Our beloved Howard Zinn died yesterday of a heart attack in Los Angeles; he was 87. What a huge loss for us as Jews, as progressives, as human beings who care deeply about the world and the people in it.As Zinn wrote in his autobiography, 'You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train' (1994), 'From the start, my teaching was infused with my own history. I would try to be fair to other points of view, but I wanted more than 'objectivity'; I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed, but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, to act against injustice wherever they saw it.'
Zinn was a founding member of JVP's Advisory Board and he was a tremendous supporter of our work and vision for justice and full equality in Israel and Palestine. He spoke out on behalf of the Shministim, Israel's young conscientious objectors who waited in jail for refusing to serve the occupation. He spoke frankly about the intolerable subjugation of millions of Palestinians, and how it hurt both peoples. And he stood up for the full humanity of all people everywhere.
He always spoke the truth with humor and and with hope. How lucky we were to share this world and this time with him.
We were all his students, and we at JVP will continue to do our best to live up to his lessons.
Jewish Voice for Peace