Rich and Susan in Israel/Palestine, June 2014: A Shortish Report
July 18, 2014
We returned recently from a memorable trip to Israel/Palestine and wanted to give family and friends a relatively brief report on our activities there. It would have been briefer if Rich could have foregone making a few observations of his own prompted by the experience – but the leopard cannot change his spots.
The world changes so quickly! Since returning from the Middle East, Rich has had his cardiac plumbing reconfigured, Susan has become a grandmother again, and … read more…
The posting below is from my clear-sighted son, Matt, in Berlin:
It’s always 700:1 for Israel.
We’re only at the beginning of another horrendous Israeli military assault on Gaza, and already the Israelosphere, including people I know and respect, is trotting out all the familiar tropes: Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East”; Israel is the victim of a “double standard” in the media; “no Democracy on earth” would just sit by and let its people get attacked by terrorists; and my favorite new addition to the litany: Israel … read more…
Perhaps there is no such thing as “objective” reporting, but David Herszenhorn’s wildly anti-Russian reports on Ukraine clearly belong on the Times’s op-ed page, not on page one.
“And so began another day of bluster and hyperbole, of misinformation, exaggerations, conspiracy theories, overheated rhetoric and, occasionally, outright lies,” trumpets Mr. H from Moscow, ignoring the fact that Ukraine is a deeply divided society in which each side, the Russian-speaking East as well as the Ukrainian-speaking West, has every reason to … read more…
My speech to the SALT anti-poverty coalition’s Virginia Legislative Wrap-up session was given in Vienna, Virginia on 22 March 2014.
It can be found on YouTube at http://youtu.be/7IrsD5FRhV0. The SALT group and its associates (including the Virginia Anti-Death Penalty folks) are tremendously dedicated and imaginative. Click on the YouTube address and let me know what you think.… read more…
by Rich Rubenstein on September 14, 2013 · 2 comments
YOM KIPPUR, 5774: A TIME FOR COLLECTIVE ATONEMENT
Sermon at Hill Havurah Congregation
September 9, 2013
I decided to speak to you today on the subject of collective atonement – how a whole group can repent for the wrongs it has done to other groups. I wrote my remarks out a few days ago, but this morning, I woke up with a sharp personal memory and a story to tell. Here it is:
Miss Grimm was my English teacher in the tenth grade, exactly sixty years ago. Although a … read more…
Once again, with the United States on the brink of war with Syria, we are arguing about the wrong issues. The problem is not that these issues are irrelevant or unimportant, but rather that they leave out something absolutely essential: the continuing urgent need for a peaceful and just resolution of the Syrian Civil War. We know that a U.S. military strike against Syria cannot be justified unless it is a last resort. The tragic flaw in American foreign policy is that we go to war repeatedly without having made serious … read more…
TO SAVE EGYPT FROM CIVIL WAR, DON’T LISTEN TO DAVID BROOKS!
Richard E. Rubenstein
To avoid a rapid slide into civil war, what Egypt desperately needs now is serious conflict resolution. It needs facilitated dialogues on the creation of a new Egyptian Constitution by all interested parties, with economic and religious issues, as well as political processes and institutions, up for discussion. But New York Times columnist David Brooks is too busy glorying in the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood to think about the Egyptian people’s basic needs.
BEHIND THE STREET REVOLTS: A RESPONSE TO THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Richard E. Rubenstein
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
Why are we seeing so many massive street revolts in electoral democracies like Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, Israel, Russia, Chile, and – last year, at least – the United States? The New York Times’ columnist Thomas L. Friedman asks the question and then almost answers it. Almost, but not really, since the author of The World is Flat is led astray, as is his wont, by a deeply uncritical appreciation … read more…
Ramzy Mardini explains in the New York Times why arming the Syrian opposition is a terrible idea: see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/opinion/sunday/bad-idea-mr-president.html?ref=opinion. I shared this on Facebook, offering a comment to emphasize that conflict resolution peace talks do NOT merely ratify the parties’ position on the battlefield, as some alleged IR experts insist — if properly facilitated, they identify underlying conditions generating the civil war and methods of ameliorating them.
The Assad regime’s authoritarianism is one such condition, but they are many more equally important; for example, Syria’s wildly uneven, pro-corporate economic development; the … read more…