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Unless you are open to seeing another point of view, this site is not for you. Shame on our Media, we don't show the facts, what's wrong with our sense of Justice? My view focuses on building cohesive societies where no one has to live in fear of the other.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Momentous Opportunity To Embrace The Arab Peace Initiative

There are many sane voices that call and show the way, I do hope more and more Israelis and Jews heed this advice.

Mike Ghouse
www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.org  

# # #

Courtesy of Professor Alon Ben-Meir.com

Jan 22, 2015

The Arab Peace Initiative (API) presents an unprecedented and vital opportunity to change the course of events in the Middle East by realizing an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in the context of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. At no time since the API was introduced in 2002 by Saudi Arabia has the development of events in the region converged to create a new environment, making the API more relevant than before; Israel must urgently adopt it as the basis for peace negotiations. 

Israel is approaching a historic crossroads, with a general election that may usher in new leadership and end the six years of deadlock in peace negotiations under Prime Minster Netanyahu, who deepened the conflict with the Palestinians while alienating Israel’s closest friend—the United States.

Unless there is new leadership in Israel and direct participation of the Arab states in the peace process, there is no hope that renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks will succeed.

There are many Israelis who contend that given the volatile conditions in the Middle East, Israel must focus on the threats it faces from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS, and other jihadist groups, not engage again in futile peace negotiations. 

Nothing is further from the truth—everything that has transpired in the past few years and the current upheaval sweeping the region point to the precise opposite. 

Unfortunately, successive Israeli prime ministers have been blind to the merits of the API and have brainwashed the public about the “inherent danger” in it, instead of emphasizing its importance and far-reaching implications. Now that the regional dynamics have changed in fundamental ways, Israel must seize the opportunity.

For the first time in decades, the Sunni Arab world, especially the Gulf states, Egypt, and Jordan, views Israel as a partner in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat. They have been sharing intelligence and coordinating on various levels should Iran reach the nuclear threshold. 

Successful peace negotiations based on the API would dramatically weaken the Iran-Hezbollah axis, which threatens Israel from the north, and would put enormous pressure on Hamas to embrace the API, as it would be contrary to its interests to defy the collective Arab will. The longer the occupation persists, the more Hamas will be receptive to being armed by Hezbollah and Iran. 

It will improve Israel’s international reputation, reduce its isolation, and put the onus on the Palestinians to negotiate peace in earnest.

In addition, reviving the API will allow the Palestinians to make important concessions under the Arab states’ political cover and provide Israel a comprehensive peace with the vast majority of Arab and Muslim states.

Being that Israel is in the midst of general elections, there is probably no better time for the Arab League to restate publicly that the API is still on the table and urge the Israelis to support it. 

Labor party leader Isaac Herzog, who stands a good chance of forming the next Israeli government, should rise to the challenge and embrace the API.

Herzog needs to explain to the Israelis the significance of the API and why the time is right to use the API as the vehicle that will lead to comprehensive peace and security. 

Herzog needs to disabuse the public of the illusion, promoted by Netanyahu, that the settlements provide secure borders; in fact, the settlements enterprise is a security liability rather than an asset. Regardless, the Arab League agreed to modify the API to reflect Israel’s security concerns through land swaps that would allow Israel to keep its three major settlement blocs. 

In connection with the Palestinian right of return, which is another source of concern for the Israelis, the API calls for a “just solution” to the problem. In every set of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, it was understood by every Arab leader that only a token number of refugees can return. 

Furthermore, territorial compromise by both is central to reaching a peace agreement, and those Israelis who refuse to relinquish land for the sake of peace will jeopardize Israel as a democratic and Jewish state. As David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founder, stated: “Better a Jewish state on part of the land than all of the land without a state.” 

Herzog must also expose Netanyahu’s unfounded claim that a Palestinian state will end up like Gaza. Under any circumstance, the withdrawal from the West Bank will be done under meticulous security arrangements over a period of 5-10 years in full coordination with the PA that leaves nothing to chance.

Herzog should categorically dispel the notion that the API was proposed on a “take it or leave it basis” and negotiate a peace agreement with the Palestinians based on its principles. 

Both sides have been living with illusions about these issues and are imbued with the zero sum approach as if any gain by one side must be at the expense of the other. Unfortunately, the leadership on both sides has done nothing but promulgate these beliefs. 

