elections

A NEW AKKO, A NEW ISRAEL?

by mgopin on October 19, 2008 · 5 comments

Wonderful article by Avnery entitled “Is Akko Burning?”, with the usual insight. Only thing I would add to understanding the tragedy in Akko, as well as racial situations in America, is that intentionally or unintentionally, racism is always bred when an underprivileged wing of the dominant race or religious group, like the poor ethnic Jewish groups in Acre, or the poorer ethnic groups in America’s poor sections, always become the ‘front lines’ of the race war of a country, against some group that they can see as beneath even them. I have seen this in the ‘religious’ conflict in Belfast as well. Poor against poor, grievance against grievance. Cynically, the Mayor and others have pitted Jews who are bitter about Gaza, or about their financial condition, against the Arabs in Akko. Cynically, there are indeed Islamists and Arab politicians who have done the same, everyone using grievances, financial instability …

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Joseph Nye reports correctly that Bin Laden skewed the last election in favor of Bush against Kerry by six points due to a strategically released tape right before the election. It is in Bin Laden’s interest to keep a war of civilizations going, which means keeping a Neo-Conservative in the White House. This serves the Civil War he is conducting within Islam. My trouble with this is, what does this say about the American electorate? Why can people be so easily persuaded to become paranoid because one extremist releases a tape? It says that too many of us are manipulated by fear rather than reasoned thinking. We need an electorate in the United States, the most powerful nation on earth, that is up to the challenge of wielding all that global power more wisely.

The Obama campaign should consider apportioning some of those millions of dollars in advertising right now …

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The news is more and more shocking from the pews of the McCain/Palin rallies, but even more so from Palin herself. The flirtation with promoting racial hatred and violence is getting stronger, and they need to be told to stop before they bring the country to the brink. This is a turning point for the United States. Frank Rich warns:

What makes them different, and what has pumped up the Weimar-like rage at McCain-Palin rallies, is the violent escalation in rhetoric, especially (though not exclusively) by Palin. Obama “launched his political career in the living room of a domestic terrorist.” He is “palling around with terrorists” (note the plural noun). Obama is “not a man who sees America the way you and I see America.” Wielding a wildly out-of-context Obama quote, Palin slurs him as an enemy of American troops.

By the time McCain asks the crowd “Who is the

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I signed the following statement, along with dozens of Jewish, Christian and Muslim American leaders, that condemns a film released in order to incite hatred against Muslims across the United States as a way of shifting election votes. This is sadly reminiscent of what I wrote about yesterday, in Indian elections. Democracy’s soft underbelly is racism, populism and fascism. It is advantageous to discover people’s fears and build a voting base on that foundation. The only way forward is to unite against this and expose it. This is completely separate from an honest discussion between civilizations and religions when there are deep wounds, injuries and grievances to talk about. This is about the uses of hatred to garner votes.

Statement from American Religious Leaders in Response to Mass Distribution of ‘Obsession’
October 06, 2008

We, the undersigned religious leaders, representing a wide spectrum of theological beliefs and political persuasions,

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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 …

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I just published this piece in the Washington Jewish Week. I wrote it as a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of Brit Tzedek Ve’Shalom, the Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, a national American Jewish organization with over thirty thousand members and thirty eight chapters, which argues in Washington for a just solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict.

It is settled: The election is about change. Sen. Barack Obama had made that his central motif all along, but now Sen. John McCain is onboard. Now that everyone is using the word “change,” it begs a question. The question is not “Who stands for change?” but rather, “Whose changes are going to really make a difference, and what are those changes?”

One place where change is desperately needed is in the disastrous United States policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict that has been in effect for the past eight years. It

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Professor Solon Simmons of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution and myself have a live discussion on the last stages of the American election campaigns, why it is so close, what are the options left to the candidates to move the undecided voters in one direction or the other.

We also consider what this election says about the state of American values and where the country is going. Note: Since this was recorded it seems that Obama is following much of our advice as to how to strengthen his base.

Discussion is recorded here:

09_Simmons_Gopin.mp3

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Florida and Alaska are at war, and neither knows it. But they embody the coming conflict over global warming that will have clear winners and losers. Florida is now becoming un-insurable.

…a series of studies have made it clear that if the Big One or even a Pretty Big One strikes, Florida is going to have very serious problems. The state-run insurance firm and the Catastrophe Fund have just a few billion dollars on hand, so a major storm would force both entities to float massive bond issues in an unfavorable market, and to make up their shortfalls through gigantic assessments on policyholders. A House committee recently warned that the state would have “extreme difficulty paying its obligations” after a 100-year storm, and that premiums on nearly every property, car and business could skyrocket. A report for the state Office of Insurance Regulation found that even a 50-year

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Tzipi Livni seems headed to victory in the Kadima primaries, and it is possible now that, instead of calling for general elections, which would favor the Right and Netanyahu, she may try to form a new government. Who is she and what does she stand for? There is Tzipi Livni an aspiring Prime Minister, and then there is the person who would actually lead. Who is she and what would she do? I am wondering with Roni Sofer’s assessments and predictions are accurate because they seem more hardline than her actions as Foreign Minister. It is time to study Tzipi Livni.

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