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Home arrow Blog arrow October 2009 arrow October 1, 2009

October 1, 2009
October 1, 2009: On the Road Again and Back to Ahmadinejad UPDATED Oct. 6, 2009 leads

I am in D.C. until Sunday, in support of and to report on a  Friends of Sabeel Conference.

More on that follows
Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True

In clean up is
the complete transcript of Ahmadinejad's UN Speech because so many 'leaders' of the world could not sit in their seats and listen to him.

Oct. 6, 2009:

It is now being reported that the reason that Ahmadinejad's father changed his surname has more to do with the class struggle in Iran; than a conversion from Judaism.

The point remains that the Holocaust is being USED to excuse the Israeli Government's atrocities and the word Semite includes ALL Jews and Arabs!  



Oct. 5, 2009

The latest news is that Ahmadinejad has Jewish roots and his family changed their name shortly after his birth when they converted from Judaism to Islam.

This helps understand his critical critiques about the Holocaust which has been elevated "above God, religion and the prophets" by many and which is being used to excuse the policies of Israel visa vi Zionism which today is an ideology that fuels the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. At least that is how I read the man and offer his speech here for you dear reader to make up your own mind.


Thanks to Joanne for forwarding the speech President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad gave at the Durban Review Conference, a UN conference on racism, in Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday, 20th April 2009:


Protesters interrupted the conference before Mr Ahmadinejad could start his speech. He refers to the incident in his opening sentence.

I would like to ask all honourable participants to forgive them. They are ignorant.


In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Thanks to God, the Lord of the worlds, and peace and praise be upon our master and prophet, Muhammad and his immaculate progeny and true followers. O God, hasten the reappearance of the Hidden Imam and grant him health and victory and make us his true companions and believers and those who testify to His rightfulness.

Praise belongs to the just, merciful, and compassionate God. May God's blessing be upon the prophets, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and the last prophet His Holiness Muhammad Mustafa, who called for monotheism, fraternity, kindness, human dignity, and justice.

Mr Chairman, Honourable Secretary-General of the UN, Honourable High Commissariat for Human Rights, Ladies and Gentlemen, following the Durban anti-racism and discrimination conference, we have gathered here to examine the current situation and to find practical solutions for this humane and sacred campaign. In the past centuries, great injustice was inflicted on mankind.

In the Middle Ages scholars and scientists were sentenced to death. And later on slavery and the hunting down of innocent people, separating them from their families and taking them in millions to Europe and America in the worst conditions, was popular. These were dark ages where lands were occupied and their sources were looted, and innocent people were killed and made homeless. Years passed until people rose. They paid a high price in order to drive occupiers out and establish independent and national governments; millions of people were killed. Those in power imposed two major wars in short periods of time on Europe and parts of Africa and Asia. These were wars which took about 100 million lives and resulted in destruction of a lot of countries and regions. Those who won these wars considered themselves conquerors of the world and considered other nations defeated. And by the imposition of oppressive laws and arrangements they ignored and violated other nations rights.

Ladies and gentlemen, look at the Security Council which is the legacy of World War I and II. Based on what logic have they been given the right to veto? With which human and divine value is this logic compatible? Justice, equality in the eye of law and human dignity or discrimination, injustice, violation of human rights and belittling the majority of nations and countries? This Council is the most supreme decision-making centre for maintaining peace and security in the world.

When there is legal discrimination and the law-making centre is a source of bullying and force instead of justice and fairness, how can one expect to achieve justice and peace? Seeking power and selfishness is the source of racism, discrimination, aggression and tyranny. Today many racists condemn racism in their slogans and speeches but when some powerful countries give themselves the right to make decisions for other countries, using their discretion, and based on their own interests, they can easily trample on all rules and human values. As they have already proven.

After the Second World War, by exploiting the holocaust and under the pretext of protecting the Jews they made a nation homeless with military expeditions and invasion. They transferred various groups of people from America, Europe and other countries to this land. They established a completely racist government in the occupied Palestinian territories. And in fact, under the pretext of making up for damages resulting from racism in Europe, they established the most aggressive, racist country in another territory, i.e. Palestine.

The Security Council endorsed this usurper regime and for 60 years constantly defended it and let it commit any kind of crime.

Worse than this is that some Western governments and America are committed to support genocidal racists while others condemn the bombardment of innocent human beings, the occupation of their land and the disasters that took place in Gaza. Even before they kept silent, not responding to all the crimes of that regime, and supported it. Dear friends, ladies and gentlemen, what has been the source of recent wars such as the Americans' attack on Iraq or the wide military expedition in Afghanistan? Has it been anything else than the selfishness of the American government of the time and the pressures by those in possession of wealth and power to expand influence and hegemony, support weapon manufacturers, destroy a great culture that is thousands of years old, destroying possible and potentials risks by the countries of the region against the occupying Quds regime, and looting the energy resources of the Iraqi people?

In fact why were one million people dead and injured and a few million people forced to leave their homeland? Why were hundreds of billions of dollars worth of damage inflicted on the Iraqi people and hundreds of billions of dollars of costs for the military invasion imposed on the American people and America's allies?

Was attacking Iraq not orchestrated by the Zionists and their allies in the previous ruling government of America which was on the one hand in power and on the other the owner of arms manufacturing companies?

