Monday, February 06, 2017

Aryeh Speaking Tours Feb-Apr '17 - 5 Steps to Arab-Israel Peace

5 Steps on the Path to Arab-Israel Peace
Guidance for the new administration… and generation
Aryeh Green, author of the forthcoming book My Israel Trail: Finding Peace in the Land of Milk and Honey, hiked the entire length and breadth of Israel on Shvil Yisrael – the Israel National Trail – following his divorce.  The lessons he learned on the physical trek, enabling the personal growth to move ahead with his life, have fascinating implications for the conflict in the Middle East.
Offering an inspiring and uplifting perspective on the history and reality on the ground in the region, Aryeh presents a path for reaching real peace between Arab and Jew, breaking through the propaganda and misplaced assumptions guiding efforts to date.  His radical approach to facing and meeting personal challenges – from an excruciatingly steep ascent to the excruciating loneliness of the trek and of life after divorce – when applied to the Arab-Israel dispute is powerful, captivating and far-reaching.
This event will change your way of looking at not only the conflict but at your own beliefs and illusions – and might well change your life to boot.
Contact aryeh.green@gmail.com for more information.
"What a fascinating journey Aryeh presents us with and takes us on. It is a beautiful exploration of self and identity; the movement of his body through Israel echoes the movement of his spirit from loneliness and fear to strength and fulfillment. What a metaphor for so many of our journeys in this life!"Mayim Bialik, actress (Big Bang Theory, Blossom); author; activist (Grok Nation); neuroscientist.

"Walking alone through a beautiful country is conducive to thinking creatively. Aryeh Green's wonderful description of his 42-day hike throughout Israel will make you think hard about the state of the nation-state of the Jewish people at this critical time in its history. It's a worthwhile journey on which to embark." Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law.

"Deeply moving and profoundly thoughtful, My Israel Trail is a must for lovers of Israel, nature, and the human spirit. Aryeh Green has done an immense service to us all." Dr. Michael Oren, Israeli Deputy Minister & Member of Knesset; former Israeli ambassador to the US; historian and scholar of the Middle East.
Aryeh is planning speaking tours February 24th-March 9th on the East Coast, and March 24th-April 6th on the West Coast, and is available for booking.  A member of the Jewish Speakers Bureau, the prestigious agency for the likes of Aviva Zorenberg, Gil Troy, Yossi Klein Halevi, Susan Silverman, Daniel Polisar and others, Aryeh’s speaker profile is online; topics and full bio below.  Aryeh is a frequent and popular speaker for AJC, JNF, RJC, Hillel, Hadassah, AIPAC, SWU, ZOA, synagogues of all streams, church groups, Jewish federations, JCRCs, and Israel’s embassy and consulates.  Some of his talks and articles can be found online at the links on the next page. 
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Aryeh Green Speaker Profile
Contact Info:   Aryeh Green (aryeh.green@gmail.com); Tel. +972-54-648-2344

In Brief:  Dynamic, knowledgeable, passionate, inspiring speaker for community and campus.  Author of forthcoming book My Israel Trail, about hiking the 600-mile Israel National Trail and the search for peace in the Middle East; Chief Strategic Officer at GigawattGlobal, an Israeli developer of solar energy projects for Africa; director emeritus of MediaCentral, a Jerusalem-based project of HonestReporting providing support services to foreign journalists based in or visiting Israel.  High-tech business consultant and executive; public diplomacy (‘hasbara’) spokesman; regional democracy activist; reserve briefing officer in IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.  Recent talk on "Re-awakening Zionism" (video) in LA, co-sponsored by the Israeli Consulate, Simon Wiesenthal Ctr, StandWithUs, Beverly Hills Syn and ZOA; most recent article – “Myths and Madness in the Middle East”. More info, videos, articles at Jewish Speakers Bureau.
Background:   Born in Washington, DC; grew up in San Francisco; made Aliya in 1984.  Policy advisor to Natan Sharansky since late 1990’s; served on executive staff of Sharansky’s Yisrael B’Aliya party; was senior member of minister Sharansky’s staff in Israel’s prime minister’s office, responsible for relations with ‘next generation’ Jewish leaders and coordination of hasbara activities, including on campus, as well as for contacts with Palestinian and other Arab democracy activists.
Over 25 years in business, mostly high-tech, with various executive management positions and consulting work for public and private Israeli companies, including ECI Telecom, Aladdin, Bank HaPoalim, Pfizer, AudioCodes, Moto Guzzi and others.  Former managing director of the G3 Associates business consulting firm in Jerusalem.  Seven years public sector work in education, including as founder/director of Students For Israel, a Jerusalem seminar center training visiting students in advocacy skills for their return to campuses abroad.
BA in psychology from UC Berkeley, MA in international relations from Hebrew University, MSc in business management from Boston University and Ben Gurion University.  Publications include articles in Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, NY Times, Wall St. Journal, JCPA’s “Academics Against Israel and the Jews”, Jewish Policy Center, Israel21C, Washington Jewish Week, Aspen Times, SF “J”, Israel Insider, and various online forums.  In his spare time, Aryeh grows grapes and makes wine.
Topics:
[Detailed description of topics on following page]

Ø  Re-Asserting the Legitimacy of Israel: Indigenous people returning to our ancestral homeland

Ø  Three Myths of the Middle EastFundamentals in pro-Israel advocacy and argument

Ø  Current events in Israel and the Middle East: An insider’s update on regional developments

Ø  A new approach to Israel’s media relationsembracing journalists rather than attacking them

Ø  Human Rights & Freedom in the Middle EastNatan Sharansky’s approach to peace

Ø  Human Rights in Jewish SourcesRoots of western human rights theory

Ø  The New Anti-Semitism: A “3D” approach to anti-Israel attitudes

Ø  Religious Zionism in Israel vs. Modern Orthodoxy in the West: A unified theory of Judaism

Ø  GeoPolitics of the Middle East: Understanding the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ø  “Middle Israel” – Is there a centrist consensus in Israel? (or, The Saga of a Fanatic Moderate)

Ø  Jewish State? Jewish identity in modern Israel (response to Yoram Hazony’s analysis)

Ø  The View From Here - An American Immigrant’s Perspective

Ø  Crossing the Chasm in Israel - What divides us, what unites us as Israelis

Ø  An Israeli Nokia? Israel as a global high-tech center: what’s missing, what’s needed.

