Dear members,

Apparently, no one is reading my columns to the end, where I’ve been pleading for members to step up and take on some committee assignments. So, this time, I am starting with the beg, then on to the column.

Please spend just a few minutes on our website’s committees page ( to see if there’s anywhere you would be able to contribute. Even if a committee already has a chair and co-chair, it’s worth inquiring about a role, as most need more members and, some chairs are handling more than one such job and would be very happy to let someone else take one over. Most urgent, perhaps, is the election committee, the chairs of which must be regular members. This is an excellent opportunity to learn the inner workings of non-profit board governance at the ground level, and, to do the club and its members a great favor.
Team Peace

The death, destruction and hatred spreading in the Palestine-Israel conflict demand courage from journalists. No position is without risk. Even people who literally take no stance can face loud accusations of bigotry for failing to support a side.

So when proposals for FCCJ press events related to the crisis began coming in, I wondered if any members would get trampled in that way.

Akiko Saikawa, the club’s staff member in charge of professional activities, focused on seeking out Israel Ambassador Gilad Cohen and Palestinian Ambassador to Japan Waleed Ali Siam. Both agreed, and PAC member Eric Johnston volunteered immediately to write the announcement. Within four days of the Hamas attacks, the club had press conferences scheduled to run from the two most relevant voices in the country.

Neither made massive news in the torrent of global reporting on top-priority news across the globe, yet, the full coverage, attendance and urgency of the appearances by both ambassadors show that the biggest players from Tel Aviv to Ramallah and well beyond recognize the club’s vital role as a place where news is made.

The entire PAC deserves our gratitude for working smoothly and efficiently as a team to make this happen. Scores of messages were exchanged on arrangements, possible names to appear at the club, and conditions to set for each.

Perhaps we should be most proud of the fact that, while the club can at times seem fractious, there was not a single hostile word passed among committee members over these issues. Instead, the discussion was marked by collegial teamwork, like Eric fielding the request for help with an announcement minutes after it was made.

Other heroes and heroines of the hour were Fred Varcoe, who jumped in at very short notice to moderate the press conference with Ambassador Siam, and Isabel Reynolds, who handled the event with Ambassador Cohen.

Thanks to all who set aside time from their busy work schedules to make all of this happen smoothly and with full respect for everyone involved.

Dave McCombs
FCCJ President