Did peace, security and prosperity return to Afghanistan by military intervention? America and its allies were not even able to stop the production of narcotics and during their presence it increased several fold. The main question is this: What was the role of the previous ruling system in America and its allies? Were they the representatives of the world nations? Were they elected by the world nations? Do they have representation by the world nations to interfere in the affairs of all parts of the world and especially our region? Don't these actions, the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, count as examples of selfishness, racism, discrimination and violating the dignity and independence of other nations?

Ladies and gentlemen, who are the people in charge of the crisis-hit economy of the world? Where did the crisis start? Did it start in Africa and Asia or American and then Europe and their allies?

For a long time, using their political influence, they [West] imposed unfair economic laws on international economic transactions. They set up financial and monetary systems without provisions of international supervision and imposed those systems on countries that did not have the smallest role to play in the processes and policies adopted.

They do not even allow their own nations to supervise. By taking away morality from their actions, they have established laws in a way that they serve the interests of certain powerful people and capitalists. By giving a specific definition of free market and competition, they took away many opportunities from others and imposed their problems on others.

Today, with dozens of thousands of billions of dollars of debt and thousands of billions of dollars of budget deficit, those waves of crisis have come back to them.

Even today in order to improve the situation, they have started injecting hundred billions of dollars of unsupported money from the pockets of their citizens and other nations into banks and companies and financial markets which were close to bankruptcy and they have made their people even more indebted and they have made the problem more complicated.

They are thinking of maintaining their power and wealth. And the people of the world and even their own people are of no value to them. Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, the true root of racism is the lack of human understanding as God's chosen creatures and deviation from the true path of human life and human missions in creation. Due to negligence in worshipping God with awareness and pondering on the philosophy of life and the path towards human perfection - which leads to the natural outcome of being committed to divine values and mankind - the horizon of human insight has declined. And limited and temporary interests became the criteria of evaluation and actions by human beings. Therefore, the seeds of evil power took their shape and by neglecting fair chances for others' growth, it added to the boundaries of its development.

In such a way that it changed to an ugly and uncontrollable racism that today it is threatening the global peace as the most dangerous factor. And it is an obstacle on the way of achieving peaceful life in the world. Undoubtedly, racism should be recognised as the symbol of ignorance of the depth of history and a sign of dogmatism against mankind's general growth. Therefore, we should look for the signs of racism under conditions and situations in a society where poverty of knowledge and lack of understanding would be spread. Therefore, the main means of fighting such symptoms is to promote general awareness and deepening public understanding towards the philosophy of mankind's existence and the truth about the human-oriented world. Its requirement or outcome is a return to spiritual and ethical values and human virtues and finally the belief in God. The global society should start a united cultural movement for enlightening certain suffering and undeveloped societies as much as possible and uproot this hideous and evil phenomenon.

But dear friends, today the human society is facing a kind of racism which has an ugliness that has completely distorted the honour of mankind at the verge of the third millennium and it has made the global society shameful. The global Zionism is the complete symbol of racism, which with unreal reliance on religion has tried to misuse the religious beliefs of some unaware people and hide its ugly face. But what should be seriously considered are the goals of certain superpowers and those in possession of major interests in the world; those who try their best through economic power and political influence and wide media means, to lessen the crimes and ugliness of the nature of the Zionist regime. Here, the main issue is not ignorance and therefore, cultural movements on their own, are not sufficient to fight this evil phenomenon. But we should try to put an end to the misuse of international means by the Zionists and their supporters. And by respecting nations' demands, we should motivate the united governments to eliminate this clear racism and step on the path of reforming international relations 0and mechanisms with courage.

Undoubtedly, you are all aware of the extensive efforts by the institutes of global power towards creating a deviation on the path of the real mission of this important conference. Unfortunately in the literature supporting the Zionists, a clear participation and cooperation in their crimes can be noticed. And this adds to the responsibilities of the respectful representatives of nations in revealing this antihuman issue and improving relations and behaviours. We should be aware that to keep a huge global capacity, such as this conference, away from its real intentions, means helping to continue the most hideous sense of racism. Today the necessity of defending human rights is firstly, to defend the rights of a nation to be free to make decisions regarding important global affairs without the influence of certain powers; secondly, to take action to improve international structures and relations. Therefore, this conference is the arena of a major test and we will be judged by the world's public opinion today and tomorrow.

Mr Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, the world's general condition is rapidly moving towards basic changes. Power based equations have become very weak. The sound of the pillars of global tyranny breaking can be heard. Political and macro economic structures are falling. Political and security crisis are growing. And the growing global economic crisis, for the resolution of which there is no bright horizon, makes all sorts of quantitative and quality aspects of change on the way very impressive. I have emphasised the necessity of getting back from the wrong path that today's absolute global management is following and I have warned about the critical outcomes of delaying to do so.

Also now, in this valued conference, addressing you managers, thinkers and all the world nations who are thirsty for peace, freedom, progress and prosperity, I would like to say that the unjust ruling of the world is reaching its end. This deadlock was inevitable since the logic behind this imposed management is tyrannical. This is because the logic of the mass movement of the world is divine, purposeful, humane and God-centred. It is a movement which opposes any policy or plan which is not in line with the interests of nations. Victory of truth over vice and the bright future of humanity and the establishment of a just global system is the promise of God and all prophets, and a common hope of all communities and generations. Achieving such a future justifies the reason behind creation, is the belief of all those faithful to God and the very high status of the human beings.

Formation of a global community, the practical possibility of a common global system materialising and finally involving thinkers, managers and people of the world to actively and justly participate in the macro and principle decision makings is the main path to this great destination.

