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Archive for the ‘GMP’ Category

The Militarists and Haters Win in Israeli Elections


by: on March 18th, 2015 | 3 Comments »

Winners: Netanyahu, AIPAC, U.S. Republican Party, Sheldon Adelson (American Jewish billionaire funder of the right), Hamas, Islamic State, the right-wing Mullahs in Iran.

Losers: Israeli, World Jewry, the Palestinian people, the forces for peace and non-violence everywhere, the Palestinian Authority, the people of Iran, the people of the U.S.

According to Israeli newspapers reporting on the outcome of the Israeli election on Tuesday, Likud increased its lead in the next Knesset of 120 members. It will now hold 30 Knesset seats, compared to the Zionist Union (former Labor Party) with 24 seats. As the front runner, Netanyahu will be asked to create the government coalition.

The Joint List of Palestinian Israelis, the third-largest party, gets fourteen seats, followed by Yesh Atid with eleven, Kulanu with ten, Habayit Hayehudi (ultra right) with eight, Shas with seven, United Torah Judaism with six, Yisrael Beiteinu (fascist right) with six, and Meretz (once the peace party) with four.

Though the Israeli president has said he will ask for a government of national unity, it will be unity around the policies which Netanyahu put out clearly in the last days of the election: No Palestinian state, no deal that would allow Iran to develop nuclear energy, no willingness to count Arab Israelis as “real Israelis” (Netanyahu went so far as to warn the Israeli public that they were in danger because Arab Israelis had formed a Joint List and might become a real force in the Knesset unless the Jewish Israelis rallied around Netanyahu’s Likud party).

How can the right wing grow to so much power in an Israel filled with mostly decent human beings, some of whom have even been influenced by Judaism’s teachings of love for neighbor and love for “the other,” though of course most Israelis are secular?


A Last Word for 2014


by: on December 27th, 2014 | 4 Comments »

As 2014 draws to a close, I’m happy to offer some upbeat news about developments in the Network of Spiritual Progressives, the activist and supporter network associated with Tikkun and Tikkun Daily.

conference photoOn Sunday, December 14, the Network of Spiritual Progressives hosted a meeting to re-imagine our political future. Three hundred and fifty people attended, and heard from Rabbi Lerner and distinguished guests including Marianne Williamson, George Lakoff, Reginald Lyles, and Matthew Fox, inspiring a practical vision for change.

The success of the conference was followed by some more amazing news: Dr. Vandana Shiva, the famed environmentalist from India working for seed integrity against international corporations that are seeking control over every inch of the agricultural process, is enthusiastic about our ESRA (the Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) and has just become the international chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, co-chairing with national chair Rabbi Michael Lerner.

2015 has the potential to be our best year yet, as we build a renewed movement at the intersection of spirituality, social justice, and the common good. We’re revitalizing our communication — look for our newsletter and a new website soon, breathing new life into the national network of NSP and local chapters.


NSP’s Global Marshall Plan: Moving Forward!


by: on December 18th, 2013 | 2 Comments »

Great news!

Congressman Keith Ellison, who represents Minneapolis/St Paul in the U.S. House of Representatives, introduced a resolution in effect endorsing the NSP version of a Global Marshall Plan into the House of Representatives as H Res 439. It was referred to the Republican controlled Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives. Please read the resolution below and send thanks to his legislative aide Vic Edgerton: vic.edgerton@mail.house.gov or:

     -Call Keith Ellison’s Minnesota office at 612-522-1212(HoursM-F9:00 AM to 6:00 PMCentral Time)

     -Call his Washington Office at 202-225-4755(HoursM-F8:00 AM to 5:00 PMCentral Time)

     -Tweet Keith @KeithEllison- He actively uses Twitter and frequently interacts with constituents who send him questions or comments

Many people have been talking about what a huge difference it would make in national discourse if Congressman Ellison were to run for the Democratic nomination for president in place of tired and boring centrists like Sec. of State Kerry, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, and vice President what’s-his-name? We don’t take stands on elections, but we do know that this country badly needs a change in public discourse, and Keith Ellison as chair of the Progressive Caucus of the House of Representatives has shown himself to be a very powerful articulator of an alternative way of thinking. And Congressman Ellison is one of the very few spiritual progressives to have national name recognition! In the historical moment when Pope Francis denounced global capitalism and over a dozen states have passed laws legalizing gay marriage, don’t be so sure that you (or the pundits) really know what is “realistic” and what is not!! Remember: You never know what is possible until you spend your time and money fighting for what is desirable. Just saying….