Ø  Welcome to Israel3500 years of Jewish history in 35 minutes! (For visiting groups)

Aryeh Green: Lecture/discussion topics (detail):

Re-Asserting the legitimacy of Israel and Zionism: Indigenous people returning to our ancestral homelandAn illuminating and provocative discussion of Jewish identity; Judaism as more than ‘just a religion’; Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people and Jews as a civilization.

Three Myths of the Middle EastFundamentals in pro-Israel advocacy and argument  A presentation of three fundamental misperceptions regarding Israel, the Arab and Muslim world, and the nature of the Arab-Israeli conflict, applicable in all realms of advocacy from campus activism to lobbying.

A new approach to Israel’s media relations: Embracing journalists rather than attacking them

An in-depth look at Israeli ‘hasbara’ (public diplomacy) efforts and how to promote accuracy and fairness in reporting about Israel and the conflict from the region by providing services rather than just information.

Human Rights & Freedom in the Middle East: Natan Sharansky & a “process” for real peace for the region

A presentation of Sharansky’s call to “take back” the banner of human rights by returning to a traditional definition of the concept and applying it to the Middle East.  Themes include: Democracy as the only real guarantor of security and peace in the Middle East; Israel as the champion of freedom in the region; encouragement of greater freedom in the Arab world for the benefit of the Palestinians and other Arabs as well as Israel.

Human Rights in Jewish Sources: An exploration of the roots of western human rights theory

From Aristotle through St. Augustine and Grotius to Jefferson, an exploration of the most basic principles of “human rights” from a Jewish perspective.  Based on sources beginning with Breishit (man’s creation “in the image of God”), continuing through the Mishna, Gemara, Rambam and others, and including modern Jewish philosophers and jurists like Justice Chaim Cohen and Rene Cassin, the Jewish contribution to modern morality and western jurisprudence is surveyed.
The New Anti-Semitism: A “3D” approach to anti-Israel attitudes

An exploration of traditional themes of anti-Semitism and how they have been now used to justify anti-Zionism and anti-Israel propaganda.  Delegitimization, Demonization and Discrimination of Jews has now morphed into vilification of the Jewish State.  Comparison of legitimate criticism of Israeli policies versus denial of the State of Israel the right to exist.

Religious Zionism in Israel vs. Modern Orthodoxy in the Western world: A unified theory of Judaism

An exploration of the three main streams of Jewish life – Modernity, Torah, and Zionism – how they interact and conflict, who the personalities are and were in their development, and how they can come together to create a “whole” Jew.

GeoPolitics of the Middle East: Understanding the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

A look at the geography of the region from a historical perspective, including the creation of historical boundaries and the physical realities which relate to efforts at resolving the conflict.

A Jewish State? An answer and a prescription for Yoram Hazony

Analysis of the conclusions of Hazony’s 2002 book “The Jewish State”, prescriptions for improvement, and discussion of the balance between Israel’s democracy and Jewish identity, including recent examples relating to the withdrawal from Gaza, state land ownership and the IDF.

“Middle Israel” – Is there a centrist consensus in Israel? (or, The Saga of a Fanatic Moderate)

A presentation of the real consensus in Israel on various topics, as not normally presented by the media or by interested partisans.  Subjects include the security barrier, a Palestinian state, the Jewish identity of the State of Israel, economic liberalism, and many others.

The View From Here - An American Immigrant’s Perspective

Personal anecdotes and review of the immigrant experience, from thirty years as an “oleh”.  Perceptions of the pleasures and pains of Aliya – spanning multinational corporations and educational systems, smoking habits and driving habits, religious and cultural differences and more.  A celebration of western Aliya with a lot of humour.

An Israeli Nokia? Israel as a global high-tech center: what’s missing, what’s needed

An evaluation and discussion of Israeli business management practices, from major multinationals through high-tech start-ups – including issues of culture, ethics and organizational behavior practices.

Welcome to Israel: 3500 years of Jewish history in 35 minutes! (For visiting groups)

An inspiring overview of Jewish history and the modern miracle of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel, reflecting two central themes of connection to the Land and wandering from it.


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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Have a little Gratitude! VLOG Response to Stephen Fry on God/Atheism


A friend sent me a disturbing interview with comedian Stephen Fry where he calls God a "monster" for allowing suffering in the world.  My first Video Blog is my informal, off-the-cuff reply - for the friend who sent it to me.

https://youtu.be/kBq3fQT-xeU

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Myths and Madness in the Middle East

Myths and Madness in the Middle East

InSight Magazine, Jewish Policy Center
December 29, 2016
https://www.jewishpolicycenter.org/2016/12/29/myths-madness-middle-east/

In the aftermath of UNSC Res. 2334, criticism has come from Right and Left, in America and Israel. Defenders of the decision by the U.S. to abstain, and the vote in favor by Israel’s other supposed allies in the free world, France, Britain, New Zealand, Spain and Japan, suggest it’s just another statement opposing Israel’s “settlements.” But this goes far beyond disapproval of Israel building Jewish communities in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the “west bank” of the Jordan River). As many have argued, the labelling of these communities as having “no legal validity”, in spite of treaties and other instruments of international law (such as the UN Charter, UNSCR 242, and the Oslo Accords), and the inclusion of Jerusalem, has altered the political, legal and even moral framework in which efforts to resolve the conflict can proceed.

