• About

    Marc Gopin is the Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution (CRDC), the James H. Laue Professor at the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, Arlington, Virginia, USA. Gopin has pioneered projects at CRDC in Afghanistan, Iran, Syria, Palestine and Israel. Gopin directs a unique series of overseas educational and practice experiences ranging from conflict and peace intervention in Palestine and Israel, to support for Syrian activists and refugees in Turkey and Jordan.

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Recent Posts

  • Senior Males in Congress are Wimping out, while the Women have Become Fierce Warriors

    Perhaps it is my imagination but it is my impression that the Democratic senior women of Congress are fighting like hell, while the senior Democratic men are sagging, compromising and capitulating to Trumpism.
    It’s time to let the men know that we expect them to fight like hell just as much. They can seek allies, yes, especially among disaffected Republicans who are outraged by the corruption and treasonous behavior. But Democratic men must stand up to the criminal intentions of this administration. If Chuck Schumer wants to reach out to Republicans then let him reach out to the Bush’s, or McCain, or dozens of others.

    It could be that women in politics get better under longterm pressure as underdogs. i am not sure. It is curious and worrisome that the men are flailing about. Misogyny is a contagious disease, and perhaps Trumpism is rubbing off, I don’t know. But I …

  • REFUGEES ARE THE BAROMETER OF OUR SOULS

     

    It is the most frequently commanded law in the Bible. It is the foundation of what should be recalled every seven days, and every single holiday throughout the Bible. It is the foundation of the identity of the physical and spiritual ancestor of half of planet earth’s human inhabitants who call themselves religious. The abuse of this law, it is warned, is the basis of the destruction of society. It is purposefully and explicitly anti-misogynist and pro-women and children.

     

    It has many names: refugee, resident alien, illegal alien, landless, homeless. It is the law of Ger, Yatom and Almanah. It is the law that says that no matter what happens in your society, no matter how rich you become, no matter how poor you become, no matter how beleaguered, embattled, selfish, miserable, or confused, you must love the refugee, the widow, the orphan, if you want to survive …

  • A WAR FOR YOUR BRAIN IN POLITICS, AND THE WEAPON OF CHOICE IS LANGUAGE: BE READY

     

    (As it appeared in the Huffington Post. )

    There is a war for your brain in today’s politics, and the weapon of that war is language manipulation. George Lakoff has spent his career demonstrating the power of language and neural nets to trap us into thinking thoughts we do not necessarily want to think, to believe things that we would question if we were not being manipulated. In a wonderful interview , Lakoff describes a series of words that have changed us. For example, people were convinced at a certain point that taxes were not an investment in our future, in our society, but a burden to be relieved. Everyone repeated the phrase “tax relief” that we all forgot that taxes are essential to everything in our lives, our roads, our police, our hospitals, our schools, our safety in every respect. This is the exact neural path through …

  • Remembering the Historic Women’s March on International Women’s Day

    A version of this originally published in the Huffington Post

    The largest coordinated national and international protest in American history snuck up on me, like a long-lost friend’s unannounced visit. I spent half my life pining over being slightly too young and too conservative to have been together with Woodstock’s 400,000. But there I was 48 years later, half a century later, on January 21, 2017, stumbling unwittingly out of the Metro red line at Judiciary Square, Washington, DC, and spilling onto a sea of humanity packed like sardines, and into an experience that dwarfed 1969 Woodstock. This was not a sea of kids scared to death of the draft, everyone in their twenties, raucous music and lots of sex. There was no tear gas and rage and throwing stuff everywhere like Chicago 1968.

