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Things changed for me in 2008, and I switched to writing at www.TheGhousediary.com or TheGhousediary.blogspot.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Giant Leap for Pakistan

THAT'S ONE SMALL STEP FOR A CHILD, A GIANT LEAP FOR PAKISTAN.

Shehzad Roy Presents "Ek Shaam Zindagi Trust ke Naam"

Date: Saturday, May 9 at
Time: 7:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Place: Double Tree Hotel,
4099 Valley View Lane, Dallas, TX 75244
Tickets: FunAsia in Richardson
Online Tickets: http://zindagitrustdallas.eventbrite.com/
Call 214-529-5790 or 214-529-5790

Mike Ghouse

Dallas, Texas – April 22, 2009: Shehzad Roy, renowned Pakistani pop singer and philanthropist has taken the initiative to facilitate a change in Pakistan through education for every Pakistani child. “That’s one small step for a child; a giant leap for Pakistan" just as Neil Armstrong stepped on moon at 2:56 on July 21, 1969 and made that famous statement, “that's one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind".

The world is not the same since then: we have witnessed the emergence of information technology and electronic communications changing the way we live today.

However, statistics show that millions of Pakistani children are deprived of the basic necessities of life and have to fend for themselves. They are forced to handle the responsibilities of adults before their minds and bodies mature, thus robbing them of their childhood. More than 50% of the population is illiterate and millions below the age of 15 are trapped in child labor to support their families.

Zindagi Trust was established by Shehzad Roy in March 2002 with the vision of providing quality education to the underprivileged-working children of Pakistan, thus consciously creating a civil society to live and let live. It is a non-profit 501 [c] 3 organization. Its purpose is to research and find solutions pertaining to Child Labor, Mother Child Health Care, and Women’s' /Girls' Education issues in Pakistan.

Shehzad Roy’s brainchild, Zindagi Trust, has started an innovative program to eliminate child labor in Pakistan. The “I am paid to learn” program takes working children off the streets and pays them to go to school. Since its inception, 34 schools are in operation with 5300 students supported. “Be my buddy” program was created to sponsor the educational expenses of an assigned Zindagi trust student. For those who want to serve on a larger altruistic level, they can Sponsor a School. Please visit the website www.Zindagitrust.org for details.

As Americans, we could become a catalyst for a positive change by laying foundations for great societies based on education, understanding and cooperation. Our investment in education would yield far greater results in a generation or two than the monies poured into short-term non-sustainable results. It is a change every one dreams about.

Please join Shehzad Roy by participating and supporting the change that you want to make happen for Pakistan.

Roy’s fundraiser will be held on May 9th at the DoubleTree Hotel Dallas (Galleria) at 7pm. Tickets are $75.00 per person and are available on-line at http://zindagitrustdallas.eventbrite.com/

For more information about the trust, or to make a donation, visit http://www/zindagitrust.org

Please call 214-529-5790 or 214-325-1916 for tickets, sponsorship or purchase of VIP Tables.
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Short messages for websites and Radio:

Spot # 4

Hi, I am Shehzad Roy, Chairman of Zindagi Trust, and I am pleased to invite you to join me in learning about the innovative programs to remove illiteracy and child Labor from Pakistan. Our “I am paid to learn” takes working children off the streets and pays them to go to school. Since its inception, 34 schools are in operation with 5300 students supported. “Be my buddy” program was created to sponsor the educational expenses of an assigned Zindagi trust student. For those who want to serve on a larger altruistic level, they can Sponsor a School. Please visit the website www.Zindagitrust.org for details.

Shehzad Roy presents “Ek Shaam Zindagi Trust ke Naam” at 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 9th at Double Tree Hotel on LBJ at Midway. Oh yes, the pop Singer will perform as well. Tickets are available at the site www.Zindagitrust.org or you can call 214-529-5790 or 214-529-5790 or 214-325-1916 for sponsorship and VIP Tickets.

Please purchase your ticket from FunAsia, our exclusive Media partner in promoting this event. You can also call 214-529-5790 or 214-325-1916 for sponsorship and VIP Tickets.

