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Friday, June 15, 2007

The Extremists amongst us

The extremists amongst us

Indeed, the extremists in all faiths have the same characteristics;

a) eager to force their way of thinking and living on to others,
b) willing to die in enforcing their way and above all,
c) believing that God is personally on their side.

They will slaughter people in the name of Jesus, in the name of Allah and in the name of Israel and yet, they represent less than 1% of the population or a group.

Anthony Chibara commented "The terrorists strap the bombs around their chest and kill a bunch of people, whereas in the name of civility, we strap the bombs to the Jet fighters, and kill a whole township". What is the difference?

As a civil society, we cannot be resorting to the same techniques of killing as they do, it generates more of them. Instead we need to adopt an approach of engaging them and dialogue with them. It will stop the violent cycles. Please refer to Laser Barking at http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/05/laser-barking-at-terrorists.html

Mike Ghouse

Extremists in 3 faiths share views
http://www.chinapost.com.tw/international/112439.htm
Friday, June 15, 2007 ,NEW YORK, Reuters


Violent Muslim, Christian and Jewish extremists invoke the same rhetoric of "good" and "evil" and the best way to fight them is to tackle the problems that drive people to extremism, according to a report obtained by Reuters.

It said extremists from each of the three faiths often have tangible grievances -- social, economic or political -- but they invoke religion to recruit followers and to justify breaking the law, including killing civilians and members of their own faith.

The report was commissioned by security think tank EastWest Institute ahead of a conference on Thursday in New York titled "Towards a Common Response: New Thinking Against Violent Extremism and Radicalization." The report will be updated and published after the conference.

The authors compared ideologies, recruitment tactics and responses to violent religious extremists in three places -- Muslims in Britain, Jews in Israel and Christians in the United States.

"What is striking ... is the similarity of the worldview and the rationale for violence," the report said.

It said that while Muslims were often perceived by the West as "the principal perpetrators of terrorist activity," there are violent extremists of other faiths. Always focusing on Muslim extremists alienates mainstream Muslims, it said.

The report said it was important to examine the root causes of violence by those of different faiths, without prejudice.

"It is, in each situation, a case of 'us' versus 'them,'" it said. "That God did not intend for civilization to take its current shape; and that the state had failed the righteous and genuine members of that nation, and therefore God's law supersedes man's law."

This worldview was common to ultranationalist Jews, like Yigal Amir, who killed Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, to U.S. groups like Christian Identity, which is linked to white supremacist groups, and to other Christian groups that attacked abortion providers, it said.

"Extremists should never be dismissed simply as evil," said the report. "Trying to engage in a competition with religious extremists over who can offer a simpler answer to complex problems will be a losing proposition every time."

Harvard University lecturer Jessica Stern, the conference's keynote speaker, spent five years interviewing extremists for her 2003 book "Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill."

She said it was dangerous for U.S. President George W. Bush to use terms such as "crusade" or "ridding the world of evil."

"It really is falling into the same trap that these terrorists fall into, black and white thinking," Stern told Reuters on Wednesday. "It's very exciting to extremists to hear an American president talking that way."

Shimon Peres and Arab News


Who Wants peace in the Middle East? Peres
Brutal Fatwas in Israel - Arab News.

No group is free from fanaticism. The most important aspect in peace building is an acknowledgment of extremism in our own groups.

The fanatic Israelis and the fanatic Palestinians are few but very potent when it comes to action. They are bent on supressing sane voices and pushing their unjust agenda, and expect the world to bend over and kiss them. Those who do, are doing a dis-service to both the people. We need to speak the truth and honestly acknowlege ourselves and extremists amongst us.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. - Edmond Burke, Irish orator, philosopher, & politician (1729 - 1797)

The evil men are among Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and others. They believe in their superiority over the others... that is bunch of baloney. The superior ones are those who are humble and live with humility. Arrogance and spirituality are mutually exclusive and are inversely proportional. Sadly, the news papers be it Israeli or Arab and of course certainly American, report the bad truth, which is only the fraction of the truth., and much of the good truth does not get any exposure.

I wish the Arab Press to be as free as it is in Israel, and do sincerely hope that the monarchs and the ruthless dictators follow Islam, that is believing that they are mortal beings, and their life time is limited. They have to learn to accept and respect the uniqueness of each human and treat them on par as they practice daily in the religious rituals, let that thought process take root in their political thinking as well. Israel is a democracy, but the aparthied against the Palestinians has got to go to be a truly civil democracy.

A true democracy welcomes criticism, no one is above the others, and in a true democracy, we don't brush things off, instead we develop the capability to address the issues and not suprress them.

Goodwill can begin from the place of worship. Some have no hesitation using the pulpit to preach hate, we as a civil society has to guard against hate sermons from our temples, mosques, synagogues, churches and othe places of worship. http://wisdomofreligion.blogspot.com/2007/06/hate-sermons-from-pulpit.html .

Mike Ghouse

Who Wants Peace in the Middle East?
http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/peres1
Shimon Peres

Forty years after the Six Day War peace between Israelis and Palestinians seems as distant as ever. Israel still refuses to accept the new Palestinian national unity government as a negotiating partner because Hamas is part of that government. What is the cause of this seeming paradox? Is there any hope?

The Palestinian government is united administratively, but divided politically. The Palestinians have one government with two policies. Politically, Palestine’s Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh remains against recognizing Israel and respecting the existing agreements. He declared that he is for the continuation of resistance in all forms. What kind of guarantee of a good faith effort to reach a peace agreement can come from such a stance?

That is the question the European Union needs to ask itself as it debates whether to resume providing financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. The EU should make it clear to Hamas that the Union is not going to finance terror and is not going to finance a refusal to make peace. If the Palestinians want to have European help – which I support completely – it must be ready to make peace, not to break peace. After all, it is not Hamas as a party that is objectionable; what is objectionable are the politics and policies which Hamas pursues. We have nothing against Hamas; we are against their belligerent policies, which service in government has not changed.

There was a time when the PLO held positions that were the same as those of Hamas. Then the PLO changed. If the current Palestinian leadership changes its position, there will be no problem from our side. We will have nothing against negotiations. We are for negotiations. We are for the “two-state solution.” We accept the Middle East “road map.” What we are against is terror.

Where we cannot agree, however, is on a “right of return” for Palestinians. If such a right were recognized, there would be a Palestinian majority instead of a Jewish majority, which would mean the end of the Jewish state. This is a demographic, not a religious, question: an Arab state is where the Arabs are the majority, and the Jewish state is where the Jews are the majority. Indeed, the “right of return” contradicts the very idea of a two-state solution, as it would mean one state – a Palestinian state. Nobody in Israel will accept this.

But there are other problems in the region that Israel – and the world – must face. The Palestinians’ current unity government resulted from Saudi mediation, which came in response mainly to Iran’s ambition to increase its influence, not only in Iraq, but also in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank.

Of course, that issue is completely outside Israel’s control. The ongoing fight in the Muslim world between Sunnis and Shi’a recalls the struggle between Protestants and Catholics in seventeenth-century Europe. So it is little wonder that the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, and the Gulf states are seeking to resist Iran’s hegemonic ambitions in the region.

Nevertheless, the stakes are far higher than in the seventeenth century, because Iran represents a threat that combines a fanatic religion with a determination to acquire nuclear weapons. Indeed, Iran is the only country that openly declares its desire to destroy another member of the United Nations. That is a threat that every country is obliged to take seriously. When a country’s president delivers crazy speeches, denies the Holocaust, and does not hide his ambition to control the Middle East, who can guarantee that the threat is not serious?

The issue is not one of restoring nuclear “balance” to the Middle East, as Iran’s leaders maintain. First of all, Israel does not threaten anybody. Israel never said that it wants to destroy Iran; Israel never openly proclaimed that it would enrich uranium and build nuclear bombs in order to destroy another country. On the contrary, Israel has said that it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East. But that does not mean that we can afford to ignore an obvious threat from countries that want to destroy us.

Despite the current unfavorable situation, the path to stabilizing the Middle East still leads through joint economic projects. Even now, Israel is planning to build a new “corridor of peace,” which will comprise the Jordanians, the Palestinians, and us. Within the framework of this project, we are seeking to halt the dehydration of the Dead Sea, build a joint airport and a joint water network with Jordan, and develop tourism infrastructure, at a cost of up to $5 billion. We have the donors, so there is no shortage of money to finance our efforts, which, I am sure, will be realized.

Israel wants – indeed, desperately needs – peace and stability in the Middle East, and we will continue to do everything in our power to achieve it. But we cannot reach that goal alone, much less negotiate with those whose idea of a stable and peaceful Middle East is one that has no place for Israel.

Jewish brutal fatwa

Fahmi Howaidi


The Brutal Fatwas in Israel Fahmi Howaidi, Arab News
While people in Muslim countries have been preoccupied with fatwas (religious rulings) concerning breast-feeding adults, the purity of the Prophet's urine, and the legality of the recent different types of marriages such as Misyar and Mesfar, perhaps it would be appropriate to take a look at fatwas in Israel. It might give us a chance to compare the two, evaluating the circumstances on both sides.

It is worthy of further consideration to consider the Israeli fatwas that my Palestinian colleague Salih Al-Tuhami observed. Conservative Jewish thought and tradition say that in case the country's laws contradict the rabbi's fatwas, the fatwa must be implemented and anything the government says is worthless. That's the opinion of Rabbi Elie - who is one of Israel's senior rabbis - who is supported by the majority of his peers.

These Jewish fatwas are responsible for instigating religious Jews against Arabs. Last year, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, former Sephardic chief rabbi and an influential authority among conservative Jews, issued a fatwa asking the Israeli Army not to flinch from killing Palestinian civilians in the context of the ongoing military campaign against armed groups resisting the occupation. He mentioned in his fatwa, which received special attention from religious media outlets and hundreds of pamphlets distributed inside synagogues in Israel. that all Palestinians must be murdered, even the ones who are not participating in the war against terrorism. This wasn't enough for the revered rabbi, who said that this was not only a fatwa, but a religious duty from God that Jews must follow.

