BELLA CIAO URI AVNERY ~~ A TRUE FRIEND ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL

Veteran left-wing journalist, lawmaker and peace activist Uri Avnery died Monday at age 94 in Tel Aviv.

The Gush Shalom founder was one of the first Israelis to actively seek a Palestinian state as a peaceful solution to the conflict: ‘The difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist depends on your perspective’

Uri Avnery, Veteran Peace Activist and Among First Israelis to Meet Arafat, Dies at 94

Ofer Aderet

 

Veteran left-wing journalist, lawmaker and peace activist Uri Avnery died Monday at age 94 in Tel Aviv. A founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement, Avnery was also one of the first Israelis to actively advocate for the establishment of a Palestinian state, more than 70 years ago.

As a youth he fought with the Irgun pre-state underground militia and later in life moved to the left of the political spectrum. He was also editor-in-chief of the iconic liberal weekly, Haolam Hazeh, for 40 years.

The eternal peace activist never shirked controversy and was involved in fateful events in the country’s history, some of which he documented and others he actively took part in shaping. But while Avnery’s supporters saw his ideas as groundbreaking, detractors denounced him as an enemy of the people.

Avnery asked to be cremated, for his archives to be donated to the National Library, and his money toward peace activism. He summarized his life by noting that while his ideals “won a resounding victory” theoretically, in practice they “were defeated politically.”

Avnery was born in Germany in 1923 as Helmut Ostermann. He grew up in Hannover as one of four offspring of a comfortable, bourgeois family. The family immigrated to British Mandatory Palestine in November 1933, a few months after Hitler rose to power. After a few months at Nahalal in the north, the family moved to Tel Aviv, where he lived until his death.

Avnery started his political career on the right side of the political map. He said that as a youth he admired Zeev Jabotinsky and saw himself as a Revisionist. In 1938, when he was 15, he joined the Irgun to fight the British forces “for the right to our own state,” as he put it. “I was convinced that we deserved independence, just like everyone else,” he recalled.

In an interview with Haaretz in April 2014, Avnery said of his activities with the Irgun: “I distributed leaflets [during a period when the Irgun killed many people], and as such I bear responsibility. The Irgun planted bombs in markets in Jaffa and in Haifa, which killed dozens of women and children, and I supported that.”

Vocation in life

In his Hebrew-language memoir “Optimi” (“Optimistic”), Avnery wrote that his service with the Irgun taught him political lessons for later on his career: “We were freedom fighters,” he wrote. “In my eyes, the British authorities were a terrorist organization. Back then, I learned that the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist depends on your perspective.”

Three years later, he dropped out of the underground militia. “The Irgun’s war against the Arabs bothered me a great deal. I was very much opposed to their anti-Arab line,” he said. He later explained he believed that, just as the Jews had the right to a national life, “The Arabs in the country have the same right.”

His older brother, Werner, joined the British army at that time and committed suicide during his service. Afterward, Uri adopted the name “Avnery” as his surname for its resemblance to the name “Werner.”

From a young age, Avnery saw himself as a politician. As someone whose life had changed completely as a result of politics – Hitler’s rise to power in his homeland – he saw it as the most significant vocation in life.

Initially, Avnery favored the idea of a single state, one in which a new people would arise as a union of two peoples – the Arabs and the Hebrews. The idea was espoused by the movement he established in 1946 which was called Bama’avak (“The Struggle,” aka The Young Israel).

He believed at that time that the national Hebrew movement was a natural ally of the Arab nation, and advocated cooperation between both movements under a joint name. “This is an ideal built on a culture partnership of homeland and history,” he said.

Accordingly, Avnery was disappointed on November 29, 1947, when the United Nations ratified the UN Partition Plan. “I couldn’t accept the partition of the country. Tul Karm, Hebron and Nablus were my country,” he said, adding, “The joy over carving up the country into pieces angered me a great deal. I dreamed of a joint national movement based on a common love of the land.”

This ideal didn’t withstand the test of reality. During the War of Independence in 1948-49, he discovered that “the vision of joint life in the country had died.” He later said: “I was a peace activist before the war, but the war was existential – a matter of life and death.”

Avnery served in the “Samson Foxes” commando unit. He was seriously wounded during the final days of the war, while fighting in the Kiryat Gat region. The worldview he adhered to until his dying day was formed during the period in which he was hospitalized for his wounds. One of those beliefs was the two-state solution.

