“What if your neighbourhood was a giant prison”?

One loves the oppressors by liberating them from their inhuman condition s oppressors, by liberating them from them selves. But this cannot be achieved except by resolutely opting for the oppressed, that is, by combatting the oppressive classes.
Gustavo Guttierez
One of the biggest canards grasped by defender of Israel’s ongoing slaughter of Gazan civilians is “What would you do if you were threatened by rockets?” This blather is mouthed inter alios by people like Canadian Foreign John Baird…yada, yada yada. “Doesn’t Israel have a right to defend itself”?  This is a classic example of decontextualization.


How about trying justice for a people penned up in prison. These are authentic Jewish values. Unmitigated and longstanding oppression of another people for over 60 years is a stench in the nostrils of God. Murder and injustice is Israel’s response.


The rockets launched by Hamas are pathetic the desperate and crazed attempt —much like the suicide bombers—to respond to a suffering the world ignores. The complicity of the United States and now Canada is unconscionable. What are these hopeless rockets, yet to kill anybody when compared to the sophisticated weaponry of the massive fire power of Israel. They are pathetic  cris de coeurs which the world has ignored for far too long.

Daniel Sidarski an activist American Jew openly mocked the embarrassing ad trotted out by the Anti Defamation League (ADL) which showed showed rockets descending on New York city from say New Jersey…”Imagine if Hamas terrorists were targeting you and your family…no country would allow such danger and neither will Israel.


Sidarski responded with his own ad and commentary. He called the ADL”s campaign an attempt to justify the bombing of Gaza(at this moment over 150 dead most civilians and one quarter children) “ just the latest act in a storied history of shameful behaviour.” Jewish theologian Marc Ellis would describe Sidarski as one of the “Jews of Conscience.”


Sidarski created a brilliant response and as he told Ali Abuminah of the Electronic Intifada: “The ADL has been a consistent embarrassment to the Jewish community…While Israel does have a legitimate and responsibility to protect its citizens from attack, and while I strenuously oppose all attacks against civilians to pretend that the current escalation is merely a defensive measure by Israel and not a part of a greater policy to undermine the PA unity deal (of Hamas and Fatah) is to deny the obvious. My Jewish community opposes occupation and warfare..the ADL does not speak for us.


Sidarski’s spoof is brilliant. He understands “structural violence”. This shows itself before a shot is fired This systematic and silent violence, hidden from TV cameras (though less and less today) engages in silent genocide, starvation and exploitation,a racist legal structure, an unbalanced underfunding of education and water rights etc.The situation seethes with violence.It is much more destructive than the counterviolence


He contextualizes the whole sorry mess. He understands that the fundamental and absolute primary violence is occupation and humiliation. That is where all must begin. The ongoing, unrelenting and unremitting humiliation of another people and in this case over 1.5 million Palestinians penned up in a concentrated slum with no access to exits, air space, fishing rights etc.

Sidarski is part of the Abarahamic minority, present in all communities, who has moved beyond tribal loyalties (I am a Jew, a Catholic, an American etc) and who embraces universal values of compassion and justice. Unlike high priced apologists like Alan Dershowitz who sit in academic offices and who defend “the tribe” without walking in the shoes of “the Other” Sidarski has realized that his loyalty to the deep ethical values Judaism entails transcends a narrow Zionism Too many have stayed at the level of the tribe a location which is too narrow, too partial. Sidarski found as we all must a deeper loyalty.


He took the narrow tribal view of the ADL and turned it on its head and asked the more fundamental question Israel defenders do not ask: What if your neighbourhood was a giant prison?


Imagine you have been stateless for 66 years, living under military occupation for 47 and under a devastating trade embargo for the last 8 Imagine that anyone around you could be arbitrarily executed without die process by the occupying army. Imagine you had no legal recourse for addressing youer prdicament.No people would tolerate such conditions forever and neither will Palestinians.

That’s why Palestinians are fighting back







  1. 1

    Okay Ted, then I need you to forgive my ignorance for the moment and simply provide some reply to this concise history of the peace process that I’ve posted before, without any response. Again, I may be completely ignorant, and if I am, I ask you to carry out a work of mercy for me, enlighten me. Instead of writing this out myself, I’ll just post the link to this commentary by John Robson, listen to it, and then just provide a brief reply that clarifies what it is we are overlooking:

    I look forward to your reply.

  2. 2
    mushafta Says:

    Francesco 49- just to update you, Sun News is anything but news. It is called propoganda. I suggest you become aware of your sources.

    Also- how you in conscience can support Israel’s slaughter of the Palestinians is beyond me. Netanyahu is a murderer and Baird through his support is an accomplice.

    When was the last time you were in Palestine? What did you lesrn about their oppression?

