J Street frames the debate: Global Israel vs. Greater Israel

Polizeros contributor Byron DeLear attended the recent J Street (“the political home for pro-Israel pro-peace Americans”) conference in D.C., a three year old lobbying group with a decidedly more pro-peace message than the troglodytes at AIPAC.

A potent meme emerged at the conference, which, for me, accurately frames the debate between the two rival Jewish-American advocacy organizations.

“Global Israel”—carried by J Street—and, “Greater Israel”, by AIPAC (a.k.a., Future v. Past).

There is a considerable amount of competitive back-and-forth between adherents of these two groups (putting it mildly), both claiming the mantle of being pro-Israel, but in different ways.

That AIPAC is increasing their attacks on J Street simply shows that the J Street message is starting to get through.

The J Street CEO said in his opening address

“The time has come for Israel to choose among three things: being a Jewish homeland, remaining democratic, and maintaining control over all the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Israel can have only two of the three. It can only be both Jewish and democratic by giving up the land on which a Palestinian state can be built in exchange for peace.”

DeLear adds

The clock is ticking out due to domestic demographic realities and international political pressure. The increasing growth of inflexible nationalist attitudes and unyielding religious fundamentalism on all sides of the conflict—combined with a global crescendo calling for an end to human rights abuses—has put the status quo on an untenable tract.

Read the whole article.

Lawsuit against Jimmy Carter’s book is assault on Freedom of Speech

A class action lawsuit has just been filed in New York against former U.S. President Jimmy Carter for his 2006 book, “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid.” The suit, captioned Unterberg et al. v. Jimmy Carter et al., is the latest salvo from the right-wing activist Israel Law Center, which claims to be an “Israeli based civil right organization”.

According to the five individuals named in the complaint, Carter’s book is, “in fact demonstrably false, misleading, and deceptive,” and because they felt they were “sold” on Carter’s book being truthful, well, they felt they’ve been harmed, and in as much, have now sued the publisher Simon & Schuster, and the author, Jimmy Carter for $5 million dollars.

The fantastical nature of this lawsuit reminds me of the “birther” lawsuits, claiming President Obama wasn’t born in America and therefore disqualified to serve as her President.

This case, attempting to gag a Nobel Peace Prize winning former President, is just as absurd—however, the litigants do graciously offer an alternative where there wouldn’t be cause—if President Carter and Simon & Schuster only had promoted and sold the book as “the anti-Israel screed that it is.”

This misplaced pro-Israeli patriotism is a ridiculous waste of the court’s time and probably qualifies as a harassment lawsuit, which may result in the overly zealous parties having to pay Carter’s and Simon & Schuster’s legal fees. You cannot justify use of a state consumer protection statute to attack the US Constitution’s First Amendment protections for the mere publishing and sale of a book. That’s like trying to say a tugboat’s as big as an Aircraft Carrier. You can say it, but it isn’t.

Now, the people suing “wish to be clear” that they’re not suing to challenge President Carter’s right to publish a book, nor his right to “forward his virulently anti-Israeli bias”, but rather, they’re suing because he wrote a non-fiction book and claimed it to be so.

The suit was announced as, “”¦the first time a former President and a publishing house have been sued for violating consumer protection laws by knowingly publishing inaccurate information while promoting a book as factual.” That puts them out on a limb, for sure.

Continue reading on Examiner.com.

Healing collective trauma will lead to peace in the Holy Land

The author and Brit Olam founder, Ofer Lifschitz, visiting Western Wall in Jerusalem in 2004. Photo: (DeLear/Lifschitz)

There’s a common misperception that the constant state of warfare and conflict that besets the Holy Land, Eretz Israel, or in Arabic, Bilad Ash’ Sham, is a result of some cultural or racial flaw—“oh, they’ve been fighting for two thousand years, they’ll never stop.”

Even the most cursory examination of human history reveals skirmishes, battles, and wars, interwoven throughout our timeline, have been perpetrated by all religions, races, and cultures. People are people. And a kinder gentler human civilization can be had, but it has to be taught, and then walked.

As I observed in a report on the Holy Land in 2009—contrary to popular belief—history’s wars and military campaigns have been launched largely due to political agendas, power struggles, or naked resource/land grabs—and although often cloaked in religious trappings—religion has primarily been used as a war-making tool; to mobilize foot soldiers, and rally public opinion when necessary.

Humans are pack animals (viz. “leader of the pack”, not “backpack”), and in modern civilization, we have been arranged into herds within herds; overlapping groupings and interchangeable associations, class, race, religion. But in order to change the perpetual dynamic of two warring peoples, polarized, locked in conflict—efforts must be taken to bring the poles together. This can be accomplished through education by blurring ethnocentric distinctions, emphasizing the universality of what it means to be human—our basic needs, hopes, and dreams. A facet of this ‘coming together’ process involves a sincere effort to understand the life experiences and background of the different societies at play—to be aware—and especially—to empathize with individual and/or group trauma.

While working with an inspiring new organization called the Euphrates Institute, founder Janessa Gans relayed a profound concept from Palestinian nonviolence activist Sami Awad with the Holy Land Trust

“It is up to the Palestinians to do what the international community has failed to do for the Jewish people: to heal the trauma they have experienced.”

Read the whole article

Egypt, and the reaction of the US and Israel

Wouldn’t it be nice if the U.S. could figure out whether it prefers the democracy it’s always talking about publicly or the “stability of dictatorships” it has always funded with military aid, though?

The US (and Israel) are totally in favor of democracy except when they aren’t. In fact, Israel just said “I’m not sure the time is right for the Arab region to go through the democratic process.” Just so you know. Meanwhile, the US is howling about how Internet freedom is so mightily important (except when it applies to that Assange fellow.)

Thinking about the protests in Egypt, I recalled this playful song about a serious topic by 10cc from 1974. The Go-Gos did the same thing, the more serious the topic, the more upbeat the music.


Rubber Bullets

Sergeant Baker got a call from the governor of the county jail
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
I love to hear those convicts squeal
It’s a shame these slugs ain’t real
But we can’t have dancin’ at the local county jail

Well we don’t understand
Why you called in the National Guard
When Uncle Sam is the one
Who belongs in the exercise yard
We all got balls and brains
But some’s got balls and chains
At the local dance at the local county jail
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
Load up, load up, load up with rubber bullets
Is it really such a crime
For a guy to spend his time
At the local dance at the local county jail