Jews, Arabs succeed on advice from 2,500 years ago

Sunday, 24 December 2006


What is Light in our time -- this December, 2006?
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  To survive, there is a principle to study and live by -- All is One -- Echad, Wahad.

There is no individual survival.
We must live as if we are neighbors forever -- with each other, and with Earth upon whom we are totally dependent to live.

B.  The means are the ends in the making.

     "The prophets were the first. . . in history to regard a nation's reliance upon force as evil," wrote scholar Abraham Joshua Heschel.
     After Sept. 11, 2001, turning for answers to those biblical ancients was Richard E. Rubenstein ( ), Professor of Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University.
     Rubenstein could foresee the terrorist assault provoking a violent American response, and that response provoking further retaliation, in a potentially endless cycle of blows and counterblows.
    To escape this trap, he consulted the prophets about how to live in a world so deeply and violently divided.
     They had their feet on the ground and their eyes on people.
     These nevi'im -- the shouters -- were courageous citizens who declared indelible visions of justice and compassion.
     By what principles could a people preserve a "unique spiritual and national identity"?

     The first Isaiah recognized that "[w]hat stabilizes political authority over the course of time ... is not a government's command of force, but its justice and integrity -- or, as we might say, its moral legitimacy."
     It is to Isaiah we owe the unforgettable words of beating swords into plowshares.
     A century later, Jeremiah said survival and the best life were best assured by living by high principles and rejecting war and military alliances.
     Second Isaiah prescribed success grounded in empathy.
     Isaiah and Micah encouraged inclusiveness, envisioning everyone ascending together in the name of one's own deity.
     Rubenstein concludes with Jesus of Nazareth's "imperishable contribution ... made on the terrain of ethical creativity" first proclaimed by the classical prophets.
     Jesus "broadens the application of Isaian justice to include new and controversial categories of people requiring care and protection."
     Read more from Jean Barker's book review:

Published in the San Francisco Chronicle -- Tuesday, 12 December 2006

All they were saying -- 2,500 years ago -- is give peace a chance

Jean E. Barker

Thus Saith the Lord

The Revolutionary Moral Vision of Isaiah and Jeremiah

By Richard E. Rubenstein

HARCOURT; 258 pages

     See more about the book and author at .


Lebanese, Israeli girls phone across a boundary

     An Arab and a Jew -- two very human young students -- courageously and happily broke the ice between Lebanon and Israel.
     Shir in Israel and Christine in Lebanon, discuss their lives, feelings and ideas in the aftermath of the war between Israel and Hezbollah.
     Hear their 7-minute conversation in a UNICEF Podcast --

A third party for the Middle East

     Lukas Pairon is an example of unprecedented compassion and creativity.    
     Pairon is general director of the music ensemble Ictus -- .
     He is president of Music Fund -- -- delivering musical instruments, and face-to-face music instruction, for people in conflict to let the arts and relationships do their magic to transform citizens and relationships.
       Pairon asked: What is it that we, Belgians and Europeans, can do for the inhabitants of this region?
     In what way can we give them support as a third party?
     "By keeping contact in a selective, but also very intense and committed manner, by putting together projects with all those who are victims of the conflict in the region Palestinians in the occupied territories, the Arabs and the Jews of Israel we show our solidarity with those who, in spite of everything, continue to dream of peace in future, even if that future seems remote."
     Read his thoughtful essay:

                Friday, 22 December 2006
                A third party for the Middle East - musician peacemakers
                by Lukas Pairon

     It is also published at .
     Read the hopeful preamble there:

     "In a few days, musicians from the Belgian music ensemble ICTUS and members of the organisation MUSIC FUND will arrive in Israel and Palestine.

     It is the 14th time that soloists of ICTUS are coming to teach in music schools in the region, since they started their project in October 2002, and it is Music Fund`s 2nd shipment of music instruments in 1 year time (now 311 music instruments are being donated to music schools, including 10 pianos).

     The following is an article by Lukas Pairon, the projects` initiator, written as part of the Cultural Boycott debate in the Belgian press.

     After that: the schedule of appearances in Tel-Aviv, Nazareth, Ramallah, Nablus and Jerusalem."


Israeli, Palestinian students travel to two-day dialogue

     Overcoming physical and psychological obstacles checkpoints and barriers, fear and resentment Peace Now convened a landmark two-day dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian students Friday and Saturday, December 15-16, 2006.
     Participants were invited this way:
     The dialogue brought together students from across Israel and their counterparts from the West Bank and Gaza in the town of Neve Shalom/Wahat as-Salam (Oasis of Peace), an Israeli village which is a longtime model of Jewish-Palestinian coexistence.
     The youth wrestled with issues of stereotypes, culture and identity, internal Palestinian politics, and internal Israeli politics.
     Guest political figures spoke, including Knesset Member Ran Cohen and Prof. Mohammed Dajani, director of American studies at AlQuds University.
     Knowing that music matters, the young women and men also learned Arab-style drumming from West Bank musician Fadi Roman.
     In recent years, Israeli-Palestinian dialogues have become increasingly rare, due in part to the logistical and security difficulties of bringing Israelis and Palestinian together.
     For this meeting, the IDF initially refused to issue the travel permits that would allow the Palestinian students to cross into Israel to attend the seminar.
     To overcome this obstacle, Peace Now petitioned Israel's Supreme Court, arguing that Israel had a security interest in facilitating a dialogue which seeks to find alternatives to violence.
     Following the petition, the IDF reconsidered its objections and granted the permits.
     The organizers believe that building and maintaining bridges of friendship and communication between Israelis and Palestinians students, academics, civil society leaders is vital, especially during this difficult period when contacts at the official level have been cut off, and when most venues for interaction are no longer accessible.
     More meetings are anticipated.
     See PHOTOS and more at .
     Read YOUTH RESPONSES at .