Spot # 1

When Neil Armstrong stepped on moon on July 21, 1969 he made that famous statement. “That’s one small step for a man; a giant step for the mankind” Likewise, Shehzad Roy, renowned Pakistani pop singer and philanthropist has taken the initiative to facilitate a change in Pakistan through education for every Pakistani child. “That’s one small step for a child; a giant leap for Pakistan"

Shehzad Roy’s Zindagi Trust has started an innovative program to eliminate child labor in Pakistan. The “I am paid to learn” program takes working children off the streets and pays them to go to school.

Shehzad Roy presents “Ek Shaam Zindagi Trust ke Naam” at 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 9th at Double Tree Hotel on LBJ at Midway. Oh yes, the pop Singer will perform as well. Tickets are available at the site www.Zindagitrust.org or you can call 214-529-5790 or 214-529-5790 or 214-325-1916 for sponsorship and VIP Tickets.

Online purchase - http://zindagitrustdallas.eventbrite.com/

Spot # 2

Shehzad Roy’s brainchild, Zindagi Trust, has started an innovative program to eliminate child labor in Pakistan. The “I am paid to learn” program takes working children off the streets and pays them to go to school. Since its inception, 34 schools are in operation with 5300 students supported. “Be my buddy” program was created to sponsor the educational expenses of an assigned Zindagi trust student. For those who want to serve on a larger altruistic level, they can Sponsor a School. Please visit the website www.Zindagitrust.org for details.

Shehzad Roy presents “Ek Shaam Zindagi Trust ke Naam” at 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 9th at Double Tree Hotel on LBJ at Midway. Oh yes, the pop Singer will perform as well. Tickets are available at the site www.Zindagitrust.org or you can call 214-529-5790 or 214-529-5790 or 214-325-1916 for sponsorship and VIP Tickets.

Spot # 3

Shehzad Roy is breaking the cycle of child labor in Pakistan by opening urban schools in poor areas through the Zindagi Trust. Zindagi Trust is currently educating 2300 students and needs your support to continue making an impact in the lives of the underprivileged.

Hear more about his effort to eradicate illiteracy by attending the Fundraiser, Concert & Dinner on May 9th!

Shehzad Roy presents “Ek Shaam Zindagi Trust ke Naam” at 7:00 PM on Saturday, May 9th at Double Tree Hotel on LBJ at Midway. Oh yes, the pop Singer will perform as well. Tickets are available at the site www.Zindagitrust.org or you can call 214-529-5790 or 214-529-5790 or 214-325-1916 for sponsorship and VIP Tickets.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Mike Ghouse Honored by RCC


RELIGION COMMUNICATORS COUNCIL HONORS THREE DALLASITES.

Mike Ghouse accepts the recognition with humility.

Mike's 5 Minutes Speech at the event

I want to thank the Religion Communicators council and Ms. Slater in whose husband’s name this recognition was initiated in 1929. I appreciate my friends for their support; particularly I want to thank Bill and Norma Matthews, Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk and John Shore with their presence. And I am pleased to congratulate the other two individuals who are recognized today;
- Religion Communicator of the year goes to a church or a religious organization or a person in such an organization effectively communicating faith values. (This year's awardee is Larry James, Central Dallas Ministries)

- Communicator of the year is given to a secular/media organization or a person in such an organization that effectively communicates faith values. (This year's awardee is Mike Ghouse)

- Lifetime Communicator of the year is presented to a person whose lifetime career has effectively communicated faith values. (This year's awardee is John Lovelace) http://www.rcc-dfw.org/awards.html

Thank ya’ll again.
Living a Safe and Peaceful life is my responsibility, your responsibility and every one’s responsibility.

You cannot be safe as an individual or a nation when others around are not. It becomes our duty to consciously create better societies to live and let live.

Communication is the key for a successful relationship between family members, friends, associates, co-workers, and even an event like this. It is important to communicate the right message be it your business or world peace or religion.

So what is our role as religious communicators? I believe it is to mitigate the conflicts and nurture goodwill for peaceful co-existence of every one, indeed it is the un-stated purpose of religion, any religion; it is to mitigate conflicts and nurture goodwill among different peoples and nations.

