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There are important next steps being debated for what states can and should do to stop the current war, and set the stage for ending the current cycle of violence. That is not my subject. I thought recently that leaders are followers and followers are leaders, and neither knows it. The fact is that people and their individual initiatives have much more impact on the course of history than is acknowledged by government officials, by cynics, and by those too apathetic, too callous, or too fearful to act. If you are in that category, do not read forward. Just go back to Al Jazeera, Fox and CNN and choose a side. Or go back to Jon Stewart and have a good laugh.

Here is what is necessary, efforts that have worked before in history in changing the available information available to all parties so that more rational and more morally …

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I will consider this helpful someday when the article indicates that the Chief Rabbis coordinated their visit with the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian mayors of Jericho and Nablus. Then such a visit will be a helpful indicator of respect, mutual recognition, and cooperation. Otherwise it is just improved security for a better occupation, and is not contributing to a safe and just solution. Rabbi Froman, by contrast, always when he enters an Arab city, even with historic Jewish roots, always comes with respect for the occupants, especially the Muslim occupants. That is why his way is a way of courage.

Chief rabbis in rare visit to holy sites in Nablus, Jericho

By JONAH MANDEL

08/20/2010 03:00

First visits by high-ranking Israeli delegation in 10 years.

Talkbacks (4)

Israel’s Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar conducted an unprecedented visit to Jewish holy sites in Nablus and Jericho on Thursday,

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Why is everyone so angry and appalled at this 21 year old Israeli woman? I think she is a perfect creation of a system. The fact that she sees nothing wrong with the photographs of her  smiling and proud with blindfolded humiliated Palestinian prisoners is absolute proof that it is not her but the system that has prepared her as a teenager to become an occupier, not a member of an elite army, but an occupier of civilians who must be humiliated because that is the essence of occupation. she merely said on Facebook what so many say to each other in the field now. How can we blame her for being simply an expression of a system that must corrupt her mind, not to mention punish whole populations? She is the reason that most of the world has come to hate Israel, not her personally but the system, the …

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In Jerusalem’s Mamilla cemetery, Rawan Dajani stands before a mausoleum where her ancestor Sheikh Ahmed Dajani was buried nearly 450 years ago.

By Omar Kasrawi

Standing outside a mausoleum in Jerusalem’s Mamilla cemetery, Rawan Dajani bows her head and cups her hands upward in prayer for her ancestor Sheikh Ahmed Dajani. He was buried in Mamilla, the oldest Muslim burial ground in Jerusalem, nearly half a millennium ago.

About 200 meters away, a fenced-off construction zone marks the future site of the Center for Human Dignity – Museum of Tolerance, a project overseen by the California-based Simon Wiesenthal Center.

In Israel, starting a new project inevitably means bumping into history. In this case, the construction that started in 2004 has stirred Muslim anger as it displaces hundreds of Muslim graves dating as far back as the 7th century, including the remains of soldiers and officials of the Muslim ruler Saladin.…

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STOP CHEERING AND START HELPING

by mgopin on August 3, 2010 · 2 comments

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You have to watch this short five minute film to believe it. Watch a village steadily stolen illegally by the Jewish National Fund, finally destroyed by the IDF and the State with hundreds of police, and then rebuilt and reclaimed by Jews and Arabs, citizens of Israel, together.

You don’t have to believe that this is exactly what the JNF has been doing for over a hundred years, you don’t have to read the long and complicated history through the eyes of Israel’s leading analysts like Tom Segev in One Palestine Complete, just look at five minutes of video to see the destruction of olive trees and the theft of land through planting ‘Jewish’ trees, donated by clueless American Jews, no doubt, as Arabs watch helplessly their entire village demolished. But then watch Jews and Arabs together rebuilding in a single day. Feel the power and the determination.

When …

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Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:

The lonely man of peace

lonelymanofpeace

By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER

21/01/2010

This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.

Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …

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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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Frank Luntz has done it again, putting his prodigious talents to work for reactionary causes, finding amazingly simple–though not simplistic–communications strategies to obstruct basic truths and delay a little longer the march of history. All the major issues that the world now sees as obvious and plain as day–climate change, tobacco as a killer, for example–were at one time subject to the brilliant obfuscations of communications manipulation. Now Frank has turned that to the purposes of the so-called pro-Israel community, which is not and does not represent a pro-Israel position but rather a pro-settlement and pro-war position.

Newsweek has exposed Frank’s playbook, over a hundred pages of it. The pro-peace community, the community that considers itself pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian should study this method and turn it on its head. Exposing it and reversing its use is the best way to neutralize its fundamental dishonesty.

In the report, Luntz describes

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A Young Israeli Reflects on Gaza

by mgopin on July 8, 2009 · 4 comments

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By Kobi Skolnick

food-aid-gaza1

It has been six months since Israel launched an incursion into Gaza, and the anniversary has prompted the Red Cross to release a report on life since the operation.

According to the report, 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza are “trapped in despair” because of the continuing Israeli blockade, and since April 2007 there has been an 80% decrease in the number of truckloads allowed through the boarder. With the population of Gaza being made up mainly of teenagers and children, this means many children are suffering from malnourishment and poor health. Furthermore, the Red Cross reports the people of Gaza are powerless to restore their lives and are sliding deeper into hopelessness. (See the full report here.)

Nor has the situation in Gaza left Israel’s soldiers unaffected. After the Israeli operation in December, there were alarming cases of immorality among our finest soldiers. According to

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Hamas, Israel Reject Amnesty Report

by mgopin on July 7, 2009 · 1 comment

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It is a half year anniversary of the Gaza War of 2009. I love this incisive report. Amnesty must be doing something right for both sides to condemn them. Their critiques are trenchant, to the point, based on simple facts, and they expose the brutality of this confrontation, including Israel’s paradoxical use of pinpoint, precision weapons to create wanton destruction, and Hamas’ purposeful and unabashed targeting of civilians while calling it defense. The moral bankruptcy of the military leaders on both sides is plainly apparent, and cries out for global leaders to intervene forcefully, for the sake of the innocents on all sides. Since the “precision” weaponry of Israel’s is so lethal when used indiscriminately, however, the vast majority of civilians killed are on the Palestinian side as usual, which is why the Occupation must go. (Those who think that Gaza is not occupied anymore with all borders and commerce …

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