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Israel is the country that stands most to gain from the world's decreased dependence on oil. We always looked upon the Israelis as the potential natural leaders in developing alternate fuels. Israel has the manpower, scientific institutions, and the private enterprise needed for such an endeavor. In effect, going back to the 1950's, it had people aware of the problems that come from being dependent on oil when living in an unfriendly neighborhood. Israelis worked on oil shales first, then on solar, biomass, and geothermal technologies; the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) has even created a "Commission for Future Generations" when it became obvious that for environmental reasons, as well as for sustainable development reasons, the world will have to switch to non-fossil fuels. Nevertheless, Israel itself did not implement these technologies, it also did not give away for free the technologies it did develop, perhaps because of political reasons resulting from the government's close relation to the US. In effect the Environment Ministry became a repository for politicians with other aspirations. In its own interest, as journalist Thomas Friedman said - "petrolism" is the main reason for lack of peace in the Middle East - the Israeli government should have taken a more agresive position on this subject, one seriously wonders why this did not happen.

We launched this Israel section on SustainabiliTank.info because we realized that above may change, if not through the leadership of the government, then at least through the push of NGOs and perhaps with the help of aggregates of local government.


 
Israel:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 20th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Report: Ukraine Synagogue Firebombed Just Days After Distribution of Anti-Semitic Flyers (VIDEO)

April 20, 2014 12:00 pm 21 comments
A vandal firebombing the Noklayev Synagogue, in Ukraine, on April 19, 2014, as recorded by closed-circuit security cameras. Photo: Screenshot / Yisroel Gotlieb.

A vandal firebombing the Nikolayev Synagogue, in Ukraine, on April 19, 2014, as recorded by closed-circuit security cameras. Photo: Screenshot / Yisroel Gotlieb.

The Nikolayev Synagogue in Ukraine was reportedly firebombed by vandals at approximate 2 AM on Saturday morning, according to Chabad blog Shturem and closed-circuit footage of the attack, uploaded to YouTube at the weekend.

The footage was posted by Yisroel Gotlieb, son of the city’s chief rabbi, Sholom Gotlieb.

One firebomb was thrown at the door of the synagogue, which was unoccupied at the time, and another was lobbed at a window, according to the blog.

The junior Gotleib told Shturem that “miraculously a person passing by the shul was equipped with a fire extinguisher, and immediately put out the fire that had erupted, preventing massive damage.”

In February, the Giymat Rosa Synagogue, in Zaporizhia, southeast of Kiev, was also firebombed.

Reports of rising anti-Semitism in the Ukraine after Russia’s recent occupation of Crimea were highlighted last week when fliers, reminiscent of the pogroms of a century ago, were distributed outside of a synagogue on Passover. The origin of the fliers is yet unknown, and debate has focused on whether they were from Russian or Ukrainian groups, from officials or designed to appear so, or if they were intended as some kind of a KGB-style subterfuge created to use anti-Semitism as a lever in the conflict.

The fliers, distributed in Donetsk, were addressed to “Ukraine nationals of Jewish nationality,” alerting Jews to pay a fee to register their names on a list and to show documentation of property ownership, or face deportation.

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From the 21 Comments

  • If one hair from one Jewish head will fall, the IDF will take good care of those anti-semities Bastards!! They really don’t know who are they dealing with?? What happend 70 years ago will NEVER happen again!!

  • What is it about this you don’t understand? Israel must always be there!

  • chaim yosef levi

    This behavior is expected from Ukrainians. The Breslovers must stop patronizing Ukraine by peregrinating there. Better rremove the remains of Rabbi Nachman and bury him in Israel.
    Stop going there to drink their Vodka and to use the Ukrainian hookers. Other jews must leave that G-d forsaken land.p

  • Many of us regrettably have such short memories. We should ask ourselves why so many concentration camp guards and auxiliary troops were Ukrainian and were often more ruthless than their German compatriots. This part of the world has been a hot bed of anti-semitism for centuries past and anti-Jewish animus remains well entrenched in the psyche of the populace. Not one Jew should have taken up residence in the Ukraine after the Second World War.

  • Adele Mischel MSW

    Those of us who went through the Holocaust, know from personal experience, when the ugly demon of anti-Semitism once again rears its head. The Ukraine is no longer a home for a proud people…the Jewish people.
    It is difficult to leave a homeland, but in this situation, the real homeland is Israel..

  • A message from On High to get out of there.

  • A message from On High to get out of therre.

  • I thought the flyer and all the antisemetic stuff from the Ukraine was fake. Ha–I do not want to say that I told you that those Ukranian bastards were bad, but I told you so.

    This is precisely why I have said from the beginning, that I hope the Ukraine-Russia situation becomes the same as the Iran-Iraq War–for 9 years. If you think this Ukranian firebombing of a synagogue is bad for Jews, you should only know what their hero–Bohdan Chmelnitzky did to the Jews in the 1600?s. A whole lot worse than the Nazis and Hitler–yet that mother f***** Chmelnitzky, is on their $5 bill today; and the Ukranians are obviously proud of him.

    The Russians and the Ukranians should all drop dead–and I will celebrate those events!!!

  • REMEMBER: The sad sacks who perpetrated this sick act were nursed by their mothers’…
    Cowardly perversion by a few with lesser brains. Decency…Respect was never their strong suit..

  • Lucille Kaplan

    Even if these events are sinister contrivances of Russian annexationists wanting to make ethnic Ukrainians look bad, the fact that either side, in this conflict, feels free to resort to anti-Semitism, and that both sides know full well that anti-Semitism catches on like wildfire in this region,confirms what others have already said here: That it is folly for Jews to remain in this part of Eastern Europe. The mass exterminations of Jews in the forests of Volhyn (including 2 of my sisters), often at the hands of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators, bespeaks what appears to be nearly a genetically programmed hatred of Jews, in that region. . .I wish it were otherwise. .The time to evacuate is now.

  • It is time to get out of any country were Jews lives are threaten, Israel is the homeland and today there are no excuses for a big tragedy. “Never Again means Never Again.” One more reason for Israel to remain a Jewish State…a Jewish Nation… a Jewish Country.

  • pity we did not have a sniper on place to shoot him down

  • This is precisely why Israel must be the Jewish homeland.

    • Dr. abraham Weizfeld

      Just one fascist and so many frightened chickens? My uncle Meyer Goldsheider did not run away, he fought the Nazi occupation as a partisan.

  • Not a moment too soon for Jews to leave this country that has persecuted Jews for over 100 years. Nothing will change there until the last one is out. Then the Ukrainians will be able to blame us anyway, but can’t hurt anyone. They murdered 100?s of thousands of Jews during WWII, why does anyone think this was a passing fad.

  • NOW IS THE TIME FOR JEWS TO MAKE ALYAH TO ISRAEL BEFORE ITS TO LATE

  • An Easter greeting perhaps?

  • It is time for the Jews to get out of Russia, the Ukraine and any of the countries in the former Soviet Union.

    • You only encourage other mindsets to add to the shame…As you sit smug else wear.  Not helpful in the least.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 20th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Ab out OVER THE RAINBOW – From the desk of  Benjamin Zaum.

Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014

I KNOW THAT MANY IMMIGRANT JEWS HAVE CHANGED THEIR NAMES TO “MAKE IT IN SHOW BIZZ”, BUT I WASN’T AWARE OF WHAT YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ .  WHEN I NEXT WATCH “THE WIZARD OF OZ” (FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME), I WILL REMEMBER THE WORDS THAT ARE WRITTEN BELOW.  PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ THIS IN ITS ENTIRETY AND YOU’LL LEARN SOMETHING YOU NEVER KNEW. 

 

 

 

At the 2014 Oscars, they celebrated the 75th anniversary of the release of the “Wizard of Oz” by having Pink sing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, with highlights from the film in the background. But what few people realized, while listening to that incredible performer singing that unforgettable song, is that the music is deeply embedded in the Jewish experience.

 

 

The film came out on January 1, 1939. This was less than two months after the notorious Kristallnacht – night of the crystal – when Jewish businesses were looted, synagogues attacked and Jewish storefronts had their windows smashed by the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria. WWII was exactly 8 months away. In other words, the Holocaust was about to begin. Six million Jews would be murdered, one million of them children, for no other reason other than that they were Jews.

 

In the prelude to this orgy of murder, three great revolutionary movements were incubated in the Jewish towns and villages of Germany and eastern Europe: Communism, Zionism and Americanism.

The Communists tried to avert the impending destruction of European Jewry by doing away with all nationalism and creating a utopian Communist society where Jews would not be persecuted because no one would be persecuted. There would be no nations and no religions. Kind of John Lennon’s utopian “Imagine”.

The Zionists attempted to overcome Jewish powerlessness by empowering Jews. Nations would not disappear right away, they said. Rather, the only way to avert the destruction of world Jewry was for Jews to go back to their ancient homeland and establish themselves as a people. Only that way, when the great melding of humanity would happen, Jews could join the community of nations.

For their part, those Jews that emigrated to America – especially in the great waves at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century – believed that the solution to the “Jewish question” had already been invented – America!

 

Whereas Communists wanted to assimilate in the lands that they lived in, and Zionists wanted to assimilate on a national level i.e., let’s create Israel so we can be a “nation like any other nation”, for millions of imperiled Jews assimilation was possible only in America. In America, they argued, everyone assimilates.

Of course, many came to America to physically survive. They had no desire to give up their identity. But many others saw America not as a land of refuge or opportunity but as a dreamland that exists “somewhere over the rainbow.” In that land, they thought, “skies are blue and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

 

When the clouds of anti-Semitism were gathering over Europe – as they are once again gathering now – out of the collective Jewish angst that the immigrants brought to America, a handful of Jews translated their assimilationist fantasies onto a new medium – film.

As Neal Gabler has so remarkably documented in “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood” all the Hollywood studios were created by Jewish immigrants.

Columbia Pictures was founded by Adolph Zukor from Hungary, Universal was founded by Carl Laemmle from Germany, MGM by Louis B. Mayer from Belarus, Warner Brothers by Polish immigrants Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack Warner (Jack was the only brother born in North America). The list goes on.

The genius of these “moguls” was that they were able to translate shtetl {small town in East Europe} dreams into American feature films. Suddenly, their fantasies of white picket fences, strong fathers, loving neighbours and a society where race and religion didn’t matter became everyone’s fantasies. “Americanism” morphed into “Hollywoodism”, and Hollywoodism replaced the real America with the America of the films. For example, the American army was segregated up to and including WWII. But in Hollywood films, the American army was integrated and that’s how we remember the Second World War – blacks and whites fighting together in platoons that never existed.

Similarly with the Westerns. Bad guys with high boots terrorizing religious townspeople until a new sheriff rode into town didn’t actually happen in the American West.

But the Hollywood Jews managed to take the experience of eastern European Jews terrorized during pogroms by Ukrainian Cossacks and convert it into the classic American Western.

 

The fantasies of immigrant Jews wanting to be “real” Americans were popularized not only by Hollywood producers – there were also the Broadway and Tin Pan Alley Jews.

It is no accident, for example, that the greatest Christmas songs of all time were written by Jews. For example, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” was written by Johnny Marks and “White Christmas” was penned by a Jewish liturgical singer’s (cantor) son, Irving Berlin. But perhaps the most poignant song emerging out of the mass exodus from Europe was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.

The lyrics were written by Yip Harburg. He was the youngest of four children born to Russian Jewish immigrants. His real name was Isidore Hochberg and he grew up in a Yiddish speaking, Orthodox, Jewish home in New York. The music was written by Harold Arlen, a cantor’s son. His real name was Hyman Arluck and his parents were from Lithuania.

Together, Hochberg and Arluck wrote “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, which was voted the 20th century’s number one song by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

In writing it, the two men reached deep into their immigrant Jewish consciousness – framed by the pogroms of the past and the Holocaust about to happen – and wrote an unforgettable melody set to near prophetic words. Read the lyrics in their Jewish context, and suddenly the words are no longer about wizards and Oz, but about Jewish survival:

 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

 

Someday I’ll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That’s where you’ll find me.

 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can’t I?

 

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can’t I?

 

The Jews of Europe could not fly. They could not escape beyond the rainbow. Harburg was almost prescient when he talked about wanting to fly like a bluebird away from the “chimney tops”. In the post-Auschwitz era, chimney tops have taken on a whole different meaning than the one they had at the beginning of 1939.

Pink’s mom is Judith Kugel. She’s Jewish of Lithuanian background. At this year’s Oscars, as Pink was belting the Harburg/Arlen song from the stage at the Academy Awards, I wasn’t thinking about the movie. I was thinking about Europe’s lost Jews and the immigrants to America. I was then struck by the irony that for two thousand years the land that the Jews heard of “once in a lullaby” was not America, but Israel.

The remarkable thing would be that less than ten years after “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was first published in 1939, the exile was over and the State of Israel was reborn. Perhaps the “dreams that you dare to dream” really do come true. 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 We were not that clever by ourselves – but recognized the depth of the Title “SHIMON THE LAST” a title used by Ernst Trost for a column in March 30th Sunday issue of The Vienna Kronen Zeitung.

The idea here is that the 91  year young Shimon Peres is the last active politician of the generation of the Founders of the State of Israel.

Born Szymon Perski (2 August 1923) in Wiszniew, Poland (now Vishnyeva, Belarus), the grand-son of a Rabbi he adored, he got an orthodox upbringing. He came to Palestine in   1934.

At 15, he started at Ben Shemen agricultural school and lived on Kibbutz Geva for several years.   Peres was one of the founders of Kibbutz Alumot.   In 1941 he was elected Secretary of Hanoar Haoved Vehalomed, a Labor Zionist youth movement, and in 1944 returned to Alumot, where he worked as a dairy farmer, shepherd and kibbutz secretary.

All of Peres’ relatives who remained in Wiszniew in 1941 were murdered in the the Holocaust, many of them (including his beloved grand-fatherRabbi Meltzer) burned alive in the town’s synagogue.

In 1947, Peres joined the Haganah, the predecessor of the Israel Defense Forces. David Ben-Gurion made him responsible for personnel and arms purchases.

He held several diplomatic and military positions during and directly after Israel’s War of Independence.

His first high-level government position was as Deputy Director-General of Defense in 1952, and Director-General from 1953 until  1959.

During his career, he has represented five political parties in the Knesset: Mapai, Rafi, the Alignment, Labor and Kadima, and has led Alignment and Labor. Peres won the 1994 Nobel Peace Prize together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat for the peace talks that he participated in as Israeli Foreign Minister, producing the Oslo Accords.