By illusion, I mean what Sigmund Freud refers to as beliefs which are held in the absence of any good grounds supporting them, because they satisfy deep-seated wishes irrespective of evidence (or the lack thereof). Since illusions answer to inner needs, having to give them up can be an extremely painful, even traumatic experience. As a result, one of the major obstacles to adopting the API has been that many Israelis are still not prepared psychologically to relinquish some of their most cherished illusions.

Israel’s political leadership clung to these illusions and never understood the mindset of the Palestinians and vice versa. To be sure, few efforts have been made to bridge the cultural gap by engaging one another a mutual conciliatory interaction. Instead, they used the public stage to malign the other, further deepening the hatred and distrust rather than building new bridges. 

During the election campaign, the leaders of the Labor party in particular must set their sights high and embrace the API to give Israelis the chance to live in peace, especially now when the entire region is engulfed in terrifying turmoil.

  
Click here to read this article and more on AlonBen-Meir.com. 

8th Annual Holocaust and Genocides commemoration

The purpose of this event is education, information and activism. We hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”. 


We hope you will walk out of the event with a genuine feeling of being a contributor towards building a cohesive world where no human has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. 

The Holocaust event has been commemorated by the Jewish community since 1953 for the loss of  6 million Jews during the Holocaust, known as
 Yom HaShoah in Synagogues around the world. The general public learns it by visiting the Holocaust Museums and educational institutions.

We at America Together Foundation are committed to spread the knowledge of Holocaust and Genocides through interfaith and public events.


Our format has been simple and consists of four parts: interfaith prayers, the Holocaust, Genocide (one or two each time), a Massacre, action items for individuals and the pledge of peace. Silently we acknowledge all suffering, but physically we are limited to a Genocide and a Massacre at one time.  

I believe, when we acknowledge each other’s grief and participate in each other’s commemoration, we connect with the humanness within ourselves and seed the relationship of understanding and caring for each other. 

There is a shameless cruelty in us, either we shy away or refuse to acknowledge the sufferings of others, worrying that it will devalue our own or somehow it amounts to infidelity to our own suffering, and every community and nation has suffered through this.

The purpose of this event is education; we hope to learn and acknowledge our failings and make a personal commitment to do our individual share of saying “Never Again”.

Our mission is to create awareness of the inhumanity within each one of us and hope to find the solutions.

The goal ought to be respecting the otherness of others and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of us, anything short of that will leave unattended-sparks ready to flare up at short notice with the whiff of oxygen.

It is a bridge building event and we sincerely hope the attendees will walk out with the following understanding:

  • Other people’s suffering is as legitimate as mine;
  • It is easy to see ourselves as Victims, we must also see the perpetrator in us;
  • When we strip the politics out of a conflict, we see hope;
  • We can value others suffering without lessening our own;
  • The overriding desire to highlight our own blinds us from other’s suffering.
  • A sense of responsibility for creating a better world is awakened.


A initiative of American Muslims, organized by the Foundation for Pluralism, World Muslim Congress and America Together Foundation.

We are looking for participating organizations, sponsors and volunteers. Please text or call me at the number below.

References:

Our first event: Hon. Roslie and William Schiff, the Holocaust survivors delivered the key note, while people from many faiths participated in sharing scriptures from their holy books:.http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/Images_HolocaustDay/HMD2006_ProgramReport.asp 

Holocaust and the Muslim guy: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html 


United Nations proclamations:  http://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/docs/res607.shtml


Mike Ghouse, Event Chair
(214) 325-1916

Israel and the Law of Karma

ISRAEL AND THE LAW OF KARMA
www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.org 

Justice is the foundation upon which a society rests and functions cohesively. You mess that, you get messed. I sincerely pray that the good people of Israel ponder over the future of next generation of Israelis, their security, goodwill and happiness and act accordingly. 


It is not Jews, Judaism or Israel; it is the evil actions of a few in the Israeli Government that will invoke the nature’s Law of Karma, i.e., for every wrong you do, you pay for it in terms of insecurity, anguish and abnormal life, and for every good you do, you get rewarded in terms of security, peace, goodwill and happiness. 


Native American Chief Seattle said it perfectly; "All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the webs, he does it to himself. "


Anti-Semitism will increase not because of Judaism or Jews, but because of the injustice done to fellow beings. As the world (161 of 166 Members of the United Nations) sees the gross human rights violations, they look to Jews as wrong doers instead of seeing the evil policies of the few in Israeli government. If the world Jewry does not stop these, shamefully the travels to those 161 nations will not be comfortable. 



