutol in us editors simply didn’t know it was happening. On a trip to Washington, buy myambutol in us DC, buy myambutol in us I hand-delivered a letter to Frank Mankiewicz, buy myambutol in us then head of the public radio station WETA. Buy myambutol in us I explained I had taped interviews with Palestinians who had been brutally tortured. Buy myambutol in us And I’d make them available to him. Buy myambutol in us I got no reply. Buy myambutol in us I made several phone calls. Buy myambutol in us Eventually I was put through to a public relations person, buy myambutol in us a Ms. Buy myambutol in us Cohen, buy myambutol in us who said my letter had been lost. Buy myambutol in us I wrote again. Buy myambutol in us In time I began to realize what I hadn’t known: had it been Jews who were strung up and tortured, buy myambutol in us it would be news. Buy myambutol in us But interviews with tortured Arabs were “lost” at WETA. The process of getting my book Journey to Jerusalem published also was a learning experience. Buy myambutol in us Bill Griffin, buy myambutol in us who signed a contract with me on behalf of MacMillan Publishing Company, buy myambutol in us was a former Roman Catholic priest. Buy myambutol in us He assured me that no one other than himself would edit the book. Buy myambutol in us As I researched the book, buy myambutol in us making several trips to Israel and Palestine, buy myambutol in us I met frequently with Griffin, buy myambutol in us showing him sample chapters. Buy myambutol in us “Terrific, buy myambutol in us” he said of my material. The day the book was scheduled to be published, buy myambutol in us I went to visit MacMillan’s. Buy myambutol in us Checking in at a reception desk, buy myambutol in us I spotted Griffin across a room, buy myambutol in us cleaning out his desk. Buy myambutol in us His secretary Margie came to greet me. Buy myambutol in us In tears, buy myambutol in us she whispered for me to meet her in the ladies room. Buy myambutol in us When we were alone, buy myambutol in us she confided, buy myambutol in us “He’s been fired.” She indicated it was because he had signed a contract for a book that was sympathetic to Palestinians. Buy myambutol in us Griffin, buy myambutol in us she said, buy myambutol in us had no time to see me. Later, buy myambutol in us I met with another MacMillan official, buy myambutol in us William Curry. Buy myambutol in us “I was told to take your manuscript to the Israeli Embassy, buy myambutol in us to let them read it for mistakes, buy myambutol in us” he told me. Buy myambutol in us “They were not pleased. Buy myambutol in us They asked me, buy myambutol in us ‘You are not going to publish this book, buy myambutol in us are you?’ I asked, buy myambutol in us ‘Were there mistakes?’ ‘ Not mistakes as such. Buy myambutol in us But it shouldn’t be published. Buy myambutol in us It’s anti-Israel.’” Somehow, buy myambutol in us despite obstacles to prevent it, buy myambutol in us the presses had started rolling. Buy myambutol in us After its publication in 1980, buy myambutol in us I was invited to speak in a number of churches. Buy myambutol in us Christians generally reacted with disbelief. Buy myambutol in us Back then, buy myambutol in us there was little or no coverage of Israeli land confiscation, buy myambutol in us demolition of Palestinian homes, buy myambutol in us wanton arrests and torture of Palestinian civilians. The Same Question Speaking of these injustices, buy myambutol in us I invariably heard the same question, buy myambutol in us “How come I didn’t know this?” Or someone might ask, buy myambutol in us “But I haven’t read about that in my newspaper.” To these church audiences, buy myambutol in us I related my own learning experience, buy myambutol in us that of seeing hordes of U.S. Buy myambutol in us correspondents covering a relatively tiny state. Buy myambutol in us I pointed out that I had not seen so many reporters in world capitals such as Beijing, buy myambutol in us Moscow, buy myambutol in us London, buy myambutol in us Tokyo, buy myambutol in us Paris. Buy myambutol in us Why, buy myambutol in us I asked, buy myambutol in us did a small state with a 1980 population of only four million warrant more reporters than China, buy myambutol in us with a billion