WARNING : 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

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sanity Prayers for American Jews and American Muslims

This piece is also published at oped news however the one on this site is an enlarged version.: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Sanity-Prayers-for-America-by-Mike-Ghouse-Boycott-Israel_Hamas-Attacks-Against-Israel_Israel-Embassy_Israel-Runs-Washington-140728-883.html

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The conflict should not tear the Jewish Americans and Muslim Americans apart; instead it should bring us together to build a cohesive America, and hopefully cohesive societies across the world where no human has to live in fear of the other.

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians is a humanitarian one, and it would be wrong to label it as Jewish and Muslim or between Judaism and Islam. We have to guard ourselves from labeling each other as enemies which we are not, and we shouldn’t be. Of course a few among us look to the other Americans as if they have wronged us. No, none whatsoever. 

On the other hand we need to ask people to appreciate the efforts of Jewish and Muslim peacemakers in the United States who are making every effort to find solutions. Calling it a Jewish Muslim problem amounts to belittling their efforts. Let’s guard ourselves from such short sightedness.

Rabbi Elana Zelony of congregation Beth Torah in Richardson affirms the above, “With all the media about violence between Muslims and Jews, it's easy to forget that many of us are yearning for peace. We will gather to strengthen one another with our prayers and affirm a vision of a peaceful world.”

It is easy to destroy the relationships with reckless language, and I urge everyone to use the language that restores goodness.  Of course when passions are flared, anything short of telling the other is 100% right amounts to outright rejection by both sides. That is the precise reason we have problems, we need a few of us who are willing to speak sanity. Let’s take this as an endurance test of our wits. I hope we come out unscathed as conflict mitigaters and goodwill nurturers, and not the ones who mess up.

Shaheen Khateeb of Indian American Muslim council shares the note from Andrea Winters of Pace University, "It really was lovely dinner and opportunity to reconnect- and share- felt good, all the more because of what is happening in the world. Very painful.. but it is heartening to know that important connections can be made and kept despite all the bloodshed elsewhere. Now the world has to figure out what to do about the bloodshed.”

Here is a summary of the conflict in the most simplistic expression; 

1. The Palestinians are made up of Christians, Muslims and others, before the creation of Israel, even the Jews from the area were referred to as Palestinian Jews.

2. When Jews were persecuted or discriminated throughout Europe and the US respectively, Arab and Muslim nations were a safe haven for Jews for nearly 1300 years of Islamic existence and India and Hindus for nearly 2000 years after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem.

3. The Israeli Palestine issue is not thousands of years old as some blabber, it’s just 67 year old, since Israel was carved out of Palestine in 1947. There were no significant flare ups between Jews and Muslims until then,  while Europe was bent on annihilating Jews in the same period of time.

4. The United Nations rightfully took the responsibility to settle the Holocaust survivors in the then Palestine. The land was given to Immigrant Jews (even the United States refused a Jewish refugee ship to land on our shores), and it was handled poorly without proper local consent and cooperation,  instead of dialogue and kindness people resorted to fighting and denying each other’s rights.

5. Shamefully, the fight for the land began and continues today, the Jewish settlers are robbing the land from the Palestinians, bulldozing their homes, and building their own settlements, there is no rule of law and justice.  

6. The biggest shame is on a handful of Rabbis, Imams and Pastors who are maligning their religions and justifying their holy books to kill each other, it is their personal hate and anger that is the problem and not Judaism, Islam or Christianity.  

7. When justice is compromised,  no one will live with a full sense of security or peace.

There is a solution; we have plenty of land here in Texas, we should welcome the Jewish settlers ; at least they can build it guilt free. We have been subsidizing Israel with over $3 billion a year; and we can reduce it to $1 billion for one year and use the funds to offer them federal lands to build their settlements. It will create a lot of Jobs in the United States and peace in the Middle East.

We can offer the same deal to Palestinians; let’s welcome them to the United States to raise their families in peace and prosperity instead of fighting a daily battle for survival and their own land. We can help compensate the Palestinians from the same funds and offer lasting solutions for them as well.

There are always people who eke out their living by evil means. Indeed, they have successfully built up prejudice against Arabs in general and Palestinians in particular, and many of us Americans have lost a sense of fairness and justice.  There is no reason for us to be prejudiced against any people; we need to fight that instinct and live a prejudice free life.  We don't have to be unjust to either Jews or the Palestinians (Christians and Muslims).

I have been to several Mosques during this month of Ramadan, and it was good to hear supplications seeking justice and relief to the Palestinians, but no hatred towards Jews was expressed and that was the right thing to do. What a relief it was to know that the bad guys are not Jews, Judaism or Israel, but the leaders who are hell bent on seeking revenge.

I am disappointed in the members of Senate to have voted unanimously in favor or Israeli leader’s short-sightedness in justifying revenge, two wrongs doesn’t make it right, the first wrong was by Hamas for firing the rockets and the 2nd wrong was the revenge seeking by the Israeli government (not Jews, Judaism or Israel) both caused by occupation and blockade.

Shame on our democracy where sycophancy took over and ditched the very essence of freedom; dissent. Not a single Senator had the balls to disagree? We the people are not that sheepish, are we?

Shame on our elected representatives, instead of bringing security to Israel and Justice to the Palestinians, their false belief has made sure Israel is not secure for a long time to come by encouraging military solutions, instead of a forging a dialogue between the two. Damn them for funding furthering Iron dome and damn them for funding Gaza to rebuild their homes to be destroyed again. What a waste of our funds!

I am glad to see Muslims and hopefully Jews, Christians and others use the place of worship to seek God’s help and guidance in finding the solutions; security for Israel and Justice for the Palestinians. I do hope the moderate Jews, Christians and others besides Muslims speak up against any hate sermons and justifications of rockets or revenge in their places of worship.

I will be visiting a few places of worship in the coming weeks and I hope to hear nothing but peace and goodness in our churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship.

Let’s pray:

Dear God guide us from keeping the places of worship free of malice
Dear God lift us above pettiness
Dear God give us guidance to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill.
Dear God remove hatred and bias towards fellow beings.
Dear God give us strength to speak up against bias and hatred in our gatherings.
Dear God strengthen the sense of Justice in our hearts and souls.
Dear God don't let a few stray Jews and Muslims justify killings
Dear God please don't make them a villain or bigot out of you.
Dear God please don't allow claims of one to have deals with you behind other's back.
Dear God strengthen empathy towards fellow beings in our hearts.
Dear God help us heal our relationships between fellow Americans.
Dear God help us become instruments of peace and harmony.


Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker and a writer on pluralism, politics, peace, IslamIsraelIndiainterfaith, and cohesive work places. He offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His information is atwww.MikeGhouse.net

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