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

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Burqa Ban – Hannity, Gabrielle and Ghouse on Fox TV

http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/burqa-ban-hannity-gabrielle-and-ghouse.html

On Hannity Show June 29, 2010
Link on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnnGQB9tPyg

Mike Ghouse live from Nashville, Tennessee. Of course we could not get all the talking points in to the show, but you can read it.

Let's do some serious critical thinking. French commies now want to tell their people what they eat, believe, pray and WEAR? How dumb!

Don’t the French believe in liberty no more? Didn’t some French philosopher say that, even though I disagree with you, I will stand up for your rights? Where is the Frenchness in France now? They have become radicals; Talibans forces women to wear the Burqa and the French forces women no to wear, who the heck are these militants?

Would Hilary Clinton or Michelle Obama wear mini skirt to the white house? Should we consider them not progressive? If you were a woman, would you wear open cleavage blouses at work place? A few do, just like a few women wear full clothes to their place of worship. You can imagine a range of scenarios, where you will refuse to wear anything that is not comfortable to you, rightly so, particularly if some idiot tells you to, in this case the French Government.

Bridgette, would you wear the bikini on the show if Fox TV tells you? If not, why not? It is the culture, is it not? Is there anything out there in the world that is not cultural? No woman should put with that attitude any more.

Women have been oppressed throughout the ages…be it in America, China, Arabia, India or the Lamas… Afghanistan, Iran or Saudi Arabia

Talibans are bullshitting their oppression and calling it Religion, why the hell are you buying it? Why don’t you buy what Quraan guides equally to both men and women to be modest, and advises women to cover their bosoms and men to wear fuller clothing as well. Over centuries a cultural adaptation has taken several forms of head covering for the modesty and it ranges from Burqa to no Burqa. It is as cultural as what women in America wears to weddings, funerals, church, birthdays and other events.

Quraan says that men and women are each other’s catalyst in living a fuller life, they are each others respect, they are each others friends, trust, the actual words are men and women are each others garmets.

PRO-CHOICE
· Let Muslim women wear what is comfortable to them, let's be pro-choice,
· Let the woman decide what is comfortable to her.
· No one can force Hilary to wear full skirt or mini skirt, so let no one force a woman to wear what she is not comfortable with.
· Let's develop tolerance for other cultures and ways of life, let's believe in one's freedom to live the way one wants to live. Let one choose what she eats, dresses or believes.
· Let’s believe in one's freedom to live the way one wants to live.

Let THE WOMAN choose what she eats, believes or wears.

We all need to stand up for the freedom of women, and oppose intolerance in societies like France and oppression like Turkey.

Click and comment

More articles:
http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2007/07/burqa-to-no-burqa.html

50+ Facebook comments posted on June 29, 2010

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Justice, Islam, India, Peace and Civil Societies. He is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day and is a frequent guest on the media. Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Happy Fathers, Daughters and Sons day

Of course every day is father’s day, but once you have your own nucleus of a family, father’s day becomes special. My father was very special to me and I am blessed with his infinite affection to last for my life time, and I deeply feel for those who did not have one.

There are many of us out there who grew up without a father, or if we had one, he was not there for us. I feel the pain and incompleteness one feels and I extend that fatherly affection to you, even if you don’t know me, I hope you feel the energy, I am with you. You are welcome to call me to chat for a few moments. This father’s day belongs to my kids and you; you could be of any age.

God (causer/creator/she/it) has programmed us to be adaptable, what we miss in a father, we may find in a Mother, an older brother, uncle or a friend. My heart goes out to those of you who have had an abusive father, and I want you to know that God may have appeared to be cruel to you at times, but you endured it and your rewards with the lord would be bountiful, spiritually you are ahead of most of us. Indeed, you are truly blessed by God to experience the pain just as Jesus had endured it for the humanity.

I am dedicating this write up to Maheen, Mina, Tamanna and Dadsky Blauvelt. Years ago, when Mina was a little girl, she had asked me, “Dad, why isn’t there a daughter’s day?” “Well, Sweetie here it is – your wish is fulfilled.” I’m calling it a Daughter’s day, and I am blessed to have three daughters; Jasmina, Maheen (Yasmeen’s daughter) and Tamanna (my Sister’s daughter).

It is not only a Daughter’s day it is a Son’s day as well, and I am pleased to honor my Son Jeff, who gives me tremendous joy – he learned to stand on his own feet and is fiercely independent and a free individual. Jeff and Mina have inspired me with their fresh perspectives on life, and thank God, together we have visited nearly all places of worship, we started mock debating on virtually every topic since they were five years old and have learned to find three different ways of saying things and understanding its impact. Mina read the Dale Carnegie’s book and summarized it for me; she’s got the essence of it.

Yasmeen, my wife raised her daughter Maheen entirely on her own since Maheen was two. Yasmeen is a mother, father, brother, uncle, aunt and a friend to Maheen. (Note for my new friends, Yasmeen and I just got married in March this year). And I know there are a lot of single mothers and fathers as well as father-mother teams who have raised their children well.

Dadsky Blauvelt and I have been friends for the last 33 years and it was his affection that brought me to the United States, thank you Dadsky, you’ve been a great fatherly friend to me.

My maternal Grandfather Hussain raised four boys and a girl after Grandmother had passed away, he was all that there was for them.

Prophet Muhammad was raised by his Grand father and later by his uncle Abu Talib, as his father Abdullah had passed away. My own father was raised entirely by his mother as his father was a victim of the world wide influenza epidemic around the WWI. Perhaps you know of friends who became father figures to kids upon the demise or separation of their fathers.

My friend Shariff raised his six sisters as a father figure and I am proud of him for the role he played in getting them education and facilitating them to stand on their own feet. Shariff, I am really proud of you son.

My father is my mentor; he swung open many doors of knowledge for me and opened my heart and the mind towards fellow beings. I am sharing a few memories of my father on this fathers’ day, hoping it would bring your own memories alive.

In my culture, the affection between any two people is expressed by doing things for each other. Although it has changed now, but there was a time we did not show the affection. It is not common for a father to kiss his son bye and I was not aware of it either at that time. I cannot forget his first and the last kiss on my forehead when I left home; he was emotional and so was I, I knew he loved me but that kiss put a seal on it.

He taught me the value of keeping one’s words; way back in the sixties, he agreed to sell our ranch to some one for 120,000 and announced it at the family dinner. My mother and I were upset because he was selling it for dirt cheap; within minutes his friends Silk Venkateshappa and Bellur Muniyappa converged on him and offered four times the cash. My stick-to-the-word adamant father did not budge; he kept saying “I have given my word”. He finally sold it to the guy for the agreed price and it took me years of maturity to understand the value of the word.