    There was plenty of anger, but there was this strange peace among people of every age …

  • LEADERSHIP, A GOOD IDEA, A VERY GOOD IDEA, HAPPY NEW YEAR

    Who says commerce can never lead the way? This company had the courage to revive one of the most important moments in history. That day between British and German troops should be immortalized in the annals of peace as one of the central turning points. It should be studied by every person in other parts of the world who suffers under “eternal” enemies at each other’s throats. It is the art of the possible. The art of lone men, lone leaders who pave the way with a different idea in their head of the men they are pointing their guns at. This is leaders, a new idea, and the resulting festival of goodness.…

  • LEADERSHIP, IDEA, AND EVIL

     

    There is no mystery to evil.
    In fact making evil into a mystery,
    Is a bad idea.
    There are only good ideas and bad ideas.
    Anything that brings purposeful, unprovoked harm,
    To other sentient beings,
    Is a bad idea.
    Evil is a bad idea,
    In the hands of a leader.
    Be a leader only,
    With a good idea.
    If you must,
    Be a follower,
    For a good idea.
    Be smart enough,
    To be aware,
    Of your own bad ideas,
    And confine them to your head.
    If you cannot,
    Then you must leave immediately.

    The temptation to mystify evil is equal to our bewilderment at humanity, how many good people are led to do the worst things imaginable. The answer is not evil in them, but the evil of bad ideas inside leaders, and the tragedy of human obedience. The one alternative that has always worked is very good …

  • A Great Sifting of Religions

    Has anyone else sensed that global crisis is becoming like a massive sifter of the major religions? It is separating out hate ideology from piety, so that as the sifting increases we are starting to see who in each religion is a charlatan hater cloaked in religious garb, and who is penetrating deeper every day into spiritual authenticity and sacred courage.

    See this article. Here is an excerpt:

    As Rabbi Rick Jacobs defined it in his December 2013 address at the URJ Biennial in San Diego, “audacious hospitality isn’t just a temporary act of kindness so that people don’t feel left out; it’s an ongoing invitation to be part of a community where we can become all that God wants us to be—and a way to transform ourselves in the process.”  At this moment more than ever, the world needs people like Rivka—those who are willing to uphold the

  • FLAGS AND THE LIGHT

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    Light lasts forever, and we are light. If the energy and mass it took to create all of the atoms and molecules that evolved into our consciousness and spirit come from the light and return to it, then the light that the Menorah generates is eternal. To me this is the ancient holiday of Hanukkah.
     
    When this picture was taken that flag reigned terror on the entire world, it was invincible, and the little Menorah was weak as could be. Brutality rises so high but disappears so quickly, while the light lasts forever. My heart goes out deeply to those who took the picture so long ago, I doubt I could have survived. But to me the picture is a triumph of light over darkness, eternity over that passing vapor of empty bullying.
  • Reflections on recent events

    Originally posted here on Oct. 19, 2015.

    I am starting to see very clearly that there are those people who have the moral and emotional intelligence to understand two sides of a conflict, two enemies at once, and there are those who need to demonize someone in every situation. There are those who can empathize with their own community and with another, and there are those who at every turn look to demonize one group and whitewash their own. These are two camps of humanity, one with an evolved mind, and one with a primitive mind. Educational levels and graduate degrees having nothing to do with these two camps.

    I am horrified by the mob mentality, I am saddened by many people I have helped and defended, not from my own community, who the first chance they get, join virtual lynch mobs.

    The fact is that it is easy to …

  • CONFLICT DEESCALATION IN JERUSALEM AND HEBRON: JUST A THOUGHT

    CONFLICT DEESCALATION IN JERUSALEM AND HEBRON: JUST A THOUGHT
     SUNDAY, 18 OCTOBER 2015 (as originally published on Facebook here)
    We need a rapid response team, perhaps through an app, of respected observers of violent incidents in both communities, people who know and trust each other, to rapidly investigate and disseminate the facts as best they know them, in order for whatever reactions that occur be based on better knowledge of all the facts. Perhaps the app could be open, but with a respected panel who can immediately detect those on the app with consistent disinformation.
    This is a suggestion for a new tactic of precision popular journalism across enemy lines. I know journalists on both sides who are committed to their profession and also to peace, and I know many on both sides who have a firm interest in saving lives always as a priority. I also know the

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