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

Monday, December 14, 2015

Obama at Haaretz Conference: Israel Must Bring Those Who Attack Palestinians to Justice

Over and over again, my speech I wrote two years ago is similar to Obamas' speech. He is the 3rd US president who genuinely cares about the people, justice and security for all people.

Mike Ghouse

U.S. president tells HaaretzQ: with NIF conference that bonds between U.S. and Israel, commitment to Israel's security, are unbreakable.

Barak Ravid (New York) Dec 13, 2015 5:00 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama's address to the HaaretzQ with NIF conference in New York, December 13, 2015. White House

Video at: http://www.haaretz.com/haaretzq/1.691529

HaaretzQ Live: Joint Arab List leader Ayman Odeh: We must liberate Palestinians and Israelis from occupation

HaaretzQ with NIF Program
In a video address to the HaaretzQ: with NIF conference in New York, U.S. President Barack Obama said that peace is the only way that Israel can remain a Jewish and democratic state. Obama condemned the recent spate of terrorist attacks against Israelis, and urged the Israeli government to bring to justice anyone who commits acts of violence against Palestinians.

Obama's address opened the first ever Haaretz conference in the United States, which was organized in conjunction with the New Israel Fund. Immediately after Obama's speech, President Reuven Rivlin addressed the conference. Also expected to address the conference was Robert Malley, Obama's senior adviser on the counterinsurgency campaign against ISIS.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, is due to deliver one of the keynote speeches at the conference. Other speakers include PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat, former foreign and justice minister MK Tzipi Livni and Joint List chairman MK Ayman Odeh.

In his speech, Obama highlighted the special relationship between Israel and the United States and his administration's commitment to Israel's security, saying that both are unshakable. He added that security and military cooperation with Israel are currently at an unprecedented level.

"We are at a critical moment," Obama said. "Inexcusable violence has taken to many lives – Israelis, Palestinian and Americans. I have been clear that the Palestinian leaders have to condemn the ongoing attacks [against Israelis] and stop incitement. Individuals responsible for violence including violence against Palestinian must be brought to justice."

Obama added that the United States "call[s] on both sides to work to defuse tensions exercise restraint and prevent more loss of life and restore calm."

"The best way to reduce tensions and ensure Israel's security is to continue working in concrete ways towards a two-state solution," he added.

"At times like these it is important to reaffirm what we know is true so I will say it again – peace is necessary, peace is just and peace is possible. Peace is necessary because it is the only way to ensure true and lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians and the only way to ensure that Israel remains a democratic and Jewish state."

Obama went on to say that, "Peace is just because the two-state solution will finally bring Israelis the normalcy to which they are entitled and Palestinians the sovereign state and dignity they deserve. And peace is possible if leaders and people are willing to summon the will and courage to break free from the patterns of the past and forge a new future."

Barak Ravid
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/haaretzq/1.691529

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rabbi Jonathan Sachs hugs Mike Ghouse

Hugs with Rabbi Jonathan Sachs

Washington, DC, November 12, 2015-- Emeritus Chief Rabbi of UK delivered a talk upon the release of his book, “Not in God’s name, confronting religious violence” at the Brookings Institution.   I'll just highlight a few key points as the full conversation will be available at Brookings archives soon.

A meaningful Hug with the Rabbi

In the Q&A segment, I responded to Rabbi's typical question, where are the moderate Muslims and which he answered it himself; there is none. 

I spoke up, Rabbi, I've some good news for you, there are 6 million moderate Muslims here in America, and I'm one of them. You came to the right place, welcome to America. May you be soaked in peace and drenched in peace, shalom.

Let's work together in creating cohesive societies rather than living in fear of each other? I'm here to answer any question about Islam and Muslims any one has.

The Rabbi welcomed my offer and wanted to give me a hug, and I said, I'll walk up-to you (I was in the very back of the room), but we decided to hug after the event.

I asked him, “Rabbi, since you correctly traced radicalism among Muslims to the year 1979, compounded by the fatwa on Rushdie, the first ever fatwa with universal application, I have to ask you this. Do you think all this mess with Iran could have been avoided, if we (the Americans) had asked Shah of Iran to step down in 1979, signaling to the people of Iran that we are with them and not their oppressor? Had that happened, the Iranians would not have become our enemies, right?

 Indeed much of the mess was started with the Iranian revolution. He acknowledged the question and said we have to think about it. He did not have much to answer other than saying that he wants to look forward and not backwards.

I did not get to ask few more questions like; how reliable is the survey he quoted? That 83% of Palestinians want Israel wiped out? Was the same question asked of Israelis?

He said Israel is more isolated than ever before, anti-Semitism is on rise... I wanted to ask if there was any reflection on his part to see what Israeli policies have contributed towards such isolation. He also said that a majority of Muslims support suicide bombing which I disagree, he is given cooked up figures to justify Islamophobia. I am a Muslim in touch with thousands of Muslims around the world, and it is rare for any Muslim to support suicide bombing. The Quran forbids killing oneself or killing others, the loosy goosy ones do it because they are nuts. I don't buy their piss poor excuses and give them a break. I will say to them you SOB, you are the one who killed and I am going nail your tail for that.

