Tikkunista! April 30th, 2010 (Year Seven; Issue 14)

Apr-30-2010 | Comments Off

Followups

* The Niqab Laws: “A firm believer in women’s rights, the only thing Afghan lawmaker Shinkai Karokhail finds as appalling as being forced to wear a burqa is a law banning it. “What is the difference between forcing women to wear a burqa and forcing them not to? It is discrimination.”



1.  Actions

Apr-30-2010 | Comments Off

* Refusing To Be Enemies is a book by Maxine Kaufman-Lacusta, “presenting the voices of over 100 practitioners and theorists of nonviolence, the vast majority either Palestinian or Israeli, as they reflect on their own involvement in nonviolent resistance and speak about the nonviolent strategies and tactics employed by Palestinian and Israeli organizations. Hear her talk, and see a film about its stars at Beit Zatoun,May 6th (Thurs) 7–9pm

* CJPME (Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East) is really happy to try again to bring Dr Mustafa Barghouti to Canada, to discuss Palestinian political dynamics, and his perspectives on a just peace in Israel-Palestine.Ottawa, Ontario – Thursday, May 06, (Full Details); Montreal, May 07, (Full Details); London May 08,( Full Details); Toronto May 08, (Full Details)



2. Middle East Peace Developments

Apr-30-2010 | Comments (2)

Bird’s-Eye: Being optimistic about the chances of peace in the Middle East may seem exceedingly delusional… and yet, a number of elements are coming together that seem (gasp!) positive. Roger Cohen has a fascinating article in this week’s NYT on reasons for hope, and Richard Silverstein in Tikun Olam does as well. In both Israel and Palestine there is increasing support for a one-state solution, which may push others to take steps towards a two-state solution.

* Beating The Mideast’s Black Hole Roger Cohen, New York Times

My understanding is that proximity talks will start again next month, with Mitchell’s team shuttling between the sides. …But that’s not the reason for my improved mood: It’s hard to celebrate proximity talks when Palestinians and Israelis have often held direct talks. No, I detect three developments. The first is Obama. The second is Fayyad. The third is what Danny Ayalon, the deputy Israeli foreign minister, called “the sugar-coated poison pill” of the Israeli status quo. I’ll take them in order.

Last week, a letter from President Barack Obama was conveyed to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president. In it, I understand, Obama spoke of his very strong commitment — unprecedented commitment — to a two-state peace and said that if Israel seriously undermines trust between the two parties, the United States will not stand in the way of a United Nations resolution condemning that.

* Obama Getting Tough on Israel or Just More Words? Richard Silverstein, Tikun Olam

Here’s how the Times reported it:

It was just a phrase at the end of President Obama’s news conference on Tuesday, but it was a stark reminder of a far-reaching shift in how the United States views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and how aggressively it might push for a peace agreement….Mr. Obama said conflicts like the one in the Middle East ended up “costing us significantly in terms of both blood and treasure” — drawing an explicit link between the Israeli-Palestinian strife and the safety of American soldiers as they battle Islamic extremism and terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

When I first read … the ideas in the last paragraph of the quotation above, I knew Obama had a winner.  There is no argument stronger than a national security argument and what was so powerful and persuasive about this one was that it took the ground away from the Israel lobby.  If American boys are facing down the wrath of Islamic militants at least partially because of the latter’s frustration at the injustice of the Occupation and suffering of the Palestinian people–this is an idea that will resonate with the American people even more than the idea that Israel and the U.S. have “shared values” or Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East.”  Body bags trump “common values”  every time.

* One State Solution Gains Ground Amongst Palestinians Ma’an News Agency

Support for a one-state solution is the highest it has ever been, a new poll by the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre released on Wednesday indicated…. Nearly 34 percent of respondents favored a binational state in all of historic Palestine over the two-state solution, which only 43.9 percent supported, the JMCC poll found.

* Israel official: Accepting Palestinians into Israel better than two statesHaaretz

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin said Thursday that he would rather accept Palestinians as Israeli citizens than divide Israel and the West Bank in a future two-state peace solution…. Rivlin said that he did not see any point of Israel signing a peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority as he did not believe PA President Mahmoud Abbas “could deliver the goods.”

Referring to the possibility that such an agreement could be reached, Rivlin said: I would rather Palestinians as citizens of this country over dividing the land up.”  Late last year, Rivlin said in a Jerusalem address that Israel’s Arab population was “an inseparable part of this country. It is a group with a highly defined shared national identity, and which will forever be, as a collective, an important and integral part of Israeli society.”



3. The Goldstone Barred Mitzvah

Apr-30-2010 | Comments (1)

Bird’s-Eye: Last October “Justice Richard Goldstone, primary author of the Report that followed the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, had been “effectively barred” from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah.” This was done by the South African Zionist Federation, and the SA chief rabbi. After huge protests, sanity has been restored, and he will be able to attend… but the story of how that happened is fascinating. The opening link has a stunner of an editorial cartoon… worth clicking for that alone!

* The Goldstone Bar Mitzvah saga from beginning to end (at least so far) Open Shuhada Street

* Letter from US Rabbis to Justice Goldstone Mondoweiss

As rabbis from diverse traditions and locations, we want to extend our warmest mazel tov to you as an elder in our community upon the bar mitzvah of your grandson. Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a call to conscience, a call to be responsible for the welfare of others, a call to fulfill the covenant of peace and justice articulated in our tradition.
As rabbis, we note the religious implications of the report you authored. We are reminded of Shimon Ben Gamliel’s quote, “The world stands on three things: justice, truth, and peace as it says ‘Execute the judgment of truth, and justice and peace will be established in your gates’ (Zekharya 8:16).” We affirm the truth of the report that bears your name.Judge Goldstone, we want to offer you our deepest thanks for upholding the principles of justice, compassion and truth that are the heart of Jewish religion and without which our claims to Jewishness are empty of meaning. We regret that your findings have led to controversy and caused you not to feel welcome at your own grandson’s Bar Mitzvah. We believe your report is a clarion call to Israel and the Jewish people to awaken from the slumber of denial and return to the path of peace.

* Email from Judge Goldstone to Rabbi Michael Lerner Tikkun Magazine

“The SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) is pleased to announce that, following consultation between all the parties involved, an agreement has been reached confirming Judge Richard Goldstone attending his grandson’s forthcoming barmitzvah ceremony.”

I need hardly say how happy our family is that I will be attending the synagogue services.Thank you again for your tremendous and much appreciated support. I am moved beyond words by the honor that you have announced [the Tikkun Award to be given in 2011 to Judge Goldstone during our 25th anniversary celebration/conference].




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