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Sunday, August 30, 2009

One Country by Ali Abunimah

“One Country” by Ali Abunimah

The Israeli/ Palestinian conflict is one of the most intractable conflicts of the century. Several attempts at resolving it have lead to utter failure. The author of this book believes that political leaders have been adopting the wrong approach. His title just about sums things up, One Country for both people.

Mr. Abunimah believe that the key to resolving this conflict lies not with forgetting the past as most would believe. He believes in remembering a past where in arab and Jews got along together very well. He sights several examples of friendship. He also used the Hebron massacres of 1929 as an example believe it or not. In the massacre 29 Jews in Hebron were killed by arab rioting inspired by Haj Anin al Husseini. Mr. Abunimah believes that the focus should not be on the 29 jews who were killed but on the fact that it was arab neighbors that hid their jewish neighbors in their houses to protect them.

Two state solutions are not viable. While the UN voted for partition something which the Jews accepted and the Palestinians rejected, there was a strong minority in the UN favoring a Bi-National state. Mr. Aabunimah goes on to state two reasons why the partition was rejected. First the Palestinian felt it was their land why should they partition something that is theirs. Next there was a fear that the Zionists would use the part of Palestine they gained as a foot hold to take even more land. Now a days with the increased amount of settlements and by pass road a division of the land into two states is unrealistic. Palestine would carved up into enclave which is not viable for a state and no Israeli government would uproot entire cities that have been built in the West bank since the 1967 war.

The next issue Mr. Abunimah brings to the table is the demographics. As it stands right now in the borders of Israel/Palestine there are more Palestinians then there are Jews. Many Israelis are afraid of the numerical superiority. Several Israeli academics have predicted this and have tried to warn Israeli governments about this. Sharon’s government took notice. That is why they disengaged from gaza. According to the author the disegagement was a smoke screen. While they were showing the world that they were withdrawing for peace they were quietly expanding settlement activity in the West Bank. More over the Israeli academics who warned about this said that pulling out from Gaza would just lead to more injustice.

The only solution then is one state for both people. He used Belgium as an example where in the confederation of autonomous areas band together to form a country. Each area is given control over domestic things like culture, education, trash collection etc and both groups would join together for national elections. Also he advises Arab Jand Jewish kids to take classes in both Arabic and Hebrew. He also advocates learning about the Palestinian Nakba and Israeli independence in the school.

In the last two chapters he uses South Africa as an example of how things worked and he also documents growing acceptance of the one state solution among both Arab and Jewish Circles.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

“Murder at the Altar” by Terry Philips

On Sunday, December 4, 1933 Leon Tourian the Armenian Archbishop for America is assassinated in Church in front of everybody . 9 people were eventually charged with the murder. Terry Peters is a reporter for the Herald Tribune who happened to be there when it happened. It was an assassination that pit one part of the Armenian community against the other part of the community.

The book is a historical novel set in both modern times and 1933. Terry Peters is now an old man retired and living in Florida. In the back of his mind he is convinced that they never really found Levon Tourian’s killer. So he goes back to New York and begins digging through archives and court records to reconstruct the events that happened in 1933. In his quest he has to face beaughocratic indifference and a lack of Armenian interest in reopening old wound. In many ways these wound have not healed to this day.

The story also jumps back into the past in both reconstructing even that happened at the time of Levon Tourian’s assassination and Armenian History. ThE genocide is discussed and how it has left the Armenian’s traumatized in 1933 even though It happened in 1915 . The rivalry between Hunchak and Dashnak is also touched upon. Leon Tourian was controversial, although he did his best to keep the church out of the politics of Armenia which was then controlled by the Soviet Union.. The Hunchaks were in favor oif the Russians and the Dashnaks were against . Controversy broiled around Leon Tourian when he refused to hoist the Dasshank flag during an Armenian gathering.

THE book is great if you are into mysteries. For the uninitiated it give enough background for you to understand the Armenian dilemma. The novel gives one the feeling of having been in New York during the 1930’s. One also gains an insight into the division in the Armenian community and how much infighting their was. Over all great book.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Review of the Greenman

more to come.

"Ambivalence" by Jonathan Garfinkel

“Ambivalence” by Jonathan Garfinkel


Jonathan is an Ashkenazi Jew who lives in Toronto, Canada . Sporadically he attends the local temple along with his long time girlfriend Judith. Despite having been schooled in Bialik school, a Zionist school, Jonathan has never been to Israel and he is close to thirty years old. He is playwright and a struggling one at that. He is looking to write a play about Israel. He hears about it when he sees a movie called “Divine Intervention” which is directed by a Palestinian director. While at this screening he meets a Palestinian woman named Rana who hails from the village called Tamra. Tamra is located in Northern Israel. While going to school in Jerusalem Rana stayed at a house that was owned by an Arab and a Jew and they lived on the same land together. To Jonathan this is a perfect opportunity. He jets off to Israel.