people? I also linked this query with my findings that The New York Times , buy myambutol in us The Wall Street Journal, buy myambutol in us The Washington Post — and most of our nation’s print media — are owned and/or controlled by Jews supportive of Israel. Buy myambutol in us It was for this reason, buy myambutol in us I deduced, buy myambutol in us that they sent so many reporters to cover Israe l— and to do so largely from the Israeli point of view. My learning experiences also included coming to realize how easily I could lose a Jewish friend if I criticized the Jewish state. Buy myambutol in us I could with impunity criticize France, buy myambutol in us England, buy myambutol in us Russia, buy myambutol in us even the United States. Buy myambutol in us And any aspect of life in America. Buy myambutol in us But not the Jewish state. I lost more Jewish friends than one after the publication of Journey to Jerusalem — all sad losses for me and one, buy myambutol in us perhaps, buy myambutol in us saddest of all. In the 1960s and 1970s, buy myambutol in us before going to the Middle East, buy myambutol in us I had written about the plight of blacks in a book entitled Soul Sister, buy myambutol in us and the plight of American Indians in a book entitled Bessie Yellowhair, buy myambutol in us and the problems endured by undocumented workers crossing from Mexico in The Illegals. These books had come to the attention of the “mother” of The New York Times, buy myambutol in us Mrs. Buy myambutol in us Arthur Hays Sulzberger. Her father had started the newspaper, buy myambutol in us then her husband ran it, buy myambutol in us and in the years that I knew her, buy myambutol in us her son was the publisher. Buy myambutol in us She invited me to her fashionable apartment on Fifth Avenue for lunches and dinner parties. Buy myambutol in us And, buy myambutol in us on many occasions, buy myambutol in us I was a weekend guest at her Greenwich, buy myambutol in us Conn. Buy myambutol in us home. She was liberal-minded and praised my efforts to speak for the underdog, buy myambutol in us even going so far in one letter to say, buy myambutol in us “You are the most remarkable woman I ever knew.” I had little concept that from being buoyed so high I could be dropped so suddenly when I discovered — from her point of view — the “wrong” underdog. As it happened, buy myambutol in us I was a weekend guest in her spacious Connecticut home when she read bound galleys of Journey to Jerusalem. Buy myambutol in us As I was leaving, buy myambutol in us she handed the galleys back with a saddened look: “My dear, buy myambutol in us have you forgotten the Holocaust?” She felt that what happened in Nazi Germany to Jews several decades earlier should silence any criticism of the Jewish state. Buy myambutol in us She could focus on a holocaust of Jews while negating a modern day holocaust of Palestinians. I realized, buy myambutol in us quite painfully, buy myambutol in us that our friendship was ending. Buy myambutol in us Iphigene Sulzberger had not only invited me to her home to meet her famous friends but, buy myambutol in us also at her suggestion, buy myambutol in us The Times had requested articles. Buy myambutol in us I wrote op-ed articles on various subjects including American blacks, buy myambutol in us American Indians as well as undocumented workers. Buy myambutol in us Since Mrs. Buy myambutol in us Sulzberger and other Jewish officials at the Times highly praised my efforts to help these groups of oppressed peoples, buy myambutol in us the dichotomy became apparent: most “liberal” U.S. Buy myambutol in us Jews stand on the side of all poor and oppressed peoples save one — the Palestinians. How handily these liberal Jewish opinion-molders tend to diminish the Palestinians, buy myambutol in us to make them invisible, buy myambutol in us or to categorize them all as “terrorists.” Interestingly, buy myambutol in us Iphigene Sulzberger had talked to me a great deal about her father, buy myambutol in us Adolph S. Buy myambutol in us Ochs. Buy myambutol in us She told me that he was not one of the early Zionists. Buy myambutol in us He had not favored the creation of a Jewish state. Yet, buy myambutol in us increasingly, buy myambutol in us American Jews have fallen victim