He used to say that he will earn for his family until his last breath and it was very painful for me that he did. On October 10, 1977 I left home to Saudi Arabia, I had accumulated some debt, and like all Indians at that time, I sent the monies to him. In the second month he had paid off my debt substantially including some to my friend Shariff who had loaned it to me. I asked him to get a new suit, a black suit that he had worn most of his life and was wearing out; he wrote back to me that he will do that once my debt is paid off. In the following month of December I sent the check with a note that “father the time to buy your suit is now”. It shattered me completely that he passed away without receiving the check. I wanted to do things for him and I could not, that left a huge vacuum for me, and till this day, I jump to serve any senior any time as a fulfillment of my own completeness. Years later, the life took a full turn, when my son Jeff insisted that he would pay for the lunch (at least I know Indian parents would not let that happen) I paused and then agreed I did not want to deprive him of doing things for me.

My father was always kind and gentle to me, he never screamed at me nor did he hit me except one time, when he gave me a hell of a good shaking, and I am glad he gave it, it changed my life. I was sitting on a bench in front of my house, I was probably ten or eleven years old at that time, a man was carrying a bag (100lbs) of rice on his bicycle and fell right in front my house, dead beat me was watching him struggle to get the bike up and place the bag on the bar. Through the corner of my eyes, I noticed that my father was coming about 150’ away, instinctively I noted that he started moving fast and I was alarmed that he was going to do something to me and I ran inside the house and climbed behind stacked up bags of rice, he walked over and pulled a long branch from the Mulberry tree and bam, he got me from afar. He shouted at me, “Abdul Rahman’s son will not sit there twiddling his thumbs when someone needs help.” Wow, since then, it is rare that I have not stopped to help any one any time. I want to be his son.

One of the most beautiful moments of father daughter relationship was between my Grand father and my mother. Every Wednesday morning he would be home straight from the mosque and sit with my mother and talk with her endlessly while making fruit juice, honey balls and other stuff for me and my siblings. Mother would talk with him for nearly three hours while flattening the dough and making chapattis (tortillas) and sautéing palaya (crushed potatoes). The idea was ingrained in me and I continued that Wednesday deal with my daughter for a few years and hope when she finishes her school and squares with life. God willing we hope to resume our Wednesday meetings. Mina even signed the deal on the back of my business card, Jeff, my son is an attorney and hope he will enforce the contract.

I remember when I visited my Dad’s grave with Jeff, I let myself loose and cried like a baby, he stood by me and I will cherish that moment till eternity.

I look up to a few individuals whom I admire and hope the river of blessings keeps flowing from them. Their humility and desire to serve the communities at large inspires me. I adore Shri D. D. Maini, Rev. Bill Mathews and Dr. Harbans Lal for their affection and commitment to serve humanity. Mr. Len Ellis has been a good brother to me whenever I needed direction he was there with me, Adil Khan’s brotherhood and friendship is a continued blessing in my life. Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk evokes a fatherly instinct in me when I see her commitment to serve mankind and I recall her affectionate words about her father Mr. Thompson.

Happy father’s day ya’ll.

Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp
most of the pictures are at my profile)


I found this story today, sunday, June 20,2010

MOTHER OF FATHER'S DAY:

Father's Day: Celebrating Dad for 100 Years
Updated: 27 minutes ago
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Chris Epting ContributorAOL News

(June 19) -- You could call Sonora Smart Dodd the "Mother of Father's Day." After all, the holiday, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, was inspired by her. Dodd's mother died in 1898 during childbirth, leaving her father, William Jackson Smart, to raise Dodd and her five younger brothers (including the newborn baby) on a remote farm near Spokane, Wash. While attending a Mother's Day sermon in 1909, Dodd decided that fathers deserve the same recognition. Within a year, she -- along with some help from her pastor, the Rev. Conrad Bluhm, the Spokane YMCA and the Ministerial Alliance -- did it: June 19, 1910, was designated as the first Father's Day. Throughout Spokane that day, Sunday sermons were themed around the importance of fatherhood.

Spokane Regional CVB

Sonora Smart Dodd, the "Mother of Father's Day," which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.By 1924, the holiday had gained some national prominence. President Calvin Coolidge that year recognized Father's Day and made it known that he wanted more states to get involved.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an order proclaiming the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. He even requested that flags on all government buildings be flown that day.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a proclamation permanently observing Father's Day on the third Sunday in June. And today, Father's Day is celebrated in over 50 countries around the globe on various days throughout the year. All because of a young girl who appreciated her dad's love and wanted to see his efforts acknowledged. William Jackson Smart died in 1919, so he got to celebrate 10 Father's Days with his grateful daughter. Throughout Spokane, events are planned to celebrate Father's Day, as they always are, but this year is special. Pam Scott, communication manager for the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitor's Bureau, told AOL News they are taking the centennial seriously."Father's Day is such a part of our history, and when you reach a milestone like this, it's a good opportunity to look back, reflect and leverage the history into a truly unforgettable celebration," Scott said."We have many special events planned, and locals and visitors alike are encouraged to take part in this special day. We even have Sonora Smart Dodd's granddaughter coming to Spokane from Vienna, Austria."Dads around Spokane will be toasted with Papa's Pale Ale, a specially crafted beer created by the brew master at Coeur d'Alene Brewing Company and Steam Plant Grill (available only in June this year).

Pictured is the Spokane, Wash., home of Sonora Smart Dodd, who was instrumental in establishing Father's Day 100 years ago.Plus, many events are planned, including tours of the historic Dodd home, a patriotic salute to Father's Day, a Daddy-Daughter Tea, a symphony concert and a historic Father's Day walking tour.Spokane is a city that proudly and enthusiastically wraps itself in its Father's Day history, providing just the right amounts of preservation and celebration. The city is also gracious when it comes to acknowledging the origin of another Father's Day landmark."Back in Fairmont, W.Va., they had a Father's Day in 1908, two years before ours," Scott said. "While it wasn't held regularly each year as Spokane's was, we still honor the sentiment of Grace Clayton."Clayton had suggested to the pastor of her church that they honor fathers after the nearby 1907 Monongah mine explosion, which killed more than 360 men -- 210 of them fathers. The church complied with Clayton's wishes and, as Scott points out, the holiday failed to gain the traction it did in Spokane. However, if you happen to be near the Central United Methodist Church in Fairmont on Sunday, know that they do a very nice Father's Day service -- right in the same place where the first ceremony was held.
Filed under: Nation, Weird News

Courtesy: http://www.aolnews.com/weird-news/article/fathers-day-celebrates-100-years/19517675?icid=mainhtmlws-bv-wdl2link3http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fweird-news%2Farticle%2Ffathers-day-celebrates-100-years%2F19517675

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mike Ghouse Profile

IN 60 WORDS

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist, educator and an activist of Pluralism, Justice, Islam, Peace and Civil Societies. He is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day and is a frequent guest on the media. Mike's work is reflected at three websites & twenty two Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

MIKE'S PROFILE IN 60, 600 or 6000 WORDS

http://www.mikeghouse.net/ProfileMikeGhouse.asp

Monday, June 7, 2010

Helen Thomas under fire for comment on Jews

A good solid apology from Helen is due; if she were not a celebrity we could have ignored her. I demand her to step down from her position as an ace journalist.