At the moment, scientific and technical capabilities as well as information and communication technology have created a mutual and comprehensive understanding of the global community and have created the necessary ground for a common system to materialise. .

Now, this is a grave responsibility that the world's scientists, elites and officials across the world should shoulder by playing a historic role through faith in this definite path.

Now I want to stress on this fact that western capitalism like communism has reached the end of its path because it does not see the world and humanity as they are. It has tried to impose a self-constructed path and destination and instead of paying attention to human and divine values, justice, freedom, compassion and brotherhood it has set fierce competition for gaining individual and collective materialistic interests as a basis for life.

Now we should collectively try to learn lessons from the past and understand the necessity for correcting this path by considering today's conditions. And on the same note and as the final word I would like to draw your attention to two important points.

First point: The improvement of the current international condition is hundred per cent possible. But we should know that this cannot be achieved without the cooperation of all the governments and nations. Therefore, we should benefit from the capacities of international cooperation to the maximum. My presence in this conference indicates my respect for this important issue, and the essential issue of human rights and support for nations' rights against the evil phenomenon of racism and cooperation with you, the thinkers.

Second: Considering the lack of efficiency of systems and international political, economic, security and cultural relations is necessary. In view of divine and humanitarian values and the true and real definition of human beings and based on justice and respect for the rights of all human beings across the world, confessing to the wrong management in the past and changing the views and performances, measures should be taken to reform the current structures. Therefore, a speedy change in the structure of the United Nations and the elimination of the discriminatory right to veto and a change in the financial and monetary system of the world must be on the agenda. Obviously, the lack of understanding for the urgency of this change will result in heavier costs due to any delay.

My dear friends, you should know that moving in line with justice and human dignity is like moving quickly on a stream of water. Let's not forget the valuable elixir of love and compassion. The guarantee for a clear future for human beings is a great asset that can keep us more aware and more hopeful than ever before. It can enable us to create a world full of love and blessing and can be free from poverty and hatred. We will also be able to profit from the blessings of God and have the advantage of having a decent management of a complete human being.

Let us all have a share in this important issue, and hope for that bright and beautiful day. I would like to sincerely thank the President and the UN Secretary-General and all of you for your patience, wishing you dignity and success.

 

The above is a BBC translation from a speech transcript supplied by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network, Tehran, in Persian. The speech Mr Ahmadinejad gave was different in some respects from the draft submitted previously by the Iranians to the UN and can be accessed here

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/20_04_09_ahmadinejad_geneva.pdf




Top Things you Think You Know about Iran that are not True
By Juan Cole

October 01, 2009 "Information Clearing House" --- Thursday is a fateful day for the world, as the US, other members of the United Nations Security Council, and Germany meet in Geneva with Iran in a bid to resolve outstanding issues. Although Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had earlier attempted to put the nuclear issue off the bargaining table, this rhetorical flourish was a mere opening gambit and nuclear issues will certainly dominate the talks. As Henry Kissinger pointed out, these talks are just beginning and there are highly unlikely to be any breakthroughs for a very long time. Diplomacy is a marathon, not a sprint.

But on this occasion, I thought I'd take the opportunity to list some things that people tend to think they know about Iran, but for which the evidence is shaky.

Belief: Iran is aggressive and has threatened to attack Israel, its neighbors or the US

Reality: Iran has not launched an aggressive war modern history (unlike the US or Israel), and its leaders have a doctrine of "no first strike." This is true of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, as well as of Revolutionary Guards commanders.

Belief: Iran is a militarized society bristling with dangerous weapons and a growing threat to world peace.

Reality: Iran's military budget is a little over $6 billion annually. Sweden, Singapore and Greece all have larger military budgets. Moreover, Iran is a country of 70 million, so that its per capita spending on defense is tiny compared to these others, since they are much smaller countries with regard to population. Iran spends less per capita on its military than any other country in the Persian Gulf region with the exception of the United Arab Emirates.


Belief: Iran has threatened to attack Israel militarily and to "wipe it off the map."

Reality: No Iranian leader in the executive has threatened an aggressive act of war on Israel, since this would contradict the doctrine of 'no first strike' to which the country has adhered. The Iranian president has explicitly said that Iran is not a threat to any country, including Israel.

Belief: But didn't President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threaten to 'wipe Israel off the map?'

Reality: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did quote Ayatollah Khomeini to the effect that "this Occupation regime over Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time" (in rezhim-e eshghalgar-i Qods bayad as safheh-e ruzgar mahv shavad). This was not a pledge to roll tanks and invade or to launch missiles, however. It is the expression of a hope that the regime will collapse, just as the Soviet Union did. It is not a threat to kill anyone at all.

Belief: But aren't Iranians Holocaust deniers?

Actuality: Some are, some aren't. Former president Mohammad Khatami has castigated Ahmadinejad for questioning the full extent of the Holocaust, which he called "the crime of Nazism." Many educated Iranians in the regime are perfectly aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. In any case, despite what propagandists imply, neither Holocaust denial (as wicked as that is) nor calling Israel names is the same thing as pledging to attack it militarily.

Belief: Iran is like North Korea in having an active nuclear weapons program, and is the same sort of threat to the world.

