Month: August 2009
ICAR Ph.D. candidate Saira Yamin’s article in The News, a leading newspaper in Pakistan, reviewing my latest book, To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy:
People to People Contact
By Saira Yamin
The News, August 8, 2009
Excerpt from the Article:
“Positive change is more often pioneered by individuals of courage,” writes Marc Gopin, a rabbi, peacemaker, and scholar. His new book To Make the Earth Whole: The Art of Citizen Diplomacy in an Age of Religious Militancy offers invaluable insights for those who want to make the world a more peaceful place. The narrative evolves in the backdrop of the post 9/11 clash of civilizations, whereby fissures between the West and Islam appear to be growing. Gopin observes that relations between the United States and Syria in particular are mired in distrust and hostility. Former President of the United
How One of America’s Most Important Jewish Theologians Became a Poster Boy for Lousy Health Insurance
My Ph.D. is actually in modern Jewish philosophy from Brandeis University. Everyone knows that there has been a fundamental weakness to Jewish philosophy and theology since the loss of European Jewry in the Holocaust. But I have studied and been friends with Arthur Waskow for decades, and I can say that he has emerged as one of the most creative thinkers of contemporary Jewish spiritual life. His books are playful, down to earth, but incredibly creative on a spiritual and textual level.
More importantly Arthur is by far the most courageous in standing up to the Jewish establishment which silences all thought that questions the militancy of their supposedly pro-Israel politics, which is not very pro-Israel. Arthur has managed in his senior years, to create a bridge to the mainstream Jewish community through his championing of not only peace and justice but also environmental transformation. The latter has resonated with …
Jews were pioneers of Labor reform in the United States, most famously for women workers. It is this legacy in particular that still leaves most of the grandchildren and great grandchildren of these folks voting Democrat despite their extraordinary financial success, much to the chagrin of successive Republican presidents.
There are divisions emerging between Jews on these matter, of late, however. Not surprisingly, the leading militants siding with Israel’s most violent policies are also the most opposed to labor rights, such as Sheldon Adelson. Adelson is one of the most extreme influences on American Jewish establishment politics today. This comes as no surprise to me. Moral bankruptcy in Israel’s treatment of Palestinians goes hand in hand with selfishness in labor relations. This is why the poison of the Occupation must go, so that, in addition to doing the right thing, Jews can recapture the proud political traditions of their ancestors …
This is a fascinating story about a rabbi’s relationship with a very serious enemy, and, unlike the fear mongering that dominates the establishment organizations, this rabbi proceeds differently. He is part of a noble American tradition pioneered by black preachers. I am fascinated by friendships between enemies, the subject of my next book, and this is a great example to be studied.
Here’s an excerpt from Rebecca Dube’s article in The Jewish Daily Forward, titled “He Conquered the KKK — Now on to Flushing”:
When he was a cantor in Lincoln, Neb., [Rabbi Michael] Weisser confronted diehard Ku Klux Klan leader Larry Trapp, befriended him and eventually inspired the life-long racist to renounce hatred and speak out publicly against bigotry.
Three months before his death from diabetes-related kidney disease in September 1992, Trapp converted to Judaism under Weisser’s guidance, in the very synagogue that he’d once plotted to blow
I met a fascinating group of people from around the world at Caux, Switzerland a few weeks ago. The man who wrote this article was part of a large contingent from India and Pakistan who had some very serious and exciting exchanges under the able guidance of Mr. Rajmohan Gandhi, former parliamentarian, veteran peacemaker and distinguished author.
Beyond the walls of hatred
By Jawad Naqvi
An excerpt from the article:
Mr Ahmadinejad would do well to get invited to Caux and to listen to Prof Marc Gopin’s views on the states’ culpability in arming militant groups on both sides of the equation. He would gain amazingly fresh insights from the intervention by Jakob Finci, the president of the Jewish community in Bosnia, about the efforts of a small community of Bosnian Jews, Christians and Muslims to build a life together.
Marc Gopin, a rabbi, is the James H. Laue
I met Aryaratne over twenty years ago in Cambridge, had a wonderful dialogue with him about Buddhist and Jewish approaches to compassion. Laurence Simon of Brandeis University, my old colleague and friend, introduced us, and I have been grateful ever since. Here is an honest article about this extraordinary man and his movement, the Sarvodayah Movement.
A.T. Ariyaratne: Leading Sri Lanka’s Largest Civil Society Movement for 50 Years
By Anuradha K. Herath
The meek 77-year-old Ariyaratne, often called the “Gandhi of Sri Lanka,” has become popular for his massive meditation sessions in which hundreds of thousands of people converge to pray for peace. His Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement, which Ariyaratne established 51 years ago, is based on Buddhist and Gandhian principles — Sarvodaya in Sanskrit means “awakening of all” and Shramadana “to donate effort.” The organization is the largest civil society movement in the country. By its own estimations, it
By Agatha Glowacki, PhD Candidate, Institute for Conflict Analysis & Resolution (ICAR)
Recent news that HAMAS is forgoing the use of armed resistance, specifically the use of the short-range Qassam rockets that for years have flown into Israel, for what it is calling “cultural resistance” may prove that one of the lessons it learned from the war has been that violence doesn’t work. In a recent article by the New York Times, HAMAS leader Ayman Taha explains this policy move as partly the result of popular pressure by a public that increasingly perceives terrorist tactics—such as rockets—as ineffective. The article quotes, ““What did the rockets do for us? Nothing,” Mona Abdelaziz, a 36-year-old lawyer, said in a typical street interview here.”
But this policychange is more than a tactical move meant to appease its public. Instead, it represents a shrewd strategic calculation by HAMAS to move from a physical battlefield—upon …
I love Radiohead for their profound lyrics and powerful music. Earlier this month, Radiohead made available a track that’s a tribute to the late Harry Patch, who was believed to be the last living survivor of World War I. Patch, pictured below, died on July 25 of this year.
Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke was inspired to write the song — titled “Harry Patch (In Memory Of)” — after he heard a 2005 BBC interview with Patch. Yorke, quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about the song, said: “The way he talked about war had a profound effect on me…It became the inspiration for a song that we happened to record a few weeks before his death.”
Yorke used some of Patch’s words from that 2005 interview in the lyrics of the song:
I am the only one that got through
The others died where ever they fell
Iran threat pushing Arabs closer to normalization with Israel
By Akiva Eldar
…Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa notes that peace is not a light bulb easily switched on, but admits that the Arabs have made public-relations blunders. “An Israeli might be forgiven for thinking that every Muslim voice is raised in hatred,” he writes, “because that is usually the only one he hears. Just as an Arab might be forgiven for thinking every Israeli wants the destruction of every Palestinian.” Khalifa urges the Arabs to communicate directly with the Israelis and tell them their story.
If Olmert’s defense of the settlements was grist for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s mill, the Bahraini prince’s call for normalization made Obama’s weekend. The start of normalization between the nations is a key item on the president’s agenda. It’s the undertone intended to ease the creation of a blueprint for a final-status agreement.
U.S. Pressure on Arab States Grows
By Kim Ghattas
The Obama administration has been frustrated by the lack of movement on all sides but has reportedly been particularly disappointed by how little Arab countries have been willing to do or even promise.
Wary from past experience of negotiating with the Israelis, the official Arab position has been one of “show us the goods, then we will talk”.
Link to BBC Article.
This just about sums about what I have seen and heard in the region. No one is in the mood for more talk of rapprochement with Israel. With the United States, definitely. There is still a hope that the United States will provide the leadership to move governments in the region toward a new direction of engagement with their people. But the war on Gaza was far more of a watershed than anyone understands in Western capitals, especially in …