father roy

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Father Roy writes:

The essay pasted below will give us food for thought. "The narrative of the Palestinians is the least told story….."   Have you noticed?  Some essays simply skim the surface of a matter and others don’t.  Some essays get right down to the nitty-gritty. 

You’ll learn who Ramzy Baroud is (the author) at the conclusion of his essay.  Click on the link and you’ll notice that the essay is getting circulation in Iran (PressTV).  It’s a small world.  Let’s try to find ways to rejoice and be glad in it. 

Peace, Roy

source: www.presstv.com……

West media distorts Palestinian discourse, consolidates Israeli narrative

By Ramzy Baroud

The conflict with Israel has lasted this long only because the Palestinians are unwilling to accept injustice and refuse to submit to oppression. Israel’s lethal weapons might have changed the landscape of Gaza and Palestine, but the will of Gazans and Palestinians is what has shaped the landscape of Palestine’s history."

What does a Palestinian farmer who is living in a village tucked in between the secluded West Bank hills, a prisoner on hunger strike in an Israeli jail and a Palestinian refugee roaming the Middle East for shelter all have in common?

They are all characters in one single, authentic, solid and cohesive narrative. The problem however, is that western media and academia barely reflect that reality or intentionally distort it, disarticulate it and when necessary, defame its characters.

An authentic Palestinian narrative – one that is positioned within an original Palestinian history and articulated through Palestinian thought – is mostly absent from western media and to a lesser degree, academia. If such consideration is ever provided, everything Palestinian suddenly falls into either a side note of a larger Israeli discourse, or at best, juxtaposed to a pro-Israeli plot that is often concealed with hostility. Palestinian news stories are often disconnected, disjoined news items with seemingly no relation to other news items. They are all marred with negative connotation. In this narrative, a farmer, a prisoner and a refugee barely overlap. Due to this deliberate disconnect, Palestine becomes pieces, ideas, notions, perceptions, but nothing complete or never whole.

On the other hand, an Israeli narrative is almost always positioned within a cohesive plot, depending on the nature of the intellectual, political, academic or religious contexts. Even those who dare to criticize Israel within a mainstream western platform, do so ever prudently, gently and cautiously. The outcome of this typical exercise is that Israel’s sanctified image remains largely intact. In the meantime, Palestinians constantly jockey for validation, representation and space in a well-shielded pro-Israeli narrative.

To counter these misrepresentations, the pieces must be connected to form a collective that would truly epitomize the Palestinian experience – the story and the history behind it. Once that has been attained, there are chances for greater clarity regarding the roots of the conflict, its present manifestations and future prospects. That can only happen if we return to the basics of a protracted tragedy that is draped with the names and stories of individuals. Doing so would ultimately articulate a consistent, generational discourse that deserves to stand on its own, without belittling juxtapositions or belligerent comparisons.

All tragic stories of the greater Palestinian narrative – of those enduring the ongoing ethnic cleansing, those who are fighting for freedom and those who are seeking their right of return have the same a beginning – the Catastrophe, or Nakba. But no end is yet to be written. The storyline is neither simple nor linear. The refugee is fighting for the same freedom sought by the prisoner or the son of an old farmer, part of whose family are refugees in one place or another. It is convoluted and multilayered. It requires serious considerations of all of its aspects and characters.

Perhaps, no other place unites all of these ongoing tragedies like Gaza. Yet as powerful as the Gaza narrative is in its own right, it has been deliberately cut off from urgently related narratives. This is the case whether it is in the rest of the occupied territories or the historical landscape starting with the Nakba. To truly appreciate the situation in Gaza and its story, it must be placed within its proper context like all narratives concerning Palestine. It is essentially a Palestinian story of historical and political dimensions that surpass the current geographic and political boundaries that are demarcated by mainstream media and official narrators. The common failure to truly understand Gaza within an appropriate context whether it is the suffering, the siege, the repeated wars, the struggle, or the steadfastness and the resistance being presented, is largely based on who is telling the story, how it is told, what is included and what is omitted.

Most narratives concerning Palestinians in Western discourses are misleading or deliberately classified into simplified language that carries little resemble to reality..=20 History however, cannot be classified by good vs. bad, heroes vs. villains, moderates vs. extremists. No matter how wicked, bloody or despicable, history also tends to follow rational patterns and predictable courses.

By understanding the reasoning behind historical dialectics, one can achieve more than a simple understanding of what took place in the past. It also becomes possible to chart a fairly reasonable understanding of what lies ahead. Perhaps one of the worst aspects of today’s detached and alienating media is its reproduction of the past and mischaracterization of the present as it is based on simplified terminology. This gives the illusion of being informative, but actually manages to contribute very little to our understanding of the world at large. Such oversimplifications are dangerous because they produce an erroneous understanding of the world, which in turn compels misguided actions.

