Posts tagged Peace


Almost 6 years to the day after American activist Rachel Corrie was murdered by IDF forces another American activist is critically injured. Tristan Anderson, a bay are activist was shot with a high-speed tear gas bullet in the head while he demonstrated the devastation of Palestinian homes by Israel’s military. They are trying to demolish a whole village in order to continue building their partitioning wall of apartheid.


I am so angry. Here is an article where the witness says that the hole in Tristan’s head was so deep you could see his brain.

And here is Rachel Corrie, murdered March 16, 2003.

A video interview two days before  Rachel was killed


And finally, Rachel Corrie’s body shrouded in the American Flag:


When is this going to stop?

When are people going to rise up against the American-Israeli lobby and stop this?

And these are just 2 victims, there are thousands of others, who are not American, not white.


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Israel Plans to Expand West Bank Settlements (again)

UGHH! This is probably the worst news to come out of Israel in the most recent weeks when bad news has been coming out of Israel exponentially. 

The settlements themselves stand as the most stubborn blockers of peace in the Middle East. And the expansion of them is a slap in the face to everyone who is trying to promote peace.

There has to be something we can do. MJ Rosenberg of the Israel Policy Forum tells us that Silence =Death.

He also says that the settlements will be the death of Israel. As long as the people of Israel tacitly or explicitly support the expansion of the settlements, or even just the existence of the settlements there will be no peace.

Here is a good video on the issue of the settlements in the peace process. This is from last summer, and the fact that the settlements continue to plan huge growth is extremely disconcerting.

Here is a video on what is happening now

The settlers will only be moved by force, will this ever happen?

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Rabbis against the occupation


I really believe it is the job of Jewish Americans to stand up against Zionist aggression and crimes committed by the Israeli government and the IDF.

This along with many other organizations are beginning to expose the truth of what Israel stands for, and these organizations are making it possible for Jews to reclaim their reputations in international community. Protesting Israel is not anti-Semitism. Protesting Israel is standing up for human rights which is the concern of not just Jews but all people.

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When do we start the clock?

Here is a very good video of Phyllis Bennis, a peace activist talking about historical amnesia and Gaza. She asks a very important question on how history plays a vital role in understanding the conflict in Gaza today. When you start the story of  the current conflict, gives you a different story. People can decide what it just and unjust by when they begin the story. And people will choose the history they wish in order to prove the point they want to make. Whether it is a Zionist American Jew trying to convince you that everything Israel does is justifiable, or a American Leftist who wants to convince you that Israel is breaking international laws and has been for years and years, people will use history for their own arguments and agendas.

I am obviously not excluded from this. I got a comment on my last blog entry about how I need to go back to ancient Israel in order to understand the current situation, and that might be entirely true, but I am not. A historian has to choose their focus, their time frame, and it is by individual historians looking in, that creates the picture one gets by looking out. What I do on this blog is not formal history. I don’t footnote and the writing style is very different. This is a casual endeavor and outlet for me to talk about things that I ponder, one of which is the larger problems of how history effects the present. No one historian has all the information or all the answers. No one person will ever be able to right a TOTAL history of the world. And if they could, no one would read it. What historians do is add small pieces of work to a collective pool of knowledge in the hopes that the sum will be greater than the parts.

Historians have often strived to be objective and tell the historical truth without any bias or taint. This has largely been a complete failure. If history were about a play by play of events it would be pretty meaningless, at least to me. Historians have the job to take information and evidence and make an argument. Historians do not write encyclopedias, they write academic and intellectual works that provide historical truth, not historical fact. Events and facts are interpreted and put together by the historian in order to submit an understanding of something the historian thinks is important. It is the job of the reader or the audience to decide if the argument is compelling or not. 

Back to Phyllis Bennis, she is a bold, opinionated, well-informed asset to the current peace movement and I think she does a good job of delivering her sense of what has happened in Gaza recently. This video is from the beginning of January, pre-Obama inaguaration and pre ceasefire.

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Thoughts on Israel and concept of ‘enemies’

How is it that in respect to the history of Israel and Palestine in the last 60 years (and perhaps longer) documented events are so controversial?

