ANALYSIS ~~ IS MUSLIM UNITY POSSIBLE?

In the final analysis, Muslims will have to choose between the abyss of sectarianism on the one hand, or the salvation that could only come from following the truly universal Islam based on love, mercy, tolerance and commitment to truth and justice.

Khalid Amayreh

Is a Sunni-Shiite Modus vivendi possible?
By Khalid Amayreh
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I realize that I have to approach this sensitive subject, which is fraught with intense emotions, mutual animosity and suspicions, virulent recriminations,   and many taboos, with utmost caution and discretion.
 
Our beloved Sahabi (companion of the Prophet-s) Imam Ali bin Abe Taleb reportedly said “Try to overcome the harshness of the subject with a kind discourse.”
 
This may not be always possible especially when dealing with ancient,  deep-rooted religious hatreds bequeathed and inherited generation after generation.  However, meaningful efforts to establish a modus viveni or semblance of peaceful coexistence between Shiites and Sunnis must be continued and never given up. Otherwise, both communities would be condemned to a disastrous open-ended confrontation. In such a horrible quagmire, there are absolutely no winner, only losers and for that matter big losers.
 
  Moreover,  it has been crystal-clear for quite sometime that the enemies of Islam, who are fanning the fire of hatred between both communities, are wasting no time exploiting the Shiite-Sunni rift to debilitate and eventually ruin the Muslim world.
 
In fact, any meaningful effort toward de-escalation should not be aimed at making Sunnis and Shiites fall in love with each other. Such a goal, which is theoretically worthwhile,   is probably too illusionary to be even contemplated. It is a dream so distant that cannot be invoked in the realm of reality.  Yet even dreams, realistic or otherwise, are harbored and treasured since  man by nature can not give up the hope for peace with his fellow man especially compatriots and coreligionists.
 
Now, however, our immediate priority as Muslim intellectuals, journalists and opinion-shapers must focus on stopping the bleeding wound, stabilizing the condition of the patient, and inducing his immunity system to reactivate itself as much as possible.  Nothing is easy and nothing can be taken for granted.
 
The first order of business from this writer’s perspective is to study rather honestly and meticulously the real causes of the 1400-old fissure within the body of the Muslim Umma.
 
Again, the solution lies not in converting Shiism to Sunni Islam or converting Sunni Muslims to the Safavi Akhbari Shiism, which is a corruption of true, authentic Shiism. Instead it lies in adopting a new approach toward the “other,” based on mutual respect.
 
Unfortunately, this is not possible right now or in the immediate future since “slandering, cursing, vilifying and hating the “other” is an in-built component of some religious doctrines. Indeed, how can we possibly treat the “other” with any  modicum of true  respect when our views of the “other” is shaped by  ancient religious books that  incite us to “hate him from the depth of our hearts and even constantly  seek the opportune time to harm and even murder him.”
 
 Naturally, this intense hatred and vindictiveness didn’t come from nowhere. It emanated from the notoriously dubious narratives contained in such books as  Beharul Anwar and al-Kafee, to mention just a few sources, which judge the “other” as “Kaffer  (disbeliever), impure, usurper, oppressor, apostate, Nasibi (enemy of the Prophets’ household)  etc, who will rot in hell-fire for eternity.”  These manifestly false Riwayas or Hadith narratives can never be attributed to our great Prophet who was neither a curser nor a maligner. The Prophet, for example, would never have said, that apart fromAli’s supporters (the Shiites), all people are children of adultery!!! This is not the style of the Prophet.
 
Hence, For the sake of peace amongst Muslims, we must no longer hold fast to such cancerous narratives which scholars from both sides know quite well.
 
Moreover, Shiites in particular must put an end, once and for all, to the ancient repulsive  habit of cursing and slandering Sunni Muslims’ symbols including the wives of the Prophet, e.g. Lady Ayesha, and the first three caliphs as well as other Sahaba.  These are the very people who conveyed the Muhammadan message to us. In the final analysis, discrediting the messenger  is discrediting the message.
 
  Indeed, this particular issue of slandering the Sahaba remains the central reason and main cause for the enduring contention between the followers of the two schools.   It is the maker or breaker of any rapprochement between Shiites and Sunnis.
 
True, pronouncements disallowing slandering and badmouthing the Sahaba have been made by prominent religious leaders such as Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenaei.  However. Let us be frank and honest with ourselves. It should be amply clear that  Taqiyaa-inspired statements by this or that leader won’t end the problem. What we need is a meaningful, genuine, and honest departure by religious leaders and Seminaries from ancient doctrines that demonize the “other.”  I can write volumes and volumes in this regard, but I am sure the  Ulema and intellectuals from both sides understand, rather too well, what I am talking about.
 
Unfortunately, there is  now a little hope that the religious leaders, especially In Najaf and Qum, would abandon their ancient texts ….and, therefore,  ancient hatred, which the ignorant fanatics, interestingly enough, consider the “ultimate asset” and defining feature of the Mazhab!!!!  That is why, I cannot allow my self to be overly   optimistic.
 
Let us be honest, we can not await classical religious leaders and clergymen to sound the bill. Indeed, many of these figures are too ignorant, too fanatic and even too cowardly to communicate”unpopular truths” to their respective and often sheepish followers. They are part of the problem. They are the problem.
 
Instead, we need open-minded intellectuals, such as the late Iranian thinker Ali Shariati and the late Egyptian thinker Syed Qutub to be at the forefront to rid the Islamic Umma of both Shiite and Sunni parochialism. In the final analysis, Muslims will have to choose between the abyss of sectarianism on the one hand, or the salvation that could only come from following the truly universal Islam based on love, mercy, tolerance and commitment to truth and justice. 

HELEN THOMAS WAS RIGHT!

Ms. Thomas’ words of “Go back to Poland” are echoing loud and clear!

Why is Israel attacking Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque?

On Wednesday, I appeared on Al Jazeera’s news magazine Inside Story to discuss Israel’s assault on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque compound.

The other guests were Akiva Eldar, senior columnist at Al-Monitor, and Matthew Duss, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

Today, dozens of members of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party entered the compound accompanied by occupation forces.

This provocation came after days of violent Israeli assaults on worshippers and journalists in and around the mosque.

Palestinians view these incursions as part of an increasingly aggressive strategy aimed at an eventual takeover of the compound by Israeli groups intent on bringing down the mosque and building a Jewish temple in its place.

Watch the video above.

GOD’S MAILBOX GETS EMPTIED

Seems like all the notes and letters left for God weren’t picked up, so workers at the Western Wall had to empty His mailbox once again …

A man prays (R) besides another man who removes notes from the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem's Old City March 25, 2015. Photo by Reuters

A man prays (R) besides another man who removes notes from the cracks of the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest prayer site, in Jerusalem’s Old City March 25, 2015. Photo by Reuters

 ‘Notes to God’ cleared from Western Wall for Passover

Workers at the Western Wall removed the notes placed in the cracks by worshippers in advance of Passover.

Workers at the Western Wall removed the notes placed in the cracks by worshippers in advance of Passover.

The notes were removed Wednesday morning under the supervision of the rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovich. They will be buried in the Mount of Olives cemetery in Jerusalem.

The Western Wall Institute also receives tens of thousands of notes through its website and by fax to be placed in the wall, the office of the Rabbi of the Western Wall said in a statement.