For these reasons, we are compelled to discover alternative meanings and readings of history. To start, we could try offering historical perspectives which attempt to see the world from the viewpoint of the oppressed – the refugees and the fellahin who have been denied the right to tell their own story amongst many other rights.

This view is not a sentimental one. Far from it. An elitist historical narrative maybe the dominant one, but it is not always the privileged who influence the course of history. History is also shaped by collective movements, actions and popular struggles. By denying this fact, one denies the ability of the collective to affect change. In the case of Palestinians, they are often presented as hapless multitudes or passive victims without a will of their own. This is of course a mistaken perception; the conflict with Israel has lasted this long only because the Palestinians are unwilling to accept injustice and refuse to submit to oppression. Israel’s lethal weapons might have changed the landscape of Gaza and Palestine, but the will of Gazans and Palestinians is what has shaped the landscape of Palestine’s history. This composition of farmers, prisoners, refugees and numerous other manifestations and characters of the oppressed are resilient individuals. It is essential that we understand the complexity of the past and the present to evolve in our understanding of the conflict, not merely to appreciate its involvement, but also to contribute positively to its resolution.

The Palestinian narrative has long either denied any meaningful access to the media or tainted through the very circles that propped up and sanctified Israel’s image as an oasis of democracy and a pivot of civilization. In recent years however, things began to change thanks to developments such as the internet and various global civil society movements. Although it has yet to reach a critical mass or affect a major paradigm shift in public opinion, these voices have been able to impose a long-neglected story that has been seen mostly through Israeli eyes.

A narrative that is centered on the stories reflecting history, reality and aspirations of ordinary people will allow for a genuine understanding of the real dynamics that drive the conflict. These stories that define whole generations of Palestinians are powerful enough to challenge the ongoing partiality and polarization.

The fact is Palestinians are neither potential "martyrs" nor potential "terrorists". They are people who are being denied basic human rights, who have been dispossessed from their lands and are grievously mistreated. They have resisted for over six decades and they will continue to resist until they acquire their fundamental human rights. This is the core of the Palestinian narrative, yet it is the least told story. A true understanding would require a greater exposure of the extraordinary, collective narrative of the "ordinary people."

RB/HMV

Ramzy Baroud is a widely published and translated author. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com…. He has authored several books and contributed to many books, anthologies and academic journals. His books include Searching Jenin, Eyewitness Accounts of the Israeli Invasion, and The Second Palestinian Intifada: A Chronicle of a People’s Struggle.. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). Visit his website: ramzybaroud.net…. More articles by Ramzy Baroud: www.presstv.ir/Contributors/229899.html…

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Father Roy writes:  The following commentary is forwarded without my highlights.  There’s no substitute for wisdom.   Peace, Roy

Refusing to choose sides in the Israel-Palestine conflict

by: Rev. Rich Lang

Most of us are just normal human beings. But every once in a while we get an opportunity to be in the presence of a great soul whose commonplace demeanor shines a bright light that illumines the goodness of life itself. When we have those opportunities we come away profoundly blessed, full of renewed animation and energy.

Archbishop Elias Chacour is one of those great souls. He will be at University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 43rd St. NE, Sunday, Jan. 13. He’ll participate in a free-ranging conversation at 9 a.m., and then preach during worship at 10:30 a.m.

This will be a spiritual opportunity to interact with someone who has developed courage and wisdom, one who has found a path transcending the sufferings and anguish of life.

Indeed he embodies the words of my friend Bill Grace, who says, “Our times are too desperate for anything but the truth. The world is too small for anything but love. The work of our time is too hard for anything but hope.”

Chacour is one of the few remaining Christians still living in the holy land of Palestine/Israel. Most Christians have been driven out as victims of both Israeli and Arab suspicion. But Chacour remains and works relentlessly for nonviolent reconciliation among Christians, Israelis, Arabs, Muslims and the Druze. He has successfully modeled this reconciliation through building schools of integration, hoping that over time the past wounds will heal through the emergence of compassionate relationships of solidarity.

Chacour is the author of two best-selling books, “Blood Brothers” and “We Belong to the Land,” which document the plight of Christians in the turmoil of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He is currently the Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop of the Galilee region and has been the recipient of the World Methodist Peace Award and the Niwano Peace Prize, as well as been nominated several times for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Chacour once said, “You who live in the United States, if you are pro-Israel, on behalf of the Palestinian children I call unto you: give further friendship to Israel. They need your friendship. But stop interpreting that friendship as an automatic antipathy against me, the Palestinian who is paying the bill for what others have done against my beloved Jewish brothers and sisters in the Holocaust and Auschwitz and elsewhere.