Shimon’s last political position was the two terms of Israel Presidency – a position from which he will retire in July 2014.

His official State visit With the President of Austria was his farewell trip to Europe. He expects still to visit China as well.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 16th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Brazen Hamas Billboard Links Hamas to Turkey, Qatar.

April 3, 2014    1 comment
Hamas's publicity billboard that reads, 'Jerusalem is Waiting for Men.' Photo: Screenshot.

Hamas’s publicity billboard that reads, ‘Jerusalem is Waiting for Men.’ Photo: Screenshot.

In a rather conspicuous propaganda stunt, Hamas, the terror group ruling Gaza, foisted a new billboard showing the heads of its Islamist leadership, along with the leaders of Turkey and Qatar, with a caption that implies their help has been recruited to wrest Jerusalem from Israeli control.

The billboard shows Hamas political chief  Khaled Meshal and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, alongside previous and current Qatari leaders Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The billboard reads ”Jerusalem is Waiting for Men,” along with a photo of the Dome of the Rock.

The massive banner was photographed in Gaza by the Palestinian News Agency, and flagged on Thursday by blogger Elder of Ziyon.

The blogger wrote that the sign also implies two other messages.

First, the belittling of leaders of other Arab countries, especially Egypt, where Hamas gained under the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, and is now being shunned after that group, its political “big brother,” was expelled last year.

And, second, that Hamas, which played second fiddle to Islamic Jihad in last month’s shelling of Israel, is the stronger of the two groups and will be on the winning team to, one day, take Jerusalem.

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Egyptian Entrepreneur Laments Lack of Open Business With Israel.

April 3, 2014   3 comments
Cairo International Airport, where sources spied Israeli and Egyptian security officials meeting to discuss cooperation to fight terrorists in the Sinai. Photo: Cairo International Airport.

Cairo International Airport, where sources spied Israeli and Egyptian security officials meeting to discuss cooperation to fight terrorists in the Sinai. Photo: Cairo International Airport.

An Egyptian entrepreneur said he resents his country’s hostility to Israel which prevents him from openly conducting any business with the Jewish state, Egyptian daily Al-Ahram reported late last week.

“It is very unfortunate that we cannot be pragmatic and say this particular country has good quality and inexpensive commodities and we are going to import from it because it is in our interest,” said the unnamed Egyptian, who still does business with Israel on the down low. “After all these years an Israeli commodity on, say, the shelf of a supermarket would not be picked up except by a few people — if we assume that any supermarket would at all dare to carry, say, Israeli fruit juice.”

Like most Egyptian businessmen who work with Israelis, he insisted on remaining anonymous for fear of being “stigmatized as dealing with the enemy,” he told Al-Ahram.

“I really don’t understand; we have a peace deal and we cannot do business, it has been 35 years since this peace treaty was signed and still it is a big issue if someone said let us do business with Israel or let us benefit of their agricultural expertise,” he said.

Trade between Israel and Egypt dropped after President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011, but government officials in Cairo say the fall was possibly a result of the subsequent political turmoil, according to the report.

Despite any current animosity Egypt may harbor toward Israel, an independent economic source told Al-Ahram that Egyptian authorities are considering all options in dealing with the country’s current severe energy shortages, not excluding the import of natural gas from Israel.

“Cooperation in natural gas has been very stable for many years despite the suspension and trade dispute that occurred after the 25 January Revolution removed Mubarak — but this is the case with trade cooperation in general, limited and stable,” said a government official.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 29th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Palestinian students visit Auschwitz in first organized visit.

Visit is part of program that aims to teach Israeli and Palestinian students
about the other side’s suffering in effort to study how empathy could
facilitate reconciliation.

By Matthew Kalman | Mar. 28, 2014

A group of 30 Palestinian students arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau on
Thursday (yesterday), in what is believed to be the first organized visit by Palestinian
students to a Nazi death camp.

The students are spending several days in Kraków and O?wi?cim guided by two
Jewish Holocaust survivors.

A news blackout on the trip was requested by the organizers. The presence of
the Palestinian group at Auschwitz-Birkenau is being reported here for the
first time.

The students from Al-Quds University and Birzeit University, near Ramallah,
are participating in a joint program on Reconciliation and Conflict
Resolution with the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany, and
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The program’s aim is for Israeli and Palestinian students to learn about the
suffering that has helped shape the historical consciousness of the other
side.

Last week, a group of Israeli students visited the Dheisheh refugee camp,
located south of Bethlehem,  to learn about the Palestinian experience of
suffering during the founding of Israel in 1948 ­­– known to Palestinians as
the Nakba (“the catastrophe”).

The reactions of each group will be studied by a group of PhD psychology
students to see whether exposure to the conflicting historical narrative
helps the students to understand their enemy, and facilitates efforts toward
reconciliation and coexistence.

The Palestinian side of the program is directed by Mohammed S. Dajani,
professor of American Studies at Al-Quds. Because of the Palestinian freeze
on joint projects with Israeli universities, the Palestinian students are
participating under the banner of Prof. Dajani’s Wasatia movement of
moderate Islam.

Israeli groups regularly visit refugee camps in the West Bank searching for
cross-border understanding, but the Palestinian visit to Auschwitz is
unprecedented. It grew out of a visit by Prof. Dajani as part of a large
Jewish-Muslim-Christian delegation in 2011, after which he coauthored a New
York Times op-ed entitled “Why Palestinians Should Learn About the
Holocaust.”

Since then, Prof. Dajani has written what he believes to be the first
objective introduction to the Holocaust for Palestinian students in Arabic,
which he hopes will become a textbook used in Palestinian schools and
universities.

“Basically, we want to study how empathy with the Other could help in the
process of reconciliation,” Prof. Dajani says. “I feel I would like
Palestinians to explore the unexplored, and to meet these challenges where
you might find that within their community there will be a lot of pressure
on them not to do it or questioning why they are doing it, or that this is
propaganda. I feel that’s nonsense.”

Prof. Dajani says more than 70 students applied for the 30 places on the
Poland trip, but five later dropped out because of peer pressure.
He says the choice of Dheisheh for the Israeli students was not meant to
suggest there was an equivalence or even a direct link between the Holocaust
and the Nakba. They were chosen as the symbolic events that have deeply
affected the psyche on both sides of the conflict.

“We are seeking knowledge,” he says. “We are seeking to know what has
happened; why did it happen; how can it be prevented from happening again? I
believe it is very important to break this wall of bigotry, ignorance and
racism that has separated us from crossing over to this new realm.”

“One of my students asked me why we should learn about the Holocaust when
the Israelis want to ban even the use of the word ‘Nakba,’” he adds. “My
response was: ‘Because in doing so, you will be doing the right thing. If
they are not doing the right thing, that’s their problem.’”

Prof. Dajani, who was banned from Israel for 25 years for his activities for
Fatah in Lebanon in the 1970s and ’80s, says the student program is a
practical expression of his belief that Israelis and Palestinians can settle
their differences through compromise, moderation and human contact. He says
his own visit to the Nazi death camp had a profound effect that he wishes to
share with his students.

“I was also raised in the culture of denial, so for me, to go and see and
look and be on the ground – it was a very sad experience for me.
It had a lot of impact,” he admits. “I was shocked about the inhumanity of
man to man. How can this happen? Why did it happen? Why would man be this
cruel?

“It was shocking for me, because it showed me the deep, deep, dark side of
human evil,” he adds.

Prof. Dajani has a track record of espousing views that are unpopular with
the Palestinian academic mainstream. He is one of the few Palestinian
professors to openly oppose the call for Palestinians and others to boycott
Israeli universities.

Hanna Siniora, a veteran campaigner for Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation,
says Prof. Dajani’s initiative should be welcomed.

“It’s very important for people to see the viciousness of such acts,”
he says. “It should touch them in their humanity, in their sense of
understanding that human beings don’t do evil things like that. This has
caused a major problem in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, because the
psyche of the Israelis is so tormented by what happened to the Jewish people
that they cannot trust anybody.

“This is an educational trip. It opens the eyes and minds,” he adds.
“If there is an empty place, I’d like to come along,” he says.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Israeli Technology Helps Secure Statue of Liberty.

March 25, 2014- The Algemeiner.

The Statue of Liberty. Photo: Wiki Commons.

MODI’IN, ISRAEL – An Israeli company was recently chosen to be part of a nine-member team of technology vendors to protect the Statue of Liberty.

BriefCam is part of a “dream team” of top technology companies that will enhance public safety and operation efficiency at the famous monument.

BriefCam was selected for its award-winning Video Synopsis technology, which summarizes hours of events into a “brief” that takes just minutes to watch. The Israeli company, headquartered in Modi’in, Israel, has projects in several cities in North America, China, and Taiwan, a company representative told Tazpit News Agency. “We are being used by law enforcement and investigative agencies in the U.S., China, and of course, Israel.”

The current surveillance deployment marks the first time an all-digital surveillance system has been installed at the Statue of Liberty monument, which previously used an old analog system that had been unable to reach certain areas of Liberty Island.

Following the heavy damage caused by deadly Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Statue of Liberty underwent eight months of renovation and repairs. The monument reopened to the public on Independence Day, July 4, 2013.


“The National Park Service and Statue of Liberty National Monument greatly appreciate the comprehensive security system donated by Total Recall,” Capt. Gregory Norman, Commander of Liberty District of the U.S. Park Police said.

“The lack of electricity, flooding, and damage caused by Sandy could not stop the amazing team from making sure that Lady Liberty could welcome visitors – as she always has,” said Jordan Heilweil, president of Total Recall Corporation.

“We assembled a Dream Team of cutting-edge security technology providers to give her the best protection possible while helping the Park Police, Department of the Interior and National Park Service deliver a memorable experience for the millions of families who visit the Statue each year,” added Heilweil.

Dror Irani, CEO and President of BriefCam, further added that “for over a hundred years, as people arrived at Ellis Island from every part the world, they would see the Statue of Liberty and feel they had reached a safe haven in the USA. Today, we’re extremely proud to be part of the team bringing 21st century safety and security technology to this long-standing symbol of hope and freedom.”

The Statue of Liberty was a gift of friendship to the United States from the people of France and was dedicated in October 1886. The robed female figure, holding a torch and tablet, represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Approximately four million people visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island each year, according to the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Uri Avnery

 

March 22, 2014

 

 

 

                                                A Hundred Years Later

 

 

 

THERE IS an old Chinese curse that says: “May you live in historic times!” (If there isn’t, there should be.)

 

 

 

This week was a historic time. The Crimea seceded from Ukraine. Russia annexed it.

 

 

 

A dangerous situation. No one knows how it will develop.

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER MY last article about the Ukrainian crisis, I was flooded with passionate e-mail messages.

{ We posted the first Uri Avnery article on Crimea under our title - www.sustainabilitank.info/2014/03… that implied we did think this was a very good and honest article. So, it is interesting to see other reactions. We also followed up with several articles on Stepan Bandera that slowed our enthusiasm about Ukrainian independence unless it is made clear that the Maidan leaders and followers understand that “Nationalism Ueber Alles” is nothing to be happy about.}

 

 

Some were outraged by one or two sentences that could be construed as justifying Russian actions. How could I excuse the former KGB apparatchik, the new Hitler, the leader who was building a new Soviet empire by destroying and subjugating neighboring countries?

 

 

Others were outraged, with the same passion, by my supposed support for the fascist gangs which have come to power in Kiev, the anti-Semites in Nazi uniforms, and the American imperialists who use them for their own sinister purposes.

 

 

I am a bit bewildered by the strength of feeling on both sides. The Cold War, it seems, is not over. It just took a nap. Yesterday’s warriors are again rallying to their flags, ready to do battle.

 

 

Sorry, I can’t get passionate about this side or that. Both, it seems to me, have some justice on their side. Many of the battle cries are bogus.

 

 

 

 

THOSE WHO rage against the annexation of the Crimea by the Russian Federation and compare it to Hitler’s “Anschluss” of Austria may be right in some sense.

 

 

 

I remember the newsreels of ecstatic Austrians welcoming the soldiers of the Führer, who was, after all, an Austrian himself. There can be no doubt that most Austrians welcomed the “return to the fatherland”.

 

 

 

That seems to be the case now in the Crimea. For a long time the peninsula had been a part of Russia. Then, in 1954, the leader of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian himself, presented the Crimea as a gift to Ukraine. It was mostly a symbolic gesture, since both Russia and Ukraine belonged to the same Soviet state and were subject to the same oppression.

 

 

 

But the main point is that the people of the Crimea were not consulted. There was no referendum.  {that seems to be the outsiders argument – those that look on this as they were looking on the Austrian Case – but really – in crimea there was a gun point referendum in the set up voting that did probaby present the results that the population of today wanted – PJ}

The majority of the population is Russian, and undoubtedly wishes now to return to Russia. It expressed this wish in a referendum that, on the whole, seems to be quite authentic. So the annexation may be justified.

 

 

 

Vladimir Putin himself brought up the precedent of Kosovo, which seceded from Serbia not so long ago. This may be a bit cynical, since Russia strenuously objected to this secession at the time. All the Russian arguments then are now contradicted by Putin himself.

 

 

 

If we leave out cynicism, hypocrisy and great power politics for a moment, and stick to simple moral principles, then what is good for the goose is good for the gander. A sizable national minority, living in its homeland, has a right to secede from a state it does not like.

 

 

 

For this reason I supported the independence of Kosovo and believe that the same principle applies now to Catalonia and Scotland, Tibet and Chechnya.

 

 

 

There is always a way to prevent secession without using brute force: to create conditions that make the minority want to stay in the majority state. Generous economic, political and cultural policies can achieve this. But for that you need the wisdom of farsighted leaders, and that is a rare commodity everywhere. 

 

 

 

 

 

BY THE same token, Ukrainians can be understood when they kick out a president who wants to bring them into the Russian orbit against their will. His golden bathroom appliances are beside the point.

 

 

 

Another question is what role the fascists play in the process. There are contradictory reports, but Israeli reporters on the scene testify to their conspicuous presence in the center of Kiev.

 

 

 

The problem has confronted us since the Tunisian Spring: in many of the “spring” countries the uprisings bring to the fore elements that are worse than the tyrants they want to displace. The revolutions are started by idealists who are unable to unite and set up an effective regime, and then are taken over by intolerant fanatics, who are better fighters and better organizers. 

 

 

 

That is the secret of the survival of the abominable Bashar al-Assad. Few people want Syria to fall into the hands of a Taliban-like Islamic tyranny. That is also the fate of Egypt: the liberal democrats started the revolution but lost the democratic elections to a religious party, which was in a haste to impose its creed on the people. They were overthrown by a military dictatorship that is worse than the regime which the original revolution overthrew.

