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Home arrow Blog arrow September 2008 arrow September 27, 2008

September 27, 2008
WAWA Blog September 27, 2008: My take on the Presidential Debate, Dialogue with 'the enemy' and Not From Jerusalem #13


Jesus called politicians foxes-meaning they only care about themselves and they should NOT be trusted. I call politicians spin doctors and weasels!

Give US a break McCain for the oft repeated comment ascribed to President Ahmadinejad, that "Israel must be wiped off the map," was addressed by Virginia Tilley, Professor of political science who wrote:

"In his October 2005 speech, Mr. Ahmadinejad never used the word "map" or the term "wiped off". According to Farsi-language experts like Juan Cole and even right-wing services like MEMRI, what he actually said was "this regime that is occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time."

"In this speech to an annual anti-Zionist conference, Mr. Ahmadinejad was being prophetic, not threatening. He was citing Imam Khomeini, who said this line in the 1980s (a period when Israel was actually selling arms to Iran, so apparently it was not viewed as so ghastly then). Mr. Ahmadinejad had just reminded his audience that the Shah's regime, the Soviet Union, and Saddam Hussein had all seemed enormously powerful and immovable, yet the first two had vanished almost beyond recall and the third now languished in prison. So, too, the "occupying regime" in Jerusalem would someday be gone. His message was, in essence, "This too shall pass." http://www.counterpunch.org/tilley08282006.html


What we the people need to know is the HISTORY of the USA and Iran which is well told in this month's Smithsonian Magazine. I hope you dear reader will read it!

Inside Iran's Fury: Scholars trace the nation's antagonism to its history of domination by foreign powers by Stephen Kinzer
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/iran-fury.html


Ha’aretz Friday, September 26, 2008
Last update - 17:34 26/09/2008
Despite UN speech, Jews dine with Ahmadinejad in New York

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1024812.html

By Reuters


Despite Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech Tuesday where he railed against "Zionist murderers," a group of Jews had dinner with the Iranian President Thursday in New York.

The Jews were part of a larger group of some 200 people of various faiths including Mennonites, and Zoroastrians who said they wanted to promote peace by meeting such a prominent foe of the United States.

Outside the Manhattan hotel near the United Nations where the dinner took place, protesters held up placards such as "No feast with the beast" and likening Ahmadinejad to Hitler.

On Tuesday the Iranian leader launched a blistering attack on Israel in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly, dwelling on what he described as Zionist control of international finance.

President Shimon Peres has said the Iranian president's address was reminiscent of one the most notorious anti-Semitic tracts in history.

"This is the first time in the history of the United Nations that the head of a state is appearing openly and publicly with the ugly and dark accusations of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion,'" Peres said after Ahmadinejad's speech.

Ahmadinejad rejected accusations he was anti-Semitic, saying his criticism was aimed at the "Zionist regime" for its oppression of the Palestinians rather than at Jews.

"As soon as anyone objects to the behavior of the Zionist regime, they're accused of being anti-Semitic, whereas the Jewish people are not Zionists," Ahmadinejad said. "Zionism is a political party that has nothing to do with Jewish people."

The Iranian leader gave a lengthy discourse on the need for religion in both private and public life, and the decline of morality in countries where politicians reject religion.

He also dwelled on the woes of the Palestinians and efforts by "selfish powers" to dominate the world and frustrate Iran's peaceful nuclear ambitions at the event billed as a discussion on religion's role in eliminating poverty, injustice and war.

"A lot of it was very challenging," said Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb who was also a speaker. She said that while Ahmadinejad had not denied the Holocaust in his speech, he had minimized it in the way he spoke about World War Two.

Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be wiped off the map. His government held a conference in 2006 questioning the fact that Nazis used gas chambers to kill 6 million Jews in World War Two.

"Our world views are rather different. But unless we ... dialogue face to face, how will we create any kind of understanding?" Gottlieb told Reuters, adding that she chose to attend because "peace is better than war."

Arli Klassen, executive director of the Mennonite Central Committee, introduced the discussion by saying armed conflict would solve nothing and dialogue was essential, especially with those whose views were most different.

"We are deeply concerned when your statements about the Holocaust minimize or diminish its impact on our world today, and on Jewish people today," she told Ahmadinejad. "We ask you to change the way you speak about the Holocaust."

She asked him to avoid rhetoric that "is heard as a threat to destroy the state of Israel," to allow religious freedom in Iran and to be transparent about Iran's nuclear program.

Harriett Jane Olson, a representative of the United Methodist Church, said she wished Ahmadinejad had talked about practical issues such as the treatment of women and children in Iran rather than focusing on abstract theological points.

Rohinton Dadina, a Zoroastrian priest who said a prayer at the dinner, said if Ahmadinejad's views were changed even one percent by what he heard, it was worth holding such events.