Actuality: Iran has a nuclear enrichment site at Natanz near Isfahan where it says it is trying to produce fuel for future civilian nuclear reactors to generate electricity. All Iranian leaders deny that this site is for weapons production, and the International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly inspected it and found no weapons program. Iran is not being completely transparent, generating some doubts, but all the evidence the IAEA and the CIA can gather points to there not being a weapons program. The 2007 National Intelligence Estimate by 16 US intelligence agencies, including the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency, assessed with fair confidence that Iran has no nuclear weapons research program. This assessment was based on debriefings of defecting nuclear scientists, as well as on the documents they brought out, in addition to US signals intelligence from Iran. While Germany, Israel and recently the UK intelligence is more suspicious of Iranian intentions, all of them were badly wrong about Iraq's alleged Weapons of Mass Destruction and Germany in particular was taken in by Curveball, a drunk Iraqi braggart.

Belief: The West recently discovered a secret Iranian nuclear weapons plant in a mountain near Qom.

Actuality: Iran announced Monday a week ago to the International Atomic Energy Agency that it had begun work on a second, civilian nuclear enrichment facility near Qom. There are no nuclear materials at the site and it has not gone hot, so technically Iran is not in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, though it did break its word to the IAEA that it would immediately inform the UN of any work on a new facility. Iran has pledged to allow the site to be inspected regularly by the IAEA, and if it honors the pledge, as it largely has at the Natanz plant, then Iran cannot produce nuclear weapons at the site, since that would be detected by the inspectors. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted on Sunday that Iran could not produce nuclear weapons at Natanz precisely because it is being inspected. Yet American hawks have repeatedly demanded a strike on Natanz.


Belief: The world should sanction Iran not only because of its nuclear enrichment research program but also because the current regime stole June's presidential election and brutally repressed the subsequent demonstrations.

Actuality: Iran's reform movement is dead set against increased sanctions on Iran, which likely would not affect the regime, and would harm ordinary Iranians.

Belief: Isn't the Iranian regime irrational and crazed, so that a doctrine of mutally assured destruction just would not work with them?

Actuality: Iranian politicians are rational actors. If they were madmen, why haven't they invaded any of their neighbors? Saddam Hussein of Iraq invaded both Iran and Kuwait. Israel invaded its neighbors more than once. In contrast, Iran has not started any wars. Demonizing people by calling them unbalanced is an old propaganda trick. The US elite was once unalterably opposed to China having nuclear science because they believed the Chinese are intrinsically irrational. This kind of talk is a form of racism.

Belief: The international community would not have put sanctions on Iran, and would not be so worried, if it were not a gathering nuclear threat.

Actuality: The centrifuge technology that Iran is using to enrich uranium is open-ended. In the old days, you could tell which countries might want a nuclear bomb by whether they were building light water reactors (unsuitable for bomb-making) or heavy-water reactors (could be used to make a bomb). But with centrifuges, once you can enrich to 5% to fuel a civilian reactor, you could theoretically feed the material back through many times and enrich to 90% for a bomb. However, as long as centrifuge plants are being actively inspected, they cannot be used to make a bomb. The two danger signals would be if Iran threw out the inspectors or if it found a way to create a secret facility. The latter task would be extremely difficult, however, as demonstrated by the CIA's discovery of the Qom facility construction in 2006 from satellite photos. Nuclear installations, especially centrifuge ones, consume a great deal of water, construction materiel, and so forth, so that constructing one in secret is a tall order. In any case, you can't attack and destroy a country because you have an intuition that they might be doing something illegal. You need some kind of proof. Moreover, Israel, Pakistan and India are all much worse citizens of the globe than Iran, since they refused to sign the NPT and then went for broke to get a bomb; and nothing at all has been done to any of them by the UNSC.


Sabeel is an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians in the Holy Land who seek a just peace based on two states-Palestine and Israel-as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions. Sabeel promotes theological, moral, and legal principles for peace as outlined in the Jerusalem Sabeel Document.

Friends of Sabeel-North America (FOSNA) works in the U.S. and Canada to support the vision of Sabeel, cultivating the support of American churches through co-sponsored regional educational conferences, alternative pilgrimage, witness trips, and international gatherings in the Holy Land.

Pursue Justice, Seek Peace! Framing the Discourse - Mobilizing for Action
A Friends of Sabeel Conference October 1-3, 2009

“The arc of the moral universe is long but bends towards justice.”-Martin Luther King

Founder and one of many Keynote speakers at the Conference is Rev. Naim Ateek and he wrote the following
for Sabeel's Cornerstone, a quarterly newsletter:
http://www.sabeel.org/etemplate.php?id=5


                           "...and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
:

The Laundering of Words and the Oppression of Palestinians



“… so also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue – a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so” (James 3:5-10).

Words are powerful instruments that people use for good and evil. Someone once said that people need to handle words carefully because they have more power than an atomic bomb. The letter of James in the New Testament, from which the above quotation is taken, is only one example of the power of words which we all use and abuse. For James, the tongue is a small member but it is capable of great exploits. Words can be “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” With words we can bless God and one another and with words we can curse them. If words are not controlled, they can consume people like fire. This phenomenon is not new. From time immemorial, human beings have discovered the power and subtlety of language and the use and misuse of words.

From the beginning of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the propaganda machine of the state of Israel has coined words, created myths, produced stereotypes, and crafted propaganda tools in order to justify and legitimize the Zionist narrative, while at the same time, it has managed to cast doubt upon and negate the Palestinian narrative. Through the power of laundered words Israel has been successful, to a large extent, in presenting itself to the West as the victim in the conflict over Palestine and not as the victimizer. Through the power of words, Israel has smeared the Palestinians as a bunch of warmongers, innately violent, and by nature, enemies of peace, while presenting itself as peace-seeker and peace-loving. What the government of Israel has done is to write and propagate the history of the conflict through its own prism and with laundered words.

