EIGHT MESSAGES TO THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY FROM ISRAEL

Timely messages for the Easter Season 😉
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It is becoming a common occurrence in Israel to hear about Jews burning churches, spitting on Christian clerics, burning Christian Bibles and intimidating and harassing other Jews who believe in Jesus. Unfortunately this is almost unheard of from the Western media. If it was not for the internet this would be unknown to millions of people around the world.
Here I am presenting one example of the rampant discrimination and xenophobia against Christians that exists in the “Jewish state”. Please feel free to copy and post this video in other sites.
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Yet…
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The following is what the Israeli Ambassador to the US said just a week ago…. (is he dreaming?)
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Israel is only Mideast state safe for Christians, envoy to U.S. says

In Wall Street Journal op-ed, Michael Oren compares what he calls the current repression of Christians in the Muslim world to the expulsion of Jews from Arab states.

Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is safe for Christians, Israel’s ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote in an op-ed column for the Wall Street Journal on Friday, comparing what he said was the suppression of Christian communities in Arab states to the twentieth-century expulsion of Jews from these nations.

In his article, Oren cited the continuing violence against Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the burning of Iraqi churches, a Saudi ban on Christian worship and the desecration of the Church of the Nativity in the West Bank as instances indicating a threat to Christianity in the Muslim world, adding that conversion “to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death.”

The Israeli official went on to compare what he called a sweeping action against Christian communities in the Arab world to the expulsion of 800,000 “from Arab countries, mostly following the Six-Day War.”

Ultimately, Oren concludes, the only place in the Middle East where Christians aren’t endangered, but are actually flourishing, is in Israel.

“Since Israel’s founding in 1948, its Christian communities (including Russian and Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Armenians and Protestants) have expanded more than 1,000%,” he added.

Oren concluded the article, in which he cites the exodus of Palestinian Christians from the West Bank and Gaza over increased pressure by Islamist groups such as Hamas, by syaing that the “extinction of the Middle East’s Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude.”

“Yet Israel provides an example of how this trend can not only be prevented but reversed. With the respect and appreciation that they receive in the Jewish state, the Christians of Muslim countries could not only survive but thrive,” Oren wrote.


Source

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And let’s not forget these attitudes…

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Perhaps this Oren guy should take a daytrip to the illegal settlements  (including Jerusalem) to see the reality he seems ignorant of.

IN DEFENSE OF URI AVNERY


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We often see attacks against pro Palestinian activists by zionists, that is to be expected. But, too often we see those attacks coming supposedly from Palestinians and other members of the Islamic community. Most recent was one written by Jonathan Azaziah, an Iraqi-American Muslim poet, activist, analyst, writer and journalist from Brooklyn, NY, currently residing in Florida. 
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Azaziah recently penned a two-part attack against Uri Avnery. In order to understand why I am coming to Avnery’s defence, in all fairness, Azaziah’s essays should be read. The first part, The Case Of Uri Avnery I: “Shukran, Israel” Analyzed And Refuted, can be read HERE.
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The second part, The Case Of Uri Avnery II: Hasbara, Supremacism And The Future Of Solidarity, is HERE.
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As is often the case when comparing zionism to Judaism, we also find comparisons to anti Semitism and the pro Palestinian activists. We see attacks on Jews who might be involved in the pro Palestinian Movement simply because they are Jews. I would imagine that for many Palestinians that have been suffering at the hands of the zionists for over six decades it might be difficult to trust the motives behind a Jewish person that claims to be sympathetic to their cause. It should be realised, and accepted that there are many Jewish people, including Israelis, that are very much involved in the struggle to free Palestine. I am afraid that Azaziah falls into the trap set by the zionists themselves in attempting to discredit Avnery simply because he is a Jewish Israeli. As a responsible, pro Palestinian journalist he should be above falling for the zionist lies.
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This photo collage was posted in the second part of the essay….
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The Palestine Solidarity Movement is so busy paying its respects to the propaganda-ridden “chosen” holocaust, it is failing to adequately fight for Palestine.
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The above is a lie to discredit those Jews involved in the struggle. Nothing but pure, unadulterated anti-Semitism. It is exactly a tactic that the zionists themselves would want exploited as to discredit the entire pro Palestinian Movement.
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The lies, the quotes out of context by Avnery found throughout the essay do the same. After a long lifetime in the struggle, both as an activist and a pro Palestinian voice in the Israeli Knesset, Avnery deserves honour, not discredit. In his own words, you can see what type of man he is through his description of another great Jewish (Israeli) person…
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Reluctant Prophet 
By Uri Avnery

On Monday, I was honored to receive the Leibowitz Prize for “life’s work”, the prize established by the Yesh Gvul soldiers’ peace organization. I was unable to prepare a speech, so I spoke off the cuff and have to reconstruct my remarks from memory. (The laudation speech by the Nobel Prize laureate, Prof Ada Yonat, was far too laudatory for me to distribute.)

