This is one to save and read over and over again.

O at the Edges



No snakes here,
but a little voice

says the mice
will return,

and which
do you prefer,

the one that
gnaws open

ramen packages
then craps

on your plate
or the one

who takes
its prey

under the house
and swallows

it whole,

no bones


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Pursuing ideals


The important thing is to never give up. Here is a poem that describes what we must do in crazy times like these.

~ ~ ~

Even though our reality
Is filled with discrepancies and problems
We should not stop
Pursuing ideals.

Even though our life
Is filled with failures and regrets
We should not give up
Our search for aspiration.

The place we aim for
The aspiration we seek
Continues to shine
No mater how distant and challenging it may be.

Even if dark clouds Hang over the era
We must believe in
Our future ahead.

—Keiko Takahashi

Posted in action, Commentary, Current Events, humanity, Ideals, poem, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

President-elect Trump and Israel


If President-elect Donald Trump wanted to put himself, his family and the rest of the United States in IS’s terrorist sights, he could hardly have found a better way than sending Jewish attorney David Friedman to Israel as his Ambassador. David Friedman is a staunch supporter of building unlimited Jewish settlements in the West Bank, a pet project of Israel’s Naftali Bennett, who has said “with Trump, the era of the Palestinian State is over” (Emily Tamkin, Foreign Policy, November 14, 2016). Bennett is building new settlements as rapidly as possible, so that Palestinians will have very little land to live on in the West Bank.

Following are comments from Jason D. Greenblatt and David Friedman, Co-Chairmen of the Israel Advisory Committee to President-Elect Trump:

“Israel is the state of the Jewish people, who have lived in that land for 3,500 years. The State of Israel was founded with courage and determination by great men and women against enormous odds and is an inspiration to people everywhere who value freedom and human dignity.” A perfect Zionist point of view that, however, is not true. The State of Israel was founded by invading Zionist militias bent on ethnically cleansing Palestine no matter how murderous it was.

“Israel is a staunch ally of the U.S. and a key partner in the global war against Islamic jihadism. Military cooperation and coordination between Israel and the U.S. must continue to grow.”

“The U.S. should veto any United Nations votes that unfairly single out Israel and will work in international institutions and forums, including in our relations with the European Union, to oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel, impose discriminatory double standards against Israel, or to impose special labeling requirements on Israeli products or boycotts on Israeli goods.”

“The U.S. should cut off funds for the UN Human Rights Council, a body dominated by countries presently run by dictatorships that seems solely devoted to slandering the Jewish State. UNESCO’s attempt to disconnect the State of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the United Nations.”

“The U.S. should view the effort to boycott, divest from, and sanction (BDS) Israel as inherently anti-Semitic and take strong measures, both diplomatic and legislative, to thwart actions that are intended to limit commercial relations with Israel, or persons or entities doing business in Israeli areas, in a discriminatory manner. The BDS movement is just another attempt by the Palestinians to avoid having to commit to a peaceful co-existence with Israel. The false notion that Israel is an occupier should be rejected.” Another Zionist “poor persecuted us” remark as Israel, of course, does nothing all to deserve this.

“The Trump administration will ask the Justice Department to investigate coordinated attempts on college campuses to intimidate students who support Israel.” (Presenting the view that Palestinians also have rights is viewed as “intimidating students.”)

A two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians appears impossible as long as the Palestinians are unwilling to renounce violence against Israel or recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.” (A Zionist “poor me” remark, denying that Israel does not and never has, attacked or discriminated against Palestinians.) “Additionally, the Palestinians are divided between PA rule in the West Bank and Hamas rule in Gaza so there is not a united Palestinian people who could control a second state.” “We will seek to assist the Israelis and the Palestinians in reaching a comprehensive and lasting peace, to be freely and fairly negotiated between those living in the region.” Once gain, Israel has never done any wrong.

“Israel’s maintenance of defensible borders that preserve peace and promote stability in the region is a necessity. Pressure should not be put on Israel to withdraw to borders that make attacks and conflict more likely.”

“The U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as the eternal and indivisible capital of the Jewish state and Mr. Trump’s Administration will move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.”

