Rabbi Michael Lerner


x

 

This speech was so powerful I felt the need to post it.

Rest in peace to our champion.

God bless this Rabbi.

Free Palestine!

Advertisements

The Last Colony


arafat.jpg

There are many remnants, some visible others more underlying, of the age of colonialism.

Since the collapse of the USSR, foreign exploitation has taken new forms, and so too has the resistance against it.

It has been argued that the US foreign policy in the ME has been partial in the favor of Israel – the last colony.

Some argue for a two-state solution, but this ignores Israel’s purpose, which isn’t a haven for Jews after WWII, but rather, an economic outlet and political outpost for the West – namely the US (Jews were safer in the ME before Israel was established).

I appreciate those who are liberal in their approach, but idealism has died in Israel, and the right has won. Expansion is the agenda – I argue it always has been.

Is this not why Palestine is continually disappearing?

Since the collapse of the USSR, resistance to Western (US) imperialism has been fragmented, and furthermore, Western tactics have grown more complex, intricate and psychological.

Russia and China’s resurgence and assertiveness in my view is a sign of balancing in the modern international arena. Ironically, anarchist movements have created opportunities for cooperation between the West and the periphery.

America’s history hasn’t always been expansive. This changed when the rest of the world’s democracies rejected the tradition of containment, and sought arbitrary, unjust colonialism. Since the late 19th century, the US has been dragged into endless battles to shore up its allies. The last remnant of this tradition is Israel, which has convinced the US to violently engage all political entities showing resistance to Zionism.

Until this continuation of colonialism ends, Islamism will continue, Russia will become more assertive, and the loose organization of anti-colonial states, be it in rhetoric or practice, will grow closer, all of which are challenges to US imperial alliances and initiatives as well as global security.

Is the US a benign hegemony or a self-righteous imperialist? I like to believe the former. I think that the culture of domination exists in America, and continues to try to destabilize and stump social, economic or political progress in the US. Ideological fanatics operating on the fringes of the political spectrum serve to the detriment of democracy and the future of US prosperity. Fanatics like this include the more overt, like Donald Trump, but also the more elusive, like former president George W. Bush. These individuals have a “vision” for society that transcends practicality and morality. The invasion of Iraq was a fantastical mission with no objective based on a false premises, resulting in the loss of almost half a million Iraqi lives and 4,491 American lives. This tradition, has poisoned American society and its foreign policy. Democracy is dying in America, and trying to export it where it isn’t welcome is consequential. Israel is the remaining legacy of this neoconservative ritual, in the Middle East. Before we can peace and stability, the US must contain itself, perhaps in the same manner it sought to contain the vanity of the USSR.

Israel is not a democracy by definition of human rights and equality – and democracy does not guarantee justice. States are unitary actors. Mixed economy; mixed theory.

An Open Letter to Liberal American Jews


Dear brothers and sisters of the Jewish faith, my name is Danny Krikorian and I am a Syrian-Armenian American.

My ancestors are originally from Palestine and Armenia. My roots are deep in Jerusalem.

I am writing you because we have reached a peak in levels of hatred in the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, and I believe the most crucial force in combatting this hate could be you. Why?

First and foremost, I must add that I have a Christian father and a Muslim mother. As a Syrian with this religious diversity, I was given freedom as a thinker to discover the world on my own. For this I am ever so grateful.

Eventually I came across Jewish literature. I was blown away.

To me, Judaism is genius and has produced geniuses.

From Einstein to Freud, Arendt to Woody Allen, Larry David to Seinfeld; the list is endless.

But what I have been encountering is startling. The “liberal” tradition of Judaism has been challenged, especially in the twentieth century, by this paranoid sense, spurned by WWII & the Holocaust. Ever since Israel was created, in the words of prominent Jewish scholar Avi Schleim, the Jews have experienced the greatest threats to their existence; an unprecedented instability. The irony – Israel was created as a form of refuge, but has essentially intensified conflict. Fanatical right-wing ideology has almost replaced the Jewish left. I think this is partly due to one major reality…liberalism and Israel are incompatible.

You see at one point a Kingdom of Israel was fathomable, at a time where all civilizations were dominated by kings, emperors, gods and pharaohs. But in today’s world, where principles of human rights, democracy and self-determination have become the bedrock of modern society, these Israeli-ideals seem out of place.

Not to mention, they are also inconsistent with the Jewish creed. What do I mean? Well, according to Jewish theology the three oaths commanded by God that the Jews remain loyal to their nation-states after the destruction of the second temple. God also forbade the recreation of Israel.

So while in ancient time the menace against God was polytheism; in the modern world, the are now two menaces against God (socially-liberal monotheism) which are: “disbelief” (polytheism, paganism, atheism, fanaticism) & “Zionism”. In fact, the two are inseparable. Zionism has replaced liberal Judaism, and has essentially made Jews feel like they do not belong to the religion without loyalty to the modern Israeli state. This has politicized Judaism, and been the premise for all military measures taken against the Arab people. Arab independence movements that followed the Ottoman collapse brought hopes of a new opportunity for prosperity in the Arab world. This would be interrupted by the colonial establishment of Israel in the heart of the Middle East.

This is an especially useful tactic, but now you’ve got the modern Israeli state echoing what it believes to be the voice of God; the God of the Israelites.