After that, one of the most important Jewish rabbis issued a fatwa that allowed his students in one of the Jewish settlements in the northern West Bank to steal the agricultural produce grown by Palestinians. It said that everything in the West Bank belongs to the Jews, giving them the right to confiscate such properties. This fatwa was implemented and his students confiscated the agricultural yield of the Palestinians.

Rabbi Dov Lior, chief rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat-Arba, did the same when he issued a fatwa that allowed Jewish settlers to poison the livestock and water wells owned by Palestinians in neighboring cities and villages. The settlers didn't hesitate in implementing the fatwa. Not a single day passed without Palestinians finding dead sheep and poisoned water.

On the other hand, a group of prominent Jewish rabbis addressed the Israeli defense minister, Shaul Mofaz, saying that killing enemy civilians was "normal" during wartime and that the Israeli Army should never hesitate to kill non-Jewish civilians in order to save Jewish lives. "There is no war in the world in which it is possible to delineate neatly between the population and the enemy's army, neither in the US war in Iraq, the Russian war in Chechnya, nor in Israel's war with its enemies," the rabbis said.

The rabbis quoted a Talmudic ruling, which states "Our lives come first." In their famous letter, the rabbis warned against what they called Christian preaching in dealing with conflict. "The Christian preaching of 'turning the other cheek' doesn't concern us, and we will not be impressed by those who prefer the lives of our enemies to our lives," they said.

These tense times have influenced a number of other fatwas from rabbis about underestimating the lives of Arabs and humiliating them. Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported on July 25, 2002 that Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, the current spiritual leader of the Shas political party in the Knesset (Israel's Parliament), said that until Christ the Savior arrives, he will send all Arabs to hellfire. "Why doesn't Ariel Sharon do what needs to be done? He's scared of the people of the world. But when the Savior Christ comes, he won't fear anyone. He will send all the Arabs to hell." Yosef described Arabs as snakes and said Jews should not trust them.

It's no wonder that one of the rabbis - Isaac Ginzburg - published a book entitled "Baruch the Hero" to immortalize the name of Dr. Baruch Goldstein who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in the city of Hebron, killing 29 Arab attendants of the Ibrahimi Mosque (within the Cave of the Patriarchs) and wounding another 150 in a shooting attack.

As for Rabbi Eli Albaz, who is one of the distinctive Eastern rabbis, he never misses an opportunity to attack Islam and condemn the Prophet (pbuh). He insists on complaining in front of his audience by telling jokes that address Muslims and Palestinians and using filthy language to attack Muslims. And Rabbi Eliyahu Reskin continuously ridicules the reconciliation attempts to create dialogue between Jewish rabbis and Arab officials. He believes that the only language of dialogue between Muslims and Jews should be bullets. He feels that without convincing the Arabs in general, and the Palestinians specifically, settlement can't be forced upon Israel so the efforts of peace are worthless.

It's true that from a legal perspective, the rabbis' fatwas concerning political issues don't exert much influence. But their words, that come from their religious backgrounds, have a huge impact especially with the increasing dominance of religious parties that have developed tremendous political power that cannot be underestimated. Therefore, their fatwas influence more than religious people and are used to pressure political decisions. It's true that conservatives, whether the followers of Zionism or from the ultra-Orthodox movement, make up 28 percent of the Israeli population, yet more than 50 percent of the inhabitants of the country introduce themselves as conservatives. These people empathize greatly with Jewish religious authorities and pay attention to what they say.

What's interesting is that all the laws and systems in Israel have never tried, not even once, to address those rabbis or question them about their racial discrimination. Not only that, but these rabbis, who are involved in this discrimination, are given great prominence in Israeli politics. Decision makers in Israel compete with each other to earn the endorsement of rabbis, and to be close to them.

When one examines these fatwas and their influence in instigating and serving the Zionist schemes and its evil goals, one can't help but feel sad and bitter when compared with the fatwas that are preoccupying Muslim scholars. The latter provoke gossip among people and divert their attention from what's vital and fateful, making them regress instead of moving forward.
I pray to God to enlighten our scholars and guide them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Indian oversight, let's fix it.

India: An oversight, let's fix it.
http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/06/indian-oversight-lets-fix-it.html

It is an oversight, Let's fix it.
It is not fanaticism, it is an oversight.

I will re-design the board to include Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Baha'i faiths...or any one can do that. The Bharati Magazine that comes out of India Association in Dallas, had this board as their cover page last month, it was nice, but it was simply an oversight.

The Joint secretary of India Association, Mr. Sury Thiagarajan was pleased and showed that to me, and he had a reason be pleased, a proud step to be inclusive. However, I instantly noticed the missing Zoroastrian symble and then the Jewish and Bahai symbols as well.

Three days from Sury's pointing out, was the Workshop on Zoroastrianism in Dallas and I had mentioned to him that I will re-work it. He was happier, as he always has been an inclusive person.

We have worked to remove the Zoroastrian Farohar symbol from the movie poster of Alexander, as Alexander the Barabarian should not be construed as part of the Zoroastrian faith. have worked with the Dept of Justice to include the Jain symbol in their logo...

The Pluralism logo is the emblem of the Foundation for Pluralism situated at: http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/ and Indianpluralism@yahoogroups.com and foundationforpluralism@yahoogroups.com

Let's find where this board was planted... and come up with some $500 or less, and get a new board made to replace the old one at that post.... we will write to the President and PM of India to ask the nation to consciously put signs that are inclusive and reflective of a Pluralistic India. One nation under Tiranga with liberty, justice and inclusion of all.

May be the President of India Association in Dallas, Mr. Hari Patro can take the lead and get it done, our Association has done a lot of great things around and we can hoist one more flag for us, the Dallas Indians Group.

Comment:

In a message dated 6/14/2007 9:15:52 A.M. Central Daylight Time, baxxx@gmail.com writes:They left our Zoroastrianishm I suppose because of the small numbers of us in India. America is also getting there. Eventualy the rest of the world will also learn to live together, after we all experience enough strife caused by religious fanatics in the name of God.The best Photograph for life time especially for Indians

Updated: at 5:00 PM

Thanks for the notes from my Muslim, Zoroastrian and Jewish friends, listed below.

The suggestion? It could be a number of them, one that resonates is as follows, write your own phrase or sentence that reflects the pluralistic heritage of India, example:

Indian Bhai Zara Aisay Jiyo, sub mil ke jiyo.

Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Christianity, Bahai, Zoroastrian, Atheists, Judaism...

You are invited to discuss on the Pluralistic nature of Indian Society. Our goal is to seek ideas and make attempts to move towards solutions to ensure continuance of India's Pluralistic Heritage. The world is one family.

On this forum we ask you to be open to ideas from the fanatics of the divide to the intellectuals. It is the only way we can learn all aspects of an issue. Any long term policy will have to be based on factoring in all expressions. The stability of a civil society depends on how the powerful treat their weak. Mighty empires have come and gone, whereas good governance will last and be remembered.

Multiple ways of worshipping the divine has been a way of life through out our history. Our people have believed that all rivers lead to the ocean. That open mindedness has allowed us all to embrace diverse ideas and expressions with ease. India is proud to have all expressions of divinity from Atheists, Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jain, Jewish, Sikh to a Zoroastrian.

Hinduism, the land’s oldest practicing faith can sum up one of the purposes of life is to become Brahma. When one becomes Brahma, he belongs to all, and everything belongs to him. A man becomes free from all prejudices and the elements like ignorance, ill-will, malice, anger and desires. That is one’s struggle to get freedom from the bondages and one’s effort to be good to all mankind. That is also the single most important item of faith that Prophet Muhammad taught thru Islam and you will find that essence in every faith.

Mike Ghouse

----------------------------------------------------------
From: kashif-ul-huda <> Cc: Date: Thu Jun 14, 2007 2:36 pm Subject: Re: It is an oversight about India, let's fix it.
and what about Indians who do not follow any religion? those who are agnostic and atheist what will they do?

-----------------------------------------------------------
In a message dated 6/14/2007 1:02:40 P.M. Central Standard Time, xxxxgreenblatt@gmail.com writes:
Thank you Mike for the suggestion and for caring. How can fit Z, J and B with the word Indian? Perhaps we can add a sentence below the poster that says: "India includes followers of all of the above faiths as well as Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Baha'i". What do you think?
It has to be a phrase then... Indian Bhai Zara Aisay Jiyo

Jai Hind




Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouse.net/
http://www.foundationforpluralism.com/
http://www.worldmuslimcongress.com/

In a message dated 6/14/2007 9:15:52 A.M. Central Daylight Time, xxramji@gmail.com writes:
They left our Zoroastrianishm I suppose because of the small numbers of us in India. America is also getting there. Eventualy the rest of the world will also learn to live together, after we all experience enough strife caused by religious fanatics in the name of God.
The best Photograph for life time especially for Indians

See what's free at AOL.com.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cumbered American Media

Cumbered American Media
Mike Ghouse, June 11, 2007



Explore the truth for yourselves, sit down with a clip board and watch CNN and FOX in particular and all other networks in general, and make notes, for every word they utter, see if there should have been another point of view. The Same goes with the other Television/Cable networks, Radio and Print Media.

Even when they present another point of view, see how they present it through a weak and sometimes useless spokesperson. If you recall the intifada times, they would always pitch well spoken Netanyahu against Shaggy Yasser Arafat it was a deliberate attempt to portray, that which their bossess do not like in a negative way. When Hannan Asharawi was pitched with Netanyahu, the Night line in Dallas was blocked.

I hope one of these days, our media trusts us to draw our own conclusions and form our own opinions. In the short run media may win with such biasing, but in the long run, it will cost us. "just" news, may not be sensational, but it brings facts to people and people can decide what they want to do with it.