 

 

 

The emergence of the neo-Nazis in Kiev is worrying, even if Putin uses their presence for his own purposes. If they are supported by the West, overtly or covertly, that is disturbing.

 

 

 

 

 

EQUALLY WORRYING is the uncertainty about Putin’s intentions.

 

 

 

In many of the countries surrounding Russia there live large numbers of Russians, who went to live there in Soviet times. Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and other countries have large Russian minorities, and even majorities, who yearn to be annexed to the motherland.

 

 

 

No one really knows Putin. How far will he go? Can he control his ambitions? Will he be carried away by his successes and the lack of wise policies in Western capitals?

 

 

 

Addressing his parliament about the annexation of the Crimea, he seemed restrained, but there was no mistaking the imperial trimmings of the event. He would not be the first leader in history who overestimated his successes and underrated the power of his opponents.

 

 

 

And on the other side – is there enough wisdom in Washington and the other Western capitals to produce the right mixture of firmness and restraint to prevent an uncontrollable slide into war?

 

 

 

 

 

IN THREE months the world will “celebrate” the hundredth anniversary of the shot in Sarajevo – the shot that ignited a worldwide conflagration.

 

 

 

It may be helpful to recount again the chain of events that caused one of the most destructive wars in human history, a war that consumed millions upon millions of human lives and destroyed an entire way of life.

 

 

 

The shot that started it all was quite accidental. The assassin, a Serb nationalist, failed in his first attempt to kill a quite insignificant Austrian archduke. But after he had already given up, he came across his intended victim again, by chance, and shot him dead.

 

 

 

The incompetent Austrian politicians and their senile emperor saw an easy opportunity to demonstrate the prowess of their country and presented little Serbia with an ultimatum. What could they lose?

 

 

 

Except that Serbia was the protégé of Russia. In order to deter the Austrians, the Czar and his equally incompetent ministers and generals ordered a general mobilization of their vast army. They were quite unaware of the fact that this made war unavoidable, because…

 

 

 

The German Reich, which had come into being only 43 years earlier, lived in deadly fear of a “war on two fronts”. Located in the middle of Europe, squeezed between two great military powers, France and Russia, it drew up a plan to forestall this eventuality. The plan changed every year in the wake of military exercises, but in essence it was based on the premise that one enemy had to be crushed before the other enemy had time to join the battle.

 

 

 

The plan in place in 1914 was to crush France before the cumbersome Russian mobilization could be completed. So when the Czar announced his mobilization, the German army invaded Belgium and reached the outskirts of Paris in a few weeks. They almost succeeded in defeating France before the Russians were ready.

 

 

 

(25 years later, Hitler solved the same problem in a different way. He signed a sham treaty with Stalin, finished France off and then attacked Russia.)

 

 

 

In 1914, Great Britain, shocked by the invasion of Belgium, hastened to the aid of its French ally. Italy, Japan, and others joined the fray. So did the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Palestine. World War I was underway.

 

 

 

Who wanted this terrible war? Nobody. Who took a cool-headed decision to start it? Nobody. Of course, many national and international interests were involved, but none so important as to justify such a catastrophe.

 

 

 

No, it was a war nobody wanted or even envisioned. The flower of European youth was destroyed by the sheer stupidity of the contemporary politicians, followed by the colossal stupidity of the generals.

 

 

 

And in the end, a peace treaty was concocted that made another world war practically inevitable. Only after another awful world war did the politicians come to their senses and make another fratricidal war in Western Europe  unthinkable.

 

 

 

A hundred years after it all started, it is well to remember.

 

 

 

 

 

CAN ANYTHING like this happen again?  Can an unintended chain of foolish acts lead to another catastrophe? Can one thing lead to another in a way that incompetent leaders are unable to stop?

 

 

 

I hope not. After all, during these hundred years, some lessons have been learned and absorbed.

 

 

 

Or not?

 

 

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 21st, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Israel’s Peres Sends Iranian New Year’s Greeting – Happy Nowruz – to Persian Speakers.

March 20, 2014 10:43 am

by Joshua Levitt, The Algemeiner.

Israeli President Shimon Peres delivering a festive greeting for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 20, 2014. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli President Shimon Peres delivering a festive greeting for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on March 20, 2014. Photo: Screenshot.

Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday spoke to the people of Iran by delivering a festive greeting for Nowruz, the Persian New Year, through interviews with Persian language radio stations, Israel Radio Persian and Radio Farda, and via his YouTube channel.

Beginning with the traditional Persian greeting, Peres said, “Iraniane Gerami, Novruzetan Piruz Bad,” or “Iranian citizens, wherever you are, Happy Nowruz.”

“The Jewish people and the Persian people, the Iranian people have a very long history and we’re going to have a long future,” he said in the radio address. “We are old cultures, we learn history, we make history and we respect history. We have a heritage of values; we are not just business peoples but two nations that respect culture, that respect human dignity. We call to live in peace and understanding.”

Ending the message he said, “Let us have a year of science and of peace, without war and threats. Happy Nowruz!”

In the interviews he granted to the Persian-language outlets, Peres spoke about his experiences and memories of his visits to Iran during the time of the Shah, when relations and diplomacy between the countries were different.

He said,”I don’t have a special message for the people of Iran because it is the same message as the people of Israel: Let’s forget wars, let our young people build a new future. Let’s talk to each other, directly, without prejudices. We still have a great deal to do to make the world better, let’s march together to this goal.”

When asked about the future relations between the two countries, Peres said, “I think Israel will become the contributing member of the Middle East, I think our children and Arab children, Druze, Christians, everybody will go to the same universities and their major challenge will be the new ideas, the new discoveries.”

“I do believe that the young generation of Iran, like the young generation all over the world will choose to live in peace, in cooperation,” he said. “Instead of fighting, let’s compete in scientific endeavor. In competition everybody wins, in war everybody loses.”

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 17th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Towards Obama-Abbas meeting: hundreds of Israeli public figures present proposal for Israeli-Palestinian agreement.

from: Adam Keller otherisr@actcom.co.il
by:     
Naftali Raz <zar89@netvision.net.il

March 17, 2014

Towards Today’s crucial meeting between President Obama and President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazen),  regarding the proposed American “framework agreement”, hundreds of Israeli public figures – academics, writers, artists, former senior military officers, business CEO’s, Laureates of the Israel Prize and many others – are making a public proposal of principles on which such an agreement could and should be based.
This initiative is intended to support and facilitate the ongoing diplomatic process, let it move forward towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and prevent a collapse which might prove highly disastrous to both peoples and to the entire region.
“We appreciate the tireless efforts of Secretary of State Kerry, but we cannot stand aside passively and wait for outsiders to decide issues which are crucial for out future in this country. A voice must be heard, loud and clear, from the very heart of Israeli society, pointing the way forward” says campaign organizer Naftali Raz..
Contact: Naftali Raz, +972-(0)54-5494172<zar89@netvision.net.il>
==========================================================
Following is the text of the petition, due to be published today in the Hebrew and English editions of Israel’s Haaretz newspaper (see attachments).
We, the undersigned, call Upon Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Mahmud Abbas (Abu-Mazen)  to accept an Israeli-Palestinian “framework agreement” consisting of the following principles:
 • The establishment of a sovereign State of Palestine alongside the State of Israel, based on the 1967 borders with agreed-upon border changes
 • The Palestinian state will be demilitarized, in line with Israeli security requirements
 • Jerusalem will be the capital of the two States, according to the Clinton parameters: Jewish neighborhoods to Israel, Palestinian neighborhoods to Palestine
 • Special arrangements will be agreed upon regarding the management of Temple Mount (Haram al-Sharif)
• Full civil rights will be guaranteed to citizens belonging to national minorities in both States
• Peace and co-operation will be established between the two states
• Signing the agreement will signify the complete and absolute end of any mutual claims
• Both States will request the blessing and backing for the agreement of all the countries in the region, signatories of the “Arab League Peace Initiative”
 Because among both Israeli and Palestinian peoples, the majority has decided for peace .

(signed)
Achinoam Nini (Noa) – Singer and Musician, Shfayim
Ali El Assad – Dr., Lawyer, Lagiya
Aliza Zissman – Alternative Medicine, Herzliya
Alla Shainskaya – Dr. of life-sciences, Tel-Aviv
Alon Liel – Dr., former CEO of Foreign Office, Mevasseret Zion
Amiram Goldblum – Prof. of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Jerusalem
Amos Davidovich – Tour Guide, Lieutaenant-Colonel (Res.), Gezer
Amos Gvirtz – Human Rights Activist, Shfayim
Amos Korczyn – Prof. of Medicine, Tel Aviv
Amos Mokady – Author and Cinematographer, Tel Aviv
Amos Oz – Author, Tel Aviv
Anat Zanger – Prof. of Cinema and Television, Givatayim
Aner Preminger – Prof. of Cinema and Filmmaker, Jerusalem
Arie Nadler – Prof. of Social Psychology, Tel_aviv
Avi Glazerman – CEO, Hi-tech firm, Tel-Aviv
Avner Ben-Amos – Prof. of History of Education, Omer
Avraham Ronen – Prof. of Archaeology, Haifa
Avrasha Burstin – Colonel (Res.), Reut
Ayelet Hashachar Seidoff – business woman, Petachya
Baruch Vlamen – Pensioner, Hanaton
Ben-Ami Gov – Brigadier-General (Ret.), Israel Security Prize Laureate, Tel-Aviv
Beth Shamgar – Dr., Musicology, Rehovot
Binyamin Neuberger – Prof. of Political Science, Ra’anana
Celia Fassberg – Prof. of Law, Jerusalem
Chaim Cohen – Social Activist, Modi’in
Dalia Amit – Translator, Jerusalem
Dalia Golomb – retired teacher, Tel-aviv
Dan Jacobson – Prof. of Organizational Behavior, Hezliya
Dani Rosin – Medical dr., Surgeon, Tel-Aviv
David Har’el – Prof., Israel Prize Laureate – Computer Science, Bet-Zayit
David Shamgar – Economist, Rehovot
David Shamla – Secretary of JCALL (European Peace promoting Jewry
Doris Arkin – Sculptor, Kfar Shmaryahu
Doron Lieber – Agriculturist, Kibbutz Metzer
Doubi Shwartz – Chair of Bereaved Families for Peace, Hod Hasharon
Duby Barak – Educator, Jerusalem
Eli Meshulam – Lawyer, Raanana
Eli Safran – Tourism, Sasa
Elihu Katz – Prof., Israel Prize Laureate in Communication, Jerusalem
Emanuel Shaked – Brigadier-General (Ret.), Herzliya
Erel Shalit – Dr., Psychoanalyst, Ra’anana
Ester Kalinsky – Pensioner, Holon
Eytan Kalinsky – Poet, Holon
Fuaz Chsein – Author & Head of Education Department, Hurfeish
Gabi Salomon – Prof., Israel Prize Laureate in Education, Kiryat Tiv’on
Galit Raz-Dror – Project manager, Jerusalem
Gershon Ben-Shachar – Prof. of Psychology, Jerusalem
Gideon Shichman – Dr. of Science, Tel Aviv
Hanoch Gutfreund – Prof. of Physics, Jerusalem
Hasida Shafran – Human Rights Activist, Haifa
Hillel Shenker – journalist, Tel Aviv
Huda Abu Chmeid – Sociologist and Social Activist, Haifa
Idit Zartal – Prof. of History, Tel Aviv
Ilan lachish – CEO, Jerusalem
Inbal Harpaz – Hydro-therapist, Hod Hasharon
Iris Dotan-Katz – psychologist, Ramat Hasharon
Iris Pinchober – Social activist, Haifa
Iris Yotvat – Artist and Mentor, Caesaria
Ivri Verbin – Lieutenant-Colonel (Res.), CEO, Former Consultant to the Foreign Minister – Tel Aviv
Liora Eylon – Education, Kfar-Aza, “Gaza Hugging”
Micha Ben-Hilel – Education, Nir-Am, “Gaza Hugging”
Micah Leshem – Prof. of Psychology, Haifa
Micha Weiss – Clinical Psychologist, Givatayim
Michael Cohen – Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret.), Haifa
Michael Shemer – Vice CEO, Kfar Vradim
Michael Shiloh – Former Ambassador, Jerusalem
Michal Preminger – Psychologist, Jerusalem
Micky Gur – Economic Consultant, Neve Monuson
Miron Nomis – Educator and Tour Guide, Ben-Gurion College, Sde-Boker
Mohammad Walid Diab – Dr. of Social Work, Tamra
Mordechay Rokney – Prof. of Physics, Mevasseret Zion
Mory Arkin – Buisness Man, Kfar Shmaryahu
Mossi Raz – Former Knesset Member, Shoham
Naftali Raz – Educator and Tour Guide, Mevasseret Zion
Naomi Chazan – Former Knesset Member, Prof. of Political Science, Jerusalem
Naomi (Nomika) Zion – Head of Center for Social Justice and Democracy, Shderot, “Gaza hugging”
Naomi Raz – Psychologist, Mevasseret Zion
Netanel Katz – Management consultant, Ramat Hasharon
Nurit Gretz – Prof. of Literature and Cinema, Tel Aviv
Oded Hon Honigwax – Lawyer, and Social Activist, Tel Aviv
Ora Nelken Rotem – pianist, Jerusalem
Rami Ronen – Entrepreneur, Shoeva
Ran Shorer – Author, Talmey Yehiel
Reuven Choshen – Economic Consultant, Tel Aviv
Reuven Gerber – Author & Dr. of Judaism, Mevasseret zion
Ruby Peled – Colonel (Res.), Tel Aviv
Ruth Handzel – Dr. of Information Management, Tel Aviv
Ruth Katz – Prof., Israel Prize Laureate in Musicology, Jerusalem
Samir Chualed – Grocery, Sha’ab
Sari Sela – Head of Women’s Movement, Rosh Ha’ayin
Shaul Givoli – Police Major-General & IDF Brigadier-General (Ret.), Ramat Hasharon
Shifra Sagy – Prof., Head of Conflict Management program, Beer Sheva
Shimon Redlich – Lieutenant-Colonel (Res.), CEO, Tel Aviv
Shimon Zandbank – Prof., Israel Prize Laureate for Translation, Jerusalem
Shmulik Merzel – Educator, Tel Aviv
Sidra Ezrahi – Prof. of Hebrew Literature, Jerusalem
Steve Fassberg – Prof. of Hebrew Language, Jerusalem
Taha Abu Amin – Sheich, Muchtar of Sawa’ed Chumeira
Tamar Ronen – Pensioner, Haifa
Tawfik Hussry – Bookkeeper, Shfar’am
Udi Mori – CEO, Ramat Gan
Uri Croch – Dr. of social work, Kamon
Uri Or – CEO, Kiryat Tivon
Ya’acov Raz – Prof. of East Asian Sudies, Tel Aviv
Yael Admi – Computer Engineering, Ganey Yehuda
Yael Alfasi – Computer Programmer, Rosh Ha’ayin
Yael Ben Yehuda Rokny – Human Rights Activist, Mevasseret Zion
Yael Dayan – Former Knesset Member, Tel Aviv
Yael Gur – Educational Projects Manager, Neve Monusson
Yair Zaban – Former Minister in the Rabin Cabinet, Ramat gan
Yehoshuah Rosin – Economist, Rehovot
Yehoyada Amir – Rabbi, Prof. of Judaic Studies, Jerusalem
Yehuda Golan Ashenfeld – Brigadier-General (Res.), Kiryat Ono
Yehuda Pinchover – Social activist, Haifa
Yeshayahu Tadmor – Colonel (Res.), Prof. of Education, Haifa
Yishay Polachek – Social Activist, Tel Aviv
Yisrael Shafran – Human Rights Activist, Haifa
Yoav Has – Human Rights Activist, Jerusalem
Yoav Rodan – Lieutaenant-Colonel (Res.), CEO, Lavon
Yoela Har Shefi – Lawyer, Tel Aviv
Yoram Agmon – Brigadier-General (Res.), Karmei Yosef
Yoram Avnimelech – Prof. of Environmental Engineering, Haifa
Yosef Neuman – Prof. of Biology and Philosophy, Tel Aviv
Ze’ev Charles Greenbaum – Prof. of Psychology, Jerusalem
Ze’ev Zachor – Prof. of History, Sapir, Shderot, “Gaza Hugging”
Zehava Gov – Teacher, Tel-Aviv
Zohar Avitan – Education, Sderot, “Gaza Hugging”
=======================================================================================
 The “Leading the Leaders to Peace” group will hold an ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN WALK FOR PEACE
on Friday March 28, starting at 11:00 am from the Tel-Aviv Harbor (Reading parking lot), wearing white shirts
 For details: Info@LeadingTheLeadersForPeace.com , 972- (0)54-5661922, www.facebook.com/LeadingLeadersForPeace