Israel is nothing like what he thought it would be, hard working pioneers and holymen. His first encounter is with a an Israeli madman with long blond hair and blue eyes. He is drinking Jack Daniel on the Cab ride to Jerusalem. Jonathan hangs with him the night and the next day he bikes into Bethlehem. He is stopped by soldiers an Palestinians . He has to buy a Palestinian flag to adorn his bike as it has an Israeli one. The flag costs him 60 dollars. In Jerusalem he meets Orthodox Jewish relative who have views that Jonathan cannot quite stomach. He often questions why Joshua was commanded to wipe out all of the Canaanite, just so Israelites could take the land. He is given answers that does not satisfy his curiosity. After all he is a bit of a rebel. He meets a Palestinian soldier named Samer. He is quite ready to live in peace with the Israelis save that he feels like he lives in a prison with ll the check points. He also explains to Jonathan why the second intifada is more violent than the first intifada. Israel arrested al the intellectuals and just left the rowdy ones. Later when he meets Samer’s father who is 105 years old he learns that prior to the arrival of the British Jews and Arabs got on real well. The British pitted both sides against each other.

Finding the house and talking to the people is a challenge. Both Shimom .the Israeli, and Abu Delia,the Palestinian are n ot so keen on talking. Abu Delia talks first. He fled during the six day war and came back to find Shimon living there. He had to sneak back to his own property. He fought the matter in court and retrieved ownership of his land. Shimon could still live there as long as he paid the lease to Abu Delia. On the other half Abu Delia built another house.

Jonathan goes back home only too return to Israel several months later this time with Rana who is divorcing her husband. Together they visit many Israelis interest in peace, join demonstration and hook up with two organization promoting peace. Two such organizations are Zochrot and Neveh Shalom. Zochrot is dedicated to preserving the memory of the villages that were destroyed and Palestinians forced to flee. While Nevveh Shalom is a join n village of Jewish and Palestinian Israelis.

Over all great book that has the author probe into Israel’s history from a variety of different angles. He is not happy with what he finds and he finds that the Palestinian cause is just. Jonathan empathizes with the Palestinians at the end of the book.

Monday, August 17, 2009

They Must Be Stopped by Briggite Gabriel

“They Must be Stopped” by Brigitte Gabriel

Author Brigitte Gabriel is Lebanese Christian who spent seven years of the war living in a bomb shelter. She has seen most of her friends and family killed of by what she calls “radical Muslims” In her second book Ms. Gabriel write to warn us that the Islamic fundamentalist are on their way over here and they plan on taking over. She says that they have no respect for our way of life and that they are using freedom of expression, political correctitude, and technology as means for taking us over. She claims that violence against those who do not believe in Islam. She pulls out several quotes to verify her point. Miss. Gabriel then goes on to discuss the five pillars of Islam and some of their early history. To sum it up she says that Islam spread by the sword and that Muslim make temporary treaties only to break them when it suits there purpose. Islam according to her spread al the way to China and North Africa and that Muslim armies made inroads into Europe. The Muslim occupation was pushed back only during the Industrial Age when the West had superior technology. She documents several schools that open up on US soil that preach Jihad and discrimination against those who do not practice Islam. Some of these schools are funded by American Tax payer. These schools also have connections to Hamas, CAIR and the Holy Land foundation. Several groups like the Muslim Brotherhood have military training camps in US soil. At the end of the book she outline a plan to combat the spread of Islamic Fundamentalism. Of course that entail joining her organization act.

I do find the book to be a bit on the Islam phobic side and it focuses only on a minority of the population. This book makes it seem like most Muslim are violent people. Yet Chapter 3 clearly states that a minority of Muslim drink their religion straight. Meaning that they follow it literally. Usually religious groups when they come here to America want accommodations. Ms. Gabriel says that Muslim taxi drivers are refusing to service people carrying alcohol and those having dogs. Airport according to her are setting up wash basis for Muslim prayer. Some companies have prayer rooms to accommodate Muslims but no such thing for Christians and Jews. Well I have not seen this but the strength of America lies in accepting new immigrants.FJ4PH-YM8LB

Baba-Sali

Baba-Sali
Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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