“Barack Needs You, Right Now” – Give Me A Break!


by: on July 28th, 2013 | 6 Comments »

OK, this last email pushed me to my limit. The subject line heading read: “Barack needs you, right now.” You’ve got to me kidding me. Barack needs ME? For what? Well Michelle (the email was sent from Michelle Obama), before I am willing to help Barack, I’d like to see Barack help the people of this country – the people who voted for him, who went doorbelling for him, who stood up for him because they believed in his message of “Yes We Can.” President Obama, your policies, practices and actions since taking office in 2009 are completely opposite of what you said you would do and I will not support you, so stop asking. In case you are wondering why, here is a list of a few of the things you have done that I do not condone and hence why I won’t give you any money or support.

Credit: Flickrcc/Storm Crypt

  • Instead of helping the working class and poor people, you have aligned yourself with Wall Street and the corporate giants of the world.
  • Instead of ensuring protection of our food supply, you have appointed Monsanto executives to your government.
  • Instead of thanking whistle-blowers for uncovering the corruption and violence in our government and private agencies (as you said you would), you are hunting them down and prosecuting them.
  • Instead of ensuring the protection of constitutional rights, you have signed into law the NDAA – allowing for unlimited detention without charges or a trial.
  • Instead of upholding the law and following a path of peace and nonviolence, you have dropped drones and killed innocent children, women, men and community leaders.
  • Instead of protecting the environment, you appoint people in your government who are hell bent on destroying our environment.
  • Instead of confronting issues of race and racism, you talk platitudes while considering appointing the NY police commissioner, Kelly, the one in charge of the controversial stop and frisk policy in NYC that has led to the harassment of black and brown men at alarming rates, as the head of Homeland Security. All the while claiming that Trayvon Martin could have been you or your son.

Letter from a Member of the Network of Spiritual Progressives


by: Maggie Israel Hardy on April 18th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Members of the NSP chapter in Mystic, Connecticut, gather for their monthly meeting. Credit: Glenn Hardy.

I’ve just renewed my Network of Spiritual Progressives membership, and I’d like to tell you a little about myself. Five years ago a friend and I started an NSP chapter in Mystic, CT. At first, we were a group of women, but gradually men joined us, and we now have an average attendance of twelve, and sometimes as many as fifteen people at our meetings. We meet once a month, and each meeting is facilitated by either a member of our group or an invited outside member of our community. Some of the topics we have discussed include Meditation East and West; Israel and Palestine; Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Non-violence, Domestic Violence; Are the Spiritual Paths of Men and Women Different? and The Changing Concept of a Supreme Being.


Sept. 11, 2012: Bigoted Film Sparks Deadly Reaction


by: on September 14th, 2012 | 5 Comments »

Reuters photo of U.S. Consulate burning in Benghazi, Libya

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 was a gorgeous sunny and crisp late-summer day in New York, just like that notorious Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, which had touched me directly; the smell of burnt plastic and other debris wafted by my Manhattan apartment at the end of a day that changed our world forever. This past Tuesday was the first 9/11 anniversary since I began blogging over six years ago that I chose not to post anything about it. But the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi pulled me back.

This is an evolving story, but after some confusion, it appears that the film that ostensibly sparked the violence now widespread in the Muslim world was made by a Coptic-Christian resident of California, originally from Egypt, who claimed initially to be a Jew from Israel. It was promoted by a Christian anti-Muslim activist and radio personality named Steve Klein. Regardless, the 13-minute trailer went viral via YouTube after being dubbed into Arabic.

Time cover, Sept. 24, 2012 issue (photo by Amr Abdallah Dalsh /Reuters)

This is how the film is described in the Israeli daily, Ha’aretz:

…. The film claims [the Prophet] Muhammad was a fraud. An English-language 13-minute trailer on YouTube shows an amateur cast performing a wooden dialogue of insults disguised as revelations about Muhammad, whose obedient followers are presented as a cadre of goons.
It depicts Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse, among other overtly insulting claims that have caused outrage. …

Obviously, Muslims have good reason to feel outrage. Yet most people in the Middle East have no concept that the United States government does not control the film industry or what is posted on the Internet. As hateful as this film is, it would almost certainly violate the First Amendment for the government to shut it down; YouTube itself would have to remove this offensive video.