In his memoir he wrote: “The war totally convinced me there’s a Palestinian people, and that peace must be forged first and foremost with them. To achieve that goal, a Palestinian nation-state had to be established.”

In this sense, Avnery was a groundbreaker. “During that period, there weren’t even 10 people in the world who believed in that,” he declared. “But today, it’s a global consensus. Even Netanyahu – who doesn’t think of realizing it – has been forced to say he supports it,” he wrote, referring to the prime minister’s “two-state speech” at Bar-Ilan University in 2009.

Avnery published his impressions of the war in Haaretz and Haaretz’s evening paper, Yom, Yom, while the fighting raged. At the end of the war, he compiled them in his first book, “In the Fields of the Philistines, 1948,” which became a best seller and briefly made Avnery a national hero.

But he felt the book did not provide a full description of the war, so in 1950 he published a follow-up, “The Other Side of the Coin,” which described the war’s darker side. Its publication stirred outrage and turned Avnery from “a popular man to top of the list of hated people; from a beloved person to someone who smeared Israel’s name,” as he put it.

In 1949, at the young age of 25, Avnery was appointed chief editorial writer at Haaretz. He left soon after, though, citing political differences with the newspaper’s then-editor, Gershom Shoken.

In 1950, Avnery and his friends purchased the Haolam Hazeh weekly news magazine from its founder, Uri Cesari. Avnery became its editor-in-chief for the next 40 years, and under his stewardship Haolam Hazeh became antiestablishment, subversive, sensationalist and a consensus-breaker. It operated under the legendary slogan “Without Fear, Without Prejudice.”

Avnery expressed his worldview in a number of areas: Opposition to worship of the military; religious coercion; the absence of a democratic constitution; discrimination against ethnic groups; and David Ben-Gurion’s anti-Arab policy.

The weekly sought to crusade against establishment corruption. It published a list of hard-hitting investigative pieces and exposed public and political scandals. Then-Shin Bet security service head Isser Harel defined Avnery at the time as “Government Enemy No. 1.” Ben-Gurion dubbed the magazine “that certain weekly.”

Alongside its political and social agenda, Haolam Hazeh also dabbled in tabloid journalism, publishing trashy gossip stories and photographs of naked women. This combination was seen by many as a journalistic revolution, in terms of both writing style and the magazine’s approach. The weekly also proved controversial, with its editorial offices being bombed on several occasions and its archive completely destroyed following an arson attack in 1972.

Avnery received belated recognition for his journalistic endeavors in 2004 when he won the Sokolov lifetime achievement award.

Political movement

In addition to journalism, Avnery increasingly became more political. In 1965, after the Knesset passed a law against defamation – which Avnery saw as specifically targeting his news magazine – he established a radical protest movement called Haolam Hazeh – Koah Hadash (New Force).

The movement’s political platform incorporated the values of liberty, equality and peace. Avnery was elected to the Knesset on this platform in November 1969 and was reelected four years later. His parliamentary activities included tackling religious coercion, promoting civil marriage, denuclearizing the Middle East and gay rights.

In his eyes, his biggest political mistake was voting in favor of the unification of Jerusalem after the Six-Day War in 1967. He subsequently explained his vote as an attempt to prevent the restoration of East Jerusalem to Jordanian rule, based on the hope of realizing a two-state solution and turning a united Jerusalem into the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state.

Avnery later returned to the Knesset in 1979 as a founding member of the Sheli party (aka Left Camp of Israel). In a speech that year in favor of ratifying the peace treaty with Egypt, he said: “They say we will have a small country, but there is no greater mistake than this. Peace doesn’t reduce the size of the country. It enlarges it exponentially. In another year, we’ll get in our cars and drive on the weekends to Cairo and Alexandria. Two days later, we’ll take the train to Damascus and Aleppo, we’ll fly to Algiers and Baghdad, we’ll sail to Casablanca and Sudan. When you wake up in the morning to the sight of the pyramids outside your hotel window, as happened to me, it will be like a dream. Is this a utopia? That word doesn’t frighten us.”

In his valedictory Knesset speech in 1981 (as he relinquished his seat to an Arab lawmaker), Avnery was the first lawmaker to present the Palestinian flag alongside the Israeli one. “Those who couldn’t believe yesterday that Sadat would ever speak here will not be able to believe that someday Yasser Arafat will speak here,” he said.

Avnery was one of the first Israelis to have contacts with the Palestine Liberation Organization. He had his first contacts with an Arafat envoy in 1974, which led to his founding the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace in December 1975.

