Archive for April 2017

Ella turns 100

April 25, 2017

Photo on 2017-04-25 at 11.12 AM

There are enough sultry saloon singers and balladeers in this world; we don’t need to cry all the time. We need singers like Fitzgerald to remind us that our great songwriters wrote music as well as words

So wrote jazz writer Will Friedwald in his book Jazz Singing

Then there was Ira Gershwin who said, “I never knew how good our songs were until I heard ELLA sing them.”

Today we celebrate the singer Duke Ellington said was “beyond category.” today is the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth

As Duke Ellington wrote about this woman singer of incandescent talent, “Ella was beyond category.”

When she died in June of 1996 and I passed on to my daughters the sad news of the lady whose music was the soundtrack of their young lives, their response was “whaaaaat?” They remembered that we had gone as a family to see her last performance in Toronto Ella it seems was forever. Such was the transcendence she had achieved in her 60 years on stages.

Here, it’s an all Ella day.

Bill O’Reilly and Cardinal Dolan

April 23, 2017

What a bracing combo, Rupert Murdoch and Bill O’Reilly.

Fox news (Faux News) the rightwing drum beat with angry white men contorting the truth on a regular basis, paid O’Reilly $29 mill a year to spew his venom and insult progressives of all stripes, berate them, interrupt them etc. O’Reilly even had the temerity to lecture the Pope on immigration.

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There is something seriously wrong with a system which pays a blowhard like this so much money. Even with all this excessive lucre O’Reilly still wanted  to be seen with Pope Francis. And his wish was granted—the same day he was fired by Fox for his tom-catting.

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Meanwhile back home female writers have had a field day at O’Reilly’s expense, ripping the reactionary bloviator a new one. One female columnist wrote, “I hope the Pope  washed his hands after shaking O’Reilly’s. Not bad.

Now one wonders why the pope would meet with a guy like O’Reilly whose social views mock Catholic social teaching.

Here’s the answer.

The weekly Papal audience is a large event open to the public, with tens of thousands of the faithful filling the square. The special section beside the stage holding the papal throne, where Mr. O’Reilly sat, is exclusive and can be entered only with special tickets.

Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan, the archbishop of New York, wrote to the Vatican several months ago requesting tickets for Mr. O’Reilly and his family, according to Joe Zwilling, a spokesman for Cardinal Dolan.

That’s just the episcopal leadership we’ve been subject to for far too long.

And you wonder why the church in the USA is in free fall

Capitalism and Catholicism, a toxic brew.

Who do you believe, me or your eyes?

April 21, 2017

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality”, so wrote T.S. Eliot in Burnt Norton part of the Four Quartets (1943).and when you have been fed propaganda all your life and cannot easily mine the truth, you cut bait rather than fish.

No matter where we live we are subject to massive doses of BS, nowhere more than in North America where the silent whirring of the capitalist dream merchants goes virtually undetected.Like philosopher Mike harris once said, it’s common sense.

Gerry Spence wrote:

In America, we have achieved the Orwellian prediction – enslaved, the people have been programmed to love their bondage and are left to clutch only mirage-like images of freedom, its fables and fictions.  The new slaves are linked together by vast electronic chains of television that imprison not their bodies but their minds.  Their desires are programmed, their tastes manipulated, their values set for them.
From Freedom to Slavery.

In general people have a vague notion that they are being seduced but it is a sweet seduction—creature comforts, prestige, fame, status etc which buys our silence .Don’t rock the boat cause I’m all right, Jack.

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Neil Postman,in Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) correctly, in my judgment, wrote that Huxley was closer to the truth than Orwell

Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

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Daniel Quinn wrote in Ishmael:
Once you learn to discern the voice of Mother Culture humming in the background, telling her story over and over again to the people of your culture, you’ll never stop being conscious of it. Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you’ll be tempted to say to the people around you, “how can you listen to this stuff and not recognize it for what it is?”

And if you do this, people will look at you oddly and wonder what the devil you’re talking  about…you’re going to find yourself alienated from the people around you-friends,family, past associates…

In Israel, where the number one paper Israel Hayom is a freebie paid for by US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, your worldview is akin to the parallel universe of Fox News. Unfair and unbalanced.