It saddens me to see the policy makers of Israel throw justice out the window for the sake security – a wrong approach. No individual or nation will be secure if they are unjust to fellow beings. I pray that the good people see this deficiency and fix it. It’s never too late to make correction and live a secure life. 


The Jewish people may not want to see the truth, and continue to live in apprehensions continually missing chances to turn things around. The increase in  Antisemitism is a product of Israeli disrespect to to the resolution of 161 Nations,  and only 5 nations oppose - the 161 Nations have every reason to be pissed off for being disrespectful to their wisdom. This is the history at the United Nations since 1948 - 96% of nations on one side, 4% on Israel's side with a few exceptions when Israel's existence was threatened.  

It is an embarrassment to see a few Israeli leaders scheming wars against Iran, Iraq and others, and buying short-sighted alliances with other nations to live in false security. The good will is earned through common people in Argentina, France, UK, US or elsewhere to make life safer to travel anywhere, and to live without fear.

The misinterpreted verses in Bible and Torah ( of course Quran and other holy books too) have caused the right wingers to justify killings of Palestinians and usurping their land, and this will not go too far. Deep down humans are made to be just and that is where they will gravitate towards.

I care for the people of Israel and Palestine and I speak out, I don't care if the short-sighted men and women jump at me. It is this silencing that has caused Israel to drift away from doing the right thing; justice to the Palestinians and earn the long term security for Israelis. 
It is painful to see these grave mistaken policies of Israel.

My slogan is justice to Palestinians and security to Israelis, one will not happen without the other. 


As a Muslim I would like to see every one of God’s creation live in dignity, peace, goodwill and harmony, with prejudice towards none and without the fear of the other. Amen!

Take a look at the shameful rise in Anti-Semitism every where.

Before my right wing friends read the other references, please read this one first, it is who I am. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html 


Anti Semitism is live in new York
http://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-cop-sues-nypd-for-anti-semitic-harassment/







Israel Palestine: Call for Accountability for the massacre of 1900 Civilians
http://thearabdailynews.com/2014/08/07/holding-obama-netanyahu-mashaal-accountable-massacres/


Do we fault Religion or the individual for the Gaza Crisis?
http://thearabdailynews.com/2014/08/06/fault-religion-individual-gaza-crisis/



Mike Ghouse 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Israel cared the Arab Child; the Palestinian Mom wants him to be a terrorist.


I watched the subject video, and observed several minutes of silence to absorb the pain of the Palestinian woman in the 7 minutes video, and it took me nearly an hour to gather myself to write about it, as I promised my friend Paul Goldstein, that I will write my commentary about it. I hope my Jewish friends see another point of view.
Israel cared the Arab Child; the Palestinian Mom wants him to be a terrorist.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKtWPMW9PSA


My only hope is for us to understand each other, and go beyond the words we hear.

I am quoting a scene from my article that has been very influential in my outlook at the down and depressed. I am making one of the most important points of my life about this woman’s attitude and hope and pray that you get to see that point.

“Holocaust and the Muslim guy” at Huffington post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/holocaust-and-the-muslim-_b_4629509.html

When I was ten years old, I read just about every book my mother read. She was indeed a voracious reader on religion and social sciences; however, I was banned from reading certain books, and one of them was "Eichmann 60 lakh Yahudiyon ka Katil" in Urdu language. That is Eichmann, the killer of 6 Million Jews. My mother insisted that I was a kid and I should not read the book, she was protective of her child. However, I was able to sneak in and see a few horrible pictures which had shut me down for the next 44 years of my life.
The picture (not this picture) continues to influence me; it is about betrayal of a people. A group of Jews were shoved in front of a ditch and then were shot into the pit. The looks of helplessness on their faces, as if looking at me and saying, "you are not going to do anything about it?" They were not complaining, but with all humility endured the betrayal from the entire world, it has been a difficult picture for me.
For the next 44 years of my life, I was not able to see the WWII movies with scenes from holocaust on the screen. I would turn the TV off and go into silence for a while, just could not get over the idea how people can do that to other people. There was fear in me, fear to witness that betrayal.