There is a lot of research on the topic including my observations at www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com 

Well, the Q&A Session ended, and I started walking to the front. Amazing thing happened; I hope there is a video of it. As I walked, the people started opening up for me to walk thru – like Moses did when the Nile was split, and the conversation was passed on from the back to the front…. … Going for a hug? Rabbi’s hugger is going…. you remember the movie crocodile Dundee? You may recall how Kathleen Turner’s dialogues were passed on from group to group until it reached Dundee all the way to the train in the Subway?  Hell, yes, I enjoyed it.

Well, the Rabbi was ready for me for the hug! And we hugged each other and promised to work on mitigating Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, Misogyny, racism, Xenophobia and homophobia – all evils of humanity that break the society apart.  Yes, we have a lot of work to do, and do, we will. 

We exchanged cards, I was representing American Muslim Institution and he was representing the office of Emeritus Chief Raabi.  

After that, I had some heart to heart conversation with a few Jewish friends, including meeting Mati Engel, director of National Initiatives of the Embassy of Israel, whom I will contact in the next few weeks. 

An Orthodox Jewish Lady had good questions about the two solutions; my response was security for Israel hinges on justice for the Palestinians and vice versa. One will not happen without the other. 

Another person asked me a million dollar question – Why can’t the Arab Lands absorb the Palestinians?  My response was instant – why should they? Don’t the Jewish people longed for a home? Shouldn’t the Palestinians long for their home? Home land is like a mother, people are emotionally bonded to her, you cannot extricate one from the other.   Besides, if Arab or anyone out there absorbs the forcibly evicted people from their homes, you will be legitimizing such evictions, as a civilized family of nations, we cannot do it. I am not in favor of it.

Palestinians and the Israelis can live on that land together; we have to build mechanisms for that – The Israeli and Palestinians have to see each others sufferings and empathise their apprehensions, as humans, they have to give full dignity to each other. It can be done and I hope to get to that some day. Indeed, the current Israeli President, Mr. Reuven Rivlin believes and supports the idea of Israel Palestine Confederation of which I am a Board Member.

More notes will be appended in a few days right here at: www.TheGhousediary.com and www.israelPalestineDialogue.com
Dr. Mike Ghouse is a community consultant, social scientist, thinker, writer and a speaker on PluralismInterfaithIslampolitics, human rights, India, Israel-Palestine and foreign policy. He is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. More about him in 63 links at www.MikeGhouse.net and bulk of his writings are at TheGhousediary.com  

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Netanyahu: Have You No Shame?

Supporters of Mr. Netanyahu are blinded by their love for him, it is time to wake up and see the trends that Mr. Netanyahu's actions have generated;

i) Anti-Semitism is on increase because he slaps in the face of the world, the worlds says one thing and he gets away with all the violating it, it is causing a lot of resentment towards the United States and Israel for not respecting the international community.

ii) You cannot be safe if you keep threatening others, Netanyahu is creating long term insecurities for the people of Israel.

Here is a good write up by Rabbi Lerner


Netanyahu: Have You No Shame?   
By Rabbi Michael Lerner  Oct. 26, 2015

Israel’s Prime Minister attributing the Holocaust to Palestinian influence over Hitler is a “Blood Libel” level lie.

In the Middle Ages, some Christians claimed that Jews were kidnapping Christian children and using their blood to make Passover Matzah (which in Jewish law would make the Jewish kidnapper a murderer, deserving the death penalty, and the Matzah itself unkosher, because Jews are forbidden to eat blood). This “blood libel” lie has been repeated by anti-Semites and sometimes is accompanied in bookstores with a book called  “The Elders of Zion,” who purportedly met and planned to rule the world. This sort of hate literature is still disseminated in some Muslim countries.

Now, the Prime Minister of Israel has launched his own “blood libel” lie. In a speech to an international group of Zionist leaders attending the 37th International Zionist Congress, Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Hitler was intending to only banish Jews from Europe, until he met with the anti-Semitic Palestinian al-Husseini, the “Mufti” of Jerusalem who convinced him to murder all the Jews.

As Israeli Policy Forum’s policy director Michael Koplow explains, “Netanyahu brought up al-Husseini’s well-known connection to the Nazis and vocal support of Hitler in warning about the dangers of Palestinian incitement regarding Israel’s alleged efforts to alter the status quo on the Temple Mount. His connection between these two seemingly disparate threads was that al-Husseini had instigated riots in the 1920s by accusing the Jews of wanting to destroy al-Aqsa, and he later met with Hitler in 1941 and – in Netanyahu’s telling – convinced Hitler to exterminate European Jewry rather than expel them. So the implication is that false warnings about Jews trying to take over al-Aqsa, or to even just change the Temple Mount status quo, lead to attempts to exterminate Jews, including the Holocaust.”

The truth is that Hitler had already launched genocidal plans before meeting with the Mufti, though the Mufti may well have wished for a genocide of the Jews. Hitler’s intense hatred of Jews was already articulated in his Mein Kampf, and already had manifested in throwing Jews out of virtually every profession and university, requiring Jews to wear a yellow star, and attacking and force closing of Jewish businesses, culminating in Kristallnacht in November 1938.

