WARNING : Don't you judge by reading one article. This site is not for you if you cannot see the otherness of other and sufferings of both sides of the party in the conflict. Security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians are interdependent, one will not happen without the other. My view focuses on building cohesive societies where no one has to live in apprehension or fear of the other. I hope and pray a sense of justice to prevail. Amen. Website www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com | Also Check Israel Palestine Confederation a pragmatic solution

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Israel Palestine Dialogue: Zionism Has Distorted U.S. Foreign Policy,

Israel Palestine Dialogue: Zionism Has Distorted U.S. Foreign Policy,: After what they have endured for thousands of years, it is easy to understand the Jewish need to have a homeland. Their basic need to feel ...

Zionism Has Distorted U.S. Foreign Policy,

After what they have endured for thousands of years, it is easy to understand the Jewish need to have a homeland. Their basic need to feel secure, where they can drop their guards and live freely, that desire must be respected.

Unfortunately, a few among the Jews went over to the extreme and sacrificed justice for security.  I believe, Justice is the only thing that restores trust and sustains security. Not the Jews and not the Israelis, but the policies of the radical successive governments have worked against its own goals and created long-term insecurity for the people of Israel.

There is a solution - and that is for the majority of moderate Israelis to take the nation back and institute policies where justice and security for Palestinians and Israelis is effectively practiced. Israel can be the most powerful nation on the earth militarily, but they will not be able to ethnically clean the Palestinian Muslims and Palestinian Christians and if those few are hell-bent on cleansing, what kind of Israelis generation we are looking at?

Security to both the people will come if Justice is the foundation. 

Mike Ghouse
Center for Pluralism

Zionism Has Distorted U.S. Foreign Policy, Says Allan Brownfeld

Allan C. Brownfeld speaks at a Committee for the Republic event at Washington, DC’s Metropolitan Club. [Staff Photo Phil Pasquini]
Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, March/April 2018, pp. 62-63
Waging Peace
Washington Report columnist Allan C. Brownfeld, also the editor of Issues, the quarterly journal of the American Council for Judaism, spoke Jan. 11 on Zionism and Jewish-American relations with Israel at Washington, DC’s Metropolitan Club. The Committee for the Republic hosted the well-attended evening event.
Briefly reviewing the history of Zionism, Brownfeld pointed out that when the nationalist movement first arose in the 19th century in Europe, the majority of Jews rejected it. “Historically, Zionism was a minority movement in Judaism,” he claimed. “If it had not been for the rise of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, Zionism would most likely have been a minority view among Jews and the state of Israel never would have been created.”
He went on to describe the Palestinians as “the final victims of the Holocaust,” noting that “People who were sitting in the Middle East minding their own business, having nothing to do with it, have paid the price.”
In the late 19th century when Zionism began, he said, “Jews constituted only 4 percent of the population of Palestine. Even in 1948, when the United Nations created the Jewish state, Jews represented a minority in that state. This is a very important point to be made, because many people do not view Zionism as a settler colonial movement, which is, indeed, what it is.”
Regarding President Donald J. Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Brownfeld said: “From my own research, it seems to me that Sheldon Adelson was the major reason for the decision being made at the present time, because of the massive amount of money he contributes to the Republican party.” The casino magnate contributed $15 million to Trump’s inauguration. 
Also in response to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and the appointment of David Friedman—a man who rejects the creation of a Palestinian state—as U.S. ambassador to Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has voted to annex portions of the West Bank, Brownfeld said.
Discussing U.S. aid to Israel, Brownfeld noted, “In September 2016 the U.S. agreed to provide Israel a record $38 billion in new military aid over the next decade. The agreement equates to $3.8 billion a year, the largest bi-lateral aid package ever.” This represents a 20 percent increase from the previous agreement of $3.1 billion annually. Roughly 20 percent of the United States’ entire foreign aid budget goes to Israel. It has been the largest recipient of direct U.S. economic and military assistance since 1976 and the largest total recipient since World War II.
Israel recently banned all groups which support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement from entering Israel—including the American Friends Service Committee, which, during World War II and the Holocaust, rescued large numbers of Jews from Nazi-occupied Europe and today are doing the same thing for the Palestinians, Brownfeld told his audience.
At the end of World War II, Brownfeld noted, the U.S was highly thought of in the Arab world. “We were an anti-colonial power, and under our influence the British and French left Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, which became independent countries,” he pointed out. “Our anti-colonial tradition, I think, was abandoned when we imposed Israel upon the Middle East. Continuing to support the settler colonial state in the Middle East set us back and fuels ISIS and other terrorists around the world. It will be even worse if Israel annexes the West Bank.” 
On the controversial topic of Judaism as a religion rather than a nationality, Brownfeld considers Judaism to be a religion of universal values, not a nationality. “I believe that American Jews are American by nationality, and Jews by religion,” he said. “But, if you believe that Jews are a people and Israel is their homeland, you have every right to believe that and immigrate to that homeland.”
Warning his audience not to be pessimistic about the future, Brownfeld noted that within the American Jewish community, especially young people, there is growing outrage at Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and its 50-year occupation. “Hopefully, in the future,” he concluded, “Judaism will return to the moral and ethical standards it brought into the world.”
—Elaine Pasquin

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Jewish Denominations Fight Israel

The more I learn about stick-in-the-mud-Jews, the more I see that with stick-in-the-mud-Muslims.  They are mirror images of each other when it comes to orthodoxies in both faith traditions, and they stick to singular interpretations and believe that God is on their side.