Consequently, many Israelis have grown up believing the image of the Palestinian and the Arab that has been fashioned by Israel. In addition they have been given a powerful vocabulary of laundered words that they employ whenever they refer to the Palestinians and Arabs. It isimportant for the reader to realize that the words that are used have been laundered by the strong detergent of the Israeli propaganda machine and are intended not only to hide reality, but also to change it. In this issue of Cornerstone, Sabeel’s objective is to help the reader to discern the truth because the truth is capable of setting people free. Jesus said: “You shall know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)

The main article in this issue is written by Gideon Levy, a well known Israeli journalist to whom we are deeply grateful. In this editorial, I am introducing the theme from my own experience with Israel as well as from the writings of others.

It is important to note that before 1967, the Arab citizens of Israel could not refer to themselves as Palestinians; it was taboo. They were known as Arabs and collectively as the Arab minority in Israel. The first identity cards (ID) issued by the new state of Israel after 1948 used the word “Palestinian” to describe their nationality. Later the Israeli government issued new ID’s and replaced “Palestinian” with the more generic term “Arab.” After that, the word “Palestinian” could not be used. It was revived only after the 1967 war when Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

From the beginning, the Israeli state recognized the power of words and their psychological effect. By laundering words, Israel hoped to change reality, create new realities, erase memory, and induce a change in people’s vocabulary. This was achieved partly by the laundering of words and partly through the use of the newly imposed Hebrew language on the Palestinian Arabs who became citizens of Israel. Avraham Burg, in his book, The Holocaust is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes, writes:“…the modern Hebrew language employs word laundering to mask an arrogant, violent and even racist attitude toward the Arab enemy. In everyday spoken Hebrew, the adjective Arab has a bad connotation.”1 “Israel’s word laundering is among the most advanced in the world….” (Burg, 61).

Laundered words are deceptive and intended to hide and suppress the reality and truth of the situation. They create misconceptions that aim at softening injustice and oppression, and attempt to justify and rationalize mistreatment. In short, laundered words blame the victim as being the actual perpetrator of the injustice and acquits the guilty party. As an example, the government of Israel has never admitted any responsibility for the 1948 Nakba when, directly or indirectly, it displaced over three quarters of a million Palestinians from their homes and refused to allow them to return, thus violating the terms of international law and UN resolutions. Israel then turned around and created myths and lies about the Nakba. Israel has always maintained that it did not drive the Palestinians out of their homes in 1948; they simply fled of their own volition. Despite the scientific and well documented research that has been done by Israeli Jewish historians, which prove that the expulsion of the Palestinian people was clearly planned by the Zionist leaders, the government of Israel continues to ignore and deny such irrefutable evidence.2 This explanation has been one of the oldest myths used by Israel, despite the personal testimonies of tens of thousands of Palestinians who were forced at gunpoint to leave their villages, like my family, which was driven out of Beisan.

Similarly, for the government of Israel, East Jerusalem is not “occupied” it is “liberated.” Israel does not use the word “occupation” for the West Bank because it believes that all the land is the “Land of Israel.” The usual Israeli reply is: “How can you occupy your own land?” By doing this, Israel lives in its own illusory world creating false realities and giving its people false hopes. In the Israeli Jewish psyche and logic, if there is no occupation then there is no oppression and no injustice. The Palestinians are only foreigners who are resident aliens who create trouble, commit violence and terror against the Jewish owners of the land. Therefore, when the army kills Palestinians they are only uprooting the violence and the terrorists. Killing terrorists is not murder; it is self defense. Thus,soldiers need not feel guilty when killing Palestinians. It is a sick psychology that rests on false premises and deceptive words. Indeed, the international community talks about a belligerent Israeli occupation while Israel marches through history talking about liberating and redeeming the land.

This reminds me of what happened at the time of the prophet Jeremiah. The political situation in the country was extremely tense. There was an impending Babylonian military threat against Jerusalem. Some people, however, were taking things very lightly and spreading rumors that since God was on their side no harm would come to Jerusalem. They were crying out: “peace, peace, when there is no peace” (Jeremiah6:14). Jeremiah called such words deceptive: “Do not trust those deceptive words” (Jer. 7:4).

Deceptive words are received by some people. They give comfort and assurance but, ultimately, they deceive because they convey false realities and create false hopes. Sooner or later, people discover the deception and deviousness.

In a section of his book, Avraham Burg focuses on Israeli use of laundered words. He writes that in the Nazi documents one seldom finds words like “destruction,” “elimination,”“murder,” or “killing” to describe what the Nazis were planning to do to Jews. What one finds are words like “evacuation,” “special treatment,” “relocation,” “work in the East,” “residential relocation,” and “final solution.” He continues: “The special terminology was developed to allay the fears of Jews so that they would go easily to the centers of death, believing they were going to work in the East….” (Burg, 58).

Burg adds: “A civilization that employs laundered words uses a false language to represent a false culture and allows a state to wash itself clean of any responsibility for acts done in their name. ‘I didn’t know,’ ‘I wasn’t told,’ ‘It can’t be, the newspaper didn’t report it’ are common manifestations of responses to laundered language.” Burg believes that the reply should be: “They did tell you, but in words that allowed you to not acknowledge their true meaning. They told you, but in a way that enabled you to not know what you did not want to know” (Burg, 59).