There is a lot of work to be done to make certain that the Palestinian side is heard and supported, and the Israeli side is propaganda that tries to hide the truth.

Posted in Israel, Palestinian people, Settler colonialism, Uncategorized, War | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Comments on an Israeli propaganda video


Israel has one response to critics like historian Ilan Pappe, author of “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine,” attack the book and its author as frauds, the object being to kill the book and destroy its author. That is the only purpose Israeli propaganda (hasbara) has. Unless you’ve read his book, as I have done twice, the video looks convincing. If you don’t know otherwise, all the violence in Israel’s early history was directed at Jews by the Palestinians. The Jews were, and are, innocent victims. “Arab behaviour enormously impacted the welfare of the Palestinians in 1948, just as it does today” (emphasis added). But what of the Zionists, and their part in this?

Zionists? No mention of them is made in the video, though Zionism’s purpose from the beginning was, and is the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. All one needs to do is look at East Jerusalem and the West Bank. According to an article in “Informed Content”, A new video released by Israel’s Negotiations Affairs Department, titled “East Jerusalem: Israel’s Colonial Project Unraveled,” declares that Israel’s policy in the city, since the 1967 occupation, is three fold: creating a Jewish majority, reducing Palestinian presence and isolating East Jerusalem and dividing it from its West Bank parts. . . According to the video, Israel has turned 35 percent of the area in East Jerusalem into land for settlement construction, leaving only 13 percent of the area for Palestinian construction, amounting to a severe housing crisis and forcing many Palestinians to build without a permit.

“A total of 3,500 homes were reportedly demolished under the pretext of being built without permit, and around 25,000 more are slated for demolition under the same pretext, leaving 100,000 Palestinians at risk of displacement.”
Clearly the fault is Israel, not the Palestinian people living there.

The problem with propaganda is that little-to-no attention is paid to truth, and this little video is a glaring example. The object of Israeli propaganda is to destroy the reputations of anyone and any organization that accuses Israel of wrongdoing against the Palestinians, even when such wrongdoing, as Juan Cole’s article shows, is happening. According to the video, Palestinians terrorized innocent Jews. “Arab behaviour enormously impacted the welfare of the Palestinians in 1948, just as it does today.” There is no mention of Zionists or Zionism, or the role they played in ethnically cleansing Palestine, Zionism’s brutal attacks on Palestinian villages, its blatant racism, and its involvement in building illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank that Palestinians will have no room on which to live.

Being propaganda, the video says that historian Ilan Pappe “blames the Jews for everything”, a claim so absurd that it’s comical.

If you want to look at the video, look under “comments” to my book review

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The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, a book review and commentary


From the time of modern Israel’s birth in 1948, the message from Israel to the world was a simple one: For the first time in over a thousand years, Jews have a home where they can live free of the pogroms and other horrors they have suffered for so long. What was not public was the terror the Zionists inflicted upon Palestine’s indigenous population which, from the beginning, was the Zionist’s main goal. “A land without a people for a people without a land” was their mantra. There was one problem: Millions of Palestinians lived there in cities, villages and farms. What to do? Eradicate them.

“Over more than seven decades of occupation,” writer and scholar Jeremy Salt wrote in a recent article in The Palestine Chronicle, “the Palestinians have had their lives taken from them. They have had their homes taken from them.  They have had the possessions in these homes taken from them, down to the furniture, the carpets, the books and their children’s toys. They have had their right to be buried in the land of their ancestors taken from them.  They have had their history and culture taken from them. They have had their mosques taken from them.  They have had their orchards and gardens taken from them.  They have had their olive trees taken from them.  They have had their wheat fields and orange groves taken from them.  They have had their rivers, streams and seas taken from them.  They have had their collective rights taken from them. They have had the public buildings, roads and bridges built by their forefathers taken from them.  They have had almost everything taken from them and if anything is certain it is that in years to come more will be taken from what little remains.  They have been left with nothing to defend themselves but knives, scissors and, if the accusations of their oppressors are true, boxes of matches or cigarette lighters.”

