Can’t Stop the SlingShot: Hip-Hop Arises in Palestine

We watch a group of five rappers prepare for their first show in their hometown. Dressed in requisite hip-hop style—football jerseys, baseball caps, and the like—the performers primp nervously and practice their rhymes, while they talk about their pre-show jitters. This could be any crew of kids in the world that’s recently found a voice in the global phenomenon of rap music. But the impact hits as we watch them enter a modest club to their friends’ greetings, and then hit the stage after one of them gets on the mic and announces: “We are PR, the first rappers from Gaza.”

Ending the Occupation, Saving Israel/Palestine: Strategy and Morality

I am firmly convinced that ending the Occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, if done by Israel in a spirit of generosity and open-heartedness, would be the necessary prerequisite for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinian people. A plan to achieve that—the Geneva Accord—has defined many of the contours of what that peace could look like. The Tikkun Community was the first national organization to embrace and promote that Accord, though always with the caveat that it is not enough to have a legal agreement unless each side embraces a spiritual consciousness that affirms the humanity of the other, recognizes its own sins in having treated the other side disrespectfully, and seeks genuine repentance and atonement.

Hinduism and Ecology

The word “Hindu” derives from a Persian way of characterizing the variety of traditions and cultural practices that can be found on the other side of the Indus River, the great Himalayan cascade that now bisects Pakistan. “Hindu” describes persons practicing Vedic ritual or worshiping Krishna. “Hindu” also describes the shared customs of Jains, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians.

The Air We Breathe…

There is yet more for us to fear. The burden that debt puts upon the developing world endangers us all in an even more fundamental way. It threatens the air we breathe, the food we eat, the survival of our species. It poses a threat to our very planet.

The Emerging Alliance of Religion and Ecology

The strong and vocal presence of the religious Right, with its emphasis on family values and sexual politics, and the virtual absence of any discussion of the environment in the recent U.S. elections, causes one to wonder how much importance religions place on the environment as a moral and spiritual issue. The reports keep pouring in that we are altering the climate and toxifying the air, water, and soil so that the health of humans and other species is at risk.

Making the News

Arabic-language news network Al-Jazeera has been a hotly contested entity since it first began broadcasting in 1996. Now reaching over 40 million viewers, this Qatar-based and government-funded broadcaster now rivals CNN and the BBC as one of the most influential television news outlets in the world. Due to the attacks of September 11 and the increasingly strained relations between the United States and the Arab world, Al-Jazeera’s status has come under scrutiny—more so in the United States than anywhere else. Famously derided by George W. Bush as “the mouthpiece of Osama bin Laden,” Al-Jazeera has come to be regarded as a distinctly partisan source for news coverage because of its critical treatment of both the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the occupation of Iraq.