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First, I wish to thank Yesh Gvul for establishing this prize. Then I would like to thank the distinguished jury, who were so gracious as to award the prize to me and to Hagit Ofran, the granddaughter of Prof. Leibowitz, whose work in monitoring the settlements I have admired for years. And then I want to thank all of you for coming to this ceremony.

Yet at this moment I think of the one who is not here, and whose absence is so unjust: my wife, Rachel. She was a full partner in all I did during the last 58 years, and should have been awarded half the prize – at the very least. She would have been delighted to be here.

When I entered this building, I was greeted by a stormy right-wing demonstration. I was grievously offended to be told that it was not directed against me, but against my friend Muhammad Bakri, the Arab actor who so angered the fascists with his film “Jenin, Jenin”. At this moment he is playing in Frederico Garcia Lorca’s “The House of Bernarda Alba” next door. Probably he deserves this demonstration, but nevertheless I still feel deeply insulted.

I ADMIRED and loved Yeshayahu Leibowitz.

I admired him for his penetrating logic. Whenever he applied it to any problem, it was a beauty to behold. Nothing could withstand it. Often, listening to his words, I asked myself enviously: “Now, why didn’t I think of that?”

I loved him, because of his unshakably moral attitude. For him, the moral obligation of the individual human being was above everything else.

Immediately after the 1967 war and the beginning of the occupation, he prophesied that we would become a nation of work gang supervisors and secret service agents.

Indeed, I always thought of him as Yeshayahu II, the heir of the Biblical Yeshayahu. (Yeshayahu is the Hebrew form of Isaiah.) When I told him this, he got angry. “People don’t understand the meaning of the word,” he complained, “In European languages, a prophet is a person who can foretell the future. But the Hebrew prophets were people who transmitted the Word of God!” Leibowitz, though orthodox and a kippah wearer, did not think of himself in that way.

Like all great men and women, he was a person with deep contradictions. I struggled to understand how a thinker of total rationality could be religious. He explained to me that a person who strictly fulfils all the 613 commandments of the Jewish religion can be completely rational – because religion exists on an altogether different level. As a professor of several wildly divergent disciplines (philosophy, chemistry, biochemistry, medicine), he did not let science and religion encroach on one another.

Once, when somebody told him that the Holocaust had stopped him believing in God, he replied: “then you did not believe in God in the first place.”

STANDING HERE in this hall, I feel some remorse for my part in the utterly absurd fact that he failed to receive the Israel Prize, the highest distinction the establishment can award. It happened in 1993, when Yitzhak Rabin was prime minister. Fresh winds were blowing (or so it seemed) and the official Jury decided – at long last – to award Leibowitz the respected prize.

As it so happened, I was organizing at the time a public meeting of the Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace. I called Leibowitz and asked him if he would come and speak.

I must add here that I was always keen to have him at our meetings, for two reasons. First, he was a captivating speaker. Second, when Leibowitz was due to appear, the hall – however big it might be – was always filled to the last seat, the stairs and the windowsills. (However, I always arranged things in such a way that I would speak after him. For good reason: when he rose, he would cut all the speeches of his predecessors to pieces. Using his formidable powers of analysis, he proved that everything they had said was absolute nonsense.)

When I asked him this time, he readily agreed to speak, under one condition: he would speak only about one subject, the duty of soldiers to refuse to serve in the occupied territories.

“Please speak about anything you want,” I replied, “After all, this is a free country – up to a point.”

So he came and delivered a speech in which he compared our soldiers to Hamas, who were then (as today) considered the most atrocious terrorists. This led to a terrific public outcry, Rabin threatened to boycott the ceremony, the jury considered whether it was possible to revoke the award, and Leibowitz announced that he would not accept it. So he never was awarded the Israel Prize, in common with some other people I know.

