From Hatred To Peace

Someone sent me this video by Dennis Prager on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and I wanted to share it.

An easy conflict to explain, a difficult one to solve: “One side wants the other dead!”



How do you get a people not to hate another?



“There are 22 Arab states stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, but only 1 Jewish state the size of New Jersey…”



“Why can’t the one Jewish state be allowed to exist?”



After generations of hatred and hostility–taught and practiced–truly a miracle is needed where we can live and let live. 



May G-d bring peace and security in our time, and may “nation not lift up sword against nation, and neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

Jewish is Super

Jewish is Super

So with the shooting at the Jewish Community Center in Oakland Park, Kansas this week right before Passover, and the near simultaneous “grotesque” targeting of Jews by pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, we are reminded that while Jews are no longer slaves in Egypt (thank G-d), we are still unfortunately targeted by evil people around the world.

In the Kansas City incident, I read how the white supremacist shooter went right up to a lady visiting her mother at the old-age home and asked her “Are you Jewish?” And when she replied in the affirmative (even though she was not), he shoot her dead on the spot.

It turns out this lady was an occupational therapist that helped blind children…what kind of monster would just murder someone (anyone) like this?

Similarly in eastern Ukraine, leaflets are being handed out demanding that Jews register in the government office, pay special taxes, and declare their property or face deportation. Here too, we witness the devilish markings of some that are repetitive of their deplorable past as Nazi collaborators, concentration camp guards, and murders.

I read yesterday, that not only Jews, but Christians are being targeted in the Middle East with churches burned, those of faith being driven from their homes and ruthlessly murdered, except in Israel where the Christian population is actually increasing and thriving.

While Superman may not be Jewish (I know of no Jews on planet Krypton), being Jewish is super–and for that matter being any person of faith and dignity is super! Hate mongers and murders of today, like the evil oppressors of yesteryear–know that truth and justice and the 10 plagues of Egypt are just a {pow!} and {bam!} away–believe it! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Another Day In The Middle East

Another Day In The Middle East

It can be hard for a regular person to understand the course of events in the Middle East–I certainly don’t!

I recognize that I don’t know what I don’t know, but with all due respect, it would be great if we could all better understand where we are going there.

– On the 9/11, we were attacked by Al Qaeda hijackers, 15 of 19 of whom were Saudi Arabian, yet after 9/11, we didn’t go after Saudi Arabia, but instead overthrew Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

– However, early in the 1980’s Iran-Iraq War, we supported Iraq against Iran and permitted the sale of American arms to Hussein.

– By overthrowing Saddam, in effect we established a Shiite-lead Iraq, right next to a fundamentalist Shiite Iran with a history of conflict with America.

– In subsequent conflicts, it is not clear whether we are supporting the secularists or the fundamentalists:

a) In Syria, we have been supporting “moderate” Sunni’s (although often seen aligned to Al Qaeda) against Bashar al-Assad, and what is considered the “secular Ba’ath party.”

b) In Egypt, we withheld military and economic support after the overthrew of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose aims include establishing a state ruled by Sharia law, and an organization that is aligned with Hamas and Hezbollah, both listed as terrorist organizations.

– In Iran, in an attempt to move towards peaceful nuclear disarmament, we are relaxing sanctions on a country that former President George W. Bush, in his State of the Union, declared part of the Axis of Evil (2002), and with an agreement that is viewed as not better than having a 50-50 chance of success.

If you find this a lot to take in, you are not alone. 😉

All opinions my own.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

A Falafel A Day

A Falafel A Day

Peace comes in many shapes and sizes–peace talks, peace negotiations, peace treaties, and now even peace trucks.

Reminiscent of the peace marches and brightly painted VW peace vans of the 1970’s, The Washington Post (26 January 2013) reports on a 76-year old retired Energy Department staffer with a PhD in mechanical engineering who for his second career is starting a peace food truck in DC.

The food truck will have two windows for selling kosher food from one and for selling halal food from the other.

The owner-activist who is an Egyptian American hopes that “it will bring people from different backgrounds, who are waiting on line, to talk together.”

He says: “I think it will work because, well, everyone likes food,” and he hopes to fund additional food trucks in Chicago, New York, Israel, and the West Bank.

The truck has both the Jewish Star of David and Islamic Crescent painted on it–it is truly a truck for representing diversity of people, but with a common taste in good Mediterranean food.

It’s amazing what a falafel can do–perhaps, even help bring peace and security to the Middle East. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Shoshanah)

One Day We’ll Be Old

This is a wonderful, moving music video by Israeli composer Asaf Avidan, remixed by German DJ–the song is called One Day/Reckoning (Wankelmut Remix)–it has topped the music charts across Europe.