Yet the historical distortion here, far from being a sudden “oops,” is part of the larger picture of hatred toward Palestinians that Netanyahu has been promoting throughout his political life. He repeatedly blames the Palestinian Authority for any act of violence by any Palestinian and never informs the Israeli public of the close cooperation that the P.A. has provided the Israeli security forces for the past ten years in exposing any group of Palestinians that the Palestinian security forces have reason to believe are planning terrorist attacks. He never mentions the way Prime Minister Abbas has sought to quell ani-Israel demonstrations for fear that they might lead to violence. He consistently paints the Palestinian people as violent anti-Semites. He never points out that Israel has relied on the Palestinian security forces to repress any Palestinians who seek to challenge the Occupation, and now he tries to foster the perception in Israel that the Palestinian people are the current embodiment of the Nazis who wish to eliminate the Jewish people through yet another Holocaust. Little surprise that today (October 26, 2015), the New York Times reported that the Palestinian Authority is seeking to reduce its security cooperation with the IDF after a month in which those Palestinian forces in the West Bank have been beating anti-Israel demonstrators and rock-throwers while Israel has arrested over 500 Palestinians..

Of course, it’s important to remind ourselves that many in the IDF do not wish to be occupiers, that many settlers are not murderers or haters, and that many who live in Israel have no real knowledge or understanding of what their Occupation actually means in the daily lives of Palestinians. Yet to the extent that they vote for candidates who support the governments of Israel that have made the Occupation persist for the past 48 years, they all have moral responsibility for the outrageous deeds that are perpetrated or permitted by the IDF and by the most extremist settlers.

It is nothing new to note that hatred of the Other almost always leads to racism, and racism to various acts of violence. We at Tikkun Magazine and the Network of Spiritual Progressives have strongly condemned the racism that sometimes manifests in Hamas and some other corners of Islamic fundamentalism. When they call for the destruction of “The Jewish state” their discourse encourages an anti-Semitism that is not narrowly confined to anger at the Occupation. But neither is the Jewish racism toward Palestinians merely an expression of legitimate anxiety about whether a future Palestinian State would be willing to live in peace with Israel. The hatred that is being reinforced by the Netanyahu government aims to create the conditions for forcing Palestinians to choose between giving up all hope of having an independent state living in peace with Israel and settling for a few Palestinian municipalities on the West Bank, thereby living as part of a Jewish state and without the full rights of citizens (i.e. apartheid conditions) on the one hand, or being ethnically cleansed from all of Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza.

So it was not a total surprise to witness on a video, a few days after Netanyahu’s speech, a masked and knife-wielding Israeli settler attack Rabbi Arik Ascherman, head of the Israeli Rabbis for Human Rights, as he attempted to stop Israeli West Bank settlers from once again destroying Palestinian olive trees, as they have done systematically for years on Palestinian-owned West Bank lands. Ascherman has been one of the heroes of human rights in Israel, a champion of the best in Judaism, often challenging his fellow rabbis to live up to the ethical standards set by the Torah. A frequent author for Tikkun magazine, Rabbi Ascherman has had the courage of his convictions and deserves the praise of the entire American and Israeli Jewish community.

Don’t hold your breath. To date, his heroism has been ignored both in the Jewish and American mainstream media. Read and watch a video about it at http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.682019 and about the growing hatred in Israel toward supporters of peace at http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.682266

For those of us Jews who are still wedded to Torah’s vision of our obligations toward non-Jews, the clearly repeated injunctions can be summarized as this: “When you come into your land, do not oppress the stranger (the Other, in Hebrew, ha’ger), remember that you  were strangers in the land of Egypt.”  The Torah makes clear that if Jews do not live up the ethical demands of Torah, the earth will literally vomit them out, and so Jewish theology has ascribed the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temple to our ethical failures in the past.

 So when a group of Jewish fundamentalists called Atteret HaKohanim (who explicitly believe that it is time to tear down the Al Asqa Mosque, rebuild the ancient Temple, and begin animal sacrifices once again) were allowed by the Israeli government to go to the Temple Mount on the Jewish holiday of Sukkot a few weeks ago, it is no surprise that many Muslims reacted by thinking that the Israeli government, which controls access to the Mount, intended to send a signal to the Muslims that their stay on one of their holiest sites is in danger. Some responded by throwing rocks at these extremists (a response I find unacceptable), and then the Israeli government, rather than restraining the Jewish fundamentalists, shut the Temple Mount to Islamic men under the age of fifty. This is a pattern that happens over and over again, and led to the start of the 2nd Intifada and to the current spontaneous acts of outrage at the Occupation, this time by Palestinians living in Jerusalem.

While we deplore the murder of random Israeli citizens by their Palestinian neighbors and the murder of (many more) random Palestinians by their Israeli neighbors, and the arrest of hundreds of Palestinians with no right to trial by a jury of their peers, we see all this as the inevitable working out of the logic of Occupation and subordination. All the more reason to be outraged at Netanyahu’s further stirring of hatred toward Palestinians with his blood libel. It is not the viciously murderous Mufti of Jerusalem, long dead, who is the target of Netanyahu’s hatred, but the entire Palestinian people whom he sees as an extension of the Nazis.