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

B’nai B’rith Attends Unveiling of Iranian Arms Shipment

 

B’nai B’rith World Center Director Alan Schneider was on hand at the Eilat Naval Base as a guest of the prime minister’s office for the unveiling of the Iranian arms shipment intercepted last week by the Israeli Navy in the Red Sea. The cache of 40 M-302 rockets, 181 122 mm mortar shells and 400,000 rounds of machine gun bullets found hidden under bags of cement marked “Made in Iran” and was destined for terrorists in the Gaza Strip to use against Israel.

 

Speaking in front of the exhibition to 70 foreign journalists, 30 military attaches and other invited guests, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed exasperation with the lack of international condemnation of Iran in the face of this blatant violation of international law.

 

“There are those who would prefer that we do not hold this news conference here today. They feel uncomfortable that we show what is really happening inside Iran. They prefer that we continue to nurture the illusion that Iran has changed direction. They’re not prepared to recognize that Iran, a brutal regime, has not abandoned its deep involvement in terrorism, its systematic efforts to undermine peace and security throughout the Middle East, and its ambition to destroy the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said. “They conveniently ignore Iran’s continued criminal aggression in the mass killings in Syria; in supporting the terrorist organizations in Lebanon, in Gaza; in subversion throughout the Middle East; in dispatching terrorists to five continents; in the execution of hundreds of innocent people inside Iran every year. Above all, they deceive themselves into believing that Iran has given up its goal of developing nuclear weapons.”

 

Following Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that the smuggled arms were “another example of the fact that the Iranian regime is actually the largest terror exporter in the world. There is no conflict in the Middle East that this regime does not nourish with weapons or ammunition, with money or knowledge in terrorism.” He accused Iran of using its diplomatic pouch to transport explosives to Iranian embassies in Asia and South America.

 

 

B’nai B’rith Mission to Nazi Concentration Camp with Members of the European Parliament

 

A delegation of Spanish Members of European Parliament participated in a joint B’nai B’rith International and B’nai B’rith France mission to the Nazi concentration camp Natzweiler-Struthof. The delegation included of former Spanish Minister of Interior and MEP Jaime Mayor Oreja, MEP Rosa Estaràs Ferragut, MEP Teresa Jiménez Becerril and MEP Agustín Díaz de Mera. The delegation was accompanied by B’nai B’rith Director for EU Affairs Nuno Wahnon Martins and the President of the Strasbourg Hischler Lodge Marcel Kohen. The mission was covered by Radio Judaica Strasbourg.

 

The camp, located one hour from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, is an especially poignant site of remembrance, because was not only was it used as a concentration camp, but also a death camp that employed the use of gas chambers, killing thousands Jews, Roma, homosexuals and political prisoners from around Europe. It was a very emotional visit, where the MEPs paid tribute to the victims of World War II and were able to better understand the challenges created by all forms of discrimination and Holocaust denial within the European Union.

 

 

B’nai B’rith Defends Hate Crimes Law

 

B’nai B’rith joined other civil rights groups in filing an amicus, or friend-of-the-court, brief in the case of United States v. Miller, urging the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the constitutionality of a key federal hate crimes law. The brief also called on the court to affirm that the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, whose passage in 2009 B’nai B’rith advocated for, applies to cases in which religiously motivated violence involves victims and perpetrators who share the same faith.

 

 

B’nai B’rith Supports Voting Rights Legislation

 

B’nai B’rith joined other Jewish organizations in signing a letter to Congress calling for passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. The legislation would replace critical voter protections that prohibited discriminatory voting practices but have been stripped away by federal courts.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 7th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

A DISCLOSURE:

THIS IS AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ – IT HELPS ME UNDERSTAND MY OWN FEELINGS AS WELL – SPECIALLY AS I LOST A GRANDMOTHER AND AN AUNT TO THE BUTCHER KNIVES (LITERALLY) OF THE UKRAINIAN BANDERA  NATIONALISTS IN MILLIE – (THE BUKOWINA OF OLD AND NOW IN THE CHERNIVTSI OBLAST OF THE UKRAINE TAKEN BY THE SOVIETS FROM ROMANIA) – THAT WERE INCITED BY A PRIEST THAT CAME FROM KUTTY (UKRAINIANS LIVING THEN UNDER POLAND BEFORE BEING ANNEXED BY THE SOVIETS), ACROSS THE CHEREMUSH RIVER in 1941. THOSE UKRAINIANS THAT SURVIVED THE WAR ENDED UP IN BRITISH COLUMBIA AS RESPECTED WAR REFUGEES LIKE THE SURVIVORS OF MY MOTHER’S FAMILY ENDED UP IN TORONTO. THE CANADIAN UKRAINIANS MARCHED WITH THE RED&BLACK FLAG THEN NEXT TO CANADA FLAG IN LVIV WHEN I WITNESSED THERE THE UKRAINIAN INDEPENDENCE – AND THEY WONDERED WHY I DO NOT MARCH WITH THEM ALSO. I SAW NOW THOSE SAME  RED/BLACK FLAGS ON THE MAIDAN VIA TV.

INTERESTING HOW AVNERY REMINDS US THAT I MIGHT BE A DESCENDENT OF THE UKRAINIAN KHAZARS – PERSONALLY I KNOW THAT FATHER AND ME LOOK LIKE THAT – BUT HE ALSO TELLS US THAT BINATIONALISM DOES NOT WORK, AND THAT NETANYAHU IS BUILDING THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL AS A JEWISH STATE – AND THAT HURTS VERY MUCH. YES – ABSOLUTELY A MUST STUDY ARTICLE.

————————

Uri Avnery

March 8, 2014

 

                                                God Bless Putin

 

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU is very good at making speeches, especially to Jews, neocons and such, who jump up and applaud wildly at everything he says, including that tomorrow the sun will rise in the west.

 

The question is: is he good at anything else?

 

 

HIS FATHER, an ultra-ultra-Rightist, once said about him that he is quite unfit to be prime minister, but that he could be a good foreign minister. What he meant was that Binyamin does not have the depth of understanding needed to guide the nation, but that he is good at selling any policy decided upon by a real leader. 

 

(Reminding us of the characterization of Abba Eban by David Ben-Gurion: “He is very good at explaining, but you must tell him what to explain.”)

 

This week Netanyahu was summoned to Washington. He was supposed to approve John Kerry’s new “framework” agreement, which would serve as a basis for restarting the peace negotiations, which so far have come to naught.

 

On the eve of the event, President Barack Obama gave an interview to a Jewish journalist, blaming Netanyahu for the stalling of the “peace process” – as if there had ever been a peace process.

 

Netanyahu arrived with an empty bag – meaning a bag full of empty slogans. The Israeli leadership had striven mightily for peace, but could not progress at all because of the Palestinians. It is Mahmoud Abbas who is to blame, because he refuses to recognize Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People.

 

What…hmm…about the settlements, which have been expanding during the last year at a hectic pace? Why should the Palestinians negotiate endlessly, while at the same time the Israeli government takes more and more of the land which is the substance of the negotiations? (As the classic Palestinian argument goes: “We negotiate about dividing a pizza, and in the meantime Israel is eating the pizza.”)

 

Obama steeled himself to confront Netanyahu, AIPAC and their congressional stooges. He was about to twist the arms of Netanyahu until he cried “uncle” – the uncle being Kerry’s “framework”, which by now has been watered down to look almost like a Zionist manifesto. Kerry is frantic for an achievement, whatever its contents and discontents.

 

Netanyahu, looking for an instrument to rebuff the onslaught, was ready to cry as usual “Iran! Iran! Iran!” – when something unforeseen happened.

 

 

NAPOLEON FAMOUSLY exclaimed: ”Give me generals who are lucky!”  He would have loved General Bibi.

 

Because, on the way to confront a newly invigorated Obama, there was an explosion that shook the world:

 

Ukraine.

 

It was like the shots that rang out in Sarajevo a hundred years ago.

The international tranquility was suddenly shattered. The possibility of a major war was in the air.

 

Netanyahu’s visit disappeared from the news. Obama, occupied with a historic crisis, just wanted to get rid of him as quickly as possible. Instead of the severe admonition of the Israeli leader, he got away with some hollow compliments. All the wonderful speeches Netanyahu had prepared were left unspeeched. Even his usual triumphant speech at AIPAC evoked no interest.

 

All because of the upheaval in Kiev.

 

 

BY NOW, innumerable articles have been written about the crisis. Historical associations abound.

 

Though Ukraine means “borderland”, it was often at the center of European events. One must pity Ukrainian schoolchildren. The changes in the history of their country were constant and extreme. At different times Ukraine was a European power and a poor downtrodden territory, extremely rich (“the breadbasket of Europe”) or abjectly poor, attacked by neighbors who captured their people to sell them as slaves or attacking their neighbors to enlarge their country.

 

The Ukraine’s relationship with Russia is even more complex. In a way, the Ukraine is the heartland of Russian culture, religion and orthography. Kiev was far more important than Moscow, before becoming the centerpiece of Muscovite imperialism.

 

In the Crimean War of the 1850s, Russia fought valiantly against a coalition of Great Britain, France, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia, and eventually lost. The war broke out over Christian rights in Jerusalem, and included a long siege of Sevastopol. The world remembers the charge of the Light Brigade. A British woman called Florence Nightingale established the first organization to tend the wounded on the battlefield.  

 

In my lifetime, Stalin murdered millions of Ukrainians by deliberate starvation. As a result, most Ukrainians welcomed the German Wehrmacht in 1941 as liberators. It could have been the beginning of a beautiful friendship, but unfortunately Hitler was determined to eradicate the Ukrainian “Untermenschen”, in order to integrate the Ukraine into the German Lebensraum.

 

The Crimea suffered terribly. The Tatar people, who had ruled the peninsula in the past, were deported to Central Asia, then allowed to return decades later. Now they are a small minority, seemingly unsure of where their loyalties lie.

 

 

THE RELATIONSHIP between Ukraine and the Jews is no less complicated.

 

Some Jewish writers, like Arthur Koestler and Shlomo Sand, believe that the Khazar empire that ruled the Crimea and neighboring territory a thousand years ago, converted to Judaism, and that most Ashkenazi Jews are descended from them. This would turn us all into Ukrainians. (Many early Zionist leaders indeed came from Ukraine.)

 

When Ukraine was a part of the extensive Polish empire, many Polish noblemen took hold of large estates there. They employed Jews as their managers. Thus the Ukrainian peasants came to look upon the Jews as the agents of their oppressors, and anti-Semitism became part of the national culture of Ukraine.

 

As we learned in school, at every turn of Ukrainian history, the Jews were slaughtered. The names of most Ukrainian folk-heroes, leaders and rebels who are revered in their homeland are, in Jewish consciousness, connected with awful pogroms.

 

Cossack Hetman (leader) Bohdan Khmelnytsky, who liberated Ukraine from the Polish yoke, and who is considered by Ukrainians as the father of their nation, was one of the worst mass-murderers in Jewish history. Symon Petliura, who led the Ukrainian war against the Bolsheviks after World War I, was assassinated by a Jewish avenger.

 

Some elderly Jewish immigrants in Israel must find it hard to decide whom to hate more, the Ukrainians or the Russians (or the Poles, for that matter.)

 

 

PEOPLE AROUND the world find it also hard to choose sides.

 

The usual Cold-War zealots have it easy – they either hate the Americans or the Russians, out of habit.

 

As for me, the more I try to study the situation, the more unsure I become. This is not a black-or-white situation.

 

The first sympathy goes to the Maidan rebels. (Maidan is an Arab word meaning town square. Curious how it travelled to Kiev. Probably via Istanbul.)

 

They want to join the West, enjoy independence and democracy. What’s wrong with that?

 

Nothing, except that they have dubious bedfellows. Neo-Nazis in their copycat Nazi uniforms, giving the Hitler salute and mouthing anti-Semitic slogans, are not very attractive. The encouragement they receive from Western allies, including the odious neocons, is off-putting.

 

On the other side, Vladimir Putin is also not very prepossessing. It’s the old Russian imperialism all over again.

 

The slogan used by the Russians – the need to protect Russian-speaking people in a neighboring country – sounds eerily familiar. It is an exact copy of Adolf Hitler’s claim in 1938 to protect the Sudeten Germans from the Czech monsters.  

