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being Jewish and thoughts on Israel/Palestine
On not being well known.
Question: On Iran 6/9/08 - In the last few weeks, a number of prominent politicians in both the
United States and Iran have begun talking about the possibility of a war.
Yet many observers in the United States argue that such a war would be
disastrous, and that the surest way to prevent it is through direct,
unconditional negotiations between our two countries. Do you agree with
the recent call from five former secretaries of state - Colin Powell,
Henry Kissinger, James Baker III, Warren Christopher, and Madeline
Albright - for an expanded U.S. dialogue with Iran? If elected, would you commit to work for direct, unconditional, and
comprehensive talks between the United States and Iran? If elected, would you commit to work for direct, unconditional, and
comprehensive talks between the United States and Iran?
I understand your desire for peace, but I question the
underlying premise of your question. Let me
explain: I'm not sure what there is to talk about.
I don't know what it is that Iran is doing that would suggest
that we have a right to start a war with her. Despite
protestations on the part of the Bush administration to the
contrary, I realize that Iran is under certain UN sanctions,
but my impression is that Iran has a legal right to pursue a
nuclear program. I don't see any evidence that Iran has an
atomic weapons program in place and I don't see how the United
States can deny any country access to atomic energy for
peaceful purposes. My understanding is that the United
States is not in compliance with the non- proliferation
treaties we have signed and I don't see how we can complain
about what other countries are doing when we are so cavalier
about our own obligations.
It seems to me that we need to talk amongst ourselves first
before we talk to Iran and come to some understanding about
our own obligations with respect to treaties we have
signed. Also, I'm not sure who would actually be
negotiating in the talks you suggest. If it would be the
Bush administration or a McCain administration, I don't see
much point in it. These people cannot be trusted with
the security of our country or the security of any country for
that matter and I think the jury is still out on any other
administration that might come to power.
The United States, at this time in history, is operating as a
rogue nation in my view and is a threat to world peace.
If elected, my goal will be to pursue strategies that are
likely to result in peaceful coexistence with other
nations. Our foreign policy on so many fronts is simply
wrongheaded. We need more enlightened leadership in
The United States is too often too ready to go to war.
Too much of our wealth is being spent on making weapons and
too little on making peace. We do need to open a dialog
with other nations, but only after we have rediscovered our
own purpose in the world and renewed our commitment to
universal human rights and peace, not as rhetoric but as a
On Being Jewish and Palestine 6/11/08 - Can you briefly
state your position on Israel-Palestine? Is it safe to say you
are not Jewish? I'm getting inquiries.
I guess this is where I lose a lot of votes. Surely I am
Jewish from a cultural perspective, which is to say my mother
was Jewish and wanted me to be. I like lox and bagels.
I value greatly many of the values that I heard expressed when
I was in Hebrew school. I was bar Mitzvahed. But
my spiritual understandings go beyond religion now. I
know some things. One thing I know is that God is real
and not a myth... and not a religion. But God Is.
are institutions that humans adhere to in their quest for
trying to understand this mystery called God. The
problem is that what we know about any religion is what we
were taught by others who are probably as much in the dark as
we are but don't realize it or won't admit it. Most
religious leaders will tell you that God's wisdom is infinite
and beyond man's comprehension and then immediately, with all
sincerity and conviction tell you exactly how God thinks and
what he wants.
I think, has value and can potentially be useful to someone
who is on the path to discovering profound realities. It
also can separate man from God by filling his head with myths,
lies, and illusions. Sometimes I think of myself as
Jewish and when I do, given my own definition of what that
means to me, I think that there are very few of us... that
people who call themselves Jewish don't know what it means.
sure I could say the same thing about Christians,
Muslims, and other religious adherents. Celebrating holidays and rituals is
not what makes a person Jewish the way I think of it. Those are just cultural
tools that can help teach people certain spiritual truths.
They are there to help us formulate our own values and
identities. Unfortunately, I observe that the founding
principles of various religions are sometimes lost in the very
process of how they are passed on from generation to
generation. So people are left with
attitudes about God that I would call, for lack of a better
word, spiritually immature.
often see God as a small minded, arrogant, vengeful, dim
witted, hypocritical fool if you carry the implications of
their philosophy and behavior, (which they live and/or act out in the name of their
to its logical conclusion. Some people believe that God
would torture you for all eternity for something you did.
What would be the point? God is not an idiot. God
understands people who do awful things. He knows how
they got that way and how they became so confused as to do the
things they do. Who has lived for all eternity and come
back to report that that's how long God's punishment
will last, or even if there is a punishment?
believe something just because it is written in a book is
risky business. Jews think that God promised them
Israel. Maybe He did. But I can assure you if
that's what He said even if it is written in a book, what he
didn't say, but what I'm pretty sure he meant was, that if you hope
to keep it, you are going to have to live up to the
responsibility that comes with nationhood. God is not a
fool that he would give Jews free reign to treat other human
beings poorly, without compassion or justice... especially after the
Holocaust... after all the statements about "Never
Again"... after learning the lessons of what it means to
be a slave and/or to have your rights, your dignity stripped from
you. I don't think so. God is not small or petty
or approving of irresponsible behavior.
is the most beautiful, the most honorable, the most
intelligent, the most compassionate, the most patient, the
most loving "PERSON" you could ever imagine.