In July 1982, at the height of the first Lebanon war, Avnery met with PLO chief Arafat in Beirut – the first time Israelis had met with the Palestinian leader. Avnery said at that meeting: “The fact that we are sitting here together in the middle of this terrible war is a sign that in the future our two peoples will find a solution to coexist. Palestinians and Israelis. I believe there will be a Palestinian state alongside Israel and both sides will live together in peace in two countries that, little by little, will develop good neighborly relations, and even better.”

Several cabinet members called for Avnery to be put on trial for high treason, but the attorney general decided no crime had been committed.
Avnery and Arafat met a dozen more times in the years that followed.

Human shield 

In 1993, months after then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin expelled hundreds of Islamic activists to Lebanon, Avnery established Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) – a movement that supported the establishment of a Palestinian state, making Jerusalem the capital of both countries and dismantling the settlements in Palestinian territory.

A year later, when Arafat returned to Gaza, he invited Avnery to his reception and sat alongside him on the podium. In 2003, during the second intifada, Avnery spent time at the presidential compound in Ramallah, operating as a “human shield” for Arafat – for fear Israel might attempt to assassinate him.

Avnery had many critics who opposed his politics and ideology. Extremists labeled him a traitor and slanderer of Israel. While editor of Haolam Hazeh, he was subjected to physical attacks and once had both his arms broken after being ambushed. In 1975, he was seriously wounded after an assailant stabbed him on his own doorstep.

Avnery, and many in his circle, admitted he had some difficulties when it came to people skills. A friend once said: “Avnery is disabled like Trumpeldor was. Trumpeldor lacked an arm; Avnery lacks feeling.” The activist wrote in his memoir: “There’s something wrong with my emotional relations with people. And the worst thing about it is, I don’t really care.”

He said he only ever told his wife, Rachel, he loved her when she was on her deathbed, and that he had never cried – not even during funerals for his comrades in arms. His rivals would delight in highlighting his deficiencies as expressed in his mother’s will. She left him no inheritance “since he didn’t take care of me and instead went to visit that murderer Yasser Arafat.”

Avnery published seven books and a vast number of articles in various publications, including in the pages of Haaretz. “Optimist” was published around the time of his 90th birthday. “I feel like an imposter,” he said at an event marking his birthday. “Someone wrote by mistake that I’m 90 – I feel half that age.”

Avnery ended his life with mixed feelings. On the one hand, he was convinced he had turned his political ideas – first and foremost his support for establishing a Palestinian state alongside Israel – into a “global consensus.” On the other, he admitted he had failed to realize these ideas politically. “Life goes on, the struggle continues. Tomorrow is a new day,” he wrote on the last page of his memoir.

His wife, Rachel, a teacher and ideological partner, died in 2011. They were partners for 58 years and chose not to have any children.

REMEMBER WHEN THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WAS NOBLE

Let’s hope it becomes that again

JUST WHO IS THE JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE?

JVP is a national, grassroots organization inspired by Jewish tradition. Our members are our power, and your support allows us to work for a just and lasting peace according to principles of human rights, equality, and international law for all the people of Israel and Palestine.

 

Click HERE to donate

IN PHOTOS ~~ VETERANS’ DAY IN NEW YORK

On November 11th, Veterans Day thousands of people marched up Manhattan’s 5th  Avenue. Many shouldered rifles and represented the militaristic attitude so prevalent in the United States. But there was one contingent, a hundred people strong: The Veterans For Peace, Vietnam Veterans Against War, the Granny Peace Brigade, The Raging Grannies (a singing group who sang peace songs all along  5th Avenue)  and other individuals who joined and also marched as the voice for peace. 

Photos © by Bud Korotzer, Commentary by Chippy Dee

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ICE CREAM AS A ROAD TO PEACE

Five years after teaming up to produce ice cream, Adam Ziv from Kibbutz Sasa and Alaa Sweitat of Galilee village of Tarshiha are now proud owners of successful chain with five stores in northern Israel and Tel Aviv, becoming first Israeli business to win prestigious UN prize.

Adam Ziv (R) and Alaa Sweitat. ‘Reality is reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores’ (Photo: Yuval Chen)

Jewish-Arab ice cream business a sweet symbol of coexistence

Shirley Golan

It happened many years ago, but Adam Ziv will never forget how impressed he was by one scoop of caramel ice cream. He was a little boy from a kibbutz who had come to an amusement park as part of his summer camp, and at the end of the visit the children were taken to a hidden ice cream parlor near the park.