Life and matter is about balance; every thing that came out of the big bang theory or through intentional creation seeks its own balance. Everything be it matter or life, has a built-in mechanism to seeks its own balance.

When it comes to matter, there is something that keeps the planets circumambulating around the Sun, that there is something that keeps the stars hung in a place. There is something that keeps the earth have its own precise balance. They are all put on a trajectory, they don’t have to think or work for the balance. Do we have a precise word to describe that 'something', for the sake of convenience and for a greater acceptance, can we call that 'something' a God?

Unlike the matter, human life was not put on a trajectory; we were not put on a plan to circumambulate around something, or hung in one place. We were given the freedom to create our own balance. Whether we believe in God or not, we still seek that balance.

Friends, God loves his creation just as each one of us loves what we create, be it the food we cook, the clothes we wear, the paintings we paint or sculptures we sculpt.

It is the love of the creator that gave each one of us, each community, each nation and each tribe a “formula” to live in peace within ourselves and with what surround us. He, she or it communicated that formula through the spiritual masters in the form of scriptures like Torah, Bible, Quran, Bhagvad Gita, Avesta and other scriptures including the oral traditions. Please remember, God has reached to every one of us and has offered that formula – to seek a balance for ourselves and a balance for what surrounds us; life and the environment.

God is about love, kindness and justice.

Hate is one of the few sources of disrupting peace in a society and it is our duty to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it. We have an obligation to maintain a balance in the society for our own individual good.

In your solitude, it is you who personally feels the anxiety, apprehension, fears or the joys of life for the actions you take in your life. Your Pastor, Pundit, Rabbi, Imam or Clergy are not responsible for it, even if they were; it is you who has to live with yourselves, so finding the truth is your own responsibility.

Prophet Muhammad once said to his associates that if some one uploads you with words that will cause you to have ill-will, malice, hate, anger towards other beings, you have to investigate before you believe, you should do your best to live a regret free life, you should not hate or pre-judge negatively any one without finding the truth.

We lose that balance when we let hate mongers, hate sermons and hate lectures creep in our societies, much of it is product of insecure men and it breeds arrogance. Arrogance that my way of life is superior or my religion is the only way to heaven. Arrogance is the source of most of the conflicts and much of the evil.

I am a Muslim and Islam works for me, just as Christianity works for you, Judaism works for you, Hinduism or other faiths work for you. And further I am humbled to say that my religion is not superior to others, that claim would be a sheer arrogance. There is a beautiful chapter in Qur’aan about it. http://quraan-today.blogspot.com/2008/07/sura-kafirun-un-believers.html

As religious communicators we need to explore and communicate that God has not signed up a deal with any religion behind our back, he just cannot do that. Let’s honor every tradition and faith whether they believe in one, multiple or no God. The essence of the creator and causer of the universe does not change with our beliefs.

Let’s learn to accept the otherness of other and respect the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.

Thank you.
Pictures from the event are at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mikeghouse/sets/72157616859531207/show/

BIO OF MIKE GHOUSE
Mike Ghouse is a Speaker, Thinker and a Writer.

He is a frequent guest on talk radio and local television network discussing Pluralism, interfaith, Islam, India, Multiculturism, Terrorism, Peace, Politics and Civic issues. He co-chairs the center for interfaith inquiry of the Memnosyne Foundation and presides the Foundation for Pluralism. He is the president of World Muslim Congress a think tank with a simple theme: Good for Muslims and good for the world and vice-Versa.

His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Web sites and Blogs listed at his personal web site http://www.mikeghouse.net/ . He has authored over 600 articles on Pluralism, interfaith, Islam, India and peace.