A good solid apology from Helen is due; if she were not a celebrity we could have ignored her. I demand her to step down from her position as an ace journalist.

There is a big question for the Jewish community and all of us; how to go to the roots of bigotry and evaporate it with a meaningful dialogue. In the short run we can squelch bigotry with laws, but that would breed resentment and flare up every now and then. The problem is deeper and as a society, we all need to sit down and talk, place all the cards on the table, then only we can find lasting solutions.

Helen may resign and go, but the spark of bigotry is in the air, brewing or latent some where with some one and ready to burst as it happened with Helen. We should not become a fireman to put fires out; we need to extinguish the sparks that are waiting for oxygen. Let me be clear, freedom to speak must never be compromised whether it is Muhammad's cartoons, south park on Jesus or other items, people should speak out their minds whether we agree or not, ultimately truth will triumph.

Years ago a council man in Dallas said to the Jewish council man "you people" and I had jumped on it and thank God, Dallas Morning News had published it. It is in the interests of the society at large to stop bigotry at once, we cannot allow it to rot our societies. Ahmedinejad had blurted out about Holocaust denying its happening, the Muslims spoke up against him, and several of us wrote letters to Dallas Morning news, and thanks God, they published at least three letters. There are ton of stories I have personally witnessed, and have spoken out against bigotry against every one, it is the most difficult thing to do, if you fear your job or your life the right wingers will hound you like the hyenas. They bark in unison to eat you alive.

The problem with Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and others is their silence; they let the right-wingers run their lives. Right wingers are nurtured with fear that every one is out to get them, and their optionless minds tell them to annihilate the others, or frighten the others believing that it will solve the problem, it won't, instead it flares up the problem. The moderates need to speak up and find solutions of co-existence for all. Co-existence is sustainable and frees one from anxieties. There is a need to work on social cohesion and co-existence and smooth functioning of the societies.

We need to see the whole tape, and need to know the context in which Helen was saying "to get the hell out of Palestine?" If she was saying as a bigot, she is wrong and she needs to step out of her position; but if she was saying it in the context of ending the missiles into Israel and ceasing blockade of essentials in to Gaza, then the comments may have to be evaluated differently.

On the face of it, I do not appreciate her comments and we all need to condemn it.
I will update the outcomes in the comment section below.

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Justice, Islam, India and Civil Societies. He is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer offering pluralistic solutions on issues of the day and a frequent guest on the media. His work is reflected at 3 websites & 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/
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Helen Thomas on You tube ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14&feature=player_embedded
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Helen Thomas - http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

Ari Fliescher - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDnyzgEdz6o&feature=player_embedded

Continued: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/helen-thomas-under-fire-for-comment-on.html

Several Comments at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&suggest&note_id=439933367773#!/note.php?note_id=439933367773


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http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/06/helen-thomas-under-fire-for-saying-jews-in-israel-should-go-back-to-germany-poland/?fbid=gwuGZdU2UAE&hpt=T3
Helen Thomas under fire for saying Jews in Israel should go back to Germany, Poland

Posted: June 6th, 2010 07:54 PM ETFrom CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Washington (CNN) – Lanny Davis joined Ari Fleischer Sunday in calling for Hearst Corporation to take quick action against legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas for recently saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas was also dropped by her agent Nine Speakers, Inc. Sunday, CNN has learned, and Craig Crawford, who coauthored “Listen Up, Mr. President” with Thomas, said in a blog post that he “will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects.”

Thomas has apologized for her comments that she made to Rabbilive.com about Israel.
Specifically, she was asked, “Any comments on Israel?”
“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she responded.

The interviewer then asked “Any better comments on Israel?” To which Thomas said, “Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German’s. It’s not Poland’s.”
Thomas was then asked where the Jews in Israel should go and what they should do? Thomas responded, “They should go home” which the White House reporter identified as “Poland, Germany . . . and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas is considered the “dean” of the White House press corps after decades covering the presidency. The syndicated columnist for Hearst Corporation’s newspapers holds a privileged seat in the front row of the White House press briefing room where she regularly fires sharp questions on the major issues of the day at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
In the apology posted on her website

Friday, Thomas said she “deeply” regretted her comments. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

But her apology was not enough for Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton.“Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot,” said Davis. “This is not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite.”

Davis added, “If she had asked all Blacks to go back to Africa, what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials - much less a privileged honorary seat?”

Previously Fleischer, who served as press secretary for former President George W. Bush, said Thomas should be fired because of her remarks. And in a statement provided to CNN Sunday he reiterated that demand.

“Helen's statement calling for the religious cleansing of Israel is reprehensible,” Fleischer said. “If this isn't bigotry, what is? What she said is as bad as someone saying all blacks should leave America and go back to Africa.

“Hearst Newspapers should do the right thing and let Helen go,” Fleischer added in the statement.

Update, 8:33 p.m.: The Anti-Defamation League has provided CNN with a written statement regarding Thomas' remark and apology. "Helen Thomas’s statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate," ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman said in the statement. Foxman added, "Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."
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http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/walt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas/19505687?icid=mainhtmlws-bv-wdl2link3http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fnation%2Farticle%2Fwalt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas%2F19505687


BETHESDA, Md. (June 7) -- A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker.


"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, issued an apology on her Web site on Friday for comments that were captured on video by an interviewer for the website www.rabbilive.com. On the video dated May 27, Thomas says Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine," suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the U.S."I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," Thomas wrote on her site on Friday. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman, said Sunday that Thomas' apology didn't go far enough."Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history," Foxman said in a statement. "We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."Thomas, 89, began her long career with the wire service United Press International in 1943, and started covering the White House in 1960, according to a biography posted on her website. She became a columnist for Hearst in 2000

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Helen Thomas quits
http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

By Ami Eden · June 7, 2010
BREAKING UPDATE: JTA's Ron Kampeas reports that Helen Thomas has annopunced her retirement:

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Helen Thomas quit her job with Hearst in the wake of mounting outrage over her assertion that Israeli Jews should "return" to Poland, Germany and the United States.

"Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately," said a statement issued Monday by Hearst Corporation. "Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."

Thomas was asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff on May 27 if she had "any comments on Israel."
"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she said.