In Newsweek earlier this year, Aaron David Miller rightly suggested the new U.S. administration should reject five myths regarding their approach to Middle East issues. His analysis focuses on methods and tactics, but not on the fundamental misunderstandings which affect – or infect – decision-making. He says, correctly, that America may not be able to bring about a comprehensive end to strife in the region. And this is even more true with 2334’s promotion of the territories’ character as “Palestinian,” its denial of any Israeli claim beyond the 1949 armistice lines including the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, and its use of legal terminology to force an anti-Israel political agenda.

A few quotes can help us to understand just how unfortunate are the current misconceptions and misrepresentations of the reality in the Middle East.
On September 16, 2015, encouraging his people to carry out violent acts of terror against Israeli and other civilians, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said (on TV in Arabic): “We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah…the Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is ours, and they have no right to defile them with their filthy feet.”
On October 14th, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said: There has been a massive increase in settlements…and there’s an increase in the violence because there’s this frustration.”
And on October 15th President Obama said: “…it’s important for both Prime Minister Netanyahu… and President Abbas… to try to tamp down rhetoric that may feed violence…”

There are three essential myths regarding the conflict in the Middle East, and it is belief in these myths which underlies the failure of so many attempts to achieve peace. It is madness when a leader who calls for his people to shed their blood and the blood of innocent civilians is called a moderate. It is madness when leaders of the free world cite frustration as an understandable reason for murder. And it is madness to ignore the Arabs’ responsibility for the perpetuation of the conflict and to hold Israel primarily answerable for the lack of peace in the region—given that precisely such attitudes and policies clearly lead to more of the same. Wasn’t it Einstein who said that trying the same thing over and over while expecting different results is a definition of insanity?

Understanding these myths is crucial for any chance of real reconciliation in our region. Reasonable people can – and do – debate Israel’s policies on virtually all issues. Yet to be effective, to be relevant, all our arguments must be based on facts, not illusions. Only policy discussion founded in reality has any potential for success in our efforts to achieve real peace.

The three fundamental myths of the Arab-Israeli conflict are:
Myth #1 – Abbas and other “Palestinian” leaders are “moderate” & want peace.
Myth #2 – The primary obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the “settlements”
Myth #3 – This is a “Palestinian-Israeli conflict,” a territorial (or national) dispute.

Documented history refutes these myths with compelling arguments, categorically. Policy-makers, educators, activists and religious leaders who acknowledge the truths which negate these myths are more likely to successfully encourage moves towards peace in the region. Nothing in this line of reasoning absolves Israel of its obligation to act lawfully and morally—and wisely and strategically—in its pursuit of security and peace, nor ignores Israel’s policy failings and mistakes; nor does this lead inexorably to any policy prescriptions. However, the historical record and accepted (western) legal norms should clarify where the brunt of responsibility lies for the prolongation of this violent regional and international war for over a hundred years.

Myth 1: “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and other Palestinian Arab leaders are ‘moderate’ & want peace.”

The statements above, and the many other celebrations of the murder of innocents and calls for violence, put paid to this myth of moderation swiftly. Moreover, Abbas’ and other leaders have consistently been “immoderate” in their refusal to compromise and even negotiate, and in their rejection of the legitimacy of Jewish national identity and therefore of Israel’s founding, let alone any Jewish connection to the land. Moderates, according to the definition of the word, believe in and pursue compromise, tolerance, coexistence, acceptance and peace. Palestinian Arabs[i] are inculcated from childhood into a culture of hatred full of vitriol which glorifies terrorist murders of innocents as heroic “martyrs” and icons of their national identity, through their education system and media, political and cultural and religious leaders. They are taught in school and TV/radio talk shows that Jews are usurpers of their land, descendants of pigs and apes, murderers and cheaters, and that the Jews and Americans, Christians and the West, are decadent enemies of the Arab Umma (people).

In their pronouncements, cultural and educational policies, politics and actions, Mahmoud Abbas and the other heads of the PLO/PA foment intolerance and hostility. Moderate, the facts prove, these leaders are not. Abbas and the Kings of Saudi Arabia or Jordan and others are (usually) “less extreme” than their fanatical murderous co-religionists in Hamas, ISIS or Iran. But if “moderate” is to have any meaning, it cannot be used to refer to these leaders and regimes. Regularly imprisoning journalists or citizens for posting criticism of the government on Facebook; beating or otherwise punishing women for improper (sic) behavior; outlawing the practice of religions other than Islam; allowing or even encouraging the “honor killing” (sic) of young women, clitorectomies, slavery and hatred of Christians, Jews, America and Israel, are not actions practiced by moderates. Most of this list, except for slavery, is true of Israel’s “moderate” peace partners in Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority. Miller’s call, that of Natan Sharansky over a decade ago, for Arab leaders willing to reform their societies is right on target: and it starts with those supposedly “moderate” becoming truly interested in freedom, tolerance, coexistence and peace.

Myth 2: “The primary obstacle to peace in the Middle East is the ‘settlements.’”