I am working on a book about the mistakes Muslims have made, the Jews and Sikhs can relate to the incidences.

I am calling for the separation of culture and Islam, they are two different things. What one does, the other does not.  Paul Gherkin in the following article writes, “Leading rabbis of JVP and J Street – all non-Orthodox – called for a divorce between Judaism and the Jewish State, and between the holy land and Jews.”

Obviously, the writer has leaned towards the right when he wrote, “The lunatic rabbinic fringe even held fasts for the people of Gaza, but not for anyone in Israel.”  He should have appreciated the humanity of those Jews who observed the fasts.

For the ultra-Stick-in -the -mud Christians, Jews and Muslims (and of course you will find that in other traditions as well ) – Life is less important than God’s words as understood by them.  What kind of God do they cook up that does not value life?

Mike Ghouse

Courtesy – JewishPress.com
{Originally posted to the author’s FirstOne Through blog}

The tensions between the non-Orthodox Jewish denominations and Israel seemingly became tense over the Israeli government’s decision to postpone plans for an egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, the Western Wall. In truth, the relationship between the Reconstructionist, Jewish Renewal and Reform branches of Judaism (the 3R’s) and the Jewish State have been terrible for a long time.

There are a number of Jewish organizations that actively seek to harm Israel in public fora. As detailed in “Unity – not Uniformity – in the Pro-Israel Tent,” the largest and most noxious of the left-wing organizations are: the Jewish Voice for Peace that advocates for a global boycott of Israel; J Street that advocates for sanctions against Israel at the United Nations; and the New Israel Fund, that supports organizations that go on global tours bad-mouthing Israel and groups that seek to destroy the Jewish character of Israel.
What that article did not convey and will be discussed and explored here, was that these anti-Zionist groups are uniquely backed by non-Orthodox rabbis.
Jewish Voice for Peace
Arguably the most proudly vocal anti-Zionist group is the Jewish Voice for Peace, JVP. The rabbis of JVP have supported the Gaza flotilla; written books demonizing Israel as a modern day blood libel; and arguably promoted the murder of Israelis.