The notes are removed from the wall twice a year, before Rosh Hashanah and Passover, using wooden sticks dipped in the mikvah.

 

From JTA

HOLIDAYS IN ISRAEL ~~ A TIME TO LOVE OR TO HATE

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Preparations are underway to usher in a week long holiday in Israel. It is called Succot, or The Feast of the Tabernacles. We eat all of our meals in little booths and the ceilings are usually made of tree branches, allowing the sky to be visible. It is a reminder of the 40 years we roamed in the desert and dwelled in such structures. It is actually quite a fun holiday and a very community oriented one, it is one of my favourites.
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A non Jewish visitor to Jerusalem this week might get the impression that the entire city stands in solidarity with the homeless Palestinians illegally evicted from their homes by settlers. Nothing could be further from the truth.
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Tents have appeared (actually booths) in preparation of the Festival
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Family homes were STOLEN, many families have been living in makeshift tents for over five years…. and neither the Municipality of Jerusalem nor the Palestinian Authority gives a damn. As winter approaches, a new meaning is given to the term ‘settlement freeze’ as these homeless literally freeze in their abodes. Sheikh Jarrah is no longer headline news, but the problems there remain the same.
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I had some flashbacks this morning to my Succot celebrations in Brooklyn as a child, they were much different than here. Here there is a Jewish community and an Arab community. In the neighbourhood I grew up in, there was a Eastern European Jewish Community (Ashkenazi) and a community made up of Spanish Jews and Jews from Northern Africa (Sephardi). Both communities had their own traditions and practices, but basically both were members of the same religion. One of the major differences between the two communities at the time were language, the Ashkenazi Jews spoke Yiddish; a language with Germanic roots, while the Sephardi Jews spoke a language called Ladino; a mixture of Hebrew and Spanish.
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What I remembered this morning was the following; The Synagogue of the Sephardi community was situated very close to the home of my grandparents. They used to build a large enough booth to accommodate their entire congregation. As a child, I used to help them with the preparations. I remembered my grandmother screaming at me from her window to get away from them, not to play with their kids…. I could never understand why. It seemed that part of her ghetto mentality was to distrust anyone that was in any way different. These people were different than we were, as mentioned; they spoke a different language and, for the most part, had darker skins than the Ashkenazi Jews. The younger generation, like myself did not see these differences as our common language was English and skin colour was never an issue with me or my immediate family. I therefore could never understand my grandmother’s logic, or lack of…. So I secretly maintained my friendships with the kids there.
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Today, I started thinking about prejudice, why it exists, how to overcome it…. It seems to exist because of ignorance and fear, two very real factors. How to overcome it? Learn about each other and the fear factor will be eliminated. Very simple! It worked in my case.Things are different today, in Israel at least. The Jewish community celebrates together. We have a common language, Hebrew. There are still some remnants of the old world prejudice, but for the most part it’s gone. Now to overcome the prejudices between the Jewish and Arab communities here. My way is to open my booth, as well as my home, to ALL members of the community, both Arab and Jew.  It’s the only way to guarantee an end to the hatred… live together! So, instead of fearing the differences of the others, my philosophy is to say
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VIVA LA DIFFERENCE!
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Let us all live together as neighbours and brothers.Shalom-Salaam!

TRADITION NO LONGER SACRED IN THE HOLY LAND

What ever happened to …..

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One of many traditions that seemed to have gone astray is the handling of notes placed in the Western Wall by worshipers. Tradition has it that these notes are meant for God’s eyes ONLY ….

In fact, Based on the cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom which prohibits reading another person’s mail, it is halakhically forbidden for a Jew to read a note that has been inserted in the Western Wall.

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BUT …..

In the case of a note left by Barack Obama, it was not only removed from the Wall, but it was made public.

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obamawallnote

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This week, the ‘new tradition’ involved the note placed by Pope Francis …. proving that nothing is sacred here any longer…

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Pope Francis Leaves ‘Lord’s Prayer’ at Western Wall

Holy Father Placed Note Between Stones at Kotel

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GETTY IMAGES

By JTA VIA

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Pope Francis wrote the Lord’s Prayer in Spanish on a note he left in the Western Wall.

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation released the contents of the note placed between the stones of the Kotel during the pope’s visit on Monday.

The note, signed “Francis,” was written on papal letterhead.

The Lord’s Prayer, also known as “Our Father,” is a central prayer in Christianity.

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If their own traditions are not kept and respected, one can only wonder about attitudes toward other peoples’ …

 

 

THE NAZARENE

36500_all_007_01-Christ

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In honour of Good Friday I present a poem I wrote 30 years ago ….

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The Nazarene

By Steve Amsel

15 April, 1984

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The Passover is once again upon us and

We reflect on the years gone by;

Of the tribulations of the people

And the heroes of the ages.

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The traditional feast, the Seder, has

Been with us for thousands of years.

For most it has always been a joyous meal,

But for one it became the Last Supper.

So cruel they were to you as they

Nailed you to the cross on the hill

Treating you like a common criminal

Rather than the great man that you were.

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You felt no malice towards your betrayers,

Instead you asked your god to forgive them

For the crime they committed against you

And those who were close to you.

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Two thousand years have passed since

That shameful day and each year

The crime is reenacted by those

Who usurp your name.

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You taught love and tolerance

But most of that message is ignored.

Instead there have been wars in your name,

Something, I am sure you would oppose.

Where are your powers today, when they are

Needed to cleanse the earth of its hatred?

The very ones who slew you sanctified

Your name and continue to slay.

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Is there no way you can show them?

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And yet, the killing continues to this very day …

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KILLING THE FAMILY OF JESUS

by Michael Rivero

Click HERE to see report

FORGING A UNITED FRONT BETWEEN CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM IN THE ARAB WORLD

 
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Christians and Muslims lived generally peacefully and even amicably for many centuries. Christian-Muslim unity more or less survived the Crusades’ era and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, especially the unlimited support and backing of that criminal entity by western Christian powers
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Christian Arabs must not embrace tyrannical anti-Islam regimes

 

By Khalid Amayreh in Occupied Jerusalem

 

 

I know I have to exercise extreme caution when dealing with this sensitive issue of Christian citizens in the Arab world. The ugly head of sectarianism would always rise if we didn’t take the necessary precautions to keep buried underground. I say “keep it buried underground,” not crush it into oblivion because as long as there are religions and sects there will always be sectarianism. Hence, the best and utmost we can do and hope for  is to seek common grounds and common denominators based on human rights, civil liberties as  the concept of equal citizenship. 

Unfortunately, efforts to keep the ugly head of the ghoul of sectarianism at bay are not always successful especially in states that utilize sectarianism to prevent democracy and perpetuate sectarian tyranny and despotism. 

Unfortunately, there is a trend in the media, especially the secular media, to blame Islamists for tampering with the sectarian equation. Rarely have we heard criticisms directed at the Christian communities or their respective leaderships for generating negative anti-Christian impressions among the majority Muslim population. 

Take Syria for an example. For sixty years, the country has been languishing under the murderous boots of the heretical Alawite sect, which used the Baath party as a ladder to reach the helm of power. 

The Baathist fascism practiced and promoted by the Assad family penetrated every aspect of the Syrian state, government and society. I am sure Syrians know much more than I do about the evils of the Assad Dynasty rule, a rule that continues to dispatch Syrians to their graves by the hundreds per day. 

