Here are two interviews that I did with Fox News and Russia TV on Tuesday, regarding thousands of Palestinian refugees who attempted to nonviolently cross Israeli borders from the Syrian, Lebanese, and Palestinian border last weekend, resulting in several deaths and dozens injured.
Reflecting on 2010, it’s clear that racism in Israel has reared its ugly head. A recent poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 51 percent of Israelis support equal rights between Jews and Arabs, while 53 percent think the state should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country. Thepoll also established that Jewish Israelis find the idea of living next to an Arab more troubling than any other minority, and that in the event of war, 33 percent of Israelis support the idea of putting Arabs into internment camps.
In the last few months, these findings were given concrete expression in a number of incidents. These include:
A religious ruling signed and endorsed by 50 state-appointed rabbis forbidding Jews from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews. “Racism originated in the Torah,” said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, head of the Yeshiva in Ashdod and one of the endorsers …
Recent sputterings of a peace process between Israel and Palestine, the termination of Israel’s settlement building freeze causing a demise of said peace process — again — has produced a loud, global yawn. What else is new in this endless conflict? Negotiations cannot succeed without a vision, and there is no widely shared vision of peace among these people that could truly spur their politicians forward.
The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of the past that create brutal behavior in the present. One way forward may be to suspend skepticism for just a moment, to free the mind to build a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved. Armed with this imaginative exercise it might become easier to lobby for practical ways forward.
Let’s imagine the following: official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza
It was three days before Rosh Hashanah, and I was predictably anxious about my identity, my life, about my family’s Jewish future. As a good and fractious Jew, I was somewhat ambivalent about which synagogue I would go to: The one I sometimes go to? The one I would never step foot in? The one that I really should create on my own, maybe?
This Rosh Hashanah was different for two reasons. My 87-year old mother, who lives alone 400 miles away in Boston, had pneumonia. So we were on our way to Boston, but I had to honor a commitment to my dear friend Yahya Hendi, who is an imam. He wanted the whole family, the whole world, it seems, but especially Jews and Christians, for an iftar, a very sacred celebration as a part of Ramadan. He wanted us all to share in every aspect of the evening, …
Hello friends, I want to join Rabbi Arthur Waskow in calling on everyone to read from the Koran on September 11 as an act of solidarity with the Muslim community of the United States as they suffer the insult of the terrible act being committed on that day in Gainesville, Florida.
The best way to resist hatred is with love, humiliation with respect, ignorance with knowledge, alienation with friendship.
Reading from the books that some would burnBy Rabbi Arthur Waskow | 8/31/2010 Devoting Jewish Holidays to Peace Interreligious Relations Rosh HaShanah Yom KippurClick here to see a listing of all recent blog postsIn New York, speaking out for freedom and diversity might mean joining a vigil at 7:15 pm Friday evening September 10 at 51 Park Place [near the Park Place stop of the #2 or #3 subway], the location of the Muslim-rooted community/ cultural center that has been the
Thanks to Rabbi Gershon Steinberg for alerting me to the amazing gesture of Jews led by rabbis (Velveteen Rabbi) to an abused mosque in Queens, New York. It is wonderful to feel proud of my fellow Jews.
Last week, a drunk man barged into the Al-Iman masjid in Astoria, Queens, and urinated on the prayer rugs. I tweeted about it, horrified at this display of Islamophobia (and also just plain atrocious behavior.) On Thursday, @stumark suggested that we raise money to replace the prayer rugs at the Al-Iman mosque in Queens. On Friday, I posted to this blog and to twitter asking for donations toward reimbursing the mosque for the costs of steam-cleaning their prayer rugs. My hope was to raise a few hundred bucks as a gesture of interfaith good will, a way of showing this one Muslim community that the actions of that drunk man do not represent
Excellent article, speaks for itself
Growing up in the West Bank, Mujahid Sarsur knew next to nothing about the Holocaust and saw little ground to sympathize with a people he saw as his occupier. 2010. But thanks to an Israeli roommate overseas, the 21-year-old Palestinian student learned about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews during World War II and discovered a new understanding of his Israeli neighbors.Now he wants other Arabs to do the same. Sarsur heads one of a handful of Palestinian grass-roots groups seeking knowledge about the Holocaust.On Wednesday, he led a delegation of 22 students to Israel’s official Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. The students, fasting for Ramadan, listened closely to their Arabic-speaking guide’s explanations, and were left wide-eyed by the gruesome images of the death camps.
By Omar Kasrawi
Standing outside a mausoleum in Jerusalem’s Mamilla cemetery, Rawan Dajani bows her head and cups her hands upward in prayer for her ancestor Sheikh Ahmed Dajani. He was buried in Mamilla, the oldest Muslim burial ground in Jerusalem, nearly half a millennium ago.
About 200 meters away, a fenced-off construction zone marks the future site of the Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance, a project overseen by the California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.
In Israel, starting a new project inevitably means bumping into history. In this case, the construction that started in 2004 has stirred Muslim anger as it displaces hundreds of Muslim graves dating as far back as the 7th century, including the remains of soldiers and officials of the Muslim ruler Saladin.…
The current European headlines are dominated by France and Belgium’s impending face-veil legislation, but there is another, more important, story that isn’t getting as much attention—that of a quiet revolution throughout Europe of Muslim women emerging onto the political scene.
One of the most prominent examples is that of Salma Yaqoob in the UK. Yaqoob, a prospective parliament candidate, is the most prominent Muslim woman in British public life today. She herself wears a headscarf, a powerful symbol of a faith she has accommodated with her passionate leftwing politics. She represents UK’s Respect party and has a pretty good chance of making history as one of the first British Muslim women MPs. There are other Muslim women running for seats in Birmingham, Bethnal Green, Bolton South and other cities.
Sadly, however, by virtue of being both Muslim and women, Yaqoob and others face opposition from all sides who don’t believe …
When I was 18 years old, I had been in the United States for about a year–in this very foreign, interestingly different and rigorously individualistic culture as opposed to the social and group oriented pampering I was very much used to back at home, in Turkey. My engineering studies were not so interesting. I was more inclined towards reading philosophical works and engaging in deep theoretical debates about meaning of justice and truth. I changed my major from engineering to philosophy and so my second year in college began with a feeling of emptiness, lack of purpose coupled with loneliness brought by being a young boy away from home equipped with no survival skills such as cooking, doing laundry or taking care of oneself in general.
All of these factors contributed immensely to my introduction to Sufism. I needed a release, perhaps, a peace of mind from all the chaos …