Two historical facts put paid to this absurd contention—whether one supports or opposes Israel’s building of communities and homes in the disputed territories of Judea and Samaria (the historical and accepted cartographical term for that area, now known also as the ‘West Bank’ of the Jordan River). First, there were of course no “settlements” in those territories in the years they were illegally occupied by Jordan, from Israel’s (re-) establishment in 1948 until Israel took them over following its defensive war in 1967. Yet there was no peace.

Then, when Israel dismantled 21 Jewish communities in the Gaza Strip (and four in northern Samaria), expelling some 11,000 Jewish residents, and there were no more “settlements” in Gaza… there was no peace. Instead, there were rockets, thousands of them, crashing down on Israel’s southern and then central cities. The settlements, clearly, were and are not the primary obstacle to peace—since if they were, peace would have reigned before the first were established in the early 1970’s, and/or after the Gaza community was demolished in 2005.

But these two historical references are really only the beginning in dispelling this second myth. We can dismiss easily the absurd notion, referenced in the quote from John Kerry above, that there has been an “increase in settlements”—let alone a “massive” such buildup. The facts (and they are, indeed facts, any school child can check them online) are that there have been no new settlements—none—for well over a decade. What ‘expansion’ has occurred has involved building new housing inside the boundaries of existing communities (“settlements”). So much for a “massive increase in settlements” as Kerry termed it (or the “millions” of settlements described by Deputy National Security Ben Rhodes as he tried to justify the betrayal of Israel in Resolution 2334). This part of the myth is particularly outrageous as it is so patently false, and as it seems to offer the Palestinians an excuse for their ongoing fabricated grievance—and for their continual resort to violence. As if “frustration” is ever an excuse for violence, on the personal or national level.

An additional historical reference point repudiating the myth of the “settlements” as the primary obstacle to peace between the Palestinian/Arab world, on the one hand, and Jews and Israel on the other, is the significant number of peace proposals and offers made in negotiations by Israel. Every one of Israel’s conciliatory gestures was simply rejected by the Palestinian or other Arab leadership. There have been at least six offers of statehood explicitly made by Israel, disregarded or spurned each time anew, on whatever subtext was handy at the time. Palestinian refusal to even discuss the topic in negotiations demonstrates that those nefarious “settlements” are not the crux of the problem. Of course this is directly related to the myth of these leaders’ “moderation.”

Finally, a theoretical proof suggests itself, compelling in its logic if far too often not even considered, in a form of western discrimination towards supposedly primitive Arab society. (The free world doesn’t expect Muslim or Arab or Palestinian culture to afford opportunity for real coexistence, an inexcusably racist stance on the face of it.) If we imagine for a moment, just for intellectual curiosity, how a truly moderate leader of the Arab world or Palestinians might view real peace between Arab and Jew in the region, we can quickly agree that Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria actually pose no obstacle to the sort of reconciliation and long-term neighborly relations inherent in our concept of “peace.” A small percentage of Jews living among Arabs in a nascent “State of Palestine” would clearly not be an impediment to peace or progress. Quite the opposite.

France and Germany, after some 800 years of conflict and warfare, finally realized it would be of greater benefit to their people to live in peace; the concept that traditional enemies might put aside their enmity is hardly a new one. Peace between one-time adversaries is certainly possible, even to the extent of citizens of one nationality residing in the other country.

More locally, and much more relevantly, Israel itself is the best example of the power of this point. Fully 20% of Israel’s population are minorities—predominantly Arabs, and mostly Muslim. These Arab Muslims live as full members of Israeli society, with full access to services and education, jobs and recreation, and with no fear for their lives or property. [ii]

Real peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors would by definition allow for some minority of Jews, and/or Christians or others, to similarly live within Palestinian society. For argument’s sake, let’s say not more than 5% of the population of any “State of Palestine” to be established, in whatever borders, could be Jews or other minorities. “Poof”—to borrow another asinine quote of Kerry’s—the “settlements” are no longer any sort of obstacle to peace. If Brits can live all their lives in the south of Spain, but remain loyal and patriotic British subjects; if Americans can live in Canada, for business or personal reasons (or historical or national reasons, for that matter), then Jews can live in Hebron for spiritual or national or historical reasons, as citizens of “Palestine,” if real peace were to be desired by the Arab leaders of such a state. Or they could live in that Palestinian state as Israeli ex-pats, should they prefer.

Myth 3: “This is a “Palestinian-Israeli conflict”, a territorial or national struggle; agreeing on borders and the establishment of a ‘Palestinian’ state will resolve it.”

This third myth misconstrues Arab and Palestinian attitudes towards Jews and Israel, their refusal to negotiate, and their general extremism. As has been noted by many experts, including truly moderate Arabs and Palestinians, this is not chiefly a territorial or even a national battle between two rival communities vying for the same land. It is, sadly and tragically, a religious, ideological, civilizational struggle.

Were that it were just a territorial or even national conflict. My friends Mohammed Dajani and Walid Salem, among others, and I have often agreed we could resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict relatively easily if the only issue on the table was where to draw the borders. But as described by the world’s leading scholars of Arab and Muslim history and society, like Bernard Lewis or Fred Maroun, this is nothing less than a clash of civilizations. It is—as stated explicitly by the Arab leadership repeatedly—a religious/ideological struggle. The Arab and Muslim world and the Palestinian leadership declare again and again their violent hostility towards Jews (and Christians, and the West), their unabated opposition to any expression of Jewish national identity, and their rejection of any connection between the Jews and their land, not least the establishment of a national home for the Jews, the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel. So it has been for over the past hundred years or more. And so it is today.

