Who are we to speak on the subject? We are Jews – French, Canadian, American, and Israeli; Ashkenazi and Sephardi; Orthodox, Reformist, and secular. We’ve been raised attending Jewish day schools and after-school programs, embracing our identities while coming to terms with the central role that one particular ideology played in our upbringing: Zionism, the support for the existence of a distinctly Jewish state. We aren’t strangers to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; in fact, many of us are directly affected by it. We have lived and travelled in Israel; we have families in Israel and friends in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). It is exactly this proximity that makes the conflict all the more important to engage with. Over the past few years, we’ve been working to unpack the conflation of Judaism and Zionism, trying to figure out where in our upbringing Judaism ended and Zionism began. Recently, we started gathering as a group, grappling with our personal identities, learning and unlearning, questioning our roles within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and as Jewish anti-Zionists on this campus.
We define anti-Zionism as the opposition to the State of Israel as it exists today. We do not aim to speak for all Jews at McGill, nor for all Jewish anti-Zionists; the terms “Zionism” and “anti-Zionism” are both loaded and can be defined in many different ways, and our group members ascribe to various definitions within this range. Irrespective of these identifiers, however, we feel that we must begin to take up space in a campus discourse that has been polarized for too long. It is precisely because of our deep connection to Israel created by the consistent conflation of Judaism and Zionism that we can no longer merely question what we’ve been taught – we must take action.
On the Down Side of Institutionalized Religion – An Analysis By Lawrence Davidson
Lawrence Davidson is a retired professor of history from West Chester University in West Chester PA. His academic research focused on the history of American foreign relations with the Middle East. He taught courses in Middle East history, the history of science and modern European intellectual history.http://www.tothepointanalyses.com/
Religion as Ideology
February 02, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - Ideologies are pre-set forms of thinking that shape people’s worldviews and, supposedly, help to order and simplify reality. While this supposition is always flawed to one extent or another, ideologies can be very seductive. In part this is because they free their adherents from the hard work of critical thinking. Thus, they are often held onto tenaciously.
Because ideologies distort reality, they are particularly unsuited for those aspiring to power as well as their devoted supporters. History is full of examples of politically powerful ideologies that underscore this fact: fascism, communism, various military cults (particularly popular in South America and the Middle East) and even the ideology of democracy as manipulated by corrupt elites, who play the Pied Piper to the masses.
Yet there is still one more ideology out there which, even now, wreaks havoc by either claiming for itself the trappings of secular power or attaching itself in some influential advisory way to the institutions of power. That ideology is religion in its various institutional manifestations.
I want to emphasize that I am not referring to the personal religious convictions of millions by which life is made to appear understandable and meaningful. Whether such convictions are accurate or not, they play an important role at the individual level and, as long as they do not promote harmful intolerance, should be left to benignly function at the local level. What I am referring to are religious ideologies that are institutionalized in bureaucracies that can project power much as do secular institutions of authority. Religious ideologies so institutionalized see themselves as possessed of God-given truth while playing the game of power amidst human competitors.
(TORONTO) – OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas has again questioned Algonquin College’s presence in Saudi Arabia in the wake of the kingdom’s execution of 47 prisoners on January 2, including a cleric who led protests against government human rights violations.
From Academica Top Ten - Wednesday, January 6, 2016
OPSEU President asks Algonquin College to leave Saudi Arabia
The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Warren Thomas, has criticized Algonquin College’s institutional presence in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the wake of the state's execution of 47 prisoners on January 2nd. OPSEU Vice-President and Algonquin Professor Jack Wilson added that Algonquin’s presence in Saudi Arabia is “completely unacceptable,” although he acknowledged that a lack of sufficient government funding was a significant factor in the situation. Ontario colleges “offer the specialized skills that today’s employers seek, and encourage new investment in the province,” according to Thomas; yet he insisted that “Algonquin College needs to get out of Saudi Arabia, and the Liberals need to give colleges the means to do their job: providing the education that will bring jobs and prosperity to the province.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remark that a 1920s Palestinian leader inspired Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” has set off a firestorm of criticism.
Is this a face that could contemplate the extermination of millions of Palestinians? Hitler was not the first nor lamentably the last racist nationalist to carry out the intent of a genocidal "final solution." To remain silent or resistant to the truth about genocide, is usually to enable and be complicit in crimes against humanity.
War is so normal in the United States of America — being in a constant state of it, somewhere else — that the longest-running foreign conflict in the country’s history is hardly even an afterthought in the race to become the nation’s next commander in chief. In 17 televised debates and town halls, the Republicans and Democrats running for president have been asked all of two questions about the war in Afghanistan, now in its 15th year. The U.S. and NATO will never get out of Afghanistan if their leaders never even have to explain why they are there.
“There was no battle and no resistance (and no Egyptians). The first conquerors killed from eighty to a hundred Arabs [including] women and children. The children were killed by smashing of their skulls with sticks. Is it possible to shout about Deir Yassin and be silent about something much worse?” For the first time ever, a letter quoting one of the Israeli soldiers who were part of the Al-Dawayima massacre in October 1948 is published in full.
On Friday, February 5th 2016, Haaretz published an article in Hebrew by Israeli historian Yair Auron, which covers one of the biggest massacres of 1948. The massacre is of Al Dawayima, west of Al-Khalil (which is often referred to as Hebron). In a 2004 interview with Haaretz, Israeli historian Benny Morris refers to this as a massacre of “hundreds”.
After the massacre, a letter was sent to the editor of the leftist affiliated newspaper Al-Hamishmar, but never published. As Auron notes, there are still many archives of the time which are classified. Auron also states that there was an investigation that was never concluded and “died out” as a massive amnesty was provided to military personnel in February 1949.
In the first such step by a major church group, the $20-billion Pension and Health Benefits Fund of the United Methodist Church has declared the five largest Israeli banks off limits for investment and has divested from the two that it held in its portfolios.
Médecins Sans Frontières says up to 20 staff killed in airstrikes that allegedly continued after alarm was raised with US
"The United States has been condemned for launching an airstrike on a Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) hospital in Afghanistan that is believed to have killed up to 20 people.
Médecins Sans Frontières says another 30 workers are missing after bombs fell on a medical facility in Kunduz. Follow the latest developments
The hospital was hit during an aerial bombardment on Saturday morning in the besieged city of Kunduz, destroying a large portion of the facility. An MSF source told the Guardian that up to 20 Afghan members of staff and patients were killed and dozens more injured. They said the death toll could rise further. Among the killed were nine MSF staff and seven patients from the intensive care unit, including three children.
The charity claimed the GPS coordinates of the hospital had been widely circulated to all parties fighting in the conflict and that the bombing continued for up to 30 minutes after it raised the alarm with US and Afghan officials.
At the time of the bombing, 105 patients and their carers, and more than 80 MSF international and national staff were in the hospital. At least 37 staff members were wounded in the incident, it said. None of the international doctors volunteering at the facility were hurt."
"None of the international doctors volunteering at the facility were hurt." Let's ponder the relative importance of this detail in reporting information about the casualties of this violent act.
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