How do you make this song a reality? To be sure, singing songs about peace will not bring peace. But reading about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, visiting the conflict area and talking to the people on the ground are concrete steps that can make a difference.
In this song, Jewish-Israeli and Palestinian singers and musicians joined together to perform the Hebrew-Arabic song “Hevenu Shalom Aleinu” (We Brought Peace Upon Us) – “Ma Ana Ajmal Min Salam” (There is Nothing More Beautiful Than Peace). Sung in both Hebrew and Arabic, this Middle Eastern, Sepharadic-style, jazzy and inspiring song challenges us to rise above the propaganda, renounce hatred, supremacy, violence, and terrorism, and “rock the boat” until Israelis and Palestinians understand there is only one path to security and peace, and that is through sharing the land and upholding the human rights of all inhabitants of the Holy Land.
This song is dedicated to the thousands of ordinary people around the world, including many Jews, who are helping to promote human rights, equality and justice.
Thank you for listening! Shamai Leibowitz
PERFORMERS (in order of appearance):
TRANSLITERATION OF SONG
yesh beneynu hiburim
she’horeynu lo halmu
yesh beneynu diburim
she’ad koh lo nishme’u.
anahnu kan bishvil koolam
anahnu gesher ve’soolam
bishvil mi she’holem
bishvil mi she’halam.
[...]Leaked cables from American embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv disclose the close co-operation between Mr Suleiman and the US and Israeli governments as well as diplomats’ intense interest in likely successors to the ageing President Mubarak, 83.
The documents highlight the delicate position which the Egyptian government seeks to maintain in Middle East politics, as a leading Arab nation with a strong relationship with the US and Israel. By 2008, Mr Suleiman, who was head of the foreign intelligence service, had become Israel’s main point of contact in the Egyptian government.
David Hacham, a senior adviser from the Israeli Ministry of Defence, told the American embassy in Tel Aviv that a delegation led by Israel’s defence minister, Ehud Barak had been impressed by Mr Suleiman, whose name is spelled “Soliman” in some cables.
But Mr Hacham was “shocked” by President Mubarak’s “aged appearance and slurred speech”.
The cable, from August 2008, said: “Hacham was full of praise for Soliman, however, and noted that a ‘hot line’ set up between the MOD and Egyptian General Intelligence Service is now in daily use.
“Hacham noted that the Israelis believe Soliman is likely to serve as at least an interim President if Mubarak dies or is incapacitated.” The Tel Aviv diplomats added: “We defer to Embassy Cairo for analysis of Egyptian succession scenarios, but there is no question that Israel is most comfortable with the prospect of Omar Soliman.”
Elsewhere the documents disclose that Mr Suleiman was stung by Israeli criticism of Egypt’s inability to stop arms smugglers transporting weapons to Palestinian militants in Gaza. At one point he suggested that Israel send troops into the Egyptian border region of Philadelphi to “stop the smuggling”.
“In their moments of greatest frustration, [Egyptian Defence Minister] Tantawi and Soliman each have claimed that the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] would be ‘welcome’ to re-invade Philadelphi, if the IDF thought that would stop the smuggling,” the cable said.
The files suggest that Mr Suleiman wanted Hamas “isolated”, and thought Gaza should “go hungry but not starve”.
“We have a short time to reach peace,” he told US diplomats. “We need to wake up in the morning with no news of terrorism, no explosions, and no news of more deaths.”
Israel called on the United States and a number of European countries over the weekend to curb their criticism of President Hosni Mubarak to preserve stability in the region.
Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West’s interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime. The diplomatic measures came after statements in Western capitals implying that the United States and European Union supported Mubarak’s ouster.
They are afraid that the fall of one dictator may lead to the fall of others, which would be a disaster:
“The Americans and the Europeans are being pulled along by public opinion and aren’t considering their genuine interests,” one senior Israeli official said. “Even if they are critical of Mubarak they have to make their friends feel that they’re not alone. Jordan and Saudi Arabia see the reactions in the West, how everyone is abandoning Mubarak, and this will have very serious implications.”
So much for all that talk lamenting the absence of Arab democracies.
Peace Child Israel was co-founded in 1988 by David Gordon and Yael Drouyannoff to teach coexistence using theater and the arts. We educate for democratic values, tolerance and mutual respect. Arab and Jewish teens work with counterparts from around the country to create original dramas about coexistence. The plays, in Arabic and Hebrew, are performed for family, friends and the public at-large.
Among the many revelations from the Wikileaks cable release is this report:
Fatah asked Israel to attack Hamas: WikiLeaks
By Agence France-Presse
JERUSALEM — Members of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah party asked Israel to attack rival Palestinian movement Hamas in 2007, diplomatic cables leaked by secrets site WikiLeaks show.