JVP post supporting convicted terrorist Rasmeah Odeh
JVP’s rabbinic leadership almost exclusively comes from the Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal branches of Judaism. At their core, they seek a Judaism that has nothing to do with Zionism. Many are proudly anti-Zionist.
Rabbi Joseph Berman (Non-Denominational)
Rabbi Linda Holtzman (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Buzz Bogage, Denver, CO
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Evanston, IL (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Linda Holtzman (Reconstructionist)
Student Rabbi Leora Abelson
Rabbi Rebecca Alpert (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Lev Baesh (Reform)
Rabbi David Basior (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Haim Beliak (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Joseph Berman (Unaffiliated)
Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Meryl Crean (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Michael Davis (also backed by the Students for Justice in Palestine whichh has supported terrorist groups)
Rabbi Art Donsky (Non-denominational)
Rabbi Michael Feinberg
Rabbi Ari Lev Fornari (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Sarah Bracha Gershuny (Egalitarian)
Rabbi Shai Gluskin (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Borukh Goldberg
Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Julie Greenberg
Rabbi Edward Klein
Rabbi Alan LaPayover (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Eyal Levinson (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom (Conservative)
Rabbi David Mivasair (Progressive)
Rabbi Dev Noily (Progressive)
Rabbi Alexis Pearce (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Michael Ramberg (Progressive)
Rabbi Ken Rosenstein (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Shifrah Tobacman (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Brian Walt
Rabbi Lew Weiss (Reform)
Rabbi Alissa Wise (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Joey Wolf (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Rain Zohav (Jewish Renewal)
The Anti-Defamation has essentially labeled JVP a hate group stating:
“JVP has consistently co-sponsored demonstrations to oppose Israeli military policy that have been marked by signs comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and slogans that voice support for groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. JVP has not condemned or sought to distance itself from these messages.”
The rabbis of these communities put politics front-and-center of their religion. And their politics are anti-Zionism.
J Street
J Street officially states that it is not in favor of the BDS movement, but has supported many speakers who do call for the boycott of Israel. More, J Street actively lobbied the Obama Administration to allow the censure of Israel at the United Nations and enabling the resolution labeling Israeli territory east of the Green Line to be deemed illegal.
The rabbinic core of J Street is slightly more “traditional” than the rabbis from JVP, counting many Reform rabbis. The list of hundreds of rabbis is too long to review here, but a sample highlights the trend:
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Brooklyn, NY (Reform)
Rabbi Lauren Henderson, Chicago, IL (Conservative)
Rabbi Alexander Kress, Abington, PA (Reform)
Rabbi Marisa Elana James, New York, NY (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie, New York, NY (Conservative)
Rabbi Amanda Schwartz, New York, NY (Conservative)
Rabbi Scott Aaron, Pittsburgh, PA (Reform)
Rabbi Alison Abrams, Deerfield, IL (Reform)
Rabbi Ruth Adar, Oakland, CA (Reform)
Rabbi David Adelson, New York, NY (Reform)
Rabbi Katy Z. Allen, Wayland, MA (Independent)
Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, Philadelphia, PA (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Thomas Alpert, Needham, MA (Reform)
Rabbi Steven Altarescu, Bronx, NY (Reform)
Rabbi Camille Shira Angel, San Francisco, CA (Reform)
Rabbi David Ariel-Joel, Louisville, KY (Reform)
Susan J Averbach, San Francisco, CA (Humanistic Judaism)
Rabbi Benjamin Arnold, Evergreen, CO (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Melanie Aron, Los Gatos, CA (Reform)
Rabbi Arik W. Ascherman, Jerusalem, Israel (Reform)
Rabbi Aura Ahuvia, Woodstock, NY (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Larry Bach, Durham, NC (Reform)
Rabbi Lev Baesh, Lexington, MA (Reform)
Rabbi Chava Bahle, Suttons Bay, MI (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Justus Baird, Princeton, NJ (Reform)
Rabbi Rachel Evelyne Barenblat, Williamstown, MA (Jewish Renewal)
Rabbi Benjamin H. Barnett, Corvallis, OR (Pluralistic)
Rabbi Bernard Barsky, Dayton, OH
Rabbi Lewis M. Barth, Encino, CA (Reform)
Rabbi Geoffrey Basik, Baltimore, MD (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi David Dunn Bauer, San Francisco, CA (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Renee H. Bauer, Madison, WI
Rabbi David Baylinson, Atlanta, GA (Reform)
Rabbi Micah Becker-Klein, Hockessin, DE
Rabbi Martin Beifeld, Richmond, VA (Reform)
Rabbi Anne Belford, Houston, TX (Reform)
Rabbi Marc J. Belgrad, Buffalo Grove, IL (Reform)
Rabbi Arnold Mark Belzer, Savannah, GA (Reform)
Rabbi Jordan Bendat-Appel, Highland Park, IL (post-denominational)
Rabbi Karen Bender, Tarzana, CA (Reform)
Rabbi Olivier BenHaim, Seattle, WA (Reform)
Rabbi Allen Bennett, San Francisco, CA (Reform)
Rabbi James Bennett, St. Louis, MO (Reform)
Rabbi Philip J. Bentley, Hendersonville, NC (Reform)
The Reform movement isn’t explicitly anti-Israel the way that much of the Reconstructionist and Jewish Renewal movements are currently. However, the current head of the Reform movement, Rabbi Rick Jacobs is particularly political and claims that the official stance of Reform Judaism is anti-settlements. How he declared that his personal anti-Jews living in Judea and Samaria politics should frame the entire movement is something that members of Reform Judaism need to address.
New Israel Fund
The New Israel Fund gives money to groups like Adalah that have a stated purpose of ending any Jewishness in Israel. It lures people to donate money stating that it is about equality in Israel – and by that it means ending the Jewish Law of Return; the Hatikvah; Jewish star on the national flag, et cetera.
The international council of NIF features a number of non-Orthodox rabbis:
Rabbi Rachel Mikva (Reform)
Rabbi Bernard Mehlman (Reform)
Rabbi Anson Laytner (Reform)
Rabbi Daniel Weiner (Reform)
Rabbi David Levin (Reform)
Rabbi Morris Allen (Conservative)
Rabbi Norman Cohen (Reform)
Rabbi Alexander Davis (Conservative)
