Tag Archives: Israel

Huffington Post – Ahmed Rehab: Peace Punk’d by Netanyahu, Where’s Ashton Kutcher?

 

http://www.ahmedrehab.com/2009/06/peace-punk’d-by-netanyahu-where’s-ashton-kutcher/

 

I do like you.

I just don’t like the way you look, the way you talk, the way you think — and the way you… well, exist really.

What would you call such logic?

Self-contradicting? Counter intuitive? Nonsensical?

Few would disagree.

Punked by Netanyahu

Yet that is the kind of logic Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, effectively offered the world on the occasion of his much hyped policy address last Sunday. (It appears as if he was just looking to throw something out there to look like he is in stride with Obama’s constant knack for buzz-creating addresses).

In his own stately address, Netanyahu stated that he would accept a Palestinian state under certain conditions, and that he favored living in a state of peace rather than war with the Palestinians.

As Borat would say, “is nice. I like.”

But if I may ask, how does that much constitute breaking news to anyone but the most extreme right-wing elements in Israeli society?

Was the Israeli position prior to this announcement a “one-state solution” as opposed to two? Was it “we hate peace, we love war?”

So what merits the excitable headlines?

If anything, it seems like the Israelis are constantly shifting the starting point of this debate back a notch, a process through which the obvious is played as benefaction, and entitlements re-branded as concessions.

And so slick Netanyahu tries to move the goal posts out a few yards in the dark of night while no one is looking.

Except he is in the light of day and the whole world is watching. So yeah, we kind of noticed.

The real question, the only question really, has always been: what are Netanyahu’s “conditions” for “peace” with this plausible Palestinian “state?”

Well when we he got to that part, it was all pretty much downhill.

His conditions include but are not limited to: no right of return for Palestinian refugees forcibly uprooted from their ancestral homes, no compromise over Jerusalem including Arab-majority East Jerusalem, no dismantling or freezing of Israeli illegal settlements in the Occupied West Bank, no sovereign control for the new Palestinian state over its own borders and ports, no Palestinian right of defense (he uses the fancy buzz word, “demilitarized”), and no democratically elected party that Israel does not approve.

So Palestinians, there’s your “state.” (It looks like a duck, swims like a duck, quacks like a duck – but no, it’s not a duck.)

Now, anyone remotely familiar with the history of the conflict and the ever elusive peace process knows that these cynical stipulations are none other than the very barriers that have precisely made peace historically elusive. They are designed with only one goal in mind: to prolong the status quo.

So where’s the supposed breakthrough?

That’s like Chicago’s weather finally addressing my legitimate demands: fine, fine, you can have your “summer” this June, but on one condition: that it will have to be cold and rainy (true story).

It seems that Netanyahu just wanted to utter the words peace and two-state as a decoy to grab headlines and avoid the undesirable appearance that Israel is belligerent in the face of US demands to move forward.

In actuality though, his address is a step backwards, little more than a public notice that his cabinet has no intention of acknowledging legitimate Palestinian and international demands, or budging on any of the long-standing roadblocks to peaceful coexistence – most glaringly ending its illegal occupation and settlements in the Palestinian territories.

It’s time Netanyahu stops pandering to his country’s extreme right wing factions and gets serious about peace while the window of opportunity remains open. This means dropping the double-talk and recognizing that justice is the onlyfoundation for sustainable peace and normalized coexistence.

The peoples of the region deserve it.

 

Chicago Tribune – Ahmed Rehab: Do actions of the ‘Jewish state’ represent Jewish values?

http://www.ahmedrehab.com/2010/06/do-actions-of-the-‘jewish-state’-represent-jewish-values/

 

Israel is often dubbed “the Jewish State” by its supporters, so it is not out of left field to question whether its actions should be taken as a reflection of Jewish values. That is a question ultimately for Jews to answer.

Personally, as a Muslim whose own faith values are often undermined by the misdeeds of those who claim to act in the name of defending the honor and freedom of Muslims, I know better than to blame Jewishness for Israel’s egregious violations.

Israel’s failure is not a failure of Jewish values. If anything, it’s a failure to apply Jewish values.

 

Yesterday’s massacre of humanitarian aid activists by Israeli commandos who stormed their flotilla in international waters made global shockwaves. The flotilla hoped to deliver 10,000 tons of food, medicine, and construction materials to the besieged Gazans who experts say face a critical shortage of basic needs following three years of a land, air, and sea blockade imposed by Israel, and abetted by Egypt. The incident was met by a flurry of condemnations and protests by many around the world who felt that Israel’s pre-dawn attack was just another example of Israel thinking it can breach international law with special impunity.

Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu said of the incident:

“This action was uncalled for. Israeli actions constitute a grave breach of international law. In simplest terms, this is tantamount to banditry and piracy. It is murder conducted by a state. It has no excuses, no justification whatsoever. A nation state that follows this path has lost its legitimacy as a respectful member of the international community.”

But here at The Seeker, a blog that concerns itself with religion and its role in the public sphere, we ask the question, does this crisis have anything to do with religion?

Well, not directly. Israel’s decision to storm the flotilla was more likely motivated by political rather than religious considerations. While Israel could probably tolerate the delivery of international aid to the Gazans, it is doubtless queasy about the flotilla’s role as a symbol of defiance against its state-imposed blockade and its national will power. After all, the blockade is itself a political strategy to force the Palestinians into despair and thus revolt against Hamas, the democratically-elected party perceived by Gazans as a legitimate resistance and social services enterprise, but deemed by Israel as a terrorist organization.

So where does religion come in?

Religion, whether Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or any of the other great global faiths of the world, at its core works to address a problem that is man’s most treacherous undoing: his reckless drive for power. It does so by mitigating this force of human nature via a concept arguably more powerful: morality (the notion of self-imposed red-lines).

Israel’s failure is no doubt one of moral proportions:

Israel’s willingness to send its armed commandos to attack unarmed activists in international waters is doubtlessly a clear breach of international law, but more importantly it is a breach of a basic moral code of honor. Former Israeli Knesset member, Uri Avnery, opines: “a warlike attack against aid ships and deadly shooting at peace and humanitarian aid activists, it is a crazy thing that only a government that crossed all red lines can do.”

Israel’s willingness to inflict collective punishment against a civilian population of 1.5 million people in the form of a life-choking blockade poses many legal problems, but more importantly it poses a moral dilemma amid concerns of human dignity and human rights.

State morality is a concept that gets little play, it is a meek concept that quickly buckles under the weight of the somber rhetoric of realpolitik; it’s the classic “let the dreamers make way for the big boys” and “welcome to the real world” treatment.

Judaism, like Islam and Christianity has a long tradition of respecting and honoring human life. The challenge for Jews, like it is for Christians and Muslims, is whether or not those values will stand strong in the face of life’s tests and tribulations, or whether they will merely be celebrated in theory, only to quickly make way for raw human ego and unabashed power trips when the going gets tough.

 

 

Huffington Post – Ahmed Rehab: More Outrage Over Helen Thomas Comment Than Murder of US Citizen

http://www.ahmedrehab.com/2010/06/more-outrage-over-helen-thomas-comment-than-murder-of-us-citizen/

The knives are out for Helen Thomas.

There is more outrage in this country over some bumbling comments she recently made than over the murder of a US citizen and eight others by our ally, Israel, on the high seas. Never mind the fact that she has apologized while Israel still refuses to apologize.

Judging by any standard, Helen Thomas has enjoyed a long and illustrious career. She made history as the first female member of the White House Correspondents’ Association, covering the administrations of 10 U.S. presidents, beginning with Kennedy.

Helen Thomas epitomized the role of the people’s reporter, a woman who was not afraid to ask tough questions that other reporters were too meek or politically correct to ask, the sort of questions that sought to hold the nation’s highest elected official accountable to the people who put  him there.

Thomas was a White House fixture, an American icon, earning a permanent front row seat and rights to the first question (in all but the George W. Bush administration).

But it only took one unfortunate comment made in her personal capacity to a video blogger last week to bring this long and remarkable career to a screeching halt. The comment came on the heels of the Israeli raid of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that resulted in the death of nine human rights activists and the wounding of many more.

“Tell them to get the get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people [the Palestinians] are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not Germany, it’s not Poland.” She was asked where they should go and she answered, “They should go home, to Poland, Germany and America”.

The comment was made viral by rabbilive.com and it did not take long for Helen to face a backlash including calls for her firing by former White House spokesperson, Aril Fleischer (yes the same guy during whose tenure she was stripped of perks allowed her by other administrations).

Do I agree with Helen Thomas’ statement?