40% of Israel, after Zionist brainwashing in the education system, after being segregated almost totally from Palestinians, after 3 more years in the army, are seemingly incapable of seeing another reality. 4 % of the populace read Haaretz a sterling newspaper. Israeli citizens regularly meet reporters who actually walk in the shoes of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. They report what they see. They, like American philosopher Groucho Marx’s question, Who do you believe me or your eyes.” Sadly, most Israelis wear blindfolds.

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Many people can not bear this reality. Hence the apology from correspondent Gideon Levy written today

I apologize for the one-sidedness. How could I not maintain a balance between the murderer and the murdered; the thief and his victim; and the occupier and the occupied? Gideon Levy Apr 21, 2017

Dear Orna and Moshe Gan-Zvi,

I was saddened to read in Tuesday’s Hebrew edition of Haaretz that you’ve decided to cancel your subscription. I don’t know you, but I will miss you as readers. As someone who is partly responsible for your decision, as your article indicated, allow me to apologize.

To apologize for writing the truth all these years. I should have taken into account that this truth wasn’t palatable to you, and acted accordingly. It was not pleasant for you to read the theory put forward by me and my fellow Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass about the occupation. You, who are active in Rotary Israel, who come from the business world, who are so proud of your children and the fact that they live in the West Bank. Your son was educated at the Eli premilitary academy, and your granddaughters proudly carry the last name Sheetrit.

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Amira Has

You, who are so pleased with yourselves and your values, with your children and your morals, don’t think you should be forced to read unpleasant truths. You simply don’t deserve it. Indeed, how could I have spent all these years publishing articles that even you, generously, admitted were touching, without ever, to my shame, checking how these Palestinian families ended up in their serious predicaments? Really, how did that happen? Of course it was their own fault, but I keep blaming the Israel Defense Forces – how could I?

And how could Amira Hass be so one-sided and lacking in perspective that would explain how a people could prefer the elimination of another people over a democratic society? Really, how could you, Amira? I assume, Moshe, that if they were to lock you in a cage for years, you would continue your Rotary membership and refuse to back a struggle against your incarceration. I assume, Orna, that if foreign soldiers were to burst into your home in the middle of the night and arrest your Moshe before your eyes, kick him, force him to his knees, blindfold him, handcuff him, and beat him in front of your children who study in Eli – and then snatch him from your home for months without trial – you would be looking for some “creative leadership” for your people.

I assume that you, who come from the business world, would lovingly accept those who confiscate your property and ban you from your own land. I’m sure it would never occur to you to struggle against those who have tortured you with such evil for so many years. What can we do? The Palestinians are different from you, dear Orna and Moshe. They were not born in such lofty heights as you. They are human animals, bloodthirsty, born to kill. Not all of them are as ethical as you and your children from the Eli academy. Yes, there are people who fight for their freedom. There are people who are forced to do so violently. In fact, there are almost no nations who haven’t acted this way, including the chosen people you’re proud to belong to.

Not only do you belong; you are the pillar of fire that leads the camp, you’re the best, the moral elite – you, the religious Zionists. I apologize for the one-sidedness. How could I not maintain a balance between the murderer and the murdered; the thief and his victim; the occupier and the occupied? Forgive me for daring to turn off your joy and pride in the land flowing with milk and Mobileye, and cherry tomatoes, too.

There are so many wonderful things in this country, and Haaretz – with its “moral deterioration,” as you call it – is ruining the party. How did I not see that you don’t like to read the truth, and didn’t take this into account when I’d return from the occupied territories every week to write about what I’d seen with my own eyes? But now it’s too late. The call to boycott chocolate spread was too much even for you, so you’ve decided to boycott Haaretz. From now on, the only paper on your coffee table will be the weekly, right-wing Makor Rishon. They won’t write about how IDF soldiers sprayed five Palestinian car passengers with bullets three weeks ago, and I’m sure your Shabbats will be a lot more pleasant from now on.