With the presence of a right-wing government in Israel there is fear that the laundered words, the inflammatory language, the deception and the lies might begin to affect people at the center. Burg says, “Inflammatory language arouses passions but creates false warmth. They allow themselves to speak words that should not be spoken in respectable places. Extremism moves from the fringes of xenophobic nationalism to the more moderate right and from there on to the cultural and political mainstream. The circles of influence almost always parallel those of indifference” (Burg, 63). The racist views of a person like Avigdor Lieberman, the foreign minister of Israel, might be rejected as extremist in the beginning, but with time, the same words might be accepted and eventually affect others at the center.

We must witness to the fact that laundered words do not contribute to peacemaking. On the contrary, they inflame anger, hate, and revenge. Laundered words are as devastating and damaging as the physical oppression of the occupation itself. Whereas the first target of the occupation is to hurt the body, the primary target of laundered words is to hurt the spirit and the soul and to break the will and morale of people. It is our duty and responsibility to expose the destructive phenomenon of laundered words. It must be resisted and confronted as an evil that must be rooted out. It is an ugly form of racism that we all detest.

Ultimately, it is truth and not lies that will endure. It is light and not darkness that will prevail.

1 Burg, Avraham. The Holocaust is Over; We Must Rise From Its Ashes. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
2 See Morris, Benny. The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004 and Pappe, Ilan. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oxford: Oneworld Publications Limited, 2006.

The Rev. Naim Ateek is the Director of Sabeel, the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem.

To read the entire edition of Cornerstone, go to the website:
Sabeel's Cornerstone, a quarterly newsletter: http://www.sabeel.org/etemplate.php?id=5
 




Transcript of Ahmadinejad's U.N. Speech

September 19, 2006

The following is a transcript of remarks by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Madam President, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Distinguished Heads of Delegation, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I praise the Merciful, All-Knowing and Almighty God for blessing me with another opportunity to address this Assembly on behalf of the great nation of Iran and to bring a number of issues to the attention of the international community.

I also praise the Almighty for the increasing vigilance of peoples across the globe, their courageous presence in different international settings, and the brave expression of their views and aspirations regarding global issues.

Today, humanity passionately craves commitment to the Truth, devotion to God, quest for Justice and respect for the dignity of human beings. Rejection of domination and aggression, defense of the oppressed, and longing for peace constitute the legitimate demand of the peoples of the world, particularly the new generations and the spirited youth, who aspire a world free from decadence, aggression and injustice, and replete with love and compassion. The youth have a right to seek justice and the Truth; and they have a right to build their own future on the foundations of love, compassion and tranquility. And, I praise the Almighty for this immense blessing.

Madame President, Excellencies,

What afflicts humanity today is certainly not compatible with human dignity; the Almighty has not created human beings so that they could transgress against others and oppress them.

By causing war and conflict, some are fast expanding their domination, accumulating greater wealth and usurping all the resources, while others endure the resulting poverty, suffering and misery.

Some seek to rule the world relying on weapons and threats, while others live in perpetual insecurity and danger.

Some occupy the homeland of others, thousands of kilometers away from their borders, interfere in their affairs and control their oil and other resources and strategic routes, while others are bombarded daily in their own homes; their children murdered in the streets and alleys of their own country and their homes reduced to rubble.

Such behavior is not worthy of human beings and runs counter to the Truth, to justice and to human dignity. The fundamental question is that under such conditions, where should the oppressed seek justice? Who, or what organization defends the rights of the oppressed, and suppresses acts of aggression and oppression? Where is the seat of global justice?

A brief glance at a few examples of the most pressing global issues can further illustrate the problem.

A. The unbridled expansion of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons

Some powers proudly announce their production of second and third generations of nuclear weapons. What do they need these weapons for? Is the development and stockpiling of these deadly weapons designed to promote peace and democracy? Or, are these weapons, in fact, instruments of coercion and threat against other peoples and governments? How long should the people of the world live with the nightmare of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons? What bounds the powers producing and possessing these weapons? How can they be held accountable before the international community? And, are the inhabitants of these countries content with the waste of their wealth and resources for the production of such destructive arsenals? Is it not possible to rely on justice, ethics and wisdom instead of these instruments of death? Aren't wisdom and justice more compatible with peace and tranquility than nuclear, chemical and biological weapons? If wisdom, ethics and justice prevail, then oppression and aggression will be uprooted, threats will wither away and no reason will remain for conflict. This is a solid proposition because most global conflicts emanate from injustice, and from the powerful, not being contented with their own rights, striving to devour the rights of others.

People across the globe embrace justice and are willing to sacrifice for its sake.

Would it not be easier for global powers to ensure their longevity and win hearts and minds through the championing of real promotion of justice, compassion and peace, than through continuing the proliferation of nuclear and chemical weapons and the threat of their use?

The experience of the threat and the use of nuclear weapons is before us. Has it achieved anything for the perpetrators other than exacerbation of tension, hatred and animosity among nations?

B. Occupation of countries and exacerbation of hostilities

Occupation of countries, including Iraq, has continued for the last three years. Not a day goes by without hundreds of people getting killed in cold blood. The occupiers are incapable of establishing security in Iraq. Despite the establishment of the lawful Government and National Assembly of Iraq, there are covert and overt efforts to heighten insecurity, magnify and aggravate differences within Iraqi society, and instigate civil strife.

