Archive for November 2017

Zionism no substitute for Judaism

November 30, 2017

God help the blind man, the head of the American Jewish Committee David Harris.



This poor man is pained by the fact that young Jews are expressing “apathy” or outright “hostility” toward Israel. He wonders what his generation did wrong in schools and homes not to convey “a sense of unbridled joy and pride and thrill” in Israel.



In one sense Harris can, and should be proud of some things Israel has done since its inception in 1948—but occupation, ethnic cleansing and blatant discrimination should be causes for self-examination and atonement which Harris seems incapable of.


Harris speaking at Temple Shaaray Tefila, a Reform congregation in Bedford Corners, N.Y., last week was in full bore lamentation:


Every time I hear in a Jewish meeting concerns about our children and their lack of interest in Israel, their apathy about Israel, their hostility to Israel, those friends of theirs who are involved in anti-Israel activity on their campuses or in their schools– to me it’s extraordinarily painful, and I ask myself, Where did we go wrong? Where did we go wrong?


Oh, Mr Harris let me count the ways!


I do have a certain sympathy for his frustration, that Israel’s reputation has latterly turned to rat shit


Why? Why can’t we convey to our own children successfully– why can’t Jewish day schools and synagogues in their after-school programs convey successfully a sense of unbridled joy and pride


Harris then added this howler


I don’t know of another nation that wants peace as much as the nation of Israel. Precisely because, One, it has not known a true day of peace,


Harris’ problem is that he is a stone blind Zionist absolutely unable to come to grips with Israel’s central problem —its failure to acknowledge its original sin, the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1948 and its continuation of land theft by settlers since 1967.


OC 1


True Zionist believer Harris is unable to see what young Jews see on a daily basis, the brutal oppression of a besieged indigenous population, the shocking murder of innocents in Gaza of 2014. This you cannot hide anymore. The apartheid state up till now has been successful with its propaganda but with cell phone technology, computerization and Facebook, the ugly curtain has been pulled back and young Jews like the young everywhere see the world through the lens of human rights and as far as Israel’s behaviour is concerned, it ain’t pretty.


atme for peace replied to Harris on the Mondoweiss website: Israel just doesn’t have anything to inspire a young jew to love or stand up for.


Eljay wrote: I wouldn’t expect you or anyone else to argue that Israel is or should be a “perfect” country. But what it shouldn’t be is a deliberately and unapologetically oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state.
Annie Robbins: the ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and colonization — that’s what it is. it’s natural for young people to want to disassociate from war crimes and massive human rights violations. … Harris should know that most young people with even a minor understanding of the principles of democracy understand it to be representative of all the people, not just people of one ethnicity… but it is downright abusive towards. 
it boggles my mind he doesn’t get this. this ‘why?’ and ‘what is it?’ approach — he could easily find out these answers if he just speaks to young people. it’s kind of a no-brainer.


Finally, the Paranam Kid sums it up


Mr. Harris, the mere fact that you ask this question means 1 thing and 1 thing only (assuming your question is sincere):
You have had your head in a cloud, living in an ivory tower, because it is now painfully obvious that Israel’s lies, justified & prettily dressed up by the incessant stream of Hasbara, has become repulsive to young Jews, who, unlike their (grand)parents, have a more realistic view of that Apartheid state that subjugates a people & works at their slow extermination.
You should be ashamed of yourself for even needing to ask the question, considering your position in the American Jewish community.


Harris seemingly has lost touch with the universal aspects of Judaism, the Deuteronomic (16:20) imperative of tzedek, tzedek tirdof. Justice, justice you shall seek. He has allowed a piece of land in the Middle East to become  the golden calf an idolatrous substitution for the the ethical demands of the Holy One of Israel. The first commandment of the Mosaic decalogue “You shall have no other gods before me.” is suborned on a daily basis in Palestine. A serious Jew would name this false god for what it is.Sadly Harris’ zionism trumps his Judaism.


Holy Saturday came early

November 28, 2017


COVERThe SeasonEfficiency, technique, drill, new plays, scouting, coaching manuals. All this was mere prose to me. I was interested in poetry and the mystery of the human person. Most coaches it appeared to me had the words while I was interested in the music.

The Season p.26


On Saturday  November 25 at 2 PM I returned  as an older pilgrim to a special formative place of my teaching life, the gym at the old Mimico High school, now a middle school called John English.