His life mission is to open people’s hearts and minds towards fellow beings by mitigating conflicts and nurturing goodwill. He is a peace maker and an educator with two Master degrees and working on his doctorate in Psychology. He has two books on the horizon ; Basic Islam- everything you want to know about Islam and Pluralism, a text book on Pluralism 101. Mike is a Neighborhood Commissioner at the City of Carrollton, and a Board Member of Dallas Peace Center. He is an Ambassador for Peace for the Universal Peace Federation and a member of the International leadership council. He has initiated the annual events like the Annual Thanksgiving Celebrations in its 12th year, Unity Day USA in its 5th year, Holocaust and Genocides, event just finished its 2nd Annual event. Mike Ghouse Cricket Gold cup and several other initiatives were taken. He was Past President of Indian Creek HOA and North Texas Cricket Association and has been a member of several Boards.

Mike is a Dallasite for three decades and Carrollton is his home town.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mike Ghouse Honored

Norvell Slater Annual Awards
Mike Ghouse receives the special award
http://www.rcc-dfw.org/awards.html

Dallas - Fort Worth Chapter
2009 Awards Luncheon will be held April 16, 2009
Honoring work done in 2008!

The Norvell Slater Communications Awards were established in 1996 in honor of the late Norvell Slater. Mr. Slater was an outstanding radio broadcaster whose career spanned 60+ years in the radio broadcast field. He was heard on the radio in the Dallas/Fort Worth area since the earliest days of broadcasting here. He was one the stars on the very popular Early Birds Radio program in the 1930s and 1940s and was responsible for several WFAA-TV programs in the beginning years of television broadcasting. For more than 40 of those years, he was host of the program "Hymns We Love," which featured a wide repertoire of hymns and religious music.

Mr. Slater was a charter member of the Dallas Chapter of the Religious Public Relations Council (now known as the Religion Communicators Council). He was an able communicator of the values of faith through his love of music and for the Church and was able to do this in both secular and religious media. The Norvell Slater Awards recognize individuals or organizations that follow his example of communicating faith values.

Norvell Slater's sister Estelle was a large part of her brother's ministry for many years. Pictured at right, with Chapter President Cherrie Graham, Estelle has been an honored guest at many of our luncheons.

Three Awards will be given for work done in 2008

Three Slater Awards are presented annually to honor outstanding achievement in communication of faith values through the media in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

- Religion Communicator of the year goes to a church or a religious organization or a person in such an organization effectively communicating faith values. (This year's awardee is Larry James, Central Dallas Ministries)

- Commercial Communicator of the year is given to a secular/commercial media organization or a person in such an organization that effectively communicates faith values. (This year's awardee is Mike Ghouse)

- Lifetime Communicator of the year is presented to a person whose lifetime career has effectively communicated faith values. (This year's awardee is John Lovelace)

The awards are presented at a luncheon in early spring for work done the previous year. A committee made up of chapter members chooses the awardees. Chapter members are encouraged to make nominations for any or all of the three categories

Can US Pressure Israel?

Can the United States put pressure on Israel?
http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2009/04/can-us-pressure-israel.html

The lobbyist, the Congressmen, the Senators and the past US Administrations have never considered what the people of Israel and Palestine really want?

They want peace; living their daily lives without apprehensions, fears and tensions. It is time to facilitate and work for those goals. The bullies like Bush and Netanyahu have consistently worked against those goals to please a few who applaud them as 'strong leaders'. Strong leaders my foot, their policies have done more destruction and killing than bring peace, they are truly anti-Israel along with those Senators, congressmen and the lobbyist.

The Native American Indians geared their actions with results to the 7th generation on their mind. If Netanyahu can think about the Israeli children 50 years from now, he will do the right thing; his sycophants need to think in those terms as well. I hope this man changes his attitude and adopts the goals of peace and do everything to achieve that.

The Americans have been duped with the policies in the past that believed in “annihilating and subjugating' others to have peace. It has not worked and will not work, we need to wake up and respect every one's space. We cannot have peace unless others have it too. We must learn to accept and respect individual's right to exist, rights for his identity, and rights for his space. We have to learn to co-exist for a sustainable peace for the children of Israel and Palestine for now and fifty years from now.

Justice and fairness for one and all will bring peace, durability and sustainability.