Rabbi Shosh Dworsky (Conservative)
Rabbi David Freedman
Rabbi Yosi Gordon (Conservative)
Rabbi Michael Adam Latz (Reform)
Rabbi Cathy Nemiroff (Reform)
Rabbi Debra Rappaport (Reform)
Rabbi Alan Shavit-Lonstein (Conservative)
Rabbi Adam Stock Spilker (Reform)
Rabbi Sharon Stiefel (Reconstructionist)
Rabbi Aaron Weininger (Conservative)
Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman (Reform)
Rabbi Sharon Brous (Conservative)
Rabbi Rachel B. Cowan (Reform)
Rabbi Jerome K. Davidson (Reform)
Rabbi Marion Lev-Cohen (Reform)
Rabbi J. Rolando Matalon (non-denominational)
Rabbi Aaron Panken (Reform)
Rabbi Gordon Tucker, White Plains (Conservative)
Relative to JVP and J Street, the New Israel Fund has many more Conservative rabbis joining its leadership ranks. But still, none of these anti-Zionist organizations that have thousands of rabbis in leadership positions have a single Orthodox rabbi.
Beyond Liberal Politics
There is no question that some of these forms of Judaism revolve around liberal politics more than religion. Many of the synagogues state clearly on their websites that they are focused on tikkun olam (repairing the world), and they do this not through Torah-inspired commandments like helping the widow and orphan, but in new imagined ways like raising the minimum wage and saving the planet.
But there are many liberal rabbis in the Orthodox community too, and they support the Jewish State. They are proud to point out that Israel is one of the most liberal countries in the world, and certainly within the xenophobic, antisemitic and misogynistic Middle East. When liberal Orthodox rabbis find a need to criticize the Israeli government, they do it directly with the government in a constructive manner, not through antagonistic actions on the global stage.
Therefore, the issue cannot be simply attributed to the politics of many rabbis in the non-Orthodox world. There must be something systemic in the religious philosophy of those denominations that make them embrace Israel-bashing.
Who Is a Jew
The key Jewish prayer Shemoneh Esrei recited several times every day begins with the blessing of “our God and the God of our fathers.” It encapsulates the notion that Judaism is both a religion of being, passed down physically from our ancestors, as well as one of choice – “our God” – in which each person takes ownership of his faith.
In regards to being a Jew, Orthodox Judaism (and Conservative Judaism, at this point in time) have held the line on using traditional halacha in critical life events that define “who is a Jew.” Two of those are birth and marriage.
Both the Orthodox and Conservative movements believe that the child of a Jewish mother is a Jew, regardless of the religion of the father. The other denominations believe in patrilineal descent, that religion can be passed down via the father’s religion. This is a fundamental breakdown between the religious denominations regarding “who is a Jew.”
Similarly, Orthodox and Conservative rabbis do not perform interfaith weddings. The rabbis in the other movements are very proud to perform such ceremonies and openly advertise their services.
These two life events are obviously interconnected. An interfaith couple will have a non-Jewish parent, and about half of the time, produce a non-Jewish child according to the traditions of matrilineal descent practiced by Orthodox and Conservative Judaism. Sanctioning interfaith marriages has produced a chasm between the Reform/Reconstructionist/Jewish Renewal (3R) movements with other Jewish denominations, AND with Israel itself.
Israel created a Law of Return in 1950 that allowed any Jew to move to Israel. In 1970, the law was amended to clarify that a Jew “means a person who was born of a Jewish mother or has become converted to Judaism and who is not a member of another religion.” While the 1970 amendment made provisions for the non-Jewish spouse and children of a Jew to move to Israel, the Law of Return used a definition of matrilineal descent that only Conservative and Orthodox used, upsetting other denominations that support patrlineal descent. However, the law’s clause on conversion did accept non-Orthodox conversions performed outside of Israel, as decided by the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2016.
Universalism versus Particularism
Being a Jew is simply part one. The actions and demands of the religion, the mitzvot, are part two, and the breakdown between Orthodox Judaism and the branches that seek to harm Israel are profound.
Orthodox Judaism believes that the Torah has 613 commandments for a Jew to live by. Some are clear-cut, like “Do not kill,” while others are subject to broader interpretation like “keep the Sabbath holy,” as there may be many different methods of keeping the Sabbath holy. Conservative Judaism basically follows the concept of the 613 mitzvot, but interprets them differently (for example, Orthodox Jews will not use electricity on Sabbath to “keep it holy,” while Conservative Jews will often use electricity.)
In contrast, the 3R branches of Judaism have revamped the mitzvot in a way that fits a “new age” rewriting of the laws. They have made the commandments about human-centered spirituality that spreads out to God and all mankind, rather than commandments that are passed down from God to man.
The Jewish Renewal site makes its mantra clear, stating it’s “a transdenominational approach to revitalizing Judaism.” Its reach is to everyone: “Renewal is an attitude, not a denomination,” with “an emphasis on accessible spiritual experience.” In other words, this is a movement without demands, such as only eating kosher foods. It is more akin to a yoga retreat. Not only is there no need to be Jewish, a person needn’t perform ancient rote rituals. Just engage in new age meditation.
Reconstructionist Judaism is more traditional than Jewish Renewal, but far from “traditional.” Its emphasis is on “Jewish Identity,” as its website states: “what primarily gives Jews our identity is not belief but rather the feeling of belonging to the Jewish civilization itself. We observe Jewish holidays, rituals and customs, not because a divine being commanded us to, but because it is our primary method of reinforcing Jewish identity.” In other words, God’s commandments are not really commandments (or God doesn’t exist) for Reconstructionist Jews. The basis for observing any tradition is simply a matter of keeping the “Jewish identity” around, not because of any higher authority.