No, I do not. (For the record, I believe that the only way forward is for Israel to get the hell out of the occupied territories rather than for Jews to get the hell out of Israel).

It turns out, neither does Helen Thomas who has since retracted the statement and apologized for it.

I am glad she did. This article is not about defending her off-the-cuff comment; it is about defending her good person and questioning the motives of those who wish her ill.

Her comment was uncalled for; her apology was a welcome remedy. But curiously, that was not enough. Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League – a group that has mutated over the years from defending Jews to politicking for Israel – did not like the apology and asked for a second longer one. The backlash did not let off and she was forced to retire.

It irks me that for an expedient cadre out there, a “few seconds” of emotional speech are seemingly enough to cancel out a 67 year long career of honorable service.

But let us not be so gullible as to miss the background on this story.

Helen Thomas has been a nuisance for the Pro-occupation lobby in this country since forever. Her unfortunate gaffe presented those who had long sought to silence her with the golden opportunity they had been waiting for. (It is rather telling that they had to wait this long, with Thomas turning 90 years this August).

It is particularly disingenuous that Ari Fleischer should be the one to lead the call for her head.

What moral authority does he have to call for the firing of a reporter who has served American audiences with integrity and honesty for decades while he himself was a mouthpiece of lies and propaganda that cost Americans their lives and treasures in a needless war?

If anyone should have been fired for offensive conduct, it was Fleischer, a man who duped – or allowed himself to be used to dupe – the American people.

Secondly, whatever happened to freedom of speech, the same freedom of speech that is championed (by the same people who called for Thomas’s firing) when the outrageous comment is about Muslims, Arabs, or Palestinians? More on that later.

Thirdly, while I don’t agree with Thomas as I’ve already stated, it makes a difference to me that her comment was not given in her official reporting capacity but in response to an off-the-job question. Like everyone else, she is entitled to a personal opinion. Those who question her professional integrity need to provide evidence from her voluminous work to corroborate their concerns of potential professional bias.

Fourthly, the notion that she is advocating genocide is a fabrication. Neither her personal history, professional track record, nor the comment itself, point in that direction. Notice her words, “should get out” not “should be gotten out,” they clearly indicate active and willful action on the part of the subject, not coercive objectification.

As such, whether you agree or disagree with her, it is a logical error on anyone’s behalf to accept the trumped-up allegation that this is “a call to genocide.”

Rabbilive.com adds spin to her comment with a video caption that “6 million Jews were killed at home.” But Thomas’ comment was made in 2010, not 1940, a time in which Germany and Poland are not killing Jews. Plus she mentioned America as home, too; Jews were never killed here.

Again, this does not make her comment right; it just absolves her of “calling for genocide” as Fleischer and others have charged.

Fleischer further argued that “if a journalist, or a columnist, said the same thing about blacks or Hispanics, they would already have lost their jobs.”

His comparison of Israelis to US Blacks and Hispanics is bizarre. Helen is not talking about American Jews, but about a foreign country. Her opinion as such is not as relevant or reverent to Americans as a comment made about African Americans, Hispanic Americans, or Jewish Americans, etc.

Lastly, if the same standard was applied to reporters and politicians who said things half as offensive as this about Palestinians, a significant portion of that workforce would be fired, including many who have defended Israel’s mass killing of civilians.

Having said all that, this episode is mostly significant in that it provides a revealing portrait of the hypocritical state of freedom of speech in America.

Many self-proclaimed defenders of freedom of speech are quick to hail the many derogatory Muhammad cartoons as a symbol of defiance against Muslim radicals who wish to deter free speech with death threats. But if we are in the business of challenging red lines, then it is hypocritical to obsess with the case of the prophet but turn a blind eye over the case of the gorilla in the room, Israel.

Those who venture to offend the pro-Israel lobby may not face death threats, but they likely will face enough pressure to hasten the death of their careers – a deterrent against free speech that is no less offensive and apparently more effective. Indeed if this were not so, American reporters and politicians would do a better job at presenting both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian issue rather than the abysmal one-sided track record Americans have been subjected to for so long.

Unenlightenment and the ‘Holy Land’

As a global community, we would probably like to believe that our ongoing human experiment has been driven by the enlightened advancement of collective human thought. Because as Mahatma Gandhi said, "I have nothing new to teach the world. … Truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills."

Yet the current mix of perpetual war and poverty, extremist terrorism and global racism raises the question of whether the human race has completely lost its collective mind.

