See Rabbi Edward Feld’s agonized sermon on the state of ethics of Israel’s military chaplaincy that encouraged war crimes in Gaza. This is a reflective sermon that brings into sharp relief the choices of religious people between violent texts to justify their violence and nonviolent texts to articulate their deepest values, hopes and aspirations. The rabbis who have taken control of the Israel Defense Forces have made their choice, and other rabbis like Rabbi Feld have made theirs. Here is Rabbi Feld:
“When you have mercy on a cruel enemy you are thereby showing cruelty to innocent and honest soldiers. It is a terrible immorality……This is a war against murderers.”
The above excerpt is from Go Fight My War, a booklet published by the Jewish Awareness Department of the Chief Military Rabbinate in Israel, and distributed to soldiers in the fighting units before they entered Gaza as part of Operation …
This article just appeared in Today’s Zaman and in Zaman which is Turkey’s preeminent journal. As you can see this has been part of my ongoing efforts to introduce and encourage far more intermediaries in the Middle Eastern conflict who can be effective, trustworthy and more even handed that Western intervention. This is meant also to encourage the United States, Hilary Clinton, and others to follow the lead of where the most moderate voices of the Islamic world are going. This is also a development of my work in Syria which has encouraged cultural revival that is peace-oriented, practical and visionary at once.
Turkey’s return to glory
For reasons of history, culture and geography, there is a surprising opportunity for Turkey to assume a position of central global leadership in the 21st century and thereby further all of its legitimate national interests.
This is shocking considering the
A report by Dr. Katrien Hertog:
Imams and Rabbis from the USA, Europe and the Middle East, joined by Christians and other religious experts, came together for the third time to move forward on the road to peace in the Middle East. The Congress, under the patronage of UNESCO in Paris, reflected some of the common opportunities and challenges related to religions’ engagement for peacebuilding but also clearly highlighted the distinct added value of a spiritual approach to peacebuilding.
To start with, there were some clearly differing views on the role of religious leaders in peacebuilding, a question which relates to the interrelationship between religion, mysticism and politics. Some clerics were clearly afraid of too much politics. As one rabbi expressed it: “We didn’t come to talk about politics, but about peace.” Others were emphasizing that religious leaders should be concerned with changing the reality on the ground. It was …
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Blessed Are the Peacemakers is a new series in marcgopin.com that will feature writing by or about significant peacemakers who are confronting the conflicts facing humanity with courage, creativity, and passion.
The essay below is written by Hind Kabawat, the foremost peacemaker of Syria and my partner of five years in Middle Eastern peacemaking:
WHAT THE MIDDLE EAST NEEDS IS THE “AUDACITY OF HOPE”
For the last five years or so, I have been actively working with Jewish colleagues in the US and elsewhere to help broker a lasting reconciliation between Israel and its Arab neighbours. But in the wake of the carnage in Gaza, it is impossibly difficult to be optimistic about the future of the …
Writing from Jerusalem
No one knows whether the Middle East is at the dawn of a new era with the accession of President Obama to leadership, whether between Obama, the new Saudi king’s very serious Peace Proposal, and President Assad’s keen interest in a peace process, that we are at the dawn of a strong consensus to finally resolve the central conflict of the region, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. We could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral of hatred, revenge, populist rage, military force, fanatical manipulation, and zero sum desperate final measures of power and destruction that will yield unprecedented human misery in the region. I cannot tell, honestly.
But I do know that we are all responsible for this. We are responsible in everything we say and do, and in every action that we support. The nonsense that corrupt…
Millions of Muslims across India have decided to temper or even cancel festivities on their most cherished week of holy yearly celebrations, the Eid, in protest of crimes committed in the name of Islam by the criminals who murdered so many in Mumbai.
They wore black ribbons, carried placards of peace, sent out emails and SMSes reiterating harmony, and put up banners saluting those who died in the 26/11 terrorist attack. From Chennai’s Thousand Lights Mosque to Delhi’s Jama Masjid, from Khwaza Banda Nawaz dargah in Gulbarga, to the mosques of Mumbai – Bakr-Eid celebrations were subdued, in a symbolic declaration of Muslim protest against terrorism.
“At every dargah, prayers were said for the grieving families in Mumbai. In Ajmer Sharief, Kaliyar Sharief (Uttarakhand) and Barabanki’s Deva Sharief, the community came together burying their differences to focus on one thing: communal harmony. By showing our unity, we have spoilt the
I have tried to concentrate on putting the finishing touches on my book manuscript to hand into the publisher. I was looking forward to the exquisitely quiet isolation of writing days when I got a phone call from a young person at Al Jazeera English here in DC on Wednesday. “We need you to talk about the violence in India tonight.” I thought that she meant the ongoing issues between Hindu militants and Christians and so I said, “Sure.” I was just on their station about that subject a few weeks ago. I had no idea. Then I got a call two minutes later, voice agitated, “We need you sooner, like in two hours.” I said, “Sure, send me what you have in the latest updates to my email.” Another phone call, “How fast can you get here?!” I started to smell the horror of something terrible.
I stayed at …
The shocking story of Christian persecution in India in recent months has all the markings of a politically motivated campaign. The atrocities are across several provinces, and now there is footage of soldiers and police engaged in the persecution, in the regions where BJP is in control. It is clear that BJP supporters are utilizing hatred and fear of Christians as a way to gain political power. There are certainly conversions to Christianity, especially by aggrieved lower castes in India. This is nothing new, and at 3% the Christian population is absolutely no threat to anyone, but they are an interesting scapegoat.
The Nazis did the same thing. Appeal to the basest instincts of a wounded majority, get them to persecute a tiny minority, scapegoat them, and then take over the country based on concocted grievance rather than on substantive issues. Once in power, invent reasons for wars with neighbors …