Thank you Hasni Essa for sharing the following Peace

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

Mike Ghouse is a Dallas based writer, blogger, speaker and a thinker. A frequent guest on talk radio and local television networks offering pluralistic perspectives on issues of the day. His comments, news analysis and columns can be found on the Websites and Blogs listed at his personal website.
# #

Can the United States put pressure on Israel?

A user's guide Fri, 04/10/2009 - 6:18pm

Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Barack Obama have all publicly stated that the United States seeks a "two-state" solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In other words, the United States supports the creation of a viable Palestinian state in virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza. The new Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu opposes this goal, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has already said that he does not think Israel is bound by its recent commitments on this issue.

To advance its own interests, therefore, the United States will have to pursue a more even-handed policy than it has in the past, and put strong pressure on both sides to come to an agreement. Instead of the current "special relationship" -- where the U.S. gives Israel generous and nearly-unconditional support -- the United States and Israel would have a more normal relationship, akin to U.S. relations with other democracies (where public criticism and overt pressure sometimes occurs). While still committed to Israel’s security, the United States would use the leverage at its disposal to make a two-state solution a reality.

This idea appears to be gaining ground. Several weeks ago, a bipartisan panel of distinguished foreign policy experts headed by Henry Siegman and Brent Scowcroft issued a thoughtful report calling for the Obama administration to “engage in prompt, sustained, and determined efforts to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Success, they noted, "will require a careful blend of persuasion, inducement, reward, and pressure..." Last week, the Economist called for the United States to reduce its aid to Israel if the Netanyahu government continues to reject a two-state solution. The Boston Globe offered a similar view earlier this week, advising Obama to tell Netanyahu "to take the steps necessary for peace or risk compromising Israel's special relationship with America." A few days ago, Ha’aretz reported that the Obama Administration was preparing Congressional leaders for a possible confrontation with the Netanyahu government.

These developments got me thinking: what might a more even-handed posture look like in practice? We already know what it means for the United States to put pressure on the Palestinians, because Washington has done that repeatedly -- and sometimes effectively -- over the past several decades. During the 1970s, for example, the United States supported King Hussein’s violent crackdown on the PLO cadres who were threatening his rule in Jordan. During the 1980s, the United States refused to recognize the PLO until it accepted Israel’s right to exist. After the outbreak of the Second Intifada, the Bush administration refused to deal with Yasser Arafat and pushed hard for his replacement. After Arafat's death, we insisted on democratic elections for a new Palestinian assembly and then rejected the results when Hamas won. The United States has also gone after charitable organizations with ties to Hamas and backed Israel’s recent campaign in Gaza. In short, the United States has rarely hesitated to use its leverage to try to shape Palestinian behavior, even if some of these efforts -- such as the inept attempt to foment a Fatah coup against Hamas in 2007 -- have backfired.


But what about pressure on Israel? The United States has only rarely put (mild) pressure on Israel in recent decades (and never for very long), even when the Israeli government was engaged in actions (such as building settlements) that the U.S. government opposed. The question is: if the Netanyahu/Lieberman government remains intransigent, what should Obama do? Are there usable sources of leverage that the United States could employ to nudge Israel away from the vision of “Greater Israel” and towards a genuine two-state solution? Here are a few ideas.

1. Cut the aid package? If you add it all up, Israel gets over $3 billion in U.S. economic and military aid each year, which works out to about $500 per Israeli citizen. There’s a lot of potential leverage here, but it’s probably not the best stick to use, at least not at first. Trying to trim or cut the aid package will trigger an open and undoubtedly ugly confrontation in Congress (where the influence of AIPAC and other hard-line groups in the Israel lobby is greatest). So that’s not where I’d start. Instead, I’d consider a few other options, such as:

2. Change the Rhetoric. The Obama administration could begin by using different language to describe certain Israeli policies. While reaffirming America’s commitment to Israel’s existence as a Jewish-majority state, it could stop referring to settlement construction as “unhelpful,” a word that makes U.S. diplomats sound timid and mealy-mouthed. Instead, we could start describing the settlements as “illegal” or as “violations of international law.” The UN Charter forbids acquisition of territory by force and the Fourth Geneva Convention bars states from transfering their populations (even if voluntarily) to areas under belligerent occupation. This is why earlier U.S. administrations described the settlements as illegal, and why the rest of the world has long regarded them in the same way. U.S. officials could even describe Israel’s occupation as “contrary to democracy,” “unwise,” “cruel,” or “unjust.” Altering the rhetoric would send a clear signal to the Israeli government and its citizens that their government’s opposition to a two-state solution was jeopardizing the special relationship.