Lucy Aharish, an Arab-Israeli anchor on Israel Television, made a passionate statement along these lines recently. Also recently, a supposedly moderate Arab-Israeli student said in a class at an Israeli college, to his Jewish peers, “this is our land; you’ll be gone eventually,” as reported by Professor Daniel Gordis. This is no “right-wing” conspiracy theory; Israeli leaders of the Left including Professor Shlomo Avineri and Labor Party head Isaac Herzog have explicitly said similar things.

More convincingly, Arab/Muslim/Palestinian leaders echo these themes every time they or their preachers or teachers or media outlets and educational materials constantly repeat the canards of the Jews and Israelis as imperialist or colonialist, racist or apartheid, oppressive or militarist or Nazi-like usurpers. When Yasser Arafat then, or the head of the Waqf (the Jordanian-appointed body administering the Temple Mount area in Jerusalem) now, declares that there was no Jewish Temple there, and call for Muslim and Arab rioting to protest some sort of Israeli attempt to “Judaize” [sic] the only site on earth holy to Jews, we begin to understand the significance of this third myth. And we may appreciate the gravity of the depth of ignorance on the part of those members of today’s UN Security Council who, unwittingly perhaps, have fed this beast of denial and rejection by statement that Jerusalem is somehow not connected to the Jewish people—as UNESCO did recently as well.

There is a fierce and deep opposition by most Arab and Muslim leaders to any expression of Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel. The denial of even any Jewish connection to the area is part and parcel of the cultural milieu permeating Palestinian, Arab and Muslim societies across the region and the world, leading to the indoctrination of vicious anti-Israel and anti-Jewish attitudes reflected in Pew and other surveys every year. The settlement shibboleth appears to be a smokescreen to hide the basic bigotry and loathing voiced continually (in Arabic) towards the Jews, Israel, Christians and the West in general—the infidels. When Palestinian Arab leaders refer to the “Occupation of ‘48” and to towns like Haifa, Tiberius, Yafo, Acre and Lod as “Palestinian,”, the rejection of the Jewish people’s and Israel’s connection to the land and very legitimacy is revealed in all its simplicity and crudity. And President Obama’s suggestion, in the quote above and of course in Resolution 2334, that there is some equivalence to this hateful rhetoric and actions by Palestinians/Arabs on the Jewish and Israeli side is absurd, and destructive.

As the indigenous people of the region, the return of Jews to Judea makes not only linguistic and religious but historical and national and political and moral sense. As it did to the international community some hundred years ago, when they gave expression to their understanding of the re-emergence of Jewish national identity in the mandate given to Great Britain by the League of Nations to facilitate the (re-) “establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine” after wresting it in WWI from the oppressive Ottoman Turkish occupation of the land.

Conclusion

All three of the myths are encapsulated in Mahmoud Abbas’ calling, at the podium of the United Nations on September 22, 2016, for Great Britain to “apologize” for issuing the government policy supporting the validity of the Jews’ connection to their ancestral homeland known as the Balfour declaration, incorporated into that Mandate. The same United Nations which inherited the Mandate(s) and which explicitly, at its founding, insisted that the regimes, rights and privileges of those arrangements continued to be in force as a matter of binding international treaty law, hosted this immoderate leader calling by implication for the dismantling of a UN member state. This is proof that his and their opposition to Israel has nothing to do with the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and that they are waging an ideological, civilizational struggle to deny the Jews the very self-determination they demand for themselves.

And the UNSC Resolution 2334 last week supports and promotes that struggle, by ignoring or contravening the provisions of the Mandate; of the UN Charter; of the recognition of Israel and the terms of its armistice agreements of 1949 with Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Syria and Iraq; of the Road Map; of the Oslo Accords; and of any objective understandings of history and law, let alone politics and morality.

Nothing of the foregoing suggests that Israel has not made mistakes, in action or in policy, or that Israel cannot do more to address legitimate complaints of Arabs in the territories or among Israeli citizenry. And none of the above necessarily leads to a compulsory conclusion or policy prescription. One can advocate the withdrawal by Israel from Judea & Samaria, and the establishment of a Palestinian state there, or champion the annexation of those territories by Israel; in both cases dismissal of these myths and acknowledgement of the truth which disproves them is necessary to establish a firm foundation for any policy prescription. When one rejects these fundamental myths and confronts reality, many additional possibilities suggest themselves, from confederation to regional arrangements and/or territorial swaps to Palestine east of the Jordan River.

Successful resolution our Arab-Israel conflict—which is to say, the Arab war against the Jewish people and nation-state—requires two things. First, the Arab and Muslim leadership must lead their societies to an acceptance of the legitimacy of the founding and existence of the nation-state of the Jewish people, Israel. And second, the leadership of the free world—starting with American leaders—must reject these myths of Palestinian “moderation”, the notion that “settlements” are the main cause of our conflict, and the idea that it is of a “territorial” nature.

It’s that simple: real moderation, tolerance and co-existence on the part of the Arabs, along with an accurate Western understanding of the historical, legal, political and social factors perpetuating the situation, would make all the difference. How much longer will we have to wait?

Aryeh Green can be reached at aryeh.green@gmail.com

[i] There is a legitimate historical perspective which notes that a “Palestinian” prior to 1949 was a Jew residing in Eretz Yisrael, or “Palestine” – hence the Palestine Post, Palestine Symphony Orchestra, Anglo Palestine Co. and the Palestine Regiment in the British army, all were Jewish, and known to be so. A unique Arab identity emerged slowly over the mid-20th-Century, and then explosively following Israel’s establishment. Even the creation of the “Palestine Liberation Organization” was more part of the Pan-Arab effort to destroy Israel than an expression of separate Arab identity in 1964. Yet in spite of not having a distinct language, culture, religion, cuisine, genetic makeup or historical connection to a specific land beyond the past few generations, the “Palestinians” have now established themselves as a discrete community within the wider Arab Middle East, accepted by the world, including the vast majority of Israelis. There is no point in denying the Palestinians’ identity; recognizing the relatively recent nature of the emergence of this communal character is important to understanding the nature of the conflict, though in no way rejects its validity.

