peace process

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

lonelymanofpeace

By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER

21/01/2010

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 …

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Folks, I am looking for as much information and links as possible on the question of when and how can building an honest middle class, small businesses leads to societies that are less violent, less corrupt, more just. What is the evidence, actually? I am well aware of political and military factors that will prevent people, no matter how middle class, from actually achieving peace, justice, political liberty. But I am looking at the question of whether building economies from the bottom up actually creates peace. That it has helped millions, that microfinance has changed millions of lives, there is no doubt. But where is the demonstrable linkage to peace, to less polarization, to less extreme ideologies on all sides? Where is the cumulative evidence of any country, region, or city, that build stability in this way and thus supplanted radicalism, and/or that led to government reform and a greater …

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A SPEECH WORTH REMEMBERING

by mgopin on December 7, 2009 · 2 comments

Picture 1

I think it bears republishing now, at this time, Jeremy Ben Ami’s speech at J street. It is one of the most powerful and inspiring and pragamatic speeches I can remember on the incredibly complex and disheartening Israeli/Palestinian conflict. I am thinking that now is the time to keep our eye on the ball of pragmatism, shunning despair, and encouraging everyone to take advantage of Obama, Mitchell, a new Turkey, an eager Syria, and a possible prisoner deal, while ignoring the dangers of Iran, the persistence of religious radicals in all the faiths, the sham of the freeze and the outrage of Palestinian dispossession in Jerusalem. Pragmatism and hope, persistence in a forward march. These are the ingredients of victory in history.  CRDC  is coupling a persistent push for negotiations with very practical expressions of support for and investment in the honest people of Palestine. We must put our voices …

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This is shocking, when  you think about it. Any American Congressman who dared suggest we include Hamas in negotiations would be run out of town by the all-powerful so-called pro-Israel lobby, which is neither pro-Israel nor pro-American but pro-violence. But the Israeli people, who were on the receiving end of Hamas suicide bombs for years, is ready to talk to them. So A. who is controlling American congressional policy and why? B. Why do they have a right to hound so many congressmen into ignorance and silence? C. Who do they speak for and represent? Not me, and apparently not the people of Israel.

I had in my office a long time very senior member of Congress, who said to me that for twenty years he was threatened and badgered about Israel, forced to go there numerous times, silenced from any position of conscience. This is anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-democratic. …

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I found this fascinating in this little noticed speech. The Chinese president repeatedly used the words harmonious, common, mutual. Everything was about one integrated world operating together. We all know the problem with Chinese repression of the Tibetan people, and of their own best writers and journalists. The flip side of an emphasis on the positive idea of harmony is the negative reality of tyranny. The flip side of freedom is chaos and anarchy. Nevertheless, I think it is interesting that there is a kind of outgoing new emphasis in the rhetoric, a conscious decision to at least rhetorically move beyond the Wall of China. This is good, and it provides an opening to discuss the ethics of harmony and mutuality, especially in Confucian terms, which always requires MUTUAL respect between governors and the governed. I hope there is more open debate as time goes on with Chinese leaders in …

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hillary

From the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson’s Bureau:

Israel welcomes the signing of an historic peace agreement between Turkey and Armenia. The agreement, which was signed by the foreign ministers of the two states on Saturday (10 October 2009), proves once again that open, brave and direct dialogue is the only way to overcome controversies and past fears and to make a new start towards a better future.

Israel hopes that the peace agreement will lead the entire region into a period of peace and cooperation.

This is a terrific development and I hope the pace of reconciliation efforts takes hold. But things are very complicated in Turkey.  Prime Minister Erdogan has to balance his embrace of former adversaries of Turkey while keeping allies. He must embrace Arab causes such as the rights of Palestinians without humiliating Israeli leaders. Turkey can be the bridge between the West and the …

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Peace Steps – Episode 5

by mgopin on October 18, 2009 · 4 comments

By Mallory Huggins

In the latest installment of Peace Steps, Marc and Aziz talk about what it means to be pro-Israel or pro-Palestine:

Watch more ICAR TV here.…

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Once again, folks, it is Dr. Arthur Waskow who has captured the best of a Jewish spiritual response to days of repentance and self-examination. In the midst of his own pain, he is instructing us all on what self-reflection means, even when you may feel like lashing out at others.

Our Misdeeds & Theirs — and the Middle East
By Arthur Waskow

waskow

Written from Hahnemann Hospital, September 22/ 4 Tishrei:

During these days between Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur, Jews are called on to reexamine our own actions — our “missings of the mark.” The emphasis is on OUR sins — not those of individuals alone, but of the community — and the sins of ourselves, not of other people, even our enemies. We are also called on not only to confess our misdeeds but CHANGE what we do.

In that light, the Israeli government’s recent behavior flies in the

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Unusual Pairs: Virtual Film Festival TODAY!

by mgopin on September 24, 2009 · 0 comments

Picture 3

By Mallory Huggins

Peace X Peace, an organization that “connects women across the world for the purpose of dialogue, understanding, and collaboration,” will premiere a segment of Unusual Pairs, a documentary featuring Marc and other Middle East Peacemakers. The documentary will premiere online today, Thursday, September 24, at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Watch on your computer and stay for the panel discussion afterwards for commentary from Marc and producer David Vyorst. This virtual film festival is free, but registration is required. You can register here. We hope you can join us!…

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Here’s an excerpt from Richard Lloyd Parry’s article in the Times Online, titled “North Korean envoys in talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak”:

north korea

“If the South and the North genuinely try to resolve problems through dialogue, there will be no problems that cannot be resolved,” [South Korean President] Lee was quoted as having told his visitors, who flew back to Pyongyang soon after the meeting and did not attend the funeral itself. “[The North Korean delegation] expressed its gratitude for allowing the meeting and suggested both sides can co-operate and resolve [problems],” Mr Lee’s spokesman said.

It was the first time that North Korea had sent official mourners for a South Korean president, reflecting the importance of the late Kim Dae Jung in the history of relations between the two states. Mr Kim was the architect of the so-called “Sunshine Policy” which, in contrast to that of the

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