These days, the Reform movement has put the world front and center. Its mission is to build “communities that transform the way people connect to Jewish life, building a more whole, just, and compassionate world.” It does this through Tikkun Olam, “repairing the world.” The movement’s leader, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, speaks of Reform Judaism as operating in concert with the global community: “the heart of a Tikkun Olam that embraces always both the universal and the particular.
These three branches of Judaism approach religious practice very differently than Orthodox Judaism. Their Judaism is centered on global mankind’s yearning to connect – to the planet and the people around the world – to achieve a personal fulfillment of serenity. Jewish rituals are props to achieve that state of zen. Similarly, non-Jews bring their own props to their encounters with God and mankind. Universalism and particularism (of props) coexist in a human-centered meditative state of bliss.
This 3R approach towards religion is an inversion of Orthodox Judaism that is premised on a top-down philosophy. The Bible and Ten Commandments began with God, not man. The 613 commandments given to Jews were just that – commandments – not guides to validate one’s own sense of social justice. These commandments were uniquely given to Jews, as Orthodoxy believes that non-Jews were given only seven commandments which relate to universal morality.
The orientation of particularism of Orthodox rabbis extends broadly: to Jewish people (they do not perform interfaith weddings); the Bible (with unique commandments only for Jews); and to the holy land itself, which they believe was given to the Jewish people. According to a Pew poll in 2013, 84% of Orthodox Jews believe that God gave Israel to the Jews. That compares to only 54%, 35% and 24% of Conservative, Reform, and non-denominational Jews, respectively. By way of comparison, 55% of Christians believe that God gave Israel to the Jews. How remarkable is that? Christians are more Zionistic than non-Orthodox Jews.
This dichotomy between Orthodox and non-Orthodox denominations is at the core of different approaches to the Jewish State and the holy land. For Orthodox Jews, the Jewish State is particular, just like the bible and Jewish people. In contrast, the non-Orthodox denominations focus on universalism, and shun particularism as a form of tribalism and nationalism, with more than a whiff of racism.
It is therefore not a surprise that Jewish denominations that shun particularism in favor of universalism also denounce Zionism.
Whereas Orthodox liberal Jews can call out for rights for Israeli Arabs and Palestinian Arabs without vilifying Israel, non-Orthodox rabbis seemingly cannot. Orthodoxy can approach equality within the rubric that the holy land as special and unique for Jews, while the non-Orthodox only see tribalism and racism.
The Current Dynamic
The universalism / “anti-tribalism” movement within the 3R denominations often attacks both Orthodox Jews and the Jewish state. It has sometimes provoked a backlash.
In September 2015, the Reconstructionist movement announced a new policy to allow rabbis to marry non-Jews as a reaction to the movement’s conclusion that “many younger progressive Jews, including many rabbis and rabbinical students, now perceive restrictions placed on those who are intermarried as reinforcing a tribalism that feels personally alienating and morally troubling in the 21st century.” With such declaration, several Reconstructionist rabbis became fed up.
In April 2016, twenty Reconstructionist rabbis left the denomination to form Beit Kaplan, as they felt that the Reconstructionist movement had lost its way. They said that “the decision to form the association was sparked, in part, by the recent RRC policy shift that muddled the definition of what it means for a rabbi to have a Jewish family. Other contributing factors include a desire to return the focus of liberal Judaism to Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan’s vision of Jewish peoplehood and a desire to affirm connections to the Jewish people globally, including in Israel.”
Several Reconstructionist rabbis became infuriated with the official positions of Reconstructionist’s universalism. Their new assembly felt compelled to clarify that not only did it think that sanctioning rabbis intermarrying was a destructive force on the Jewish family, it said that it “unequivocally reject[s] any movement to delegitimize Israel in the community of nations,” because the Reconstructionist movement had become a haven for demonizing the Jewish State.
In short, Beit Kaplan felt that the Reconstructionist movement had lost the basic concept of the definition of being a Jew and the special nature of the Jewish State.
The 3R rabbis’ Israel-bashing had started to gain momentum during the 2014 Gaza War, when many non-Orthodox rabbis actively vilified the Jewish State. The lunatic rabbinic fringe even held fasts for the people of Gaza, but not for anyone in Israel.
Consider Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, the leader of an enormous gay Reconstructionist congregation, member of J Street and listed in Newsweek’s list of 50 Influential Rabbis. Her radical left-wing politics were mostly blessed by her members, but her tirades against Israel became too much for many to bear. In 2014, one of the board members of her congregation resigned, publicly stating the “recent [2014 Gaza War] events have demonstrated that CBST [the gay synagogue] is far more committed to a progressive political agenda than to the Jewish people….  I don’t want to raise my kids in a synagogue that’s praying for people firing rockets.
The attitude was pervasive. Leading rabbis of JVP and J Street – all non-Orthodox – called for a divorce between Judaism and the Jewish State, and between the holy land and Jews.
Consider Rabbi Brian Walt, a member of JVP and coordinator of the Jewish Fast for Gaza, who gave a talk entitled “Affirming a Judaism and Jewish identity without Zionism,” in which he declared: “political Zionism violates everything I believe about Judaism.” Or Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, on the board of J Street and signatory to the fast for Gaza who penned a letter for Code Pink to support the BDS movement, stating she “saw the destruction that is wrought by too many Israeli settlers,” making her change “my mind about the purchase of products made in the Jewish West Bank.
Non-Orthodox rabbis comfortably argued that there are too many Jews in the holy land because they segmented the religion, the people, the land and their identity. As they believe that religion is defined solely by identity, there is no need for a particular land, and no narrow definition of the Jewish people, as identity is self-selected.