I ALWAYS enjoyed talking with him. He lived in a modest apartment, crammed with books, entered from a courtyard behind a house in Jerusalem’s Rehavia quarter. Greta, his wife and the mother of his six children, whom he had met at one of the German universities he had attended, kept order. Rachel and I liked her unassuming ways very much.

Whenever he talked, about any subjects, the little wheels in my brain sprang to life. He would drop little morsels of insight all along the way. (Just as an example: “The Germans and the Jews created all their cultural assets when they did not have a state.”)

The relationship between us rested on the fact that we were opposites in many ways. I am as convinced an atheist as he was orthodox – a fact that never disturbed him in the least. I am an optimist by nature (as was my father and my grandfather), he was more of a pessimist. He was 20 years my elder and a multiple doctor and professor, while I never finished elementary school. He came to Germany from his native Riga in his teens, while I was born there.

When, on the morrow of the Six-day War, we both spoke in favor of giving up the occupied territories, we had different reasons. He predicted that the occupation would turn Israel into a fascist state, I was convince that turning the territories over to the Palestinian people and enabling them to set up their own state would put an end to the historic conflict.

COMING FROM opposite directions, we both shared the uncompromising demand for the separation between religion and state. This led me to a parliamentary prank. When the Ministry for Religious Affairs was on the agenda, I asked Leibowitz for some comments on the subject. He dictated a statement to my assistant, and when my turn came to speak, I announced that instead of voicing my own views, which were well known, I would read out the opinion of an orthodox thinker, Prof. Leibowitz.

I then read his words: “Under this clerical-atheist government, Israel is a secular state publicly known as religious (in Israel, “publicly known” is a term denoting living together without marriage.) …The Chief Rabbinate is a secular institution appointed by the secular authorities according to secular laws. Therefore it has no religious legitimacy. ..The Ministry of Religious Affairs is an abomination…It turns religion into the kept concubine of the secular authority. It is the prostitution of religion…”

Here the Knesset exploded. The chairwoman of the session was so agitated that she announced that she was striking the words from the protocol. I later appealed, and the words were restored to the record – enabling me to read them just now from the official protocol.

As a speaker, Leibowitz was deliberately provocative. It was he who coined the term Judeonazi, at a time when comparing anything to the Nazis was strictly taboo. He likened certain units of the Israeli army to the Nazi SS, and youth in the settlements reminded him of the Hitler Youth. He called the holiest of holies, the Western Wall, “a religious discotheque”, or, in short, “discotel” (“kotel” means wall in Hebrew.) He used such provocative language to help him break through the crust of established myths.

THE LAST years before his death in 1994 he devoted all his efforts to encouraging soldiers to refuse to serve. We had several debates about this, since I was not quite convinced.

During my army service, I was witness to situations where one upright soldier at the right moment and the right place could prevent atrocities. One shining example: when Nazareth was occupied in 1948, the commanding officer was a Canadian Jew named Ben Dunkelman. He received an oral order from David Ben-Gurion to drive out all the inhabitants. Dunkelman refused to do so without a written order. As an officer and a gentleman, he had promised the mayor at the capitulation meeting that no inhabitant would come to harm. He was immediately relieved of his command, but by the time his successor took over, it was too late to present things as occurring in the heat of battle. No written order was ever issued, of course.

Years later, I obtained a description of the episode from Dunkelman, who had returned to Canada, and Haolam Hazeh published it.

Against this argument, Leibowitz maintained that the most important thing was for individual soldiers to stand up and refuse to take any part in the occupation, whatever the consequences for them personally – imprisonment, ostracism, and worse. When enough soldiers did so, he believed, the occupation would collapse. (Yesh Gvul was founded with this aim.)

A FEW years before his death I had the honor of appearing side by side with him in a book of interviews by the German writer-photographer Herlinde Koelbl. There he defined his political outlook in the shortest and simplest way. I translate from German:

“There exist only two possibilities. The one is war for life and death, in the full sense of the term, in the course of which Israel will become a fascist state. The other possibility, the one that can help to prevent this war, is the partition of the country. Both peoples would have their independence and their states, but not in the entire country.

“I believe that partition will come, if not by an agreement between the state of Israel and the PLO, then through an imposed order. Imposed by the Americans and the Soviets.

