After my dear friend Leonard Nimoy died recently, I was reminded of the time in 2011 when I first introduced him to Americans for Peace Now-- a shiddach worth celebrating. What was born of this relationship was a fundraising letter that he enthusiastically endorsed.
In my March 4th tribute to Leonard published in Tablet, I noted, "When I've asked other celebrities to sign a petition, ad, or call to action—whether about peace or women's issues—they usually want to know who else is signing; they need cover; they need time to consult their friends, managers, or agents to be sure they're not risking their public image. Not Leonard. He simply read the suggested draft, tweaked a few sentences, then put his name to the letter, which closed with a plea for a tax-deductible contribution to APN -- and the inside Spock joke, "Dare I say it? It's the logical thing to do."
Spock, the Vulcan, may have been devoid of emotion but Leonard, the human being, was a man of deep feelings, especially about the Jewish past and Israel's future. He refused to fall into the trap of denial. He refused to close his eyes to disastrous developments in Israel, its continuing occupation of the West Bank, its settlement expansion, the hegemony of Orthodox triumphalism and other internal threats to Israeli democracy.
Leonard always followed his conscience and acted on his beliefs. And since he believed in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he believed in the work of APN just as I have for the past thirty years. As a present board member and former Chair, I know APN and its Israeli sister organization, Shalom Achschav, to be the preeminent advocacy group for the cause of peace, both at the grass roots level and among office holders and opinion makers in the U.S. and in Israel. For APN and Shalom Achschav – and for Leonard and me – the key question has never been should there be a Palestinian State side by side with Israel, but rather whether Israel can have a secure future without one.
I'm proud that Leonard's letter made a difference in 2011—it generated extraordinary media attention as well as an outpouring of much-needed funds to support APN's work. Although a few sentences are outdated, APN is reprinting the letter here in the hope that you will be moved to memorialize Leonard's courage by making a tax-deductible contribution in his honor today. Now, more than ever, supporting APN is the logical thing to do.
May Leonard Nimoy's memory always be a blessing and may all of us live long enough to see peace prosper.
Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Board member, Americans for Peace Now
The Logical Thing to Do
When I was a teenager, I told my dad I wanted to be an actor. In response, he gave me the only piece of advice he ever offered me--"Learn to play the accordion." And he was serious. He said, "You can always make a living with an accordion."
Because I ignored his advice, I never found out if he was right. Instead, I've lived 80 creative years pursuing acting and photography, and working as a director and poet.
If I had listened to my father, and hadn't done any of those things, chances are you wouldn't have recognized my name. Now that you have, I'd like to ask you to keep reading and consider what I have to say.
I reach out to you as someone who is troubled to see the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians continue apparently without an end in sight. In fact, there is an end in sight. It's known as the two-state solution.
Read more here. Please.