 

But Putin has some logic on his side. Sevastopol – the scene of heroic sieges both in the Crimean War and in World War II, is essential for his naval forces. The association with Ukraine is an important part of Russian world power aspirations.

 

A cold-blooded, calculating operator, of a kind now rare in the world, Putin uses the strong cards he has, but is very careful not to take too many risks. He is managing the crisis astutely, using Russia’s obvious advantages. Europe needs his oil and gas, he needs Europe’s capital and trade. Russia has a leading role in Syria and Iran. The US suddenly looks like a bystander.

 

I assume that in the end there will be a compromise. Russia will retain a footing in the coming Ukrainian leadership. Both sides will proclaim victory, as they should.

 

(By the way, for those here who believe in the “One-State Solution”: Another multicultural state seems to be breaking apart.)

 

 

WHERE WILL this leave Netanyahu?

 

He has gained some months or years without any movement toward peace, and in the meantime can continue with the occupation and build settlements at a frantic pace.

 

That is the traditional Zionist strategy. Time is everything. Every postponement provides opportunities to create more facts on the ground.

 

Netanyahu’s prayers have been answered. God bless Putin.

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 6th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

David Weisberg
Chief Executive Officer, Hazon
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center, 116 Johnson Road, Falls Village, CT 06031
 

 

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 4th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

 

03/04/2014 05:57 AM EST

 

Remarks at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Conference.

Remarks

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington Convention Center
Washington, DC
March 3, 2014

 


 

 

Norm, thank you. Thank you very, very much. Thank you all, 14,000 strong or more. (Applause.) Howard, Howard Friedman and Executive Director Howard Kohr, incoming president Bob Cohen, incoming chairman Michael Kassen, outgoing chairman Lee Rosenberg, and Ambassador Ron Dermer and Ambassador Dan Shapiro. I don’t know where our ambassadors are. Would they – somebody ought to applaud both of them here. (Applause.) There they are. Thanks for your own, Norman.

Let me tell you, it really is an enormous pleasure for me to be able to be here. It’s a privilege. And good to see so many friends, all 14,000 of you – a little frightening to see myself on about eight, nine, ten screens up here – (laughter). The last time I spoke to AIPAC, I joined your national summit in Napa Valley. I did it via satellite. And you were in the vineyards, I was overseas – a different kind of vineyard. So today, I think I’m getting the better end of the deal because I am here with you in person, and your wine selection is a lot more limited this time.

I have to tell you, I had the pleasure of speaking to AIPAC back in the 1990s, it was a great honor, and every time I come here, whether I get a chance to talk to a smaller group during the daytime sessions or otherwise, this is a remarkably inspiring gathering – people from every corner of the country coming together to demonstrate our deep support as Americans for a strong U.S.-Israel relationship. (Applause.)

And it is no exaggeration. It’s not just words to say that every single one of you brings here such a special passion to a cause that you so fiercely believe in. And let me tell you something unequivocally: After almost 30 years in the United States Senate, I can tell you that is precisely why AIPAC’s work is in the best traditions of American democracy, and I thank you for practicing it. (Applause.)

I want you to know that in my judgment, these democratic values are stamped in the DNA of both the United States and Israel. But we also share something much deeper than that. Like no other two countries on the planet, against the deepest odds, both America and Israel confidently, purposefully set out to be examples to the world. Think about it. From its earliest days, Israel has always said it’s not enough just to be one of many in a community of nations; Israel has strived since Isaiah’s time to serve as a light unto the nations. (Applause.) And that responsibility to be a light unto the nations sounds actually unbelievably similar to something that we as Americans know is part of who we are, too.

My grandfather ten times over – too hard to count in other terms – was a man by the name of John Winthrop. And he came to what was then the New World, and he came in search of freedom, freedom to worship as he wished. He was a minister. He and his congregants were outcasts, persecuted, heading into a rough and unforgiving land with no guarantee even of survival. And on his way here, he delivered a now fairly famous sermon at sea in which he called on his community to create a city upon a hill in their new home, America.

So whether you call it a city upon a hill or a light unto the nations, it actually means the same thing: being a model to the world. It means having a home that sets a standard, a standard of dignity and a standard of freedom. So the foundation of the friendship between the American people and the people of Israel was actually laid centuries before a single stone was set under the U.S. Capitol or under the Knesset. And looking around this room tonight, it is clear that our friendship has never been stronger. (Applause.)

And I’ll tell you why. Because today, as Israel faces serious challenges to her future, it is America that will stand firmly by her side. (Applause.) I will tell you that with the leadership of President Obama – and you can look it up, you can measure it; this is not an exaggeration, it’s a matter of fact – there has been a complete, unmatched commitment to Israel’s security. The record of this Administration in providing aid and assistance, consultation, weapons, help, standing up in various international fora, fighting, I am proud to tell you, is unrivaled. And the bottom line, pure and simple, has been making sure that Israel has the means to defend itself by itself and defending Israel’s right to be able to do so. That is what we’ve done. (Applause.)

Security. Security is fundamentally what President Obama is committed to. And so too is he committed to using the full force of our diplomacy to resolve the two great questions that most matter when it comes to ensuring the security of Israel: preventing a nuclear Iran and ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Applause.)

Now let me start with Iran because I know there are many questions. I know many people – there’s been a healthy debate about the approach. We welcome that. But let me sum up President Obama’s policy in 10 simple, clear words, unequivocal: We will not permit Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, period. (Applause.) Now, I added an eleventh word just for punctuation. (Laughter.)

But I want you to understand there are no if, ands, or buts. This is not a political policy. This is a real foreign policy. And we mean every word of what we say. You have the word of the President of the United States that Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. Now, as we said at the outset, and I say it again today, our diplomacy is guided by a simple bottom line: No deal is better than a bad deal. (Applause.) And we absolutely will not accept a bad deal. We are committed to a deal that gets the job done. (Applause.)

Why? Because we get it, we understand it. As President Obama said in Jerusalem, no one can question why Israel looks at the Iranian program and sees an existential threat. We understand it. We understand it in our gut. And we also know something else. This is not some favor that we do for Israel. This is something that is also in the interest of the United States of America, and it’s in the interest of countries surrounding Israel. (Applause.) A nuclear bomb for Iran would also threaten the stability of the region, indeed the entire world. It would produce an arms race among the surrounding countries. There is no way the world is safer anywhere in the world with a nuclear weapon in Iran, and we are not going to let it happen, period, end of story. (Applause.)

Now, to do that, to achieve this all-important goal, important for America’s security and for Israel’s security, it is crucial that we seizes what might be the last best chance to be able to have diplomacy work, and maybe the last chance for quite some time. Because the reality is only strong diplomacy can fully and permanently achieve the goal. Those who say strike and hit need to go look at exactly what happens after you’ve done that, whether that permanently eliminates the program or opens up all kinds of other possibilities, including Iran leaving the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, not even allowing IAEA inspectors in, not living under any international regimen. That’s a possibility. Only strong diplomacy can guarantee that a nuclear weapons program actually goes away for good instead of just going underground and becoming more dangerous. Only the exhaustion of diplomacy can justify more forceful options if you have to take them in the end.

So we say – President Obama and myself and others – we say let’s seize the diplomatic moment. And that’s what we are trying to do. And the truth is it is strong diplomacy that has actually made this moment possible. And we need to give it the space to work. We need to make sure that if this opportunity were to elude us, it is not because we are the ones that close the window.

Now, I understand the skepticism. I’ve been around this city for 29-plus years as a senator, became chairman of the foreign relations committee, worked with most of the members of your board and with AIPAC and others around the country, and proud to tell you that during that time I had a 100 percent voting record for Israel. (Applause.)

And I’m not coming here to stand up in front of you and tell you that I know that Iran is going to reach an agreement. I don’t know. I don’t know what they’ll do. I don’t know if they are able to make some of the tough decisions they’re going to have to make in the months ahead. But I know that if the United States is going to be able to look the world in the eye and say we have to do something, we have to have exhausted the possibilities available to us for that diplomatic peaceful resolution. Let me make it clear our approach is not Ronald Reagan’s and the Soviets –We’re not looking at this and saying trust, but verify. Our approach is a much more complex and dangerous world – it’s verify and verify. And that’s what we intend to do. (Applause.)

Now, there is very good reason for these sanctions to exist in the first place, and good reason that we have kept the architecture of these sanctions in place. And we continue to enforce it even as we negotiate a comprehensive agreement. In the last weeks, we have announced additional sanctions with respect to individuals who have been tempted to go around it or violate it. We have not changed one piece of the sanctions architecture. And yet we are able to negotiate. Our eyes, my friends, are wide open. This is not a process that is open-ended. This is not a process that is about trusting Tehran. This is about testing Tehran. And you can be sure that if Iran fails this test, America will not fail Israel. That, I promise. (Applause.)

Now, we have taken no options off the table, but so far there is no question but that tough sanctions and strong diplomacy are already making Israel and America safer. The first step agreement, the first step agreement – it’s not an interim agreement, it’s a first step agreement – and the agreement that’s in force today didn’t just halt the advance of the Iranian nuclear program for the first time in a decade; it’s actually rolled it back. And we all remember how Prime Minister Netanyahu highlighted Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium in the 2012 speech at the United Nations. Well, today Iran is reducing its stockpile of 20 percent uranium. And without the agreement in force today, the opposite would have been in effect. The stockpile would have grown even more dangerous, and the amount of breakout time that they have would have grown smaller. Because of the agreement, Iran will soon have to take its entire stock of 20 percent enriched uranium down to zero. Zero. Zero. (Applause.) You don’t have to be a math major to know that Israel is safer when Iran has zero uranium enriched to 20 percent, and that’s what we’ve achieved.

The same independent inspectors who also tell us that Iran has halted its advances on the heavy water reactor known as the Arak reactor, without the agreement in force today, we could not have stopped them making progress on the Arak heavy water reactor, plutonium reactor. Iran has also stopped enriching all uranium above 5 percent, and it has given inspectors daily access to the facilities at Natanz and at Fordow. You know Fordow, you’ve heard about it, that underground facility that was a secret for so long. We’ve never had people in it. But because of this first step agreement, we now have people inside Fordow every single day telling us what is happening. (Applause.)

None of these things would have happened without forceful diplomacy by the United States and our international partners. But now, my friends, we have to finish the job. Like I tell my staff, there aren’t any exit polls in foreign policy. It’s results that count, final results. And that means we have to let forceful diplomacy keep working in order to put this test to Iran.

Now, right now we are carefully – and I mean carefully – negotiating a comprehensive agreement. We are consulting with our friends in Israel constantly. The minute Under Secretary Wendy Sherman finished her last set of meetings in Vienna the other day, she went immediately to Israel, briefed thoroughly on the talks, then went to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and continued to brief and briefed our European partners.

You might be asking: If no deal is better than a bad deal, what does the United States consider a good deal? Well, you have my word – and the President’s – that the United States will only sign an agreement that answers three critical questions the right way. First, will it make certain that Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon? Second, can it continuously assure the world that Iran’s program remains entirely peaceful as it claims? And third, will the agreement increase our visibility on the nuclear program and expand the breakout time so that if they were to try to go for a bomb, we know we will have time to act?

Those are the tests. Those are our standards for any comprehensive agreement. It’s that simple. And those objectives, if they’re not met, then there won’t be an agreement. (Applause.) Now make no mistake, make no mistake; we can’t resolve the answer to those questions. It’s up to Iran. It’s up to Iran to prove to the world that its program is peaceful, and the world will hold Iran accountable.

Now, if it turns out that Iran cannot address the world’s concerns, I guarantee you it will face more pressure, Iran will face more pressure, more and more isolation. And Congress will introduce more tough sanctions. And let me assure you – I know Eric Cantor is here, sitting here – I assure you it’ll take about two hours to get it through the House and the Senate and it won’t be delayed and the Congress will have to do nothing more than schedule the vote, because President Obama and I fully support those sanctions under those circumstances. (Applause.)

In the meantime, as I said earlier, we are enforcing every letter of the existing sanctions. I have personally instructed every State Department bureau and mission around the world to watch vigilantly for any signs of the sanctions being skirted. And to any country that wants to trade with Iran with these sanctions firmly in place, the United States will tell them exactly what I have told foreign leaders in no uncertain terms: Iran is not open for business until Iran is closed for nuclear bombs. (Applause.)

Now, strong diplomacy is also essential to another threat to Israel’s security: ending the conflict with the Palestinians, and in doing so, preserving the Jewish and democratic nature of the state of Israel. (Applause.) I’ve had some folks ask me why I’m so committed to these negotiations and why I’m so convinced that peace is actually possible. And they ask, “Why does John Kerry go to Israel so often?” I think I heard Steny Hoyer say he’d been there 13 times, Eric Cantor who’s been there 12 times. I’ve been there more times than that just in the last nine months. (Laughter.) And I’ve been in the Middle East more times than even that in the last months because I don’t always wind up going to Israel.

But apart from the question, I’m surprised because people ask, because apart from my affection for Israel which dates back to my first visit back in 1986, and it just strikes me that it’s the wrong question to ask, why do I go. This isn’t about me. This is about the dreams of Israelis and the dignity of Palestinians. It’s about reconciling two peoples who want at long last to live normal secure lives in the land that they have fought over for so long. It’s about answering King David’s timeless call that we seek peace and pursue it. It’s about fulfilling the fervent prayer for peace that Jews around the world recite to welcome Shabbat. It’s about parents from Tsefat to Eilat who want to raise their families in a region that accepts the nation-state of the Jewish people is here to stay. (Applause.)

Now, it’s not news to any Israeli to hear me say that they live in a difficult neighborhood. Israelis know that better than anyone. No one needs to explain the importance of peace and security to a mother who has just sent her daughter to the army or a son who is waiting for his father to come home from another mission. No one knows the stakes of success or failure better than those who will inherit them for generations to come. And I have seen all of these realities in so many different ways in my travels in Israel, from the rocket casings in Sderot to the shelter in Kiryat Shmona that I visited years ago where children had to hide from Katyusha rockets. I’ve seen it.

My friends, I also believe that we are at a point in history that requires the United States as Israel’s closest friend and the world’s preeminent power to do everything we can to help end this conflict once and for all. Now, that is why America – (applause) – that is why America helped bring the parties back to the table, where, let’s be honest, Israelis and Palestinians have difficult choices to make. And no one understands just how complex those choices are or how emotional they are better than the leaders who have to summon the courage in order to actually make them.