  3. 3

    Mushafta: You are committing the fallacy of ignoring the question. It’s not Sun News that I’m after, but John Robson, who is a historian. He’s just giving the facts. I don’t care for Brian Lily. It’s Robson who just lays out the historical facts. He’s a historian. If there is something wrong with his history, point it out. Listen to what he is saying.

    I don’t support any country slaughtering another. Why would I support slaughter? But you are committing another fallacy: begging the question. You keep talking about oppression. But you are doing what Ted is doing, and ironically enough, he accuses others of “decontextualization”. You have decontextualized. Let’s look at the entire history. Context is so important. Historical context is so important. Why do they keep rejecting peace deals? There should be a Palestinian state today. Why isn’t there?

    Once we get the entire context right, then let’s talk. But don’t give me this sweeping dismissal of Sun News, because it is a conservative channel. Gosh, CBC is pure left wing propaganda, but that’s no argument for rejecting a claim they make. You have to take the claim head on, whatever CBC claims. Even left wing or right wing or nutcase news agencies can say something right. Dismissing an argument because it comes from a particular news source is no argument. That’s like an ad hominem argument–“i.e., you can’t trust him, he’s an American, or he’s a Republican, etc.”. You have to treat the argument, not the person. You see, there is such a poor understanding of logic on this blog. There is one logical error after another.

    Let’s get back to John Robson, listen to his historical account, and just provide me with an answer to the basic question. Why did the Palestinians reject peace offer after peace offer after peace offer, Just listen to his account. It’s indisputable history. It’s just the facts. No one disputes them. If you do, tell me, point it out, correct the history.

    But I’m not supporting slaughter or direct killings, etc. I’m not supporting Hamas, or rockets directed at civilian targets. But let’s look at this in its total historical context, and then come back and answer some basic questions. That’s all I ask. Yes, you might be right, I’m willing to accept that, that Israel is the bully in all of this, but show me that this is the case. Explain to me that although they say they want the complete annihilation of the state of Israel, they don’t really mean it, all they really want is peace. Explain that to me.

    Going to Palestine is not going to answer the question as to the ultimate causes of this entire scenario, any more than showing your doctor your cancerous liver is going to provide him with the answer to the question of its cause. There are a myriad of possible causes. I can walk through a poor neighborhood here, but it is far too simple to attribute the cause to unjust oppression. It might be, but it might not. The people in those neighborhoods might be the cause or reason for their own predicament. I’m not going to tell you the work I do, but I will tell you that so many of my patients are in the predicament they are in as a result of their own bad choices, not some oppressive government.

    Why isn’t there peace in the Middle East after all these offers?

    • 4
      mushafta Says:

      Francesco- I will not pretend to be an authority on the Middle East. But I know bias and hatred when I see it.

      That’s precisely what I see in this video! Hamas is not the solution to the oppression of the Palestinians any more than Netanyahu’s response of slaughtering so many innocents.

      There are far more scholarly people on this topic than myself out there.

      I am a simple lay person just commenting on an issue that thoroughly disturbs me. That’s all.

      I do not believe pounding Palestine into oblivion will bring about any kind of peace. Nor will the Hamas’ rockets.

      I could be like a lot of people and just ignore what’s going on over there and watch the world cup, the cfl games and God knows whatever else there are for distractions from real life.

      What I admire about Ted Schmidt is that he’s real. He stands up for the downtrodden. He doesn’t just write about social justice. He does it. He’s witnessed the suffering in Palestine first hand. He’s an authentic guy.

      Majority of Canadians don’t even care what is going on in the Muddle East. That’s not a typo! It’s very confusing. So, as many would say “Why bother?” Here’s a guy who does care and does bother. And he does prick the conscience.

      Simplistic answers to highly complex issues do not work. And I believe Jesus had something going when he said to “Love one another”. That works. The spiral of hatred, revenge, violence and warfare does not.

  4. 5

    Still haven’t heard from Ted. That should be a clue, Mushafta. Why doesn’t he come on and take me on? He would if I said something so ridiculous, so easily refutable. Why does he hide in the background? These should be your clues. Something is amiss. Don’t be too quick to accept an ideological interpretation of things. Critical thinking is so important. Ted has not replied, and you know what? He’s not going to. He can’t. And so instead, he takes the posture that he’s too high above and too sophisticated to descend to such a low level and argue with such a moron as myself. These should be clues for you. Free yourself from this nonsense. Life is so much more complicated, so much more complex than the 60s ideological model that has guided Ted for the past 50 years. Reality is always larger than epistemological models. Don’t be afraid to question the high and mighty Ted Schmidt. He’s not who you think he is. Yes, a nice guy. Yes, a good hearted man. Yes, a lover of the poor and the oppressed. But he’s no scholar. He’s no critical thinker. He’s rather lazy minded.