“And if you have been enlightened enough to take the side of the Palestinians — oh, bless your hearts — take our sides, because for once you will be on the right side, right? But if taking our side would mean to become one-sided against my Jewish brothers and sisters, back up. We do not need such friendship. We need one more common friend. We do not need one more enemy, for God’s sake.”

All are welcome to hear this great soul and advocate for a peaceful resolution of the “Arab-Israeli” conflict.

Rev. Rich Lang is the pastor of University Temple United Methodist and can be contacted through utemple.org…

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Father Roy writes: One must never misunderestimate the persuasive skills of Israel’s current Prime Minister.  Indeed, Bibi has mastered "The Devil’s Art" (spin).  How reliable are polls?  Actually, it depends on whom one asks.  The highlights in JPost’s report are mine.  Israel’s elections are scheduled for Tuesday, January 22.  On that day the people of Israel will choose the calibre of leader they want for the future.  For all the world to see.  According to Ha’aretzNetanyahu is "riding to the ballots on a wave of militarism, and divisions among the other parties will give him the freedom to play one off against the other.  What more could he ask for?"   Peace, Roy

source: www.jpost.com… 

Poll: Majority of Israeli Jews pessimistic about peace  

By ARIEL BEN SOLOMON

83% of Israeli Jews do not believe that a withdrawal to the pre-’67 lines, division of Jerusalem would end Palestinian-Israeli conflict, according to poll conducted on behalf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

Israeli Jews are becoming more skeptical about a peace agreement with the Palestinians, with 83 percent saying a withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders and the division of Jerusalem would not end the conflict.

The poll was the third in a series conducted since 2005 by Dr. Mina Tzemach on behalf of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. The findings are based on 500 telephone interviews conducted at the end of November with adult residents of Israel.

According to the findings, 71% of the Jewish respondents opposed giving up all of the east Jerusalem neighborhoods outside the Old City, and 79% felt it was important for the Palestinians to recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state – but only 27% believed this would happen.

A summary of the findings concludes that Israeli Jews overwhelmingly support the demand that the Palestinians recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state. It also mentions that evidence in other surveys shows similar support for the demand that the PA renounce the right of return.

Taken together, these results show that only a third of Israeli Jews believe that the Palestinians would agree to these two stances – which are clearly understood to be demands that Israel would make before any final agreement.

Moreover, 77% of the Jewish respondents thought that both Fatah and Hamas were incapable of ending the conflict.

This pessimistic attitude seems to have been aggravated by recent violence, as a majority of the Jewish respondents thought the developments called for holding onto vital territories.

When asked, “What is preferable – defensible borders or a peace agreement?,” 61% of the Jewish respondents said defensible borders.

This represents a huge shift from the 2005 poll, where only 49% chose defensible borders. In a related question, 72% of the Jewish respondents said that strategic depth had security value, while 23% said it had none.

On Jerusalem, 78% of the Jewish respondents said they would vote for another party if the one they intended to vote for expressed willingness to return land in the capital.

On Iran, 75% of the Jewish respondents thought that sanctions would not stop Iran’s nuclear weapons drive.

And in a key question relating to a possible unilateral attack on Iran by Israel, 60% said Israel could not rely on the US, while 53% said they supported an attack against Iran

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Father Roy writes:  The New Year begins with encouraging news.  The following report was published in today’s Ha’aretz.  The US blocked a UNSC resolution and a presidential statement condemning Israel’s construction plans, but the US did not prevent our European allies from blasting Israel.   Peace, Roy

UN Security Council members blast Israel over settlement construction plans

U.S. blocks attempts to push joint presidential statement and resolution condemning construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; In addition to thousands of new housing units, a new highway is being built that will cut the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Safafa in two.

Fourteen members of the UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned Israel for advancing construction plans in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The council’s European Union members issued a statement saying these plans undermine their faith in Israel’s willingness to negotiate.

For the full article: www.haaretz.com……

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Father Roy writes: This article is honest.  May Professor Elkana rest in peace.  May light perpetual shine upon his soul.   Peace, Roy

source: www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/9737917/Professor-Yehuda-Elkana.html…

Yehuda Elkana

Yehuda Elkana

Professor Yehuda Elkana

Professor Yehuda Elkana, who has died aged 78, was a historian and philosopher of science and a controversial critic of the “Holocaust industry” and Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories.