“If neither of these happens, then we are heading toward a catastrophe.

“I repeat: there is no third possibility.

“Since the Six-day War, Israel has become a power apparatus, a Jewish power apparatus for ruling over another people.

“That’s why I say in the clearest terms: this glorious victory was the historic misfortune of the State of Israel. In the year of the “Spring of the Peoples”, 1848, [the Austrian dramatist] Franz Grillparzer warned of the path that leads from humanity, through nationality to bestiality. In the 20th century, the German people indeed followed this path to the end. We entered upon this path after the Six-day War. Our essential task is to put an end to this.”

I AM happy to receive this prize together with his granddaughter. It reminds me of another passage in the same interview. “For the short time left to me, I shall stay here. Here in Jerusalem are my children and my grandchildren, and all of them will also remain here.”

That is real patriotism. Dr. Johnson famously labeled patriotism the last refuge of the scoundrel. We see the patriotic scoundrels all around us. But we are the real patriots – patriots like Yeshayahu Leibowitz.

There will not be a second Yeshayahu Leibowitz. “He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again.”

Written FOR

WHEN LIBERALISM MEETS ZIONISM

Isn’t it just awkward when liberalism meets Zionism? I suppose in theory the two are not incompatible, but in practice, when Zionism means the creation of Israel in what was Palestine, Zionism will continue to be at odds with the liberal values of equality and freedom.

Israel’s Zionism Problem

By Yousef

I was struck by a piece I read this morning on The Atlantic’s website by Jonathan Tepperman. The piece, which admirably decries Israel’s drive toward a loyalty oath, is a perfect example of the type of bend-over-backwards thinking that is produced by the desire to justify an ethnocentric majoritarian state. Tepperman begins:

Last Sunday, the Israeli cabinet approved a controversial new draft law that would require non-Jews hoping to become Israeli citizens to swear a loyalty oath to the nation as a democratic and–here’s the ugly bit–Jewish state.

OK not so bad, he continues:

While there’s no question that the measure is abhorrent, smacking as it does of blood-oaths and narrow, violent, 19th century notions of nationalism, I think there are a couple of points worth keeping in mind.

Uh oh…here it comes (emphasis mine):

One, those of us who live in multiethnic, pluralistic societies with few external threats and where everyone basically agrees on what it means to be a citizen–we have it easy. And the knowledge of our good fortune should perhaps make us just a touch slower to judge societies that don’t enjoy such luxuries–or at least lead us to double-check our criticisms before letting fly. I’m not arguing for giving Israel a pass in a case like this. But I am suggesting that we should think about the kinds of fear that motivate it. Which leads me to point number two. The Lieberman pledge is an odious attempt to deal with a problem. But that doesn’t mean that the problem itself isn’t real.

So what is the problem Jonathan?

Even if Israel were to shed itself completely of the West Bank today, the issue wouldn’t go away. For Israel proper–as defined by its 1967 borders–also has a sizable Arab population, and that population is also growing fast (or so it is commonly believed), again thanks to a birthrate higher than that of the Jews. The rate of increase is far too fast for the likes of people like Lieberman–but also too fast for many secular Israeli Jews, who worry that once again they risk being outnumbered in their own land.

This is where “liberal Zionism” gets all dressed up in flamboyant garb to prance around in the oxymoronic parade. Still, very few take notice. The problem as Tepperman sees it, is that the Palestinian Arabs exist, and their mere existence in their ancestral homeland poses a threat to ethnocentric majoritarianism. The problem for liberal Zionists is not the state adopted ideology which demands ethnic majority rule, but rather the people who were there before the state. And why?

Israel was founded and internationally recognized as a refuge for Jews, and it is legitimate that modern Israelis are determined to keep it so.

There is no doubt that Jews suffered tremendous injustice in Europe and elsewhere throughout history, and the notion of a homeland for Jews is a legitimate one. But to argue that this justifies ethnic majority rule while ignoring that the creation of that state directly created another stateless people through depopulation and ethnic cleansing is irresponsible and dangerous. In fact, ignoring these truths which are inconvenient for the liberal Zionist leads to perverse and obscene arguments about managing birthrates among ethnic minorities to maintain majority rule. You know, something like this:

For the explanation for the falling birthrate in Israel is the same as it is everywhere: as women get richer and more educated, they start having fewer kids. So if Israelis are still convinced they have an Arab “problem” and want to deal with it, their best bet would be to continue to ensure the economic and social integration of those same Arabs. Doing so should appeal to Israel’s moderate mainstream because it will help guarantee that the Arabs remain loyal citizens in the long term, as it will give them a greater long-term stake in the state. As for hateful xenophobes like Lieberman–well, even they should find something to like. Since by lowering birthrates, at least it will reduce the number of their enemies.

