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(Fwd) Re: Re: Please pray for Victims of World Trade Center

From: Eric D. Pierce <>
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 12:14:17 -0700
Message-ID: <>


Hopefully people will be motivated to seek truth.

For your further consideration: -

(excerpted below)


On 12 Sep 2001, at 13:53, Erik J. Varney scribbled with alacrity and cogency:

To:                     <>, <WINNT-L_at_PEACH.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
Date sent:              Wed, 12 Sep 2001 13:53:32 -0400
Organization:           Central Security Alarm, Inc.

> I just have to say that the shining moment that has come out this horrible
> tragedy is this "We as Americans have been UNITED"

AntiSemitism at Durban

Israel's Best Protection is a World Without Racism

Rabbi Michael Lerner | 09.07.2001 New York Times Op-Ed September 5, 2001


AN FRANCISCO -- The walkout by the United States and Israel from the United Nations conference on racism in Durban, South Africa, was a predictable and unfortunate consequence of the irresponsibility of those in the Arab world who sought to make Israel a central issue. In supporting this shortsighted choice, the Arab states have played into the hands of right-wing politicians, in both Israel and the United States, who will benefit from the moral discrediting of the antiracist efforts that many had hoped would be the center of the conference.

American right-wingers who resist confronting the damaging legacy of slavery and segregation in the United States and the issue of reparations for slavery can hide behind the claim that in repudiating the Durban conference, they were standing up against racist anti-Semitism. Israeli right-wingers can use the record of intolerance at the conference to discredit criticism of the violence inherent in the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes, and stonewalling on the issue of Israeli responsibility for the fate of Palestinian refugees. "See," they can now say, "all these criticisms are merely the latest attempt to label Zionism as racism, another episode in the eternal history of anti-Jewish sentiments and double standards among the nations."

On its face, the charge against Israel is ludicrous. Anyone visiting Israel is immediately struck by the fact that it is one of the most multiethnic societies in the world. It is, to be sure, a state for those who have accepted Judaism. But that includes black Jews from Ethiopia, Jews from India and China who bear all the racial characteristics of people in those societies, Jews who escaped persecution in Arab lands and are racially indistinguishable from Arab Muslims. The fact is that whatever your racial background, you can convert to Judaism and be accepted with full rights in Israel.

Moreover, unlike South Africa under apartheid, which targeted anyone born of a certain race, regardless of religion, Israel has given its largest minority, the Israeli Arabs, the vote and the right to representation in the Knesset. Israeli Arabs have an easier time having their votes counted than blacks in some parts of Florida do. Israel has no segregated movie theaters or beaches. And the patterns of segregation in housing are not sanctified by the law.

Israel, of course, gives special privileges to Jews but this has nothing to do with race. It has a great deal to do with the history of the Jewish people, who have been persecuted for thousands of years for being part of a particular religious community. It was in light of that history that Israel was created by the United Nations as a kind of international affirmative action to rectify a long history of abuse by other nations. Like all such programs, the special privileges for Jews should be phased out over time as anti-Semitism in the world becomes less of a threat-- and unfortunately Durban shows that that may take longer than most of us had hoped.

In its treatment of Palestinians, Israel has engaged in activities that are morally unacceptable violations of fundamental human rights and deserve to be criticized. [***]
Every day I get death threats from various Jews around the world [***]
for the role that my magazine, Tikkun, plays in insisting that Israel end the occupation, dismantle the settlements in the West Bank and Gaza, and take responsibility for reparations for Palestinian refugees. But to single out Israel for special focus, as the Durban conference has done, is totally out of proportion to the realities of the world today.

The genocidal war against the Chechen people by Russia, the Chinese occupation of Tibet and destruction of Buddhism there, the murder of hundreds of thousands of Africans by tribes pitted against one another, the acts of Serbia in Bosnia and Kosovo these are only the beginning of the list of events that merit the continued attention of the world. Similarly, the long history of oppression against minorities in Arab countries (for example, the treatment of the Kurds) must also be recognized. The double standard in singling out Israel's transgressions against the Palestinians is a living embodiment of the very racism that makes Israelis feel the need for a state that gives them special protections and rights.

If the world wants to help the Palestinian people, it needs to alleviate rather than intensify Jewish fears that everyone wants to destroy us. Similarly, if we Jews want to end Palestinian terrorism, we need not only to end the occupation and dismantle settlements, but also to approach Palestinians with the same spirit of generosity, open-heartedness and atonement that we wish we were receiving from the rest of the world.

By failing to criticize Israeli human rights violations adequately, world Jewry made itself vulnerable to the illegitimate criticisms at Durban. And the short-term protection from the racism of the resolutions at Durban achieved by joining the American walkout masks a deeper danger: Jews risk becoming identified with the forces in the world that oppose the struggle against racism.

It would be far better for Jews to acknowledge the distortions in Israeli policy and argue against them with the same intensity that we use in arguing against the distorted attempt to represent Israel's situation as worse than those of many other countries. Jewish safety lies in a world without racism.