But what can we say about the behavior of violent demonstrators, let alone Jihadists who may have used this as an excuse to launch a premeditated attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi? What should we say about people who express their indignation by violence against people and property? To raise such questions is to answer them.


Lingering Questions on Obama’s Handling of the Iran Standoff


by: on June 4th, 2012 | 8 Comments »

Before the next round of negotiations to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff are held in Moscow, those of us who are praying for a peaceful outcome- including the 3000-plus signers of the March 6 New York Times ad developed by the Network of Spiritual Progressives opposing any first strike or path to war with Iran- would do well to keep our eyes peeled not only on what may or may not be achieved by the West to avoid war, but how.

Most rational people want to avoid a shooting war with Iran at all costs. Yet with President Obama at the helm, the prevention of such a shooting war has been documented by New York Times reporter David Sanger as pulling the American people into a dangerous cyber war that has never been publicly debated. Furthermore, if one believes the accusations leveled against President Obama by former U.N Ambassador John Bolton, preventing a shooting war with Iran also requires kicking Israel in the teeth every now and then to blunt its plans for a preemptive strike.


My Response to News That Iran Advised Assad to “Blame Israel”


by: on March 14th, 2012 | 16 Comments »

On March 7, when we published our New York Times ad against a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran, we suggested that one step to implement a “strategy of generosity” as an alternative to the current “strategy of domination” would be for Israel to offer Palestinians a reasonable deal (as defined in my book Embracing Israel/Palestine), which would include helping Palestinians create an economically and politically viable state. One commentator, the hawkish foreign policy writer for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg, said that our raising the issue of Israel/Palestine was “stupid” because to him it was obvious that there was no possible connection.

But our point is that demonizing of Israel, made easy by its occupation of the West Bank and aggressive militarism, makes it possible for the tyrants in Iran and their allies in Syria, Hezbollah, and Hamas to deflect attention from the evils of their own regimes by pointing to the hurtful things being done by Israel. An attack on Iran, we believe, will be used to undermine the “green revolution” that has been partially suppressed by the fundamentalists in Iran already, but which would be forced to join under the leadership of the mullahs to “defend the nation” against these attacks from Israel or the U.S.

Conversely, if Israel were to settle with the Palestinians in an obviously generous, open-hearted, and repentant way, and the U.S. were to launch a Global Marshall Plan, the Iranian dictatorship, the Syrian dictators, Hezbollah, and Hamas would have a very difficult time maintaining the loyalty of their own people. It is not because we support these regimes that we oppose a military response, but because we know that the best and probably only way that a “regime change” can take place is if the people of those countries rebel from inside.


The Devastating Impact of Israeli Insensitivity


by: on March 7th, 2012 | 11 Comments »

David Grossman is one of the greatest Israeli novelists and his sensitivity to the nuances of daily life in Israel is exquisite. For those who don’t understand how far Israeli racism toward Arabs has led that country away from traditional values, just read his latest article (translated by Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service) and contrast it with the Torah perspective articlated in Deuteronomy Chapter 21 sentences 1-9:

Omar Abu Jariban, a resident of the Gaza Strip, staying illegally in Israel, stole a car and was seriously injured while driving it. He was released from the Sheba Medical Centre while his treatment was still ongoing and handed over to the custody of the Rehovot Police station. The police were unable to identify him. He himself was bewildered and confused. The Rehovot Police officers decided to get rid of him. According to Chaim Levinson’s account, they loaded him onto a police van at night accompanied by three policemen. He was still attached to a catheter, was wearing an adult nappy and a hospital gown. Two days later he was found dead by the roadside.


We Did It! Check Out Our NY Times Ad Against War with Iran


by: on March 7th, 2012 | 4 Comments »

Today, our ad saying “No” to a first strike (preemptive attack) by either Israel or the U.S. on Iran appeared in the New York Times (in the National Edition it is on page A19).

The media has distorted what has been going on between Obama and Netanyahu, representing it as Obama standing up to Netanyahu and being a hero for peace. But actually what happened is that Obama legitimated a first strike and preemptive attack on Iran, arguing with Netanyahu about the timing of such an attack, seeking to allow coercive economic sanctions to work first, but stating explicitly that Israel should not be constrained in any way to follow what it decides to be in its best national interest in regard to a strike on Iran. That’s why AIPAC gave him a standing ovation when Obama addressed them a few days ago.