The Media expects you to believe what they pass out as the gospel truth, if not, you are labeled.
Call any one of these talk show hosts, you will not be entertained if you have another point of view. That is the order of their bossess, as it is their business and they decide what goes on the air and that is alright, if they call Propaganda media.

Wall Street Journal is fighting back to retain their freedom, that which is encumbered as well.

Related articles:

http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/06/myth-of-free-press.html
http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2007/06/is-freedom-of-press-myth.html

Mike Ghouse
http://mikeghouse.net/aboutus.asp

Bancrofts Set Revised Safeguard Proposals
By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG
June 12, 2007; Page A2



Bancroft family advisers were expected to send News Corp. as early as today a revised set of proposals for a special board to safeguard The Wall Street Journal's editorial independence, but it was unclear if the suggested measures would bridge key differences over how the rules would be enforced, people familiar with the matter said.

"This is not a done deal," said one family member who asked not to be identified.
If News Corp., which last month offered $5 billion to acquire Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Journal, accepts the proposals, discussions between the two sides could then turn to other issues, including price. Upon agreement on those issues, the family, which controls Dow Jones, would then ask the company's board to begin formal negotiations with News Corp.

The Bancrofts have said they will continue talks with News Corp. only if an agreement is reached first on formal safeguards for the Journal. The family wants to include enforcement clauses in the agreement and ensure that the Journal newsroom has a strong voice on the board, according to people familiar with the matter. Family members were briefed on the status of the negotiations during a conference call with their advisers yesterday.

The new proposals come one week after family members met with News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch for the first time to discuss ways to preserve the Journal's integrity should it be sold.

In a letter to the Bancroft family last month, Mr. Murdoch proposed a board "exactly along the lines of" the one he established at the Times of London and the Sunday Times, which he acquired in the early 1980s.

In that case, Mr. Murdoch agreed to give extra powers to independent directors on the papers' board. The six independent members are charged with protecting the two papers' editors in chief from interference by the owners "in expressing opinion or in reporting news that might directly or indirectly conflict with the opinions or interests of any of the newspaper proprietors," according to the newspapers' articles of association. The six are supposed to have approval over the hiring and firing of the top editors, who in turn are supposed to have control over staffing decisions.

Mr. Murdoch isn't supposed to give directions to any journalist except each paper's top editor.

But the Bancrofts are concerned that the London system hasn't kept Mr. Murdoch from meddling in the papers' editorial affairs and want a structure with more "teeth," according to people familiar with the matter. The family also wants to ensure that the Journal itself has strong representation on the board, these people say.
One issue the family has discussed is that the board would have a public mechanism to air disagreements with News Corp. in the event the board and News Corp.
management are at odds, according to a person familiar with the family's discussion.

The board would also have the power to hire and fire the managing editor of the Journal, this person said. The family was trying to come up with a structure in which the editorial side of the company would report to the board (which would have some control over budgets) and the business side of Dow Jones would report to News Corp., but family representatives were told by their advisers that such a structure was an unrealistic expectation, this person said.

Separately, Fidelity Management & Research, which had owned more than 7% of Dow Jones stock, disclosed in a filing yesterday that it had sold nearly all of its shares.
--Susan Pulliam and Sarah Ellison contributed to this article.
Write to Matthew Karnitschnig at matthew.karnitschnig@wsj.com

American Media is not Free

American Media is not Free

Explore the truth for yourselves, sit down with a clip board and watch CNN and FOX in particular and all other networks in general, and make notes, for every word they utter, see if there should have been another point of view.

Even when they present another point of view, see how they present the the other point of view through a weak and sometimes useless spokesperson. Do they ask hard questions, or passon smirk remarks as the gospel truth.

The Same goes with the other Television/Cable networks, Radio and Print Media.

Call any one of these talk show hosts, you will not be entertained if you have another point of view. That is the order of their bossess, as it is their business and they decide what goes on the air and that is alright, if they call Propaganda media.

The following article is about such struggle.

Bancrofts Set Revised
Safeguard Proposals
By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG
June 12, 2007; Page A2

Bancroft family advisers were expected to send News Corp. as early as today a revised set of proposals for a special board to safeguard The Wall Street Journal's editorial independence, but it was unclear if the suggested measures would bridge key differences over how the rules would be enforced, people familiar with the matter said.

"This is not a done deal," said one family member who asked not to be identified.
If News Corp., which last month offered $5 billion to acquire Dow Jones & Co., owner of the Journal, accepts the proposals, discussions between the two sides could then turn to other issues, including price. Upon agreement on those issues, the family, which controls Dow Jones, would then ask the company's board to begin formal negotiations with News Corp.

The Bancrofts have said they will continue talks with News Corp. only if an agreement is reached first on formal safeguards for the Journal. The family wants to include enforcement clauses in the agreement and ensure that the Journal newsroom has a strong voice on the board, according to people familiar with the matter. Family members were briefed on the status of the negotiations during a conference call with their advisers yesterday.

The new proposals come one week after family members met with News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch for the first time to discuss ways to preserve the Journal's integrity should it be sold.

In a letter to the Bancroft family last month, Mr. Murdoch proposed a board "exactly along the lines of" the one he established at the Times of London and the Sunday Times, which he acquired in the early 1980s.

In that case, Mr. Murdoch agreed to give extra powers to independent directors on the papers' board. The six independent members are charged with protecting the two papers' editors in chief from interference by the owners "in expressing opinion or in reporting news that might directly or indirectly conflict with the opinions or interests of any of the newspaper proprietors," according to the newspapers' articles of association. The six are supposed to have approval over the hiring and firing of the top editors, who in turn are supposed to have control over staffing decisions.

Mr. Murdoch isn't supposed to give directions to any journalist except each paper's top editor.

But the Bancrofts are concerned that the London system hasn't kept Mr. Murdoch from meddling in the papers' editorial affairs and want a structure with more "teeth," according to people familiar with the matter. The family also wants to ensure that the Journal itself has strong representation on the board, these people say.
One issue the family has discussed is that the board would have a public mechanism to air disagreements with News Corp. in the event the board and News Corp.
management are at odds, according to a person familiar with the family's discussion.

The board would also have the power to hire and fire the managing editor of the Journal, this person said. The family was trying to come up with a structure in which the editorial side of the company would report to the board (which would have some control over budgets) and the business side of Dow Jones would report to News Corp., but family representatives were told by their advisers that such a structure was an unrealistic expectation, this person said.

Separately, Fidelity Management & Research, which had owned more than 7% of Dow Jones stock, disclosed in a filing yesterday that it had sold nearly all of its shares.
--Susan Pulliam and Sarah Ellison contributed to this article.
Write to Matthew Karnitschnig at matthew.karnitschnig@wsj.com

Monday, June 11, 2007

The American Dilemma

The American Dilemma
Mike Ghouse

Rather than Musharraf Dilemma as Max Boots puts it, it is the American Dilemma.

Do we really believe democracy is the panacea? Does our President and the Past Administrations understand the returns on supporting democracy are greater than supporting Fascist regimes?

Democracy is the first step in achieving peace and justice in the world, and we talk about these values, and yet, we have gone against the democratic movements and supported regimes that are totalitarian. Examples are plenty; Iran, Philippines, Cuba, Iraq (once) and a whole lot of them in the last 50 years, and currently we are supporting many such regimes, the most critical of them now is Pakistan.

Musharraf was hailed as a savior of Pakistan; indeed, he navigated Pakistan through the most difficult times and has done a lot of good to Pakistan, more than most of the rulers in the past. However, he has lost confidence in his own governance and that insecurity in him frightens to face the facts on the ground, he cannot answer open questions, instead he resorts to clamping down on freedom and resorting to oppression. How long will he get away with it?

It is up to the people of Pakistan to set their nation on the course of stable governance coupled with prosperity for every citizen of the nation. These guys come and go, Musharraf is just another one, his days are numbered, and his jet to America is perhaps booked. He has got nothing to lose, people need to wake up to that.

It is indeed an American Dilemma. Who should we support; Mortal beings as rulers or perpetual systems of governance. We need to guard our nation from short sighted approach, we need to create an environment of friendliness and prosperity for people around the world, that is not individual dependent but systems dependent. and it is good for us and good for the world.

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net

June 11, 2007
The Musharraf Dilemma
By MAX BOOTJune 11, 2007; Page A13

Pakistan may be reaching a crisis point. Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who is chief of both the country and the armed forces, is facing the most serious threat to his rule since he seized power in 1999. His high-handed suspension in March of the chief justice of the supreme court, Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has galvanized opposition from the urban middle-class that had hitherto acquiesced in his rule. On May 12, street protests got out of hand in Karachi, leaving 48 dead and contributing to a sense of worsening crisis. Mr. Musharraf has since tried to regain control by cracking down on independent media outlets and by jailing hundreds of opposition political activists, but the protests continue.

The Bush administration is reaching a decision point: Will it continue to provide unqualified support for Mr. Musharraf on the grounds that he is too valuable an ally to give up in the Global War on Terror? Or will it pull the rug out from under him and insist on a transition to civilian democratic rule? In this matter as in so many others, George W. Bush should ask himself the WWRD question: What Would Reagan Do?
As it happens, Ronald Reagan confronted a crisis remarkably similar to this one 21 years ago involving another pro-American dictator in another strategically important country. Ferdinand Marcos had ruled the Philippines, home to two of America's biggest overseas military bases, by martial law since 1972. He had loyally stood by the United States and fought against a communist insurgency, but his rule started to unravel when opposition leader Benigno Aquino returned to his homeland in 1983 and was assassinated on the tarmac.

Evidence pointed to conspiracy involving Gen. Fabian Ver, commander of the Philippine armed forces. But a three-judge panel acquitted Ver and 25 others, and Marcos promptly reinstated him. He then shamelessly stole the 1986 presidential election from Benigno's widow, Corazon Aquino.
Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest. "People power" was supplemented by a rebellion within the Philippine armed forces. But Marcos still had the loyalty of much of the army, and was prepared to use it to hold onto power by force -- unless the U.S. intervened.

