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Reflecting on 2010, it’s clear that racism in Israel has reared its ugly head. A recent poll published by the Israel Democracy Institute found that only 51 percent of Israelis support equal rights between Jews and Arabs, while 53 percent think the state should encourage Arabs to emigrate from the country. Thepoll also established that Jewish Israelis find the idea of living next to an Arab more troubling than any other minority, and that in the event of war, 33 percent of Israelis support the idea of putting Arabs into internment camps.

In the last few months, these findings were given concrete expression in a number of incidents. These include:

A religious ruling signed and endorsed by 50 state-appointed rabbis forbidding Jews from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews. “Racism originated in the Torah,” said Rabbi Yosef Scheinen, head of the Yeshiva in Ashdod and one of the endorsers …

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Recent sputterings of a peace process between Israel and Palestine, the termination of Israel’s settlement building freeze causing a demise of said peace process — again — has produced a loud, global yawn. What else is new in this endless conflict? Negotiations cannot succeed without a vision, and there is no widely shared vision of peace among these people that could truly spur their politicians forward.

The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of the past that create brutal behavior in the present. One way forward may be to suspend skepticism for just a moment, to free the mind to build a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved. Armed with this imaginative exercise it might become easier to lobby for practical ways forward.

Let’s imagine the following: official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza

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The hardest part of building peace for the future is freeing oneself from the wounds of war, the mutual recriminations of the present, the painful memories of a lost past, and the unreasonable fantasies of a world where one’s enemies magically disappear. Sometimes the way forward is to free the mind to build a different world, a world of practical possibilities should peace be achieved.

Let’s imagine the following: a full peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, official creation of a state of Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as its capital, a shared civil regime for the quarter mile of the Holy Basin in the Old City of Jerusalem that is overseen by Israeli and Palestinian Jews, Muslims and Christians, and a way for every Palestinian refugee camp’s residents to be awarded citizenship and compensation in a variety of countries including Palestine itself.

The first …

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I am trying to figure out what kind of United States has developed where the toughest Israelis in the world, the top Israeli military brass, want a U.S. ambassador in Syria, and other gestures, whereas the true impediment to that are right wing Republican Senators supported by a militant wing of the American public goaded on by Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin and of course Charles Krauthamer. Where do these Americans get the arrogance to be even more violent in their politics than the Israeli military? I think it is legitimate to take sides within the Israeli debate, but I do not understand being to the right of the right of the Israeli military. Of course, there is no logic to politics, there is only the logic of vote grabbing, and one gets votes in America today by demonizing any and all foreigners you can get your hands on, …

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From Fox Five News today.  See the film clip.

via Clinton Opens New Round of Mideast Peace Talks

WASHINGTON – Marc Gopin from the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University joined us with more.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton formally opened the first direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in nearly two years on Thursday, imploring the parties to ignore the long history of failed negotiations and make needed compromises to forge an agreement.

At a ceremony in the State Department’s ornate Benjamin Franklin room, Clinton said the Obama administration was committed to forging a settlement in a year’s time. But, she stressed that the heavy lifting must be done by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

“We will be an active and sustained partner,” she said. “But we cannot and we will not impose a solution. Only you …

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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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Jeffrey Goldberg writes a simple and devastating piece on Imam Rauf. Here is the man vilified by the neoconservative and right wing mob in the United States.

You can read the full text of his remarks on the B’nai Jeshurun website, but here is an especially relevant portion:

We are here to assert the Islamic conviction of the moral equivalency of our Abrahamic faiths. If to be a Jew means to say with all one’s heart, mind and soul Shma` Yisrael, Adonai Elohenu Adonai Ahad; hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One, not only today I am a Jew, I have always been one, Mr. Pearl.

If to be a Christian is to love the Lord our God with all of my heart, mind and soul, and to love for my fellow human being what I love for myself, then not only am I a

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Excellent article, speaks for itself

Growing up in the West Bank, Mujahid Sarsur knew next to nothing about the Holocaust and saw little ground to sympathize with a people he saw as his occupier. 2010. But thanks to an Israeli roommate overseas, the 21-year-old Palestinian student learned about the Nazi murder of 6 million Jews during World War II and discovered a new understanding of his Israeli neighbors.Now he wants other Arabs to do the same. Sarsur heads one of a handful of Palestinian grass-roots groups seeking knowledge about the Holocaust.On Wednesday, he led a delegation of 22 students to Israel’s official Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. The students, fasting for Ramadan, listened closely to their Arabic-speaking guide’s explanations, and were left wide-eyed by the gruesome images of the death camps.

via Palestinians learn about the Holocaust at Yad Vashem – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.…

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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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U.S. support for Israel is decreasing, new poll shows – Haaretz Daily Newspaper | Israel News.

I am shocked, just shocked by these numbers! And think of it, these were pro-Israel pollsters. I know the response, more propaganda campaigns and greater efforts to intimidate opposition into silence both in the U.S. and in Israel. Essentially we are all being treated like we are at checkpoints, because it is the only thing Lieberman is trained to do.

Benjy, you want to save Israel’s last remaining supportive population, Americans? You want to go down in history as something less than a disaster?  Make a new government.…

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