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Gideon Levy Haaretz Correspondent

“50 years of bloodshed, abuse, disinheritance” Gideon Levy

April 19, 2017

Yesterday Jonathan Cook married to a Palestinian and living in nazareth,the largest Palestinian city in israel wrote about israel getting ready..mirabile dicta—to celebrate 50 years of occupation.

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Today the conscience of Israel, a good Tel Aviv boy as he often decribes himself, Gideon Levy,haaretz correspondent,  writes as only he can about his country. Levy begins by acknowledge Israel’s many gifts

From a state that began as a brand plucked from a fire, modest, insecure, hesitant, chalking up amazing accomplishments that the whole world marveled at, to an arrogant, despised state, marveled at only by those that resemble it.

The remaining part of his article is abridged.

This is a jubilee year: 50 years after the greatest Jewish disaster since the Holocaust, 50 years after the greatest Palestinian disaster since the Nakba. It is the jubilee of their second Nakba and our first. A moment before the start of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the “liberation” of the territories, we should remember that it was a disaster. A great disaster for the Palestinians, of course, but also a fateful disaster for the Jews here.

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2017 ought to be a year of soul-searching in Israel, a year of unparalleled sadness. It is already clear that it will not be. Instead, the government plans to make it a year of celebration, celebrating the occupation. Ten million shekels ($2.74 million) have already been allocated to celebrate 50 years of suppression of another people, 50 years of rot and internal destruction.
A state that celebrates 50 years of occupation is a state whose sense of direction has been lost, its ability to distinguish good from evil impaired. A military victory may be celebrated, but to celebrate decades of brutal military conquest? What exactly is there to celebrate, Israelis?

Fifty years of bloodshed, abuse, disinheritance and sadism? Only societies that have no conscience celebrate such anniversaries. It is not only on account of the suffering it causes the Palestinians that Israel must refrain from celebrating the anniversary. It must cloak itself in sorrow also over what has happened to Israel since that terrible summer of 1967, the summer in which it won a war and lost nearly everything. A great disaster struck us. Like a kibbutz or moshav where farmland has been sold to private residential developers, ruining the community’s character, like gentrification that runs roughshod over the poor, like a once-healthy body now riddled with cancer, so Israel has grown since the summer of 1967, its DNA damaged.

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It is enough to look at Jerusalem which went from being a charming university city with government institutions to a monster ruled by the Border Police. It began with the ultranationalist-religious orgy that swept over everyone but for a handful of prophets, and continues today, through the familiar mechanisms of brainwashing. Size matters, in Israel’s case: It has turned it into an evil, violent, ultranationalist, religious, racist state.

All this began in 1967. Not that 1948 was so pure, far from it, but 1967 accelerated, institutionalized and legitimized the decline. It gave birth to the ongoing contempt for the world, the bragging and bullying. In 1967 the occupation began. It metastasized wildly inward, from the roadblocks in the West Bank to the nightclubs in Tel Aviv, from the refugee camps to the roads and the supermarket lines. …

” Right after the hangover came the signs of cancer: The religious suddenly became messianic, the moderates ultranationalist, and it’s a short road from there. Nothing stood in the way of Israel becoming what it is, at home or abroad. It perpetuates the occupation, although it ostensibly didn’t want it from the outset, because it could. And it established an apartheid regime in the territories, because there is no other kind of occupation. Now it’s here. Strong, armed and rich as it never was in 1967. Corrupt and rotten as only an occupying country can be. That is what we are supposed to celebrate. And that is what we must weep over.

50 years of occupation. Hurray!

April 18, 2017

“It doesn’t matter what goyim think, it matters what Jews do.”

Ben-Gurion

Yiddish sometimes has the appropriate word and chutzpah has wormed its delightful way into our common parlance.

It really means beyond the pale, utterly shameless, can you believe such gall? Well, Israel is at it again and the Nazareth blogger Jonathan Cook nails it in his much read blog,

Israel has made a habit of totally ignoring international law, treaties and it must be said, common decency.I mean is a 50 year occupation of another’s land something to crow about? Hardly.

You will notice the phrase “dunam after dunam, goat after goat” is a well known expression meaning,”don’t let the goyim (non-Jews) see what you are doing. Do it slowly so dumb and ill-informed North Americans do not see your gradual theft of Palestinian land.keep it under the radar.Dunam is an Ottoman measure of land, one quarter of an acre.