Nesenoff, who was attending the first Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House, asked where Jews should go.

"Go home," Thomas said. Asked to elaborate, she said: "Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else."

Nesenoff did not post his video to his website, RabbiLIVE.com, until last week; subsequent to its release a number of Jewish groups and figures asked for Thomas' removal, if not from Hearst as a columnist, than from her front-row center perch in the White House press room.

Thomas had since apologized for the comment, but some of the critics said the apology was evasive.
"I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," said the apology posted on her website. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

Below is the original version of this post, which went up before Thomas' announcement.
The "Helen Thomas tells Israeli Jews to go back to Germany, Poland and the United States" story isn't going away.

Thomas actually made her remarks on the same day as the White House's May 27 American Jewish Heritage Month celebration. But it wasn't posted to the Web until last week, on June 3, by Rabbi David Nesenoff of RabbiLive.com. The chronolgy is important for two reasons:
It underscores that Thomas' animous cannot be explained way as some sort of heat-of-the-moment reaction to the flotilla incident.

It helps explain the passionate response from the Jewish community and Israel supporters -- because Thomas' comments hit the blogosphere smack in the middle of what they see as a post-flotilla assault on Israel's legitimacy.

Here's the initial video of her remarks:

Now the apology:
I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.
The Associated Press is reporting that one school has nixed Thomas -- a longtime critic of Israel, but best known for her confrontational opening questions as the dean of the White House press corps -- as a graduation speaker:

A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.

Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker.
"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.
Thomas has been taking it on the chin in recent days.

Daniel S. Mariaschin of B'nai B'rith: These vile comments, unfortunately, are the culmination of Thomas’ ongoing anti-Israel sentiments that she kept thinly veiled over the years. There should be no place for her in a news organization. Her comments go beyond commentary and land well in the camp that will stop at nothing to delegitimize Israel.

Abe Foxman of the ADL says her apology was insufficient: Helen Thomas's statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate, especially since she uttered them on a day the White House had set aside to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of American Jews during Jewish American Heritage Month. Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused.

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center: Helen, I got two things to say to you -- first, the Jews are not in Palestine, they’re in the state of Israel here they belong and where their ancestors lived for two thousand years before Mohammed was born. Second, you’re the one who should go -- there should be no place for bigots in the White House press room.
Lanny Davis: Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot. This not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite. ... Of course Helen has the right as a private citizen under the First Amendment to speak her mind, even as an anti-Jewish bigot - but not as a member, much less privileged member with a reserved seat, in the WH press corps.

Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America: Helen Thomas’ despicable anti-Semitic statements must not be tolerated. She should be fired by Hearst News and barred from the White House press corps. There is no way such vicious denial of Jewish nationhood and connection to the Jewish homeland would be tolerated if such statements were uttered in respect of any other people.

Jerry Silverman of the Jewish Federations of North America and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council of Publica Affairs: Helen Thomas has showed herself to be a bigot and her 'apology' fails to address the anti-Semitism of her comments. She has no place in the White House briefing room and should at the very least be suspended.

Ira Forman of the National Jewish Democratic Council: "Thomas' comments that Jews living in Israel should 'go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else,' combined with her remark that Israel should 'get the hell out of Palestine' are shocking. These statements call into her question her ability to objectively carry out her responsibilities.... Thomas has a right to her opinions -- as shocking as they might be. She has, by her longevity as a journalist, earned many accolades. We acknowledge that she has issued something of an apology -- though one that does not clearly reject her initial remarks. Nonetheless, we feel compelled to ask Hearst Corp. and Thomas in light of these stunning remarks, to seriously consider whether it is proper to continue in her current role."

Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition: I think Ari Fleischer is correct; Hearst should sever its ties with Thomas. It's time for Helen Thomas to give up her special seat in the White House press room and go home.

Shmuley Boteach: Helen Thomas’s stomach-turning comments about the Jews returning to Germany and Poland, where six million were gassed and cremated into piles of ash, are striking for their racism and insensitivity. Whether she said them out of senility or anti-Semitism is beside the point. Either way she has no business working for any respectable media organization or sitting as the senior White House correspondent directly in front of the President of the United States. When Don Imus made racially charged statements against a woman’s basketball team, candidate Obama demanded he be fired. It will be interesting to see how President Obama, who could not offer a single word of support for Israel since the flotilla affair, will react.
And now to the video tape:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Helen Thomas on You tube ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQcQdWBqt14&feature=player_embedded ---------------------

Helen Thomas - http://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

Ari Fliescher - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDnyzgEdz6o&feature=player_embedded

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/06/06/helen-thomas-under-fire-for-saying-jews-in-israel-should-go-back-to-germany-poland/?fbid=gwuGZdU2UAE&hpt=T3

Helen Thomas under fire for saying Jews in Israel should go back to Germany, Poland

Posted: June 6th, 2010 07:54 PM ETFrom CNN Associate Producer Martina Stewart

Washington (CNN) – Lanny Davis joined Ari Fleischer Sunday in calling for Hearst Corporation to take quick action against legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas for recently saying that Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine,” and that the Jewish people should go home to “Poland, Germany … and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas was also dropped by her agent Nine Speakers, Inc. Sunday, CNN has learned, and Craig Crawford, who coauthored “Listen Up, Mr. President” with Thomas, said in a blog post that he “will no longer be working with Helen on our book projects.”

Thomas has apologized for her comments that she made to Rabbilive.com about Israel.Specifically, she was asked, “Any comments on Israel?”“Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine,” she responded.

The interviewer then asked “Any better comments on Israel?” To which Thomas said, “Remember, these people are occupied and it’s their land. It’s not German’s. It’s not Poland’s.”Thomas was then asked where the Jews in Israel should go and what they should do? Thomas responded, “They should go home” which the White House reporter identified as “Poland, Germany . . . and America and everywhere else.”

Thomas is considered the “dean” of the White House press corps after decades covering the presidency. The syndicated columnist for Hearst Corporation’s newspapers holds a privileged seat in the front row of the White House press briefing room where she regularly fires sharp questions on the major issues of the day at White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.In the apology posted on her website

Friday, Thomas said she “deeply” regretted her comments. “They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.”

But her apology was not enough for Davis, who served as special counsel to former President Bill Clinton.“Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot,” said Davis. “This is not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite.”

Davis added, “If she had asked all Blacks to go back to Africa, what would White House Correspondents Association position be as to whether she deserved White House press room credentials - much less a privileged honorary seat?”

Previously Fleischer, who served as press secretary for former President George W. Bush, said Thomas should be fired because of her remarks. And in a statement provided to CNN Sunday he reiterated that demand.