As a liberal monotheist, I am in favor of modernized political systems that respect all religions. In my home country, Syria, this tradition is known as “secularism”. The word has a different meaning here in the West, where it is perceived as the force against religion.

I believe that ideologies like Zionism, Christian Evangelism, and Islamic Wahhabism, to be frank, are all similar in orientation. They all share the common thread of hate and violence, and all have transformed their positions of believing in God into being the voices of God on earth. This is dangerous and threatening, to the Middle East, as much as it is to the liberal traditions of the West. This is because the West, namely America, has entangled itself in this conflict between Zionism and Judaism, Israelis and Palestinians.

The important thing to keep note of is the difference between portrayals of reality, and what could be reality.

I hope that be expressing my sentiments here, that the Jewish people can begin to understand, and spread the message that Judaism and Israel are not mutually exclusive, and that the human rights of Palestinians must be spoken of before any mention of a religious state.

Social liberalism, economic prosperity and freedom of expression are not compatible with the principle of zionism. Let us stop exporting our ideologies abroad. The Middle East was safer for Jews before the establishment of Israel. All Middle Eastern tyrants were born after this event. The Middle East is a religious holy land. Exporting democracy to that region is ignorant of its culture. Furthermore, exporting zionism is ignorant of its religious diversity and of religious history, be it Jewish, Christian or Islamic.

We can however preserve American democracy and western liberalism by rejecting the fascist ideals of Christian Evangelism and Zionism which are so intertwined, and have dominated the conservative Republican Party.

Furthermore, we can begin to address our own problems here in America, such as Islamophobia, police brutality, racism and the vast disparity in income between rich-and-poor.

Why I left the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community – London Live TV


Why Bernie Sanders hasn’t captured ALL of our hearts


The hypocrisy would be appalling were it not so functional: the biggest impediment to both the reform of Islam and peace in the Middle East that Americans have the ability to remove is our support for a militant Jewish ideology that few Arabs and Muslims have ever accepted.

The 9/11 Commission concluded that US policy in Palestine was part of the reason for the attacks, but that analysis was whittled down to a few sentences– even as the head of the commission said that the Iraq war was launched to protect Israel. (And Condi Rice said the war would provide “strategic relief” to Israel and Colin Powell said it was dreamed up by the Zionist thinktank the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs).

And this blog– for which the Iraq war was the core issue– began after my brother told me that he had demonstrated against the Vietnam War but his Jewish newspaper said this war might be good for Israel; and this blog got pushed out the door at the New York Observer, then the Nation Institute.

Bernie Sanders and I both opposed the Iraq war. Most American Jews opposed that war. But Sanders’s assertion that there is a war for the soul of Islam is hollow, cheap and condescending so long as he and the mainstream Jewish community continue to suppress the war for the soul of Judaism.

That war is happening all around us in the margins; but the west will not be able to rid the earth of ISIS and the radical Islamism that we are told is not Islam (believe me, I can’t wait for their demise) till we conduct a similar scathing inventory of Jewish political beliefs.

Yesterday James North and I wrote here that we’re not monocausal; even if there was justice in Palestine it would not end Islamist violence. I stand by that point. But the ultimate question is the one Bernie Sanders raised last night, What can we do to end the religious element of the conflicts in the Middle East? And the answer is that Jews must end their support for Zionism, which has turned out to be religious, fascistic and militant, and is fueling rage across the Middle East and further.

How long can Jews not have this conversation? Hannah Arendt wrote in 1944 that opposition to Zionism drew on great understandings: the “realization of the fatal, utopian hyperbole of the demand for a Jewish commonwealth and a rejection of the idea of making all Jewish politics in Palestine dependent on the protection of great powers.”

It was an American problem then and it’s an American problem now. We have set aside our own secular values when it comes to the Middle East. We should stop lecturing Muslims about their backward ideas till we reckon with our own.

– See more at: Mondoweiss

Larry David is…Bernie Sanders


If this doesn’t speak to Sander’s blind populism or Hillary’s overt power hunger then I don’t know what does!

America is at a real turning point in its political culture.

Many ideologies are on the table.

Where are the minorities?

I like the idea that Democrats are more egalitarian than Republicans, but is Bernie’s socialism really the solution? America’s problem isn’t just economic. It is a cultural ailment; police brutality, mass-incarceration, a terribly hawkish foreign policy dominated by foreign interest-lobbies.

Bernie is super appealing. That’s why I think Larry David fit this character so well. I am not anti-Bernie Sanders, but I am yet to be pro-anybody that isn’t critical on particular issues.

In the realm of domestic politics, we need people who aren’t afraid to point out inconsistencies.

In foreign politics; we need someone who isn’t an Israeli lapdog.

Obama has given Israel the cold shoulder; but he has also given them a blanket to stay warm.

I prefer his strategy over any of the current contenders.

Republicans have nothing to offer but war, as usual.

Imagine an Arab-American president, one that understands the struggles of the minorities inside America, but isn’t all too detached from America’s foreign policy shortcomings. Let’s be frank; America’s domestic politics is completely dependent and a direct reflection of its foreign policies. Why do you think American politicians are less encouraged to bring issues of foreign policy to the attention of the American people? Because Americans would hate to associate their “freedom-loving-democracy” with carnage and evil abroad.

We need leaders who are realists; who are not daunted by America’s history.