Non-Orthodox rabbis wrap themselves in a tallit as a mere Jewish prop in a universalistic and humanistic approach towards meditation, while they shudder at the particularism of the God of Orthodox Judaism and the Jewish State.
Supporting Israel is not a battle of political orientation between liberal and conservative Jews. It is a philosophical break in the Jewish community with a fault line regarding the uniqueness of Jews and the Jewish State. The non-Orthodox denominations’ religious philosophy will only let it embrace an Israel that is: about people, not God; about rights not rituals; more secular than religious; more democratic than Jewish; and more universal than particular.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Ten Basic Facts about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

David Harris offers alternate facts in here, and I would urge a moderate Jew and a moderate Palestinians to counter check these facts.  The bottom line is security for the people of Israel and Justice for the people of Palestine, blaming must be done with now, unless they are fresh inflictions.


Courtesy - Huffington Post
David Harris, Contributor
AJC Chief Executive Officer, Edward and Sandra Meyer Office of the CEO

In all the discussion about this decades-long conflict and the quest for a solution, some basic facts are too often missing, neglected, downplayed, or skewed.

Not only does this do a disservice to history, but it also contributes to prolonging the conflict by perpetuating false assumptions and mistaken notions.

Fact #1: There could have been a two-state solution as early as 1947. That’s precisely what the UN Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) proposed, recognizing the presence of two peoples – and two nationalisms – in a territory governed temporarily by the United Kingdom. And the UN General Assembly decisively endorsed the UNSCOP proposal. The Jewish side pragmatically accepted the plan, but the Arab world categorically rejected it.

Fact #2: When Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, it extended the hand of friendship to its Arab neighbors, as clearly evidenced by its founding documents and statements. That offer, too, was spurned. Instead, five Arab armies declared war on the fledgling Jewish state, seeking its total destruction. Despite vastly outnumbering the Jews and possessing superior military arsenals, they failed in their quest.

Fact #3: Until 1967, the eastern part of Jerusalem and the entire West Bank were in the hands of Jordan, not Israel. Had the Arab world wished, an independent Palestinian state, with its capital in Jerusalem, could have been established at any time. Not only did this not happen, but there is no record of it ever having been discussed. To the contrary, Jordan annexed the territory, seeking full and permanent control. It proceeded to treat Jerusalem as a backwater, while denying Jews any access to Jewish holy sites in the Old City and destroying the synagogues there. Meanwhile, Gaza was under Egyptian military rule. Again, there was no talk of sovereignty for the Palestinians there, either.

Fact #4: In May 1967, the Egyptian and Syrian governments repeatedly threatened to annihilate Israel, as these countries demanded that UN peacekeeping forces be withdrawn from the region. Moreover, Israeli shipping lanes to its southern port of Eilat were blocked, and Arab troops were deployed to front-line positions. The Six-Day War was the outcome, a war that Israel won. Coming into possession of the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, Sinai Peninsula, West Bank, and eastern Jerusalem, Israel extended feelers to its Arab neighbors, via third parties, seeking a “land for peace” formula. The Arab response came back on September 1, 1967, from Khartoum, Sudan, where the Arab League nations were meeting. The message was unmistakable: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel.” Yet another opportunity to end the conflict had come and gone.

Fact #5: In November 1977, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat broke with the Arab rejectionist consensus. He traveled to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem to meet with Israeli leaders and address Israel’s parliament and speak of peace. Two years later, underscoring the lengths to which Israel was prepared to go to end the conflict, a deal was reached, in which Israel – led, notably, by a right-wing government– yielded the vast Sinai Peninsula, with its strategic depth, oil deposits, settlements, and air bases, in exchange for the promise of a new era in relations with the Arab world’s leading country. In 1981, Sadat was slain by the Muslim Brotherhood for his alleged perfidy, but his legacy of peace with Israel, thankfully, has endured.

Fact #6: In September 1993, Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) reached an agreement, known as the Oslo Accords, offering hope for peace on that front as well, but eight months later, PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat confirmed the suspicions of many that he was not honest, when he was caught on tape in a Johannesburg mosque asserting that this agreement was nothing more than a temporary truce until final victory.

Fact #7: In 1994, Jordan’s King Hussein, following in the footsteps of Egyptian President Sadat, reached an agreement with Israel, again demonstrating Israel’s readiness for peace – and willingness to make territorial sacrifices when sincere Arab leaders come forward.

Fact #8: In 2000-1, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, leading a left-of-center government and supported by the Clinton administration, offered a groundbreaking two-state arrangement to Arafat, including a bold compromise on Jerusalem. Not only did the Palestinian leader reject the offer, but he shockingly told Clinton that Jews had never had any historical connection to Jerusalem, gave no counter-offer, and triggered a new wave of Palestinian violence that led to more than 1,000 Israeli fatalities (proportionately equivalent to 40,000 Americans).

Fact #9: In 2008, three years after Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally withdrew all Israeli soldiers and settlers from Gaza, only to see Hamas seize control and destroy another chance for coexistence, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went even further than Barak in extending an olive branch to the Palestinian Authority. He offered a still more generous two-state proposal, but got no formal response from Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat’s successor. A Palestinian negotiator subsequently acknowledged in the media that the Israeli plan would have given his side the equivalent of 100 percent of the disputed lands under discussion.

Fact #10: At the request of the Obama administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a ten-month freeze on settlement-building in 2010, as a good-faith gesture to lure the Palestinians back to the table. Regrettably, it failed. The Palestinians didn’t show up. Instead, they have continued to this day their strategy of incitement; attempts to bypass Israel – and face-to-face talks – by going to international organizations instead; denial of the age-old Jewish link to Jerusalem and, by extension, the region; and lifetime financial support for captured terrorists and the families of suicide bombers.

Isn’t it high time to draw some obvious conclusions from these facts, recognize the many lost opportunities to reach a settlement because of a consistent “no” from one side, and call on the Palestinians to start saying “yes” for a change?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Nabi Saleh is where I lost my Zionism

The Israeli Government's  ( not Jews, Judaism or the nation of Israel) policies will continue to build resentment from around the world. Six nations out of 200 nation's support Israel - that Includes US, Israel, Guatemala, Solomon Islands and other beggars that feed on US money. 194 Nations resent the bullying of Israeli government, violation of international treaties, illegal forcible usurping of the homes from the Palestinians.  Israel needs our support no doubt, but we should make it conditional to peace and not the brutalities.