There never seems to be any events in the history that seem to be commonly agreed upon. American supporters of Israel have to do a variety of intellectual acrobatics to defend their position. Those who condemn the Israeli occupation of Palestine often times do the same dance around the truth about Palestinian violence. I was asked to read Alan Dershowitz’s A Case for Israel. I literally cannot make it through the introduction. I might as well be reading the new Ann Coulter book. My bias going into the book is ridiculous. All I can think about is how this is the guy who helped OJ Simpson get away with murder. I think this is the guy who just wrote about how Israel’s ‘enemies’ want to try Israel for war crimes because they hate Israel, and defends Israel because they only killed several hundred civilians in the month of January. Within the first several sentences of his intro to A Case for Israel, he writes “Most important, I argue that those who single out Israel for unique criticism not directed at countries with far worse human rights records are themselves guilty of international bigotry…So long as criticism is comparative, contextual, and fair it should be encouraged, not disparaged. But when the Jewish nation is the only one criticized for faults that are far worse among other nations, such criticisms crosses the line from fair to foul, from acceptable to anti-Semetic.” (p.1)

Does he expect the scholars, bloggers, journalists, protestors, politicians, lawyers, human rights activists, to put equal fervor in to every single nation that does foul? When I say it is wrong to kill civilians and don’t talk about American war crimes in the same breath, does this mean my outrage and opinion is not acceptable? Am I anti-Semetic? Does it matter that I am Jewish? Does he really think Israel is the only country to even be tried for war crimes? Has he heard of the Nuremburg trials?  I would like to ask Dershowitz what he honestly expects?

I do not know why every individual not Israeli or Palestinian feels compelled to discuss the international crisis occurring there. I do not know why this particular crisis draws me to hours and hours of research, contemplation, and prayer. Maybe it is because I am Jewish. Maybe it is because the history of the Holocaust which has been the emblem of the ills of 20th century nationalism, war, and the seeming culmination of moral failure. And maybe because I am afraid that the way Germans and collaborating and appeasing countries blindly allowed the magnitude of the Holocaust to unfold is what is happening now to Palestinians. How much easier would the story of Israel statehood be if the Palestinian problem just went away?

The people in the settlements seem adamant about not leaving, and not allowing by any means necessary the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. Not all settlers are this devout, but if what was featured in the 60 minutes piece is true, and the reluctance to which Israel will allow jew versus jew violence, the probability of settlers leaving Palestine is nil. 

Maybe the settlers are just the fringe extremists and Israel will some day deal with them and force them to leave the territories, but if Israel has the Palestinian enemy (or Lebanon or Syria or Iran) to deal with, then they won’t have to deal with the Israeli extremists. Why fight the enemy within when you can contribute to the making and remaking of the foreign enemy. Many believe that if those in power in Israel truly wanted a lasting peace, they would find a different strategy for dealing with Palestine. Instead, it seems, they have participated in strengthening Hamas, and weakening the Fatah party. 

However corrupt and imperialistic America has been (and it has)…the situation for Gazans and West Bankers is unparalleled. The blockade of Gaza represents a continued occupation, and the walls constructed in the West Bank are the visual indicators of oppression and apartheid.

Dershowitz has a new book out on the case against Israel’s enemies, with the key enemy named Jimmy Carter. As if wanting peace  and not apartheid was a bad thing! He says these ‘enemies’ de-legitimize Israel’s right to exist. And enemy is defined by Webster’s as “ one that is antagonistic to another ; especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent.” By calling a critic an enemy, Dershowitz is contributing to the ideology of war, victimhood, and political chaos. When someone criticizes a nation in the academic sector it is not done so to injure Israel, overthrow Israel, or to be antagonistic. The enemies Dershowitz addresses are not enemies of Israel, they are actors in the dialogue of political thought.


Maybe the big problem here is the concept of enemies. Barack Obama told the Muslim and Arab worlds yesterday that America is not their enemy. I wish Israel would do the same. But the trauma of the land runs so deep, that the desire for vengeance permeates the psyche so powerfully, the concept of the enemy  seems so ingrained.

I’m reading Thomas Kuhn’s The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, which is all about paradigms and shifts in accepted ideas. I am hoping that the ideology of war for peace, and the world made up of nations as opposed to a world made up of humans are on the way out.

To be honest, I am humble enough to know that I cannot stop the Israeli occupation or change ideologues minds about the necessity of a new way of thinking about the problems of the Middle East. People will believe what they want, especially the likes of  ‘academic’ bullies like Dershowitz. But I do know this, not a day goes by where I don’t pray for peace, and as the sometimes hopelessness that comes with learning about Israeli and Palestinian history overcomes me, I try to remember that the problems of the world are bigger than me, not for me to fix, and ultimately life and history unfold as they will. But if I can contribute information and analysis to those not ideologically confined to their beliefs on Israel and their right to do what ever they wish, then I have done something positive. I have stated that as an American and as a Jew, I do not support Israel’s policy, and as more and more people come out of the woodwork standing up against the humanitarian and political crisis in Palestine, the tide of blind and tacit support for Israel is changing.