[ii]Discrimination is an issue—as it is in Germany against Turks, in Britain against Asians, in France against Algerians, and in the US against blacks and Latinos. Israel is facing its challenges of relating to its minorities—some of whom, unlike these other examples, express violent hostility to the state—with education and public programs, as if not more assertively than other western nations facing similar issues. None of this detracts from the point being made.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

INSC 2334 and perpetuating the Arab war against Israel



From an email exchange about the disastrous UNSC resolution promoted by Obama, my statement on it as the ultimate and compelling example of his administration's failed foreign policy of manipulative and appeasing 'abstaining from behind'. I have nothing more to say. Thank goodness there are people out there saying it better and more powerfully than me.


Wow, it's been a long weekend.


There is objective reality, and then there is wishful thinking and illusions (or delusions of grandeur). There is history and then there is imperfect understanding or willful ignorance or purposeful misrepresentation. There is actual int'l law and then there is the political use (abuse) of the terminology of "law". As in Friday's absurd resolution which makes a mockery of the UN, explicitly contradicting its own charter and previous resolutions. The UN inherited and adopted the one mandating "settlement" by Jews of the Land of Israel, for instance. The UNSC passed 242, the one requiring the Arabs to make peace with Israel and for Israel to retain some of the land to which it has a claim. The UN's Charter has that one part outlawing aggressive warfare. Not to mention the mockery this all makes of various int'l agreements like the Geneva Convention (which doesn't apply here) and the Oslo Accords (which require negotiations between the parties, explicitly rejecting this sort of int'l interference, as well as not restricting building by the parties in areas under their control).


But this resolution, in perfect Orwellian Double-Speak, says Israel's towns and villages in Judea & Samaria have "no legal validity" (though not Arab new towns/settlements and expansions of villages and Bedouin encampments) and ignores all international law related to this conflict and area, most importantly the corpus of actual treaty law, in favor of vacuous references of "humanitarian law" and use of the word "illegal" when according to (western) scholars of law it is not.


Regarding the UNSC resolution itself, I'd like to draw your attention to the obvious:


1. There has been no "expansion" of settlements for years.


2. The harm in this resolution is NOT that it "criticizes settlements", which is a reasonable political stance to take; the harm is that it (a) says they are illegal; (b) includes JERUSALEM and all the other areas across the '49 armistice lines; and therefore (c) contradicts/negates the primary parameters of (still in effect) international legal structures pertaining to our conflict, namely the Mandate designating this as the national home of the Jewish people, the '49 UN recognition of Israel in temporary borders, and the '67 UNSC resolution 242 explicitly recognizing Israel's claim to its land beyond the '49 armistice lines in areas illegally occupied by Jordan.


3. The harm, then, adds to the growing and painfully obvious understanding by the Arabs, "Palestinians", and their supporters, that (a) Israel is not legitimate, (b) Israel's claims to land beyond the '49 armistice lines are illegitimate, and (c) they need do nothing, concede nothing, compromise on nothing, not least acknowledging Israel's very right to exist (and cease campaigning for its destruction) or negotiate to bring an end to the conflict.


The US not vetoing it is equivalent to it supporting it, plain and simple. No amount of politicking and wordsmithing can ameliorate this. Your appeal to a "unanimous" vote is absurd, considering the identity of all those voting, let alone the pre-conceived (mis)perceptions involved. Hence the across-the-board calls to the administration to veto, and condemnation of the abstention, from Dems and Repubs, right and left - except of course JStreet and Peace Now. (Ironic, when we recognize how far this pushes away any real prospect for peace in the near or mid-future.) Now we hear news of actual collusion behind the scenes, hardly surprising, as neither Egypt nor New Zealand, let alone the UK and France, would work on anything this significant without in-depth consultations with the US. Duh.


If you/others cannot see how this UNSC resolution impedes rather than promotes peace; encourages rather than discourages war and conflict, intolerance and hatred; and damages the US and UN reputations with their allies and in the Western world, while encouraging anti-Israel (anti-Semitic, by definition) forces around the world and all the tyrants now active in the Middle East, especially Iran, Russia, Syria, Turkey and Hamas & Fatah... then perhaps it's time to refer you to the massive shock and public rejection expressed by leaders of the opposition (your beloved Left) here in Israel, as well as the unity mentioned above in US political circles.


Sorry for the run-on sentence and slight rant.... You may have noticed I haven't only reduced my involvement in these sorts of exchanges, I've also reduced my Fb posting. In my recent experience, the only success I've had in opening people's minds is in personal interaction, during my talks or private conversations.


Most of you know me as a true centrist in both the American and Israeli contexts and a moderate in most things, political and religious included; I am doing less and less of this sort of arguing online and in email exchanges as I see more and more of the radical Left and extreme Right simply revert to their received wisdom irrespective of fact or history or the behavior of involved parties. Unfortunately, this is reflected in electioneering and voting in the US as well as in misguided policy by Obama, Kerry, Clinton and others. (And to be even-handed, I imagine will continue, in other directions, with the new administration as well. But we can hope for change, as it were, perhaps. Whether with this president, or the next, or the next... eventually I have faith in the re-assertion of common sense in American foreign policy.)