3. Support a U.N. Resolution Condemning the Occupation. Since 1972, the United States has vetoed forty-three U.N. Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel (a number greater than the sum of all vetoes cast by the other permanent members). If the Obama administration wanted to send a clear signal that it was unhappy with Israel’s actions, it could sponsor a resolution condemning the occupation and calling for a two-state solution. Taking an active role in drafting such a measure would also ensure that it said exactly what we wanted, and avoided criticisms that we didn’t want included. 4. Downgrade existing arrangements for “strategic cooperation.” There are now a number of institutionalized arrangements for security cooperation between the Pentagon and the Israel Defense Forces and between U.S. and Israeli intelligence. The Obama administration could postpone or suspend some of these meetings, or start sending lower-grade representatives to them. There is in fact a precedent for this step: after negotiating the original agreements for a “strategic partnership,” the Reagan administration suspended them following Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. Today, such a step would surely get the attention of Israel’s security establishment.

5. Reduce U.S. purchases of Israeli military equipment. In addition to providing Israel with military assistance (some of which is then used to purchase U.S. arms), the Pentagon also buys millions of dollars of weaponry and other services from Israel’s own defense industry. Obama could instruct Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to slow or decrease these purchases, which would send an unmistakable signal that it was no longer "business-as-usual." Given the battering Israel’s economy has taken in the current global recession, this step would get noticed too.

6. Get tough with private organizations that support settlement activity. As David Ignatius recently noted in the Washington Post, many private donations to charitable organizations operating in Israel are tax-deductible in the United States, including private donations that support settlement activity. This makes no sense: it means the American taxpayer is indirectly subsidizing activities that are contrary to stated U.S. policy and that actually threaten Israel’s long-term future. Just as the United States has gone after charitable contributions flowing to terrorist organizations, the U.S. Treasury could crack down on charitable organizations (including those of some prominent Christian Zionists) that are supporting these illegal activities.

7. Place more limits on U.S. loan guarantees. The United States has provided billions of dollars of loan guarantees to Israel on several occasions, which enabled Israel to borrow money from commercial banks at lower interest rates. Back in 1992, the first Bush administration held up nearly $10 billion in guarantees until Israel agreed to halt settlement construction and attend the Madrid peace conference, and the dispute helped undermine the hard-line Likud government of Yitzhak Shamir and bring Yitzhak Rabin to power, which in turn made the historic Oslo Agreement possible.

8. Encourage other U.S. allies to use their influence too. In the past, the United States has often pressed other states to upgrade their own ties with Israel. If pressure is needed, however, the United States could try a different tack. For example, we could quietly encourage the EU not to upgrade its relations with Israel until it had agreed to end the occupation.


I don’t think Obama needs to employ all of these steps --and certainly not all at once -- but the United States clearly has plenty of options if pressure turns out to be necessary. And most of these measures could be implemented by the Executive Branch alone, thereby outflanking die-hard defenders of the special relationship in Congress. Indeed, even hinting that it was thinking about some of these measures would probably get Netanyahu to start reconsidering his position.

Most importantly, Obama and his aides will need to reach out to Israel’s supporters in the United States, and make it clear to them that pressing Israel to end the occupation is essential for Israel’s long-term survival. He will have to work with the more far-sighted elements in the pro-Israel community -- including groups like J Street, the Israel Policy Forum, Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, and others -- and make it perfectly clear that his administration is not selling Israel down the river. And yes, we are also going to have to keep pressing Hamas to moderate its positions and push the Palestinian authority to create more effective governing institutions.