He is the epitome of integrity and honor. That is the
God I know. That walks with me. Is my light.
Picks me up. Teaches me. Holds me. I am what
I am. Not someone who belongs to a religion, even though
I am a Jew. God is fair and just. I try to be fair
and just before I am a Jew, before I am anything. I
fail. I learn. I get up again and try again.
I do not go around saying I am a Jew. I simply hold
myself out as being who I am.
regarding Israel and Palestine, you can get a feel for my
proclivities by reviewing three of my articles: www.gpln.com/godandudhr.htm,
As you might guess, if
I were to speak before AIPAC, my attitude would be a bit
different from what you heard recently from Obama, Clinton,
and McCain. I think the Jewish lobby is now doing more to harm
Israel than to preserve it. Israel's relationship with the US
is a developing unholy alliance. I think there could be a
backlash one day that will not be good for Jews anywhere. What
Israel is doing to the people of the occupied territories is
intolerable and my impression is that most Israeli citizens do
not agree with their right wing government any more than most
Americans agree with ours.
Some Jewish leaders
here and abroad, I think, are making a grave mistake, putting
all their trust and faith in the perpetual flow of money and
weapons from the US, thinking this is a reliable means of protecting Israel. It
isn't. The Israelis and Palestinians have to find a way to live
together and the US is in the way of that happening. I don't
see any evidence that US
government officials really care about Israel. I don't
even see how you can say that the current
administration cares about America. They care
about the strategic placement of weapons and oil and one day,
if we have people in power who have the same mind set that the people
in power now have, they won't hesitate to sell
Israel down the river once those needs are no longer a
priority. And by that time Israel won't have any other
friends to turn to for help. Our current policy is a
Jewish leaders via
AIPAC in the
US have deceived themselves and appear to be drunk with power.
power, apparently, has corrupted their judgment. Israel must make peace
with it's neighbors but there can be no peace between a bully
and a victim. Without US support, Israel could not continue
their disastrous occupation forever. An enlightened
administration would help the people of Israel understand a
more enlightened attitude that could lead to real peace. The problem is it would take real leadership and
statesmanship to promote peace and we don't have mechanisms in
place yet that allow us to
populate our own government with such people. We need to solve
that problem before we will be able to solve any problem in
the Middle East.
I think peace is
possible. But it won't happen with the mindset held by current
leaders... in either the US or Israel.
That mindset needs to change and it can only change when
ordinary citizens come awake and decide they want real
change. I don't think a one state
solution is possible right now; I don't think you can put a
name on any solution that is possible right now.
One thing we should
keep in mind at this point in time is that the US economy is teetering on the edge of collapse.
So these questions might be moot anyway. One of
these days it just might turn out that
the US won't be able to help Israel anymore even if it wants to.
All of our national problems are inter related and inter
connected. There's no such thing as a Middle East
solution without considering the solutions to other
problems... like an intelligent energy policy for example. The clock is ticking.
You're not well known. 6/12/08 I read as
much a I could of your writings. I agree with what
you have to offer. My only problem is with organization and
time. Even the most organized campaign would struggle to get
enough popular support to win a primary election with so
little time left. How can you
win? I will certainly talk to people about your candidacy, but that will be the extent of my involvement.
Thanks for your offer of support. The other night,
Dennis Kucinich intered his articles of impeachment. As
far as I know, it wasn't covered by any major newspaper or TV
station. I didn't even see a mention of it on KCTS.
So there's really no hope for our country unless and until
ordinary citizens really express a true desire for change.
That's why my idea was to give people the opportunity to put
someone in Congress who would represent them rather
than the power brokers and corporate elite. As I said in
statement, all I request of people who think
my candidacy is worthy of support is to send along an email to
people they know with a link to that
introduction. I imagine this will sound crazy to
you, but if I can't get elected by simply putting people on
notice that they have the opportunity to vote for someone who
would truly represent them then obviously my candidacy is not
an idea whose time has come. Of course, it could be an
idea whose time has come if citizens would actually
communicate with the people they know about how they feel and
also vote for
what they want when they get the chance.
For those who say that
voting for me might take enough votes away from McDermott to
have him lose, without giving me a win, well that's certainly
possible. But the truth is as long as people are afraid
to vote for what they believe in, they will continue to be
caught in the trap that the two major parties have set for
them. The trap is called "Be afraid to try."
That mindset of fear gives McDermott or any major party
candidate a guarantee that no true
opposition-to-the-status-quo candidate can ever win. And
that means that ordinary citizens will not have true
representation in Congress for as long as any incumbent
Democrat or Republican wants to keep his seat. What we
need is a revolution in thinking and action. But let's
be honest... revolutions by their very nature are fraught with
risk. Revolutions are only ever won with courage and
determination. That's just how it is. If you will
just do what you said you would do, I think that would be
great and I think it will make a tremendous difference.