Yes, there will come a day when Israelis look back on this period with shame and outrage. Just as most Americans, now strong allies with the Vietnamese people, know that the death of 58,000 Americans and three hundred thousand Vietnamese during the Vietnam war was a tragic error, and that these people were not really our enemies, so Israelis will mourn the deaths of Israelis and Palestinians killed in this seemingly endless struggle. But we are not there yet, and it is our obligation to counter all the hate-mongering by insisting on the humanity of the Palestinian people when talking to the haters in the Jewish world, just as we insist on the humanity of the Israeli people when talking to the haters of Jews.

We also acknowledge the fundamental asymmetry in this situation. Unlike the Vietnamese, the Palestinians have no military means of resisting the more powerful force. Their individual acts of resistance are acts of the powerless. In this situation, we in the West must do all we can to end Israel’s occupation of Palestine and encourage a reconciliation of the heart between these two peoples seemingly locked in endless conflict. In my book Embracing Israel/Palestine I outline the path that such action can take. If you wish to be part of a movement that opposes the Occupation, challenges the Obama Administration and the Democrats to stop yielding to the right wing in the Jewish world but instead to pressure Israel to end the Occupation and support U.N. resolutions condemning Israeli human rights violations, yet refuses to demonize all Israelis and calls for nonviolence, please join the Network of Spiritual Progressives at www.spiritualprogressives.org/join . 

Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine which won the “Best Magazine of the Year” Award from the mainstream media’s Religion Newswriters Association in 2014 and again  in 2015. He is chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives and author of 11 books including two national best sellers: Jewish Renewal: A Path to Healing and Transformation  and The Left Hand of God: Taking Back our Country from the Religious Right.  His book Embracing Israel/Palestine is available on Kindle form Amazon.com and in paperback from www.tikkun.org/eip. He can be reached at rabbilerner.tikkun@gmail.com or at 510 644 1200. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Bold Message to Israel: Time to Stop Playing the Victim Role

This is one of the clearest and boldest articles on Israeli policies. It is time for the Jewish people to take back the governance from the extremists policy makers.

Mike Ghouse
Speaker On Israel Issues 

# # # 

A Bold Message to Israel: Time to Stop Playing the Victim Role

I can understand that after centuries of persecution it's satisfying for a Jewish state to be the aggressor for a change, but there's a codicil that goes with that role. You don't get to act like a victim any more. "Poor little Israel" just sounds silly when you're the dominant power in the Middle East. When you've invaded several of your neighbors, bombed and defeated them in combat, occupied their land, and taken their homes away from them, it's time to stop acting oppressed. Yes, Arab states deny your right to exist, threaten to drive you into the sea, and all the rest of their futile, helpless rhetoric. The fact is, you have the upper hand and they don't. You have sophisticated arms and they don't. You have nuclear weapons and they don't. So stop pretending to be pathetic. It doesn't play well in Peoria.
(Yes, I know, we Americans should talk--always trembling in our boots about terrorists and 'rogue states' and 'evil empires' when we have enough nukes to blow up entire continents, and spend more on arms in an hour than most of the world's nations spend in a year. But just because we're hypocrites and Nervous Nellies doesn't mean you have to be).
Calling Hamas the 'aggressor' is undignified. The Gaza strip is little more than a large Israeli concentration camp, in which Palestinians are attacked at will, starved of food, fuel, energy--even deprived of hospital supplies. They cannot come and go freely, and have to build tunnels to smuggle in the necessities of life. It would be difficult to have any respect for them if they didn't fire a few rockets back.
The Israel lobby has a hissy fit when anyone points out that Israel has been borrowing liberally from the Nazi playbook, but to punish a whole nation for the attacks of a few--which Israel has been doing consistently in Gaza--is a violation of international law--a law enacted in response to the Nazi practice. And please, spare us the hypocrisy--borrowed, I'm ashamed to admit, from my own government--of saying 'every effort is made to avoid civilian casualties'. When you drop bombs on a crowded city you're bombing civilians. Bombs don't ask for ID cards. Bombs are civilian killers. That's what they do. They're designed to break the spirit of a nation by slaughtering families. They were used all through World War II by all sides for that very purpose. And that's what they're intended for in Gaza.
And please, Israel, try to restrain yourself from using that ridiculous argument, borrowed again from Bush (how low can you get?), that Hamas leaders "hide among civilians", by living in their own homes. Apparently, in the thinking of Israelis, they should all run out into an uninhabited area somewhere (try to find one in Gaza), surround themselves with flares and write in the sand with a stick, "Here I am!"
Yesterday you shelled three UN-run schools, killing several dozen children and adults, despite the fact that the UN had given you the precise coordinates of all its schools in Gaza. So much for 'taking every care to avoid civilian casualties'. You seem to feel you can kill whomever you like, whenever you like, and wherever you like, just because you have a blank check from the United States. Every day this assault goes on you're demonstrating contempt for the UN, the international community, and human life. Talk about a rogue state.
You might also pay attention to the fact that your outdated policy of macho bullying--the policy you've been following for decades--isn't working! The Palestinians are human. They're not dogs you can beat into submission. The worse you treat them, the more they'll fight back. That's what it means to be human. The more you oppress people, the more people resist. We dropped more bombs on Viet Nam than all the bombs dropped by all nations in World War II. Not to mention napalm, herbicides and all kinds of sophisticated land mines. But did they bow down and kiss the feet of their conquerors? They did not.
You'll have to kill them all. And when you do, you may finally lose the support even of the United States.
Remember that American support is based entirely on the notion that no politician can win without the Jewish vote. But not all American Jews think Israel is on a divine mission from God. A great many American Jews believe in international law and justice.
I can understand how Israel could resent this lecture coming from an American. After all, isn't this what we Americans did? Came into someone else's country, slaughtered 95% of its inhabitants and took over? And didn't we go all Nervous Nellie whenever they fought back, accusing them of aggression to justify even more genocidal slaughter? And didn't we get away with it?
Yes, but I'm sorry to tell you, Israel, you came on the scene too late. Genocide just doesn't fly any more. I know it isn't fair, you have every right to feel aggrieved about this, but the world's smaller, cowboys are passé, and bullies aren't heroes any more.