President Reagan confronted a difficult choice. He felt personally loyal to Marcos and was afraid of the consequences of toppling him, having little confidence in Ms. Aquino's leadership abilities. Reagan abhorred the way Jimmy Carter had abandoned the Shah of Iran in 1979, and didn't want to make the same mistake.

But his Secretary of State, George Shultz, had seen early on that Marcos's legitimacy was eroding. "I became increasingly convinced that Marcos was the problem, not the solution," Mr. Shultz wrote in his memoirs. The secretary of state had refused to call for the dictator's ouster, but he had insisted that the Philippines hold elections -- demands that Marcos had finally agreed to.

The crisis came to a head on Sunday, Feb. 23, 1986, as Marcos was massing troops in Manila to crack down on the post-election protests. The top-level National Security Planning Group met that afternoon in the White House Situation Room to decide whether to continue backing him. Only White House chief of staff Don Regan offered any support for Marcos. The rest of the foreign-policy team said his day was done. The president was reluctantly won over. He authorized his friend, Sen. Paul Laxalt, to call Marcos and convey the message. By Tuesday, the dictator and his gaudy wife Imelda were on their way to exile aboard a U.S. Air Force jet.

This was no aberration. Even while protests were erupting in the Philippines, a similar situation was occurring in Haiti. Here, too, another pro-American dictator -- Jean-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier -- was sinking. And here, too, the Reagan administration refused to throw him a lifeline, forcing him into exile.

The Reagan administration also played a role in getting the military regime in South Korea to give up power and hold free elections in 1987. The same year, with American encouragement, Taiwan's Chiang Ching-kuo ended martial law and began the transition to democracy. The following year, again with U.S. backing, Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet held a referendum, which he lost, bringing his long reign to an end.

All these actions were taken notwithstanding the very real risk, at a time when the Cold War was still going strong, of what would follow in the wake of pro-American strongmen. Back then, just as today, lots of "realists" made the better-the-devil-you-know argument. (Henry Kissinger wrote an op-ed expressing "grave concerns" about Marcos's overthrow.) But what Reagan and especially Mr. Shultz realized was that giving a blank check to dictators was a bad deal. Sooner or later, it would lead to an explosion that would make an anti-American regime -- of the kind that arose in Nicaragua and Iran in 1979 -- more, not less, likely. The best way to prevent such a disaster was by pushing for civil-society reforms culminating in free elections, something that previous administrations failed to do with Somoza or the Shah.

The choice is made more difficult in the case of Pakistan because, unlike the Philippines or South Korea, it possesses nuclear weapons. Our ultimate nightmare is for those weapons to fall into the hands of Osama bin Laden's allies. But that is extremely unlikely. The coalition of religious parties, the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, won only 12% of the seats in the legislative assembly in 2002, even though Mr. Musharraf hindered more secular parties from competing. There is no reason to think it is any more popular today. The two main opposition parties, the Pakistan People's Party led by Benazir Bhutto and the Pakistan Muslim League led by Nawaz Sharif, have their own shortcomings, including corruption and a history of dealings with Islamic radicals. But they represent the broad middle of Pakistani society, not the extremist fringe.

Moreover, Mr. Musharraf has talked a better game than he has delivered. He has taken at least $10 billion in American subsidies since 9/11, and in return he has sent his troops to fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban. But he has also struck deals with tribal authorities in South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Bajaur that essentially turn over those vital border regions to Taliban control. No wonder terrorism in Afghanistan is exploding. Taliban fighters receive training and support in Pakistan, possibly still from their historic patrons in the Inter-Services Intelligence Agency which reports to none other than Mr. Musharraf. There have even been a number of incidents in recent months of Pakistani troops providing covering fire from their side of the border for Taliban militants assaulting Afghan army positions. Mr. Musharraf has been useful, but he is either unwilling or unable to do enough to combat the terrorists in his country.

There is no need for President Bush to call for his ouster at this point, any more than Reagan called for Marcos's ouster early on. What he should do -- what Reagan did in the Philippines -- is to insist that the constitutional process play itself out. That means that, if he wants U.S. aid to continue, Mr. Musharraf should give up either the presidency or his post as army chief and allow free elections in October that could be contested by all legitimate political parties.

Reagan's words at Moscow State University in 1988 still ring true today: "Democracy is the standard by which governments are measured." Mr. Musharraf is not living up to that standard.
Mr. Boot, winner of the 2007 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism, is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of "War Made New" (Gotham Books, 2006).

URL for this article:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118152136978730715.html

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Jewish News: Suicide attacks

Occupation, not Islam, ‘drives suicide attacks’
By MARILYN H. KARFELD, Senior Staff Reporter, Clevland Jewish News


FOREWORD BY MIKE GHOUSE:

I must congratulate the Cleveland Jewish News for publishing this. It takes a lot of guts to do it and it is the right thing to do. We need to place truth above everything else.

We are constantly working to knock these stereotypical myths about people, any people, and it is a breath of fresh air to see this piece in this news paper. It breaks the myths.

I am immensely pleased to read this column and forward it to as many groups as I can, there is a myth out there that the Jewish Americans are blindly loyal to Israel to the detriment of the interests of the United States. The second one is their intolerance and aggression towards any one who is critical of Israel policies as demonstrated against former President Jimmy Carter's, even though the President has done more good to Israel than any president since his tenure. He means good for Israel and good for Palestinians. One can never have undue advantages over the other, such benefits are temporary and deleterious.

Re:
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/06/israeli-palestinian-conflict.html
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/06/rabbis-on-israeli-occupation.html
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/06/jewish-news-suicide-attacks.html

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net

Occupation, not Islam, ‘drives suicide attacks’
By MARILYN H. KARFELD, Senior Staff Reporter
http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/articles/2007/06/08/news/local/islam0608.txt


In the wake of Sept. 11, Robert Pape, a professor in international security affairs at The University of Chicago, speculated on TV news shows on the causes of suicide terrorism.

“Like everyone else, I jumped to the conclusion that it was radical Islam,” he says. “I even bought a Koran to see what’s wrong with Islam.”

After searching for data on suicide terrorism and finding that the government did not begin to track such attacks until 2000, Pape began to collect his own information. He compiled data on 462 suicide bombings from 1980 to 2004 and later updated his findings to 2006. His book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism was published in 2005.

Contrary to his initial impression, Pape discovered that half of the 462 suicide attacks were by people who were secular or even anti-religious. The world leaders in suicide bombings were members of the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, a Marxist and Hindu group.

Over 30% of Muslim suicide bombers were not Islamic fundamentalists, Pape learned. For instance, some belonged to an anti-religious extremist Marxist group in Turkey, the Kurdish Workers Party or PKK.

“Over 95% of all suicide attacks are not religious,” Pape says. Rather, they are driven by the political goal of compelling foreign combat forces, with their tanks and fighter aircraft, to leave territory “the terrorists consider their homeland or they prize greatly.”

Only 5% are random, isolated attacks, the products of any ideology, religion included, Pape adds.

“Every suicide campaign since 1980 has been carried out by groups seeking self-determination for territory,” he says.

Pape spoke to the CJN before addressing the annual banquet and fundraiser of the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The following day, he spoke to the counter-terrorism task force of the Cleveland field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In the Jewish state, Pape says, 75% of suicide bombings are in Israel proper, directed against targets such as bus stops and pizzerias. Suicide terrorists avoid what he calls “hard” targets, such as railroad stations and even shopping malls, which are too well defended.

At settler outposts in the West Bank, Pape says terrorists will attack and run away so they can do it again and again before getting shot. “Inside Israel proper, they know it’s highly likely the best way to achieve killing is through suicide attacks.”

If suicide bombers were motivated solely to become martyrs and go to heaven, they would stand in front of Israeli tanks. “No,” he insists. “The motivation is to kill the largest number of people. It’s not about how to die.”

Suicide bombers are typically walk-in volunteers from blue-collar and middle-class backgrounds with no experi- ence in killing. Of the 462 he studied, 232 were Arabs. They are not being brainwashed in madrassas, he says. “They are already perfectly willing to die.” They are then taught the mechanics of how to commit suicide bombings.

Only 10% are poor. “These are not individuals who have nothing to lose,” Pape says. “They would have led productive lives.”

They are also highly educated, with 54% having some college education, compared with 12% in the surrounding society.

The common denominator “driving suicide attacks” in the Jewish state is anger at the Israeli occupation, says Pape. “Deep anger is the critical circumstance. When you mix it with personal motives of revenge and social prestige, you trigger the suicide terrorist.”

When Israel withdrew from Gaza and allowed Hamas to win a parliamentary election, the “second intifada came to a halt,” he maintains.

In his 2003 article in American Political Science Review that profiled suicide bombers, Pape advised Israel on how to stop the second intifada.

“Israel should unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and areas of the West Bank and build a security fence,” he suggested. “Israel did about 70% of what I said. I would have moved the fence to the Green Line. Suicide attacks since summer 2004 are down 90%.”

Hamas is still an Islamic fundamentalist organization, he points out. If religion motivated suicide attacks in Israel, they would be continuing.

The Defense Department has been funding Pape’s studies, and he has spoken in Washington to the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, the FBI and members of Congress. Before the 3rd Infantry Division was sent to Iraq as part of President Bush’s surge of 21,500 combat troops, Pape addressed about 150 of its officers.

The recent surge of American troops in Iraq will make a bad situation worse, Pape says. “If we remove our troops, there will be a substantial decline in the number of suicide terrorist attacks.”

Lebanon exemplifies his conclusions, Pape claims. Hezbollah was born in July 1982, created by the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

When Israel finally withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah did not follow Israeli soldiers to Tel Aviv, Pape notes. “The suicide attacks stopped completely. To this day, there’s not been another suicide attack by Hezbollah.”

If Israel would completely withdraw from the West Bank, Pape predicts that Hamas would end its suicide attacks.