Once Yitzhak Rabin upbraided the settler movement for parading its brazen theft.To him they were too obvious in their kleptomania. If they grabbed too much land at once Americans, their great backer, would notice the chutzpah.

Cook writes (here abridged) and you can follow him at

http://www.jonathan-cook.net/2017-04-17/israels-festivities-50-years-shame/

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Israel is to hold lavish celebrations over the coming weeks to mark the 50th anniversary of what it calls the “liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights” – or what the rest of us describe as the birth of the occupation.

The centerpiece event will take place in Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. The West Bank settlement “bloc” enjoys wide support in Israel, not least because it was established long ago by the supposedly left-wing Labour party, now heading the opposition.

The jubilee is a potent reminder that for Israelis, most of whom have never known a time before the occupation, Israel’s rule over the Palestinians seems as irreversible as the laws of nature. But the extravagance of the festivities also underscores the growth over five decades of Israel’s self-assurance as an occupier.

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Documents found this month in Israel’s archives reveal that, when Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967, its first concern was to hoodwink the international community.

The foreign ministry ordered Israel’s ambassadors to mischaracterise its illegal annexation of East Jerusalem as a simple “municipal fusion”. To avoid diplomatic reprisals, Israel claimed it was necessary to ease the provision of essential services to the occupied Palestinian population.

Interestingly, those drafting the order advised that the deception was unlikely to succeed. The United States had already insisted that Israel commit no unilateral moves.

 
But within months Israel had evicted thousands of Palestinians from the Old City and destroyed their homes. Washington and Europe have been turning a blind eye to such actions ever since.

One of the Zionist movement’s favourite early slogans was: “Dunam after dunam, goat after goat”. The seizure of small areas of territory measured in dunams, the demolition of the odd home, and the gradual destruction of herding animals would slowly drive the Palestinians off most of their land, “liberating” it for Jewish colonisation. If it was done piecemeal, the objections from overseas would remain muffled. It has proved a winning formula.

Cornel West on Israel’s failing democracy

April 14, 2017

“I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state.”

Albert Einstein, Our Debt to Zionism 1938

In early March in  Israel’s conscience newspaper Haaretz, theologian Cornel West voiced concern for the future of democracy in Israel. Earlier in the month the Knesset adopted a new law denying entry to foreigners who call for a boycott of Israel or the settlements The legislation, he suggests, is a betrayal of a tradition of Jewish philosophers committed to human rights, such as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish theologian who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma.

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Dr.West’s comments were not reported in North America.

“lt’s a sign of panic, a sign of hysteria, a very sad response to an intense situation,” said West. “Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel would turn in his grave thinking about the spiritual blackout that is occurring in Israel. Einstein turns over in his grave, too.” Both Rabbi Heschel and Einstein, he says, “had deep commitment to Jewish self-determination, Jewish self-respect, but always had a universal vision, and embraced Arabs, Palestinians and others.

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“With this particular act, Einstein could not go to Israel. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, if he were alive, and had a critique of the occupation, or said people have a right to boycott, he could not go. Does this mean that Israel actually is ready to turn its back on some of its prophetic figures, who themselves were Jewish?… it’s a sad moment when an Einstein would not be able to get into the country of his own people.”

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West has publicly supported BDS for years, and as such, is one of the prominent public figures who could be denied entry under the new law. “BDS is not a homogenous movement,” he said. “There are a lot of different voices, but it is the only non-violent response I can see to the very ugly occupation, and I would do exactly the same if there was a Palestinian occupation of Jews. It’s a moral issue, a spiritual issue”.

 

Asked whether he would consider visiting Israel to speak about BDS and the occupation, in spite of his support for a boycott, West says he would have, before the ban. “I could not get in now. But I consider Israelis my brothers and sisters, whether they are Jewish or Arab, just as I consider Palestinians, who are wrestling with the Israeli occupation”. The law “shows that BDS is getting stronger but it also shows that any critique of the settlements, any critique of the ugly occupation is grounds for excluding people from the country,” he said.