So in essence the argument is if Israel could just eliminate some of the institutionalized racism in its socio-economic policies vis-a-vis the Palestinian citizens of Israel, then it will lower birthrates among this population and secure its meta-goal of institutionalized racism in the long term. Isn’t it just awkward when liberalism meets Zionism? I suppose in theory the two are not incompatible, but in practice, when Zionism means the creation of Israel in what was Palestine, Zionism will continue to be at odds with the liberal values of equality and freedom.

Source via Uruknet

AMERICA’S TWO GREATEST PHOBIAS

“To generalize is to be an idiot.” – William Blake



Xenophobia and Islamophobia in the USA

By Paul J. Balles *

Paul J. Balles considers the mindset – the ignorance, irrationality and faulty reasoning – behind xenophobia and it’s latest manifestation in the United States and other Western countries, Islamophobia.

“To generalize is to be an idiot.” – William Blake

Xenophobia is a fear or contempt of that which is foreign or unknown, especially of strangers or foreign people. It includes hatred of persons belonging to a different race, or different ethnic or national origin.

The fear or hatred that makes up xenophobia involves a great deal of generalizing about “others”.

Unfortunately, if you develop a mindset about large numbers of people based on the actions of a few, you can treat whole populations badly.

British historian Thomas Macaulay said: “In proportion as men know more and think more they look less at individuals and more at classes.”



Generalizations involving xenophobia include thoughts like “immigrants are not as worthy as natives”, and “women are not as capable as men”.

There are those in America who consider Barak Obama unworthy of being its president because of his colour, because his father was not American by birth or because Obama’s middle name is Hussain.

The mental degradation as part of this generalizing applies to any and all who don’t belong to the tribe or group of the xenophobes.

Philosopher and author Eric Hoffer observed that “We are more prone to generalize the bad than the good. We assume that the bad is more potent and contagious.”

Thus, by faulty reasoning, if there is one bad black, all blacks are bad; and if one Muslim has committed a crime, therefore all Muslims must be criminals.

A special name – Islamophobia – applies to xenophobia involving Muslims; and Islamophobia has been growing alarmingly in America recently.

A knife-wielding lunatic attacked a Muslim taxi driver in New York City. Why? The driver admitted to a drunk lunatic that he (the taxi driver) was a Muslim.

The attacker reasoned from the specific (an attack attributed to Muslims on 9/11) to the general (all Muslims were responsible).

A mosque under construction in Tennessee suffered an arson attack. Why? Comments by Islamophobes like Newt Gingrich have incited a general hatred of Muslims.

Newt Gingrich, once the speaker of the US House of Representatives, would naturally have others attaching greater credence to what he says.

How many people has Gingrich fed anti-Muslim thinking with his inflammatory public remarks about Islam? The false generalization: if one Muslim is bad, all Muslims must be bad.

Florida Pastor Terry Jones planned to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11. Why? He generalized from Muslims alleged to have been responsible for 9/11 to all of Islam.

Documentary film-maker Michael Moore pointed out: “Blaming a whole group for the actions of just one of that group is anti-American. Timothy McVeigh was Catholic. Should Oklahoma City prohibit the building of a Catholic Church near the site of the former federal building that McVeigh blew up?”

Protesters have been assailing the building of an Islamic cultural centre – including a mosque – near Ground Zero in New York. The protestors disregard the fact that before Ground Zero became Ground Zero, it had two mosques.

The problem: general and increasing Islamophobia. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, 49 per cent of all Americans say they have generally unfavourable opinions of Islam. A larger percentage opposes the cultural centre.

Poet Ezra Pound wrote: “Any general statement is like a cheque drawn on a bank. Its value depends on what is there to meet it.” In other words, if the money isn’t in the bank the cheque is worthless.

Applied to the generalizations about Islam, if they don’t fit Muslims generally, they are worthless expressions of xenophobia and the ignorant fear called Islamophobia.

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*Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years.