They never begged any one to save their life and just stared into the spaces even without complaining. I am sure the lost faith in God as well. I have held them in very high esteem for the dignified death they faced.

You know the story of Masada; they would rather die than surrender and get humiliated. Did they care what the world thought of them? There are innumerable examples of these acts of dignity.

In my college days, I shared my notes with a few friends to copy the answers on their exam papers, I was caught red handed and was taken to the principal’s office.  My “friends” did not even bother to stop by and ask about me. That betrayal and humility reminded me of the betrayal, the Jews felt in front of that ditch.

Paul, that image strengthens my commitment to human rights. I have lost many friends for my stand, and a lot of income, but I am willing to lose it all but will not back out from speaking for the rights of people. I may be one of the dignified martyrs of Masada being reincarnated.  By the way, those of you who don’t know me, I have stood up for all people with no exception including Jews - http://standingupforothers.blogspot.com/2012/02/standing-up-with-jews.html


This lady’s assertion that “death is normal” that “she will send her child back again as a suicide bomber” “death does not frighten us” enlivened that image of Jews at the ditch. She may have been the soul from Masada.

 What have we done as a civilized society to get her to that point? It is the hopelessness of living a normal life.  I saw so much pain in her; she did not see any point in sharing further, what for? Instead of understanding her, we are going after religion, easy way out to blame someone and running away from the responsibility.

She had given up on you and I, she has given up on Palestinians, Jews, Americans and the world, shame on us.  I can forgive those “few” Israelis who are in pain themselves and want to inflict pain on others as if it will relieve them. 

I do not like suicide bombers or any one who destroys life of others, if they claim to do it in the name of religion, it is merely an excuse that we should not be gullible to buy. Islam forbids suicide and killing others unless it is in self defense. 


I am not supporting this woman's attitude either, all I am doing is seeing her point of view to learn and formulate policies to alleviate the root cause, if we can.

I am ashamed of me, you and others, and the world at large whose prejudice against Palestinians. Perhaps justifiable for their rocket attacks, suicide bombing and biased behavior – even though they have endured living in humility for 30 years without terrorism, the world did not care and did not do a thing about them. But when they resorted to terrorism in 1971, we blamed them and attempted to annihilate them.  It is as if telling the humiliated woman who just got raped, that she deserved it.

Our formulated bias has stripped a sense of justice in us, and that is not healthy for a normal society.  If we justify one prejudice, we are approving other prejudices against us.  It is time to be human and don’t push others to this point.

Please enlighten me otherwise.

A few comments following my postings, only those who authorized to post.


 
Mike Ghouse Maor Shapira 

No I don't like suicide bombers at all and I condemn them, it is against Islam. But should we not understand why people do what they do?


You have a choice to believe what suits you, but if you are serious about finding answers, see a different point of view, and finding solutions instead of blaming "ideology"? All of us choose
 
 
Mike Ghouse Maor, you have a right to draw your own conclusions. There is always a few bad apples among all people. Muslims have them, Jewish have them, Christians, Hindus and all other have them. We all have to find answers through seeing and hearing each other.
 
John Fredrickson The concession must be made that most of the suicide bombings or terrorist acts that are happening around the globe are done by Islamic extremists. What really hasn't been said or mentioned though, is the fact that a lot of these extremists have targeted Muslims themselves, in fact I'll go as far as saying the majority of suicide bombings that happen have been against Muslims
 
Pierre Henri Huot I have read the post and the comments that followed. I had seen and shared the video on this woman in the hospital. I felt uneasy from the start of this post.. As though this post is a trap, having as its goal to condemn one side to the benefit of the other side under the control of who made the post. I am Jewish. I feel like staying out. Not because I don't have strong views on what this Palestinian woman says: such views are horrendous for me. But because I feel discussing the mental state of this woman or the religious incitement to having her views (the first set of questions) are not topics we are -- and certainly not I --- equipped to talk about.

Establishing a proper evaluation of this woman's mental state requires a professional psychologist or psychiatrist who would have to meet with her in person over some time, and analysing how people are incited to having such views calls for some factual knowledge of the community she lives in. I feel also we are even less qualified to discuss the second set of questions about Sharia Law, Jihad, and the concept of death in Islam. There may be two exceptions to discussing these last questions, our two Muslims members. I would simply refer our group to two approaches to human development, that of Integral Spirituality (philosopher Ken Wilber) and of Spiral Dynamics (Don Beck, co-creator). Each views human beings going through various levels of conscience and development that show up in unique ways.