 

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Abraham Joshua Heschel

“What about the people inside the country?,” he asked. “Are you going to have internal aliens? Critics of the occupation, people who live right there, in Tel Aviv, are you going to say they don’t have the right to be inside their own country? That is what authoritarian regimes do. It’s just sad to see Israel move more and more in that authoritarian direction…Is the occupation now devouring the very democratic soul of Israel itself? That is the kind of question that Albert Einstein would raise, that Rabbi Heschel would raise, that Gertrude Stein would raise, that Susan Sontag would raise, these are questions inside the context of Jewish life.”

Sinful church and synagogue

April 13, 2017

I always start with my own collusion in the sinful architecture of all institutional religion. I bear some responsibility personally and for the church I belong to.In this manner I am with Pope Francis who defines himself as a sinner.

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We must acknowledge that the Roman Catholic church the carrier of so much wisdom, visionary dreams and sacramental impulses is also partially deformed. Here I am constantly edified by the writing of William Stringfellow. He was not the first nor will he be the last to write about the wrong turn the apostolic church took under the Constantinian arrangement, the church’s alliance with state power.

Ever was it so…when we mounted Crusades, landed on Hispaniola and planted both cross and flag, stayed silent in the wake of the holocaust, when, as Americans refused to challenge Reagan’s assault on the poor (“I’m all right. Jack”), Nixon’s massacres in Vietnam, (“My country. right or wrong”), Bush’s catastrophic crusade in Iraq and latterly 56% of Catholics voting for Donald Trump. And in Canada we might mentionour toleration of assaults on indigenous life and Mother Earth.
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We have often corrupted our biblical integrity. As a teacher I watched in sadness as so many good young people fell for the blandishments of a consumer culture . The church in Stringfellow’s wise words became “virtually indistinguishable from from the worldly principalities.”

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Vatican ll was so right. The ecclesia must be ‘semper reformanda”, always updated and conformed to the way of Jesus. In this way Diarmuid Omurchu is correct:

We have come a long way from the fiery prophetic figure Jesus of Nazareth who shocked and disturbed the conventions of his day in the name of justice and liberation. Our respectability has taken a terrible toll on the authentic calling of Christian life.

We have lost sight of the deeper vision and lost heart for the passion and enthusiasm of God’s New Reign. The following of Jesus is not a respectable religion.

So now, the synagogue, an institution I cheer on. Everybody wins when the synagogue hangs on to universal values. Then there is Israel where many Jews become both conflicted and defensive. Non-observant Jews have raised israel almost to the godhead that is the state has become an object of idolatry and the principal source of Jewish identification. In one word, Zionist.

Robert Cohen, a Jewish British blogger focus on another delegitinization taking place: the gnawing away, year by year, at our right to uphold the most universal values of our Jewish heritage…Delegitimization” is the favorite attack word used by defenders of Israel’s unique (mis)understanding of democracy. All who dare criticize this human idol “want to wipe the Jewish state off the map. All who call for justice to Palestinians are ant-Semitic. Ridiculous, of course, Israel is here to stay but like most states it needs a reboot, a conversion from its racist existence.

Theologian Marc Ellis:

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Passover arrives once again, the occupation continues, fifty years now and counting, with no end in sight. For all practical purposes, the Israeli occupation of Palestine is permanent. How can Jews celebrate Passover in such a context?

Passover began April 10. Cohen:

Today it has become little more than an annual act of communal hypocrisy. And in this year of bitter anniversaries (Balfour, the UN partition plan, the Occupation of the West Bank, the siege of Gaza) we’ll be taking that hypocrisy to depressingly new heights.
Zionism, which set out to create a modern redemption of the Jewish People, has slowly and surely destroyed the integrity of our Passover remembrance. The ongoing persecution of the Palestinian people in the service of a misguided notion of Jewish national self-determination has delegitimised our right to proclaim our foundational story of religious and political freedom. Why would anyone take seriously our right to speak out as Jews on the great moral issues of the day when we fail to face into the moral catastrophe of our own making?

He laments:
What’s different in this generation is that we have become the Pharaoh, we have become the oppressor and destroyer of others.