Please read my article at Huffington Post - https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/anti-semitism-is-augmented-by-netanyahu-and-trump-jerusalem_us_5a2a6ea9e4b0d7c3f26221b6

If Americans ever get to know the truth, they will demand Israel to behave to international rules and guidelines. We have every right to demand in exchange for the money we give them every year.

Mike Ghouse

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 |Published December 24, 2017

Nabi Saleh is where I lost my Zionism

By the time I began going to Nabi Saleh, I had spent about four years reporting on what I saw in the West Bank and Gaza, watching detachedly as my politics moved ever leftward. What I witnessed in that small West Bank village was the last straw.

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops during a protest to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, Nabi Saleh, West Bank, April 21, 2017. (Flash90)

A short video of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi slapping an Israeli soldier has dominated the Israeli media for the past week, and received prominent coverage internationally as well. Ahed, a Palestinian girl from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, makes a big impression with her eye-catching mane of blonde hair, the fierce, intelligent expression in her blue eyes — and her fearlessness.
One of the most striking aspects of the immense discussion generated by the video is the near-binary contrast between what Israelis and their advocates see, and what everyone else sees.
For Israelis, one of their soldiers was provoked, almost unbearably, but still managed to rise above the situation. For almost everyone else, the video shows an unarmed adolescent — who could easily, based on her appearance, be an Israeli teenager shopping at the mall — bravely confronting an armed soldier in her own village. Even without knowing the circumstances, a fully-grown man in combat gear and carrying a powerful weapon refraining from hitting a much smaller, unarmed adolescent girl, seems not remarkably praiseworthy but rather a response predicated on basic humanity and ethics.
The conversation between the three men is salutary because it provides real insight into the 
The Israeli media has, for the most part, promoted the army’s narrative about the incident — of a restrained and mature soldier who dealt admirably with a difficult and stressful situation involving enemy actors.
In the segment below, Yaron London, the host of an eponymously named primetime news magazine program on Channel 10, mirrors the perspective of the army. London’s guests are Or Heller, the station’s military affairs correspondent, and Jonathan (Yonatan) Pollak, a veteran anti-occupation activist:
The conversation between the three men is salutary because it provides real insight into the mentality of mainstream Israeli society. First we hear Or Heller, an experienced military affairs correspondent, repeating the army’s narrative. He expresses pride in the soldiers, makes the claim that the Tamimi family provoked the confrontation as a means of creating an anti-Israeli propaganda video, and asserts that the soldiers were only in the vicinity to prevent Palestinian residents from throwing rocks.
Yaron London, an intelligent and educated man who does, I am sure, identify as a liberal, fails to question Heller’s narrative. Both men are completely focused on the challenge those unarmed adolescent girls supposedly present to “their” soldiers, rather than on the actual violence that those soldiers visit upon the village week after week.
Jonathan Pollak was in Nabi Saleh when the incident occurred. Watch as he calmly provides the context, and note how shocked Heller and London are when Pollak refers to “your” army — rather than “our” army. (Pollak refused to serve, which is a radical act in Israel.)

An Israeli soldier warns photographers during clashes following the funeral of Mustafa Tamimi in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, December 11, 2011. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)
This segment encapsulates the Achilles heel of the Israeli media — i.e., its willingness to report communiqu├ęs issued by the army as straight news, without any fact checking. Even though the Israeli security establishment has been caught lying on countless occasions, journalists who report for mainstream media outlets continue to accept without question the information they are given about events they neither witnessed nor verified independently.
Throughout the many months I attended Friday demonstrations in Nabi Saleh, I never saw a single reporter from an Israeli media outlet. And yet, during the drive home after those long and distressing days, the news presenter on Israel Radio would report that there had been “riots” in a West Bank village and that “our forces” responded with crowd control measures.
The Tamimi family has been demonstrating every Friday for about a decade, protesting the takeover of Nabi Saleh’s natural water spring by nearby settlers. As Bassem Tamimi once explained to me, in quite fluent Hebrew, the villagers said nothing when the army built the settlement of Halamish (originally Neve Tzuf) on their land. But when the settlers confiscated their spring, and the army then prevented the Tamimis from accessing it, Bassem and his extended family decided to draw a red line.

Palestinian protesters sit in front of Israeli soldiers during a protest against the occupation and in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners hunger strike, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, May 12, 2017. (Haidi Motola/Activestills.org)

Every week they gather at the top of the hill inside their village, carrying flags and banners, and walk toward the road that separates them from the spring. The goal is simply to cross the road and walk to the spring. And every week, the army deploys security forces inside and around the village to stop the protesters from reaching their destination.
The way it works is this: at around noon, military vehicles enter the village and park at the bottom of its bisecting road. Security forces, heavily armed and wearing combat gear, descend from the vehicles, load their weapons, and wait. Sometimes they start shooting as soon as the demonstration begins, and sometimes they wait for a teenager to throw a stone in their direction before opening fire.
As Ben Ehrenreich notes in his New York Times Magazine article about Nabi Saleh, the army spokesperson told him there has never been a single case of a soldier being injured by a stone at those demonstrations. But over the past few years, soldiers have injured and killed several demonstrators.