:-)


So... I'm focused now on raising investment funds for our company building solar electricity fields in Africa and on publishing my book about hiking the Israel Trail (anyone with ideas or contacts in the publishing industry pls let me know). Ah yes, and organizing a speaking tour for late Jan/early Feb, not least to talk a bit about the myths and madness of the Middle East and re-asserting the legitimacy of Israel and Zionism.


I wish each of you, and your families, a wonderful Chanukah, celebrating *not* the "dedication" of people (ala Obama last night) nor the miracle of 7 extra days of oil but rather the miracle of the regaining of the Jewish people's national sovereignty in our land and the reassertion of our control over our own destiny, as well as the miracle of life as we know it (how oil burns and provides light and warmth to us all)....


With fond regards - Chag Sameach -


Aryeh


* Here's a link to a documentary about Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict called "Hijacking the Holy Land" in which I'm featured at 9 mins, 10:30, and 34 mins, just for fun:


















The Truth on Israel Palestine Conflict


http://shroudofturinnews.com/israel-palestine-conflict-reasons-to-seek-the-truth History on Israel Palestine Conflict - News Update-Israelis in the towns and...


YOUTUBE.COM

Sunday, September 04, 2016

The "new normal" - divorced/remarried/blended/mixed/messed-up families

[This post has nothing to do with Israel but everything to do with me. I figured if Mayim can put herself out there so personally, so can I. :-)]

I saw a video the other day posted by Mayim Bialik about how she and her ex-husband are managing to construct a family dynamic filled with love and respect, raising their children together after their divorce, even spending religious holidays together.

This got me thinking about my situation after my divorce – and remarriage – and about how the "new normal" in family life poses so many challenges to so many of us these days.

According to recent statistics, more marriages end in divorce in America today than last the lifetime they were supposedly intended to.* It's a tragic and disturbing reality – certainly for those of us, married or otherwise, who see the institution of marriage as just that: forever.

And the challenges this reality poses are significant. How to spend vacation and religious festivals, and with whom, is only the tip of the iceberg. Dividing time and attention between various children and other family members, celebrating personal events like birthdays or graduations twice or sometimes three times, to accommodate various groupings, is also surmountable. Jason Mraz has a song which acknowledges the benefits of two birthday parties and the like (though the song itself deals mostly with many of the more depressing and negative aspects of a split family).

What I really liked about Mayim's post - liked, admire and respect - is how candid she is about their priorities; and about how they don't really care what other people think. For someone in any society to say "that's not normal" when divorced parents decide to share family events together, is not only insensitive; It's downright cruel. The perfect family unit – parents and children, grandparents and aunts and uncles and the whole wider family tree - doesn't necessarily disintegrate just because a husband and wife decide they no longer wish to live together.

We have divorced friends who spend Friday night Shabbat dinner - almost a paradigm of "family time" in the Jewish world, at whatever level of observance - together with their only son in his twenties, with his and their friends. It's different, yes - but it is beautiful and wonderful, no less than the "difference" involved in other friends where she is Orthodox-observant and he is less observant, or our two gay friends raising their child together, or my Jewish cousin who built a marvelous and loving family with a Catholic spouse.

I know someone who refers to his sister's kids as "my nephews" and his wife's sister's kids as "her nephews". Seriously? After decades of love and connection, after celebrating births and bat mitzvahs together, taking vacations and trips, commiserating over siblings and parents and children and arguing politics and helping each other out in times of need, I am closer to my (former) brother- and sister-in-law, mother- and father-in-law, and my nieces, then to almost anyone else in the world.

These are family, with ties that bind which are as strong and sometimes stronger than blood. Today they may be my "outlaws" - but that didn't prevent me from flying over to attend Dad's funeral. Not to have been there - to pay my last respects, to support our kids and all the family, to accompany one of my best friends on the planet and truly my second father on his last journey, would have been unthinkable.

It is true that I have been lucky, and have worked hard as well, to effect an amicable divorce and to maintain friendly relations with my former wife, after the initial pain and suffering (and even with the occasional relapse). It's a bit of an anomaly, it's true; most of the divorces I'm familiar with are unhappy, angry things which end in remorse and bitterness. But even those often evolve into situations of cool tolerance if not genuine warmth.

There are so many of these split, then sometimes blended (and sometimes just parallel, somewhat connected but not mixed) families around us. Each finds its own way to address the challenges of maintaining closeness and intimacy, creating new relationships with new spouses or children or parents or friends, and balancing the demands of two households (or sometimes three, or even four, if a child of divorced parents marries a partner who's folks are also split, let alone re-married!).

These challenges are hard enough without members of the extended family saying "we can't do this since you're divorced" regarding some joint event or other. In some situations it may be true, where a divorced couple are full of hostility or the wider family have taken sides in nasty custody or financial battles. But where a couple has managed - selflessly and at great emotional cost - to construct a modus operandi which reduces conflict and engenders love and warmth, it's so much healthier not only for them and for their children and parents but for all their wider family and even community.

As the children meet their own challenges of coming to terms with their new split-family situation - and this can take years, and may require help and a lot of sympathy and patience - the rest of the world, family and friends, would do them and themselves a great service, to leave their pre-conceived notions of what's "done" aside, out of love for all involved.

The new normal is not a nuclear family; it's a messed up, messy, beautiful, fascinating, exciting, challenging, frightening, painful and exhilarating roller coaster ride of relationships bent and broken, repaired and rebuilt anew in amazing forms most of us never considered or imagined - certainly not for ourselves. Let's accept - and enjoy, and even celebrate - this new normal, and get on with the business of living and loving our children and families, however they're constructed.

