September 2009

Of Bankers and Social Change in America

by mgopin on September 30, 2009 · 8 comments

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On the red carpet of Capitalism: A Love Story

On the red carpet of Capitalism: A Love Story

In front of the Uptown theater in Washington, DC, I played one of three bankers that Michael Moore drags in to see his new film, Capitalism: A Love Story. He dragged us down to the front row and put us in front of the huge adoring crowd. It was great fun! Thanks to the ever creative David Vyorst, my film maker and partner for arranging this!

Michael spoke after this devastating and entertaining film. His heart is genuine. His assault on capitalism is more systematic than I believe in. I truly believe the evils of this civilization are due as much to a betrayal of Adam Smith as to the evils of private enterprise. And Michael often points in the film to the far greater fairness in Germany and other countries that, in my mind, combine the values that …

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The Politics of Repentance

by mgopin on September 27, 2009 · 6 comments

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michael henderson

The Politics of Repentance
By Steve Lipman

Two theological underpinnings of the approaching High Holy Days season have become more topical this year: apology and forgiveness. Classical Jewish thought, formulated by scholars like Maimonides centuries ago, consider those twin acts as preludes to the Ten Days of Repentance, direct apologies for the previous year’s slights a prerequisite for Divine forgiveness. In “No Enemy to Conquer: Forgiveness in an Unforgiving World,” British journalist Michael Henderson argues that apologizing and forgiving have a value on both a personal and political plane. The Jewish Week spoke last week to Henderson about the issue.

Read more here.…

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Unusual Pairs: Virtual Film Festival TODAY!

by mgopin on September 24, 2009 · 0 comments

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Picture 3

By Mallory Huggins

Peace X Peace, an organization that “connects women across the world for the purpose of dialogue, understanding, and collaboration,” will premiere a segment of Unusual Pairs, a documentary featuring Marc and other Middle East Peacemakers. The documentary will premiere online today, Thursday, September 24, at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Watch on your computer and stay for the panel discussion afterwards for commentary from Marc and producer David Vyorst. This virtual film festival is free, but registration is required. You can register here. We hope you can join us!…

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Goldstone Gaza War Full Document: A Must Read

by mgopin on September 23, 2009 · 10 comments

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This is the full Goldstone Report on the War in Gaza, including all aspects of the war, its aftermath, full documentation of Hamas’ violations, crimes by the IDF, recommendations, reparations, as well as a review of what happened inside Israel during the war. It is over 500 pages of documentation and represents a powerful statement of truth from a man who has been at the forefront of the most important truth commissions in modern times. This is a good place to start in terms of future documentation of all violence in this conflict, Jewish and Arab, and a good model to build upon in terms of what exactly needs to happen to prevent such tragedies in the future. It is the details that everyone should read and debate.  Here is the link again:

http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/specialsession/9/docs/UNFFMGC_Report.pdf

South African Justice Richard Goldstone at Brandeis University

South African Justice Richard Goldstone at Brandeis University

Gaza

Gaza

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Here’s an excerpt from Richard Lloyd Parry’s article in the Times Online, titled “North Korean envoys in talks with South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak”:

north korea

“If the South and the North genuinely try to resolve problems through dialogue, there will be no problems that cannot be resolved,” [South Korean President] Lee was quoted as having told his visitors, who flew back to Pyongyang soon after the meeting and did not attend the funeral itself. “[The North Korean delegation] expressed its gratitude for allowing the meeting and suggested both sides can co-operate and resolve [problems],” Mr Lee’s spokesman said.

It was the first time that North Korea had sent official mourners for a South Korean president, reflecting the importance of the late Kim Dae Jung in the history of relations between the two states. Mr Kim was the architect of the so-called “Sunshine Policy” which, in contrast to that of the

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‘Jews who sell to Arabs are enemies’

by mgopin on September 13, 2009 · 11 comments

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‘Jews who sell to Arabs are enemies’
By Matthew Wagner

A meeting of The New Sanhedrin

A meeting of The New Sanhedrin

A Jew who sells land to an Arab in Israel should not be allowed to lead prayers in synagogue, should not be given the right to make a blessing during the Torah reading, should not be counted among the quorum needed for public prayers and is considered an abettor to the enemies of Israel, according to a halachic decision issued on Monday night by a group of rabbis calling themselves “The New Sanhedrin.”

What astonishes are the last lines of this piece:

Eliyahu said that in his own city of Safed, a Jew who sold to an Arab was boycotted by the community. “He owned a grocery store and people boycotted it.”

Halacha forbids the sale of land in Israel owned by Jews to non-Jews. However, there is nothing in Jewish law that

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Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network

by mgopin on September 11, 2009 · 6 comments

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This is an important unnoticed piece that helps piece together the corruption of power during the Bush years that led to the Iraq debacle. It deserves study to help solidify democratic checks and balances to avert this in the future. Democratic systems require constant vigilance in order to checks and balances to work in ever changing circumstances.

Pentagon Office Home to Neo-Con Network
By Jim Lobe

wolfowitz rumsfeld

An excerpt from the article:

The Office of Special Plans (OSP), which worked alongside the Near East and South Asia (NESA) bureau in Feith’s domain, was originally created by Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to review raw information collected by the official U.S. intelligence agencies for connections between Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.

Retired intelligence officials from the State Department, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have long charged that the two offices exaggerated

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Below are two extraordinary stories. One is an excerpt from an inside look at how and why extremists still filter into Iraq from Syria. It is hardly the tale that neoconservatives gunning for war with Syria want to hear, but it is far closer to the harsh reality and complexity of the situation. The only answer seems to me to be a strengthening of Western-Middle Eastern relations, everyone’s acknowledgment of shared responsibility for Iraq’s situation, better communications, and more cooperation on state strengthening and the rule of law.

The second story is an astonishing tale of reunion between a Syrian soldier and an Israeli soldier who had been on the same battlefield. But where they reunite is shocking, and is s a testimony to our common humanity.

An excerpt from “Merchant of Death”:

suicide bomb

It is common sense and supply and demand. When the decision was made that Saddam Hussein had

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From the United States to Europe to the beaches of Alexandria it is all the same question: what holds a society together? Is there are social contract or is there not? Do people not kill each other because the State is stronger, controlled artificially by those in power, a power they wield only for their own selfish benefit? Or can there be something deeper that binds our societies? I would argue that this will be the fundamental question of the future. Increasingly the ties that bind are narrowly religious, while the secular social contract is thinning considerably.  That bodes ill for minorities everywhere. It is time to rejuvenate a commitment to social contract beyond religious affiliation, and only then will we be able to deal with differences and grievances. If there is no social contract then every accident, every incident, every piece of clothing, will become a casus belli, …

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obama from below

I certainly hope that the President can move forward a health care agenda in his upcoming speech, despite the insane descent of the debate this summer. But it was a bad summer for President Obama. It was not long ago that those of us who love Obama held our breath as he seemed to stumble  in August on the way to the end of the election period exactly a year ago. In August he seemed paralyzed before he came roaring back in the Fall to coast to victory. Here we are again with August behind us wondering what has happened to Obama’s capacity to fight for what he believes in. This time, of course, it is about health care, but it is about so much more than that. It is about whether the Right can capitalize on Obama’s soft spots, on the corruption of Washington on  both sides of the …

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