There is no indication that the occupiers have the necessary political will to eliminate the sources of instability. Numerous terrorists were apprehended by the Government of Iraq, only to be let loose under various pretexts by the occupiers.

It seems that intensification of hostilities and terrorism serves as a pretext for the continued presence of foreign forces in Iraq.

Where can the people of Iraq seek refuge, and from whom should the Government of Iraq seek justice?

Who can ensure Iraq's security? Insecurity in Iraq affects the entire region. Can the Security Council play a role in restoring peace and security in Iraq, while the occupiers are themselves permanent members of the Council? Can the Security Council adopt a fair decision in this regard?

Consider the situation in Palestine:

The roots of the Palestinian problem go back to the Second World War. Under the pretext of protecting some of the survivors of that War, the land of Palestine was occupied through war, aggression and the displacement of millions of its inhabitants; it was placed under the control of some of the War survivors, bringing even larger population groups from elsewhere in the world, who had not been even affected by the Second World War; and a government was established in the territory of others with a population collected from across the world at the expense of driving millions of the rightful inhabitants of the land into a diaspora and homelessness. This is a great tragedy with hardly a precedent in history. Refugees continue to live in temporary refugee camps, and many have died still hoping to one day return to their land. Can any logic, law or legal reasoning justify this tragedy? Can any member of the United Nations accept such a tragedy occurring in their own homeland?

The pretexts for the creation of the regime occupying Al-Qods Al-Sharif are so weak that its proponents want to silence any voice trying to merely speak about them, as they are concerned that shedding light on the facts would undermine the raison d'être of this regime, as it has. The tragedy does not end with the establishment of a regime in the territory of others. Regrettably, from its inception, that regime has been a constant source of threat and insecurity in the Middle East region, waging war and spilling blood and impeding the progress of regional countries, and has also been used by some powers as an instrument of division, coercion, and pressure on the people of the region. Reference to these historical realities may cause some disquiet among supporters of this regime. But these are sheer facts and not myth. History has unfolded before our eyes.

Worst yet, is the blanket and unwarranted support provided to this regime.

Just watch what is happening in the Palestinian land. People are being bombarded in their own homes and their children murdered in their own streets and alleys. But no authority, not even the Security Council, can afford them any support or protection. Why?

At the same time, a Government is formed democratically and through the free choice of the electorate in a part of the Palestinian territory. But instead of receiving the support of the so-called champions of democracy, its Ministers and Members of Parliament are illegally abducted and incarcerated in full view of the international community.

Which council or international organization stands up to protect this brutally besieged Government? And why can't the Security Council take any steps?

Let me here address Lebanon:

For thirty-three long days, the Lebanese lived under the barrage of fire and bombs and close to 1.5 million of them were displaced; meanwhile some members of the Security Council practically chose a path that provided ample opportunity for the aggressor to achieve its objectives militarily. We witnessed that the Security Council of the United Nations was practically incapacitated by certain powers to even call for a ceasefire. The Security Council sat idly by for so many days, witnessing the cruel scenes of atrocities against the Lebanese while tragedies such as Qana were persistently repeated. Why?

In all these cases, the answer is self-evident. When the power behind the hostilities is itself a permanent member of the Security Council, how then can this Council fulfill its responsibilities?

C. Lack of respect for the rights of members of the international community

Excellencies,

I now wish to refer to some of the grievances of the Iranian people and speak to the injustices against them.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the IAEA and is committed to the NPT. All our nuclear activities are transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA inspectors. Why then are there objections to our legally recognized rights? Which governments object to these rights? Governments that themselves benefit from nuclear energy and the fuel cycle. Some of them have abused nuclear technology for non-peaceful ends including the production of nuclear bombs, and some even have a bleak record of using them against humanity.

Which organization or Council should address these injustices? Is the Security Council in a position to address them? Can it stop violations of the inalienable rights of countries? Can it prevent certain powers from impeding scientific progress of other countries?

The abuse of the Security Council, as an instrument of threat and coercion, is indeed a source of grave concern.

Some permanent members of the Security Council, even when they are themselves parties to international disputes, conveniently threaten others with the Security Council and declare, even before any decision by the Council, the condemnation of their opponents by the Council. The question is: what can justify such exploitation of the Security Council, and doesn't it erode the credibility and effectiveness of the Council? Can such behavior contribute to the ability of the Council to maintain security?

Excellencies,

A review of the preceding historical realities would lead to the conclusion that regrettably, justice has become a victim of force and aggression. Many global arrangements have become unjust, discriminatory and irresponsible as a result of undue pressure from some of the powerful; Threats with nuclear weapons and other instruments of war by some powers have taken the place of respect for the rights of nations and the maintenance and promotion of peace and tranquility;

For some powers, claims of promotion of human rights and democracy can only last as long as they can be used as instruments of pressure and intimidation against other nations. But when it comes to the interests of the claimants, concepts such as democracy, the right of self-determination of nations, respect for the rights and intelligence of peoples, international law and justice have no place or value. This is blatantly manifested in the way the elected Government of the Palestinian people is treated as well as in the support extended to the Zionist regime. It does not matter if people are murdered in Palestine, turned into refugees, captured, imprisoned or besieged; that must not violate human rights.

- Nations are not equal in exercising their rights recognized by international law. Enjoying these rights is dependent on the whim of certain major powers.

- Apparently the Security Council can only be used to ensure the security and the rights of some big powers. But when the oppressed are decimated under bombardment, the Security Council must remain aloof and not even call for a ceasefire. Is this not a tragedy of historic proportions for the Security Council, which is charged with maintaining the security of countries?

