February 2009

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Gershon Baskin’s provocative title is absolutely right, it does not appear to matter anymore which coalition will rule Israel next. The fact is that Olmert had a bigger mandate than Livni or Netanyahu to pursue the peace process, freeze the settlements, and uphold all the commitments Israel made in Annapolis. And he failed at all of them, and instead unleashed a horrifying set of wars in Lebanon and Gaza that have left Palestinians utterly shell shocked. So why not add fuel to the fire with a Lieberman-inclusive government that traumatizes the rest of the Palestinian people who have resided in Israel since 1948, who never left the land, and who have been isolated by everyone ever since, despite their absolutely peaceful resistance to injustice? Despite the fact that by a vast majority of 75% the Arabs of Israel would support a democratic constitution for Israel that also kept it a …

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Gaza

Gaza

Read this important story about United States Representatives Keith Ellison and Dr. Brian Baird. In an American Congress that is utterly silenced about Palestinian needs and concerns, these two congressmen should be commended for going to Gaza. They will be punished by the Lobby and it is important for them to be supported. I hope that the Jewish alternative lobby, J Street , will do so. If there were a serious non-Jewish lobby for Palestine in Washington that really wanted to change things for Palestine it too would support every positive act coming out of Congress–with votes and cold hard cash. Alas, progressives don’t get it.

Here are excerpts written by veteran Post writer Tovah Lazaroff:

“When have lentil bombs been going off lately? Is someone going to kill you with a piece of macaroni?” asked Rep. Brian Baird (D-Washington).

He and Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota) called on Israel to

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“Lehman Sisters, Yes We Can!”

by mgopin on February 18, 2009 · 6 comments

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A REPORT BY DR. KATRIEN HERTOG

International Women’s Conference Celebrates Women’s Leadership

Bangalore, 6-8 February 2009

“If the Lehman Brothers would have been ‘Lehman Sisters’, would we be in the same mess as the one we are in now?” This provocative question characterizes the lively atmosphere of the Third International Women’s Conference, organised by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in Bangalore at the beginning of February. The Conference was dedicated to ‘The Light of Leadership: Integrating Global Perspectives’ and brought together 700 women from 68 countries and the most diverse cultures. All these women have taken up a leadership role in the world, whether on grassroots level or at the top, and this in the most diverse areas, such as health, politics, business, media, education, art or science. A top manager of the World Bank was sitting next to the first

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Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery, in his regular column for Gush Shalom, has an important analysis of the Israeli elections that is well worth reading. I will react to his comments in the coming days. Here are excerpts:

The results of the elections are not as clear as they might seem. The victory of the Right is not so unambiguous.

Central to the election campaign was the personal competition between the two contenders for the Prime Minister’s office: Livni and Netanyahu (or, as they call themselves, as if they were still at kindergarten, Tzipi and Bibi.)

Contrary to all expectations and all polls, Livni beat Netanyahu. Several factors were involved in this. Among others: the masses of the Left were terrified by the possibility of Netanyahu winning, and flocked to Livni’s camp in order to “Stop Bibi!” Also, Livni – who was never identified with feminism – remembered at

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Hello readers, welcome to my first videoblog. Please excuse the moon-like effect. I appear to be on the other side of the galaxy because I used a webcam. My lips catch up with the sound usually in few minutes. Pretend this is a podcast and give me your feedback!…

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A report by Dr. Katrien Hertog:

Imams and Rabbis from the USA, Europe and the Middle East, joined by Christians and other religious experts, came together for the third time to move forward on the road to peace in the Middle East. The Congress, under the patronage of UNESCO in Paris, reflected some of the common opportunities and challenges related to religions’ engagement for peacebuilding but also clearly highlighted the distinct added value of a spiritual approach to peacebuilding.

To start with, there were some clearly differing views on the role of religious leaders in peacebuilding, a question which relates to the interrelationship between religion, mysticism and politics. Some clerics were clearly afraid of too much politics. As one rabbi expressed it: “We didn’t come to talk about politics, but about peace.” Others were emphasizing that religious leaders should be concerned with changing the reality on the ground. It was …

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Ha’aretz obtained an official report of the Israeli government that reveals for the first time the full details of the Occupation’s illegality. Even major settlements that are not considered illegal outposts turn out to have significant sections that are built on stolen, private Palestinian lands, by the account of the Israeli military that authored the report. This means that tens of thousands of Israelis, many of them actually unaware, are living on private Palestinian lands all over the West Bank. The details will be vital to any future negotiations, should Israel even be capable at this point of reversing the damage that has been done. Many were fooled into believing that these lands were open, available, and public. Read the report and comment. The truth is very painful for everyone to face, but it is only by knowing the whole truth of the situation that third parties can be …

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Landis on American Middle East Policy So Far

by mgopin on February 6, 2009 · 1 comment

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As usual, Josh Landis is brief, brilliant and right on target. The Obama White House should study every word. It is time for a diplomatic revolution if they want to save themselves a massive upheaval in the Middle East in the next few years. Listening to where the Arab world really is at is going to be the key to a successful American intervention in the region. The rage and shock that has spread across the Arab world could lead to a new regional confrontation with Israel. But if Obama coordinates a systematic engagement with all regional powers and players, including Syria and Turkey, in addition to a new kind of engagement and negotiation with outside powers such as Russia and China, we may see an emerging consensus on both what Israel must do, what Iran must do, and what Hamas must do, in order to step back from …

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Akiva Eldar reports on the critical work being done on Israeli Jewish psychology and the war against the Palestinians. Eldar’s title, “Is an Israeli Jewish Sense of Victimization Perpetuating the Conflict with the Palestinians”, says it all, and he marshals significant evidence. Daniel Bar Tal is one of Israel’s premier psychologists.

The sweeping support for Operation Cast Lead confirmed the main diagnosis that arises from the study, conducted by Daniel Bar-Tal, one of the world’s leading political psychologists, and Rafi Nets-Zehngut, a doctoral student: Israeli Jews’ consciousness is characterized by a sense of victimization, a siege mentality, blind patriotism, belligerence, self-righteousness, dehumanization of the Palestinians and insensitivity to their suffering….

“Most of the nation retains a simplistic collective memory of the conflict, a black-and-white memory that portrays us in a very positive light and the Arabs in a very negative one,” says the professor from Tel Aviv University. This

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Waltz with Bashir

by mgopin on February 3, 2009 · 7 comments

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A Movie About 1982 and the Soul of Israel

A Movie About 1982 and the Soul of Israel

Here is a must read from an Israeli patriot who was devastated by the movie and his own depression over leadership and the endless cycle of war and revenge. Please read and react.  I have been devastated and cleansed by the movie for a week. While much of Burston’s analysis is powerful and convincing I do not think that ‘we live in post-moral world’. Israelis, and Palestinians, are indeed caught in a web of terrible leadership, with choices between corruption on the one side, and uncorrupted, clear unadulterated violence–and suicide–on the other. But this is not a post-moral world. It seems that way to those inside this insanity, but to those outside morality is alive and well, and the answers are not as complicated as leadership on all sides has made them out to be: Respect your enemy, never surround an …

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