This sobering condition is no more apparent than in the ironically named "Holy Land" — Israel and Palestine — where civilized humanity has seemingly gone to die a very painful death.

Jerusalem holds a place of sanctity in the Abrahamic heart of every Muslim, Jew and Christian around the world. In the city where David ruled, Jesus taught and Mohammed ascended to heaven, for centuries, Christians, Jews and Muslims have lived in relative harmony, able to peacefully practice their faiths and adhere to their cultural traditions side by side.

Sadly, although we claim to live in an enlightened millennial age, we seem to be acting more savagely and unenlightened toward our fellow human beings than ever before.

The Middle East continues to elicit extreme feelings. The Gazaflotilla debacle with the Turkish-flagged Mavi Marmara was simply the most recent example, as the spinmeisters from both the Israeli and Palestinian camps try to frantically justify or condemn the killing of nine civilian activists within international waters.

Two outlandish statements emerged in the media in the wake of the flotilla tragedy from polar opposite sides of the global political divide. They show how each side tends to demonize the other without regard for basic human decency.

On one hand, neoconservative extraordinaire Charles Krauthammer made this ridiculous assertion on Fox News: "What exactly is the humanitarian crisis that the flotilla was actually addressing? … There is none. … There is no one starving in Gaza," as he conveniently overlooked that Gaza ranks 187th out of nearly 200 countries on Earth with the highest unemployment.

In an equally stupid, tone-deaf statement, the "grande dame" of the White House press corps — the almost 90-year-old Helen Thomas of Hearst Newspapers — was caught on video stating Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home … to Poland, Germany and America and everywhere else." She has retired from her job in the wake of the outcry.

During his historic June 2009 speech at Cairo University in Egypt, President Obama preemptively contradicted both of those ridiculous statements and perpetual Middle Eastern finger-pointing when he stated: "America’s strong bonds with Israel are well-known. Threatening Israel with destruction — or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews — is deeply wrong. …

"On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — [both] Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. … So let there [also] be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable."

Obama continued, "But if we see this conflict only from one side or the other, then we will be blind to the truth: The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security. That is in Israel’s interest, Palestine’s interest, America’s interest and the world’s interest."

Although the president was ambitiously noble in his Cairo speech, unfortunately the Obama administration has done virtually nothing in offering a peaceful and tangible ending to this violent stalemate.

Continue Reading At CNN.com

 

Israel & Palestine; Life Is Real & Promising; History Is Thine; Respectfully

Israel & Palestine; Life Is Real & Promising; History Is Thine; Respectfully

 

Be The Peace You Seek; You Are The Peace You Seek; Being The Peacefulness You Seek Please; God Bless; Respectfully


Israel & Palestine; Respectfully

Wishing our Brothers and Sisters in Israel and Palestine a vision of admiration, peace, friendship, harmony, happiness, joy, respect, sincerity, sustained progress and mutual trust always please; God Bless

Life Is Real & Promising; Respectfully

Indeed Life is truly real and promising always when we are true to our nature; our true selves please; God Bless

History Is Thine; Respectfully

History is testament to the providential factor that keeps inspiring us to venture forth in the spirit of peacefulness and create our own destinies where dwells true love, respect, sincerity and trust please; God Bless

Awareness; Respectfully

Let us pray for greater compassion and consciousness to prevail that evokes the awareness of the potential divinity within themselves and inspire them to align with the cosmic consciousness please, God Bless

Divinity; Respectfully

This is the potential divinity that dwells within one another; earnestly seeking to know how it could contribute its goodness towards the goodwill and welfare of the Universe always please; God Bless

Truth is Eternal; Respectfully

Truth is our True Nature; always utmost thanks to God always; Truth inspires us to evoke our spiritual awareness; to recognize and experience our True Nature; our True Selves please; God Bless

Trust; Respectfully

Trust in the Truth is the true representation of life and its magnificence; In search of our True Selves, we discover the Truth; God is the Truth; God Bless

Israel & Palestine; Life Is Real & Promising; History Is Thine; Respectfully

The Universe is with thee; within thee Israel and Palestine; seek to discover, recognize and experience the incredible magnificence of who You truly are please; Dear Brothers and Sisters; Peace Please; God Bless

Be The Peace You Seek; You Are The Peace You Seek; Being The Peacefulness You Seek Please; God Bless; Respectfully