to Zionism, buy myambutol in us a nationalistic movement that passes for many as a religion. Buy myambutol in us While the ethical instructions of all great religions — including the teachings of Moses, buy myambutol in us Muhammad and Christ — stress that all human beings are equal, buy myambutol in us militant Zionists take the position that the killing of a non-Jew does not count. Over five decades now, buy myambutol in us Zionists have killed Palestinians with impunity. Buy myambutol in us And in the 1996 shelling of a U.N. Buy myambutol in us base in Qana, buy myambutol in us Lebanon, buy myambutol in us the Israelis killed more than 100 civilians sheltered there. Buy myambutol in us As an Israeli journalist, buy myambutol in us Arieh Shavit, buy myambutol in us explains of the massacre, buy myambutol in us “We believe with absolute certitude that right now, buy myambutol in us with the White House in our hands, buy myambutol in us the Senate in our hands and The New York Times in our hands, buy myambutol in us the lives of others do not count the same way as our own.” Israelis today, buy myambutol in us explains the anti-Zionist Jew Israel Shahak, buy myambutol in us “are not basing their religion on the ethics of justice. Buy myambutol in us They do not accept the Old Testament as it is written. Buy myambutol in us Rather, buy myambutol in us religious Jews turn to the Talmud. Buy myambutol in us For them, buy myambutol in us the Talmudic Jewish laws become ‘the Bible.’ And the Talmud teaches that a Jew can kill a non-Jew with impunity.” In the teachings of Christ, buy myambutol in us there was a break from such Talmudic teachings. Buy myambutol in us He sought to heal the wounded, buy myambutol in us to comfort the downtrodden. The danger, buy myambutol in us of course, buy myambutol in us for U.S. Buy myambutol in us Christians is that having made an icon of Israel, buy myambutol in us we fall into a trap of condoning whatever Israel does — even wanton murder—as orchestrated by God. Yet, buy myambutol in us I am not alone in suggesting that the churches in the United States represent the last major organized support for Palestinian rights. Buy myambutol in us This imperative is due in part to our historic links to the Land of Christ and in part to the moral issues involved with having our tax dollars fund Israeli-government-approved violations of human rights. While Israel and its dedicated U.S. Buy myambutol in us Jewish supporters know they have the president and most of Congress in their hands, buy myambutol in us they worry about grassroots America — the well-meaning Christians who care for justice. Buy myambutol in us Thus far, buy myambutol in us most Christians were unaware of what it was they didn’t know about Israel. Buy myambutol in us They were indoctrinated by U.S. Buy myambutol in us supporters of Israel in their own country and when they traveled to the Land of Christ most all did so under Israeli sponsorship. Buy myambutol in us That being the case, buy myambutol in us it was unlikely a Christian ever met a Palestinian or learned what caused the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is gradually changing, buy myambutol in us however. Buy myambutol in us And this change disturbs the Israelis. Buy myambutol in us As an example, buy myambutol in us delegates attending a Christian Sabeel conference in Bethlehem earlier this year said they were harassed by Israeli security at the Tel Aviv airport. “They asked us, buy myambutol in us” said one delegate, buy myambutol in us “‘Why did you use a Palestinian travel agency? Why didn’t you use an Israeli agency?’” The interrogation was so extensive and hostile that Sabeel leaders called a special session to brief the delegates on how to handle the harassment. Buy myambutol in us Obviously, buy myambutol in us said one delegate, buy myambutol in us “The Israelis have a policy to discourage us from visiting the Holy Land except under their sponsorship. Buy myambutol in us They don’t want Christians to start learning all they have never known about Israel.” -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Washington, buy myambutol in us DC-based writer Grace Halsell is the author of 14 books, buy myambutol in us including Journey to Jerusalem and Prophecy and Politics.