What “We” Must Do Right Now For Palestine/Israel, Not Governments
There are important next steps being debated for what states can and should do to stop the current war, and set the stage for ending the current cycle of violence. That is not my subject. I thought recently that leaders are followers and followers are leaders, and neither knows it. The fact is that people and their individual initiatives have much more impact on the course of history than is acknowledged by government officials, by cynics, and by those too apathetic, too callous, or too fearful to act. If you are in that category, do not read forward. Just go back to Al Jazeera, Fox and CNN and choose a side. Or go back to Jon Stewart and have a good laugh.
Here is what is necessary, efforts that have worked before in history in changing the available information available to all parties so that more rational and more morally …
The Lonely Man of Peace: An In-depth Interview
Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:
The lonely man of peace
By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER
This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.
Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …
Goldstone Defends Report Before Rabbis Groups
I am so proud of these Jewish rabbis! They are unafraid of this strange thing called self-examination, confession, and commitment to a different future. Maybe they cannot get the Jewish holy days out of their heads and hearts? So it is strange that this secular Jewish judge is now the champion of spiritual rabbis who have the courage to love the world, love Jews, love even Israel, with one hand, and love justice and repentance with the other hand. They actually believe in a God that they must answer to, while the establishment organizations, including the rabbinic ones, cannot look in the mirror, and are numb to the pain of their enemies.
The reality today is of millions of spiritual Muslims, Jews and Christians, who are orphaned by their religious establishments. It is understandable. Most people sacralize states that they are attached to, that they worship as the source of …
Tomorrow, from dawn to dusk, I am honored to begin a monthly fast with 80 of the most honorable of Jewish rabbis, and 870 of my fellow beloved Jews, for the sake of the people of Gaza and their liberation from prison. My personal blessings to the Abu Ghazaleh family, to Ibrahim, to Sheikh Bukhari’s children and grand-children. We will all see a better day soon. Click here to learn more about Fast for Gaza.…
Two Recommended Webcasts
From our good friends at the Backdoor Broadcasting Company in the United Kingdom:
Psycho-Political Resistance in Israel-Palestine
This conference, the first of its kind in the UK, addresses the remarkable projects of certain groups working in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank involved in joint resistance to ongoing military conflict and occupation. Working for mental health and human rights on the front lines involving military aggression, internal group violence, systemic interference with basic human rights, brutalization on many fronts and deep pessimism on all sides, speakers will address any and all resources for combined resistance and shared hope, whether close to home or coming from abroad. The recent catastrophic attack on the civilian population of Gaza, at the eye of the storm of sites of conflict in Western eyes, makes this event both critical and significant.
* Survival and Non-Violent Resistance in Gaza and the West Bank
* Psychoactive …
Goldstone Gaza War Full Document: A Must Read
This is the full Goldstone Report on the War in Gaza, including all aspects of the war, its aftermath, full documentation of Hamas’ violations, crimes by the IDF, recommendations, reparations, as well as a review of what happened inside Israel during the war. It is over 500 pages of documentation and represents a powerful statement of truth from a man who has been at the forefront of the most important truth commissions in modern times. This is a good place to start in terms of future documentation of all violence in this conflict, Jewish and Arab, and a good model to build upon in terms of what exactly needs to happen to prevent such tragedies in the future. It is the details that everyone should read and debate. Here is the link again:
The War in Gaza: Reflections on An Interview in the Midst of War at the Half Year Anniversary
In a December 31, 2008 conference call with Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, an American grassroots Jewish organization dedicated to promoting a negotiated two-state resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Marc shared his “on-the-ground perspective of the…violence in Gaza and southern Israel and the need for U.S. Leadership.”
Listen to the call here or read a transcript of the interview here.
Marc reflects now:
I stand by much of what I concluded in that interview. I remember vividly the circumstances of that interview. I was on the floor of a very cold apartment at night, unsure if i would be heard because my only connection was skype (as usual no budget for my work), and my computer only worked with skype on the floor.
I was impressed with the questions I received, and it was rather a relief to reflect on the issues instead of living it. In the first days …
Play Book of Israel’s Far Right in America Exposed: The Pro-Peace Community Should Learn
Frank Luntz has done it again, putting his prodigious talents to work for reactionary causes, finding amazingly simple–though not simplistic–communications strategies to obstruct basic truths and delay a little longer the march of history. All the major issues that the world now sees as obvious and plain as day–climate change, tobacco as a killer, for example–were at one time subject to the brilliant obfuscations of communications manipulation. Now Frank has turned that to the purposes of the so-called pro-Israel community, which is not and does not represent a pro-Israel position but rather a pro-settlement and pro-war position.
Newsweek has exposed Frank’s playbook, over a hundred pages of it. The pro-peace community, the community that considers itself pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian should study this method and turn it on its head. Exposing it and reversing its use is the best way to neutralize its fundamental dishonesty.
In the report, Luntz describes
A Young Israeli Reflects on Gaza
By Kobi Skolnick
It has been six months since Israel launched an incursion into Gaza, and the anniversary has prompted the Red Cross to release a report on life since the operation.
According to the report, 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair” because of the continuing Israeli blockade, and since April 2007 there has been an 80% decrease in the number of truckloads allowed through the boarder. With the population of Gaza being made up mainly of teenagers and children, this means many children are suffering from malnourishment and poor health. Furthermore, the Red Cross reports the people of Gaza are powerless to restore their lives and are sliding deeper into hopelessness. (See the full report here.)
Nor has the situation in Gaza left Israel’s soldiers unaffected. After the Israeli operation in December, there were alarming cases of immorality among our finest soldiers. According to …
Hamas, Israel Reject Amnesty Report
It is a half year anniversary of the Gaza War of 2009. I love this incisive report. Amnesty must be doing something right for both sides to condemn them. Their critiques are trenchant, to the point, based on simple facts, and they expose the brutality of this confrontation, including Israel’s paradoxical use of pinpoint, precision weapons to create wanton destruction, and Hamas’ purposeful and unabashed targeting of civilians while calling it defense. The moral bankruptcy of the military leaders on both sides is plainly apparent, and cries out for global leaders to intervene forcefully, for the sake of the innocents on all sides. Since the “precision” weaponry of Israel’s is so lethal when used indiscriminately, however, the vast majority of civilians killed are on the Palestinian side as usual, which is why the Occupation must go. (Those who think that Gaza is not occupied anymore with all borders and commerce …