Unfortunately, Christians in Syria, or most of them, sided decidedly with the terrorist regime of Bashar Assad against the vast majority of the Syrian people who rose up for freedom. 

I believe Christians who decided to join the Assad boat must be treated like criminal terrorists, just like other people joining that nefarious regime, including “nominal Muslims.” 

Christians joining the ranks of Bashar Assad are terrorists and criminals not because they are Christian, but rather because they are involved in crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Nazi-like regime against its own people. 

As mentioned, the same descriptions apply to everyone joining ranks with the Assad regime. 

  The Copts 

Many Egyptian Christians have also been making the same historical blunder of siding with the coup-makers who usurped the collective will of the Egyptian people. 

The Sisi junta has murdered thousands of innocent Egyptians. It has tortured and maltreated political opponents and rounded up tens of thousands of people. 

Needless to say, this is the hallmark of fascism. 

It is unacceptable that Christians in Egypt or elsewhere in the Arab world insist on imposing secularism on a predominantly Muslim people. Secularism may be part of Christianity, but it is not part of Islam.  

Let me make this perfectly clear. Christians in the Arab world have every right to demand equality as citizens. But they don’t have the right to impose secularism as a new religion on Muslims. Similarly, Christians have no right to insist that belief in godless secularism is sine-qua-non for participation in political life. 

Don’t tell me secularism is good. In the Arab world, especially in Egypt, Syria and Algeria, secularism means vehement hostility to Islam. 

Muslims, like the followers of any other conceivable religion, have a full natural right to take part in political life and form political parties based on their Islamic convictions and ideals. It is unacceptable that, for example, Communists have a right to form political parties based on their Marxist-Leninist convictions and liberals have a similar right to do the same thing based on their liberal convictions while Muslims are denied that right.  This is not only hostility to Islam; it is also hostility to democracy and human rights. 

Some Christian pundits might argue that Communism and liberalism are political philosophies whereas Islam is a religion.  Well, with all due respect, Christians have no right to define Islam for Muslims just as Muslims have no right to define Christianity for Christians. 

 This ought to be treated an axiomatic matter that shouldn’t be even raised in public were it not for the ongoing dark embrace between some influential Christian circles and the tyrannical gangs in Cairo and Damascus. 

More to the point, there are Christian political parties ruling in many countries such as Germany, so why is it that of all peoples in the world, Muslims are barred from taking part in political life unless they are willing to effectively renounce their faith? 

We won’t renounce our faith and we won’t renounce our right to participate in political life even if we have to shed our blood for it. 

I am sure that Christians of good-will understand Muslim concerns in this regard.  Unfortunately, not all Christians harbor good-will toward Muslims. These people include, inter alia, the Coptic Church of Egypt.  In the past few years, especially ever since the ousting of Egyptian tyrant Husni Mubarak, this particular Church has lost no opportunity displaying its venomous vindictiveness and sullen hostility to Islam and the Islamists.    The print and electronic media associated with the Church never stopped even for minute inciting hatred against Islamists. The declared target is the Muslim Brotherhood, but the real target is Islam, the Prophet of Islam and the holy scriptures of Islam. 

Indeed, we would exaggerate very little if we said that the Coptic Church and many of its followers bear much of the moral responsibility for the genocidal massacres of the Islamists at the hands of the murderous Sisi gang. The Church actually never sought to distance itself from the perpetrators of the hideous crimes which should make condemnation of the Church acquire an added legitimacy. 

Christians and Muslims lived generally peacefully and even amicably for many centuries. Christian-Muslim unity more or less survived the Crusades’ era and the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, especially the unlimited support and backing of that criminal entity by western Christian powers. 

Now, there is a third formidable challenge waiting to test the tenacity and durability of Christian-Muslim relations. And that is the slow and arduous transformation into democracy in the Arab world. Unfortunately, the tidings don’t look very good. 

Let me be clear. Christians, like all citizens, have the right to take part in political life. They have the right to form or join the political party of their choice. But they absolutely have no right to demand the exclusion of Islam-based parties from the political game. 

 Needless to say, that would be the ultimate game-changer that would rock the boat of coexistence between Muslims and Christians in this part of the world. 

 

 

 

NEW POPE SILENT SUPPORTER OF FASCISM

 Images ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff
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Pope Francis I: Bergoglio Has Ties To A Dark Period For The Catholic Church

by Geoffrey Ingersoll

Francis I along with the whole Argentine Catholic Church have faced criticism for their silence or complicity during the post-1976 military dictatorship — a failure for which the Church apologized in 2012.

Known as the Dirty War, this period saw a brutal battle between the ruling military elite and leftist guerrilla fighters, in which up to 30,000 Argentinians were “disappeared” and others were raped or killed.

Argentine journalist Horacio Verbitsky chronicled how the Church and Bergoglio were involved in this dark era. As described by Hugh O’Shaughnessy of The Guardian in 2011:

[Verbitsky] recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship’s political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio’s name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment.

Bergoglio contended to writer Sergio Rubin that he hid these people to keep them from the violent military junta, not the Human Rights Commission — even as his Jesuit order and Church leaders publicly endorsed the dictatorship.

He later said the endorsement was one of political pragmatism, which is understandable in the face of certain death, if not exactly righteous, according to the AP.

Bergoglio also faced criticism from human rights lawyer Myriam Bregman, who tried to bring the Catholic leader to court for allegedly turning over two priests to Argentine death squads — charges which others have denied.

In any case Bregman sees evidence in Bergoglio’s statements that he knew of the dictatorship’s crimes. “The dictatorship could not have operated this way without this key support,” she said, according to the AP.

Certainly the waters here are a bit muddied. The history has many sides, as it often does when it’s so far removed from such shocking tragedy and conflict. But it shouldn’t be forgotten, even as the present is filled with white smoke and cheering crowds.

Written FOR

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JESUS REJOICES AS THE POPE STEPS DOWN

 
As does Carlos Latuff 😉
pope-resigns (1)
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There was an old joke that went something like this ….
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FDR proved that one could be President forever…
Truman proved that anyone could become President…
and Eisenhower proved that we didn’t need a President.
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Pope Benedict just proved the same …
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Pope Benedict Ends Pontificate, Leaving Papacy Vacant

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GETTY IMAGES

By Reuters

Pope Benedict ended his eight-year reign on Thursday, becoming the first pontiff in six centuries to resign instead of ruling for life.

The papacy became officially vacant at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT/2 p.m. ET) in keeping with the pope’s wishes when he announced his decision to resign on Feb. 11.

The yellow and white papal flag was lowered and the Swiss Guard sentries withdrew from the entrance to the papal summer residence south of Rome as the massive wooden doors of the hilltop building were closed.

The pope flew there by helicopter less than three hours earlier.

 

 

EID AL FITR MUBARAK

 
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The Glorious Holy Month of Ramadan will be coming to an end some time tomorrow… ushering in the wonderful feast days of Eid-al-Fitr. A time for joyous celebrations with families, a time to feel completely renewed and refreshed.

That’s how it’s spelled out in the books…

Unfortunately in Palestine the book is written differently… families are divided, family members are denied entry to join in the celebrations, families are mourning their loved ones killed by Israeli forces.
It’s time for all to celebrate! It’s time for all families to be together!