He acknowledges that Hamas keeps saying they want to run Jews out of Israel proper. But Pape says they aren’t doing this through suicide bombings. While it’s possible that Hamas would some day adopt this strategy, he says governments do not build policies on things that are purely hypothetical.

As for Iraq, the U.S. has an interest in a stable Persian Gulf region and maintaining access to oil. We “don’t cut and run,” Pape says. “But our policy can’t be to stay and die.”

The U.S. needs a third way that begins with our core interest, access to oil, which is integral to our economy, Pape says. “Offshore balancing” is what he recommends. “Military forces are poised (outside of Iraq), ready to intervene if necessary. We wouldn’t go to war to spread democracy at the barrel of a gun.”

Pape insists he is all for humanitarian intervention but not at serious risk to American lives. “Our current policy is increasing the risk of another 9/11. It’s creating so much hatred.”

Unlike Vietnam, where America simply pulled out its troops with minimal repercussions, immediate withdrawal is not possible in Iraq, he believes. In Vietnam, the U.S. had no real interests. But leaving Iraq abruptly would damage U.S. interest in Persian Gulf oil and hurt the world’s economy.

Instead, Pape suggests a phased withdrawal beginning this year and taking place over the next three or four years. It took Al Qaeda six years after its first terrorist attacks in 1995 to come to the U.S. for 9/11, he notes.

“This, unfortunately, is the reality of Iraq.” Occupying Iraq has been “just foolish. It’s a tragedy that leaves us in the worst of all possible worlds. It’s time to change policies.”

mkarfeld@cjn.org
Occupation, not Islam, ‘drives suicide attacks’
By MARILYN H. KARFELD, Senior Staff Reporter, Clevland Jewish News


FOREWORD BY MIKE GHOUSE:

I must congratulate the Cleveland Jewish News for publishing this. It takes a lot of guts to do it and it is the right thing to do. We need to place truth above everything else.

We are constantly working to knock these stereotypical myths about people, any people, and it is a breath of fresh air to see this piece in this news paper. It breaks the myths.

I am immensely pleased to read this column and forward it to as many groups as I can, there is a myth out there that the Jewish Americans are blindly loyal to Israel to the detriment of the interests of the United States. The second one is their intolerance and aggression towards any one who is critical of Israel policies as demonstrated against former President Jimmy Carter's, even though the President has done more good to Israel than any president since his tenure. He means good for Israel and good for Palestinians. One can never have undue advantages over the other, such benefits are temporary and deleterious.

Re:
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/06/israeli-palestinian-conflict.html
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/06/rabbis-on-israeli-occupation.html
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/06/jewish-news-suicide-attacks.html

Mike Ghouse
www.MikeGhouse.net


Occupation, not Islam, ‘drives suicide attacks’
By MARILYN H. KARFELD, Senior Staff Reporter
http://www.clevelandjewishnews.com/articles/2007/06/08/news/local/islam0608.txt


In the wake of Sept. 11, Robert Pape, a professor in international security affairs at The University of Chicago, speculated on TV news shows on the causes of suicide terrorism.

“Like everyone else, I jumped to the conclusion that it was radical Islam,” he says. “I even bought a Koran to see what’s wrong with Islam.”

After searching for data on suicide terrorism and finding that the government did not begin to track such attacks until 2000, Pape began to collect his own information. He compiled data on 462 suicide bombings from 1980 to 2004 and later updated his findings to 2006. His book Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism was published in 2005.

Contrary to his initial impression, Pape discovered that half of the 462 suicide attacks were by people who were secular or even anti-religious. The world leaders in suicide bombings were members of the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, a Marxist and Hindu group.

Over 30% of Muslim suicide bombers were not Islamic fundamentalists, Pape learned. For instance, some belonged to an anti-religious extremist Marxist group in Turkey, the Kurdish Workers Party or PKK.

“Over 95% of all suicide attacks are not religious,” Pape says. Rather, they are driven by the political goal of compelling foreign combat forces, with their tanks and fighter aircraft, to leave territory “the terrorists consider their homeland or they prize greatly.”

Only 5% are random, isolated attacks, the products of any ideology, religion included, Pape adds.

“Every suicide campaign since 1980 has been carried out by groups seeking self-determination for territory,” he says.

Pape spoke to the CJN before addressing the annual banquet and fundraiser of the Cleveland chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The following day, he spoke to the counter-terrorism task force of the Cleveland field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In the Jewish state, Pape says, 75% of suicide bombings are in Israel proper, directed against targets such as bus stops and pizzerias. Suicide terrorists avoid what he calls “hard” targets, such as railroad stations and even shopping malls, which are too well defended.

At settler outposts in the West Bank, Pape says terrorists will attack and run away so they can do it again and again before getting shot. “Inside Israel proper, they know it’s highly likely the best way to achieve killing is through suicide attacks.”

If suicide bombers were motivated solely to become martyrs and go to heaven, they would stand in front of Israeli tanks. “No,” he insists. “The motivation is to kill the largest number of people. It’s not about how to die.”

Suicide bombers are typically walk-in volunteers from blue-collar and middle-class backgrounds with no experi- ence in killing. Of the 462 he studied, 232 were Arabs. They are not being brainwashed in madrassas, he says. “They are already perfectly willing to die.” They are then taught the mechanics of how to commit suicide bombings.

Only 10% are poor. “These are not individuals who have nothing to lose,” Pape says. “They would have led productive lives.”

They are also highly educated, with 54% having some college education, compared with 12% in the surrounding society.

The common denominator “driving suicide attacks” in the Jewish state is anger at the Israeli occupation, says Pape. “Deep anger is the critical circumstance. When you mix it with personal motives of revenge and social prestige, you trigger the suicide terrorist.”

When Israel withdrew from Gaza and allowed Hamas to win a parliamentary election, the “second intifada came to a halt,” he maintains.

In his 2003 article in American Political Science Review that profiled suicide bombers, Pape advised Israel on how to stop the second intifada.

“Israel should unilaterally withdraw from Gaza and areas of the West Bank and build a security fence,” he suggested. “Israel did about 70% of what I said. I would have moved the fence to the Green Line. Suicide attacks since summer 2004 are down 90%.”

Hamas is still an Islamic fundamentalist organization, he points out. If religion motivated suicide attacks in Israel, they would be continuing.

The Defense Department has been funding Pape’s studies, and he has spoken in Washington to the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, the National Security Agency, the FBI and members of Congress. Before the 3rd Infantry Division was sent to Iraq as part of President Bush’s surge of 21,500 combat troops, Pape addressed about 150 of its officers.

The recent surge of American troops in Iraq will make a bad situation worse, Pape says. “If we remove our troops, there will be a substantial decline in the number of suicide terrorist attacks.”

Lebanon exemplifies his conclusions, Pape claims. Hezbollah was born in July 1982, created by the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

When Israel finally withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah did not follow Israeli soldiers to Tel Aviv, Pape notes. “The suicide attacks stopped completely. To this day, there’s not been another suicide attack by Hezbollah.”

If Israel would completely withdraw from the West Bank, Pape predicts that Hamas would end its suicide attacks.

He acknowledges that Hamas keeps saying they want to run Jews out of Israel proper. But Pape says they aren’t doing this through suicide bombings. While it’s possible that Hamas would some day adopt this strategy, he says governments do not build policies on things that are purely hypothetical.

As for Iraq, the U.S. has an interest in a stable Persian Gulf region and maintaining access to oil. We “don’t cut and run,” Pape says. “But our policy can’t be to stay and die.”

The U.S. needs a third way that begins with our core interest, access to oil, which is integral to our economy, Pape says. “Offshore balancing” is what he recommends. “Military forces are poised (outside of Iraq), ready to intervene if necessary. We wouldn’t go to war to spread democracy at the barrel of a gun.”

Pape insists he is all for humanitarian intervention but not at serious risk to American lives. “Our current policy is increasing the risk of another 9/11. It’s creating so much hatred.”

Unlike Vietnam, where America simply pulled out its troops with minimal repercussions, immediate withdrawal is not possible in Iraq, he believes. In Vietnam, the U.S. had no real interests. But leaving Iraq abruptly would damage U.S. interest in Persian Gulf oil and hurt the world’s economy.

Instead, Pape suggests a phased withdrawal beginning this year and taking place over the next three or four years. It took Al Qaeda six years after its first terrorist attacks in 1995 to come to the U.S. for 9/11, he notes.

“This, unfortunately, is the reality of Iraq.” Occupying Iraq has been “just foolish. It’s a tragedy that leaves us in the worst of all possible worlds. It’s time to change policies.”

mkarfeld@cjn.org

Congressional hypocricy.

Congressional hypocricy

I just happen to run into these two pieces, showing a lack of a principled stand on issues, our congress seems to speak from two mouths. I have highlighted the comments from the Foriegn Policy in Focus in Red. You are welcome to post your response after you read the redded sentences.

Mike


http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/4295
Jerusalem: Endorsing the Right of Conquest
Stephen Zunes June 8, 2007
Editor: John Feffer


Foreign Policy In Focus

In a flagrant attack on the longstanding international legal principle that it is illegitimate for any country to expand its territory by military means, the U.S. House of Representatives, by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, passed House Concurrent Resolution 152 congratulating Israel for its forcible “reunification of Jerusalem” and its victory in the June 1967 war.

The resolution, passed by a voice vote on June 5 – the 40th anniversary of the Israeli conquest of East Jerusalem and other Arab territories – states that U.S. policy should recognize that Jerusalem is “the undivided capital of Israel.” There is no mention that Jerusalem – which has the largest Palestinian population of any city and which for centuries served as the commercial, cultural, education and religious center for Palestinian life – should also be recognized as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The resolution was sponsored by House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA), widely recognized as the Democratic Party’s chief foreign policy spokesman, and co-sponsored by such Democratic Party foreign policy leaders as Howard Berman (D-CA), Eliot Engel (D- NY), Robert Wexler (D-FL), Joseph Crowley (D-NY), and Middle East subcommittee chairman Gary Ackerman (D-NY).