We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel

This seems to be the consensus of the world, Ben Netanyahu is alienating Israel from the community of Nations. The Jewish people need to stand up against his policies. 
Mike Ghouse

We are lifelong Zionists. Here’s why we’ve chosen to boycott Israel.


An Israeli soldier detains a Palestinian boy during a protest in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh in August. (Mohamad Torokman/Reuters)
Steven Levitsky is a professor of government at Harvard University. Glen Weyl is an assistant professor of economics and law at the University of Chicago.
We are lifelong Zionists. Like other progressive Jews, our support for Israel has been founded on two convictions: first, that a state was necessary to protect our people from future disaster; and second, that any Jewish state would be democratic, embracing the values of universal human rights that many took as a lesson of the Holocaust. Undemocratic measures undertaken in pursuit of Israel’s survival, such as the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza and the denial of basic rights to Palestinians living there, were understood to be temporary.
But we must face reality: The occupation has become permanent. Nearly half a century after the Six-Day War, Israel is settling into the apartheid-like regime against which many of its former leaders warned. The settler population in the West Bank has grown 30-fold, from about 12,000 in 1980 to389,000 today. The West Bank is increasingly treated as part of Israel, with the green line demarcating the occupied territories erased from many maps. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin declared recently that control over the West Bank is “not a matter of political debate. It is a basic fact of modern Zionism.”
This “basic fact” poses an ethical dilemma for American Jews: Can we continue to embrace a state that permanently denies basic rights to another people? Yet it also poses a problem from a Zionist perspective: Israel has embarked on a path that threatens its very existence.
As happened in the cases of Rhodesia and South Africa, Israel’s permanent subjugation of Palestinians will inevitably isolate it from Western democracies. Not only is European support for Israel waning, but also U.S. public opinion — once seemingly rock solid — has begun to shift as well, especially among millennials. International pariah status is hardly a recipe for Israel’s survival.
At home, the occupation is exacerbating demographic pressures that threaten to tear Israeli society apart. The growth of the settler and ultra-orthodox populations has stoked Jewish chauvinism and further alienated the growing Arab population. Divided into increasingly irreconcilable communities, Israel risks losing the minimum of mutual tolerance that is necessary for any democratic society. In such a context, violence like the recent wave of attacksin Jerusalem and the West Bank is virtually bound to become normal.
Finally, occupation threatens the security it was meant to ensure. Israel’s security situation has changed dramatically since the 1967 and 1973 wars. Peace with Egypt and Jordan, the weakening of Iraq and Syria, and Israel’s now-overwhelming military superiority — including its (undeclared) nuclear deterrent — have ended any existential threat posed by its Arab neighbors. Even a Hamas-led Palestinian state could not destroy Israel. As six former directors of Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, argued in the 2012 documentary “The Gatekeepers,” it is the occupation itself that truly threatens Israel’s long-term security: Occupation forces Israel into asymmetric warfare that erodes its international standing, limits its ability to forge regional alliances against sectarian extremists and, crucially, remains the principal motive behind Palestinian violence.
In making the occupation permanent, Israel’s leaders are undermining their state’s viability. Unfortunately, domestic movements to avert that fate have withered. Thanks to an economic boom and the temporary security provided by the West Bank barrier and the Iron Dome missile defense system, much of Israel’s secular Zionist majority feels no need to take the difficult steps required for a durable peace, such as evicting their countrymen from West Bank settlements and acknowledging the moral stain of the suffering Israel has caused to so many Palestinians.
We are at a critical juncture. Settlement growth and demographic trends will soon overwhelm Israel’s ability to change course. For years, we have supported Israeli governments — even those we strongly disagreed with — in the belief that a secure Israel would act to defend its own long-term interests. That strategy has failed. Israel’s supporters have, tragically, become its enablers. Today, there is no realistic prospect of Israel making the hard choices necessary to ensure its survival as a democratic state in the absence of outside pressure.
For supporters of Israel like us, all viable forms of pressure are painful. The only tools that could plausibly shape Israeli strategic calculations are a withdrawal of U.S. aid and diplomatic support, and boycotts of and divestitures from the Israeli economy. Boycotting only goods produced in settlements would not have sufficient impact to induce Israelis to rethink the status quo.
It is thus, reluctantly but resolutely, that we are refusing to travel to Israel, boycotting products produced there and calling on our universities to divest and our elected representatives to withdraw aid to Israel. Until Israel seriously engages with a peace process that either establishes a sovereign Palestinian state or grants full democratic citizenship to Palestinians living in a single state, we cannot continue to subsidize governments whose actions threaten Israel’s long-term survival.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Jewish Terrorism - New York Times and NYRB and my response

