Archive for September, 2008
Professor Carlo Strenger wrote a poignant article in Ha’aretz, accusing Israeli extremists who foment a culture of incitement against other Jews who disagree with them. An excerpt:
Let us not forget that Israel, rightly, demands of the Palestinians to stop its schools from inculcating hatred for Israel. The West, rightly, demands that Islamic authorities condemn the hate speeches of Imams who call for the extinction of Israel and conquest of the infidel world. We demand this, because we know that words create reality; injunctions to violence in the end find their ways into the hearts of fanatics who will put these words into practice.
So why should we apply a different standard to Jews who do the same thing? Why should we accept that Jews who call for violence, Jews who in the name of their ideals allow for the blood of their ideological opponents to be shed?
For too long the Israeli Right has taken a forgiving attitude toward its ‘wild weeds.’ For too long it has used extremists to present its own views as acceptable mainstream.
I just received an email from OneVoice Israel describing their Award Ceremony for the winners of the Imagine 2018 Essay Contest on the Israeli Side. This event follows a similar one that OneVoice Palestine organized last month in parallel, in their case with the participation of the Chief Palestinian Islamic Justice and the Palestinian Minister of Education among others.
Here are excerpts of the Israeli letter:
OVI is happy to share with you the summery on the 2018 prizes ceremony and the launch of our new book "2018" (see cover attached).
The ceremony took place at the Tel Aviv cinematheque, during the international children film festival. We invited the 50 winners and their families, and 95% of them showed up.
The hall was packed with over than 250 people, while a few leaders left with no seat. The crowed was very heterogeneous and the kids and their families came from all across the country. We had kids from towns and villages, different refigures, boys and girls.
[I encourage you to read more by clicking below]
Brad Stone wrote an interesting article that speaks to societal differentiation between success from building something and risking your own skin to achieve it, vs. enrichment from financial engineering risking other peoples’ money.
When Sir Paul McCartney performed a historic concert in Israel earlier this week, he wore the OneVoice symbol on his lapel – as did every member of his band.
How did this come about?
When we learned that McCartney was headed to the Holy Land, our team in OneVoice Europe, led by Sayyeda Salam, took the initiative and reached out to him. They relied on a few of our Board members and supporters to connect, but it was primarily gumption and determination that got them to him.
Apparently Sir Paul was the most down-to-earth and kindest person, and he loved learning about OneVoice’s mission of empowering ordinary Palestinian and Israeli citizens who reject extremism and absolutism and demand a two-state solution. OVE arranged for Paul to meet with OneVoice activists in the region.
Anti-Israel groups campaigned aggressively to dissuade McCartney from visiting the Holy Land, and threatened to boycott him if he didn’t boycott Israel. Never mind that McCartney was bringing a message of peace and humanity and that he visited Palestine and respectfully shared a non-political humanitarian message for both Israelis and Palestinians. “Anti” groups and “cultural boycott” organizations often harm their own people because they make no distinction of the substance of the message or the group involved – rejecting and attacking even those who would work for a two-state-solution.
When McCartney met with our OneVoice Israel activists, he empathized with the challenges they faced exactly a year ago, when extremist groups attacked the OneVoice Summit, a parallel effort of mainstream Palestinian nationalists and separately mainstream Israeli nationalists to mobilize tens of thousands to propel their political representatives to end the occupation and all forms of violence through a comprehensive two state agreement.
McCartney told our activists:
“My father told me that regular people don’t like wars and don’t want conflict. I’m not a politician – I just want to bring a message of peace. In every place I perform I see that people want the same thing.”
Gil Shamy, our Israeli Executive Director, gave him the OneVoice pin.
McCartney was so touched with the vision of our youth leaders that he decided to wear the pin during the concert – and give a pin to everyone in the band who did the same.
At at a press conference later on, McCartney still carried with him the message he and OneVoice had agreed on:
“My little bit is to try to bring people together through music … It seems to me that most of the people are quite moderate and would like a solution. They would like peace like most people in the world … They want the governments to decide quite quickly on two states, on two nations rather than this conflict. They want it to work so they can both be separate and peaceful.” (full story)
Seeing Alaska Gov. (and McCain Vice-Presidential nominee) Sarah Palin be interviewed by Katy Couric gave me a strange sense of deja vu. Where had I heard this before? Then it came to me…
Here is the CBS News interview – discussing her foreign policy experience:
And here is what I had heard before:
24 Sep 2008
Iran built a danger to the entire world. Its quest for religious hegemony and regional dominance divides the Middle East and holds back chances for peace, while undermining human rights.
From his speech, quoting Rabbi Nachman of Breslav:
May it be thy will to remove war and bloodshed from the world and perpetuate the wonders and greatness of peace. All the inhabitants of the world shall recognize and know the truth: that we have not been placed on this earth to wage war and not for hatred or bloodshed. "
Address by the President of the State of Israel, Shimon Peres, at the United Nations General Assembly
24 September 2008
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Over 60 years have passed since the United Nations General Assembly voted on the historic resolution that would have put an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Resolution 181 called for the establishment of a Jewish and an Arab state. Its title was: "Plan of Partition with Economic Union". It envisioned two states for two peoples, each fulfilling a distinct national aspiration.
Following the trend where comedians (Stewart, Colbert) tend to be the best at undoing all the spin and exposing the raw political reality, David Letterman’s reaction to McCain’s cancellation of his visit to the show provided the best analysis of the situation.
The Christian Science Monitor provided a good recap here – quite funny actually.
In contrast to Coke’s advertising trying to say that Coke is all-natural (!), Pepsi has focused its product development and advertising messages separately promoting lines that are "FUN" (as above) and lines that are "Healthy." Of course the goal should be to create healthy and fun lines, but at least where fun is what you’ve got, Pepsi makes the best of it! This commercial is a hilarious nod to Chris Kattan.
Here is a fascinating story about an Iraqi parliamentarian that broke all taboos to travel to an anti-terrorism conference – in Israel – and warned about Iran’s nuclear threats. What is particularly remarkable is that he had already challenged the taboo in the past, paid for it with the lives of his two sons, and yet continued to preach a message of peace and managed to get enough Iraqis to elect him to Parliament.