Israel has formally annexed East Jerusalem and surrounding lands, unlike the rest of the West Bank, which is either under the control of Israeli military administration or the Palestine Authority. No government outside Israel recognizes this illegal annexation or supports the idea of a Jerusalem united under exclusive Israeli sovereignty. International organizations and leaders of major religious bodies throughout the world have repeatedly stressed the importance of not allowing Israel's unilateral takeover to remain unchallenged. UN Security Council resolutions 252, 267, 271, 298, 476 and 478 – passed without U.S. objections during both Democratic and Republican administrations – specifically call on Israel to rescind its annexation and other efforts to alter the city’s legal status. Given that Article 5 of resolution 478 specifically calls on all UN member states not to recognize Israel’s annexation efforts, the Democratic-controlled Congress is effectively calling on the Bush administration to put the United States in direct violation of the UN Security Council.

Who Controls Jerusalem?

Jerusalem has been conquered and re-conquered more than 37 times in its 3000-year old history. Yet, with the establishment over the past century of clear international legal principles forbidding such military conquests and of international organizations with enforcement mechanisms, there has been a persistent hope that the fate of Jerusalem could – along with other territories seized by the Israeli armed forces – be resolved peacefully and with deference to international law. UN Security Council resolution 242, long seen as the basis for Arab-Israeli peace, emphasizes the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” Congress appears to think differently, however.

The bipartisan decision to pass a resolution celebrating Israel’s military conquest at a time when there is a growing consensus among Palestinians, Israelis, and the international community that a shared Jerusalem is imperative for a durable peace appears to have been designed to undermine the peace process. As M.J. Rosenberg, director of the Israel Policy Forum’s Washington Policy Center, observed, "Congress has a role to play in the Middle East...but that leadership is not expressed by resolutions celebrating a war but by using its authority to promote security for Israelis and Palestinians."

Virtually no one would like to see Jerusalem return to its 1948-67 status, when it was divided by sentry posts, barbed wire, and snipers, with neither Israelis nor Palestinians able to cross to the other side. However, there are a number of other options, including making Jerusalem an international city as originally called for by the UN in 1947, creating a joint Israeli-Palestinian administration, or repartitioning the city but with full access by residents and visitors to both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.

For example, the Geneva Initiative – signed by such prominent Israeli officials as former Justice member and Oslo Accord architect Yossi Beilin, former Labor Party Leader Avram Mitzna and former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg (along with equally-prominent Palestinian leaders) – call for Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods and holy sites to be under Israeli control and the Palestinian neighborhoods and Muslim and Christian holy sites to be under Palestinian control, a position that public opinion polls indicate a majority of both Palestinians and Israelis supports.

An overwhelming bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, however, in a clear rebuke of such initiatives, insists that the entire city be under exclusive Israeli control.

This led to protests by more moderate voices in the House. As Rep. David Price (D-NC) put it in the floor debate prior to the vote, since “the idea of an undivided Jerusalem under sole Israeli sovereignty has not been part of any serious peace proposal . . . in the last several years,” the resolution thereby “undermines U.S. efforts to secure the trust of all sides in the search for peace.” Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) observed how “it has long been understood that a permanent agreement about the Palestinian areas of Jerusalem will be left to final-status negotiations. . . . I think we tread on dangerous territory when Congress adopts positions that run counter to issues that have yet to be negotiated.” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was among those noting the irony of the House passing what many would label a pro-Israel resolution that “would place Congress out of step with large parts of the Israeli political spectrum.”

The United States, like all other nations with diplomatic representation in Israel, has its embassy in Tel Aviv pending resolution of the status of Jerusalem. However, the Lantos resolution calls on President Bush to unilaterally move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem prior to a peace settlement, despite the president’s recognition, like that of his predecessors, that doing so would sabotage U.S. diplomatic efforts and needlessly evoke enormous hostility throughout the Islamic world. In the eyes of the Democratic-controlled Congress, there is nothing to negotiate: Israel is the undivided capital of Israel by right of conquest.

Israel’s Occupation
Whatever the position of the U.S. Congress might be, however, the fact remains that the residents of East Jerusalem never voluntarily ceded sovereignty to Israel through a referendum or other methods; their part of the city was seized by military force. By any definition, this constitutes a military occupation.

To this day, Israeli occupation forces patrol the streets and engage in ongoing human rights abuses against residents who oppose Israeli rule continue. The Israeli government has confiscated or destroyed homes and other property belonging to longstanding Muslim and Christian residents of the city. Several UN bodies, along with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other reputable human rights organizations have frequently cited Israel for its ongoing violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention in East Jerusalem and surrounding areas. Despite this, the House resolution commends Israel for having “respected the rights of all religious groups” during its 40-year occupation.

Meanwhile, the Bush administration, like the Clinton administration, has refused to raise any objections to Israeli occupation forces banning access by most Palestinians to the schools, hospitals, businesses, and cultural venues of Palestine’s largest city. This ban has caused enormous suffering to the population. And just as the Jordanians refused to allow Israeli Jews to visit their holy sites in the Old City when the Hashemite Kingdom controlled East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, Israel now severely restricts access by Palestinian Muslims and Christians from the Gaza Strip or the rest of the West Bank from visiting their holy sites in the Old City.

Despite the resolution’s claims to the contrary, those of us who have actually been to Jerusalem in recent years recognize that it is hardly a unified city. One hardly ever sees any Israelis other than soldiers and journalists in Palestinian residential neighborhoods or business districts. During one recent visit, my Israeli cab driver from the airport refused to take me to my hotel in the Palestinian half of the city, instead dropping me off at the pre-1967 dividing line and insisting I get an Arab cab for the remaining ten blocks of my trip.

Unlike the U.S. Congress, the Israeli Knesset did not pass a resolution celebrating the 40th anniversary of the conquest. Indeed, Israel’s elected institutions tend not to commemorate their wars except to honor their dead. As with Israel’s war on Lebanon last summer, Congress is willing to offer near-unanimous support for policies for which the Israelis themselves are willing to engage in serious self-criticism.

Indeed, the congressional resolution celebrating the humiliating defeat of Arab armies will likely only increase anti-American sentiment throughout the Arab world. That victory brought hope to many Israelis that, with the leverage made possible by its conquest of Arab lands, and Israeli withdrawal could be exchanged for a permanent peace agreement with its Arab neighbors. Congress, however, has it made clear in a bipartisan fashion that the most important part of the occupied territories is not subject to negotiation.

Given the centrality of Jerusalem to any comprehensive peace settlement, U.S. policy has made it extremely difficult for a lasting peace settlement to be implemented. As Rep. Price observed, “the only thing likely to fully guarantee Jerusalem as the permanent capital of Israel is the official, international recognition of Israel's neighbors and the entire international community -- and this recognition is unlikely so long as Palestinian claims to their own capital and sacred city are denied.”

What the U.S. Public Thinks
Public opinion polls in the United States show that, unlike most of their congressional representatives, a sizable majority of Americans supports a shared Jerusalem. And fortunately, despite the backing of both the Republican and Democratic leadership, there have been signs that this dangerous and reactionary policy initiative is not universally supported within Congress either. Julie Schumacher Cohen of Churches for Middle East Peace observed that the failure of the resolution to get more than fourteen co-sponsors and the avoidance of a roll call vote “may reflect a lack of confidence in the outcome of such a vote and Congressional weariness with resolutions like these that do not help move the peace process forward and undermine U.S. diplomatic efforts.” Similar resolutions regarding Jerusalem passed by Congress in previous years received even greater bipartisan support.

There is more at stake here than Israeli-Palestinian peace. It is very dangerous, in this era of American military dominance, for such a large majority of Congress to go on record challenging the principles enshrined in the UN Charter that international boundaries be recognized on the basis of law, not the force of arms.

The American public must not allow the Democratic Party, given control of Congress by the voters last November, to squander its mandate by supporting resolutions that not only undermine the rights of Palestinians and the long-term security interests of Israel and the United States, but also undermine important and longstanding principles of international law.


Stephen Zunes is Middle East editor for Foreign Policy in Focus. He is a professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco and the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003.)

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U.S. condemns forced eviction of Tamils
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/06/08/asia/AS-GEN-Sri-Lanka-US.php

U.S. condemns forced eviction of Tamils
The Associated PressPublished:

June 8, 2007 COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: The United States on Friday condemned the eviction of ethnic minority Tamil civilians from Sri Lanka's capital, a day after police expelled more than 300 Tamils over security concerns. "We call upon the Sri Lankan government to stop the forcible removal of its citizen from Colombo," said a U.S. Embassy statement that also urged the government to make public the destinations of those removed and ensure their safety and well-being.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Rabbi's on Israeli occupation

A Rabbinic Guide to 40 Years of Occupation
The new Israel was larger but not safer, victorious but not secure.
— Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf


Peace is an outcome of Justice. Several Rabbi's have touched on the subject in the following summary by Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace. I would urge you to read each one of the link by the 10 writers below. Eight Rabbis, one Palestinian Christian and a Muslim have each contributed their thoughts on the eve of the 40th anniversary of occupation.

Truth ultimately triumphs. Those who harbor hate towards others may find salvation in finding out the truth, the history of Israel and Palestine...the suffering of two people, the deprivation of hope and the insecurities of survival have taken out the ability to foster goodwill and seek peace. They have passed the buck for over 4 generations and they cannot do this any more, they have to take the responsibility and bring peace. They cannot dump their problems to yet another generation.

The Jewish and Muslim communities are making all out efforts to bring peace to Israel and Palestine, however a majority of them go about living their daily lives, just as any other community. Stereo typing "all Jews" or "all Muslims" or "All xxxxxxx" must be refrained as that is the prime blockade for peace. We need to think, if each one of us wants the others to do the job, then we need to question the integrity of our own desire for peace.

