Minutes for MPJC Meeting of March 24, 2014

Present: Peter, Ellyn, Glenda Rae, Rey, Lois

Old business

    1.  Approval of Minutes for February 10: The minutes were approved as corrected. Most of the corrections were in the Screenpeace and 350.org entries.

    2. Progress Reports

        a. Topic of the Month: Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Ellyn revised her draft for the meeting, taking into account the comments from the last meeting. There was heated discussion of the paragraphs beginning "Fighting, expulsion..." and "Efforts to secure peace..." Rey stated that there should be a distinction between the Palestinians in Gaza under Hamas and those in the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority as far as violence is concerned. He said that those on the West Bank, except for some stone throwing youths, have embraced non-violence, and Israel has responded by violently confiscating land, bulldozing homes, building illegal settlements, harassing children going to school, holding people up at checkpoints for hours, etc. Ellyn objected to this condemnation of Israel as doing little to bring about peace and reconciliation. Peter and Glenda Rae reflected on how important Truth Commissions were in Central America and Africa, where all sides spoke truth to each other from their experiences. True reconciliation came only after these painful exchanges. Peter agreed to try to change the document with Rey's suggestions. Lois asked that we send Ellyn's and Rey's versions to her friends Elaine and Zoughbi in Bethlehem and ask them to look them over with the view towards obtaining reconciliation without obscuring truth. We will look at all this at the next meeting. We decided not to put out anything on the web until then.

        b. Tax Day Plans: Tax Day is Tuesday, April 15. Rey had contacted Jeremy Beinstein at Americans for Tax Fairness in Elkhart and also David James. Jeremy thought we should have a vigil at Rep. Walorski's office on Tax Day. We suggested 4:00pm. Rey will confirm the plans with him, suggesting that folks bring their own signs reflecting their issues around taxes. We are concerned that so much of our tax dollar goes to pay for war and preparations for war.

        c. XL Pipeline Situation: The public comment period ended earlier this month. We are urged to email the President not to approve the pipeline. Some think he will wait until after the elections to make a decision. The pipeline will create jobs for a year or two at the expense of damaging the environment for centuries. There is a coalition of cowboys and Indians opposing the pipeline. We discussed the latest Houston tar sands oil spill. The Exxon Valdez spill is still affecting the environment after more than 20 years.

    3. Treasurer's Report: Our bank total is $81.04 with $5.11 in petty cash.

New Business

    1. What do we (can we) do next? We incorporated this topic into other discussion

    2. Topic of the Month: We decided to continue work on MPJC response to the Israeli-Palestinian situation.

    3. Other Topics and Issues: The Indiana Gun Bill to allow folks to keep firearms in locked cars on school property is on the Governor's desk. He has 7 days until March 27 to sign or veto it. If he does nothing, it becomes law. We are asked to email him recommending a veto.

There will be a meeting with the two local state senators at the Chocolate Cafe from 11:30 - 1:00 on March 27th to discuss the results from this year's legislative session.

    7. Next meeting: Monday, April 14th, at 3pm at Peter and Ellyn's.