The key point to grasp is that using U.S. leverage on both sides--and not just one--is not an “anti-Israel” policy, if that is what it will take to make the two-state solution a reality. It is in fact the best thing we could do for ourselves and for Israel itself. In effect, the United States would be giving Israel a choice: it can end its self-defeating occupation of Palestinian lands, actively work for a two-state solution, and thereby remain a cherished American ally. Or it can continue to expand the occupation and face a progressive loss of American support as well as the costly and corrupting burden of ruling millions of Palestinians by force.

Indeed, that is why many—though of course not all--Israelis would probably welcome a more active and evenhanded U.S. role. It was former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who said "if the two-state solution collapses, Israel will face a South-Africa style struggle for political rights." And once that happens, he warned, “the state of Israel is finished." The editor of Ha’aretz, David Landau, conveyed much the same sentiment last September when he told former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the United States should "rape" Israel in order to force a solution. Landau's phrase was shocking and offensive, but it underscored the sense of urgency felt within some segments of the Israeli body politic.

Indeed, I suspect it would not take much U.S. pressure to produce the necessary shift in Israel’s attitudes. As the recent bipartisan statement notes, "most Israelis understand and appreciate that, at the end of the day, what really matters most for Israel's security is a relationship of trust, confidence, and friendship with the U.S." If the United States believes that a two-state solution is the best option, then it will have to convey that this “trust, confidence, and friendship” can be retained if Israel changes course, but cannot be taken for granted.

A combination of a change in
by Brett on Fri, 04/10/2009 - 6:37pm

A combination of a change in rhetoric and a hold-up in the loan guarantees seems like a good idea - that way, the Israelis and their supporters here couldn't really make the argument that the US was undermining Israel's national security directly.

It's rather risky, though. The first Bush Presidency took a blow for doing the hold-up on the loans, and he had to go kiss-ass to a number of Jewish pro-Israeli groups.
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How about pressuring our Arab
by AllanGreen on Tue, 04/14/2009 - 6:31am
How about pressuring our Arab SOBs and the EU to stop funding the PA, and cut all ties to Hamas, and Hezbollah? If you want peace, that's what needs to be done. If you pressure Israel, you'll just undermine the peace process.
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think we can pressure
by David in DC on Tue, 04/14/2009 - 9:50am
I think we can pressure Israel to stop the growth of the settlement footprint. This is opposed to population growth within existing settlements, an issue I think people blow all out of proportion.

As for a two state solution, I think it is pretty clear that it won't come any time soon. I agree with Netanyahu that the best course for now is to improve the lives of the Palestinians while preparing both populations for the eventuality of a two state solution. This would mean preparing Israelis to cede some of Jerusalem, which strikes me as the biggest sticking point on their side, and preparing Palestinians to cede an absolute "right of return", the biggest sticking point on theirs, for one more symbolic - a right of return to the Palestinian homeland. Both sides would have to stop all incitement sponsored by the government and in the media.

IMO the biggest challenge to overcome is the fact that the government in Gaza puts the goal of eradicating Israel over the well-being of their population. This leads to 1) a never ending stream of incitement and hatred, and 2) a situation where they can steer events in a way which causes Israel to take measures to defend itself, which then harms the Gazans, further alienating the Palestinian (and wider Arab and Muslim) populations.

For instance, it would be good for Gazans if the borders were fully open. But as sure as night follows day, if this were the case Hamas would be importing heavier and more advanced weaponry. They would use it against Israel to the point where Israel would have no choice but to act (imagine Hamas rockets being able to reach the nuclear reactor at Dimona, or Tel Aviv, or Hamas getting 'lucky' and killing 50 kids in a school). Then we are back to another invasion with a thousand+ dead or more. Wash, rinse, repeat.

It would be nice to hear some suggestions about what to do more sophisticated than 'we should talk to them' or 'we should bomb them back to the stone age'. I don't think either prescription by itself will work. I am not opposed to talking to Hamas, but what should we do if they respond in a way consistent with their public stances and charter? Talk more? Isolate them again? What?
Should they be pressured to modify their charter and public statements? If so, what kind of pressure?