If you instinctively blame one or the other, that is the first hurdle in peace making. Let peace begin with you and I. I ask you to honestly study the problem, it might open your heart and mind and give you some clarity. We need to sow the seeds of peace by removing prejudice one heart at a time.

It is just not a Jewish or a Muslim problem, it is the problem of whole humanity.

Mike Ghouse

The Rabbinic Cabinet of Brit Tzedek v'Shalom developed A Rabbinic Guide to 40 Years of Occupation for use in programming around the 40th anniversary of the Six-Day War and subsequent occupation. The collection is intended to help the American Jewish community reflect on the implications of Israel's long occupation of territory captured in 1967. As many American Jews across the country mark the 40th anniversary, this guide, comprised of reflections by rabbis, Brit Tzedek leaders, and Palestinian-Americans about the impact of the occupation can help frame the discussions across the country. The rabbinic guide also includes a number of resources, including a detailed chronology of the occupation and a list of ideas for congregational tours of the region.

Selected Excerpts

We Have Only to Begin by Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf. I first visited Israel in 1962. My two young sons and I stayed on the border of a Jerusalem divided; we could look into the old city but could not go there. I wondered what it might be to live in a Jewish Jerusalem, not thinking much about the many Palestinians all around me. [read more]

Recreating a Symbol of Hope By Rabbi John Friedman In 2004, a beloved graduate of my religious school came to my study to discuss a problem he was facing at his Ivy League university. Andy had always been a committed supporter of Israel, and his attachment was augmented by an emotional six-week NFTY-in-Israel experience. Now, a few years later and after a college-level Jewish Studies course on Israeli history, Andy was having trouble attending Hillel events. [read more]

Sights I Did Not Want to See; Feelings I Did Not Want to Feel by Rabbi Laurie Zimmerman A few months before the second intifada began, I traveled to Gaza. I was studying for the year in Jerusalem and wanted to see the Israeli occupation with my own eyes. I had a clear idea of what it meant for Israelis, but I wanted to try to understand what it meant for Palestinians. [read more]

Needed: A Bold Response to Four Decades of Israeli Control of the West Bank by Rabbi Herbert Bronstein. As an American rabbi,I can’t help but feel that the occupation’s effect on American Jewry,our refusal to conduct a real dialogue, is among its most disturbing consequences. Criticism of Israeli policies – even when it arises from a Judaically-informed conscience – has been forcefully muted,and groups which endeavor to join pro-Israel stances with a social consciousness have been marginalized. Even in rabbinic organizations, discussions of these issues is often out-of-bounds. [read more]

It Doesn't Have to Be This Way by Saffiya Shillo Just before the 1967 war, my uncle arrived from the West Bank to my family's Chicago home. He came to America to earn money for the wife and five children he had left behind, to give them a better life. Life was very difficult, he said. There was a sense of impending doom looming over our people since the 1948 Al-Nakba ("the catastrophe" in Arabic). [read more]

How Long Are We Going to Get Banners and Trumpets? By Rabbi Joey Wolf In this passage from Jeremiah (4:21),the prophet laments the way the people flaunted the symbols of victory. In his mind, they celebrated a success that raised as many doubts as it brought vindication. In this sense, flattery and self-congratulation stand in the way of wisdom. [read more]

40 Years of Deepening Spiritual Disorders: Can We Heal Them? by Rabbi Arthur Waskow There are two profound spiritual disorders that underlie the stubborn and self-destructive attachment of Israel to the 40-year occupation of the West Bank,Gaza,and the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, and the similar attachment of some Palestinians to the use of violence to resist the occupation. [read more]

A Moment When We Learned How to Hope by Carinne Luck I went with my mum to see a play recently. The play, Journey's End, is set in the trenches during WWI and presents the lives of a British company of soldiers living there, as they struggle with the inanity and insanities of war and share dreams for a future they know they will not see. The play is loud -- the last three minutes consist of shelling sounds as the lights on the stage go down -- and we know that the soldier-actors who have become our friends have not survived. [read more]

Palestinians and Israelis Must "Go Back to the Future" by Ray HananiaThe 1967 war is more than just a bad memory. For Palestinians, it's a benchmark that only reminds us that things continue to worsen, amemory that only feeds feelings of anguish and hatred and fuels the drive for revenge and vengeance. It's a mental quagmire that cannot be resolved,a Gordian Knot that cannot be unraveled. For Arabs, moreover,the 1967 War is not just about occupation of Palestinian lands – it's about the humiliation of being so firmly defeated by a state believed weak and transitory. [read more]

40 Years After the Six-Day War: The Enduring Legacy of the Seventh Day by Steven David MastersConventional wisdom has it that Israelis were slow to see this truth,and that in the heady days following the Six-Day War, only triumphant voices were heard, celebrating the lightning-fast vanquishing of surrounding Arab armies and conquest of Palestinian land. For Israeli society as a whole this may have been true, but it was not so for many of the very conquerors themselves, the combatants who fought and won the war. [read more]

Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, The Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace11 E. Adams Street, Suite 707Chicago, IL 60603Phone: (312) 341-1205Fax: (312) 341-1206 http://www.btvshalom.org/

Israeli - Palestinian conflict

Looking Back on 40 Years of Occupation

Three items:

1) Looking back on 40 years of occupation
2) Dallas Demonstrations on 40 years of occupation
3) About Christ Hodges.

We are introducing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a topic in the forum, because, I believe the crux of the problem in the Middle East emanated from this conflict. And it is in the interest of the Israelis, the Palestinians and the world to bring about a solution to this issue. Shame on the Israeli and Palestinian leadership, they have developed the habit of passing the problems on to the next generation, they have done this for four generations and still unabashedly they want to dump the problem on to the next.

If they spend their energy on building goodwill, it would have been more productive than otherwise. I am writing a piece on finding solutions to this conflict; hope to get it out in the next few weeks and discuss further for the progress.

If the Israelis and the Palestinians can learn to see each other’s point of view with a measure of sincerity, we can hope to take the next step.

We will be presenting a series of articles on the subject for each one of the reader to reflect upon. Open dialogue is the hallmark of civility.

Mike Ghouse
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Looking Back on 40 Years of Occupation

By Chris Hedges
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070603_looking_back_on_40_years_of_occupation/
Israel captured and occupied the Gaza Strip and the West Bank 40 years ago this week. The victory was celebrated as a great triumph, at once tripling the size of the land under Israeli control, including East Jerusalem. It was, however, a Pyrrhic victory. As the occupation stretched over the decades, it transformed and deformed Israeli society. It led Israel to abandon the norms and practices of a democratic society until, in the name of national security; it began to routinely accept the brutal violence of occupation and open discrimination and abuse of Palestinians, including the torture of prisoners and collective reprisals for Palestinians attacks. Palestinian neighborhoods, olive groves and villages were, in the name of national security, bulldozed into the ground.

Israel’s image has shifted from that of a heroic, open society set amid a sea of despotic regimes to that of an international pariah. Israel’s West Bank separation barrier, built ostensibly to keep out Palestinian bombers, has also been used to swallow huge tracts of the West Bank into Israel. Palestinian towns are ringed by Israeli checkpoints. Major roads in the West Bank are reserved for Israeli settlers. The U.N. estimates that about half the West Bank is now off-limits to Palestinians. And every week there are new reports of Palestinian produce that is held up until it rots, pregnant women giving birth in cars because they cannot get to hospitals, and even senseless and avoidable deaths, such as one young woman who died recently when she couldn’t get through a checkpoint to her kidney dialysis treatment.

"We are raising commanders who are policemen,” former Israeli General Amiram Levine told the newspaper Maariv. “We ask them to excel at the checkpoint. What does it means to excel at the checkpoint? It means being enough of a bastard to delay a pregnant woman from getting to the hospital.”

The occupation was benign at the beginning. Israelis crossed into Palestinian territory to buy cheap vegetables, eat at local restaurants, spend the weekend in the desert oasis of Jericho and get their cars fixed. The Palestinians were a pool of cheap labor and by the mid-1980s, 40 percent of the Palestinian workforce was employed in Israel. The Palestinians flowed over the border to the shops and beaches of Tel Aviv. But the second-class status of Palestinians, growing repression by Israeli authorities in the West Bank and Gaza and festering poverty saw Palestinians, most of them too young to remember the moment of occupation, rise up in December 1987 to launch six years of street protests. The uprising eventually led to a peace accord between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization led by Yasir Arafat. Arafat, who had spent most of his life in exile, returned in triumph to Gaza.

The Oslo Accords that followed momentarily heralded a new era, a moment of hope. I was in Gaza when they were signed. The Gaza Strip was awash in a giddy optimism. Palestinian businessmen who had made their fortunes abroad returned to help build the new Palestinian state. The radical Islamists seemed to shrink away. Palestinian women threw off their head scarves and beauty salons sprouted on city streets. There was a brief and shining sense that life could be normal, free from strife and violence, that finally Palestinians had a future. But it all swiftly turned sour. The 1995 assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, coupled with mounting draconian restrictions on Palestinians to prevent them from entering Israel and keep them in submission, led to another uprising in 2000. This one, which I also covered for The New York Times, was far more violent. This latest uprising has led to the deaths of more than 4,300 Palestinians and 1,100 Israelis. It ushered in an Israeli policy that saw Jewish settlers relocated from Gaza. Gaza was then sealed off like a vast prison. Israel also began to build a security barrier—at a cost of about $ 1 million per mile—in the West Bank. When it is done, the barrier is expected to incorporate 40 percent of Palestinian land into the Israeli state.
Israeli air strikes have, over the past year, decimated the infrastructure in Gaza, destroying bridges, power stations and civilian administration buildings. The breakdown in law and order, coupled with the growing desperation in Gaza, has triggered an internecine conflict between Hamas and Fatah. There are some 200 Palestinians who have died in clashes and street fighting between the two factions during the past year—more than one-third of those killed by Israel during the same period.