The latest batch of cables quote the head of Israel’s Shin Bet security agency as telling US officials that “demoralized” Fatah officials in the Gaza Strip had asked for help against the growing strength of Hamas.
“They are approaching a zero-sum situation, and yet they ask us to attack Hamas,” Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told US officials. “They are desperate.”
He went on to praise his organization’s “very good working relationship” with Abbas’ security service, which he said shared with the Shin Bet “almost all the intelligence that it collects.”
“They understand that Israel’s security is central to their survival in the struggle with Hamas in the West Bank,” he said during the June 2007 meeting.
Revelations of such close collusion with Israel against fellow Palestinians is likely to embarrass Abbas and Fatah.
Hamas and Fatah have had tense relations for years, and resentment boiled over shortly after the Islamist group won elections in 2006. A year later, shortly after Diskin’s comments in 2007, Hamas routed Fatah in bloody fighting in the Gaza Strip and seized control of the coastal enclave.
The leaked cables were part of a flood of US diplomatic files published online by WikiLeaks, angering and embarrassing governments around the world.
The so-called Anti-Defamation League has transformed itself in recent years into the Defamation League, dedicated above all to smearing critics of Israeli government actions against Palestinians and otherwise attacking Arabs and Muslims. A few months ago they denounced the building of the Islamic Cultural Center two block from 9/11 Ground Zero. Now they’ve struck again with their list of The Top Ten Anti-Israel Groups in America. True to form, they list describes critical of Israeli government actions as anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic. Included on the Defamation League’s latest list is Jewish Voice for Peace, because being for a just peace makes you antisemitic in the Defamation League’s propagandist view of the world.
Here is what the Defamation League says about JVP:
Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP): A central feature of the American anti-Israel movement has long been the role of Jewish anti-Zionist individuals and groups. Among them, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is the most active and influential, with at least eleven chapters around the U.S. JVP, founded in Berkeley, California, in 1996, calls for an end to U.S. aid to Israel, accuses Israel of “apartheid” policies, and supports divestment campaigns against Israel. Like other Jewish anti-Zionist groups, JVP uses its Jewish identity to shield the anti-Israel movement from allegations of anti-Semitism and provide a greater degree of credibility to the anti-Israel movement. JVP recognizes its role as such, specifically noting that the group’s Jewish nature gives it a “particular legitimacy in voicing an alternative view of American and Israeli actions and policies” and the ability to distinguish “between real anti-Semitism and the cynical manipulation of that issue.” JVP activists regularly attend anti-Israel events wearing t-shirts and holding signs proudly broadcasting their Jewish identity. In March-April 2010, leaders of JVP unsuccessfully lobbied for the passage of a divestment resolution at the University of California, Berkeley, targeting companies that do business with Israel. Sydney Levy, the Director of Campaigns for JVP, wrote a letter on behalf of the group to the Student Senate and described the bill as an “inspiration” and “in line with JVP’s current campaigns to support divestment.” Members of JVP, in a further show of support, attended the student senate meeting where the resolution was being considered.For more information, see ADL’s report here:
Jewish Voice for Peace statement on making it on the Anti-Defamation League’s list of top ten “anti-Israel” groups
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is at it again. They just came up with a list of the top ten most influential anti-Israel Groups in America, and Jewish Voice for Peace makes the list. We appreciate the honor, except that the ADL–as usual–got a few things wrong in describing us.
TOP 5 THINGS ABOUT JVP THE ADL GOT FLATLY WRONG
(1) JVP IS NEITHER ANTI-ISRAEL NOR ANTI-ZIONIST.
We do not hold Zionism as a litmus test for membership. Some of our members are Zionists, some are anti-Zionists, and some are non-Zionists. We believe you can define yourself in any of these ways as long as you support an end to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank — including East Jerusalem — and Gaza, and you advocate for human rights, which naturally apply equally to Israelis and Palestinians.
We do understand that as Jews we have a special role to play in bringing about a change in American and Israeli policy. Israel claims to be acting in the name of the Jewish people. Some American Jewish organizations defend Israel right or wrong, claiming to be representing all American Jews. It is up to us to set the record straight.
(3) ACKNOWLEDGING THE NAKBA IS NOT OPPOSING ISRAEL’S EXISTENCE.
Would the ADL call those that acknowledge the genocide of Native-Americans in this land anti-American?
We believe that in order to reach a just and comprehensive peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the Nakba must be addressed. Without acknowledging the events of 1947-9, there will be no truth and reconciliation. JVP adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that “everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country.” Israelis should acknowledge the Palestinian refugees’ right of return and negotiate a mutually agreed just solution based on principles established in international law, including return, compensation, and/or resettlement.