Damn those that won’t let this be!!

Let us hope that soon the situation will be different and we can all be together… secure in our own Homeland…. secure with a Right of Return… and THE RIGHT TO STAY!
In the meantime…. AL-EID-MUBARAK!!! Make the best of it and try to enjoy.

Never give up the dream and hope that all will be good one day…
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From the archives, a timely essay written by our Associate Khalid Amayreh. It was written three years ago, but nothing has changed since.

RELIGION AS A TOOL FOR PROGRESS

For at least the past three decades, religious expression in the political sphere has been dominated by evangelical conservatives. Many of the younger people organizing the street protests and religious services in New York and around the country don’t remember a time when rabbis like Abraham Joshua Heschel marched for civil rights, and Arthur Waskow created a Freedom Seder, and Catholic priests and nuns were instrumental in anti-war agitation, their actions propelled by a fervent religiosity and expressed in liturgical terms.
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Why ‘Occupy Judaism’ Is Turning Point

Occupy Judaism: The Jews who held a Yom Kippur service at Occupy Wall Street were upholding an American tradition of invoking religion to spur progressive action.
MISS LASKO-GROSS
Occupy Judaism: The Jews who held a Yom Kippur service at Occupy Wall Street were upholding an American tradition of invoking religion to spur progressive action.

Charles Finney was America’s best-known preacher in the 1830s when he invented the altar call. At the end of a revival meeting, he’d invite worshippers stirred by the gospel to come before an altar placed in front of the hall and publicly swear their commitment to Jesus Christ. Finney did this to showcase — critics would say, exploit — the redemptive sight of a Christian reborn.

But scholars say that Finney had another motive: to sign up these new converts to join his anti-slavery campaign.

This was not the first time that religious fervor mixed with progressive politics, nor would it be the last. “It’s hard to name a progressive movement in American history that did not have powerful religious allies and influence,” said Robert Putnam, the Harvard political scientist whose most recent book is “Amazing Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us.”

“Having religious symbols and ceremonies mixed with secular political activity and protest is not all that unusual,” Putnam told me.

In that sense, then, the hundreds of Jews who gathered across from Zuccotti Park for Kol Nidre services October 7 — in solidarity (their words) with the Occupy Wall Street encampment across the street — were upholding a tradition that began in Revolutionary War times, continued through the anti-slavery and civil rights movements, and even was manifested in the protests against the Vietnam War.

So why did it seem so new? Why did the sight of young Jews in white kittels davening steps away from the iconic heartbeat of American capitalism on Judaism’s most solemn day stir many souls and aggravate others?

It seemed new for good reason, marking a small but significant turning point for both Jews and progressive causes, a sign of arrival for Jews and a return to the historic place that religion played in the public face of progressive activism.

For at least the past three decades, religious expression in the political sphere has been dominated by evangelical conservatives. Many of the younger people organizing the street protests and religious services in New York and around the country don’t remember a time when rabbis like Abraham Joshua Heschel marched for civil rights, and Arthur Waskow created a Freedom Seder, and Catholic priests and nuns were instrumental in anti-war agitation, their actions propelled by a fervent religiosity and expressed in liturgical terms.

Then again, until a few decades ago, minority religions in America “tried to keep their heads down,” in Putnam’s words. Parade around Wall Street in a yarmulke and prayer shawl? Gather together hundreds of Jews to recite Hebrew prayers out loud? Beat one’s chest in repentance under the bright lights of Lower Manhattan? Unimaginable.

A few decades ago, it also would have been difficult to imagine how such a Kol Nidre service could have come together. Like Occupy Wall Street and its growing number of spin-offs, these events happen because of the extensive use of social media by savvy organizers who don’t need or seek the blessings of communal leadership. “It seems more bottom up than top down,” observed Alan Wolfe, a Boston College political scientist whose latest book is “Political Evil.” He’s right. Our image of a Jewish protester from the 1960s is of an ordained rabbi. Our image of a Jewish protester at Occupy Wall Street is of a scruffy guy with an iPhone.

Lew Daly, senior fellow at Demos and author of “God’s Economy: Faith-Based Initiatives & the Caring State,” drew another important distinction.

“Perhaps the most striking thing about Yom Kippur at Occupy Wall Street is the act of public worship, worship as ritual and worship as witness,” he wrote in an e-mail. “We have seen this before, fighting racism and war from religious tradition, the deepest part of our culture.

“But we have not seen it as often in economic crises — it is in the nature of a market-dominated culture for people to blame themselves before others if they struggle or fail economically. But that may be changing now as Wall Street’s protected status has become plain for all to see.”

And in the past, when populist movements embraced religious talk, that often came with an undercurrent of anti-Semitism. The most famous example was William Jennings Bryan’s mesmerizing speech at the 1896 Democratic National Convention, when he vowed, “You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold!” Yep, many think it’s clear that he was talking about the Jews.

Today, a few conservative commentators, uncomfortable with the Kol Nidre service and Occupy Anything in general, have highlighted the boorish, anti-Semitic rants by a handful of protesters to suggest that the entire enterprise is dangerous. Maybe it is. But if it is, then it doesn’t reflect mainstream America.

Even though Jews occupy some of the loftiest positions in national finance, the rhetoric of this recession has been remarkably free from anti-Semitism. “The only people in America worried about that are the Jews,” said Putnam, who has plenty of research to back up his claim, even though it’s still difficult for Jews to believe that everyone doesn’t, in fact, hate us. (Putnam knows. He’s Jewish himself.)

Indeed, what is novel about this emerging “Occupy Judaism” — the Kol Nidre service, followed by celebrations of Sukkot coinciding with protests across the country — is that it challenges the establishment on several fronts. The still-inchoate pleas by protesters for a new kind of American economy are a direct affront not only to Republican policies, but to Democratic ones, too. Mix that with the audacious display of empowered Judaism, conducted without the authorization of Jewish officialdom, and you’ve just undermined the credibility of two powerful institutions with the speed of a Facebook post.

Alan Wolfe offered another astute observation. By linking public prayer with protest, “it says that the protest has an element of the sacred associated with it.” The prophet Isaiah is read on Yom Kippur, which may be just what our political discourse needs right now.

 

Source


The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website

IT’S OK FOR ISRAELI SOLDIERS TO KILL CIVILIANS AND CHILDREN

BUT…..
Listening to women sing is a sin!
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More new rulings from Israel’s Chief Rabbis that makes one wonder ….
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Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi: Excuse religious soldiers from events where women sing

Rabbi Yona Metzger distributes rulings to rabbis both in Israel and abroad, with a suggestion that they include it in their sermons during the upcoming Jewish holidays

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Although the chief rabbi appears to reflect the sentiment of most Orthodox rabbis on the subject, there is a minority rabbinical opinion which holds that while the IDF should be sensitive to the soldiers’ sensibilities, walkouts such as the cadets staged several weeks ago are wrong. One rabbi who follows this minority view is David Bigman of the religious kibbutz movement’s Ma’aleh Gilboa Yeshiva, who wrote earlier this week that a demonstrative pubic walkout is itself a violation of halakha, due to the harm it inflicts on the singers and the audience. Other advocates of this view include Rabbi Yuval Cherlow of the Petah Tikva hesder yeshiva, which combines religious study and military service, and Rabbi Shlomo Aviner of the Ateret Yerushalayim Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
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Full report HERE
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Here are views expressed by Chief Rabbis regarding the slaughter of Palestinians…. (click on links to read reports)
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Chief West Bank rabbi issues ruling that legalizes killing Arabs