The Israeli abuses have been well documented, not only by international human rights organizations, but Israeli human rights groups such as B’Tselem. On June 4, 2007, Amnesty International released a new 45-page report called “Enduring Occupation: Palestinians Under Siege in the West Bank,” which again illustrates the devastating impact of four decades of Israeli military occupation. The report documents the relentless expansion of unlawful settlements on occupied land. It details the ways Israel has seized or denied crucial resources, such as water, to Palestinians under occupation. It documents a plethora of measures that confine Palestinians to fragmented enclaves and hinder their access to work, health and education facilities. These measures include the 700-kilometer barrier or wall, more than 500 checkpoints and blockades, and a complicated system of permits to heavily restrict movement.

"Palestinians living in the West Bank are blocked at every turn. This is not simply an inconvenience—it can be a matter of life or death. It is unacceptable that women in labor, sick children, or victims of accidents on their way to hospital should be forced to take long detours and face delays which can cost them their lives,” said Malcolm Smart, director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Program.

"International action is urgently needed to address the widespread human rights abuses being committed under the occupation, and which are fueling resentment and despair among a predominantly young and increasingly radicalized Palestinian population,” said Smart. “For 40 years, the international community has failed to adequately address the Israeli-Palestinian problem; it cannot, must not, wait another 40 years to do so.”

Of Gaza’s 1.4 million residents, a staggering 1.1 million now depend on outside food assistance. The World Food Program has identified Gaza as one of the world’s hunger global hot spots. The WFP is a principal food aid provider to Palestinians, providing assistance to 640,000 Palestinians, more than a third of them in Gaza.

The desperation—with young men unable to find work, travel outside the Gaza Strip or West Bank and forced to sleep 10 to a room in concrete hovels without running water—has empowered the Islamic radicals. The desperation has led the Palestinian population, once one of the most secular in the Middle East, to turn to radical fundamentalism. The more pressure and violence Israel employs, the more these radicals are empowered.

The Israeli lobby in the United States is captive to the far right of Israeli politics. It exerts influence not on behalf of the Jewish state but an ideological strain within Israel that believes it can crush Palestinian aspirations through force. The self-defeating policies of the Bush administration are mirrored in the self-defeating policies championed by the hard-right administration of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. Israel flouts international law and dismisses Security Council resolutions to respect the integrity of Palestinian territory. It has instead trapped Palestinians in squalid, barricaded ghettos where they barely survive.

It is not in Israel’s interest—or our own—to continue to fuel increased Palestinian strife and rising militancy. Economic sanctions and an arms ban against Israel are our last hope. These were the tools that toppled the apartheid regime in South Africa. And it was, after all, the sanctions imposed by the first President Bush—he suspended $10 billion of loan guarantees for resettling Russian immigrants in Israel—that prodded right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir to attend peace talks in Madrid.

A trade embargo—even if imposed only by European states—would be a start. It is outside pressure that can alone halt the inexorable slide into a conflict that could become regional. And a new regional conflict with Israel could spell the end of the Zionist experiment in the Middle East. It may be quixotic, perhaps even impossible, but it is the last measure left to save Israel from itself.

Chris Hedges is a veteran journalist and former Mideast bureau chief for The New York Times. His most recent book is “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America.”
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Dallas Demonstrates Against
40 Years of Occupation
June 11, 2007 - 4:00-6:00 p.m.
Ferris Plaza, Houston & Young Sts.

Kathy Kelly, of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, will join the Dallas Chapter of Women In Black to demonstrate against 40 years of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The action will include display of an 800-foot banner cataloguing the U.N. resolutions violated by Israel in its treatment of the Palestinian people. Everyone is invited to join in this call for justice.

Dallas Peace Center
4301 Bryan St., #202, Dallas, TX 75204
214-823-7793
admin@dallaspeacecenter.org
http://www.dallaspeacecenter.org/

We honor and support venues that promote constructive and respectful exchange between invited speakers and their audience. Views and opinions expressed at programs sponsored by the Dallas Peace Center are not necessarily those of the Center. Most importantly we strive for thoughts and actions that promote peace and justice in the world.

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About Chris Hodges
http://www.truthdig.com/about/staff/70
Chris Hedges, Columnist


Chris Hedges, currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and a Lecturer in the Council of the Humanities and the Anschutz Distinguished Fellow at Princeton University, spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. Hedges, who has reported from more than 50 countries, worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, where he spent fifteen years. He is the author of the best selling “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” which draws on his experiences in various conflicts to describe the patterns and behavior of nations and individuals in wartime. The book, a finalist for The National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, was described by Abraham Verghese, who reviewed the book for The New York Times, as “...a brilliant, thoughtful, timely and unsettling book whose greatest merit is that it will rattle jingoists, pacifists, moralists, nihilists, politicians and professional soldiers equally.”

Hedges was part of the New York Times team that won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism and he received the 2002 Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights Journalism. He published his most recent book, “Losing Moses on the Freeway: The 10 Commandments in America” in June 2005. The book, inspired by the Polish filmmaker Krysztof Kieslowski’s series The Decalogue, follows people, including the author, whose lives have been consumed by one of the violations or issues raised by a commandment. The Christian Century said of the book: “Far from the grandstanding around stone tablets in front of an Alabama courthouse comes Losing Moses on the Freeway, a refreshing reflection on the ten great Mosaic laws that is muted yet monumental in its own right.” Hedges is also the author of “What Every Person Should Know About War,” a book he worked on with several combat veterans. Robert Pinsky, reviewing this book in The New York Times, called the book “...arresting, peculiar” and “significant.” “Neither jingoistic nor pacifist,” Pinsky wrote, “the book is about the moral authority of information, as it applies to the present and future nature of war.” Hedges will publish a book on the Christian right, a movement which he has criticized, with The Free Press in January 2007.

Hedges, who speaks Arabic and spent seven years in the Middle East, most of them as the Middle East Bureau Chief for The New York Times, was an early and vocal critic of the plan to invade and occupy Iraq. He questioned the rationale for war by the Bush administration and was often critical of the early press coverage, calling it “shameful cheerleading.” Hedges delivered a 2003 Commencement address at Rockford College in Rockford, Ill. shortly after President Bush landed with great fanfare on an aircraft carrier in which he told the graduating class “we are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige, power and security.” He added: “This is a war of liberation in Iraq, but it is a war of liberation by Iraqis from American occupation.” Hedges raised the ire of several hundred members of the audiance who booed and jeered his talk. His microphone was cut twice and two young men rushed the stage to try and prevent him from speaking. Hedges had to cut short his address and was escorted off campus by security officials before the ceremony was over. His address made national news and saw numerous attacks against him by right-wing pundits including an editorial in The Wall Street Journal denouncing Hedges for his anti-war stance. The New York Times issued Hedges a formal reprimand after the address for “public remarks that could undermine public trust in the paper’s impartiality.” Hedges left the paper not long after this incident to writebooks and teach.

Hedges, who is not a pacifist and supports humanitarian interventions, such as those in Bosnia and Kosovo designed to stop campaigns of genocide, nevertheless describes war as “the most potent narcotic invented by humankind.” He argues that violence has a dark fascination, something the Bible calls “the lust of the eye.” He writes that war is the pornography of violence, that “it has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque.” “War,” he writes, “gives us a distorted sense of self. It gives us meaning. It creates a feeling of comradeship that obliterates our alienation and makes us feel, for perhaps the first time in our lives, that we belong.” War, Hedges wrote, exposes the capacity for evil that lurks not far below the surface within all of us. We are all culpable. War is about worshipping the death instinct, which Hedges, quoting Freud, refers to as Thanatos, the Greek God of death. War, he argues, starts out looking and feling like love, the chief emotion war destroys, leads to the annihilation of the other and finally to self-annihilation. War, he writes, is as close as we come to attaining a state of almost pure sin with its goals of hatred and destruction. His book draws heavily from his own experience and the literature of combat from Homer to Michael Herr.

Hedges, strongly influenced by writers such as George Orwell, Samuel Johnson, Karl Popper, Hannah Arendt, Elias Canetti and the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, began his career reporting on the conflict in El Salvador in 1983. He went to Latin America, ruled at the time by a series of despotic military regimes, following seminary because, as he said, “it was as close as my generation could come to fighting fascism.” Following six years in Latin America he took time off to study Arabic and then went to Jerusalem and later Cairo. He left the Middle East in 1995 for Sarajevo to cover the war in Bosnia and Kosovo and later joined the investigative team of The New York Times where he was based in Paris.

“War and conflict have marked most of adult life,” he writes in “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” “I began covering insurgenices in El Salvador, where I spent five years, then on to Guatemala and Nicaragua and Colombia, through the first intifada in the West Bank and Gaza, the civil war in the Sudan and Yemen, the uprisings in Algeria and the Punjab, the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, the Gulf War, the Kurdish rebellion in southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, the war in Bosnia, and finally Kosovo. I have been in ambushes on despolate streteches of Central American roads, shot at in the marshes of southern Iraq, imprisoned in the Sudan, beaten by Saudi military police, deported from Libya and Iran, captured and held for a week by the Iraqi Republican Guard during the Shiite rebellion following the Gulf War, strafed by Russian Mig-21s in Bosnia, fired upon by Serb snipers, and shelled for days in Sarajevo with deafening rounds of heavy artillery that threw out thousands of deadly bits of iron fragments. I have seen too much of violent death. I have tasted too much of my own fear. I have painful memories that lie buried and untouched most of the time. It is never easy when they surface.”

Hedges, the son of a Presbyterian minister, has a B.A. in English Literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity from Harvard University. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard during the academic year of 1998-1999. He has a strong grounding in the classics and knows Greek and Latin, as well as Arabic, French and Spanish. He currently writes for numerous publications including Foreign Affairs, Harper’s magazine, The New York Review of Books, Granta and Mother Jones. (From Wikipedia)
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