I have sat with Bibi Netanyahu for hours and hours and days and days. We have become good friends. (Applause.) I believe – in fact, he ought to be charging me rent. (Laughter.) I’ve seen up close and personally the grit and the guts of this man and his love of country. And I can tell you with absolute certainty and without question, Prime Minister Netanyahu has demonstrated his courage and his commitment in pursuit of peace with security. (Applause.) He knows that it is the only way for Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state; not a bi-national state. (Applause.)

As President Obama said publicly in the Oval Office today, and I quote him: “Prime Minister Netanyahu has approached these negotiations with a level of seriousness and commitment that reflects his leadership and the desire of the Israeli people for peace.”

Thus far, I will tell you also that President Abbas, and I know there are many doubters here – I’ve heard the arguments for 30-plus years, 40 years – that there’s no partner for peace, that Abbas won’t be there, that – both sides, by the way, say the same thing about each other. That’s one of the difficulties we have to try get through here. A very small needle to try to thread in terms of the trust deficit. Thus far, President Abbas, I will tell you, has demonstrated he wants to be a partner for peace. He’s committed to trying to end the conflict in all of its claims, but he obviously has a point of view about what’s fair and how he can do that. Let’s be candid. I know that some of you doubt that. But as Israeli security officials will attest, President Abbas has been genuinely committed against violence, and his own security forces have worked closely with Israel in order to prevent violence against Israeli citizens.

I’ve also spent many hours with President Abbas, and I believe that he clearly understands both the tremendous benefits of peace and the great costs of failure. He understands that in terms of his own people, his own grandchildren, the country he hopes to be able to lead, and in terms of the history that beleaguers all. He knows the Palestinian people will never experience the self determination that they seek in a state of their own without ending the conflict in a solution that delivers two states for two peoples. (Applause.)

And so does Prime Minister Netanyahu. When Bibi looks me in the eye and says, “I can’t accept a deal with Palestinians that doesn’t make the people of Israel safer,” we agree 100 percent. (Applause.) But I argue that there is a distinction between a unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon or from Gaza where nothing is resolved, and a phased withdrawal that is negotiated where everything is at least in an agreement resolved.

Now, I learned about Israel’s security on many different trips over there, but one stands out. I was – I’d been a pilot since I was in college and I was on a trip over there. I was having a luncheon at Ovda Airbase with the Israel Air Force. And the colonel who was in charge was – had flown. He was an ace from the Six-Day War. And we were having lunch at the time at Ovda and I had been badgering them to maybe let me go up and fly. And they disappeared at lunch and finally he comes back and he says, “Senator, I hope you don’t eat too much. We’re going flying.” I said, “Wow, great. This is what I’ve wanted.” And we went out, the two of us, drove out to this jet, and he trusted me. We put on our helmets, got in the jet, and he says, “The moment we’re off the ground, it’s your airplane.”

So literally, we took off, I take the stick, we go up, we’re flying around. Next thing I know in my ear he says, “Senator, you better turn faster. You’re going over Egypt.” (Laughter.) So I turned very fast and then I asked him if I could do some aerobatics over the Negev. And I turned upside down and did a big loop and I was coming down, I was looking upside-down, and I said to myself, “This is perfect.” I could see all of the Sinai. I could see Aqaba. I could see Jordan. I see all of Israel below me, each side to each side. Said, “This is the perfect way to see the Middle East upside-down and backwards.” I understand it. (Applause.)

The real point of this story is just to tell you that I can’t tell you the imprint on me, being up there and tiny – almost turning. You had barely space to turn. You get the sense of a missile from here, or a rocket from there, or the threat of war. You understand it’s impossible to ignore just how narrow those borders are, how vulnerable Israel can be, and why Israel’s security is our first priority. We understand that. (Applause.)

That is why, my friends, President Obama sent a four-star general, John Allen, one of the most respected minds in United States military to do something we’ve never done in all the history of administrations negotiating for Israel’s and Palestinians’ future and that is to work with Israelis and Jordanians and Palestinians to make the Jordan River border as strong as the strongest borders on Earth. That’s what makes this effort different from anything we’ve ever done before. With the combination of the best military experience America can offer and the best ideas in the Pentagon and the best technology that we could deliver, we believe we can deliver to Israel security that Israel needs in order to make peace, and President Obama is committed to doing that.

Now we have no illusions. We saw what happened after Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza and Lebanon. We all learned lessons from that, I hope. That’s why a negotiated agreement is so important. That’s why the security arrangements that we are helping to design will need to be operationally proven. We’re not doing this on a whim and a prayer. We will never let the West Bank turn into another Gaza. (Applause.)

My friends, we understand that Israel has to be strong in order to make peace. But we also understand that peace will make Israel stronger. Any peace agreement must also guarantee Israel’s identity as a Jewish homeland. (Applause.) As Ehud Barak said on this stage last year, a two-state solution is the only way for Israel to stay true to its founding principles – to remain both Jewish and democratic. At last year’s AIPAC conference, he said statehood is not a favor for the Palestinians, and let me reaffirm: He is right; it is not.

Israel also needs peace in order to create greater prosperity. All of you here know the great economic benefits of peace. All of you have already seen what Israel has already been able to build with the forces of the region that raid against it. Just imagine what it will be able to build as a result of peace with Palestinian neighbors. I’ve had the foreign minister of one of the surrounding countries – a very wealthy country and a very smart foreign minister say to me if we make peace – this is under the Arab Peace Initiative and the Arab Follow-on Committee that is following everything we’re doing very closely and supporting it – and they said if we make peace, Israel will trade more in this community within a few years than it trades with Europe today. That’s what we have available to us. (Applause.) And I believe that we need to stand together with a single voice to reject any of the arbitrary unwarranted boycotts of Israel. For more than 30 years, I have staunchly, loudly, unapologetically opposed boycotts of Israel – (applause) – and I will continue to oppose those boycotts of Israel. That will never change. (Applause.)

Every time that Israel is subjected to attacks on its legitimacy, whether at the United Nations or from any nation, the United States will use every tool we have to defeat those efforts and we will stand with Israel. (Applause.)

Finally, peace demands that Israel fulfill its destiny not just as a nation but also as a neighbor. And that begins with the Palestinians, and it extends to the entire Arab League whose Arab Peace Initiative can open the door to peace and normalized relations with 20 additional Arab countries and a total of 55 Muslim countries. The upheaval in the Middle East has shown us all that Arabs and Israelis share some of the very same security concerns. Without the Palestinian conflict to divide them, these common interests can grow into real relationships and transform Israel’s standing in the region. And I just invite you – I promise you these conversations take place. I’ve had them throughout the Gulf region, throughout the Middle East, where increasingly those countries begin to see the possibilities of mutual security interests coming together for all of them against an Iran, against terrorism, against religious extremism. This is a commonality that is a new thread in the region, and I believe it brings the potential of new possibilities.

It is also important to remember that ending the conflict means ending the incitement. President Abbas has called incitement a germ that must be removed. And he has sought our help in order to try to deal with the problem. And I can tell you that with any final agreement it will also include a larger endeavor in order to help people on both sides move beyond a painful past and promote a culture of peace and tolerance.

After all these years, my friends, it is really no mystery what the end-game really looks like. I think you know that in your hearts. We understand what the end-game is. I know what peace looks like. When I talk to Prime Minister Netanyahu and others, I think everybody shares this because this is not new. After Camp David and Oslo and Wye and Annapolis and Taba and all of these efforts, what the end-game should look like is straightforward: security arrangements that leave Israelis more secure, not less; mutual recognition of the nation-state of the Jewish people and the nation-state of the Palestinian people; an end to the conflict and to all claims; a just and agreed solution for Palestinian refugees, one that does not diminish the Jewish character of the state of Israel; and a resolution that finally allows Jerusalem to live up to its name as the City of Peace. (Applause.)

It will take hard work. I’m not pretending any of the answers – these are all narrative issues. They’re tough issues. They complicated. But there is a vision of peace, and it takes tough choices on both sides, especially over the coming days. I guarantee you that America, that President Obama and this Administration will be there every day of the week, every step of the way. And we will stand with Israel’s leaders today and with the leaders of the future. And we will ensure that our light shines not just throughout the nations, but throughout the generations.

Leaders like a fellow named Guy – I’ll leave his last name out – but he’s a young Israeli who took part in an exchange program with the State Department, sponsors that brings Israelis and Palestinians together to talk about their histories and their hopes. Guy’s grandparents fled Europe. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. He served in the IDF. And he worked as an entrepreneur in Israel’s booming tech industry. And this is what he said in that program: We respect our past, but we don’t want to live it. We are young enough to dream, to believe that change is possible, and that fear can be defeated.

I think Guy is right. Change is possible. Fear can be defeated. But those are choices we have to make now.

My friends, a few months ago I landed in Tel Aviv and it was the 18th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination. I went straight to Kikar Rabin, and I stood with the late-prime minister’s daughter, Dalia, at the site of her father’s murder. And we stood just steps away from where the great general, in the last moments of his life, sang the famous lyrics of Shir LaShalom: Don’t whisper a prayer; sing a song of peace in a loud voice. Don’t say the day will come; bring that day. (Applause.) That is our mission. All of us, in whatever capacity that we can, but just as important our mission is also to raise our voices for peace, and we also need to listen. We have to listen to those who first gave voice to our values, voices that still echo thousands of years later.

He almost – I think it was the first time I went to Israel. I spent a week there and went all over the country and like many first-time visitors, I climbed Masada. I climbed it with a guide – some of you may know him or heard of him, a fellow by the name of Yadin Roman. Yadin, the publisher of Eretz Israel. And our group debated Josephus Flavius’s account of what happened on the top of that mountain, the account of what happened 2,000 years before we were there.

Then Yadin, after we’d had this long debate, made us all vote to determine did it happen as he recounted or was it different. And we all voted unanimously it did happen the way he recounted. He told us to then walk to the edge of the precipice which we did, and to look out across the chasm and to shout, to shout across the ancestral home of the Jewish people. And as we stood where every new Israeli soldier begins his or her service, by swearing an oath to honor that history and secure the future, Yadin instructed us to shout, all at the same time, “Am Yisrael chai.” We shouted. (Applause.) And then I have to tell you, echoing across the chasm in the most eerie and unbelievably unforgettable way were these haunting echoes of “Am Yisrael chai, Am Yisrael chai, chai, chai.” I’ll never forget hearing the echo of those words bouncing off that mountain. It was literally like we were hearing the voices of the souls of those who had perished sacrificing their lives for Israel a thousand years ago. And we were affirming those words, the state of Israel lives. The people of Israel live.

We have to listen to those voices. Those long ago who encouraged us to build a city on a hill to be a light unto the nations, an example to the world, to ensure Israel’s survival. And we have to listen to the voices of young people whose futures depend on the choices that we, the leaders of today, make. It’s for their future that we will give new strength to the U.S.-Israel partnership as AIPAC does like no other organization in our country. It’s for their future that we will come together giving greater voice to the timeless oath and we will remember forever those words and be driven by them: “Am Yisrael chai” will be said generations upon generations into the future because of the work you do and the work we will do together.

Thank you all very much. Honored to be with you. (Applause.)

The Office of Website Management, Bureau of Public Affairs, manages this site as a portal for information from the U.S. State Department.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 3rd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

With AIPAC in town, and having a low-key meeting this year, President Obama tells in public Prime Minister Netanyhu that Time for Peace with the Palestinians is Running Out.     Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Netanyahu Monday morning before the meeting with President Obama, and before taking off to Kiev.    Vice President Biden will see Mr. Netanyahu after that.

Obama’s message to Netanyahu on peace with Palestinians: Time is running out.

In unusually blunt interview with Jeffrey Goldberg on eve of meeting with prime minister in Washington, U.S. president asks whether Netanyahu is ready to ‘resign himself to permanent occupation of West Bank.’

By   - HAARETZ – Mar. 2, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during the Democratic Issues Conference February 1

U.S. President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during the Democratic Issues Conference February 14, 2014 in Cambridge, Maryland. Photo by AFP

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By Barak Ravid | Feb. 10, 2014 | 12:30 PM
Haaretz Editorial | Mar. 3, 2014 | 4:12 AM | 1
By Haaretz | Mar. 3, 2014 | 10:01 AM | 18
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WASHINGTON – In unusually blunt language, U.S. President Barack Obama said his message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House on Monday will be that time is running out for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians. Obama’s remarks came in an interview with Bloomberg news agency journalist Jeffrey Goldberg that was published Sunday night.

Goldberg wrote that Obama was more blunt and direct than ever regarding the Israeli-Palestinian issue. The president said Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was the most moderate leader Israel would encounter in the foreseeable future. Obama, according to Goldberg, gave the impression that Netanyahu was the one who had to be flexible in order to advance the peace talks.

“There comes a point where you can’t manage this anymore, and then you start having to make very difficult choices,” Obama said. “Do you resign yourself to what amounts to a permanent occupation of the West Bank? Is that the character of Israel as a state for a long period of time? Do you perpetuate, over the course of a decade or two decades, more and more restrictive policies in terms of Palestinian movement? Do you place restrictions on Arab Israelis in ways that run counter to Israel’s traditions?”

Netanyahu was due to land in Washington on Sunday night. He is scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry Monday morning prior to his meeting with the president. After meeting with Obama, Netanyahu is to meet with Vice President Joe Biden. On Tuesday morning he is due to address the annual convention of the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, after which he will fly to Los Angeles.

Before taking off for Washington, Netanyahu tried to relay a harsh message on his upcoming meeting with the U.S. president: “I’ll stand firm on the State of Israel’s crucial interests, first and foremost the security of the citizens of Israel,” he said. “In recent years, the State of Israel has been subject to pressures, but we have pushed through the storm and the regional tempest, and that’s how it will continue to be.”

‘If not now, when?’

In an hour-long interview conducted with Goldberg at the White House on Thursday, Obama said his question to Netanyahu regarding the Palestinians will be, “If not now, when?” Another will be: “And if not you, Mr. Prime Minister, then who?”

Obama stressed during the interview that if Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach.” He added: “It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”

During the interview Obama spoke out strongly against the Netanyahu government’s settlement policy and warned of the consequences that failure in the peace negotiations Israel’s international standing, and on the United States’ ability to protect Israel in the institutions of the UN.

“The U.S.’ friendship with Israel is undying,” said Obama, but added: “If you see no peace deal and continued aggressive settlement construction – and we have seen more aggressive settlement construction over the last couple years than we’ve seen in a very long time,” Obama said. “If Palestinians come to believe that the possibility of a contiguous sovereign Palestinian state is no longer within reach, then our ability to manage the international fallout is going to be limited.”