“I didn’t even know what caramel was,” he says. “There was no such thing in Kibbutz Sasa, but the name sounded enchanting, and every child was allowed to pick one flavor. So I tried it out, and I fell in love.”

This scoop of ice cream he tasted more than 20 years ago became the first step in a long journey, which recently reached an important milestone: a prize on behalf of the United Nations for helping promote peace. Ziv’s faith in the power of ice cream to bring people closer together apparently convinced the international organization too. It’s what happens when your ice cream is part of a vision of co-existence—a joint Jewish-Arab business.

The prestigious Flourish Prizes were handed out in Cleveland to 17 businesses from all over the world. Ziv, 31, accepted the award together with his business partner over the past five years, 34-year-old Alaa Sweitat, who was born in the Galilee village of Tarshiha and is the owner and chef of the Aluma restaurant.

Sweitat confirms he didn’t hesitate, although ice cream is not part of the Arab street he grew up on. “It doesn’t exist here. There are no ice cream parlors in the villages, and both personally and professionally, I was raised on gourmet food, on a meticulous kitchen,” he says. “But an enthusiastic person arrive, and I decided I felt like doing something new.”

Officially, Sweitat’s partner in the ice cream business is Kibbutz Sasa, which approved Ziv’s financial plan in a vote, and he finds it completely natural too. “At Aluma, I also began as a worker and was promoted to partner with the restaurant’s Jewish owner until I became its owner myself, so a partnership with Jews is nothing unusual as far as I’m concerned. Moreover, it was clear to me that it would provide added value to the village and to the Galilee. I’m delighted every day when Jewish tourists come here and feel at home, because that’s the reception they get here.”

In Buza, like in any other ice cream parlor, the most popular flavor is of course vanilla. But here people can try out unique flavors, according to the available local raw materials.

“Let’s assume that a friend has a lemon tree that bears a lot of fruit on a certain season and he comes over with a box. We’ll make lemon ice cream,” says Ziv, who is responsible for the ice cream production and preparation. “If there’s suddenly a lot of pecan from Sasa’s fields, we’ll make all kinds of flavors with pecan, or with special honey that someone brought over. We also investigate what is happening in the world in this field and renew our flavors accordingly. We enter collaborations with leading chefs like Yonatan Roshfeld, Meir Adoni and Omer Miller, as well as with commercial companies occasionally.

“Personally, my favorite flavor is the roasted pecan with salt and organic maple and our cashew flavor. Alaa prefers the sorbet, for example with lychee from the Galilee and the sabra fruit.”

An ice cream parlor and an investment fund

Two flavors which have been tried out but did not appeal to the Israeli audience are apple sorbet (“most people didn’t even want to taste it, and those who did said it resembled baby fruit puree”) and white chocolate ice cream with ginger and orange zest (“a flavor I was introduced to in the Canary Islands, where it’s very popular,” Ziv says. “I fell in love with it too, but here people wouldn’t even taste it”). On the other hand, the most popular flavor after vanilla is the chocolate and hazelnut ice cream, which is called “Buza cream.”

Unlike Ziv, Sweitat had never dreamed of owning an ice cream business. He connected, however, to Ziv’s vision and spirit of adventurousness, and Buza (the Arabic word for ice cream) was born—ice cream that is produced from the finest products and sold in five locations in northern Israel and in Tel Aviv. And regardless of the wonderful taste of this ice cream, it’s the first Israeli business to win a UN prize.

“When I embarked on my post-army trip, I bought a one-way ticket to Milan with a very clear plan: To play music on the streets, to go from one place to another in Europe and to eat ice cream,” Ziv says. “Six months into the trip, my mother told me she had heard about a project in the Canary Islands—an elderly man who had decided to cross the ocean on a raft and was looking for help. I went there to help him build the raft, and every evening I would have ice cream.

“After several visits to the local ice cream parlor, the owner offered to teach me how to make ice cream and suggested I work there in the evenings. I began doing just that and felt I was in heaven: Next to the sea, playing my music in the evening to people around a bonfire, eating fresh ice cream and feeling good. Shortly afterwards, it suddenly dawned on me and I began asking myself, inspired by that elderly man, how I planned to cross my ocean, what should I do and what do I want to do. I realized that my real dream was not to return to Israel and study music and psychology in order to earn a living, but to open an ice cream parlor with an Arab partner, in an Arab village, in a bid to strengthen the connection between the two people.”

That’s kind of naïve, isn’t it?