MimicoCentral StG


i was astonished as so many people from my past crowded in for the launch of The Season a book i wrote about our extraordinary 45 and 1 season 50 years ago. Each surviving player, six of them, wrote their memories of the year and I added some  journal entries I had of that annus mirabilis.


One of the guards from that team Don Crocker reminded me of a line from Freddy Shero of the Philly Flyers as they were about to play for the Stanley Cup: “Win tonight and you walk with these men forever.” Anybody who played sports knows the truth of this statement. Bonds are created and not easily sundered.




Before the official program started which included  a showing of the film Basketball which played on the CBC in May of 1967 and was introduced by the director Don Shebib, the gym was alive with animated conversations. However in the back of my mind I was hearing Bob Dylan singing Just Like a Woman


Ah, you fake just like a woman, yes, you do
You make love just like a woman, yes, you do
Then you ache just like a woman
But you break just like a little girl

And Absolutely Sweet Marie and  and especially Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.

Sadeyed Lady of the Lowlands

Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?


Dylan’s epic album Blonde on Blonde had just been released and that became the soundtrack of our practice.

We had but seven players and I wanted to press the whole game. That meant these kids must be in shape. Run them till they almost dropped. I did to Blonde on Blonde

At our Jubilee meal 50 years later they all reminded me of that.



The afternoon became a dreamscape for me. The local Etobicoke paper,The Guardian  gave the event a big play, a warm feel good story, well told by reporter Cynthia Reason. It was a Canadian David and Goliath tale of a small school which for one year became virtually unbeatable. along with the players’ reflections I added the rest, a kind of an essay on how I understood coaching, best summed up from this line from J.D. Salinger


Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next. Is he never wrong?” (Seymour: An Introduction).



So the basketball court for me was on fire with meaning. With these young men in this small box of a gym in a suburb of Toronto a hardwood floor became a temple of transcendence. What we were doing was important. This personality building experience was an event of cosmic importance. I had moved from room 206 to a gym – “from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next.”


I was very lucky to meet as principal of John English Middle School (the former Mimico High) Craig Howe a fellow educator tilling the sacred soil of the young. Craig immediately resonated with the idea and came in on his weekend to set the gym up. Along with my stellar guard Art Rutledge’s dynamic daughter Jess, they organized the whole event. My beautiful grandchildren sold the $15.00 books.


In my brief remarks I tried to sum up my raison d’etre for the sacred calling I strove to incarnate.
50 years have gone by but the memories remain and the relationships as well.
We were an unbeatable team and as I have often joked I was the guy at the end of the 7 man bench. But it never ended there. I  was also the guy who broke bread and shared my life and passion with them. I knew at the timeI would never have a team like this but it never fazed me. Is this why I coached?

Every team has its wonders and joys, the young people you meet on the holy ground of a hardwood floor.and these ikons of the divine kept showing up every year.they gave me as much pleasure as the 67 team. Two smart point guards,  Mark Fenwick and Gerard Carlse, 10 years apart from my Neil McNeil teams came on Saturday.They knew they were loved just as much.

I wrote many of my Neil players and told them that indeed I was once a basketball coach but now I am just a good friend.

My mantra: Don’t call me coach. That’s American for a one dimensional cartoon. I am a teacher. Sometimes I teach in a classroom, sometimes on a hardwood floor and in summers on a ball diamond. In the latter part of my downward mobile teaching life, I taught on picket lines.
Winning the only thing? Not. What about dying and rising after defeat? What about friendship, way more important than those twin impostors, victory and defeat? What about those twin lubricants, tears and laughter which oil the rough edges of life?
I was given the gift of the pearl beyond price: the player is more important than the game. This lesson I learned from the masters of my youth, common good men, a war vet, an Irish-American priest, a Jewish playground trainer and a nonpareil boy’s club coach, Carmen Bush. i simply played it forward. I cast my bread on the water and it came back a thousand fold.

Holy moments,like the above, sacramental in nature, have accompanied me my entire life. In this regard .I have often quoted the wise words of the German mystic Meister Eckhart (d.1328) which are germane in this context:
If at the end of your life the only prayer you could utter was Thank you, that would have been enough.
Simple gratitude is my response.

To the young men who raced up and down that small Mimico gym, to the small suburban community of Mimico who welcomed ayoung untried latin teacher,vobis multas gratias ago!

Gracias a la vida!

Copies avaalable



Why he supports BDS

November 27, 2017


In February 2016 israeli journalist Larry Derfner wrote an honest column Why This Liberal Zionist Now Supports BDS


I don’t know if this trend among liberal Zionists and friends of Israel will grow or peter out, but I’m convinced that the only way to end the occupation is for people who know that it’s wrong, that it’s immoral, to finally stop equivocating. I believe that if Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande and countless other liberal politicians, diplomats and commentators said aloud what they really think of Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians – and acted on those convictions – the occupation would be finished. Facing the threat of severe sanctions by the West, Israel would fold its hand in the West Bank and around Gaza. 

Israel is a free country that denies millions of Palestinians their freedom at gunpoint, and has done so since 1967. There is no moral equivalence between the two sides in this conflict. 
The brave editor of Haaretz Amos Schocken 2 weeks before Derfner, editorialized ;

Israel as an apartheid state is not a viable situation, not only because of the corruption of values but also because this predicament is liable to lead Israel, like South Africa in its time, to banishment from the family of nations. It is not for nothing that Israel insists on defining itself as the only democracy in the Middle East, although in fact it is only a democracy for part of its residents,



Derfner concluded his article thusly;

I don’t feel comfortable advocating a boycott of my own country, but a few years ago, after it became clear to me that neither the Israeli peace camp nor the White House was going to end the occupation, the choice came down to supporting the boycott or supporting the status quo forever, and I chose the former.  I am a liberal Zionist, I want Israel to remain a Jewish state, and I support the boycott of this country, in whatever form, because it is the only thing out there with the potential to gradually convince the world to force an end to the military dictatorship known as the occupation. 


Gideon Levy has always maintained that there is little hope for the blind citizens of Israel to end their privileged, immoral position. They are the most brainwashed citizens of any modern democracy save mainly the American evangelical lotus eaters whose Christianity seemed informed by turbocapitalism,Fox news and the rabid right wing of the Republican Party.


Derfner at the beginning of his “Born again” conversion excoriates Hollande and Merkel for their inability to get out of the 40s when Germany and France shamed themselves with their antisemitism. Well that was then and this is now and Israel is no longer l’or goyim, a light unto the nations but a pitiable apartheid state.


Derner’s book says it all israel is No Country for Jewish Liberals

But we’re in a situation where Israel is doing the kinds of things, more or less like they did in South Africa, like they did in the American South, and to be just a normal democrat puts you in a 180 degree opposition to that, which makes you a radical.”




And here in Canada we have poor Justin Trudeau still petrified of alienating Canadian Zionists with deep pockets.

Israel’s American Money Machine

November 25, 2017

I”‘m a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel.”

Haim Saban

Another story you wont read in Canadian dailies.


Phil Giraldi is a former CIA spook who now i Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. a non progit that asks why is the USA so invested in the apartheid state of Israel.


His story follows.



The stars came out in Hollywood on November 2nd, or at least some of them did. The gala event celebrated the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and raised funds to support its mission in Israel itself and on the occupied West Bank.


The organization being fêted was the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), which has fourteen regional offices in the United States and operates under the slogan “Their job is to look after Israel. Our job is to look after them.” In attendance were Arnold Schwarzenegger and actor Gerald Butler. Entertainment was provided by the singer Seal.
Hollywood Jewish royalty was thick on the ground, the grub was strictly kosher and billionaires competed to see who could give the most to such a worthy cause. The 1,200 attendees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel donated a record $53.8 million, with Oracle founder Larry Ellison leading the pack with a contribution of $16.6 million. Israeli media mogul Haim Saban, Hillary Clinton’s most generous supporter, served as host of the event and donated $5 million. Two weeks ago, a similar gathering of 1,200 in New York City dubbed “A Night of Heroes,” attended by GOP major donor casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, raised $35 million, $7 million coming from Adelson personally. FIDF reportedly was sitting on $190 million in contributions for the year before the Hollywood and New York events.
Donations to FIDF are tax deductible as the organization is registered with the U.S. Treasury as a 501(c)3 educational and charitable non-profit foundation. One might well ask how it is possible that the American taxpayer should subsidize a foreign military organization that is regularly accused of war crimes in its ongoing brutal and genocidal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem? One might also wonder how an organization that continues a military occupation in opposition to multiple United Nations resolutions that have been endorsed by Washington gets any kind of tax break at all? And finally, one might reasonably ask why an organization that already gets in excess of $3.8 billion annually directly from the U.S. Treasury needs more money to allegedly provide creature comforts for its soldiers?




All  these wealthy donors seemingly have forgotten what it is to be a Torah Jew one who supports universal values of peace and justice. Instead we have  idolaters who have fashioned a golden calf the State of Israel as their fundamental deity.

Theologians pan “cheap grace”

November 22, 2017

Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Matthew 26:27

Who are we? We are the crucified Christ-with us. This is our new identification.
Kosuke Koyama in Water Buffalo Theology

Koyama a Japanese Protestant theologian born in Tokyo in 1929 was sent to evangelize farmers in Thailand. Here he developed his unique brand of speaking to farmers.


One of his memorable designations of Jesus was very Pauline. He called Jesus “the spat-upon Christ.” Koyama reasoned that If Jesus Christ was nocked, spat upon and stripped, then his finality is shocked, spat upon and stripped . . . The spat-upon. Jesus nears the spat-upon finality of Jesus. It must mean then the. “spat-upon bishops’, ‘spat-upon theology’, ‘spat-upon evangeism’, ‘spat-upon “combat-against-racism”, “spat-upon churches’
We see very few “spat upon churches” these days, very few Christians who will risk the opprobium of the public  lulled to sleep with the silent and deadly song of the consumer culture.


Bourgeois Christianity is most evident but not exclusive to evangelical Christianity where Trump and his Wall street values reigned supreme. This sad fact reflects a faith riven by the cultural norms not of the nonviolent spat-upon Jesus but by a kind of Republican Fox News Christianity. The classic example is not evangelical but the shameful value system of “Catholic” Paul Ryan the Republican leader who genuflects not to a crucified lord  and his cross but to the highly individual capitalist ethos of Ayn Rand.



Since the 1945 and the advance of turbocapitalism in the USA, Christianity in all denominations has taken a major hit. The power of the market has sapped the vital countercultural elements of the gospel. The good life has levelled the God life and allowed putative Christians to pursue consumer comforts and vote in whomever will defend “the American way of life’ and ignore the victims of a rapacious economic system.


300 hundred Christian theologians attending the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, an annual meeting of nearly 10,000 professionals in religion.The Boston Declaration calls Christians to follow the Jesus Way, bearing prophetic witness to Christ through fight racism, sexism, poverty and all forms of oppression.”



Theologian Susan Thistlethwaite of the Chicago Theological Seminary one of the signers t writes about the dispensation of “cheap grace” a phrase made fanmous by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the martyred Lutheran theologian. This is regularly doled out in capitalist countries by clergy too afraid to challenge wealthy congregants with the demands of the cross which cost Jesus his life and should cost us at least some discomfort.


Such Christians are “losers” in Trump language.


Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Christian pastor who was arrested and ultimately executed by the Nazis for his opposition to Hitler, contrasted what he called “cheap grace” with the costly grace of the Gospel. “Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits.”
The Christianity Bonhoeffer denounced is the Christianity we denounce today. It is a Christianity that literally enables hate, hate for people of color, for immigrants, for those of other religions, for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender human beings, for women and girls, for the poor and the most vulnerable among us.

And why do these so-called Christians do this? Not out of obedience to the teachings of Jesus, because Jesus taught the exact opposite of their hate-mongering. No, they do it for power, for political gain. Jesus asks, “What does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your soul?” Mark 8:36 We are not here merely to denounce, however. The most important thing we can do as Christian theologians is announce the good news of the Gospel. The good news is the radical inclusivity of God, for God so loved the world. Not just some in the world who are white, or rich, or male or heterosexual. God loved the whole world of animals and plants and the entire ecosystem that is a victim of this same rapaciousness and nearly mindless drive for political domination.
The good news, and it is very good news, is an invitation to turn away from greed and turn toward love of neighbor. Turn away from hate and turn towards love. It’s actually more fun here in the circles of radical hospitality.


Occupation of the American Mind

November 21, 2017


Listen to American parrots buying Israeli propaganda, handed to them
What would you do?

Well ,the first thibg Charlie Rose would do woud be to never book the makers of this important film.

The first thing I’d do is understand the context which is
A beleaguered people penned in on all sides with no army,navy or air force feebly resisting a nuclear armed occupier with merkava tanks,F 16’s, Apache helicopters murdering mostly civilians much like shooting ducks in a barrel.
In Operation Protective Edge of Aug. 2014 467 children were killed, 3000 wounded, 1500 orphaned, and 25 schools destroyed.
Gazans fight back with what Norman Finkelstein calls “firecrackers’, pathetic rockets with imprecise direction: 6 Israelis killed


The SUT JHALLY: Israel can saturate the media with its spokespeople, but there’s still the problem of massive Palestinian casualties showing up on television screens. You can’t make those images go away. An Israeli official actually said, “In the war of pictures, we lose. So you need to correct, explain or balance it in other ways.”
Here, again, the Luntz document spells out which talking points have been most effective in spinning the brutal reality of Palestinian casualties. He says the first thing the pro-Israeli spokespeople should do is to express empathy for the innocent victims.

DAN GILLERMAN: Unfortunately, innocents do get hurt. And we—we really grieve that.
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: We’re sad for every civilian casualty.
MICHAEL OREN: The entire situation is tragic.
SUT JHALLY: Once you’ve done that, Luntz says, you also have to get people to empathize with Israelis, by describing what life is like for them living in constant fear of Hamas rocket attacks. So, again and again, we hear the focus-tested phrase that the rockets are raining down on Israel.
MICHAEL OREN: We have thousands of rockets raining down on our civilians.
HILLARY CLINTON: Rockets were raining down on Israel.

NORMAN SOLOMON: Any advertising executive will tell you the essence of propaganda is repetition.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Rockets raining down on southern Israel.
FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Rockets raining down on Israel. NEWS ANCHOR: Well, Hamas rockets rained down on Israeli border towns.
SUT JHALLY: Then, Luntz tells PR spokespeople to turn the tables and ask the American people, “What would you do?”

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU: So what would you do in the United States?
RON DERMER: Will you imagine what America would do if it were facing a similar threat?
NACHMAN SHAI: We always try to ask you the question we ask ourselves: What will you do?
MARK REGEV: What would you do, if more than 3,000 rockets had been fired on your cities?
SEAN HANNITY: What would you do? Three thousand rockets.

YOUSEF MUNAYYER: What sort of question is this? Of course, anybody would act to defend themselves against unprovoked aggression. But it is a question that is completely devoid of any context. What drives a society to a point where, after multiple devastating wars, they continue to resist with these most feeble methods? They don’t want you to ask that question. They don’t want you to ask what is behind this, what’s the history here, who are these people, where did they come from, why are they so desperate. No, they want you to understand Israeli behavior. Israeli behavior is always characterized as a reaction to unprovoked violence.


A very arrogant man: Henry Kissinger

November 20, 2017


Matt Behrens is one of the most principled and committed social justice advocate I have been blessed to know. Here he takes no prisoners reflecting on one of the most cynical people ever to hold  office in the USA, Henry Kissinger


My favourite? story about this crass servant of the US empire was told by Seymour Hersh in his 1983 book  The Price of Power


In June of  1969, Kissinger met  Gabriel Valdes, foreign minister in Chile’s Christian Democratic government which the USA would bring to its knees with the support of the Chilean strongman Augusto Pinochet. Valdes had caused a stir at a White House meeting of Latin American foreign ministers by complaining about the difficulty of dealing with the United States. President Nixon, present at the session, was irritated. The next day Kissinger confronted Valdes at a private lunch which Hersh describes: The meeting was unpleasant. As Valdes describes it, Kissinger began by declaring, “Mr. Minister, you made a strange speech. You come here speaking of Latin America, but this is not important. Nothing important can come from the South. History has never been produced in the South. The axis of history starts in Moscow, goes to Bonn, crosses over to Washington, and then goes to Tokyo. What happens in the South is of no importance. You’re wasting your time.”


“I said,” Valdes recalls, “Mr. Kissinger, you know nothing of the South.” “No,” Kissinger answered, “and I don’t care.” At that point, Valdes, astonished and insulted, told Kissinger: “You are a German Wagnerian. You are a very arrogant man.”



Reflection on the death of Charles Manson  and other mass killers

By Matthew Behrens

As the world reflects on the death of killer Charles Manson, I cannot help but think of how his grisly orchestration of killings in LA at the end of the 60s sparks a (very much justified) rage that is rarely shared for the true mass killers of the age: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, on whose hands was the blood of millions. As Charles Chaplin’s character says in the brilliant Monsieur Verdoux, “One murder makes a villain…millions a hero. Numbers sanctify.”


Chaplin’s character, when facing the death sentence, goes on: “To be shocked by the nature of my crime is nothing but a pretence… a sham! You wallow in murder… you legalize it… you adorn it with gold braid! You celebrate it and parade it! Killing is the enterprise by which your system prospers, upon which your industry thrives!…As for being a mass killer, does not the world encourage it? Is it not building weapons of destruction for the sole purpose of mass killing? Has it not blown unsuspecting women and little children to pieces, and done it very scientifically? As a mass killer, I am an amateur by comparison.”


For Manson, there is a special place in Hell reserved for you, one run by your former Presidents, War Secretaries, and Secretaries of State. When Kissinger eventually arrives down there with his Nobel Peace Prize and his fawning obituaries assessing his “controversial” legacy, I am sure you will have much to talk about.

Israel: “the quiet indifferent majority”

November 17, 2017

I began to write about the occupation almost by chance, after many years during which, like all Israelis, I had been brainwashed, convinced of the justice of our cause, certain that we were David and they Goliath, knowing that Arabs don’t love their children the way we do (if at all) and that they, in contrast to us, were born to kill.




So writes the Sabra truth-teller, the conscience of israel, Gideon Levy ruminating about his 30 years covering the occupation, Most Canadian rabbis know of what Levy speaks but prefer to mute  their prophetic gene. It is simply too painful for them.They are caught between the Scylla of Torah demands of pursuing justice (tzedek, tzedek tirdof Deut.16:20) and the Charybdis of older wealthier congregants who have romanticized Israel as a fundamental religious identifier and who support synagogue programs. Best leave the topic of Israel aside. It has become the third rail of synagogue life.




One should have some sympathy for these rabbis, good pastoral people who answer to board. Who among us would become Amos or Jeremiah?


The majority of Israelis don’t want to know anything about the occupation. Few of them have any conception of what it is. They’ve never been there. We have no idea what’s meant when we say “occupation.” We have no idea how we would behave if we were under its regime. Maybe if Israelis had more information some of them would be shocked.


Only a minority of Israelis are happy about the existence of the occupation, but the majority aren’t perturbed by it in the least. There are people who ensure that things will remain as they are. There are those who protect the quiet, indifferent majority and allow them to feel good about themselves – untroubled by doubts or moral qualms, convinced that their army – and country – are the most moral in the world, believing that the whole world is only out to annihilate Israel. Even when in our backyard, so close to our own home, darkness hovers, under whose cover, all those horrors are perpetrated day and night – we’re still so beautiful, in our own eyes.



For not a day or a night goes by without crimes being committed just a short distance from Israeli homes. There’s not a day without them, there’s no such thing as a quiet night. And we haven’t yet said anything about the occupation as such, which is criminal by definition. It has undergone transmutations over the years, been less onerous and more onerous at times, but it has always remained an occupation. And it has always left Israelis unmoved.



To cover up its crimes, the occupation has needed a propaganda-driven media that betrays its honest mission, an education system that has been recruited for its purposes, a duplicitous security establishment, politicians lacking a conscience and a civil society that doesn’t have a clue. A new, occupation-adjusted system of values had to be developed in which the cult of security allows, justifies and whitewashes everything, in which messianism becomes valued by the secular population, too, a sense of victimization functions as a cover-up, and a feeling of “Thou hast chosen us” doesn’t hurt, either.



It was also necessary to come up with a language of newspeak, the language of the occupier. According to this newspeak, for example, arrest without trial is called “administrative detention” and the military government is known as the “Civil Administration.” In the occupier’s language, every child with a pair of scissors is a “terrorist,” every individual detained by the security forces is a “murderer,” and every desperate person who tries to provide for his family at any price is “illegally present” in Israel. Hence the creation of a language and a way of life in which every Palestinian is a suspicious object.

Obama: no guts on Israel

November 15, 2017

President Obama promised to treat Palestinians fairly in Cairo in 2009 and did not follow through at all. He failed to pressure Israel, instead increasing aid. When will U.S. establishment voices begin to echo this truth?

This was the question of a man who in Obama’s Chicago days often dined with the ex-president. That man is Rashid Khalidi who later became the Edward Said professor of Arab studies at Columbia University and the author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. Has Undermined Peace in the Middle East.

The American-sponsored peace process, which began in 1991 after the Gulf War, is all process and no peace. It is a charade. It is pretence. It is worse than a charade because the peace process gives Israel the cover it needs to pursue its aggressive colonial project on the West Bank.
In Jan 2017 President Obama warned that the expansion of Israeli settlements was making a two-state solution impossible. “I don’t see how this issue gets resolved in a way that maintains Israel as both Jewish and a democracy,” Obama said, “because if you do not have two states, then, in some form or fashion, you are extending an occupation. Functionally, you end up having one state in which millions of people are disenfranchised and operate as second-class occupant—or residents. You can’t even call them ‘citizens’ necessarily.”

But Obama never acted.Such was the power of the Israel lobby and AIPAC in the USA. Also one of Obama’s big donors was the powerful Crown family of Chicago.
The tragedy was Obama knew better.
Khalidi on Democracy Now in mid-January 2017
Well, he did what he’s been doing for eight years: He sent a signal. The most powerful country on Earth, the sole serious supporter of Israel, without whose support Israel couldn’t do anything, has now, yet again, for administration after administration, sent a signal that what Israeli governments have been doing for decades is going to lead to a one-state solution, in which Palestinians, as he said, are disenfranchised, are not even citizens and so on and so forth. So we have the diagnostician-in-chief telling us about this problem, which he and previous presidents have absolutely—done absolutely nothing to solve. The United States can, could, should act to stop this ongoing annexation, colonization and so forth, which has led to disenfranchisement. his analysis is impeccable, but his actions are just not in keeping with his words, and have not been over eight years in keeping with his words.

Khalidi summed up the sad performance of American presidents:

I think every American president who has stood by idly and just uttered words, like the president has done in his press conference and like the secretary of state did in his speech, and did nothing to actually stop this trend, that he so accurately described, are—they’re all responsible. He is certainly responsible. Had Security Council Resolution 2334 been passed in the first year of this president’s eight years, who knows what might have happened?

With Trump as president? Well, I think that this is a—this should be a wake-up call for people in the United States who had some kind of idea of Israel as the light unto the nations, to wake up and realize that the United States has helped to create a situation in which Israeli Jews rule over disenfranchised Arabs, that this is not a light unto the nations. This is not really a democracy, if you have helots. He called them “not citizens.” Well, you can call them what you want. He said they’re disenfranchised. It’s actually worse than that. Go to the Occupied Territories. Go to Arab communities inside Israel.

Jim Crows

Look at what happened to a member of Knesset yesterday, shot in the face by Israeli border police, because he protested the demolition of a village in the south of Israel. You’re talking about people who, in some cases, nominally have rights—Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel—or in the Occupied Territories having really no rights, and both of whom live under an unjust and discriminatory regime. We have fostered that. We have helped to finance and fund that, all the while our political leaders talk about how wonderful Israel is, how its values and our values—well, these are Jim Crow values


I Was Once a Basketball Coach pt.2

November 13, 2017

COVERThe Season

The book The Season I  dedicated to the small community that nourished the team. The community was Mimico. The team was called the Marauders. I watched it all build in the meals we shared and the community we created. I was a 27-year-old teacher, and despite my aversion to the title, they called me “coach.”

Below is an excerpt from The Season


Intuitively as part of my DNA, “breaking bread” was very important. The idea certainly hints at scripture where meals were key in the ministry of Jesus. While there were no “last suppers” with players there were many suppers in restaurants like George’s and in private homes.these were sacramental occasions.


Commensality, that is eating and drinking at the same table, is a radical notion. Anthropologists I imagine probably had a field day with this idea – as well as sociologists. But let’s simplify this.




Something special is transpiring. In the hierarchical world of education in those years, teachers never ate with students.To me, this supposedly radical idea shattered boundaries, broke down barriers, redefined who was in and who was out. This commensality I guess was a secular liturgy.




I never used ‘religious” language with players or students but I deeply believed what was happening had some transcendent meaning which could not be measured, described or even spoken about.


So what did this have to do with coaching?


The answer is nothing and everything.


As said before my essential self-definition was as a teacher, one with a deep calling which took me way beyond the classroom.


Mirabile dictu (amazing in the telling) here we are 50 years later sharing an agape, a love feast, 50 years after our unforgettable season. We were but 7 players whom I ran into shape.

MM 1967

A MHS agape at VIBO November 9, 2017

Art Rutledge, Gary Balogh, Ted, Don Crocker, Larry Trafford. Missing Peter Knopfler living in Mexico, Ernie Kocuper flying in next week from in Roberts Creek,B.C. and triste dictu, John Smith now playing in a higher league

We launch our book November 25 in the same small gym where we unleashed our full court presses with such devastating effect.

Anybody wishing a copy of the book