Jewish Terrorism and Anti-Semitism | www.IsraelPalestineDialouge.com

Here is my response: to the article at 'NYT' and 'NYRB' on Jewish terrorism.  
This month has seen another breakthrough in the U.S. media: two leading publications have run important and often-eloquent pieces on Jewish terrorism. Both are from a liberal Zionist perspective, but both bring news to the U.S. public about the frightful state of Israeli political culture today. - See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/09/publish-important-terrorism

Of course terrorists are not many, indeed, less than 1/10th of 1% of any group, but it just takes one to mess up the world. 

The biggest enemies of Israel are the 'self appointed guardians who claim to secure Israel for Jews, but doing everything against it.

How long should Israel rely on these men or US Military support or the Iron dome? How long can they bully the people around the world to yield to their pressure... nothing is endless. AIPAC has lost two battles with Iran deal, and having the pro-Hamas opposition leader in UK Parliament. It's purely cause and effect. 

Unless the moderate Israelis take a stand and start implementing "live and let live policy", they are hurting themselves around the world. That Yahu guy has slapped in the faces of six major world leaders for the Iran deal, do you think they will look favorably towards it. The United Nations passes resolutions; the Israeli government violates them, would that go well with the 96% of Nations that pass?

If Anti-Semitism is on rise, Netanyahu the individual is directly responsible for it, and not Israelis, Jews or Judaism. Why can't the moderate majority of Jews see this? I am saddened that Jews have to continue to live in apprehension, if they choose the path of justice to all - they will win the world, and they don't have to live in the fear of anti-Semitism, and it will not go away by silencing the other with pressures. 

Anti-Semitism will go away, if Israeli leaders choose Israel to be a nation that respects the United Nations resolutions, treats others fairly, does not bulldoze others homes and rob them forcibly, point guns at children at borders, and the hated wall... the world is seeing it, just because they are not saying anything, that does not mean they are approving the actions, instead reverse is happening - hatred for injustice, that is being termed as Anti-Semitism.

As an Individual I stand for dignity of every human, and I have stood up for Jews, Judaism and Israel, and will continue to do so, but not the Israeli governments' ruthless ruinous policies for the people of Israel. 

Netanyahu will continue to increase Anti-Semitism with his antics. Americans are not saying much, but there is a lot of pent up hatred for his antics against our president that is spilling out from the mouths of Ann Coulter and now that she has dared, if Trump picks on it, there is a whole new cold war on Jews. It is time for the moderate Jews to speak up and mitigate the Anti-Semitism mania. 

Muslims, Jews, Hindus, African Americans, Hispanics and Gays should join together and speak up against hate for any one. America needs to be free from these evils of Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, Homophobia, Misogyny and Xenophobia. Freedom at last!!!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The United States should recognize the state of Palestine

Published at www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com

On September 19, 2011 - I published a video urging President Obama, you must vote YES NOW for Palestinian Statehood. There are some very thoughtful ideas reflected in this video, that only moderate Jews can understand.

YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oNYmI6MlhZw&feature=related