“Imagine a summer afternoon, Jewish and Arab parents arriving with their children, nice music playing in the background, the air conditioner is on and the sun is pleasant, and there’s of course good ice cream. What happens? They all sit down and lick their ice cream together. Shortly afterwards, the children start running wild and playing together, the parents look at each other and start talking and getting to know each other, and a sort of natural ‘together’ is created.

“That’s the picture I had in my head, and that’s what’s happening in our store in Tarshiha for five years now. Not to mention the ties created between the employees, who suddenly realize that although they’re members of different religions, they have the same iPhones and the same interests and dreams and plans. It’s beautiful.”

‘Alaa prefers sorbet’

To fulfill his dream, Ziv traveled to Italy to learn about ice cream, its preparation methods and the required machinery for the huge project ahead. He was mostly attracted to gelato, ice cream made of milk and a bit of cream, and dreamed about a transparent kitchen which would allow people visiting the ice cream parlor to experience the preparation process and catch a glimpse of the local and fresh raw materials the ice cream is made of. In the display refrigerator, Ziv wanted to cover the deep ice cream trays with stainless steel lids, to store the products in the finest conditions and offer curious people a surprise experience.

Next, he returned to Israel and began touring Galilee villages in search of the perfect location to fulfill his dream. Following a recommendation from acquaintances, he arrived at the Aluma restaurant and met Sweitat. “Alaa thought about it for a moment and told me it was a good idea and that he had a place for us. We visited it together, and since then—for the past five years—it has been our store, in the center of the village.”

Now with five stores—including a visitors’ center offering tours and workshops in Sasa—50 employees and one important prize, their new dream is to raise money and create a foundation to support other joint businesses.

“We’re doing something which we see as a good thing,” says Ziv. “As far as I’m concerned, reality is the connection between people the way it is created in our stores, and I would like to expand the circle, to be able to offer business support, legal counseling and a financial push for businesses with a similar goal, in a bid to change reality on a wider scale.

“The only way to change attitudes is to communicate. In order to light up the darkness, one must turn on a flashlight. The light we are creating with Buza is probably dim, but it’s a light nonetheless. You come to Tarshiha, stop for ice cream and then enter the supermarket, buy something, meet people, understand that you’re not afraid of them and that you don’t have to be afraid of them. It’s a start.”

 

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI 72 YEARS LATER

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

 

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A PICTURE OF HOPE CAUGHT ON CAMERA

This kind of action outweighs all acts of terror!

Photo by Ezra Landau

Hope for Jerusalem! An Orthodox Jew puts a wool cap on an old Palestinian this morning in Jerusalem.

Hope for Jerusalem!
An Orthodox Jew puts a wool cap on an old Palestinian this morning in Jerusalem.

 

IN ISRAEL/PALESTINE ~~ 120 SECONDS OF HOPE FOR THE FUTURE

WATCH: In 120 seconds, this video will change the way you see the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

An Arab and a Jew asking for hugs on the streets of East Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – and the results will surprise you.

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There IS hope …. It’s up to us to make it a reality! Don’t wait for Bibi’s or Abbas’ OK … Just do it!

IN PHOTOS ~~ REMEMBERING HIROSHIMA/NAGASAKI

President Obama neglected to apologise for the slaughter on his recent visit to Japan, But these good people did.

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  Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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IN PHOTOS ~~ ALL LIVES MATTER // NATO KILLS ALL!

TIMES SQUARE ANTI-NATO DEMO

Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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In Athens ….

Mass demonstration against NATO in Athens Saturday

Mass demonstration against NATO in Athens Saturday

 

In Warsaw

UNAC leader, Phil Wilayto speaks at anti-NATO Summit in Warsaw  Saturday

UNAC leader, Phil Wilayto speaks at anti-NATO Summit in Warsaw Saturday

A POEM FOR THE GREATEST

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

 THE GREATEST

© By Tom Karlson

born Cassias Clay1942, became Mohammed Ali 1965

yes he held the Olympic gold

laid out Sunny the bear Liston two times

for the world heavyweight belt

joined the Nation of Islam before the 2nd Liston fight

a warm up for what was coming

 

these epic battles were not against

the brothers’ Frazier and Foreman

when Ali refused induction

brought on a waterfall of hate

this enemy could not be defeated with fist and rhyme,

with bouts of fifteen 3 minute rounds

inside the squared circle

 

this foe, a shape changer

from war, to racism, to religious hatred

this main event reverberated

for three and one-half years

of banishment from boxing

the enemy was defeated with brain and talk

with picket line and printed word and the highest court

 