This did not go down with some in Great Britain
First, the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis said I wasn’t Jewish because I’m not a Zionist.
Then, Prime Minister Theresa May said I’m antisemitic because I question Zionism’s notion of Jewish national self-determination.
And now, the Israel Knesset has decided I’m a would be terrorist because I support non violent protest in support of human rights.

Cohen suggests abandoning the traditional haggadah.

My recommended reading for your Passover celebration is the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) report on Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid. Its authors are Professor Richard Falk, a former United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied and professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University; and Virginia Tilley, professor of political science at Southern Illinois University.
Their report is not a rant or a “hate fest” against Israel. It’s measured in tone and scholarly in the presentation and analysis of international law. It even anticipates and addresses the main objections to its findings.

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Its conclusions are well argued: In different ways, Israel operates policies, with clear purpose and intent, that create an apartheid situation for Palestinians in Israel itself; in annexed East Jerusalem; in the Occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza; and for Palestinian refugees.
The outrage from the Trump and Netanyahu administrations was so instantaneous that they clearly hadn’t had time to read the report they were condemning. But putting the words “Israeli” and “Apartheid” in the same sentence was more than enough.  Two days later on the 17th March the report was removed from the ESCWA website at the insistence of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Rima Khalaf, the head of ESCWA, resigned her position saying: “… it is my duty not to conceal a clear crime, and I stand by all the conclusions of the report.”
Once again, the truth is too painful, too difficult, too political to face.

But the report is a worthy Passover text for this year. If we read it, carefully and faithfully, if we pay attention to its descriptions and analysis, it can free both Jews and Palestinians from our joint (but very differently experienced) modern slavery to Zionism. And, if enough others join this movement of liberation, then we Jews may even find a way back to a legitimate Jewish Passover.

Marc Ellis points out “that Jews of conscience are writing counternarratives where ”even Diaspora Palestinians are invited to Passover and attend. This expansion of the Exodus story is important. It reflects and represents a turning point in Jewish history.

Perhaps the preface to the Seder should be stated starkly: “What we, as Jews, have done to you, the Palestinian people, is wrong. What we, as Jews, are doing to you, the Palestinian people, is wrong.” Though confession won’t end the occupation, it states clearly the context of whatever Passover narrative follows.

Regardless of the particular telling, our Passover confession is a judgment on Jewish history and the present. It will remain for the future.

The prophetic stirs in the Jewish community

Nikki Haley, grand embarrassment

April 9, 2017

As per usual, the prophet-in-residence in Israel Gideon Levy wrote a scorching article on a clown-in-residence the new US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley.

He began:

Raise a cheer, fellow Jews, for your new envoy, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley. Cheer the false propaganda, cheer the imaginary reality. Wallow in the false friendship with Israel and in recklessness toward the whole world. Cheer the lies and fabrications behind the Colgate smile. Hurray for Haley. Hurray for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. You and she deserve each other. How fitting that you should fall in love with her. Together you can say that night is day and think it’s true. That’s why Haley is your rock star: That’s how you’d like to see Israel and the world, but the world, and especially Israel, aren’t as Haley tells you they are. And so your cheers, fellow Jews, are cheers for a lie.

Haley crowed in the UN that she demanded (and won) that the factual report of israeli report be excised from the UN website Rima Khalaf, head of the U.N.’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), resigned rather than remove the document herself. It was not removed because it was wrong but as Secretary General Antonio Gutteres said it did no go through proper challenges—US and Israel!

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Now, get this, here is what a supposedly polished diplomat actually said about the distinguished author of the report, the UN special rapporteur for the UN ‘s Human Rights Council as well as the emeritus professor of International Law at Princeton, Richard Falk: ”And a ridiculous report, the Falk Report, came out. I don’t know who the guy is or what he’s about, but he’s got serious problems. Goes and compares Israel to an apartheid state. So the first thing we do is we call the secretary general and say, this is absolutely ridiculous.”