During the interview, Obama expressed his support for Secretary of State John Kerry and his efforts to reach a framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry reports to him almost once a week on the progress in the talks and sometimes asks for instructions, Obama said. He noted that he has spoken little on the subject in recent months since he thinks it would make Kerry’s mission even more difficult.

“We are coming to a point, though, over the next couple of months where the parties are going to have to make some decisions about how they move forward. And my hope and expectation is, despite the incredible political challenges, that both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Abbas are able to reach past their differences and arrive at a framework that can move us to peace,” said Obama.

Relating to the warnings Kerry made on the rising threat of a boycott against Israel, Obama said: “With each successive year, the window is closing for a peace deal that both the Israelis can accept and the Palestinians can accept — in part because of changes in demographics; in part because of what’s been happening with settlements; in part because Abbas is getting older, and I think nobody would dispute that whatever disagreements you may have with him, he has proven himself to be somebody who has been committed to nonviolence and diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue. We do not know what a successor to Abbas will look like.”

The president also said he is convinced that would be willing to recognize Israel’s right to exist and to provide the security arrangements Israel requires. “For us not to seize that opportunity would be a mistake,” he said.

“We don’t know exactly what would happen. What we know is that it gets harder by the day. What we also know is that Israel has become more isolated internationally. We had to stand up in the Security Council in ways that 20 years ago would have involved far more European support, far more support from other parts of the world when it comes to Israel’s position. And that’s a reflection of a genuine sense on the part of a lot of countries out there that this issue continues to fester, is not getting resolved, and that nobody is willing to take the leap to bring it to closure,” said Obama. “And as long as those security needs were met, then testing Abbas ends up being the right thing to do.”

Speaking about his relationship with Netanyahu, Obama  praised the prime minister, saying: “What is absolutely true is Prime Minister Netanyahu is smart. He is tough. He is a great communicator. He is obviously a very skilled politician. And I take him at his word when he says that he sees the necessity of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I think he genuinely believes that.”

As to the political sensitivity of the Palestinian issue in Israel, he said: “I also think that politics in Israel around this issue are very difficult. You have the chaos that’s been swirling around the Middle East. People look at what’s happening in Syria. They look at what’s happening in Lebanon. Obviously, they look at what’s happening in Gaza. And understandably a lot of people ask themselves, ‘Can we afford to have potential chaos at our borders, so close to our cities?’ So he is dealing with all of that, and I get that.”

“What I’ve said to him privately is the same thing that I say publicly, which is the situation will not improve or resolve itself. This is not a situation where you wait and the problem goes away. There are going to be more Palestinians, not fewer Palestinians, as time goes on. There are going to be more Arab-Israelis, not fewer Arab-Israelis, as time goes on,” said Obama.

“And for Bibi [Netanyahu] to seize the moment in a way that perhaps only he can, precisely because of the political tradition that he comes out of and the credibility he has with the right inside of Israel, for him to seize this moment is perhaps the greatest gift he could give to future generations of Israelis. But it’s hard. And as somebody who occupies a fairly tough job himself, I’m always sympathetic to somebody else’s politics,” he said.

Obama also said he has yet to hear a convincing vision of how Israel can remain a Jewish and democratic state without a peace agreement with the Palestinians:   ”Nobody has presented me a credible scenario.”

“The only thing that I’ve heard is, ‘We’ll just keep on doing what we’re doing, and deal with problems as they arise. And we’ll build settlements where we can. And where there are problems in the West Bank, we will deal with them forcefully. We’ll cooperate or co-opt the Palestinian Authority.” And yet, at no point do you ever see an actual resolution to the problem.”

 ”And so if I’m thinking about the prime minister of Israel, I’m not somebody who believes that it’s just a matter of changing your mind and suddenly everything goes smoothly. But I believe that Bibi is strong enough that if he decided this was the right thing to do for Israel, that he could do it. “

Speaking about the situation in the world today, Obama said “where international cooperation is needed in order to deal with those threats, the absence of international goodwill makes you less safe. The condemnation of the international community can translate into a lack of cooperation when it comes to key security interests. It means reduced influence for us, the United States, in issues that are of interest to Israel. It’s survivable, but it is not preferable.”

Obama: We can stop Iran from achieving nukes

Obama rejected the claim that his foreign policy – including his decision to attack in Syria in response to the Assad’s use of chemical weapons – broadcasts weakness. He told Goldberg that it was his threats of attack that convinced Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and that sparked Iran and Russia to put pressure on the Syrian leader to do so.

Obama said he thinks Iran is taking seriously the possibility the United States could attack its nuclear facilities if the talks with the P5 + 1 powers fail: “ We have a high degree of confidence that when they look at 35,000 U.S. military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously. And the American people should as well, and the Israelis should as well, and the Saudis should as well.”

“Now, that does not mean that that is my preferred course of action. So let’s just be very clear here. There are always consequences to military action that are unpredictable and can spin out of control, and even if perfectly executed carry great costs. So if we can resolve this issue diplomatically, we absolutely should.”

Obama added that he believes the ongoing negotiations could indeed stop Iran from  acquiring nuclear weapons:  “And if we have any chance to make sure that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, if we have any chance to render their breakout capacity nonexistent, or so minimal that we can handle it, then we’ve got to pursue that path. And that has been my argument with Prime Minister Netanyahu; that has been my argument with members of Congress who have been interested in imposing new sanctions. My simple point has been, we lose nothing by testing this out.”

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 28th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

“Their Mothers, their Fathers” – or maybe even ours -  a movie that tries to promote thinking about the triteness of the reality of an evolution of crime as a worm that eats into what looks like civilized normalcy.

These days in New York we host the Carnegie Hall Festival “Vienna City of Dreams” which is a celebration of culture of the last 100 years which is in effect the time-span since the break out of WWI on June 28, 1914, and as a matter of fact includes also WWII.

To above Festival The Calgary, Alberta, CHUMIR FOUNDATION for Ethics in Leadership contributed a three events Symposium – “Vienna’s History and Legacy of the Past 150 Years” – and this morning coincidentally I received the Uri Avnery mailing about the German Film “THEIR MOTHERS, THEIR FATHERS” that is being shown in Israel. We find it all connects – and we start looking into this by bringing here the Uri Avnery article.

Also, these days the Peace Islands Institute, which is connected to a Turkish Cultural Center, had its own events in New York of which one – linked – without mentioning it – to the previous mentioned events – it was a panel on Intergovernmental Relations among Balkan Nations & The EU with the participation of the Ambassadors to the UN from Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia, chaired by the President of the Federation of Balkan American Associations, that followed a similar earlier event that included Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Croatia but never looked at Slovenia or Austria. Then the same Peace Islands Institute followed on its studies of the three Abrahamic religions with a first inroad into Muslim – Buddhist understanding after quite successful previous activities into ethics of Muslim -Jewish mutual acceptance. These days such are events happening in  New York.

 

Uri Avnery

March 1, 2014

 

                                    Their Mothers, Their Fathers

 

IT IS the summer of 1941. Five youngsters – three young men and two young women – meet in a bar and spend a happy evening, flirting with each other, getting drunk, dancing forbidden foreign dances. They have grown up together in the same neighborhood of Berlin.

It is a happy time. The war started by Adolf Hitler a year and a half before has progressed incredibly well. In this short time Germany has conquered Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium and France. The Wehrmacht is invincible. The Führer is a genius, “the greatest military strategist of all times”.

So starts the film that is running now in our cinemas – a unique historical document. It goes on for five breathless hours, and continues to occupy the thoughts and emotions of its viewers for days and weeks.

 

Basically it is a film made by Germans for Germans. The German title says it all: “Our Mothers, Our Fathers”. The purpose is to answer the questions troubling many of the young Germans of today: Who were our parents and grandparents? What did they do during the terrible war? What did they feel? What was their part in the horrible crimes committed by the Nazis?

 

These questions are not asked in the film explicitly. But every German viewer is compelled to ask them. There are no clear answers. The film does not probe the depths. Rather, it shows a broad panorama of the German people in wartime, the various sections of society, the different types, from the war criminals, through the passive onlookers, to the victims.

 

The Holocaust is not the center of events, but it is there all the time, not as a separate event but woven into the fabric of reality.

 

THE FILM starts in 1941, and therefore cannot answer the question which, to my mind, is the most important one: How could a civilized nation, perhaps the most cultured in the world, elect a government whose program was blatantly criminal?

True, Hitler was never elected by an absolute majority in free elections. But he came very close to it. And he easily found political partners who were ready to help him form a government.

 

 Some said at the time that it was a uniquely German phenomenon, the expression of the particular German mentality, formed during centuries of history. That theory has been discredited by now. But if so, can it happen in any other country? Can it happen in our own country? Can it happen today? What are the circumstances that make it possible?

The film does not answer these question. It leaves the answers to the viewer.

The young heroes of the film do not ask. They were ten years old when the Nazis came to power, and for them the “Thousand-Year Reich” (as the Nazis called it) was the only reality they knew. It was the natural state of things. That’s where the plot starts.

 

 

 TWO OF the youngsters were soldiers. One had already seen war and was wearing a medal for valor. His brother had just been called up. The third young man was a Jew. Like the two girls, they are full of youthful exuberance. Everything was looking fine.

The war? Well, it can’t last much longer, can it? The Führer himself has promised that by Christmas the Final Victory will be won. The five young people promise each other to meet again at Christmas. No one has the slightest premonition of the terrible experiences in store for each of them. 

 

 While viewing the scene, I could not help thinking about my former class. A few weeks after the Nazis’ assumption of power, I became a pupil in the first class of high school in Hanover. My schoolmates were the same age as the heroes of the film. They would have been called up in 1941, and because it was an elitist school, all of them would probably have become officers.

Half way through the first year in high schooI, my family took me to Palestine. I never met any of my schoolmates again, except one (Rudolf Augstein, the founder of the magazine Der Spiegel, whom I met years after the war and who became my friend again.) What happened to all the others? How many survived the war? How many were maimed? How many had become war criminals?

In the summer of 1941 they were probably as happy as the youngsters in the film, hoping to be home by Christmas.

 

 THE TWO brothers were sent to the Russian front, an unimaginable hell. The film succeeds in showing the realities of war, easily recognizable by anyone who has been a soldier in combat. Only that this combat was a hundredfold worse, and the film shows it brilliantly.

The older brother, a lieutenant, tries to shield the younger one. The bloodbath that goes on for four more years, day after day, hour after hour, changes their character. They become brutalized. Death is all around them, they see horrible war crimes, they are commanded to shoot prisoners, they see Jewish children butchered. In the beginning they still dare to protest feebly, then they keep their doubts to themselves, then they take part in the crimes as a matter of course. 

One of the young women volunteers for a frontline military hospital, witnesses the awful agonies of the wounded, denounces a Jewish fellow nurse and immediately feels remorse, and in the end is raped by Soviet soldiers near Berlin, as were almost all German women in the areas conquered by the revenge-thirsty Soviet army. 

 

 Israeli viewers might be more interested in the fate of the Jewish boy, who took part in the happy feast at the beginning. His father is a proud German, who cannot imagine Germans doing the bad things threatened by Hitler. He does not dream of leaving his beloved fatherland. But he warns his son about having sexual relations with his Aryan girlfriend. “It’s against the law!”

When the son tries to flee abroad, “aided” by a treacherous Gestapo officer, he is caught, sent to the death camps, succeeds in escaping on the way, joins the Polish partisans (who hate the Jews more than the Nazis) and in the end survives.

 

 Perhaps the most tragic figure is the second girl, a frivolous, carefree singer who sleeps with a senior SS officer to further her career, is sent with her troupe to entertain the troops at the front, sees what is really happening, speaks out about the war, is sent to prison and executed in the last hours of the war.

 

 BUT THE fate of the heroes is only the skeleton of the film. More important are the little moments, the daily life, the portrayal of the various characters of German society.

 

 For example, when a friend visits the apartment where the Jewish family had been living, the blond Aryan woman who was allotted the place complains about the state of the apartment from which the Jews had been fetched and sent to their death: “They didn’t even clean up before they left! That’s how the Jews are, dirty people!”

Everyone lives in constant fear of being denounced. It is a pervading terror, which nobody can escape. Even at the front, with death staring therm in the face, a hint of doubt about the Final Victory uttered by a soldier is immediately silenced by his comrades. “Are you crazy?”     

Even worse is the deadening atmosphere of universal agreement. From the highest officer to the lowliest maid, everybody is repeating endlessly the propaganda slogans of the regime. Not out of fear, but because they believe every word of the all-pervading propaganda machine. They hear nothing else.

It is immensely important to understand this. In the totalitarian state, fascist or communist or whatever, only the very few free spirits can withstand the endlessly repeated slogans of the government. Everything else sounds unreal, abnormal, crazy. When the Soviet army was already fighting its way through Poland and nearing Berlin, people were unwavering in their belief in the Final Victory. After all, the Führer says so, and the Führer is never wrong. The very idea is preposterous. 

It is this element of the situation that is difficult for many people to grasp. A citizen under a criminal totalitarian regime becomes a child. Propaganda becomes for him reality, the only reality he knows. It is more effective than even the terror.

 
THIS IS the answer to the question we cannot abstain from asking again and again: How was the Holocaust possible? It was planned by a few, but it was implemented by hundreds of thousands of Germans, from the engine driver of the train to the officials who shuffled the papers. How could they do it?

They could, because it was the natural thing to do. After all, the Jews were out to destroy Germany. The communist hordes were threatening the life of every true Aryan. Germany needed more living space. The Führer has said so.

 

 That’s why the film is so important, not only for the Germans, but for every people, including our own.

 

People who carelessly play with ultra-nationalist, fascist, racist, or other anti-democratic ideas don’t realize that they are playing with fire. They cannot even imagine what it means to live in a country that tramples on human rights, that despises democracy, that oppresses another people,  that demonizes minorities. The film shows what it is like: hell.

 

THE FILM does not hide that the Jews were the main victims of the Nazi Reich, and nothing comes near their sufferings. But the second victim was the German people, victims of themselves.

Many people insist that after this trauma, Jews cannot behave like a normal people, and that therefore Israel cannot be judged by the standards of normal states. They are traumatized.

This is true for the German people, too. The very need to produce this unusual film proves that the Nazi specter is still haunting the Germans, that they are still traumatized by their past.

When Angela Merkel came this week to see Binyamin Netanyahu, the whole world laughed at the photo of our Prime Minister’s finger inadvertently painting a moustache on the Kanzlerin’s face.

But the relationship between our two traumatized peoples is far from a joke.