*Statisticians argue; some say 50% of new marriages and 60% of second marriages, others a bit higher or lower. And these numbers don't reflect the (growing, by all reports) number of couples who don't even bother to get married in the first place. The rest of the western world is even worse-off. For the purpose of this article and argument, exact numbers aren't relevant; the point is there are at least as many divided/split/re-married/blended/mixed families as traditional married-once-and-forever families.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Awakening Zionism in LA

March in LA - "Awakening Zionism" - Re-asserting the legitimacy of Israel and Zionism - Co-Sponsored by the Consulate of Israel, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Beverly Hills Synagogue, StandWithUs, and JACLA.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Re-asserting the legitimacy of Israel & Zionism

[Published at the Israel Forever site.]

By Aryeh Green

"Zionism is nothing more, but also nothing less, than the Jewish People's sense of origin and destination in the land linked eternally with its name." Abba Eban
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Israel is increasingly attacked as an imperialist, colonialist, apartheid aggressor and occupier; Zionism is seen as racism even though the nefarious UN resolution was repealed. “Combating the delegitimization” of Israel is a necessary but not sufficient response, focused as it is on specific manifestations – boycotts, divestment resolutions, hostile media outlets, and various political or cultural leaders’ statements. Israel is in desperate need of a coordinated, pro-active, strategic approach to this long-term erosion of its standing even among those who purport to support her. Excellent organizations and individuals – from AIPAC to the ADL, from the AJC and JNF and Hillel to TIP, StandWithUs, BlueStreet PR, HonestReporting, ElNet, ReThink Israel, EMET and NGO Monitor, to name just a few – are working hard to stem the tide. But these and other hard-working efforts are literally overwhelmed by the hostility permeating the intellectual climate in which the top echelons of the political, academic, media and cultural worlds operate.
This is an ideological, intellectual, civilizational struggle - and Israel and the Jewish people need an assertive strategic approach to coordinate and initiate efforts to re-legitimize Israel. We must generate nothing less than a paradigm shift in perception: Rejection of the present view of Judaism as just anotherreligion or faith community, and acceptance of Zionism and Israel as expressions of the national liberation movement of the Jewish people/nation. (This was accepted by western nations – and most Jews – a century ago.)
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A long-term, comprehensive effort is required to augment and make more effective the efforts of already-active groups, collaborating at the highest levels. We must educate key elites to change the way Israel is perceived by political decision-makers, intellectual and cultural elites, academics, religious leaders of all faiths, the media and the general public. This will lead to better understanding of the history of Israel, Jews and Judaism and acceptance of Zionism as the national liberation movement of the Jewish people. It will also engender increased support for Israel, including Jewish rights to the Land of Israel as the indigenous peoplereturning to their ancestral homeland – irrespective of preferred political solutions.
Whether one is an advocate of territorial compromise or of a greater Israel, the key is to achieve recognition of the true history and complexity of the conflict, and acknowledgment of the Arab leadership's primary responsibility for the lack of peace in the area, while increasing the legitimacy of alternative solutions to the region’s conflict(s). This is not a political agenda: leading lights of Israel's Left - including the head of the Labor Party, MK Itzhak Herzog, and the doyen of Israeli academia, Prof. Shlomo Avineri, as well as one of the founders of both Peace Now and the far-Left Meretz party, Mossi Raz, have articulated the same understanding. And as part of all this, we also must enhance appreciation for Israel’s free society and its place at the frontlines of the fight against the Islamist jihadi threat to western civilization.
Our community needs to reach, engage and impact the top opinion elites and decision-makers in leading western countries and to inspire and impactmillions of activists online. We must focus on leaders in academia, media, and cultural, political & intellectual spheres, with intensive efforts at buildingrelationships and disseminating factual, persuasive information and content, through published works, social media, academic and public conferences, aggressive print, TV, billboard and online advertisingpublic relationscampaigns, and personal interaction/persuasion. Simultaneously, we must create an assertive online environment to impact public opinion and stimulategrassroots activism and crowd-funding.
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This strategic effort can dramatically increase the effectiveness of every individual organization, based on a combined top-down and bottom-up tactical approach: Impacting public opinion by impacting opinion-makers, while driving changes in leadership attitudes by grassroots activities online and in the street/on campus. Herzl said "If we will it, it is not a dream" - and with the will of all pro-Israel players in the field, we can return to the Zionist dream, in the process re-establishing the very term Zionism to its rightful place in the Jewish and wider world.
Envisioning a world where accurate information, unbiased analysis, and in-depth understanding lead to:
  • Acknowledgment of Jewish nationality/peoplehood;
  • Recognition and support of Israel as a legitimate member of the community of nations;
  • Informed and responsible policies regarding Israel and the Middle East; and
  • The promotion of liberal values and freedoms.
WATCH this video of Aryeh's inspiring talk March 27th at JACLA:
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Aryeh Green is VP Strategic Investment at EnergiyaGlobal, a leading solar energy developer for Africa, and Director Emeritus of MediaCentral, a Jerusalem-based project of HonestReporting providing services to the foreign press in Israel. Aryeh has an extensive background in both the public and private sectors, having served as a senior advisor to minister Natan Sharansky in the Israeli Prime Minister's office and as an executive or consultant for some of Israel's leading companies. In Israel for over 30 years, he holds masters degrees in business and international relations, is an expert in regional affairs, media issues, and Israel history, and has been a leading advocate and activist for freedom and democracy in the region for the past two decades.

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