“Helen's statement calling for the religious cleansing of Israel is reprehensible,” Fleischer said. “If this isn't bigotry, what is? What she said is as bad as someone saying all blacks should leave America and go back to Africa.

“Hearst Newspapers should do the right thing and let Helen go,” Fleischer added in the statement.

Update, 8:33 p.m.: The Anti-Defamation League has provided CNN with a written statement regarding Thomas' remark and apology. "Helen Thomas’s statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate," ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman said in the statement. Foxman added, "Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."--------------------

http://www.aolnews.com/nation/article/walt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas/19505687?icid=mainhtmlws-bv-wdl2link3http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aolnews.com%2Fnation%2Farticle%2Fwalt-whitman-high-school-cancels-graduation-speech-by-helen-thomas%2F19505687

BETHESDA, Md. (June 7) -- A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker.

"Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.Thomas, a columnist for Hearst Newspapers, issued an apology on her Web site on Friday for comments that were captured on video by an interviewer for the website http://www.rabbilive.com/. On the video dated May 27, Thomas says Israelis should "get the hell out of Palestine," suggesting they go to Germany, Poland or the U.S."I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," Thomas wrote on her site on Friday. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

The national director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham H. Foxman, said Sunday that Thomas' apology didn't go far enough."Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history," Foxman said in a statement. "We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused."Thomas, 89, began her long career with the wire service United Press International in 1943, and started covering the White House in 1960, according to a biography posted on her website. She became a columnist for Hearst in 2000

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Helen Thomas quitshttp://blogs.jta.org/politics/article/2010/06/07/2739476/helen-thomas-under-fire

By Ami Eden · June 7, 2010BREAKING UPDATE: JTA's Ron Kampeas reports that Helen Thomas has annopunced her retirement:

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Helen Thomas quit her job with Hearst in the wake of mounting outrage over her assertion that Israeli Jews should "return" to Poland, Germany and the United States.

"Helen Thomas announced Monday that she is retiring, effective immediately," said a statement issued Monday by Hearst Corporation. "Her decision came after her controversial comments about Israel and the Palestinians were captured on videotape and widely disseminated on the Internet."

Thomas was asked by Rabbi David Nesenoff on May 27 if she had "any comments on Israel.""Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," she said.

Nesenoff, who was attending the first Jewish American Heritage Month event at the White House, asked where Jews should go.

"Go home," Thomas said. Asked to elaborate, she said: "Poland, Germany and America, and everywhere else."

Nesenoff did not post his video to his website, RabbiLIVE.com, until last week; subsequent to its release a number of Jewish groups and figures asked for Thomas' removal, if not from Hearst as a columnist, than from her front-row center perch in the White House press room.

Thomas had since apologized for the comment, but some of the critics said the apology was evasive."I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians," said the apology posted on her website. "They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon."

Below is the original version of this post, which went up before Thomas' announcement.The "Helen Thomas tells Israeli Jews to go back to Germany, Poland and the United States" story isn't going away.

Thomas actually made her remarks on the same day as the White House's May 27 American Jewish Heritage Month celebration. But it wasn't posted to the Web until last week, on June 3, by Rabbi David Nesenoff of RabbiLive.com. The chronolgy is important for two reasons:It underscores that Thomas' animous cannot be explained way as some sort of heat-of-the-moment reaction to the flotilla incident.

It helps explain the passionate response from the Jewish community and Israel supporters -- because Thomas' comments hit the blogosphere smack in the middle of what they see as a post-flotilla assault on Israel's legitimacy.

Here's the initial video of her remarks:

Now the apology:I deeply regret my comments I made last week regarding the Israelis and the Palestinians. They do not reflect my heart-felt belief that peace will come to the Middle East only when all parties recognize the need for mutual respect and tolerance. May that day come soon.The Associated Press is reporting that one school has nixed Thomas -- a longtime critic of Israel, but best known for her confrontational opening questions as the dean of the White House press corps -- as a graduation speaker:

A high school graduation speech by veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas has been canceled because of controversial remarks she made about Israel, the school's principal said in an e-mail Sunday.

Thomas had been scheduled to speak at the June 14 graduation of Walt Whitman High School, but Principal Alan Goodwin wrote in the e-mail to students and parents that she was being replaced. The school in the Washington suburb of Bethesda, Md., hasn't picked a new speaker."Graduation celebrations are not the venue for divisiveness," Goodwin wrote.Thomas has been taking it on the chin in recent days.

Daniel S. Mariaschin of B'nai B'rith: These vile comments, unfortunately, are the culmination of Thomas’ ongoing anti-Israel sentiments that she kept thinly veiled over the years. There should be no place for her in a news organization. Her comments go beyond commentary and land well in the camp that will stop at nothing to delegitimize Israel.

Abe Foxman of the ADL says her apology was insufficient: Helen Thomas's statement of regret does not go far enough. Her remarks were outrageous, offensive and inappropriate, especially since she uttered them on a day the White House had set aside to celebrate the extraordinary accomplishments of American Jews during Jewish American Heritage Month. Her suggestion that Israelis should go back to Poland and Germany is bigoted and shows a profound ignorance of history. We believe Thomas needs to make a more forceful and sincere apology for the pain her remarks have caused.

Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center: Helen, I got two things to say to you -- first, the Jews are not in Palestine, they’re in the state of Israel here they belong and where their ancestors lived for two thousand years before Mohammed was born. Second, you’re the one who should go -- there should be no place for bigots in the White House press room.Lanny Davis: Helen Thomas, who I used to consider a close friend and who I used to respect, has showed herself to be an anti-Semitic bigot. This not about her disagreement about her criticisms of Israel. She has a right to criticize Israel and that is not the same as being an anti-Semite. ... Of course Helen has the right as a private citizen under the First Amendment to speak her mind, even as an anti-Jewish bigot - but not as a member, much less privileged member with a reserved seat, in the WH press corps.

Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America: Helen Thomas’ despicable anti-Semitic statements must not be tolerated. She should be fired by Hearst News and barred from the White House press corps. There is no way such vicious denial of Jewish nationhood and connection to the Jewish homeland would be tolerated if such statements were uttered in respect of any other people.

Jerry Silverman of the Jewish Federations of North America and Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council of Publica Affairs: Helen Thomas has showed herself to be a bigot and her 'apology' fails to address the anti-Semitism of her comments. She has no place in the White House briefing room and should at the very least be suspended.

Ira Forman of the National Jewish Democratic Council: "Thomas' comments that Jews living in Israel should 'go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else,' combined with her remark that Israel should 'get the hell out of Palestine' are shocking. These statements call into her question her ability to objectively carry out her responsibilities.... Thomas has a right to her opinions -- as shocking as they might be. She has, by her longevity as a journalist, earned many accolades. We acknowledge that she has issued something of an apology -- though one that does not clearly reject her initial remarks. Nonetheless, we feel compelled to ask Hearst Corp. and Thomas in light of these stunning remarks, to seriously consider whether it is proper to continue in her current role."