Historian Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is not easy reading, and it shouldn’t be. Often nightmarish in its details and the cynicism and brutality of its leadership, the picture that emerges is of a dysfunctional and abusive nation that treats the indigenous Palestinians with contempt. Land thefts, murders, rapes that are justified by rabbis (a rabbi advised some soldiers that it was acceptable to rape a Palestinian woman), bulldozing a house on top of an elderly man and killing him, and shooting children on the way home from school. It’s been this way from the beginning, with the Zionist forces attacking villages and slaughtering hundreds of men, women and children until 800,000 of them fled for their lives into Syria and Jordan. Are any of them safe? Pappe says no. “The Palestinians of Israel,” who are by law called Arabs, “may also be targeted in the future. 68% of the Israeli Jews expressed heir wish in a recent poll, to see them ‘transferred’.”

“The problem with Israel,” he says, “ was never its Jewishness . . . it is its ethnic Zionist character,” which is committed to cleansing all of Palestine of Palestinians. Recently, Naftali Bennett, the Israeli Minister of Education, proclaimed that he will establish hundreds of new settler towns in the West Bank so that Palestinians have nowhere to live. Israel resembles Hitler’s Germany, with Prime Minister Netanyahu playing the leading role. Ironic, isn’t it, how well the Zionist’s philosophy mirrors Hitler’s.


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Jerk is a word that shows contempt.
We don’t talk with jerks, we ridicule them,
push them away, and call them names.
So when I read an article online about an
elector on his state’s electoral college who
had resigned his position as an elector,
and noticed someone had written “jerk” above it,
I scratched my head. How does resigning
one’s position as an elector made him a jerk?

Have we reached the point in our country that
when we disagree with someone we call them names?
When I posed that question, I was told that I am
one of those “liberals” who doesn’t understand
what a lot of people are going through these days
because if I did, I would know why the former elector
is a jerk. The conversation went rapidly downhill,
and I bid him goodbye, and left.

Sad, isn’t it, when dialogue fails to happen,
we end up fighting with each other,
and problems get worse.

~  ~  ~  ~

What do you think about this? Comments are appreciated.

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The terrifying power of “Othering”. There’s nothing new in Donald Drumpf’s tactics.

Well, This Is What I Think


Comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles – three of which may be poisoned, so best to discard the whole bowl – is an idea that has deep roots.

The concept of one bad apple threatening the peace of society dates back at least to 1938 and a children’s book written by an especially nasty demagogue called Julius Streicher, called Der Giftpilz, or The Toadstool, in which a mother explains to her son that it only takes one Jew to destroy an trump handsentire people.

Active in politics from 1919 onwards, Streicher’s arguments were primitive, vulgar, and crude but he believed in what he said and was an uninhibited, wild agitator, to whom masses would listen; which was what mattered to the Nazis and their backers.

streicher hitlerIn November 1923, Streicher participated in Hitler’s first effort to seize power, the failed Beer Hall Putsch in Munich. Streicher marched with Hitler in the…

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Source: Hideo

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“Occupation is Not Our Judaism” – Some Final Thoughts

The approach that rabbi Grant Rosen reports on is going to be a large part of changing the future of Israel from abusive settler violence to one where both Jews and Palestinians have equal rights and the white racism has largely disappeared.

Shalom Rav

video by A. Daniel Roth

Even though I’ve been back from the Center for Jewish Nonviolence delegation for almost a week now, I’ll take this opportunity to end this series with some final closing thoughts. There’s so much I wasn’t able to cover – and so much more to say about what I did – but I do at least want to highlight some of my major takeaways from this amazing experience.

To start: I have no doubt in my mind now that a genuine diaspora-based Jewish movement for Palestinian solidarity is rapidly growing. It’s real, it’s broad based and its gaining some serious traction. When I was first invited by CJNV founder Ilana Sumka to join this delegation, I went to their website and read that the trip would include Jews who come from a wide spectrum of organizations such as Jewish Voice for Peace, J Street, Open Hillel, If Not Now

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Does Israel have a future?

