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The TRANSCEND Press Network published the following article of mine on August 12, 2019:

 

Richard E. Rubenstein – TRANSCEND Media Service

Presidential candidate Kamala Harris’s criticism of Joe Biden for opposing court-ordered busing of school children in his younger days as a Delaware senator is the latest example of anti-relativism in the sphere of political morality.  Anti-relativist thinking insists that certain values approved by the speaker are constant and unchangeable.  This means that behaviors that we now believe are wrong were always unacceptable, and should always have always been recognized as such.  It often implies that people who committed these wrongs deserve punishment whenever and wherever they are caught, no matter where or when their misbehavior occurred.

Anti-relativism’s opposite, … read more...

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I posted the following message today on Facebook:

 

THANK YOU, MR. TRUMP! THANK YOU FOR NOT BOMBING IRAN! There are reasons, of course, why members of the anti-Trump opposition (a group of which I am a charter member) find it difficult to utter these words. But, for heaven’s sake, let’s congratulate the man when he does the right thing, and encourage him to continue to avoid taking the advice of John Bolton and the Pentagon hawks.

To be sure, the current problem with Iran would not exist if Trump hadn’t pulled America out of the nuclear enrichment deal two years ago. Also, the President clearly does not understand that economic sanctions can be seen, accurately, as existential threats to … read more...

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Anti-Semitism and Jewish Self Determination

by Rich Rubenstein on April 29, 2019 · 4 comments

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The following article also appears in the TRANSCEND Media Service for the week of April 29, 2019:

 

Anti-Semitism and Jewish Self-Determination

BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 29 Apr 2019

Richard E. Rubenstein – TRANSCEND Media Service

 

24 Apr 2019 – Once upon a time, what “anti-Semitism” meant seemed fairly clear.  According to Webster-Merriam, the term denotes “hostility toward or discrimination against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group.”  Recently, however, things have gotten a good bit foggier.

Earlier this year, for example, New York Times political columnist Roger Cohen asserted that Britain’s Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, were not only critics of the State of Israel, but also anti-Semites.  The key to this argument can be … read more...

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MARTIN AND JULIAN:

REFLECTIONS ON THE ARREST OF JULIAN ASSANGE

   Richard E. Rubenstein

Will someone please explain to me why Martin Luther King, Jr. is considered a hero for violating laws sustaining the American system of racial discrimination, while Julian Assange is considered a villain for violating laws sustaining the American system of imperial war?

Democratic Party bigwigs are celebrating the arrest of the Wikileaks founder in London and the request of Donald Trump’s Justice Department for his extradition to the U.S. According to Senators Chuck Schumer, Mark Warner, and Joe Manchin – and, of course, Hilary Clinton – Assange deserves to be punished for plotting with Chelsea Manning to obtain and release classified military information, and for allegedly … read more...

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Here is an article that I am afraid to write, which is why it seems important to write it.

I fear criticizing the campaign to force the governor of Virginia to retire, because I know that people reading the critique, including some I love and honor, may consider it racist or insufficiently sensitive to the feelings and needs of people of color. Even so, I am compelled to say that I do not think that Ralph Northam should resign his office.

As we now know, Northam’s medical school yearbook page, created in 1984, contains a photo of two people posed as characters in what one might call a Southern immorality play: one man is in blackface, and the other wears … read more...

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(This article also appears in Counterpunch Magazine)

 

Playing Trump’s game is almost irresistible. At least, most of his opponents seem unable to resist it.

The name of Trump’s game is Personalistic Moralism. The President’s politics are not policy-free, but policies in his political universe are inextricably wedded to personal moral characteristics. If you want the Wall (“border security”), for example, that means you are strong, tough, and protective. You are knowledgeable about the physical and cultural dangers posed by immigrants, and you care for your fellow Americans. But what if you don’t want the Wall? In this case, you are weak, effeminate, ignorant, uncaring, and secretly in favor of “open borders.”

This, by the way, is the text. The … read more...

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Note: the ABC Network canceled the revived sit-com, “Roseanne,” after its eponymous star, Roseanne Barr, tweeted a grossly racist insult aimed at former Obama administration chief of staff Valerie Jarrett. “Roseanne” was a comedic series about the adventures and mishaps of an American white working class family.

 

It is difficult to talk sensibly and accurately about the role of racism and xenophobia in Trumpland. The latest sign of this is an article in The Nation by Edward Burmila, who writes that the Roseanne Barr affair gives the lie to media efforts to explain the economic basis for Donald Trump’s support among many white workers.

Roseanne is inseparable from this quest to find evidence that Trumpers are ultimately good, … read more...

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When I began thinking about this sermon, two voices sounded in my mind’s ear. One was the voice of my late friend and comrade, Eqbal Ahmad, a Pakistani scholar and anti-war activist with whom I worked in Chicago in the late 60s and early 70s. “I hear a lot from my students about ‘walking the talk,’ Eqbal said. But I tell them that you can’t walk the talk without first having the talk. First you decide what’s real and what’s right; then you act on the basis of that understanding. Finally, the results of your action can force you to re-define what’s real and what’s right. That is what we call praxis.”

 

A more recent sage, the Slovenian … read more...

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SHOULD WE WORRY ABOUT FASCISM IN AMERICA?

HOW CAN WE PREVENT THE SITUATION FROM DETERIORATING FURTHER?

   A talk by Richard E. Rubenstein at Congregation Adat Reyim

West Springfield, Virginia

September 10, 2017

    I’m very happy to be back at Adat Reyim, where my daughter became bat mitzvah and I spent many happy hours worshiping, listening to Rabbi Bruce Aft’s sermons, and laughing at his attempted jokes. I am delighted to have been asked to speak by Rabbi Aft, a great exponent of Jewish learning and values and a colleague in teaching and practicing conflict resolution.

   Current Causes of Concern

What brings us here this evening is a growing concern about the resurgence of American organizations with fascist or neo-fascist sympathies … read more...

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[This TEDx Talk was recorded at George Mason University on September 10, 2017.  When edited, the video will be posted on the George Mason website and on YouTube.]

 

 HELLO! I’M VERY HAPPY TO BE HERE TODAY TO TALK WITH YOU ABOUT HOW TO RESOLVE DESTRUCTIVE CONFLICTS.

    I WISH THAT WE DIDN’T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THIS TOPIC AT ALL – BUT, UNFORTUNATELY, WE DO. DESPITE THE REAL PROGRESS MADE IN MANY FIELDS OF HUMAN ENDEAVOR, WHEN IT COMES TO LEARNING HOW TO LIVE TOGETHER PEACEFULLY AND HAPPILY, WE STILL HAVE A VERY LONG WAY TO GO.

    THREE DECADES AGO, WHEN THE COLD WAR ENDED, MOST PEOPLE BREATHED A SIGH OF RELIEF AND LOOKED FORWARD TO A COMING AGE OF PEACE. read more...

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