The higher the broader, the lower the narrower. At a low level, it is standard to want the death of any perceived outsider(s) to one's group. It basically has nothing to do with one's religion. The low level of exclusive consciousness brings about a seclusive view of life. The medical staff (assuming they are Jewish Israelis, and in as much as we know their real individual views about Palestinians, Muslims, and Arabs and about treating them and about treating this boy and woman's child) that looks after this woman's son are at a higher level of consciousness than she is (if what she says represents her real views and is not a smoke screen protecting her from reprisals; she knows she is being filmed and will be seen and heard and her son wil be known too).

The real issue in my view has nothing to do with Islam or Judaism. Nothing to do with being Israeli or Palestinian. I have seen such medical care from both camps. I have also seen such deadly wish from both. I would like to state that I live in a family where we are Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist, and that I have friends of other religions too. I have no desire or intention to go about entrapping any individual or any one community in 'my view of you is this and I am right and you are as I said and especially wrong.' With this, I intend to stay out of this debate as much as I am capable of.
 
Paul Goldstein Thank you for your interesting perspective, Mike. I agree with a good deal of it (though not necessarily every detail).

If a comprehensive peace in the region is ever to become a reality, it will be essential to bring together diverse perspectives fro
m peace-seeking moderates of differing religious outlooks, nationalities, and ethnicities. It is important to listen to ideas from people of other backgrounds - ideas which may not be the same as our own - and come up with mutually acceptable solutions to bridge conflict and build for a peaceful future.

Maor, just to address the question of Norway: I stand on my statements. Though I don't live in Oslo (where most Norwegian Muslims live), I do follow national developments closely. The article you posted refers to the views of one extremist Muslim - so extreme that he was convicted of public anti-Semitism - and as the article notes, his ideas are opposed by other Muslims in the country. One extremist does not represent a community. This man's anti-gay campaign has not garnered any significant support or publicity.

I have personally known a number of Muslims in Norway, and the views of that particular extremist cannot be regarded as the norm. There are sadly also a few extremist Jews in Norway who are fiercely anti-Muslim and/or anti-Arab. They are the exception, and their views are not accepted by the mainstream of the Jewish community. The same is true for a few extremist Muslims - their views are not the norm in the Norwegian Muslim community. I prefer to look at what can be accomplished by accentuating the positive, ignoring the extremists, and bringing people together to help shape a more peaceful and accepting future for all.
 
 
Mike Ghouse Paul, Maor, John and Pierre, thanks for expanding the range of understanding on the issue. We should always be truthful in these matters for the sake of clarity. We differ and I see where we do and how can we learn to respect the otherness of others? If we can do it, others can do it too. 

If you guys permit me, I will include your comments verbatim after the article link. If I don't have the permission, I will not included it. Thanks
 
John Fredrickson You have my permission
 
Maor Shapira Please don't include my comments.
 
Paul Goldstein You have permission to include my comments.
 
Pierre Henri Huot Mike, you have my permission. I have modified my previous comment so as to stand more on its own and hopefully corrected all of its linguistic errors. Could you provide me with the link so that I know which article you are referring to?
 
Thomas Frederick Schwartz I would argue that whatever brought this woman to where she is, is less important than the fact that she is such a horrible parent that her child should be taken from her and raised in a loving home. It would obviously be better for the child.
 

Paul Goldstein I'm quite sure the child would NOT be taken from her in the United States. Social authorities require physical (or reliable eyewitness) evidence in the here and now to act, based on how a parent has been treating their child in real life at this time. Mere words about what a parent may plan to do years ahead in the future would not be sufficient reason to take a child away.
Perhaps social authorities may follow up at intervals if they are sufficiently concerned, but I doubt any court would enforce an order to take a child away based on a parent's expressed plans for the distant future.


Thank you

Mike Ghouse

(214) 325-1916 text/talk
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Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism at work place, politics, religion, society, gender, race, culture, ethnicity, food and foreign policy. He is a staunch defender of human rights and his book standing up for others will be out soon, and a movie "Americans together" is in the making.  He is a frequent guest commentator on Fox News and syndicated Talk Radio shows and a writer at major news papers including Dallas Morning News and Huffington Post. All about him is listed in 63 links atwww.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com and 10 other blogs. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.