Elkana was a survivor of Auschwitz, so when, in 1988, he published an article in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on “The Need to Forget”, few could question his credentials.

He recalled that he had been transported to Auschwitz as a boy of 10 and, after the camp was liberated, spent some time in a Russian “liberation camp”, where he encountered Germans, Austrians, Croats, Ukrainians, Hungarians and Russians, as well as fellow Jews. Later he concluded that “there was not much difference in the conduct of many of the people I encountered … It was clear to me that what happened in Germany could happen anywhere and to any people.”

Moving to Israel after the war, Elkana experienced profound unease with the way in which the Holocaust was being manipulated by governments of Right and Left to craft an atavistic Jewish national identity. He became convinced that the motives behind Israel’s uncompromising approach to the Palestinians was “a profound existential ‘angst’ fed by a particular interpretation of the lessons of the Holocaust and the readiness to believe that the whole world is against us, and that we are the eternal victim”.

In a later interview he observed that parties on the Right of Israeli politics had used trips to Auschwitz to impart the lesson to young people that “this is what happens when Jews are not strong”, thereby justifying a repressive approach to the Palestinians. In this belief he saw the “paradoxical victory of Hitler”, whose appeal to the German people had also been based on the central idea of victimhood.

Two Jewish nations had emerged from Auschwitz, he observed: “a minority who assert: ‘this must never happen again’; and a frightened majority who assert, ‘this must never happen to us again.’” While all societies needed a collective mythology (and Elkana was critical of those in Germany who want to “close the chapter” of the Holocaust), “any philosophy of life nurtured solely or mostly by the Holocaust leads to disastrous consequences”.

In a later interview Elkana spelt out his fears for where this philosophy was leading Israel: “We are heading toward turning 100 million Arabs into a terrorist army against us: the whole Arab world! The United States wants to support rational, moderate Arabs. And rational, moderate Arabs will tolerate Israel’s occupation of Arab land less and less. So what is there to look forward to if we go on this way?’’

Yehuda Elkana was born to Hungarian-Jewish parents at Subotica, in what was then Yugoslavia, on June 16 1934. His father, an engineer, was a Zionist who travelled to Palestine in that year as a fencer and head of the Yugoslav delegation to the Maccabiah Games (an international Jewish athletic event held in defiance of the British Mandate authorities). “He wanted to remain in Palestine,” Elkana recalled. “Mother refused and the fool listened.”

In 1944 the family moved to Szeged in Hungary where, later that year, they were rounded up and transported to Auschwitz. They survived by sheer accident. As they were being lined up for the gas chambers, SS guards pulled them out of the line and sent them in a train with other Jews to clean up Allied bomb damage in Austrian cities. They made it to Israel in 1948.

The 14-year-old Yehuda joined a kibbutz and won a scholarship to the Herzliya High School in Tel Aviv, where he developed an interest in the philosophy and history of science. After studying Mathematics and Physics at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he took a PhD in the Philosophy of Science at Brandeis University in the United States and taught at Harvard for a year. His doctoral dissertation would form the basis for a book, The Discovery of the Conservation of Energy (1974).

He returned to Israel as chairman of the department of the history and philosophy of science at the Hebrew University.

From 1969 to 1993 Elkana was founder-director of the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem, which works to reduce tensions among the different groups in Israeli society and challenge taboos. He was proud of the fact that the Institute was a place where people could come and listen to Wagner and Strauss. At the same time he also ran, at Tel Aviv University, the Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas, which he co-founded in 1983. From 1995 he was Professor of Theory of Science at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule in Zürich.

In 1999 Elkana was appointed president and rector of the Central European University in Budapest, which had been founded by the international financier George Soros in 1991 with the aim of educating a new cadre of regional leaders to help usher in democratic transitions across the old Soviet bloc. Under Elkana’s leadership the university was transformed from a regional experiment in post-communist education into a major graduate institution of the social sciences and humanities.

The author of many books, including Essays on the Cognitive and Political Organisation of Science (1994), Elkana was also a permanent fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin and co-founder and editor of the journal Science in Context. He spent a year as fellow at the Centre for Advanced Study in the Behavioural Sciences at Stanford University and was a visiting fellow at All Souls, Oxford, in 1977-78.

After retiring in 2009 he went on to oversee an international programme aimed at reforming undergraduate curricula. He was the co-author, with Hannes Klopper, of The University in the 21st Century: Teaching at the Dawn of the Digital Age (2011).

In 1960 he married Yehudit Keren, who became a prominent Israeli peace campaigner. She survives him with their two daughters and two sons.

Professor Yehuda Elkana, born June 16 1934, died September 21 2012