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

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.