Mike Ghouse
# # #

Courtesy of Washington Post 

 March 27

Matthew Duss is president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Michael A. Cohen is a fellow at the Century Foundation.
The Israeli-Palestinian peace process — the one that is supposed to end with a two-state solution — is on life support. Both sides in the conflict have made their share of missteps, but Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, all but pulled the plug earlier this month by pledging during his reelection campaign that Palestine would never become a state on his watch. He reaffirmed the sentiment even as he dialed back the rhetoric after the vote. This position runs directly counter to U.S. national security goals.
A two-state solution has been an American policy for nearly two decades. In a 2002 speech, George W. Bush became the first president to explicitly call for the creation of an economically sustainable, demilitarized Palestinian state. “The establishment of the state of Palestine is long overdue,” he said in 2008. “The Palestinian people deserve it. And it will enhance the stability of the region. And it will contribute to the security of the people of Israel.” Today, virtually all American politicians, on both sides of the aisle, publicly support this outcome. But with Netanyahu standing in its way, how can the United States advance this goal?
By recognizing the state of Palestine.
This is not about punishing Israel; it’s about protecting U.S. national security. Recognizing Palestine would, by helping the two-state cause, address a key source of resentment toward the United States, making it easier for American policymakers to pursue other priorities in the Middle East, such as preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon, defeating the Islamic State and strengthening regional security partnerships. It would ease dealings with governments in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, which often agree with Israel’s regional strategy but revile its treatment of Palestinians. It would signal to the Israelis — and their neighbors — that the United States will act in its own interests, even when those interests conflict with a close ally’s views. And it would strengthen the Jewish homeland’s security (a long-standing U.S. national interest), as many in Israel’s security establishment understand.
Recognizing Palestine would also address a persistent foreign policy problem: the divide between America’s official policy of support for Palestinian statehood and its continued support for an Israeli government that deliberately impedes that goal.
Netanyahu, while paying lip service to the two-state solution, has relentlessly worked to undermine it during his three terms as prime minister — and not just by expanding settlements, violently suppressing unarmed protests and exacerbating the divisions between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. He has offered no hope to the Palestinians. No wonder Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas began asking other countries, and the United Nations, to recognize Palestine after a previous round of talks collapsed in 2010. Now that Netanyahu has admitted publicly what many already believed — that he’ll never play midwife to Palestine — it’s clear that if Washington wants to achieve this goal, it must seek another route.
The only way to end this conflict, presidents from both parties have arguedfor decades, is through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. That’s why U.S. officials have opposed unilateral measures, such as Palestinian-backed U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning Israeli settlements or efforts to join international organizations. But the path of direct talks is closed off, at least while Netanyahu remains in power: Palestinians are not going to sit down with an Israeli prime minister who campaigns on a rejection of their foundational demand. As one American official told us last fall, “There is not a Palestinian alive who believes that there is any hope for political negotiation with Netanyahu.” At a news conference Tuesday, President Obama said much the same: “What we can’t do is pretend that there’s a possibility of something that’s not there. . . . For the sake of our own credibility, I think we have to be able to be honest about that.”
Given this reality, it is pointless for the United States to initiate yet another round of talks that will accomplish nothing. But the Israelis and the Palestinians will eventually have to return to direct talks to negotiate issues such as national borders, dividing Jerusalem, the right of return for Palestinian refugees, the recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the future of Israeli settlements and joint security arrangements. Recognizing Palestine now would lay the groundwork for those future negotiations. It would be an object lesson for Israelis about the costs of continued recalcitrance, and it would ensure that the United States plays a more effective role as a broker in talks by diminishing the dramatic power asymmetry that has bedeviled the peace process.
In some ways, recognition of Palestine would look awfully like an American seal of approval for Abbas and his actions. This is problematic, because he, too, has at times been a obstinate partner in the peace process. According to U.S. officials, he “shut down” when Obama presented him with a framework for future negotiations in the Oval Office in March 2014. He hasdragged his feet on a deal in which Palestinian Authority security forces would take control of Gaza’s crossing points, a prerequisite for desperately needed relief and reconstruction in the territory. And in the 11th year of a four-year presidential term, he has not taken any serious steps to prepare Palestinians for national elections — even though this was an ostensible goal of his party’s reconciliation agreement last year with Hamas, the extremist group that rules Gaza.
Elections are particularly important because Abbas is a weak and embattled president. Any enduring agreement with Israel will require a Palestinian leader who is credible and legitimate. Recognizing Palestine would signal to its electorate that diplomacy (which Abbas favors) clearly works better than violence (which Hamas favors), serving as a powerful campaign argument for moderate Palestinian politicians.
Until then, in exchange for this diplomatic victory, the United States should require the Palestinian leadership to deal with a number of issues — the transfer of security authority in the Gaza Strip, an end to the crackdown on civil society in the West Bank, preparations for elections — while also making clear that international pressure on Israel cannot replace the hard bargaining and painful compromises that negotiations toward a final settlement require.
Obama: Palestinian state unlikely after Netanyahu's comments(1:57)
President Obama said Tuesday that it's difficult to envision how a Palestinian state could be formed following Netanyahu's negative comments during his re-election campaign. (Reuters)
None of this would affect America’s commitment to Israeli security. Washington should continue to ensure Israel’s military edge and deepen U.S. coordination with the country’s security establishment. The Hamas government in Gaza is a daily reminder that peace is a risky venture for Israelis. They must be secure in the knowledge that the United States has their back. The United States should also press Arab states to edge toward more open discussions with Israel, reiterating the promise of full normalization contained in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. This would reinforce to Israel the massive upside of a two-state solution.
In the end, recognizing Palestine would be both good for U.S. national security and consistent with basic American foreign policy values: support for self-determination and independence. Indeed, it was precisely these values that informed the U.S. decision to recognize Israel as an independent state in 1948. The past few years have seen millions of Arab citizens demonstrating, and sometimes giving their lives, for their rights and freedoms. We should join the 130 countries that already recognize Palestine, signaling that we share and support those goals for everyone, everywhere.
Twitter: @mattduss

Netanyahu's declaration of war on Palestinians compromises Israel' security.

By Mike Ghouse at www.IsraelPalestineDialogue.com

Until the evening of March 17, the entire world was enthused and was looking forward to the chances of a new centrist government in Israel. They hoped the new leadership will be instrumental in laying a solid foundation for long term security for the people of Israel, and serve uncompromising justice for the Palestinians. Both people deserve peace and security, and ought to live comfortably in their neighborhoods by dropping their guards and feeling safe and secure like the babies in their mothers lap.  