Keep Discovering Your True Nature Your True Self Peace, Love, Light and Wisdom, God Bless, Vashi Ram Chandi

Intuition; Respectfully

Let us seek to awaken our inner wisdom – our higher consciousness; be more aware and conscious; let us seek to develop our intuition; Intuition is our inner guidance and compass of life; Intuition is the wisdom of the Soul; God Bless

God Bless – Respectfully

May One and All be Blessed with a Vision of Good Health, Peace, Inspiration, Hope, Joy, Happiness and Wisdom always; God Bless

Love, Light and Wisdom,

God Bless,

Vashi

Copyright ( C ) 2010 Vashi Ram Chandi

All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer

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Any and all liabilities are hereby disclaimed regarding any omissions- errors or consequences that may arise as a result of preview- dissemination or propagation in any format whatsoever

Ode to Gaza

Much of the killing in Gaza has stopped. All we have are remnant cries of mothers hunching at child limbs lost, of fathers sobbing at houses bashed, and tears of babes in tearless awe. The Muslim missiles across Jewish borders are nearly hushed. All we have are remembrances of cowered Jews bunkered underground, awaiting metal into waiting flesh, and blood-splattered men rushed to scalpels ready. All that’s left is a cratered faith in Abraham.

I once knelt beside Muslim hands that opened up to Allah and aimed terror’s praise at Hamas. I once sat beside Jewish fingers that pointed to God and piously dug into the ground of Islam’s envy. I witnessed covenants that were choosing rocks.

Religion is moving no mountains. We are wearing dynamite and driving the tank, sending the drone and hurling the knife. We are building homes and hating him who covets what we posses. We are insisting it is our own God who’ll win, while planting bombs to clear His way. We stack our walls and carve our tunnels, shouting our pieties and boastful creeds, hoping that they split the souls of those who don’t believe.

Once upon in Gaza, Samson fell, and in turn his vengeance upon the Philistine fell. Today in Gaza the Jewish hammer falls, and from there the falling Muslim rockets land. In Gaza we see the Old Testament tale, where murder is faith.

My religion looks back with pride and front with fear. Can we at last grab our patch of dirt and fruit, and in humble work feed our mouths? Bowing not to Heaven but to ourselves. I pray my faith may one day touch the lips of all lovers and babes, and damn the gods of Arabs and Jews, and believe in no one and in nothing but the kiss. So help me God.
 

Steve Posner is the author of "Israel Undercover: Secret Warfare and Hidden Diplomacy in the Middle East." His latest book is "Spiritual Delights and Delusions: How to Bridge the Gap between Spiritual Fulfillment and Emotional Realities." Visit his website at steveposner.com

How nice are Hamas to pelestinians …

It is not an exaggeration if I say that even educated Pelestinians have no choice but to succumb to Hamas because every voice raIsing objection is tortured ,killed and robbed of life.This story is of a ‘teacher’ who favoured Fata to Hamas and was severely tortured and killed by Hamas like many  rebel-of-Hamas pelestinians.Even today many Pelestinians stand arrested by Hamas for ‘suspicion’ of supporting Israel and Fata.An arabic news paper has confirmed the slaying of such pelestinians who were suspected to be involved to the slightest.

 

Have a look at story

http://uk.reuters.com/article/usTopNews/idUKTRE50S4M520090129?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=0

 

To Deepak & Anyone: Serious About Middle East Peace-Making?

MePeace.Org Logo and link (Middle East Peace.Org)

Then go see how real people from BOTH sides and more are connecting through community, interaction, and sometimes very intense dialogue.

What is happening in Gaza–which is so disheartening–and reported in the mainstream news is NOT the whole picture.

Since Deepak has a larger "celebrity" footprint than most of us, he may be interested in providing some input there: shift from CNN etc. and get down into the trenches, so to speak.

But naturally this is an open invitation to anyone else also.

Click on banner above or go to MePeace.Org

Namasté,

Philip Steven Knight
CompassionSensuality.Net

Israeli overkill and Hamas cruelty

Namaste,

Well other observer of genocides with inaction, and the pissing in the pockets of third world leaders has finally spoken or farted. The UN which is a complete farce and waste of time and money. The security council calls for a cease fire but they have no teeth….

Iran and Syria on one side and USA on the other…and that’s it.

I really feel for the Palestinians again, as Hamas sends them to paradise for political expediency—and Israel uses hammers to crack nuts….

 

Irvine

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