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This is what passes for serious American diplomacy today under Donald Trump

Last word here to Levy:

But Haley is apparently ignorant and brainwashed as to what has happened here over the last century. She also knows nothing about the current situation in the region, if she caused the chairman of a UN committee to resign after a report by that committee determined that there is apartheid in Israel. Does Haley know what apartheid is? Does she know what Israel is? “There’s a new sheriff in town,” she said in her poetic way, to the cheers of the Jews, as if the United Nations were a crime-ridden neighborhood that had to be cleaned up. But Haley is an American and Americans can say anything they want.

Shaftesbury and Palmerston

April 6, 2017

Palmerston

I don’t mind that the streets of my city are named after the sons of the British Empire.That’s simply part of our history.
My boyhood home was on Palmerston a street named after Henry Temple the former Prime Minster (1855-1865), a biblical illiterate and anti-Semite who for political reasons wanted to see Jews return to Palestine “There exists at the present time among the Jews dispersed over Europe, a strong notion that the time is approaching when their nation is to return to Palestine… the Jews could be useful in buttressing the collapsing Ottoman Empire, thus helping to accomplish the key object of British foreign policy in the area.”

Palmerston’s illegitimate daughter married Anthony Ashley Cooper (Lord Shaftesbury) a real true believer of end time theology. It turns out that Palmerston (Lord Cupid) was a real sexual libertine almost totally ignorant of the bible. He admired the zeal of his stepson Shaftesbury, a genuine reformer and promoter of seemingly lost causes. He was the real deal while his father-in-law was a crude imperialist. The Jews for Palmerston were simply pawns which could be used against Russian and French influence in the holy land.

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Shaftesbury for all his good intentions was a Christian Zionist who fell under the sway of Protestant fundamentalist millenarianism—end time nonsense now known as Christian Zionism. In this scenario the Jews would return to Palestine and be converted before the Second Coming of Jesus. This phantasmagoria, believed by 50 million Americans, has caused chaos in Palestine today. Sadly it has propped Israel up despite its blatant anti-Judaic theology.

No serious Jew could possibly buy into this trivialization of their ancestral faith.

Gershom Gorenberg, an Orthodox commentator in Israel, had this to say about Christian Zionism in his book The End of Days:

The Jews die or convert. As a Jew, I can’t feel very comfortable with the affections of somebody who looks forward to that scenario…..They don’t love real Jewish people. They love us as characters in their story, in their play, and that’s not who we are, and we never auditioned for that part, and the play is not one that ends up good for us. If you listen to the drama they’re describing, essentially it’s a five-act play in which the Jews disappear in the fourth act.”

No matter Netanyahu, Sharon and the AIPAC crowd are happy to dance with this fundamentalist abuse of scripture and which sends millions to Israel and writes blanket checks to the apartheid state

Shaftesbury was beside himself with evangelical fervour.

I shall always remember that God put it into my head to conceive the plan for His honour, gave me the influence to prevail with Palmerston and provided a man for the situation who can remake Jerusalem in her glory.”

Inadvertently this decent man became the embodiment of Shakespeare’s wisdom placed in the mouth of Antony in Julius Caesar:

 
The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.

ZIO

Passover is coming

April 5, 2017

Read the bible…and read the paper.

The same dynamics  are occurring.

Every holy story needs a new interpretation.

In Toronto  for decades we have taken Jesus out of the safe confines of churches and put him in history where he always has been .The crucifixion was a public act—and it is today. On the streets of Toronto we read the story again and find contemporary wounds.

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Progressive Jews are doing the same—ashamed of Israel’s brutalization of Palestinians they rethink their Passover story, who is suffering and in bondage,where is Pharaoh today etc. Not hard to find when you look at occupation.

So several Jewish groups are rewriting the Passover Haggadah the book read at the Seder.

To mark 50 years of Occupation, where the new Jews in bondage are Palestinians Save Israel,Stop Occupation has released The Jubilee haggadah.

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The biblical jubilee  was the 50th year when all land was returned to the original owners.

A very creative adaptation.

Palestinians are still waiting for the return  of their stolen lands and progressive Jews are challenging Pharaoh aka Netanyahu and  the most rightwing israeli cabinet in history.

Jewish-American comedian Sarah Silverman commented

“It seems natural to link the Jubilee mitzvah with the festival of freedom and to use the story told in the Haggadah to help explain why the occupation must end.”