November 2009

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This is shocking, when  you think about it. Any American Congressman who dared suggest we include Hamas in negotiations would be run out of town by the all-powerful so-called pro-Israel lobby, which is neither pro-Israel nor pro-American but pro-violence. But the Israeli people, who were on the receiving end of Hamas suicide bombs for years, is ready to talk to them. So A. who is controlling American congressional policy and why? B. Why do they have a right to hound so many congressmen into ignorance and silence? C. Who do they speak for and represent? Not me, and apparently not the people of Israel.

I had in my office a long time very senior member of Congress, who said to me that for twenty years he was threatened and badgered about Israel, forced to go there numerous times, silenced from any position of conscience. This is anti-Israel, anti-American and anti-democratic. …

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A Toast for Peace: Thoughts from Roi

by mgopin on November 26, 2009 · 0 comments

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Roi Ben-Yehuda, a Ph.D. student at ICAR, is an Israeli writer based in the U.S. He is a regular contributor to Haaretz and France 24. He also writes his own blog, RoiWord. This article of his, which discusses Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement to pass a bill banning alcohol from kiosks and gas stations as well as limit its sales and advertisement, was published recently.

A Toast for Peace
By Roi Ben-Yehuda

netanyahu

A couple of weeks ago, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced his intention to pass a bill that would ban alcohol from kiosks and gas stations as well as limit its sales and advertisement. The purpose of the bill is to reduce the seemingly rising level of violence and road accidents inside Israel.

The subject of violence and alcohol has been recently seared into the consciousness of Israelis when a group of inebriated teenagers attacked a family of three at

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The First Basket for Chanukah

by mgopin on November 24, 2009 · 2 comments

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This is from our Associate and friend, “Unusual Pairs” Producer David Vyorst, who also created marcgopin.com! “The First Basket” is his first documentary film, about the Jewish social history of basketball. It’s a highly engaging and enlightening film, and I recommend it. What it shows is the resilience of cultures and minorities in difficult circumstances, the interesting merging of cultures through sports, and the ways in which the United States has offered unique opportunities to overcome barriers that are rife in other cultures in the world. Enjoy!

The Greatest Jewish Basketball Documentary in the World

is now available for Chanukah on DVD!!!

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Order Today! On Sale Now!

A “perception-altering new documentary”
-Gary Goldstein, The Los Angeles Times

“The First Basket is more than a triumphalist screw-you to those who think Jews don’t play sports. . .David Vyorst’s clear-eyed, jaunty documentary briskly walks us through the history of American Jews in …

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There has been a great deal of heightened activity around Israel/Lebanon/Hezbollah. There is a sense of inevitability that Israel will be challenging Hezbollah again, based on evidence of its massive rearmament. Hezbollah keeps gaining politically with every war, Iran and Israel seem to benefit politically by the distraction from concessions the world is demanding from them. Who loses? Civilians. What else is new since World War II? Anyone with any ideas on stopping this cycle of madness? I am fresh out.

Though I long for the success of the brave revolutionaries in Tehran. That would be a game changer for the entire region, for Islam, for the world. Hezbollah would have to grow up and join the Lebanese in a truly agreed upon set of national interests, Israel would be fresh out of excuses, the Saudis would be challenged to reform, and we would have a positive Shi’ite sphere of …

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By Mallory Huggins

The Mason Spirit, a magazine published for the George Mason University community, featured Marc in its Fall 2009 issue as part of a piece about various faculty members who have “create[d] a stir with their expert opinions and groundbreaking ideas.” The article and the photo that ran alongside it are below.

Picture 1

Picture 3

Picture 2

Thanks to the Mason Spirit for recognizing the efforts and accomplishments of Marc and the CRDC as a whole!…

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The TE’A Project

by mgopin on November 20, 2009 · 7 comments

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I just attended a phenomenal performance by The TE’A Project which uses interactive theatre to inspire audiences to cross the barriers of race, class, culture and religion in America’s communities. It combines story collection, theatrical performance, and facilitated dialogue in a process that makes it possible for us to engage imaginatively with the barriers of social and cultural differences that divide us.

The performance I watched was called “Under the Veil” – Being Muslim (and non-Muslim) in America, Post 9/11.” It was based on stories collected from individuals living in New York and explored the theme of being young and Muslim in America today. It was excellent. Check out the schedule of performances to catch this phenomenal show!

The website also includes videos and streaming television about their project. Learn more at:  http://teaproject.com

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Gaza

by mgopin on November 18, 2009 · 8 comments

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Tomorrow, from dawn to dusk, I am honored to begin a monthly fast with 80 of the most honorable of Jewish rabbis, and 870 of my fellow beloved Jews, for the sake of the people of Gaza and their liberation from prison. My personal blessings to the Abu Ghazaleh family, to Ibrahim, to Sheikh Bukhari’s children and grand-children. We will all see a better day soon. Click here to learn more about Fast for Gaza.

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Peace Education and Fort Hood

by mgopin on November 15, 2009 · 6 comments

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By Cheryl Duckworth, PhD

Could peace education have done anything to prevent the shooting at Fort Hood?

Could peace education have done anything to prevent the shooting at Fort Hood?

Can peace education help to prevent the violent loss of life, such as we all witnessed recently at Ft. Hood? I believe that it is an essential piece of the puzzle. People offer various explanations regarding why a soldier murdered fellow soldiers. Some are pointing to Maj. Hassan’s Islamic identity or possible extremist views. Others point to his impending deployment to Iraq or sense of humiliation and social isolation. Since we know that very few behaviors are motivated by just one cause, I think it’s likely that all of these dynamics interacted.

Why do I think that peace education could have prevented such a violent act? At its core, peace education nurtures two vital skills, which are problem solving and relationship-building. Peace education also challenges stereotypes and resists the easy, pat explanation for …

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common ground news services

Both Marc and Aziz had articles published in the latest edition of Common Ground News Service. Read Aziz’s article here.

States defined as religious or ethnic are almost always injurious to human rights, and injurious to the moral integrity of either religious or cultural traditions. Citizens who do not belong to the designated official religion or culture have customarily been mistreated in history. This is true of Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Hindu states.

But the fact is that Israel has been defined as religious or ethnic, and this will not change any time soon. Therefore, a new social contract is required in order to negotiate the circumstances under which an extremely diverse population of Jews and non-Jews can coexist in both safety and equality.

An earnest process of negotiation and compromise would include some of everyone’s interests and needs, but is particularly essential for enabling a rule of …

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THE REAL REASON FOR ATTACKS ON GOLDSTONE

by mgopin on November 12, 2009 · 1 comment

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I am amused at how many rants the Israeli leadership are directing against their fellow Zionist, Richard Goldstone. Read here the incredible invective. Here, take a peek. The insults! The venom! What gives here? They talk nice and invite Arab leaders to Jerusalem, but this Zionist they assassinate with words. What gives? It is a lover of Zion spurned, the sense of betrayal, of exposure of their secrets, and I have seen this before in Zionist relations. Trouble is, they are shooting the world’s messenger instead of addressing the message. Message is clear: Give horrible orders, you will face a horrible storm. Shimon, I know it hurts to be called names, but it hurts worse to watch your children bombed to shreds. Dai kevar. Recognize war’s limits, negotiate in good faith, and it will all go better.…

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