I found this fascinating in this little noticed speech. The Chinese president repeatedly used the words harmonious, common, mutual. Everything was about one integrated world operating together. We all know the problem with Chinese repression of the Tibetan people, and of their own best writers and journalists. The flip side of an emphasis on the positive idea of harmony is the negative reality of tyranny. The flip side of freedom is chaos and anarchy. Nevertheless, I think it is interesting that there is a kind of outgoing new emphasis in the rhetoric, a conscious decision to at least rhetorically move beyond the Wall of China. This is good, and it provides an opening to discuss the ethics of harmony and mutuality, especially in Confucian terms, which always requires MUTUAL respect between governors and the governed. I hope there is more open debate as time goes on with Chinese leaders in …
After 40 Years of Wilderness, J Street Meets at the River’s Edge: Pro-Peace, Pro-Israel
By Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Tonight and for the next few days, in Washington DC, 1200 people are gathering in the name of a “pro-Israel, pro-peace” US policy. Because of my broken leg, I can’t be physically there. But my mind and spirit and 40 years of my work are there today.
Forty years ago, in the summer of 1969, I visited Israel for the first time. On the same trip, guided by a brilliant Israeli kibbutznik-sociologist, Dan Leon, I also visited Palestinian leaders in Hebron, East Jerusalem, and Gaza — old-fashioned notables, social workers, lawyers.
To a person, they told me they had marched and spoken out against occupation by Jordan or Egypt, and would oppose occupation by Israel. They said they had no objection to Israel as it had been before the 1967 war.
From the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson’s Bureau:
Israel welcomes the signing of an historic peace agreement between Turkey and Armenia. The agreement, which was signed by the foreign ministers of the two states on Saturday (10 October 2009), proves once again that open, brave and direct dialogue is the only way to overcome controversies and past fears and to make a new start towards a better future.
Israel hopes that the peace agreement will lead the entire region into a period of peace and cooperation.
This is a terrific development and I hope the pace of reconciliation efforts takes hold. But things are very complicated in Turkey. Prime Minister Erdogan has to balance his embrace of former adversaries of Turkey while keeping allies. He must embrace Arab causes such as the rights of Palestinians without humiliating Israeli leaders. Turkey can be the bridge between the West and the …
On Speaking of Faith, a weekly public radio program, Krista Tippett focuses on “religion, meaning, ethics, and ideas.” This week, she talked with two women who illustrate the power of interfaith collaboration. Here’s an excerpt from the blog post about the women:
The Power of Listening and Engaging with the “Other”
By Krista Tippett
Malka and Aziza work with emerging leaders from different spheres of life and from both of their traditions. They make a core commitment “not to be enemies.” And that, of course, is the kind of lofty statement that can be hard to put into practice against the backdrop of reality. The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the dynamics of the post-9/11 world, the rise of Iran as a regional power — these are just a few of the developments that infuse and shape relationships between Jews and Muslims everywhere.
I had a wonderful experience recently in Toronto. This is a photo of my book talk at Indigo Books, where I spoke on my recently published To Make the Earth Whole: the Art of Citizen Diplomacy. I had been invited up by the Mosaic Institute to speak on a panel on the state of Middle East peace, together with Fawaz Gerges and Bessma Momani. The event was terrific, but the book talk was also fun because Hind brought so many of her good friends in Toronto, and we were able to celebrate with friends our work together in Syria.
This conference, the first of its kind in the UK, addresses the remarkable projects of certain groups working in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank involved in joint resistance to ongoing military conflict and occupation. Working for mental health and human rights on the front lines involving military aggression, internal group violence, systemic interference with basic human rights, brutalization on many fronts and deep pessimism on all sides, speakers will address any and all resources for combined resistance and shared hope, whether close to home or coming from abroad. The recent catastrophic attack on the civilian population of Gaza, at the eye of the storm of sites of conflict in Western eyes, makes this event both critical and significant.
* Survival and Non-Violent Resistance in Gaza and the West Bank
Once again, folks, it is Dr. Arthur Waskow who has captured the best of a Jewish spiritual response to days of repentance and self-examination. In the midst of his own pain, he is instructing us all on what self-reflection means, even when you may feel like lashing out at others.
Our Misdeeds & Theirs — and the Middle East
By Arthur Waskow
Written from Hahnemann Hospital, September 22/ 4 Tishrei:
During these days between Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur, Jews are called on to reexamine our own actions — our “missings of the mark.” The emphasis is on OUR sins — not those of individuals alone, but of the community — and the sins of ourselves, not of other people, even our enemies. We are also called on not only to confess our misdeeds but CHANGE what we do.
In that light, the Israeli government’s recent behavior flies in the