- The prevailing order of contemporary global interactions is such that certain powers equate themselves with the international community, and consider their decisions superseding that of over 180 countries. They consider themselves the masters and rulers of the entire world and other nations as only second class in the world order.

Excellencies,

The question needs to be asked: if the Governments of the United States or the United Kingdom who are permanent members of the Security Council, commit aggression, occupation and violation of international law, which of the organs of the UN can take them to account? Can a Council in which they are privileged members address their violations? Has this ever happened? In fact, we have repeatedly seen the reverse. If they have differences with a nation or state, they drag it to the Security Council and as claimants, arrogate to themselves simultaneously the roles of prosecutor, judge and executioner. Is this a just order? Can there be a more vivid case of discrimination and more clear evidence of injustice?

Regrettably, the persistence of some hegemonic powers in imposing their exclusionist policies on international decision making mechanisms, including the Security Council, has resulted in a growing mistrust in global public opinion, undermining the credibility and effectiveness of this most universal system of collective security.

Excellencies,

How long can such a situation last in the world? It is evident that the behavior of some powers constitutes the greatest challenge before the Security Council, the entire organization and its affiliated agencies.

The present structure and working methods of the Security Council, which are legacies of the Second World War, are not responsive to the expectations of the current generation and the contemporary needs of humanity.

Today, it is undeniable that the Security Council, most critically and urgently, needs legitimacy and effectiveness. It must be acknowledged that as long as the Council is unable to act on behalf of the entire international community in a transparent, just and democratic manner, it will neither be legitimate nor effective. Furthermore, the direct relation between the abuse of veto and the erosion of the legitimacy and effectiveness of the Council has now been clearly and undeniably established. We cannot, and should not, expect the eradication, or even containment, of injustice, imposition and oppression without reforming the structure and working methods of the Council.

Is it appropriate to expect this generation to submit to the decisions and arrangements established over half a century ago? Doesn't this generation or future generations have the right to decide themselves about the world in which they want to live?

Today, serious reform in the structure and working methods of the Security Council is, more than ever before, necessary. Justice and democracy dictate that the role of the General Assembly, as the highest organ of the United Nations, must be respected. The General Assembly can then, through appropriate mechanisms, take on the task of reforming the Organization and particularly rescue the Security Council from its current state. In the interim, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and the African continent should each have a representative as a permanent member of the Security Council, with veto privilege. The resulting balance would hopefully prevent further trampling of the rights of nations.

Madame President,

Excellencies,

It is essential that spirituality and ethics find their rightful place in international relations. Without ethics and spirituality, attained in light of the teachings of Divine prophets, justice, freedom and human rights cannot be guaranteed.

Resolution of contemporary human crises lies in observing ethics and spirituality and the governance of righteous people of high competence and piety.

Should respect for the rights of human beings become the predominant objective, then injustice, ill-temperament, aggression and war will fade away.

Human beings are all God's creatures and are all endowed with dignity and respect.

No one has superiority over others. No individual or states can arrogate to themselves special privileges, nor can they disregard the rights of others and, through influence and pressure, position themselves as the "international community".

Citizens of Asia, Africa, Europe and America are all equal. Over 6 billion inhabitants of the earth are all equal and worthy of respect. Justice and protection of human dignity are the two pillars in maintaining sustainable peace, security and tranquility in the world.

It is for this reason that we state:

Sustainable peace and tranquility in the world can only be attained through justice, spirituality, ethics, compassion and respect for human dignity.

All nations and states are entitled to peace, progress and security.

We are all members of the international community and we are all entitled to insist on the creation of a climate of compassion, love and justice.

All members of the United Nations are affected by both the bitter and the sweet events and developments in today's world.

We can adopt firm and logical decisions, thereby improving the prospects of a better life for current and future generations.

Together, we can eradicate the roots of bitter maladies and afflictions, and instead, through the promotion of universal and lasting values such as ethics, spirituality and justice, allow our nations to taste the sweetness of a better future.

Peoples, driven by their divine nature, intrinsically seek Good, Virtue, Perfection and Beauty. Relying on our peoples, we can take giant steps towards reform and pave the road for human perfection. Whether we like it or not, justice, peace and virtue will sooner or later prevail in the world with the will of Almighty God. It is imperative, and also desirable, that we too contribute to the promotion of justice and virtue.

The Almighty and Merciful God, who is the Creator of the Universe, is also its Lord and Ruler. Justice is His command. He commands His creatures to support one another in Good, virtue and piety, and not in decadence and corruption.

He commands His creatures to enjoin one another to righteousness and virtue and not to sin and transgression. All Divine prophets from the Prophet Adam (peace be upon him) to the Prophet Moses (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Jesus Christ (peace be upon him), to the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), have all called humanity to monotheism, justice, brotherhood, love and compassion. Is it not possible to build a better world based on monotheism, justice, love and respect for the rights of human beings, and thereby transform animosities into friendship?

I emphatically declare that today's world, more than ever before, longs for just and righteous people with love for all humanity; and above all longs for the perfect righteous human being and the real savior who has been promised to all peoples and who will establish justice, peace and brotherhood on the planet.

0, Almighty God, all men and women are Your creatures and You have ordained their guidance and salvation. Bestow upon humanity that thirsts for justice, the perfect human being promised to all by You, and make us among his followers and among those who strive for his return and his cause.

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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.

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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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