Palestinian, Israeli and international women enjoy a picnic near a water spring in Nabi Saleh, April 22, 2012. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

In one now notorious incident, a soldier cracked open the rear door of his armored jeep as it was on its way out of the village, and shot a tear gas canister directly into the face of Ahed’s 21-year-old cousin Mustafa, killing him. No-one was ever censured or prosecuted for that act of murder.
These are just a few of the things I saw in Nabi Saleh.
Once, I was standing on the roof of a home with three teenage girls who lived there. We were watching the demonstration from a bit of a distance — maybe 150 meters. Suddenly one of the soldiers standing down the road pivoted in our direction, raised his weapon, aimed, and shot tear gas canisters directly at us. He shot another couple of canisters at the house, shattering the living room window. The older girl told me that her family had stopped replacing it every time the soldiers broke it; the glass had become too expensive.
I also witnessed soldiers deliberately blanketing a small house in tear gas until its occupants, coughing and retching long streams of mucus, were forced to emerge. They were two elderly women, wrinkled and bent over, and a young woman in her twenties.

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year-old Palestinian from Nabi Saleh, is seen seconds before he gets hit with a tear gas canister shot by an Israeli soldier from a short distance during the weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, December 9, 2011. (Haim Scwarczenberg/Activestills guest photographer)

I’ve seen soldiers grab crying children and shoving them into military vehicles, pushing aside their screaming mothers.
I’ve seen soldiers grab a young woman by her arms and drag her like a sack of potatoes for several meters along an asphalt road so hot that it melted the rubber soles of my running shoes, before tossing her into a military vehicle and driving away.
I’ve had my ankles singed black when a security officer looked me straight in the eyes and threw a stun grenade at my legs.
Israeli army sharp-shooters regularly shoot unarmed demonstrators in Nabi Saleh with both rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition. They break into houses and drag people out, arresting them on the claim that they allowed demonstrators to hide in their garden.
And then I would go back to Tel Aviv and be told by my friends that I could not have seen what I saw, because “our soldiers” do not behave that way. Soon, I had to distance myself from those friends in order to keep my own emotions in check.

An Israeli Border Police officer beats a Palestinian protester with a club during a demonstration in Nabi Saleh, January 15, 2010. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

I write these sordid descriptions of what I saw at the demonstrations as a means of explaining how and why that place radicalized me. After Nabi Saleh I was, in a way, broken. The impact of the violence on my psyche was exhausting and traumatic, with long-lasting effects that I still experience today.
By the time I began going to Nabi Saleh, I had spent about four years reporting on what I saw in Gaza and the West Bank, and watching detachedly as my politics moved ever leftward from the liberal place in which they started, as a consequence of what I saw on the ground. But it was in Nabi Saleh that I lost the last remnants of what I would call — for lack of a word to describe my nostalgia for the idea of a state for the Jews — my Zionism.
My radicalization was not only a consequence of witnessing brutal violence perpetrated right in front of my eyes, by soldiers of the army that was supposed to protect me. It was also a result of my seeing the Tamimi family endure that violence week after week, seeing their relatives injured, arrested and killed, and still not coming to the conclusion that the price of resistance is too high. They simply refuse to submit.

Nariman Tamimi (left), Bassem Tamimi (center), and Ahed Tamimi seen in their home in Nabi Saleh, February 2017. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Week after week, they welcome strangers into their home with kindness and hospitality. No one in Nabi Saleh ever expressed an ideological political opinion to me. They didn’t have to. The situation is clear; the actions of the Israeli government and security forces there are impossible to defend, on any level. And of course that is the source of the Tamimis’ strength — the knowledge that their cause is just, and that they are fighting it with ethical, nonviolent means.
The Tamimis clearly understand the power of social media. But they don’t manufacture those confrontations. In fact, I have never seen a video that comes remotely close to conveying the true brutality I saw in Nabi Saleh. Maybe you need to smell the tear gas and feel the smallness of the place to see how outrageous it is for soldiers to act as they do there: to, with a sense of entitlement, enter a village and break up a gathering of unarmed demonstrators; to kick open the doors of homes and drag off to jail unarmed people who pose no threat; to break into a house at 4 a.m., to roust a teenage girl from her bed and drag her off to jail, denying her even the right to be accompanied by a guardian.
I am sure Ahed understands very well the effect of her striking appearance. I am sure that Bassem Tamimi knows his genuine warmth and hospitality go a lot further in winning over hearts and minds than didactic political lectures ever could. With no money, and by sacrificing their own bodies and emotional well being, the Tamimis are drawing world attention to the hundreds of Palestinian children sitting in jail, who don’t have blonde hair and a strong, supportive family. They are showing the world what the occupation means, in tangible terms, to real people. They taught me, purely by example, what grassroots resistance means.
Is Israel, with all the money and manpower it pours into sophisticated advocacy campaigns via social media, really in a position to criticize the Tamimis for understanding how to publicize their own cause? As Jonathan Pollak says to Yaron London, the reason those Nabi Saleh videos make Israel look bad is because Israel is doing bad things.
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