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The King’s Torah: a rabbinic text or a call to terror?
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Fundamentalist Settler Rabbi Says Killing “Non-Jews” Is Justifiable

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Hate-filled Israeli rabbis incite violence against non-Jews
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Many more examples can be found HERE
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So there you have it…
If I understand these rulings correctly an Israeli soldier can break one of the 10 Commandments and kill ….
BUT, if he listens to a woman sing his very moral fiber would be questionable.
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Lordy, Lordy, Lordy …. and all this BS just a day before the Hebrew New Year.
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AYN RAND AND GOP Vs. JESUS

“I’m not saying she’s the antichrist, but she certainly aspired to be an antichrist.”
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Be sure not to miss video presented at end of this post…
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Getty Images  Atheist: Rand, a Jewish-born novelist and philosopher, was an outspoken critic of religion.
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Is Ayn Rand’s Atheism An Inconvenient Truth?

Ayn Rand, novelist and conservative political thinker, has an impassioned following among some of today’s Republicans. They embrace her defense of laissez-faire capitalism and individualism. In many respects, she is the godmother of all libertarians. What some put aside, however, is the inconvenient fact that she was also an outspoken atheist.

A group of left-leaning Christians have decided to make an issue of this disconnect, putting some leading Republicans on the spot about the woman they think of as an intellectual hero.

A new political ad, created by the faith-based advocacy group American Values Network and provocatively titled “Ayn Rand & GOP vs. Jesus,” attempts to drive a wedge into the Republican coalition by drawing attention to Rand’s anti-religious rhetoric. The ad is is directed primarily at Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican whose budget plan was championed by Republicans and decried as overly austere by Democrats.

And while observers say that efforts to use the admiration that Ryan and others have expressed for Rand to sow discontent in the party’s conservative Christian base will gain little traction, there are some signs that Democratic groups like AVN are not the only religious Christians focusing on Rand.

“Make no mistake: I have no love for big government. But there are far better ways to critique it than Rand’s kind of godless nonsense, especially for Christians,” said Chuck Colson, the prominent evangelical and former Nixon aide and Watergate accomplice, in a video posted online a week before the appearance of the anti-Ryan ad. “One thing is for certain: Though surely unintended, today’s followers of Objectivism” — Rand’s philosophy — “are undermining the gospel. Beware!”

Rand, who died in 1982, was the author of the influential and deeply controversial political novels “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged.” Born to a Jewish family in St. Petersburg, Russia, she moved to the United States as a young woman, becoming a novelist and later a philosopher. Rand argued for the morality of capitalism, championing the notion of “rational self-interest” and decrying altruism. Followers include Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Though Rand’s parents were Jewish, she herself was an avowed atheist. In a 1979 interview with Phil Donahue on his daytime talk show, quoted in part in the anti-Ryan ad, Rand said that she is “against God.” Religion, Rand argued, “gives man permission to function irrationally, to accept something above and outside the power of their reason.”

The American Values Network’s ad plays quotes from Rand’s Donahue interview and from another earlier interview with CBS’s Mike Wallace, in which she speaks critically of religious faith. Those quotes are followed by praise for Rand from, among others, Ryan, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and Senator Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican.

The ad’s producers say that they are raising money to broadcast it in Ryan’s district. Ryan’s controversial budget plan proposed to slash the federal deficit by making significant cuts to Medicare, among other programs.

“I would argue that the Ryan budget is not in keeping with Christian principles,” said Eric Sapp, executive director of the American Values Network and a founding partner of the Eleison Group, a Democratic political messaging firm. “What’s been going on for decades is this unholy alliance between Christians, libertarians and big business, who disagree about everything except that they want power,” he said.

Spokesmen for Ryan and Paul did not respond to messages left requesting comment on the ad.

Though the ad’s producers hope to influence conservative Christians to question their place in the Republican coalition, some observers say the notion that Republicans are anti-Christian will gain no traction with voters.

“Look at the premise here: I’m supposed to believe that the Republican Party is somehow weak on God and religion — the party that, as many would say, has too closely embraced evangelicals, has dangerously lowered the wall between church and state,” said Stuart Rothenberg, publisher of the nonpartisan, Washington-based Rothenberg Political Report. “It’s not a credible attack.”

Others say that Rand, though influential in certain circles, is too little known among Christian conservatives to create much of a rift.

“The arcane intellectual debate to which they’re referring, and the somewhat arcane protagonists, really won’t make a difference to any voters anywhere, in my view,” said Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster.

But while some analysts call it unfair to hold Rand’s atheism against Ryan, who has expressed admiration for Rand’s description of the moral dimensions of capitalism, Mellman said that he does see strain in the coalition of business people, the religious right and the ideological libertarians that have sustained the Republican Party since the Reagan era.

“There’s no question that there is a tension,” Mellman said. “But I think the real issues are going to come in the course of the nomination process.”

Conservative Christians, whose numbers and organization give them a significant say in the Republican presidential nominations, may support candidates like Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, while the party’s business supporters may prefer a candidate like former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Rothenberg, on the other hand, said that he saw relatively little tension among Republicans. “I’ve almost been surprised at how unanimous the Republican chorus has been,” Rothenberg said. “You would think that… the Republicans representing more moderate areas would be treading delicately, but everybody is embracing the anti-tax, cutting the budget, cutting the deficit view that we’re hearing from the party.”

Meanwhile, some prominent Christians have begun to draw renewed attention to Rand’s influence. Colson’s video comment on Rand was instigated by the April release of a film version of “Atlas Shrugged.”

“Not only should you stay away from the film, you should stay away from anyone who wants to see the film, unless their interest is ironic,” Colson said.

Martin E. Marty, a prominent professor of the history of modern Christianity at the University of Chicago Divinity School, has also written recently on Rand and the acceptance of her ideas by some Christian conservatives.

“I don’t know anybody, including the well-known circle of atheists, that has been more overt, open and blunt in their denunciation of religion and also Christianity,” Marty told the Forward. “That’s just a puzzle to me that it’s just so overt, and yet they can sort of slice it out and say you can be selfish all you want, but it has nothing to do with your faith.”

Then there are those among Rand’s Christian opponents who think her appeal to conservatives is more nefarious.

“They say that the most so-called believers will be deceived by the antichrist, and I think that’s exactly what’s happening today,” said Gary Moore, an evangelical Lutheran writer and former Republican activist. “I’m not saying she’s the antichrist, but she certainly aspired to be an antichrist.”

Watch the following to see what Ayn Rand really was…. A MEGA RACIST AND ZIONIST
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EXPLANATION AND SORT OF APOLOGY FOR ‘MOCKING JESUS ON ISRAELI TV’

Just before Easter I posted a video called ‘Mocking Jesus On Israeli TV’….
It can be viewed here….
It apparently caught the attention of one of the scriptwriters who responded with the following comment;

I am one of the scriptwriters

This video wasn’t played on the tv, only on the internet pilot, on flix website, before bip bought the program. it didn’t offend anyone that time, although there are many Christians in Israel.

