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Friday, March 24th

Fighting Back: Presbyterian Committee to End Divestment Now

There is some really good news regarding the struggle against the divestment charade. A group of US Presbyterians have formed the Committee to End Divestment Now. Their Web site at http://www.enddivestment.com/index.html features a forthright and systematic analysis of the larger issues, and a micro-analysis of church politics and procedural issues, with extensive details regarding the fallacies and errors involved in divestment at http://www.enddivestment.com/analysis.html

They conclude:

These resolutions have shattered our interfaith relations with our Jewish friends. These resolutions have undone a half-century of positive efforts to improve interfaith relations, following our denomination's less-than-impressive response to the Holocaust. Isolating Israel for punitive action, while not condemning terror-sponsoring states, means that Israel has been unjustly targeted.

Historically, such double standards have been connected with anti-Semitic attitudes. While anti-Semitism probably was far from the minds of commissioners in 2004, our committee understands why our Jewish friends are consequently upset. At the same time, however, we are confident that interfaith relations can be fully restored if the church acts promptly to repeal these resolutions at the 217th General Assembly in June 2006.

Any peacemaking role we as a church may assume in the face of the complexities of the Middle East conflict must reflect and be tested against authentic grassroots congregational convictions. In a like fashion, our role must be fashioned in humility and fairness, in close consultation with authentic representatives of mainstream thinking in both the Jewish/Israeli and the Palestinian communities. This task yet remains to be accomplished properly.

As we have pointed out more than once, divestment initiatives are motivated and led by anti-Zionists who want to see the end of Zionism and Israel, not the end of occupation. As one such conference stated quite openly (http://www.badil.org/Campaign/Expert_Forum/Haifa/Summary.htm):

"We must understand that occupation will end only after, or simultaneously with, de-Zionization"

All of Israel is "occupied." for them (see Anti-Zionist Boycotts and Divestment Initiatives). The same sentiments, along with a "how to subvert religion" kit, were expressed repeatedly at the recent PSM conference at Georgetown University (see http://www.zionism-israel.com/ezine/PSM_Palestine_Subversion_Movement.htm).

We can only hope that these good people will succeed in explaining to their fellow church members that they have been "had" by a very sophisticated con operation that seeks to pervert religion, and that if they do not succeed, they do not disband their group in 2006 as they have announced they would do.

Ami Isseroff


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Moderator on 03.24.06 @ 10:06 PM CST [link]

Wednesday, March 22nd

BEYOND CRISIS ZIONISM -- Israel in the twenty first century

Gil Troy has written a thoughtful article for the Jerusalem Report entitled "Beyond Crisis Zionism." His thesis is that support for the Zionist movement appears to be built on crises and dramatic news, rather than positive achievement and normal development. In the long run, this situation is not normal. American Jews require something more:

Crisis Zionism - Gevalt Zionism - provides only a fleeting high and provisional unity. True, Jews seem particularly programmed to rally around the blue-and-white flag when besieged. Anti-Semitism remains the great Jewish motivator; tragically, Palestinian terrorism triggered more Jewish identity-building on campuses than a decade’s worth of outreach initiatives did.

But what do we do when the situation stabilizes, when terrorism wanes as it has done, or if, heaven forbid, peace ever breaks out? Zionism must be more than the Jewish people's flak jacket, donned only in a crisis and happily removed when the shelling stops.

The thought that we must fear peace because we have only taught ourselves to deal with crises is sobering.

Troy hearkens back to earlier days, when, he claims, Zionism was different:

Like the early Zionists, we need a positive, relevant Zionist vision using Jewish nationalism and Israel to solve modern personal problems as well as “the Jewish problem.”


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Moderator on 03.22.06 @ 11:36 PM CST [link]

Monday, March 20th

"Just Say No" - US Foreign Aid to Israel and the anti-Zionist Lobby

A keystone of current thought about the Middle East, especially for supporters of Israel, is that the USA is always going to be there to support Israel. After it all, it has been true at least as far as anyone can remember. It is nobody's fault if most people have geopolitical Alzheimer's disease and can't remember what country got eaten for breakfast yesterday, can't remember the reign of Bush I when James Baker III said "F-ck the Jews, they didn't vote for us," and can't even remember the embargo on military spare parts that President Bush II imposed on Israel until the events of 9-11 made him look into that terrorism thing a bit more carefully.


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An exemplary citizen of the Zionist state

Those who insist that Arab and Jew are doomed to eternal enmity must take into account the numerous shining exceptions. The exceptions don't prove the rule. They prove there is another way. It could be different and some day it will be different. The whole history of the Arab town of Abu Ghosh, on the road to Jerusalem, proves that relations between Jews and Arabs could have been much different, and they still could be different in a not impossible future. Abu Ghosh made peace with the Jews, and both sides kept their bargain faithfully. Today it is a prosperous town of Arabs and Jews.

Jawdat Ibrahim, a proud Israeli and proud son of Abu Ghosh, has devoted his life and is investing his considerable fortune in the prospect of Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel. Like most Israelis, Ibrahim is an optimist. He says:

"People say that I am very optimistic. And I am! I'm an optimistic person, always have been. I really believe that we can all live here side-by-side."

If Israel is to have a bright future Jawdat Ibrahim and others like him must be part of the Zionist vision.

"If you will, it is no legend."
Ami Isseroff

Israeli Arab restaurateur is a true optimist
By Joseph Flesh March 19, 2006

"As an Arab-Israeli, I have seen that in order for there to be equality we have to be in the system," declares Jawdat Ibrahim, sitting in his restaurant, Mis'adat Abu Ghosh. "Arab-Israelis are 20% of this country - that's a sector, not a minority. If we want to be a part of this country we must integrate."


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Moderator on 03.20.06 @ 12:40 PM CST [link]


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