Ali’s fight and victory resonated

from Alabama to Rubens Island

from Billie Jean King to the Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee

and the hundreds of campuses that cheered the champ

 

defeated for a time was the pentagon,

the ugly race hating half of America,

the war-profiteers, and their embedded sports writers

 

winner was tolerance and understanding

and how we were taught by the champ

to fight for our beliefs

 

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

In April 1967, Ali refused to be drafted and requested conscientious-objector status. He was immediately stripped of his title by boxing commissions around the country. Several months later he was convicted of draft evasion, a verdict he appealed. Credit Ed Kolenovsky/Associated Press

IN PHOTOS ~~ 13 YEARS IN IRAQ

On 19 March  one hundred people marched into Manhattan’s Times Sq. to protest the continuing war in Iraq and the Mid-East. This day was the 13th anniversary of the American attack on Iraq. Veterans For Peace, The War Resisters League, “WE WILL NOT BE SILENT” and other peace groups marched into the Square beating the peace drums and displaying banners and posters demanding peace.

Commentary and Photos © Bud Korotzer

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As always, our dear Pete was there in spirit ….

WISDOM OF THE DAY

Just try it!

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IN PHOTOS ~~ VETERANS FOR PEACE ON MEMORIAL DAY

On Memorial day weekend the Veterans For Peace held their annual  event at Battery Park NYC in front of the massive World War II memorial  remembering those killed in the war. Attending were the family and friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, veterans of WWII, veterans of  The Korean War, Iraq and Afghanistan. Participants came to the mike and spoke of those family members and friends killed in war. Chippy Dee, a Desertpeace associate, also memorialized the Palestinians: adults and children murdered by the Zionist Attack Force (also known as the IDF). As each speaker finished they threw a rose into the waters of the Hudson river. At the end of the memorial event the sad musical notes  of “taps” sounded in the park.

Photos  and Commentary © by Bud Korotzer

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PHOTO OF THE DAY ~~MADONNA’S ‘MAKE LOVE NOT WAR!’

In instagram post promoting her new album, Madonna sparks controversy with image of Jewish, Arab men nearly kissing.

The photo of a Jewish and Arab man nearly kissing.

The photo of a Jewish and Arab man nearly kissing.

The above is much nicer than this one …

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Madonna draws controversy on Instagram

Madonna has stirred up controversy after posting a photo of a Palestinian man and a Hasidic Jewish man apparently mid-kiss on Instagram.

The photo, which was posted on Sunday, has already garnered upwards of 70,000 likes in just over 24 hours. It features a Jewish man with side curls wearing a large white knitted skullcap typical of the Breslover Hasidic movement, in addition to an Arab man wearing a keffiyeh. The two appear to be leaning in for a kiss.

“This image is . ❤#rebelhearts,” the caption of the photo reads, referring to Madonna’s latest pop album.

“I see two men one Muslim perhaps and one Jewish together sharing a moment of peace. Can’t we just all get along without discussing religious beliefs?” one of the Instagram comments under the photo reads.

Another wrote: “I don’t understand all the ppl here say it’s not possible I’m Jewish from Israel my boyfriend is Arab Muslim and we live together for 3 years now!”

Many others responded quite negatively to the image, with some posting racist slurs both against Jews and Arabs.

Source

How the image appeared on Instagram

screen-shot-2015-05-18-at-104441-am-1431960212

MOTHER’S DAY ~~ THEN AND NOW

Mother’s Day

© By Tom Karlson 

Julia Ward Howe calls out

Peace and Reconciliation this day, Mother’s Day

No more war-remember-

620,000 sent to the Promised Land,

600,000 armless, eyeless, legless Jonny’s

Dancing days are done

Mother’s day a day for peace

In this new millennium

In America

The United States of North America

Howe is forgotten

Peace is terrorism

Reconciliation is a tool of the fool

The newly dead and near dead

Invisible

Camping on sunless streets

With plastic bowls filled with spare change

Here Hallmark runs this show

3 billion on flowers

100 million for cards

2 billion on gifts

4 billion on meals

Capitalism can sell

Yes capitalism must sell

peace next year?

IN PHOTOS ~~ SIT-IN AND ARRESTS FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

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Photos © by Bud Korotzer

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Ready and waiting to 'serve and protect'

Ready and waiting to ‘serve and protect’

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IN PHOTOS ~~ MARCHING FOR NUCLEAR SANITY

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A huge anti-nuclear march  took place on the streets of Manhattan  Sunday April 26th .  It stretched twelve long city blocks along one car lane from Union sq. 14th St. to 47th St. at the U.N where nuclear disarmament talks are now under way. The estimated number of marches was 5,000+.  