If Obama tries to pressure
by J Thomas on Fri, 04/10/2009 - 8:03pm
If Obama tries to pressure israel, israel will pressure Obama with their lobby.
So the primary battlefield here is in US public opinion. The US government should perhaps create some documentaries describing various events from israeli history.
The 1956 war, say, where israel invaded egypt intending to take and hold sinai with no particular justification except to help britain and france in their attempt to grab the suez canal, and Eisenhower made them give it back.

Perhaps host a TV documentary on the USS Liberty. What was it doing? What is the evidence that israel intended to sink it? Release various classified information....
Maybe one about the Pollard case.

And one about the US involvement in lebanon under Reagan that got so many US soldiers killed. The official reasons to do that don't make sense and there were various claims that the US military was used to pressure israel not to kill too many PLO guys. When the PLO left for tunisia our navy was specifically ordered to shoot down israeli planes or ships that tried to interfere.... There were publicised incidents of US and israeli soldiers having "shoving matches" while carrying out their nations' respective policies, and there is some evidence of the israeli army shelling US positions. There might be classified records of what actually happened; the US government could reveal them.

The extremist elements of the israeli lobby believe that israel is in a state of permanent war and that reduced US support for israel is an existential threat. They will consider any threat of reduced support as an act of war, they will not fight "fair". They must be defeated or else appeased; there is no third choice.
Without a strong attempt by the US government to influence US public opinion, the israeli lobby would inevitably win.
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What's Wrong With This Picture
by Zathras on Fri, 04/10/2009 - 8:10pm

I can commend points 2 and 6 here strongly, and a few of the others with some reservations. The program as a whole, though, won't work politically.

The reason is that the Arabs will undermine it. Arab rhetoric -- unfortunately not just the rhetoric of Palestinian factions -- will continue to present Israel's existence rather than the Jewish state's policies as the problem. The rhetoric will reflect genuine Arab public opinion, but will not be a wholly accurate representation of the policies of Arab governments and will not signify a genuine existential threat to Israel.

The problem is one familiar to anyone who has followed this issue as it is discussed in American politics. Americans will assume that Arab rhetoric is meant to be taken literally. They will of course be encouraged to think this by the Israeli government and pro-Israel groups in the United States, but Americans as a whole tend to be fairly literal about language anyway. The enormous and largely intentional gap between Arab rhetoric and the policies of Arab governments (let alone Palestinian factions) won't track with the American public or their representatives in Congress -- and the idea of a more "evenhanded" American policy toward the Middle East will fall, because the American public will never be indifferent as between Israel and those it thinks are committed to Israel's destruction.

What's wrong with this big picture, in other words, is the big picture. Changes in the American approach to the Israeli-Palestinian quarrel need to be focused tightly on specific issues, not on how friendly America should be to Israel as opposed to Israel's enemies. The specific issue central to a two-state solution is obviously the one involving Jewish settlements on the West Bank. What's wrong with the settlements is that they serve no American interest and undermine the American policy of pursuing Mideast peace through the creation of a viable Palestinian state.

Addressing the issue in these terms would be difficult enough -- political support for Israeli government policy in the United States (or at least in Washington) contains a strong reflexive element, and the settlement question is not widely understood by the public. It certainly isn't widely understood in the context of its relation to American foreign policy objectives, because no recent American administration has ever discussed settlements in this way. Tackling the settlement question directly would generate a firestorm of protest for the Obama administration. I believe, however, that this firestorm is one the administration could withstand, if it is disciplined about addressing the settlement question exclusively as a matter of pursuing American interests, not letting those be subordinated to the internal politics of a foreign country however friendly, and absolutely not presenting its policy in terms of a decision to become less close to the Israelis and more friendly to the unpredictable and unattractive Palestinian leadership and Arab governments.

Incidentally, the idea of bypassing Congressional supporters of Israel with executive orders and Pentagon procurement decisions is just foolish unless one is talking about very temporary steps intended to influence an individual negotiation. Congress has too many ways to require the executive branch to do what Congress wants it to do, and many of these can have the effect of encumbering foreign policy permanently, not just reversing an individual decision.