The intention of the video didn’t mean to offend the feeling of the Christians, it’s a parody on the Israeli chauvinist 70′s tv programs, by exagerating, so it’s critical about the israeli system. other programs were about 1967 war, and Adam and Eve etc. this program put an anti-militaristic agenda in Israeli tv. So it’s funny that website like you attacks it.
http://www.flix.co.il/tapuz/showVideo.asp?m=1337219.

The translation here is not accurate (eg there is no f-word), and this is one of the reasons for all the trouble. It seems like someone wanted to pour oil on this fire.

Sorry for anyone who was offended by it. :)

Let us hope that this apology is sincere and this type of ‘parody’ is not used again to express one’s feelings.

‘OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL’ …. BUT NOT TO THE HOLY LAND

The Holy Sepulchre Church and other crucial religious sites are rendered “off limits for Christians through a complex network of walls, checkpoints, and security apparatuses”.

Position of the local Palestinian Christian community on restrictions on religious rights (especially during Holy Week)

Kairos Palestine

11-holy-week-ramallah-palestine.jpg

The Palestinian Christian initiative Kairos Palestine has issued a statement spelling out the position of the Palestinian Christian community concerning Israeli imposed restrictions on religious rights, especially during Holy Week.

The statement notes that “for Christians, Holy Week in Jerusalem has a special spiritual connection.” It says that the various gathering points to which pilgrims from all over the world journey, namely the Old City, its gates and roads, the Mount of Olives, Via Dolorosa and The Holy Sepulchre Church, are equally important to the Palestinian Christians of the West Bank and Gaza.

The statement underlines the strong desire of Christians in the West Bank and Gaza “to join their Jerusalemite Christian brothers and sisters in the liturgical events leading to the resurrection, the holiest celebration in Christianity”.

The statement points out that “in every country that respects (and practices) freedom of worship, they do so without restrictions from the governing authorities”. It proceeds to bemoan the fact that the occupying power has denied free access to Holy places of worship to both Christians and Muslims on several important occasions over the last decade.

This discriminatory and restrictive policy by Israel allows only 8000 pilgrims and few hundreds of locals to enter the city on Holy Fire Saturday. The Holy Sepulchre Church and other crucial religious sites are rendered “off limits for Christians through a complex network of walls, checkpoints, and security apparatuses”.

Traditionally, Palestinian Christians welcome The Holy Light seated on the roof of the Patriarchate and at the Church of Saint Jacob, adjoining the Holy Sepulchre. This religious tradition is something they are unwilling to forfeit because it is a violation of a fundamental human rights and a restriction on their right to religious freedom. It further upsets a centuries old tradition for the Palestinian Christians.

Kairos Palestine decries this unjust and one-sided policy which compels Christians and Muslims to apply for permits to enter while Jews continue to have free access. At best, not more than two or three thousand Palestinian Christians will receive entry permits. The permit system instated by Israel is in obvious violation of various Human Rights, international covenants and treaties to which Israel is a signatory.

Kairos Palestine rejects “the imposition of a permit/quota system to access our churches and shrines”. The Kairos statement points to how “the heavy presence of Israeli Police and Military forces prevents Christians from accessing the Holy Sepulchre Church and the Old City thus disturbing the spiritual atmosphere of Easter”. The presence of Israeli commanders in and around the Tomb of Christ under the pretext of security is unacceptable.

The Kairos statement states that such actions taken against Palestinian Christians are an affront not only to them, the first and oldest Christian community in the world, but also to Christianity as a whole.

The Palestine-Israel Ecumenical Forum urges churches around the world to support the call of Kairos Palestine which invites “all our leaders, friends, brothers and sisters around the world to continue exerting pressure on Israel, to end its military occupation on this land and to respect international law and human rights”. In terms of practical measures, Kairos Palestine urges:

Church leaders not to submit and accept the conditions that deprive indigenous and international worshippers of the joy of celebrating Easter.

Letters to political representatives to pressure Israel by political means to end its restrictions on the freedom to religion in general and with regard to the Easter celebrations in particular.

Letters of protest to Israeli ambassadors in your countries complaining against such actions.

Click here for the full text of the statement from Kairos Palestine.

 

Source

ANGLICAN BISHOP OF JERUSALEM DECLARED ‘FOREIGN’

 Could this be a ‘de-facto’ recognition of a Palestinian State? Despite the occuption, Palestine is considered to be a foreign country…
 
 
Israel’s Interior Ministry has revoked the permit for the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, The Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, to live in Jerusalem, and has refused requests to reinstate it, in spite of protests by Anglican authorities in the West specifically the United States.
 
 
 
Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem’s visa revoked
 
Sheil Dawani is considered a foreigner, having been born in Nablus, while the Anglican cathedral and offices are in East Jerusalem. Without a visa, in theory he can be arrested and deported at any time. Appeal already submitted to an administrative tribunal could have the negative effect of giving reason to the government.

 Jerusalem – Israel’s Interior Ministry has revoked the permit for the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem, The Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, to live in Jerusalem, and has refused requests to reinstate it, in spite of protests by Anglican authorities in the West specifically the United States.The Bishop is a native of the Holy Land and has spent most of his life and ministry here, but cannot obtain either citizenship or legal residence in Israel, since he was born in Nablus, i.e. in the West Bank, which has been under Israeli occupation since 1967, but has not been annexed to Israel. East Jerusalem, on the other hand, where the Anglican Cathedral and Diocesan offices are situated, was also occupied at the same time, but Israel annexed it and considers it part of its national territory (although no other  country in the world recognizes this annexation). Therefore, Bishop Dawani is considered by Israel to be a foreigner who can only visit – let alone live in – East Jerusalem with a special permit, which the Israeli authorities can either grant or deny at their sole discretion. In fact, even the original Palestinian inhabitants of East Jerusalem, and their descendants, are considered by Israel to be foreigners who are no more than  possessors of a residence permit, which Israel can revoke.

Since the Bishop has of course remained at his post, in Jerusalem, without the permit, he could be arrested at any moment, be put on trial for being in Israel illegally, be sentenced to a prison term – or simply be forcibly removed from Jerusalem.

This situation is causing deep worry to all the Churches in the Holy Land. Because of the representative function of the Churches in the Holy Land, on behalf of the world-wide Christian communities, and because of various personnel needs, a large portion of the bishops, clergy and religious serving in Jerusalem and elsewhere, come from other countries. Israel does not allow them to acquire citizenship or even legal residence, and they can only remain in Israeli territory in virtue of visas that need to be renewed every year or two years – at the Government’s sole discretion. Indeed, as has been made public by news reports over the years, the issue of entry visas and residence for Catholic clergy and religious is a priority item on the agenda of the negotiations between the Holy See and the State of Israel, right from their beginning in 1992 – with no agreement yet. So the predicament of the Anglican Bishop is being watched closely by all the Churches here.

The Bishop has now applied for an Israeli administrative court to intervene, but the prospects for his lawsuit are far from certain. As a matter of general principle, the Government is free to issue or to withhold the kind of permit he needs, without giving detailed reasons, except essentially raisons d’état. There is an opinion, too, that turning to the court is a mistake, since an unfavourable decision by the court (the likelier outcome perhaps) would give the Government the cover of law. It might have been better for him, some say, to rely instead on rousing Western public opinion, in the name of religious freedom and natural justice. Time will tell.