    • 6
      mushafta Says:

      Francesco- you do wonders for Ted’s self esteem! I had no idea he was so high and mighty in your eyes.

      There will come a day when we no longer have his blog to attack with scorn and ridicule as you do. Take a deep breath, see some positive stuff in it. Now exhale slowly.

      This blog is eating at you. Give it a break or at least write something positive.
      In the very words of Catherine Doherty who by the way was always highly supportive of the Palestinians- and housed the famous Bishop Raya-
      “Bathe your critical intellect in your emotions”. Life is too short my friend.

  5. 7
    wmgrace Says:

    Roger Cohen weighs in:

    Still, it must be said that Israel, a state of laws within the pre-1967 lines, is not a state of law beyond them in the occupied West Bank, where Israeli dominion over millions of Palestinians, now almost a half-century old, involves routine coercion, humiliation and abuse to which most Israelis have grown increasingly oblivious.

    What goes on beyond a long-forgotten Green Line tends only to impinge on Israeli consciousness when violence flares. Otherwise it is over the wall or barrier (choose the word that suits your politics) in places best not dwelled upon.

    But those places come back to haunt Israelis, as the vile killings of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar demonstrate. Netanyahu, without producing evidence, has blamed Hamas for the murders. The sweeping Israeli response in the West Bank has already seen at least six Palestinians killed, about 400 Palestinians arrested, and much of the territory placed in lockdown. Reprisals have extended to Gaza. Palestinian militants there have fired rockets and mortar rounds into southern Israel in response.

    This is not what happens in a state of laws. Beyond the Green Line lies a lawless Israeli enterprise profoundly corrosive, over time, to the noble Zionist dream of a democracy governed by laws.

    International NYT, July 3, 2014

  6. 9

    There will come a day when we no longer have his blog to attack with scorn and ridicule as you do.

    I thought you knew bias when you see it? I attack with scorn and ridicule? Every article on this blog is an attack with scorn and ridicule. Such a double standard! There’s your bias. Take a deep breath and think about it.

    This blog is eating at you.

    Not at all! Really. I find it a lesson in human psychology. Nothing more. It is just astounding how Ted confirms, by his silence (i.e., lack of replies), his intransigence, what he says, etc., all that cognitive psychology has discovered in the past 35 years. It really is amazing. But believe me, nothing is eating at me. It’s kind of fun to read this stuff, to be honest.

    Give it a break or at least write something positive.

    But I did write something positive. Ted has a good heart, he loves the downtrodden, he’s a good man. I’ll leave it at that. I love you, Ted!

    • 10
      mushafta Says:

      Francesco 49- I’m not a shrink. But I have to wonder about your behaviour here. We had this “conversion factor” when Ted was absent. That turned out to be a myth. Now this childish screaming for an answer to all your demands. What’s with it? Lots of people don’t get their answers here and everywhere on blogs. Get over it. Be happy. Stop obsessing.

      Encourage Ted to keep writing on the many different topics he does. I just don’t have the time to do all the necessary reading that Ted does. But come on- he does have a strong penchant for social justice and fearlessly takes on the church. You just don’t find this anywhere. I think he’s nit just a deep critical thinker but also prophetic in his many comments about the environment and celibacy. Only hours ago Pope Francis made statements suggesting a change in Celibacy. It doesn’t work. Manitoba’s flooding again is clear evidence that our climate is changing.

      I’m glad your getting help. It seems to be working. A teacher that continuously responds to a screaming classroom cry baby must quickly learn to ignore that behaviour or he would never get any curriculum taught. Such I suspect is the case with your demands.

  7. 11

    We had this “conversion factor” when Ted was absent. That turned out to be a myth.

    You mean you thought I was serious? Yikes.

    Now this childish screaming for an answer to all your demands. What’s with it?

    You can’t be serious. Screaming for an answer to all my demands? I’m just asking a simple question. That’s all. Nothing more. I have no barrage of demands. Just a simple clarification about context. That’s not an unreasonable demand.

    Encourage Ted to keep writing on the many different topics he does.

    They’re all the same. They lack diversity.

    I just don’t have the time to do all the necessary reading that Ted does.

    You’d be surprised how little reading Ted does. In any case, you are right, you may not have much time. But one book: Alan Dershowitz: the Case for Israel, or the Case Against Israel’s Enemies. That’s all. Take your time, read it here and there, no rush. By the time you finish it, you might just pause and realize that it’s not quite as black and white as Ted makes it out to be. The beauty is that all sources will be indicated. Remember, he’s a Harvard Law professor who is always interviewed for commentary on the latest high profile cases. He argues like a careful lawyer, so it’s not about “trusting” what he says. Evidence is always at the forefront.

