citizen diplomacy


  • I MET JIM CROW AND SENATOR OBAMA IS LAYING HIM TO REST

    I was phoning somewhere in the American South for Obama the other day. What an education for me! There were simple, poor families that have been energized by the campaign, volunteering, excited. There were some angry independents, a completely nuts Nader person who hung up on me after screaming about women getting 93 cents on the dollar.

    And then there was “Jim Crow” himself, who I have always longed to meet. When I say “Jim Crow” I mean those people in the United States who have actively supported racial segregation their whole lives. They actively ensured through legislation in the late nineteenth century, referred to as the “Jim Crow Laws”, that blacks would remain segregated and unequal in the United States, in a steady reversal of the gains made by victory in the Civil War over slavery. The great President Woodrow Wilson was actually the first Southern Democrat to …

  • ORTHODOX JEWISH LEADER IN JERUSALEM PRAYS FOR OBAMA AT ISRAEL’S HOLIEST SITE

    Orthodox Jewish leader Rabbi Menahem Frohman made an impassioned appeal today for American Jews to embrace Senator Obama as a harbinger of peace in the Middle East. Amidst controversial reports coming out of Israel that most Americans there voted for McCain Rabbi Frohman’s religious prayers stand out as exceptional. Most of those polled are Orthdox, and this dovetails American trends in which Orthodox Jews are mostly voting for McCain. Here is the video from the Kotel, the Western Wall of the ancient Jewish Temple in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem.

    Prayers in the Old City of Jerusalem for Obama

    We live in an age in which religion as an ideology has been weaponized by at least some people in every culture and civilization. But sometimes one sees exceptions, passionate expressions of piety that are for peace, not war, for love, not hatred. The constant in history is …

  • A NEW AKKO, A NEW ISRAEL?

    Wonderful article by Avnery entitled “Is Akko Burning?”, with the usual insight. Only thing I would add to understanding the tragedy in Akko, as well as racial situations in America, is that intentionally or unintentionally, racism is always bred when an underprivileged wing of the dominant race or religious group, like the poor ethnic Jewish groups in Acre, or the poorer ethnic groups in America’s poor sections, always become the ‘front lines’ of the race war of a country, against some group that they can see as beneath even them. I have seen this in the ‘religious’ conflict in Belfast as well. Poor against poor, grievance against grievance. Cynically, the Mayor and others have pitted Jews who are bitter about Gaza, or about their financial condition, against the Arabs in Akko. Cynically, there are indeed Islamists and Arab politicians who have done the same, everyone using grievances, financial instability …

  • Lose Weight and Lose War: The Infinite Paths to Peace

    This is a wonderful video about yet another way that people without any training in conflict resolution or diplomacy can become a part of the solution rather than part of the problem when it comes to global conflicts. I call them citizen diplomats, and I think they represent the infinite and creative ways that individuals can choose to move beyond the boundaries of group hatreds and fears.

    Starting after the Muslim Ramadan and the Jewish New Year, group of Palestinian and Israeli women will be meeting face to face in Jerusalem. Not for political reasons, not to cast blame on who’s right or wrong in the Middle East conflict – these women will be focusing on their waistline, and sharing a simple and common desire to lose weight.

    “A Slim Peace” is a group founded in 2006 by Yael Luttwak, a 36-year-old American-Israeli filmmaker who grew up in Washington D.C.

  • Does the U.S. Bipartisan Group’s Report on Engaging the Islamic World Favor Obama?

    The recent U.S. report on Muslim engagement was crafted carefully by a very bipartisan group in which I played a role, but this article argues that it strongly favors Obama’s foreign policy.

    U.S.: Bipartisan Group Urges Deeper Diplomacy with Muslim World

    WASHINGTON, Sep 24 (IPS) – In an implicit indictment of President George W. Bush’s “global war on terror” and the hawkish pronouncements by Republican candidate John McCain, a bipartisan group of nearly three dozen U.S. leaders called here Wednesday for Bush’s successor to place much greater emphasis on high-level diplomacy — including direct engagement with Iran and Syria — in dealing with the Middle East and the Muslim world.

    In a 152-page report, the group, which included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Bush’s former Deputy Secretary of State and McCain adviser Richard Armitage, also called for any new administration to work “intensively for immediate de-escalation of the

  • What is *Reality*? – Welcome to the Sulha

    In the context of major global conflicts, where everyone is analyzing what is right or wrong, black or white, left or right, it has occured to me that the definition of reality sometimes gets lost in the mix.

    Here are few definitons of reality occording to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

    ‘Reality’

    1: the quality or state of being real

    2 a (1): a real event, entity, or state of affairs reality(2): the totality of real things and events realityb: something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily

    Imagine for just a moment if headlines coming out of the Middle East read like this tomorrow….

    Today thousands of Arabs, Jews, Israelis,
    Palestinians, Seculars and Religious, Christians, Muslims,
    Druze, young and old gathered to dance, to cry, to share, to
    laugh, to work, to play and ultimately, to live together for
    three days just a few miles outside of

  • A New Direction for US-Muslim Relations

    Yesterday Marc participated in panels on Capitol Hill and at  The National Press Club to coincide with the release of a seminal report entitled “Changing Course: A New Direction for Relations with the Muslim World” issued by The US-Muslim Engagement Project. Marc was one of thirty four Americans who constituted the Leadership Council on U.S. Muslim Engagement. It was a bipartisan group of leading Republicans, Democrats, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, secular and religious, liberal and conservative. They met over a period of two years to create this report which has detailed recommendations for the United States Government, NGO’s, and for the governments of the Muslim world. The convening this extremely diverse group was also meant as a model of how to change course and what kind of negotiations need to take place in the United States in order to create positive change, as well as in the global …

  • THE REFUGEES, PALESTINIANS AND ISRAEL

    Ehud Olmert is beginning to outline his final vision of peace between Israel and Palestine, and it is revealing.

    Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Monday that the price of an agreement with the Palestinians would “move us very close” to an exchange of equal amounts of territory, and that this must be stated “honestly and courageously.” The alternative to an agreement is a bi-national state, an idea, he said that “ever-growing segments of the international community are adopting.”

    Speaking at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Olmert said the agreement now being formulated would give the Palestinians 100 percent of the West Bank, or territory of a similar area. “I’ll still be here,” he told committee members who said they wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to wish him good-bye, in light of the Kadima primary Wednesday, which is expected to result in his resignation.

  • ENGAGING RUSSIA–AGAIN

    I have a friend, Bryan Hamlin, who has been an amazing citizen diplomat all his life, who helps entities in conflict understand each other, especially at critical hours. What I mean by ‘citizen diplomat’ is a person who takes it upon himself to build relationships between enemy groups, or between his own culture and a culture with which he or his country is in conflict. My next book, To Make the Earth Whole, will deal at great length with citizen diplomats because I believe they are the hope of the future, inching the globe toward greater integration, cooperation, and community.

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    Bryan had two great pre-occupations of his career as a citizen diplomat, the Palestinian/Jewish relationship, and the Russian/Western relationship. He chose wisely, for these remain the deepest challenges to the future of humanity. What we have seen in Georgia proves this.

    One of the most exhilarating moments …

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