The reframe:
“One day baby, we’ll be old
Oh baby, we’ll be old
And think of all the stories that we could have told.”

On a simplistic level, this music video is about two lovers torn apart and wondering how they’ll look back one day and imagine what if only they had been able to make things work.

On a deeper level, perhaps this music video is a representation of the Israel and German who produced it–more than six decades after The Holocaust and the murder of 6 million Jews by the Germans and the feelings of lose and of what could’ve been instead.

“No more tears, my heart is dry
I don’t laugh and I don’t cry
I don’t think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why”

Why the murder of six million men, women, and children–helpless–shot, starved, gassed, burnt in the ovens, electrified on the fences, attacked by dogs, and experimented on by sadististic scientists?

“We can’t cry anymore, the heart is dry.”

As time passes and we age–we think what could have been if we were allowed to live in peace –“think of all the stories  we could have told.”

Now in Israel, again Six million Jews living in the Middle East, the fulfillment of the promise by G-d to Abraham, the return to The Promised Land. 

But the Middel East is composed of more than 20 countries and contains 20% of world’s Muslim population or has roughly 315 million Muslims. In some areas, fundamentalism has taken root, and it is a volatile and dangerous neighborhood to live in.

Missles fly to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and and the people of the Holy Land take cover in bomb shelters as thousands of missiles threaten them.

In modern history, Israel has lost over 22,000 soldiers,with another 75,000 wounded, and there have been about 4,000 civilian victims of terror attacks.

To put this in the perspective of a country the size of the U.S., this is the equivalent of us losing more than 1.1 million American soldiers, having almost 4 million wounded, and another 200,000 civilian victims of terrorism–it’s unthinkable!

“I don’t laugh and I don’t cry”

Now Israeli’s are blamed for defending their small country and the remnants of their people from being driven into the sea by those surrounding them on all sides. 

“Here I go again, the blame
The guilt, the pain, the hurt, the shame
The foundering fathers on our plane
that’s stuck in heavy clouds of rain”

Next is Iran who threatens to wipe Israel off the map and is rushing to develop the nuclear weapons to accomplish their malevolent goals.

“I don’t think about you all the time
But when I do I wonder why”

Why won’t you let us just live in peace–leave us alone, once and for all. 

“One day, we’ll be old
Oh baby, we’ll be old
Think of all the stories we could have told”

If only, all could live and let live–think of all the better stories we could tell and all the lives not lost, and all the promise of a better future.

Not Just Another Killing Field

Flag_peace

I took this picture a number of weeks ago of an artistic American flag with a peace symbol over it–and this is a wonderful goal and we wish for the day for all the world.

However, today is not that day, as it is understood that Iran and Hezbollah were behind, as in President Obama’s words, a barbaric attack on dozens of innocent Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.

This terrorist attack resulted in the deaths of at least 7 people, including children and pregnant women and the wounding of over 30 others.

This occurred eighteen years to the day since the attack that killed 85 civilians at a Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Moreover, it is almost the 40 year commemoration in September since the attack that killed 11 Israel athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

As former President Bush stated after the 9/11 attacks, “Whether we bring our enemies to justice or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done.”

May the souls of those murdered innocent civilians rest in peace, and may those who targeted and sponsored them pay the price they’ve earned for themselves.

We should not and cannot accept a world where getting on a bus or a plane or going to the office, pizzeria or the like is just another terrorist killing field.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

>Peace and Security

>

With all the questions about peace in the Middle East, there is a lot of enthusiasm for a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, living side-by-side in peace.

This is a practical vision that would resolve a lot of suffering and enable us to move constructively forward.

It may be hard to understand why Israel needs very specific conditions to protect itself, but this video sent to me by a friend explains it very well.

In a historical perspective, I think it is important to be aware of the context of the Jewish security concerns as well:

1) Six million Jews (ONE out of every THREE men, women, and children) were murdered in the Holocaust just last century.

2) Tens of thousands more were lost in numerous wars to overtake Israel (in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006, 2008 and in the Intifada’s).

3) Mid-East neighbors (that support terrorist organizations–like Hamas, Hezbollah and more) do not even recognize Israel’s right to exist, and are chartered to their ultimate destruction.

As a Jewish American, I too share, pray, and hope for peace in the Middle East…let it be so as a genuine and lasting one.

While Middle East peace often seems impossible, G-d can do what we think is impossible.

(All opinions are my own)