    But come on- he does have a strong penchant for social justice and fearlessly takes on the church. You just don’t find this anywhere. I think he’s nit just a deep critical thinker but also prophetic in his many comments about the environment and celibacy.

    It’s wonderful to have a penchant for social justice, but you have to know what you are talking about. You have to be careful and get your facts straight. As for fearlessly taking on the Church, what exactly does that mean? Very few in the Church know who he is. I have not met anyone who knows about this blog?

    If you are going to be prophetic, great, just know your stuff. Opposition Defiance Disorder is not the same as being a prophet. As for environment and celibacy, that’s easy stuff. That’s not the stuff of prophets. The prophets risked their lives. Everyone agrees with Ted on these issues. Not much courage there. Let’s post on Arab oppression of women: then I’ll be impressed.

    Only hours ago Pope Francis made statements suggesting a change in Celibacy. It doesn’t work.

    Celibacy can change anytime. It’s not a requirement for ordination.

    Manitoba’s flooding again is clear evidence that our climate is changing.

    No, it isn’t. That’s bad science, and bad logic. That’s like saying low iron is a clear sign you have cancer, or vomiting is a clear sign you got the flu. You might have, but there are a myriad of possible explanations. A theory is not proved by confirmation. It is falsification that is the guiding principle for science. You need to read Karl Popper. Look up Confirmation bias. That too is what Ted is guilty of when he quotes others on his issues. He seeks out those who confirm his hypothesis. But confirmation does not prove a theory correct. That’s basic science, and basic scientific logic.

    I’m glad your getting help. It seems to be working.

    Huh? What do you mean “getting help”? When did I say I was getting help?

    A teacher that continuously responds to a screaming classroom cry baby must quickly learn to ignore that behaviour or he would never get any curriculum taught. Such I suspect is the case with your demands.

    But my dear Mushafta, Ted has not replied once to any question at all. What would make of a classroom where the teacher refused to answer any question at all? A student puts up his hand, asks a question for clarification, and there is just silence. So it is asked again. Silence. Who is being unreasonable? The teacher or the student?

    • 12
      mushafta Says:

      Obviously, you’re unable to get over the fact that Ted ignores you. Please go and get help Francesco 49. You ‘re a nice guy! You really do not need to be obsessing here!

  8. 13

    What is frightening about your replies, musafta, is that you are not developmentally disabled (that’s the new term for ‘mentally retarded’). If you were, then that would explain your thick headedness. Take the scenario above about the thugs and the principal. Let’s go with it: the school gives the thugs a break, negotiates with them, but they still extort money, deal drugs, and bully. So they are suspended. Then Ted cries out: Injustice! Marginalization! So the principal brings them back, gives them a break, the province pours money into special programs for them to give them some hope, but they go back to extorting money, they rob a kid, terrorize the school, break a few windows, etc. So they are expelled. Ted cries out: injustice! You have marginalized these kids! What hope is there for them now? You people in administration are bullies!

    Administration says: “No, we keep giving them breaks, offers, opportunities, but they keep throwing it back in our faces. What else can we do?

    But Ted cries out: These kids have rights! They are disadvantaged.

    We cry out: they have responsibilities. Their rights end where the rights of others begin. They are not victims. They are the aggressors.

    Ted says: “No, they are victims of injustice”.

    In other words, it is not that simple. There is a larger context. There are a majority of people who might be peaceful in the Middle East, but there is a minority of radicals who have a completely different mentality, and they drive the agenda. They are driven by an ideology. Why don’t Muslim nations come to their aid? Where is the financial aid? Where is the initiative? Look what is happening in India: Untouchables are becoming millionaires. Ever since they’ve opened up the markets in 1991, these people just took off. Deregulation has lifted millions out of poverty. Why isn’t the same thing happening in Palestine? Don’t blame Israel. The problem is an ideology. It’s your paradigm that is keeping you from interpreting the situation with anything more than your simple Marxist model. It’s outdated, it’s not true to reality. That is the point 49Frank has been making, but you just cannot get it. You won’t get it. You’re too comfortable with your own ideology to get it. So you name call, accuse him of obsessing. Ted can’t respond, so he does not.

    Listen 49: the only one on this blog is this musafa person. Clearly this is an irrelevant blog. There are no discussions. Ted imagines that the world reads this blog, that he’s challenging the world with his articles. Delusional? I’d say so. Let’s stop wasting our time here. There’s bad grammar, bad logic as you point out, superficial thinking, left wing ideology, refusal to dialogue, refusal to learn, refusal to entertain any kind of self-doubt. Let’s get the hell out of here.

    • 14
      mushafta Says:

      Clementcrock- Why not start your own blog on this and whatever other issues ?
      Then you can instantly kick retards like me off in no time. In the meantime I do notice that Ted has a high tolerance for everyone. Yourself included. Have a nice day!

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