Written FOR by Arieh Cohen

RABBIS MAKE STRANGE BEDFELLOWS


NO!!!! This is not a post dealing with anything kinky, so if that’s what you are looking for, you are obviously in the wrong place.

This is about rabbis that are so divorced from reality that they literally put you to sleep with the yarns they spin. Anyone who has ever attended services in a synagogue or were present at a Bar Mitzvah or wedding where a rabbi spoke can attest to the fact that most of the audience is asleep within minutes of the presentation. Subject matter could range from an ‘incident’ that occurred three or four thousand years go to the anniversary of the passing of some rabbi or ‘scholar’, also ages ago. They speak as if you know what they are talking about and never seem to realise that literally no one is listening.

These people are ‘leaders’ of a flock that hasn’t changed its ways or ideas in thousands of years and their mega boring speeches reflect this fact. I have come to the conclusion that this might be best, for when they actually do try to enter the present world with their ideologies, they fall flat on their faces.
The latest case in point is the ‘decree’ not to rent or sell property to Arabs in Israel. Their conclusions are based on misread texts in the Torah or the Talmud.

Yesterday, in the Hebrew edition of YNet, it was reported that the chief rabbi (pictured above) of one of Israel’s cities (Rosh HaAyin) issued a ban to stores that hire Jewish girls not to hire Arabs to work in them. The list of ridiculous examples of hatred seems never ending and continues to grow on a daily basis.

Also yesterday, a home belonging to a Palestinian family in the outskirts of Jerusalem was demolished by Israeli authorities to make way for a new structure which would house 24 Jewish families. Did the rabbis have anything to say about this?

Last week a fire nearly destroyed complete cities in the northern part of Israel. Firefighters from many countries INCLUDING Palestine took part in putting out the blaze. Yesterday a ceremony was held to honour those brave souls … but the Palestinians were denied entry to Israel to attend the event. Did the rabbis have anything to say about this?

Three years ago when Israeli forces murdered close to 1500 people in the Gaza Strip, mostly civilians, did the rabbis remind them that it was forbidden to kill?

Of course not to all of the above questions. Events of today will be spoken about only in years to come. Perhaps in another two thousand years a rabbi will bore some audience at an affair talking about how the state of Israel adhered to the ‘teachings’ of the Holy Texts throughout the ages, as the audience snores away….

Bradly Burston, reporting in today’s HaAretz, ends his piece with a very interesting observation…

No one has to go along. And if this is about giving thanks, this is surely an opportunity to mention the more than 700 rabbis who have already signed a petition against the ban on selling or renting to Arabs.

No longer need we listen to the Gang of 300 when they tell us what the Almighty wants.

From apocalyptic rulings shielding settlements, to the brutal stranglehold on conversion policy, they are making up Judaism as they go along. And, in the process, by stating that non-Jews have no place here, annihilating the democracy that pays their very salaries.

How are we to understand these public remarks by officials of the state of Israel? What is it that they are telling us, these apparatchiks in Armani? That non-Jews can no longer be Israelis? That Arabs can no longer live here?

That Zionism turns out to be a form of racism, after all? Or, is it Judaism itself?

Perhaps these rabbis are doing the rest of us a service by showing the world the true face of Israel, a face that even a Jewish mother wouldn’t be able to love.

A RABBINICAL VOICE AGAINST THE FALSIFICATION OF THE ‘LAW’

Jewish law recognizes the complexity of reality. Hence, rulings are supposed to be based on broad vision rather than a simplistic picture. The rabbis who issue these rulings are supposed to be familiar with the changing times and diverse circumstances. Yet the authors of the document failed to do this.

They have turned their own ‘Law’ into a Book of hate rather than one of love….

Falsifying Jewish law
Rabbis who ban home sales to Arabs distort Halacha, should go back to school

Michael Abraham*

The rabbis’ declaration banning the leasing of apartments to Arabs provoked many responses in favor and against. Many of these reactions – on both sides – were tendentious, selective and misleading. It is therefore important to make it clear that we are dealing with a document replete with distortions and demagoguery that has nothing to do with Jewish law.

What we have is a political pamphlet whose creators showed false judgment. They enlisted for their cause halachaic sources via distorted interpretation, and precisely for that reason their declaration is highly damaging and highly flawed.

The rabbis’ declaration constitutes a desecration of God’s name. It may also endanger Jews abroad. More than anything, it constitutes improper interpretation of the Torah. Those who wrote the document should go back to school rather than teach Jewish law in Israel.

Indeed, there are clear halachaic sources banning the sale of Eretz Yisrael land to gentiles (with various methods pertaining to various groups.) There are also bans on marrying gentiles. Moreover, the rabbis’ declaration makes note of serious and painful security and social problems. However, the absurd blend of arguments presented in the document, with each argument relevant for a different group of gentiles (and some relevant to Jews too) constitutes a blend of truth and lies that is more damaging than a blatant lie and carries God’s name in vain.

Jewish law recognizes the complexity of reality. Hence, rulings are supposed to be based on broad vision rather than a simplistic picture. The rabbis who issue these rulings are supposed to be familiar with the changing times and diverse circumstances. Yet the authors of the document failed to do this.

They ignored, for example, the fact that according to some important rulings the ban should not be applied to non-Jewish residents, with several important rabbis ruling that most gentiles in Israel today are residents. Also ignored was the fact that some great rabbis apply this ban, as well as most discriminating halachaic bans, only to ancient gentiles and not to present-day non-Jews.

Unfit to serve as rabbis

The rabbis also ignored that fact that physical fears of violence and terror only pertain to a minority of hostile Arabs and certainly not to all non-Jews. And while referring to the issue of declining real estate values as a halachaic matter, these rabbis implied that for this reason we should also not be selling homes to haredim or that we shouldn’t agree to build a shelter for children from broken families in our neighborhood.

The rabbis also forgot or failed to mention the words of Rabbi Herzog, may he rest in peace, that in a democratic state we must not discriminate against gentiles in any way, regardless of the interpretation of halachaic bans.
Indeed, we fear a hostile takeover of state land and assets. There is also a complex problem of intermarriage, and Jews cannot live in Arab communities. All these issues require an honest, brave approach and had the rabbis wrote this their words would have value and elicit broad support. Yet such approach would not be achieved via distorted, simplistic interpretation of Jewish law and disregard for basic rules of morality.

According to such simplistic interpretation, we should also be beating wives who misbehave, placing non-believing Jews in a pit, banning women from Torah studies, and possibly even adhering to the “eye for an eye” rule. Yet the art of interpreting Jewish law is the combination of original sources and application under changing circumstances. Those who fail to understand it have no idea what Jewish law means.

In the current context, two conclusions emerge here: First, municipal rabbis are public servants and any case where they preach to violate the law requires that they be fired (and by the way, the rule of law is also a halachaic value.) Secondly, those who interpret Halacha sources in such twisted and immoral manner and who are so gravely detached from reality and from Israeli society’s values suffer from a greatly flawed halachaic sense of judgment and should be disqualified from serving in any rabbinical post.