Marchers came from various areas of the U.S.  There was International participation also. The Japanese contingent was by far the largest ( more Japanese participants than US participants), with some people also from Belgium, France and Korea, who joined  the march. At the U.N. a massive rally was held. There were speakers,  dancers and singers. Petitions signed by over 6 million people was delivered to the U.N. demanding an end to nuclear weapons.

There were no mainstream media T.V. mobile units to record this march for  the public.  Once again  Americans  are made to remain ignorant of peace movement events going on around them.

Photos © by Bud Korotzer Commentary by Chippy Dee

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LOOKING BACK TO THE FUTURE

A WEE GLANCE AT MY PAST AND WHY I BELIEVE IN A BRIGHT FUTURE

quote-the-future-is-an-unknown-but-a-somewhat-predictable-unknown-to-look-to-the-future-we-must-first-albert-einstein-342014

Today, April 13th, would be the 80th wedding anniversary of my parents. In 1960, on this day, their family and friends organised a surprise party for their 25th anniversary. I was sent to our local Woolworth Store to buy some crepe paper rolls to decorate the walls. When I got there I was greeted by a picket line, was handed a leaflet that I did not read and went into the store to buy what I needed.

When I came out the demonstrators asked if I read the leaflet I was given, I responded “not yet” … it called for a boycott of Woolworth because their stores in the South refused to serve Blacks at their lunch counters. I felt as if I committed a crime by not heeding their call, so I promised to join their demonstration the following week. I kept my word and continued with these good people for over a year until Woolworth finally changed their policies.

That's me under the third 'O'

That’s me under the third ‘O’

The reception from those passing by was not always the friendliest, I was called every name in the book, from ‘N’ Lover to Communist … I didn’t even know what a Communist was even though I was around during the McCarthy days and the Rosenberg Spy Case. I found it strange that suddenly, because I was against segregation in the South I was a Communist. There were shouts of ….

Russia??? That was a place that my mother left in 1922 for good reasons. Why would I want to go there???

The 60’s were years of change in America. A Catholic was elected President, the Civil Rights Movement grew by leaps and bounds as did the Peace Movement. Fidel Castro was the leader of a new Cuba, just 90 miles away putting an end to the infamous dictatorship of Batista. Times were good and the future looked promising.

It was a natural move to get involved in the ‘Ban The Bomb Movement’. There I found myself in the company of great notables like Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Spock, Linus Pauling, Bertrand Russell and so many more … and we were all called Communists (sic). Some of us investigated the name calling and realised that the shoe fit, so we wear it to this day.

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It was also natural to define 'Communist' and realise that I was one .... that's me next to the cop.

That’s me next to the cop.

Despite the horrible situation that the world is in today, the hope for a bright future prevails. Just yesterday America’s Afro-American President met for the first time with the leader of Cuba. 

There are moves to control the spread of nuclear arms throughout the world.

We lost many Brothers and Sisters along the way, but our ranks continue to swell. Both are the reasons that I never lost the hope of a bright and peaceful future …. and that all started on April 13th.

The rest is history!

Welcome To The Future Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.

A Blessing to the memory of those who are no longer with us to see the great changes taking place.

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PEACE IS NOT A GAME OF ‘TRUTH OR DARE’

There was much fuss the past few days over the truth about a photo which turned out to be false ….

RICKI ROSEN Staged: Ricki Rosen’s photograph meant to depict an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem has been reproduced hundreds of times.

RICKI ROSEN
Staged: Ricki Rosen’s photograph meant to depict an Israeli boy and a Palestinian boy in Jerusalem has been reproduced hundreds of times.

False or not, the photo was meant to be an inspiration to those fighting for Peace.

The following photo is actually a true one …. but keep in mind that the struggle for Peace is not a game of Truth or Dare! Any tool that can be used can be considered Truth …. I dare you to disagree!

Debbi Cooper’s 1988 photo of an Israeli and a Palestinian actually features an Israeli and a Palestinian.

Debbi Cooper’s 1988 photo of an Israeli and a Palestinian actually features an Israeli and a Palestinian.

The Iconic Mideast Photo That Isn’t Fake

By Naomi Zeveloff

When I interviewed Ricki Rosen about her iconic — and completely staged — 1993 photo depicting a Palestinian boy and an Israeli boy, she reminded me of a similar picture taken by another Jerusalem photojournalist.