But that dream was shattered. 

The people of Israel under duress gave Likud 30 seats, leaving the Zionist union far behind with 24 seats. Mr. Netanyahu will certainly be asked to form the coalition government. However, there is a tiny ray of hope that the left and the centrist parties can get their act together and shape the future of Israel. 

Peace is a necessity for prosperity and security; you will not that peace if you keep threatening people around you, the more you frighten others, the greater your own vulnerability will be. If Mr. Netanyahu persists, it is bad news for the Israelis, hopelessness for the Palestinians, a mess for Iranians and a worse situation for the United States and other nations.      
Israel has lots of friends. They have not become anti-Semite as Netanyahu likes to propagandize. They simply see Netanyahu as a rogue and oppose Netanyahuism rather than Israel, the world is not against the aspirations of the Jewish people, or Judaism. If the centrist do form the government things will get remarkably better for all parties; Israel, Palestine, Iran, US and the World.  

It is not good for Israel for many reasons; first of all, Israelis will not be able to lead a normal life with chaos surrounding them in perpetuity. The character of a nation is defined by the value it places on justice, and Netanyahu's leadership drove Israel far away from Justice into the realm of security needs through the rotten attitudes on settlements, peace negotiations, violating UN resolutions and playing on manufactured threats. Israel should have moved away from security needs and transformed into justice needs a while back. The centrist government can restore all that, and let the people of Israel and Palestine breathe.

Declaration of War  

It is not good for the Palestinians; first of all he has declared a war on the Christians and Muslims of Palestine, when he said, there will not be a Palestinian state.  Hamas can rightfully point to the world and ask what they should do? Of course, they will not ask, they have no reason to trust us or the others. 

The Palestinians are now challenged to fight back or opt for Masada - i.e., committing suicide en masse  rather than burn under Israeli phosphorus bombs (When Jews were pushed to the corner by Romans, they opted to commit suicide rather than surrender).  Can anyone trust the world to stand by the oppressed, or they are on their own. 

Hamas has already claimed that they were right about him, and that makes us all wrong from the beginning. This is a serious issue for us to reflect on and a clarion call to the people of Israel to reject this man Netanyahu and his evil designs. 

The other choice the Palestinians have is to be absorbed in the state of Israel as "equal citizens" - apartheid should have no place in this world and certainly America cannot lose its character by supporting such a regime. 

What about the world? Netanyahu has boldly spat on the faces of 161 (out of 166) Nations of the United Nations by rejecting their resolutions to stop the settlements, time and again. He even slapped VP Joe Biden by funding for more settlements when the VP visited Israel, and now he has declared there will not be a Palestine. This is not the way to build nations.

Shouldn't the world take action and bring justice to the people of Palestine and save Israel from the clutches of Savior Netanyahu?   

161 Nations of the world felt rejected, and their opinion and resolutions were blatantly discarded by Netanyahu, and that is morphing into resentment towards the violator. Indeed, it is really anti-Netanyahuism, rather than Anti-Semitism as he likes to paint, and claims to become the savior of the Jewish people. He had the gall to essentially ask the Jews to abandon those rotten countries in Europe and join him in Israel. Are the Europeans happy with that categorization? 

Ultimately Netanyahu is not good for the United States either. He is driven by chaos, and will unilaterally go to war with Iran, dragging the US into his war. It is the same guy who had lied twice about Iraq and now he has another one on Iran. He has also alienated American Jews; a majority of them do not support his take on Iran. 

America will be weakened severely; it will wipe us out, and will be worse than the loss of 43 Million jobs, homes and business closures, divorces, budget deficits that the previous president left. 


The 161 Nations may consider a resolution, that Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister or the possibly the New Premier is in direct violation of the world community in rejecting Palestine, and unless the Israeli people through their parties choose a Prime Minister who can sit among the civilized nations of the world, and respect life liberty and pursuit of the happiness of the Palestinian people, the resolution will stand in place. The resolution calls for pulling the ambassadors out of Israel and sending Israeli ambassadors back to their homes. 

As president of the United States, Obama has a right to withhold the aid, not to punish but do put Israel back on the track to be a just nation. In the long haul, when people see a good functioning non-apartheid and a just Israel, other nations in the region have a reason to emulate and be friends.     

Netanyahu is not good for Israel, Palestinians, Iran, the United States or the world. He is the new Saddam Hussein who will not hesitate gassing the Palestinians and will alienate Israel further among the nations.

Mike is deeply committed to building cohesive societies, and has an equal commitment to Jews as with the people of other faiths.    

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Mike Ghouse, President
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Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, writer and a commentator on Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel-Palestine, Politics and other issues of the day. He is a human rights activist, and his book standing up for others will be out soon | He is producing a full feature film ” Sacred” to be released on 9/11 and a documentary “Americans together” for a July 4 release.  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 at www.MikeGhouse.net and his writings are at www.TheGhousediary.com – Mike is committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day.