*Rabbi Abraham has a PhD in Physics and teaches at Bar-Ilan University’s Institute for Advanced Torah Studies

Source
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

A TREK ON THE PATH OF ABRAHAM ~~ THE ROAD FROM ‘NO’ TO ‘YES’

Image ‘Copyleft’ by Carlos Latuff

I have often written about the common denominator of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, that being a Man we refer to as Abraham our Father. In today’s conflicts in the Middle East one often hears the question “What would Jesus do”? We never hear anyone ask What would Abraham do? There might be a good reason for that, if we do ask that the answer could put an end to the hatred and violence that has become a way of life in much of the Middle East.

Instead of seeing a coming together of Abraham’s children, we have been witnessing just the opposite. We have seen an increase in the hatred towards each other which has led to the violence we have been living with. We have seen ‘Christian’ preachers advocate the burning of the Quaran. We have seen Islamic clerics dig up ancient  fatwas [religious decrees] that bans Muslims from selling property to Jews, under penalty of death. Most recently we have seen misleaders of the Jewish religious community in Israel issue decrees forbidding the sale or rental of property to Arabs. These are things that Abraham would not have done or approved of.

Abraham taught us to show kindness and respect to the stranger, to welcome them into our homes. The usurpers of His teachings have created an atmosphere where the opposite is happening. The land mass of both Israel and Palestine combined is much smaller than that of other countries. There is no reason for any of us to be strangers to each other, yet we create barriers that keep us apart. In the link ‘About Desert Peace’, I state that I have been living in Jerusalem, Israel for 25  years and have dedicated all of those years to try and create an atmosphere that will lead to a just and permanent peace in this area. Israelis and Palestinians have more in common that the outsider might see… I will attempt on this blog to show those similarities and show why I am so confident that one day we will live in peace together.
I know it can be done!

This morning I was sent a video which deals with the situation I am talking about. It is a simple, yet a workable solution to the Middle East conflict, in fact all conflicts. William Ury has a message for all of us, his presentation is a must watch. I have always maintained that peace will not come from government edicts or treaties, it has to come from us, the people. This video confirms that. It is long, but it is a must view. If you don’t have the time to watch it now, bookmark this page for the future, but please, do watch it.

The video literally follows Abraham from the womb to the tomb. If we all take a trek on His path, we can and will wind up with a situation that will make life bearable for all concerned. I know it can be done!

AN APPEAL TO THE RESCUED MINERS OF CHILE

Today I read that you have received an invitation from the Israeli Tourist Ministry to visit the Holy Land where Christianity began, where the holiest of Christian sites are located. They have offered to pay for your entire trip there, for you to visit “Israel”. They are offering you this trip at Christmas time as a “gift to you”.

Dear Chilean miners, please do not accept Israel’s invitation

Dear Survivors of the Chilean Mine Trap, 

You do not know me. I am just an American blogger/peace actvist who has followed your heroic efforts to survive your 69 day ordeal and the heroic efforts to save you. With wonder I watched as you were brought up one by one to freedom from your underground hell, where for so long you did not know if you would live or die. Indeed the whole world watched as you were rescued in thunderous joy that you would be reunited with your loved ones who had sat vigil for you for so long, insisting you were alive, insisting the rescue effort keep on, praying together for your safety. The entire world rejoices in your safe return above ground to your loved ones.

Now it is your time to recover from your ordeal, to readjust to above ground living with all the physical aspects that entails as well as the emotional ones. Yet people who wish to somehow attach themselves to your rescue and what they see as your celebrity status are now issuing public invitations for you to visit them.

Beware the Trojan horse bearing gifts. For their all-expense paid trip invitations are being issued with their own interest and image at heart.

Today I read that you have received an invitation from the Israeli Tourist Ministry to visit the Holy Land where Christianity began, where the holiest of Christian sites are located. They have offered to pay for your entire trip there, for you to visit “Israel”. They are offering you this trip at Christmas time as a “gift to you”.

I am asking you please to not accept this invitation. You are not just being invited to visit “Israel”, you are being asked to visit holy sites which have been under the Israeli occupation of Palestine for 42 years, sites that Palestinian Christians are routinely denied access to by their occupier.

In June the Vatican issued a paper deploring the denial of access to Christians to the holy sites under occupation, calling the occupation “unjust”.

You would be taken to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in occupied East Jerusalem which Israel routinely denies access to for Christian Palestinians. You would also be taken to Bethlehem, the birth place of Christ, which has been under Israeli occupation for 42 years. Nearby is the home of Daoud Nassar’s Tent of Nations which is continually under threat of demolition by Israel.

Christian Palestinians suffer just as horrifically under the occupation as do their fellow Muslim Palestinians.
For this reason the Kairos Declaration was issued which calls for an end to the 42 year long occupation of Palestine which is in direct violation of international law.

Introduction

We, a group of Christian Palestinians, after prayer, reflection and an exchange of opinion, cry out from within the suffering in our country, under the Israeli occupation, with a cry of hope in the absence of all hope, a cry full of prayer and faith in a God ever vigilant, in God’s divine providence for all the inhabitants of this land. Inspired by the mystery of God’s love for all, the mystery of God’s divine presence in the history of all peoples and, in a particular way, in the history of our country, we proclaim our word based on our Christian faith and our sense of Palestinian belonging – a word of faith, hope and love.

Why now? Because today we have reached a dead end in the tragedy of the Palestinian people. The decision-makers content themselves with managing the crisis rather than committing themselves to the serious task of finding a way to resolve it. The hearts of the faithful are filled with pain and with questioning: What is the international community doing? What are the political leaders in Palestine, in Israel and in the Arab world doing? What is the Church doing? The problem is not just a political one. It is a policy in which human beings are destroyed, and this must be of concern to the Church.

We address ourselves to our brothers and sisters, members of our Churches in this land. We call out as Christians and as Palestinians to our religious and political leaders, to our Palestinian society and to the Israeli society, to the international community, and to our Christian brothers and sisters in the Churches around the world.

Read the entire Kairos Declaration HERE

Every day Christian Peacemaker Teams in the Occupied Territory work to protect Palestinians from their military occupation and settlers who routinely assault them.

In Latin America liberation theology has played a large role in providing solace and support to the oppressed. Palestine also has an organization, Sabeel-Palestine Liberation Theology, which calls for the freedom of the oppressed under Israeli occupation and government policy. These are your brothers and sisters in Christ, in humanity.

As peace talks in lifting the occupation of Palestine have not gotten anywhere in 42 years, Israel has continued to violate international law by continuing to build settlements in the occupied territories. Israel has refused to extend their ten month freeze on building which is in direct contravention of international law.

Now the Ministry of Tourism of Israel has issued you an invitation for an all-expense paid trip to visit the “holy sites” in “ISRAEL”. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest of Christian shrines, is located in occupied East Jerusalem. Bethlehem, the birth place of Christ, is located in the occupied West Bank. These are only two Christian holy sites that Israel wishes to take you to and to somehow capitalize on your celebrity by their offer.

As a Christian myself, I beg you not to accept this invitation, not while Israel refuses to withdraw from their 42 year long illegal occupation of Palestine. Christmas is our time to celebrate the birth of Christ, not to do so to the detriment of those living under occupation in his birthplace by accepting a gift from their occupier.

Dear miners, you may never read this letter to you, but should it somehow reach you, it was written to you from my heart, to the hearts of you brave men who survived, by the grace of God, you are still with us.

Blessings to you in peace,
Robin

The above was written by a very special Blogger named Robin. It was posted on her Blog, but written from her heart.

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