Matt Brooks of the Republican Jewish Coalition: I think Ari Fleischer is correct; Hearst should sever its ties with Thomas. It's time for Helen Thomas to give up her special seat in the White House press room and go home.

Shmuley Boteach: Helen Thomas’s stomach-turning comments about the Jews returning to Germany and Poland, where six million were gassed and cremated into piles of ash, are striking for their racism and insensitivity. Whether she said them out of senility or anti-Semitism is beside the point.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial day reflections

Sunday at 10:44pm Edit Note Delete

It is a day of remembrance and reflection, it is time to pray for those have passed away, whether they are related to us or not. Please take a few moments to remember all those who have influenced, affected and cared for us, and those who cared for others whether we know them or not. It is not a noble thing or a religious thing, it is a thing that enriches our souls and brings humility and connects us back with ourselves.
~~~~

Thanks for all the greetings from friends who wished me a "Happy Memorial Day". My inbox and my email is flooded with notes and I am still on the road to respond.

I just want to remind that it is a day of remembrance and reflection and not a day of celebration. It is time to pray for those have passed away, whether they are related to us or not.

I will be driving tomorrow and pause and say a prayer at every possible cemetery I see on the way. It is not a noble thing or a religious thing, it is a thing that enriches our souls and brings humility and connects us back with ourselves. The idea of this prayer is to experience becoming a part of the universal energy that our fellow men and women from earth based, Wicca, Pagan and indigenous traditions connect so well. It is also a step in falling all barriers between ourselves and the energy that surrounds us in people and environment.

My Grandfather Hussain advised us kids to visit a cemetery or attend a funeral of a stranger to pay respects, and he added, for every birthday or a wedding you attend, match it with attending a funeral or visiting a cemetery, he believed, it will straighten us out as humans.

Of course, you pray for the beloved ones every day, but this is a special day, the national day of remembrance and it would be nice, if we as a nation pray for the well being of all.

I will take a few moments to remember all those who have influenced, affected and cared for me, and those who cared for others whether I knew them or not. There is a beautiful prayer that most Muslims utter – the gist of which is ; Dear God forgive me, forgive my parents, my relatives, my friends, those who are alive, and those who aren’t, those who believe in you (or not).

My first pause would be for my parents, my late wife, her father, my relatives, friends, and my mentors live as well as those who aren’t – like Moses, Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, Gandhi, MLK, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela and others who are not with us. And those peace makers who are alive among us like Dalai Lama, Rev. Moon, Aga Khan and countless others.

My first physical stop would be a cemetery within a mile from Yasmeen’s house, I sure will pause there and will say the prayer of forgiveness wherever I see a cemetery on my way to Dallas.

The idea of this prayer is to experience becoming a part of the universal energy that our fellow men and women from earth based, pagan and indigenous traditions connect so well. It is also a step in falling all barriers between ourselves and the energy that surrounds us in people and environment.

Firoz Waheed wrote this comment on facebook: Soldiers all over the world, in every nation do a selfless duty in protecting their countrymen and deserve the hihgest respect and honour. Their families and dependents need our attention, love and care.
Their should be a universal Memorial Day for those who "gave their today for our tomorrow".

Mike Ghouse is a speaker, thinker, writer, optimist and an activist of Pluralism, Justice, Islam, India and Civil Societies. He is a conflict mitigater and a goodwill nurturer offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His work is reflected at 3 websites & 22 Blogs listed at http://www.mikeghouse.net/

Gaza Flotilla, Israel and your voice

When societies live in denial of their abuses against others or justify them, their morality declines and the society goes downhill towards a characterless nation. The following pieces and several reference links on Israel's bullying of the humanitarian aid are action items for you, if you have the time to do your share of justice in the world, it is time to act now.

Please remember this action by Israel is unilateral in nature by a few in the government, they are neither the voice of Jews, nor would Judaism approve such actions.

Where are the moderate Jews?

Indeed, they are everywhere and shamelessly their voices are being muted out in the media, they are not giving the time to the moderate Jews, just like they did with the Moderate Muslims. The extremists have the gall to discredit those voices of justice; those are the only voices that will ensure safety and security for Israel and the Jews, Palestinians and the Gazans and the people and nations around them. The extremists will run down their countries. ( New York times ran a well researched article in May this year pointing to the effect that the moderate voices of Jews are not hear and only the bullies get the pulpit- when I am in Dallas, I will post the link)

Lord Krishna had said, whenever there is immorality, someone will emerge from them and bring the righteousness back to them. I see the emergence of Tikkun Olam, the J Street, Jewish voice for Peace, Bretzdek and others among the Jewish communities to set right what has been wronged. The world needs to stand by the moderates who want the best for all including the extremists.

It is in the best interests of Israel and the world that the moderates speak up and bring corrective actions to the ill-actions of the few thoughtless individuals.

Please do your share of Justice…
I am pleased to enclose the following for you to read and reflect.

1. Draft Release from Dallas Peace Center ( it will be updated and offcially released)
2. Jewish Voice for Peace and Muslim Writers Alliance
3. Tikkun Magazine, Rabbi Lerner
4. AVAAZ
5. Arab American Institute
5. Resounce Links from the Guardian, Al-Jazeerah and others

Continued at: http://mikeghouseforamerica.blogspot.com/2010/06/gaza-flotilla-israel-and-your-voice.html

Mike Ghouse
http://www.mikeghouse.net/
>>>>>>>

May 31, 2010
DRAFT PRESS RELEASE FROM DALLAS PEACE CENTER

While details and facts are still being sorted out, we can find no justification for armed forces from Israel to forcibly board an unarmed civilian humanitarian aid vessel in International waters. Further, the killing of civilians, no matter what the reason, is a deplorable, horrible, condemnable act, for which there can be no justifiable explanation or excuse.

We herby demand not only an explanation, but a heartfelt apology from the Israeli government. We also request the ships and their cargo be allowed to be delivered to those in need, as well as a cessation of all hostilities, including the blockade of food, medicine, clothing, and any other non-military items for the people of Gaza. We urge President Obama to call for an immediate lifting of the siege of Gaza while demanding an international and impartial investigation into the tragic killing of civilians in a humanitarian mission.

Locally, we ask everyone to write and call their representatives, demanding both an apology and a cessation of the armed conflict from the Israeli government. In addition, urge your representative to suspend any and all military aid to Israel.

We also encourage those of the Jewish faith to visit their Temples and Synagogues and say Kaddish (prayer for the dead) for those who were killed.

# # #
MWA Joins Jewish Voice For Peace in Condemnation of Israeli Attack on Gaza Freedom Flotilla
Today at 7:06pm

Tragedy must not overshadow the goals; ensuring that the Flotilla's cargo reaches its final destination, to bring an end to the illegal siege and embargo on Gaza, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of unnecessary crimes against humanity.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PR Log (Press Release) – May 31, 2010 – WASHINGTON, D.C. (MWA) — Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) joins Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) and the chorus of global outrage in response to the early morning attack launched by Israeli forces on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, while sailing in international waters, resulting in the tragic deaths of reportedly 20 civilians and injuries to 50 or more.