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THE 90 year young URI AVNERY NEVER ENDED HIGH-SCHOOL BUT HE IS NON-DISPUTABLE ISRAEL’S GREATEST JOURNALIST AND MOST FAMOUS EX-MEMBER OF THE KNESSET (PARLIAMENT). WHO COULD SAY WHAT GERMANY LOST – IF NOT FOR HITLER – HE WOULD HAVE HIMSELF BEEN NOW A SECULAR COMPLETELY ASSIMILATED GERMAN?

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

Jewish Afghan War vet killed fighting in Kiev.

The former soldier had drilled and organized protesters for months in the face of police brutality in Independence Square

By Amanda Borschel-Dan, The Times of Israel, February 25, 2014,

A Jewish man killed in Kiev’s Independence Square protests was buried Sunday in Chernivtsi, Ukraine, accompanied by a crowd of tens of thousands of mourners.

Alexander Scherbatyuk 's funeral in Chernivtsi, Ukraine on February 23, 2014. (courtesy World ORT)

Alexander Scherbatyuk ‘s funeral in Chernivtsi, Ukraine on February 23, 2014. (courtesy World ORT)

Read more: Jewish Afghan War vet killed fighting in Kiev | The Times of Israel www.timesofisrael.com/jewish-afghan-war-vet-killed-fighting-in-kiev-buried/#ixzz2uNkhWncI

Alexander Scherbatyuk, 46, was shot by police snipers Thursday as he and fellow Afghanistan War veterans led the protest’s bloody struggle against Berkut government riot police.

At the height of the violence in Kiev’s Independence Square Thursday, dozens were killed and hundreds wounded when police snipers were deployed to the hilly rises surrounding the plaza. A government inquiry is set to investigate the use of police force.

According to The Daily Mail, troops of riot police fell to their knees in a Monday night rally and “begged forgiveness” for excessive force against antigovernment protesters. Others have taken their weapons and fled in anticipation of the investigation’s results.

Scherbatyuk and other Afghanistan War veterans first became involved in the protest movement after riot police brutally beat unarmed students in the first round of public upheavals three months ago. In subsequent months Scherbatyuk drilled and organized protesters in anticipation of another violent stand.

Scherbatyuk’s body made the eight-hour journey from Kiev, where he had spent the past several months deeply involved with the protest movement, to his family in Chernivtsi, where it was received by his wife and two children.

David Benish, head of the World ORT Representative Office for CIS, Central Asia, Caucasian States & Baltic States, attended the funeral Sunday outside Chernivtsi’s Museum of Bukovinian Jewish History and Culture. He estimates some 10,000 came to pay respects before the body, with a kippa placed upon it in a visual and unusual reminder of the victim’s Jewishness, was taken to the city’s central cemetery.

One of Scherbatyuk’s two children, Dan, is a ninth grader at the Chernivtsi ORT school. “Dan is an excellent student. When he started at the school he didn’t know anything [Jewishly]. Now he speaks Hebrew, he knows about Judaism and Israel,” Benish told The Times of Israel Tuesday after arriving mid-day from Kiev.

The Scherbatyuk family received initial financial support of 10,000 Ukrainian hryvna (approximately $1,000) from World ORT to cover immediate costs and Benish has approached donors for continuing support.

Benish is also reaching out for donations to defray the private armed security companies the four Ukraine ORT schools have employed. With the “significant unquiet” in the state, World ORT feels the safety of the children is top priority and paid out of pocket for the emergency school guards.

“Right now there’s no gunfire, but there’s a huge problem of personal security… there are potential problems with xenophobia — hopefully not anti-Semisitm, but in such chaos, things like this rear their heads,” said Benish.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 25th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 


Sent: Sunday, February 21, 2014 12:37 PM
Subject: Fwd: FW: KERRY’S BROTHER CAMERON WRITES A LETTER

While we were traveling last week, an Israeli Knesset member accused my brother of anti-Semitism and a group of rabbis said he is waging “war on God.”  I wrote this op-ed in response on the plane back; it appears (in Hebrew) in today’s Yediot Ahronot, Israel’s widest circulation paper.  Since it discusses our trip, I thought it might interest you:

By Cameron Kerry

Last week at this time, I was in Terezin,  Czech Republic, at the 18th Century fortress where the Nazis gathered Jews from Czechoslovakia, Austria,Germany, and other countries for the tragic journey to death camps further east.  I joined a group from the Boston synagogue, of which my wife is the lay head, in traveling to Europe to celebrate Torah scrolls miraculously saved from Czech synagogues during World War II and restored 50 years ago.  Both of my daughters became a Bat Mitzvah reading from a scroll rescued from the Bohemian town of Blatna, from which 26 Jews were transported to Terezin and none survived.

 

At Terezin, I walked along the banks of Ohre River and joined other members of our temple in saying Kaddish at the place where the Nazis poured out the cremated remains of some 22,000 inmates who died at Terezin.  These presumably included the remains of my paternal great-uncle Otto Lowe, who died at Terezin in 1942.  He, along with his sister Jenni, was transported to Terezin in 1942.  Jenni was soon sent to die at Treblinka.

 

These experiences and their deeply personal meaning for my family make it all the more disturbing that some have recently suggested that my brother, John Kerry, had expressed “anti-Semitic undertones” in his pursuit of a framework  for negotiations, and some even suggested that he “has declared war on God.”  Such charges would be ridiculous if they were not so vile.

 

My family’s experience with anti-Semitism and oppression runs deep.  On another visit to the Czech Republic last fall, I visited the town where my grandfather Frederick Kerry was born Fritz Kohn. A few years before emigrating to America, while serving in the military, my grandfather converted from Judaism to Catholicism because of anti-Semitism in the ranks. In memory — and in honor — of the Kohns, I planted a tree in my grandfather’s town.

 

This experience is not limited to the side of the family with Jewish roots.  My mother – a Bostonian –  was living in Paris training to become a nurse when World War II broke out, and she was among the mass of refugees who escaped the city in front of the Nazis.  The sister she left with was later interned for helping the resistance in the south of France, where her activities included helping Jewish families get out of the country. My grandparents’ home was occupied by the Nazis and later destroyed by them because it offered an artillery spotting post in battles with Patton’s army.

 

All this is part of my brother John Kerry’s DNA.  His earliest memory is of holding our mother’s hand as, soon after the war, she walked in tears viewing the ruins of that house.  With my father serving his country in the State Department, our family took up a posting in Berlin with bombed, burned out, and shot-up buildings still visible across Europe.  My brother embraced my own conversion to Judaism when I got married. He has been part of our family mitzvot.  He was present when my daughters read from the Blatna scroll and helped to raise the chairs in which they were paraded on the dance floor.

 

I recall when he came home from his first visit to Israel with friends from the Boston Jewish community, more than thirty years ago as a young Senator: he spoke vividly of flying an Israeli military jet over the country and realizing how it was possible to cross the country in a matter of moments. Today, his determined work on Middle East peace is informed by an abiding sense of the need to secure  Israel as a home for the Jewish people. For years since that first visit, he has engaged passionately with a wide variety of leaders in Israel, the Palestinian Territories, and across the region to understand the way to peace.  He also maintained a 100-percent pro-Israel voting record during his nearly three decades in the U.S. senate.

 

It is this deep involvement that has led to the conviction that Israel’s long-term security requires a two-state solution — that, in the face of the inexorable forces of security, demographics, and geography, Israel cannot sustain occupation of the West Bank and remain both democratic and Jewish.  It is the same conclusion that such resolute defenders of Israel as Yitzhak Rabin and Ariel Sharon reached and that Prime Minister Netanyahu is confronting now.

 

Prime Minister Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Lieberman, and Ambassador Dermer were courageous in their defense of my brother’s motives.  We can all debate the effectiveness of security measures, the delineation of borders,  arrangements for East Jerusalem, and other real issues among the parties, but there is no truth and no good that can come by calling into question John Kerry’s good faith toward his own heritage.  Israel and the Jewish people deserve better than that.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 23rd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 

American Studies Association President-Elect Hosting Anti-Israel Event at NYU.

February 23, 2014 4:36 pm 7 comments –

A flyer for a Feb. 28-March 2 anti-Israel event at NYU titled “Circuits of Influence: U.S., Israel, and Palestine,” hosted by the American Studies Association’s president-elect. Photo: Facebook.

 

 

 

JNS.orgThe American Studies Program at New York University (NYU), with the support of American Studies Association (ASA) President-Elect Professor Lisa Duggan, is set to hold a two-day anti-Israel conference.

The Feb. 28-March 1 event, titled “Circuits of Influence: U.S., Israel, and Palestine,” comes “following an unprecedented wave of public dialogue in response to the American Studies Association’s recent endorsement of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” according to an event flyer.

The ASA voted to boycott Israeli academic institutions last December. Since then, about 200 universities have condemned the move.

The flyer says the conference seeks to address the “convergence between international justice movements and emerging scholarly directions within the increasingly transnational field of American Studies.”

Duggan, who teaches in NYU’s department of social and cultural analysis, in a Facebook post describes the event as a “kick ass” conference that will feature speakers solely from the anti-Israel perspective, such as Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace. The event registration page directs all questions on the conference to NYU.

Additionally, Duggan wrote on her Facebook, “PLEASE DO NOT post or circulate the flyer. We are trying to avoid press, protestors and public attention. Feel free to share it with friends, colleagues and grad students though.”

 

Truly impressive how she promotes open discourse with statements like “PLEASE DO NOT post or circulate the flyer. We are trying to avoid press, protestors and public attention. Feel free to share it with friends, colleagues and grad students though.” Useful idiots all.

 

This is the kind of person we have teaching our children? When is she planning to grow up?

Kenneth D Hegler

But the reasoned approach and solution to the entire problem makes sense. And that the anti-Jewish stance of the neighbours too, would vanish, as would their one-sided attitude toward the exclusion of the displaced, self-exiled Arabs from into inclusion into their society! Imagine, Palestinian Arabs actually being in a position to sustain themselves instead of being held in camps, often prisoners of their own self-serving leaders.

 

 

 

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 22nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

 


Israel News

 

‘Jew’s ear juice’ anyone?

Israeli consul-general in Shanghai says name of canned beverage sold in local supermarkets not case of anti-Semitism, but likely desire to make profit.

Itamar Eichner

Published:  08.29.10, 12:57 / Israel Jewish Scene

The Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai recently was surprised to discover on the shelves of a local supermarket chain a canned beverage called “The Jew’s Ear Juice.”  

The drink is made of a black mushroom which does resemble a wrinkled ear.

 

Israel’s Consul-General in Shanghai Jackie Eldan stressed that this was not a case of anti-Semitism, as Judaism is considered in China a synonym of success.

 

According to Eldan, the juice’s manufacturer must have thought that linking it to the Jewish ear would be profitable.

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But why this noise – all what they had to do is google “Jew’s Ear” and find it listed as an edible fungus.

Jew’s-ear – definition of Jew’s-ear by the Free Online Dictionary …

n. 1. (Bot.) A widely distributed species of edible fungus bearing some resemblance to the human ear and growing on decaying wood. Thesaurus Legend: …

  • Auricularia auricula-judae
  • Auricularia auricula-judae, known as the Jew’s ear, wood ear, jelly ear or by a number of other common names, is a species of edible Auriculariales fungus found worldwide. Wikipedia
  • Scientific name: Auricularia auricula-judae

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    Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 22nd, 2014
    by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

    WE POST THIS FOR THE SAKE OF IMAD BORNAT AND THOSE THAT GATHERED IN HATRED AT THE UN FEBRUARY 19th IN AN EFFORT TO CELEBRATE THE HATRED COMMODITY BEING MARKETED WITH THE HELP OF THE UN INSTITUTION. SEE – EVEN MJ ROSENBERG THINKS YOU ARE A BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES  – THE RATIONAL THING TO DO IS TO DEAL WITH THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL RATHER THEN HELP ENLARGE ON THE HATRED OF JEWS.   SEE OUR POSTING ON COMMODITIES THAT LEADS TO THE REALIZATION OF THIS HATE COMMODITY.   FOR ME IT ALL HAPPENED IN ONE DAY.
    (Pincas Jawetz, editor SustainabiliTank)

     

    MJ Rosenberg
    The Arrogance of Americans Boycotting Israel.This will be a short one as I only choose to make one point. I make it as someone who absolutely supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS) as applied to the West Bank. Even if I deeply desired a seltzer machine, I would not buy the one manufactured in occupied territory.

    However, I do not support boycotting Israel itself because, although I have no problem at all about applying collective economic punishment on settlers and the loathsome settlement enterprise, I do not feel that way about Israelis in general. I am not anti-Zionist. I am, for lack of a better term, a liberal Zionist. I want the Jewish state to survive and prosper which is impossible so long as it maintains its colonial and oppressive regime in the West Bank and its blockade of Gaza.

    But all that is beside the one point I need to make today.

    Where do Americans come by the sheer gall of demanding sanctions on all Israelis when they themselves have never been subjected to sanctions for the crimes of our government? After all, if every Israeli including old socialist kibbutzniks, school kids, and opponents of the occupation, deserve to pay a personal price for an occupation they may not support, shouldn’t all Americans pay a price for American crimes that Israel could not match in a hundred years?

    Start with the Iraq war, a war engineered by American politicians and their neocon cheerleaders that killed (in addition to almost 5,000 Americans) at least 500,000 Iraqis. Then there is Afghanistan which, thanks to our glorious efforts (read Charlie Wilson’s War) fell to the mujaheddin and ultimately the Taliban and which is now a killing field where American drones kill whoever we suspect is allied with the crazed religious extremists we helped install there. And, of course, there was Vietnam. where  the U.S. was responsible for millions of dead. And the coups we engineered in Iran, Chile and Guatemala and the death squads we supported in El Salvador. There was the Nixon administration’s enthusiastic support for the Pakistani slaughter of hundreds of thousands in, what is now, Bangla Desh.

    I could go on and on. But I won’t because you get the point.

    And the point is this: who are we to support punishing all Israelis for the crimes of their government when we ourselves are equally complicit in the crimes of ours?

    Nonetheless, I do not believe that all Americans should be punished for those crimes although I would love to see the perpetrators in the dock. Just not the ordinary people I know who had nothing to do with any of this.

    In short, Americans who get so self-righteous about Israel should look in the mirror. Or move to Denmark or any of those other countries whose crimes do not dwarf anything Israel has ever done.

    Physician, heal thyself.

    And, Israel, end the damn occupation because, whether I like it or not, the boycott movement against Israel itself is getting stronger every day. What kind of lunacy would jeopardize Tel Aviv to preserve the right of a bunch of lunatics to live in Hebron?

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