 


Not From Jerusalem # 13
By Rev. R. Siler
10 September 2008



       One of my most difficult struggles as I have attempted to share my observations and perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict these past years is the effort to speak as honestly as I can without sounding one-sided. When I address groups I begin by warning them that what they are about to see and hear may sound to them biased and overbalanced. But I also remind them that—in this country as in many western lands—they have most likely been exposed to just one perspective on the trials of life in that place of suffering and pain we know as the Middle East.

If we are ever to gain the understanding that is absolutely essential to peace with justice, we must know and acknowledge that the stories of two peoples—not one—are etched in the sands of that beautiful place of desert, rocks, and mountains. There are three vital areas to these stories that are absolutely necessary for the integrity of our comprehension.



First, hard as it may be, we must come to grips with the fact that, while one people’s religious faith assures them that their God has given the land to them, the other’s faiths do not share that belief:

That while the people of Israel celebrate each May their nation’s birth, the Palestinian people grieve as they bring to mind the Nakba, the catastrophe.

Both peoples are remembering precisely the same event; That while Israelis rejoice over their military conquest of the land, the Palestinians mourn the hundreds of thousands of them who were forced from their homes and never allowed to return; That while some Palestinians and others continue to act as if they would like nothing better than to see Israel disappear, many Israelis will continue to believe they are justified in the extreme security measures they take; That while Israel has refused for 60 years to delineate its borders, most Palestinians and internationals are left with the impression that the settlement building and the stranglehold military control of all of Palestinian life will only end when all the land of historic Palestine is recognized as one country under the Israeli flag. We can never hope for real peace until both of these peoples—and we who would stand and walk beside them—are able to grasp the depth and perception of the other’s narrative.

Please understand that I am not saying here who should have the land; rather I’m saying that such understanding of both sides is essential if we are to move toward peace.



Second, the inability or refusal to understand the hugely disproportional strengths and capabilities of the two sides will always stand as a barrier to comprehending how nearly impossible it is to move toward positive relations. As I listen to people around the country I often get the sense that they see things as an ongoing conflict between two armies.

That is halfway true. The Israeli force—the Israeli Defense Force [IDF]—is a modern, though apparently somewhat undisciplined, army with up-to-date equipment and massive amounts of firepower.

The Palestinians are a divided force with no heavy arms, able to inflict occasional significant damage but with scant defensive capability. The rockets which rain on parts of Israel from Gaza are relatively primitive with a short range and not much accuracy. Obviously, to the residents of the town of Sderot the rockets [which have now ceased to be fired because of a truce of sorts] are a frightening, even terrifying happening. However, they are nothing compared to Israel’s jet aircraft and attack helicopters with their large bombs and amazing accuracy.

One must understand this enormous disparity for one to understand how it is possible for Israel to control every aspect of Palestinian life. It does have its costs, but it is absolute control. I am constantly amazed at how many people still speak of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza, as if it were no longer under Israeli control.

From the first day that IDF troops left Gaza until today Israel controls every person, every bag of wheat, every cabbage, every box of medical supplies, every vial of insulin…every amount of everything into or out of Gaza, by land, by sea, or by air.

The only aspect of occupation that has changed is that the troops are no longer protecting illegal settlements inside Gaza; they are maintaining an iron grip all around the perimeter.

The settlers who were removed in 2005? There were 7000 of them. Not by coincidence there were 8000 illegal settlers moved into the Palestinian West Bank that same year.



Finally, we must all seek, even demand truthful information about the situation.

I have personally heard scores of Palestinians tell me that they do not argue with Israel’s right to build a wall/fence/barrier if they believe it necessary for their security, as long as it is built in Israel or on the dividing line between the peoples.

I have never heard an Israeli official answer the question of why the barrier is built so far into Palestinian land, and not on Israeli territory.

We need to ask why a Palestinian man from Arab East Jerusalem who wishes to marry a Palestinian woman from the West Bank has a choice: either give up his Jerusalem residency or live apart from his wife. They cannot live together in Jerusalem.

Or why a Palestinian who lives in a suburb of Jerusalem can catch a flight out of Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, while his brother who lives 10 miles away in Bethlehem must travel by land all the way to Amman, Jordan or Cairo, Egypt and fly from there.

Or why the police and soldiers so many times turn away when illegal Israeli settlers are harassing and intimidating Palestinian villagers and farmers.


No nation can long exist on such a foundation, and no new nation can find birth under these conditions.

If those of us in the rest of the world do not seek to know the truths about life in Israel-Palestine and do not demand an end to violence, injustice, and oppression, there can be little doubt about the potential end results. None of them are what any of us really want.



Russell O. Siler, Retired
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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

© 1968, 2001 Kent M. Keith

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The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



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