"This is yet another deadly escalation of the repression of nonviolent protests against the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territory and embargo on Gaza—funded by American tax-dollars," stated MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz.

The White House has stated, through yet another spokesperson, that it, "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained [by civilians], and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy." This kind of administrative rhetoric is, once again, NOT ENOUGH!

"This past December when I embarked upon the quest to break the siege of Gaza myself, I was told by a leader and activist in my own community, that attempting to enter Gaza was a 'waste of time' – words that left me in outright tears as the bus I was on moved forward over the Rafah border crossing on December 30, 2009.

"God facilitated my journey, and that of 85 other delegates–despite a lack of support and dissent, and we are collectively proof today that when God stands with us; none can stand against us—and rest assured, no wrong ever goes unpunished. The Israeli government's day of reckoning may not be by our hand, or may not even been seen in our lifetimes – but that does not mean we should give up the fight or stop standing firm for justice. Ever," Schwartz stated.

Concluding Schwartz added, "I am deeply saddened and extend my sincerest condolences to the families of those who have lost loved ones or whose family members have been injured, but it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to ensure that this tragedy is not forgotten; and that these lives were not lost in vain. We must maximize EVERY SINGLE OPPORTUNITY to further support the cause—to ensure that the 10,000 tons of humanitarian relief reaches its final destination, to bring an end to the illegal siege and embargo on Gaza, and to bring to justice the perpetrators of unnecessary and illegal crimes against humanity."

HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP!

CALL the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and DEMAND that the U.S. Government take immediate action to safeguard innocent lives!

Tel: +972 2 622 7207/21/30—or Fax: +942 2 625 9270/627 2233

BUT DON'T STOP THERE!

Contact the Israeli Embassy nearest you and let them know how you feel!
(Israeli Embassy Finder Tool: www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-of/Israel

CALL White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and DEMAND that the Obama Administration hold the Israeli government accountable for the deaths and injuries of Gaza Freedom Flotilla civilians passengers and crew members!

Tel: +1 202 456 6798—or Fax: +1 202 456 2461

WRITE LETTERS!

Let President Obama and Congress know unconditional aid and support of Israel must end; and the embargo on Gaza must be lifted.

Send a letter to President Obama asking him to withhold U.S. aid to Israel until it agrees to abide by international law, including lifting of the blockade on Gaza. Deliver your letter via fax to (202) 456-2461. Alternatively, and respectfully, you can also voice your concerns by calling (202) 451-1111.

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
Telephone: (202)
Fax: (202) 456-2461
Email: (online form) www.emailthepresident.com
Or (online form) www.whitehouse.gov/contact

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State
ATTN: Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills
United States Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Fax: (202) 647-2283

Contact your U.S. Representatives and let them know you are counting on them to stand up for justice. Find your Representative at http://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml.

FREE, FREE PALESTINE!!!

Video of the Gaza Freedom March (Dec. 31, 2009) from Gaza
http://aishahsjourney.blogspot.com/2010/05/video-gaza-fr ...

MWA PRESS ROOM
http://pressroom.prlog.org/mwa-net

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
PRESS RELEASE - TIKKUN MAGAZINE

Tikkun Magazine and the Network of Spiritual Progressives' Statement on Killings on the High Seas:
We regret and deplore the killings which took place as Israeli troops, in defiance of international law, boarded and assaulted, wounded many and killed some of the participants in a flotilla seeking to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza (itself a morally outrageous policy) to bring humanitarian aid. We ask all people of peace to dedicate at least fifteen minutes today (Memorial day in the US) to silent memorial for those peace activists who have been killed (and we call upon all synagogues around the world to say Kaddish for those people at their Shabbat services this coming weekend), and for prayer for the speedy recovery of all those wounded in this attack (mostly peace activists, but also the Israeli soldiers who boarded the boats with violence). We invite all peace-loving people to attend a public memorial for those who died in this assault in Lafayette Park opposite the White House on Sunday, June 13, at 11 a.m-2 p.m., sponsored by Tikkun, the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and many other groups, and which will include a larger consideration of U.S. policies. Memorial prayers and prayers for healing will be said at 1 p.m.


We call upon Israel to conduct an objective, credible investigation to determine all the levels of responsibility for this criminal act, and to punish those from the top of the government down through the IDF who were responsible. If the past is any guide to the present moment, the Israel hasbara (public relations 'explanation" operation) will now be working full time to put the blame on the people who sought to bring aid to Gaza, claiming that they were the violent ones and maybe even claiming that they were bringing military equipment or something of the sort.. Yet there was no need for any of this to have happened. Israel could have waited for the boats to arrive at shore and then sent military to search what was being brought to Gaza to ensure that it was in fact humanitarian aid. Moreover, as the Israeii peace movement Gush Shalom pointed out today, the core of the issue remains israel's attempt to starve and punish the entire population of Gaza for the activities of Hamas.


We call upon the international community to stop the blockade and, if necessary, to introduce an international force into Israel/Palestine to protect each side from the other, and then to implement the creation of a two state solution, freeing both sides from the violence of the other, and giving to each side the security and self-determination to which both sides are entitled. We call upon President Obam to use this moment to take decisive steps to create the Palesitnian state while providing Israel with all necessary security, and providing the Palestinian people with protection from those in Israel who have used violence to prevent Palestinian national self-determination. We contnue to abhor and denounce those in Israel and those in Palestine and Gaza who resort to violence to achieve their ends, including Hamas and including Israeli settlers. We acknowledge that the Israeli treatment of Gaza cannot be understood separate from the violent attacks on Israeli civilians from the shelling of Israeli cities from Gaza, nor that shelling understood apart from the blockade of Gaza by Israel, nor that violence from Gaza apart from the violence of the Occupation, nor the Occupation separate from previous acts of violence by Palestinians, nor that previous violence separate from the larger context of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians by Israel during the founding of the State, nor that explusion separate from the hostility of Palestinians to the creation of the State, and the story goes on and on. It's time to stop with the blame game and simply put an end to the struggle on both sides.


We continue to support the State of Israel's right to exist as a homeland for the Jewish people, and for Palestine to exist as a homeland for the Palestinian people. The violence must stop. The peace process is going nowhere. The time for decisive action to impose a just and peaceful resolution to the conflict arrived decades ago, and must be grabbed now. What level of barbarity needs to happen for the U.S. and the international community to act decisively? How many more deaths?