Debbi Cooper’s 1988 black and white picture is also of an Israeli and a Palestinian, but hers is real. In it, two young boys, one in a yarmulke and the other with a keffiyeh wrapped around his neck, smile shyly for the camera. Like Rosen’s photo, the picture has taken on a life of its own, and has been reproduced countless times, both with and without Cooper’s knowledge and permission. Today, the picture is an emotional topic for the 60-year-old photojournalist, who teared up when talking about it. “It makes me sad,” she said. “I just wish it could have brought peace.”

“We are in such dark times,” she added. “People come to me and tell me it gives them hope. But what do you do with hope?”

According to Cooper, the photograph was originally commissioned by the New Israel Fund for a full-page New York Times advertisement as the First Intifada was gaining steam. It was meant to illustrate the possibility of Jewish and Palestinian coexistence in wartime and was labeled with the caption “What’s Right With This Picture?”

Cooper had previously photographed dialogue groups in Israel and the Palestinian Territories, so it wasn’t a stretch for her to find two families who would be willing to appear in the photograph. She contacted Diane Greenberg, a longtime friend in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood who, with her husband, was active in the peace movement. Greenberg, an immigrant to Israel from Wales, arranged a meeting with a Palestinian family that they knew in Jerusalem’s Beit Safafa neighborhood. Cooper said that she spent about an hour with the families before she photographed their two sons, who had met for the first time that day.

Greenberg put me in touch with her son in the photo, Shmuel Greenberg, now a 33-year-old lawyer and father-of-one living in Tel Aviv. He said that the photo shoot felt natural because he had spent time with Palestinian families through his family’s activism. “Being around Palestinians wasn’t something that was weird or different or posed or something done for the camera,” he told me.

A current-day photo of Shmuel Greenberg, the Israeli boy in the original photo by Debbi Cooper

Attempts to reach the Palestinian boy in the picture, whom Cooper identified as Nazih Awad, were unsuccessful. Both Cooper and Diane Greenberg said that the family relocated to Jordan to pursue educational opportunities for the children.

Cooper told me that over the past 10 years she has heard from individuals who saw her iconic photo at their university Hillel office, on a Taglit-Birthright Israel campaign, in the New York City subway and even at the Vatican. In 2012, the popular file-sharing site Pirate Bay posted it on its homepage with the caption “The Peace Bay” and said it would not take it down until “true peace” was achieved in the region. (As of this writing, the image is no longer on the homepage.)

The photo has also been widely used by Stand With Us, a right-wing Israel advocacy group. Cooper said she granted the group permission to use it on one of their billboards. “I personally had to think long and hard about how people were using it,” she said. “I had to accept that it has a force of its own. It has a message — when you look at a picture like that, it makes you stretch your mind to think that [peace] is a possibility.”

NOMI COOPER ROSENBERG
Photographer Debbi Cooper

The photo has since become a Stand With Us mainstay in its “Billboard Wars” to counter what it describes as anti-Israel messaging in public spaces in cities such as Portland and New York City. In one billboard, the photo is next to a block of text that says: “SAVE GAZA FROM HAMAS/Teach PEACE, not HATE.” In another, the photo is flanked by text that reads: “Israel Needs a Partner for Peace/The Palestinian Authority Must Accept The Jewish State & Teach Peace, Not Hate.”

Shmuel, the Israeli boy in the photo, said that he was surprised to learn that his likeness was being used by the organization. He said that Stand With Us has run campaigns that are “pretty much the opposite of my personal opinions, or at least partly opposite.” He said he contacted the organization to share his thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but that he never heard back from the group. (Stand With Us’s executive director Roz Rothstein said she never heard from Greenberg.)

When we spoke, Shmuel was on reserve duty training solders in Southern Israel. He said he has no qualms about serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, but that he wishes the circumstances were different today. “It’s a depressing perspective, knowing that it’s been 25 years [since the photo was taken], and you’re talking to me now from my military reserve service,” he said. “It’s really surrealistic and ironic for me at this point.” He said that he took the photo with him when he first enlisted, as a way to remember his values.

Cooper said that she does not see the image as a relic from the past, because it was always aspirational, rather than a reflection of the situation between Israelis and Palestinians on the ground. “I guess I am hoping for a time when it is not an iconic image,” she told me. “I don’t look at that as a time that there were friendships. It was always part of hope rather than reality.”

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