Gaza-Israel-Ayelet-ShakedPhoto: ynet.com

Israel is a settler nation, a nation created from cleansing the natives from the territory they sought to occupy. Israel became a nation in 1948, a homeland for Jews in the ancient land of Israel, a land where they could live in peace and security. The story most people heard was a positive one. The true story was and is different. Israel was founded by and lives on terror. To read more about it than I am able to provide in this short blog, read “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” by Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, available in both paper and Kindle.

Looking back through Jewish history, one wonders how a people who have suffered pogroms and the horror of Hitler’s effort to cleanse Europe of all Jews recreate the horror against another people. It’s easy. Divide the world into “us” and “them,” see “them” as being in your way, and go from there. “We” are humans; “they” are are in our way. Jewish militias set out to cleanse the land of its indigenous Arab Palestinian population, home invasions, destruction of villages, and massacres. Upwards of 800,000 Palestinians fled to Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt’s Gaza Strip. There is no right to return to their homeland. Within Israel itself, Palestinians live second class lives. Recently Haaretz daily newspaper reported that Israel’s school system remains separate and unequal. going on to report that Arab (Palestinian) teacher trainees in Galilee receive half the budget of their Jewish peers.

Israeli society is built on racial and ethnic prejudice. If you are Jewish, you have privilege; if you are Palestinian, you have no right to complain or show anger. If you do, you may be killed or thrown in jail, some times for a long time. “Are Israeli soldiers human?” a little girl asks a neighbor. “Why the question?” the neighbor replies.“They shoot children,” she says. All too often this is true if the children are Palestinian.

If you are Palestinian and own a home, you can be evicted if you add to it and fail to get a building permit, even though your family may have lived in the home for years. In the Palestinian village of Silwan, extremist settlers are moving in and taking over homes of Palestinians, some of whom have lived in their home for many years. Last year one family’s home was taken over because a Yemenite Jewish family had owned it in the 19th century. That’s what happens when a society is built on racism, violence and lies.

If this is not enough, Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of the city of Safed, advises Jews to “kill Palestinians to get closer to God.” Rabbi Shlomo Mlmad, the chairman of the so-called Council of Rabbis in West Bank settlements, calls on settlers to poison Palestinians through their water supply. Rabbi Benzion Mutzafi’s reply to the question if he was allowed to kick an insurgent (Palestinian) or shoot him in order to kill him after he has been arrested by saying “It is not only desirable to do so, but it is a religious duty that you hold his head down to the ground and hit him until his last breath.” http://www.daysofpalestine.com/news/israeli-rabbis-killing-palestinians-religious-duty/#sthash.GgbgqpxM.dpuf

If this is not enough, other right wing rabbis advise poisoning the water of the Palestinians in a rabbinical call for genocide. http://thearabdailynews.com/2016/06/27/zionists-poison-well/

Responding to these facts, Israelis lie, make accusations of anti-Semitism (expanded to include criticism of Israel as being anti-Semitic), and show self-pity. Here is a quote from Israel’s former UN Ambassador Ron Prosor: “I stand before you to speak the truth. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, less than half a percent are truly free – and they are all citizens of Israel. Israeli Arabs are some of the most educated Arabs in the world. They are our leading physicians and surgeons, they are elected to our parliament, and they serve as judges on our Supreme Court. Millions of men and women in the Middle East would welcome these opportunities and freedoms.” In other words, all of the accusations against Israel are lies. Mr. Prosor is using one of Israel’s primary defenses, denial.

“Nonetheless,” Mr. Prosor continues, “nation after nation, will stand at this podium today and criticize Israel – the small island of democracy in a region plagued by tyranny and oppression.” Glaring self-pity and denial, even in the face of irrefutable evidence. “There is nothing wrong with us,” Mr. Prosor says, it is with the Palestinians and our critics.

If Israel continues to persecute its Palestinian citizens and the Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and Gaza, the results will be a racist, totalitarian society that many will compare to Hitler’s Germany. Where hatred and abuse of others rules, freedom and justice never does. Will Israel wake up and change? Under its current leadership it will not.

Posted in George Polley, Indigenous people, Israel, Justice, Palestinian people, Peace, Settler colonialism, Settler Societies, Zionism | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments