May 21, 2012

David Littman has died.

I never heard of David Littman before I started to learn about human rights, and then as it connects to Israel and an international "cooperation" that holds the only Jewish state to a standard of perfection different from any other state. This phenomenon is seen best at the United Nations, and particularly the Human Rights Council. Littman served as representative of the World Union for Progressive Judaism in Geneva, where the HRC meets. I first saw him excoriate the HRC in no uncertain terms for hypocrisy in promoting political rather than humanitarian concerns. Here is an illustration:

He spoke out repeatedly and appropriately, and here he explained his recent activities promoting human rights at the HRC:

I learned what an extraordinary life this man lived. That his wife, Gisele, writes under the pen name Bat Ye'or about the status of Jews and Christians in Muslim lands and authored Eurabia. How many that condemn this book have read it?

I learned later that in 1961 he helped rescue of 530 Moroccan-Jewish children in a secret Mossad mission, posing as a tennis-playing, Christian English gentleman living with his wife and baby in Casablanca. The details of "Operation Mural" only came to light when a documentary was made in 1986.

For his service, Littman was conferred the "Hero of Silence" Order by the Israeli government in 2009.

To me, Littman defines what it means to be a liberal Zionist. This liberal is not opposed to the nation state because it is the mechanism for which self-determination and human rights are most optimally obtained by peoples and individuals. This liberal speaks against violations of human rights by using a single 21st Century standard of universality as a point of departure, based on principles of individual liberty and dignity that states and non-state entities must respect, protect and fulfill, free from discrimination. Rights do not include freedom not to be insulted, or protection of ideology, or freedom to destroy the system on which the rights are secured. This liberal believes that the worst violations that involve the most people and suffering deserve the spotlight of action and attention. There are limited resources overall for implement and enhance human rights protection.

Littman knew all this only too well. The world is less because he represents too few, and this post is, among many, a small testament to his accomplishments to better humankind.

I hope you will take the opportunity to learn more about this champion of human rights for all, but especially those most vulnerable with the least voice.

May 11, 2012

This is "Islamophobia"

You see, it's all in the head, this claim about Muslim hatred of Jews. If it does exist, it's just a few, extremists, which does not include the Muslim Brotherhood, which is moderate and meets with our government officials.

Pro-Israel advocates, Israel, the Jewish people are in fantasy land. There is nothing to be concerned about.

Indeed, the above is a simply a figment of the imagination or a Zionist deception and existential threat against 1.5 billion adherents of Islam.

So it goes.

May 9, 2012

A World Divided Between the Antagonistic Right and Left

As of late, there is little desire or inclination to blog about much of anything. Does all the energy I see expended in the blogosphere even matter when it comes to making change? There exists a proliferation of posts, to be sure, that day after day cover the same old things, adding to the white noise. Does it accomplish anything of substance?

A problem in blogging is the need to imagine every insight is unique and indispensable. Nothing could be further from reality. To read, think, reflect and learn is more personally satisfying than trying to knock heads with others that do not care for any views besides their own, mockingly so, based on narrow agendas, paying lip service to toleration of others, yet adopting the fundamental approach of us versus them.

All of which brings me to this post. Peter A. Joseph is chairman of the Israel Policy Forum, a think tank that supports responsible U.S. diplomacy to achieve a sustainable, negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Joseph wrote an op-ed a couple of days ago that captures some of what I've expressed above. His subject matter was the boundaries dividing American Jewish opinion on Israel, and its policies regarding Palestinians. He says:
In truth, American Jewish advocacy, like Israel’s political realities, is complex and cannot be addressed effectively through sound bites. But that is exactly what voices on the fringes have offered as their efforts have been directed at rallying political bases rather than advancing reasoned policy concepts. Instead of staking out principled, nuanced positions that reflect an understanding of competing narratives, both sides have adopted an oversimplified rhetoric that feeds fierce debate in the American Jewish community and shrinks political space for pragmatic policy.
Ironically, while the American Jewish left is more vocal than ever, it also has become more irrelevant. While correctly promoting the idea that there is not only one way to be pro-Israel, the left has joined with the right to fuel a with-us-or-against-us paradigm that has resulted in the highly charged debate. The left’s vocal and consistent condemnation of the Israeli government, as well as its lack of sensitivity to Israeli public opinion, has significantly undermined its pro-Israel claims. Consequently, it has never been more politically expedient for politicians and community leaders to disassociate from liberal Zionists.
The American Jewish right shares equal blame. It has sought to capitalize on the left’s failings, seeking to turn Israel into a partisan tool that can be wielded against President Obama and undermining bipartisan consensus support for the Jewish state. Faced with a choice, many organizations, community leaders and politicians quite naturally align themselves with the right, lest they risk alienation from a comfort zone of support for Israel. Others are disengaging from Israel advocacy altogether to avoid the seemingly endless debates that often resemble a dog chasing its own tail.
Similar divides extend into political discourse between activists. This helps illustrate why knowledge and durable solutions often are beyond grasp of activists. So long as the divisive mind set predominates, which denies the existence of any other truth besides one's own, the path to obtain a secure environment where humans take precedence over ideologies will be much longer and rockier than might otherwise be experienced.