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today in gaza…

 I won’t pretend to know anything new or have some great new insight on what is happening in Israel and Gaza right now, but I do want to say this. (my opinion of course)

Israel is wrong in trying to subdue violence with more violence.

To those who think that Hamas fired rockets with no provocation, well you don’t understand the situation of the Gaza Strip.

To them, they are being occupied by a foriegn power, and they are being cut off from food and health care supplies. Their entire existence in the Gaza strip is provocation for them.

There is a blocade around Gaza. They are in a constant state of war.

I don’t condone Hamas and their violence. In fact I think that Hamas is made up of militaristic fanatics, but this I know…the problems of the middle east go back further than Israel and its creation in 1948. The story of Zionism begins much earlier and the Arabic people who inhabited that specific region were not met with open peacful arms from the new settlers. Nationalisms of all kinds were developing in this era before the first World War. Zionism is a form of nationalism, which by definition are usually militaristic.  The Palestinian nationalism was born a bit later, but is just as significant to them as Zionism is to the Jews who subscribed to it.

Unfortunetly, the hawkish creation of the State of Israel, the Israeli War of Independance (or Al Nakba  meaning ‘catastrophe’ as the Palestinians refer to it), and the repeated acts of violence perpetrated on both sides (one as a response to the other) has led to a new generation of Palestinians who have grown up in an impoverished state, not allowed out, and with constant fear of Israel using their power to demoralize the Palestinian people. ( i.e. demolishing houses in occupied territories)

I truly believe that Israel needs to be the bigger country (um…because they are the bigger country) and refuse to fight terror with more terror. People are dying in Palestine by the hundreds, and although Israel says they are very sad for this…it is what needs to be done. What would you do if your house was under attack? Well, I know that I wouldn’t kill 200 people to save my own.

It is sad to see pundits on TV saying that a ceasefire would be meaningless, because they want a lasting peace and ceasefire. I think the little boys and girls who don’t die because of an immediate ceasefire would think it worth it. We absolutely need an immediate ceasefire which HAMAS has offered.( but the pundits won’t let you know this- they want you to think that HAMAS never offers anything in diplomacy)


…and to the new year and new president. America can’t keep giving money for arms to Israel. As an American I have little control over what Israel does, but Obama says he wants to hear us- the people- and so we need to tell him. STOP GIVING ARMS TO ISRAEL. We have to stop paying for the murder of palestinian innocents (although the pundits would have you believe that the large majority of causalties are terrorists- this is simply a lie)

And to those who ask me why I care so much about this conflict. How come I don’t write about the Iraqi conflict or African genocides…well…

my answer is this….Peace in the Israel/Palestine region of the world would be a such an immensly positive moment in world history. If we can solve this problem and create peaceful coexistance in this region- what could we not do?

I mean really imagine peace in Israel and a thriving Palestinian state.

Its almost unthinkable- but maybe we need to believe it is possible.

In order to invent anything- you have to have a belief in it first. Humans would never have been able to fly if people didn’t first invision it. So lets try to imagine peace in the middle east, because while some said it was impossible for planes to fly…they were clearly wrong…in fact I am getting on a plane tomorrow…

Goin to Nashville, Tennessee…should be interesting…

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war is over????? not yet this christmas


could this be true?

could this be true?


I just finished watching the blue and the gray, a civil war mini series from 1982. It was 8 hours…anyways, everytime one war ends, another is back to replace it.  And although the Blue won, there were losers on both sides, and although slavery ended, the torture of racist jim crow society after the tragedy of a failed Reconstruction endured. And although we have an inspiring  new ( black ) president, there has been endless war along the way. And today, on Christmas there is war and violence all over the globe. And the supposed birthplace of Christmas, Bethlehem is in a war torn occupied territory. Hardly a vision of peace.  It is very sad. But on this christmas eve I really do want to challenge my cynicism with the insane idea that peace on earth is possible. 

….I love John Lennon and his vision of a world without violence…watch this bit below about his vision of peace…

the world is run by insane people…

what does power to the people really mean? can we have peace now? can we sell peace? like soap? 

John Lennon said he believes the only way is through nonviolence…is this true?

Peace on Earth? Is this even possible in our wildest dreams? Is war over if we want it?

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