We mourn the lives lost, the many who have been wounded, including both those on the humanitarian aid mission and Israelis sent by a crazed and irresponsible government into actions that put their lives in danger. Israel's security was never threatened by this flotilla of humanitarian aid, and it was only macho political motivations that led Israeli leaders to order this insane assault. Israel deserves better than Netanyahu and Ehud Barak, and the world has to recognize that this current Israeli government will never bring peace or stability to the Middle East. While we continue to deplore Hamas and all that it has introduced into the equation, complicating attempts to make peace and doing what it could to stir hatred, we believe that the world and the Israeli people and the Palesitnian people deserve peace and justice, and that it is our human obligation to bring that to the peoples of the Middle East. A first step is to end the blockade of Gaza.We call upon all who protest Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza to maintain a strict non-violent discipline, and to affirm the humanity of all sides in this conflict even as we insist on bold and compelling action to stop the conflict.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
FROM AVAAZ TEAM

Dear friends, The world is reeling from Israel's assault on an aid flotilla trying to reach Gaza. It's time for a full investigation to begin -- and for the siege of Gaza to end. Sign the worldwide petition, then forward this message:

Israel's deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships headed for Gaza has shocked the world.

Israel, like any other state, has the right to self-defence, but this was an outrageous use of lethal force to defend an outrageous and lethal policy -- Israel's blockade of Gaza, where two thirds of families don't know where they'll find their next meal.

The UN, EU, and nearly every other government and multilateral organization have called on Israel to lift the blockade and, now, launch a full investigation of the flotilla raid. But without massive pressure from their citizens, world leaders might limit their response to mere words -- as they have so many times before.

Let's make the world's outcry too loud to ignore. Join the petition for an independent investigation into the raid, accountability for those responsible, and an immediate end to the blockade in Gaza -- click to sign the petition, and then forward this message to everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_1/?vl

The petition will be delivered to the UN and world leaders, as soon as it reaches 200,000 names -- and again at every opportunity as it grows and leaders choose their responses. A massive petition at a moment of crisis like this one can demonstrate to those in power that sound bites and press releases aren't enough -- that citizens are paying attention and demanding action.

As the EU decides whether to expand its special trade relationship with Israel, as Obama and the US Congress set next year's budget for Israeli military aid, and as neighbours like Turkey and Egypt decide their next diplomatic steps -- let's make the world's voice unignorable: it's time for truth and accountability on the flotilla raid, and it's time for Israel to comply with international law and end the siege of Gaza. Sign now and pass this message along:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_flotilla_1/?vl

Most people everywhere still share the same dream: for two free and viable states, Israel and Palestine, to live side by side. But the blockade, and the violence used to defend it, poisons that dream. As a columnist wrote to his fellow Israelis today in the newspaper Ha'aretz, "We are no longer defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is becoming Israel's Vietnam."

Thousands of pro-peace activists in Israel today protested the raid and the blockade in demonstrations from Haifa, to Tel Aviv and Jerusalem -- joining demonstrations around the world. Regardless of which side threw the first punch or fired the first shot (the Israeli military claims it did not initiate the violence), Israel's leaders sent helicopters of armed storm-troopers to raid a convoy of ships in international waters bringing medicine and supplies to Gaza, and some now lay dead.

Their lives cannot be brought back. But perhaps, together, we can make this dark moment a turning point -- if we arise with an unshakable call for justice, and an unbreakable dream of peace.

With hope,

Ricken, Alice, Raluca, Paul, Iain, Graziela and the rest of the Avaaz team
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FROM ARAB AMERICAN INSTITUTE
We are outraged by the reports of causalities in the latest flashpoint of the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We condemn Israel's attack upon a convoy of ships delivering much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza and the resulting loss of civilian life and causalities. The actions of the Israeli government in international waters off the coast of Gaza are deplorable and consistent with a policy in place since the brutal and illegal Israeli blockade was imposed on 1.5 million people in Gaza in 2007.

At its core, Israeli's siege on Gaza is a policy that disregards the most basic humanitarian considerations and flouts international law. Since the blockade was imposed, a not-so-subtle policy of starving a civilian population has been in place with either complacency or complicity from world leaders, including the United States. A leading source of independent analysis, the International Crisis Group, issued a statement highlighting the need for a strategic shift in policy toward Gaza.

Having little impact on Israel's declared goal of adversely affecting Hamas control in Gaza, the failed policy remains in place in spite of its distressing human toll.

While reasonable people can debate strategies and tactics for ending the immoral blockade, there is no scenario that allows for deadly commando attacks on humanitarian relief efforts and puts the lives of American citizens at risk.

The United Nations Security Council has condemned the attack and issued a presidential statement addressing the incident that "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force during the Israeli military operation in international waters against the convoy sailing to Gaza."

The State Department issued a statement also expressing regret over the causalities and continued concern about the "suffering of civilians in Gaza," but unfortunately failed to address the implications of this attack by being the only party that thinks Israel can investigate itself by asserting that the "Israeli government will conduct a full and credible investigation."

While a great deal of media has turned the focus of this incident into a discussion of a public relations blunder for Israel, the focus must remain on the failed policy that prompted the humanitarian relief effort to begin with. While the IDF is historically adept at explaining away its "errors of judgment," Israel's standard use of lethal force has been and continues to be the problem not the PR implications of it.

Crises like this often allow for reexamination of policies and shifts. For the sake of our national security interests, our world standing and regional stability, we must act quickly to end the humanitarian blockade of Gaza, demand a full independent investigation of this deadly assault and secure the release of our citizens under Israeli military control. After that, we can move to asserting our leadership role to advance negotiations between Arabs and Israelis.

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RESOURCES:

Live coverage from Al Jazeera:
http://blogs.aljazeera.net/middle-east/2010/05/31/live-coverage-israels-flotilla-raid

Live coverage from the Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/may/31/israel-troops-gaza-ships

"The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea" - Bradley Burston, Ha'aretz
http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/a-special-place-in-hell/a-special-place-in-hell-the-second-gaza-war-israel-lost-at-sea-1.293246

Analysis of violence from IDF's perspective from Debka, reporters with ties to Israeli intelligence:
http://debka.com/article/8824/

70% of Gazans suffer from food insecurity - 2008 ICRC report, cited by al Jazeera:
http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/05/20105319333613851.html

Analysis of possible political consequences of the flotilla attack:
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gtowfFjiFD4HYdHuYgxydKNwVRDwD9G2B3880