By driving Jews into the hands of the political right wing, the Arab nations have done far more lasting damage to the Jewish people than they could through any military offensive. Yet those of us who love Israel must also acknowledge that while its unfair to pick on Israel when there are so many worse bullies in the world, the best protection for Israel would lie in stopping to be a bully toward the Palestinian people, rather than in pointing to the worse bullies. As our Prophets made clear, Zion shall be redeemed through justice--and anything less is a desecration of our tradition and of the Jewish martyrs of the ages.

Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun magazine, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in San Francisco and editor of "Best Contemporary Jewish Writing" for 2001.

Please help this kind of a perspective get heard. Subscribe to TIKKUN Magazine: $29 in US ($43 abroad): to

TIKKUN, 2107 Van Ness Ave, Suite 302,
San Francisco, Ca. 94109

If you like what you read here, maybe you'd consider helping us? TIKKUN Magazine is in dire financial straits because of our stance in support of both Israel and Palestinian rights. Partisans on both sides are dissatisfied with us, because we both support Israel's right to exist and refuse to define it as a racist idea that there would be a national homeland for the Jewish people, on the one hand, and on the other hand we are very critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinian people, critique its violations of their human rights, and insist that Israel take partial responsibility for the fate of Palestinian refugees. No wonder we displease both sides--because our position is complex and morally based. So we are in deep need of financial support. Might you consider either making a tax-deductible contribution to TIKKUN (a non-profit) or buying $29 subscriptions for yourself and friends and colleagues? I would sure appreciate that kind of help. But whether or not you decide to help us in that way, I want to send you and all of humanity many blessings for a wonderful and peace-filled and joyous and spiritually deep and love-filled New Year. Blessings. Rabbi Michael Lerner
TIKKUN 2107 Van Ness Ave, Suite 302,
San Francisco, California 94109

   An Israeli Soldier says

   A Note from a Military Prison

   David Haham Herson | 08.05.2001

   Of the terrible reports appearing daily in the press, I read here in    Military Jail 4. No pictures, no soundtrack. I see only barbed wire    fences, but the pain from outside goes deep. Revenge in return for    revenge, killing in return for killing. Why, I ask, does the Jewish    people generate so much suffering, why do we inflict - on others and    ourselves - so much pain. What is the source of the Israeli sense of    pride, why is the act of killing considered so great in our eyes.

   I am a soldier in the Israeli army, imprisoned for refusal to take    part in repression, arising from a sense that it is out of the    question to be a Jew, the son of a people of refugees, and yet    repress a people of refugees (there's no disagreement in the Israeli    public regarding repression of the Palestinians, merely over whether    or not it's justified). I am a God-fearing Jew, and as such forbidden    to take part in denying freedom and serving in occupied territory. I    am imprisoned, but yet feel freer than most of the Israelis I've met,    for one simple reason: I don't bear the burden of vindictiveness and    the perverse gratification attending it. I don't bear the burden of    denial and callousness. I am concerned for humans as such. For those    denied the right to live like me, with food and clothes and fun and    good health and dreams of success and a car. I am concerned for    people who are humiliated every day, who are denied the right to work,    who are imprisoned within their towns and villages. I am concerned    for those whose homes have been demolished and their fruit groves    devastated.

   I am concerned because I know that the terrible hatred towards me is    justified. This hatred has led to horrifying and perverted    manifestations, like the young suicide bombers, but we create the    conditions that lead to this monstrosity. I am concerned because I    know that the cries of exultation over the killings drown out the    sobs of the numerous victims, Jews and Arabs, of the widows and    orphans, of the cripples who will suffer for the rest of their lives    because of that pride and callousness.

   This is a concern unlike that of most of the Israeli people. For this    concern demands correction [tikkun] whereas the other concern merely    calls for more destruction. I am a prisoner yet free, but the pain    runs deep. I hope my imprisonment, and that of others, will lead many    in our society to contemplation - contemplation of the Palestinians,    and by way of them, contemplation of ourselves. I regard my    imprisonment as the true way to participate in presentday Israeli    society. I don't think my imprisonment releases me from    responsibility. Even if I weren't serving in the army, I'd continue    to share responsibility for these actions. I'm not the victim. On the    contrary: precisely because I regard myself as sharing responsibility,    I refuse to take part in the repression.

   I am a soldier and wish to serve my country. I am a part of Israeli    society: that is where I find people I love, including some who act    contrary to my convictions. They include right and left. I just want    us Israelis - strong, triumphant - to look into the eyes of those we    repress, and try to understand them. For the victory of might is no    victory. Our fears will leave us only when we consent to equality    between peoples and between individuals. We too shall continue to    live in fear as long as we implement oppression and deny elementary    rights.

   Instead of justifying suffering - that which we inflict, and our own -    we should try to solve it by self correction [tikkun atzmi]. Faith in    tikkun is a weapon more powerful than tanks. I regard my imprisonment    as a foundation for tikkun, and hope that by way of thinking about it,    others will look at the reality about us, and contribute to change.

   David Haham-Herson was born and raised in Israel.

   WE WANT TO HEAR from you!
   Use our direct link to share your views.    [ ]    Or write to "Letters,"
   Tikkun Magazine, 2107 Van Ness Ave., Suite 302,    San Francisco, CA 94109; Fax: (415) 575-1434.    Please include your name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters    may be edited for space and clarity.

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