We acknowledge our own legacy of suffering and the horrors of the Holocaust, but we do not allow these to blind us to the suffering of others. Quite the opposite, we have learned from our own history and from our own tradition not to stand silent when others are suffering. The ADL, on the other hand, fights Holocaust-deniers and denies full recognition of the Armenian genocide at the same time.
(4) THE ADL IMPOSES ON PALESTINIANS A BURDEN IT DOES NOT IMPOSE ON ITSELF.
Jews in America constitute fewer than 2% of the population. We would be rightfully upset if we had to recognize the United States as a “Christian state.” And yet, he ADL expects Palestinians — 20% of Israel’s population — to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state.” The ADL apparently has learned little from Hillel: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow: this is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.”
(5) STARVING PALESTINIANS IS NOT OUR JUDAISM.
The ADL protests the fact that JVP members hold signs stating “Starving Palestinians Is Not My Judaism.” This one they got right, and they have the picture to prove it. Our question to the ADL is: what is your Judaism?
How about responding to the Defamation League by making a contribution to Jewish Voice for Peace. It is time that all decent people condemn the Defamation League, aka. ADL, for the disgusting hate group that it is.
The state of Israeli relations with Israeli Arabs can be seen by the fact that the official liason between the Jerusalem police and the city’s Arab community is the notorious alleged Israeli torturer known as “Captain George,” as Richard Silverstein reported last summer:
In 1994, the IDF kidnapped the alleged chief of security for Amal because he was believed to have held captured IDF Capt. Ran Arad for two years. They spirited Dirani to Israel for questioning. He was held for eight years. Mustafa Dirani afterward alleged that he was continuously tortured for one month by soldiers under the command of a “Captain George.” (For the life of me I can’t understand why Haaretz can’t fully identify a man who is now nothing but a police officer. Does his former status as a military intelligence officer confer lifetime anonymity? Or would revealing his identity reopen the embarrassing story of torture at Camp 1391?)
Here is how the victim described his treatment:
In 2004, he testified in court about being raped with a baton by soldiers under “George’s” command. Dirani said he was threatened not to reveal what had happened to him, had suffered continuous torture for a month and throughout that period was not allowed any clothes, only adult diapers.
“George” denied Dirani’s claims, except to confirm that one soldier had been sent into the prisoner’s cell wearing only underwear to threaten him with a sexual act. The Military Police investigation did not result in an indictment.
Dirani sued Israel for $1.5-million, but subsequently was released and left Israel. And poor Captain George was sacked. Unfortunately, the case is now dormant.
But here’s the kicker. Capt. George left military service and transferred to the Israeli police, where he was just promoted to be the official liaison between the Jerusalem police force and the city’s Arab community. So get this, an intelligence agent accused of conducting the brutal torture interrogation of an Arab is now performing a job described thus:
“The adviser must be an accepted and welcome figure in the Arab community, with excellent interpersonal skills – someone they feel they can trust, otherwise he cannot succeed in the job,” a senior police officer said.
Given his reputation as a butcher, the police appear highly satisfied with his work so far:
The police said: “There is no link between the previous role held by Major D. ["George"] and his current position. The officer is carrying out his duties to Franco’s satisfaction, and is contributing a great deal to the good relationship between Jerusalem police and the Arabs of East Jerusalem.”
You bet there’s a link. He was a torturer before and he’ll be a torturer again.
Yesterday, I reported here on a Haaretz story about the notorious “Captain George,” an IDF military intelligence interrogator accused in 2004 of sodomizing a Lebanese kidnap victim in order to secure information about the location of IDF officer, Ron Arad. Among the things I wrote was my complaint that Haaretz was protecting the real identity of George even though he no longer served in military intelligence.
With the help of a diligent Israeli researcher, I can now expose George’s real identity. He is Doron Zahavi, currently the Arab affairs liaison for the Jerusalem police. [bold added]
In his current job, “Captain George”/Zahavi is having great success at building relations with the Arab community by reportedly abusing and threatening them, as Haaretzreported:
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel said yesterday it complained in February that the adviser, who is known as “Captain George,” threatened and swore at an Arab resident of the city while serving on the police force.
The alleged incident was said to have arisen at the Wadi Hilweh information center in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. The center was established in an effort to block the expansion of the Jewish presence on the eastern side of the city.
In recounting the incident, one of those involved with the center, Jawad Siam, told Haaretz that after the center was established, he was summoned by “Captain George,” who identified himself by his real name.
“He told me that we were causing problems,” Siam said, “and that we have to shut the place down.”
Siam said he responded: “I thought we were in a democracy,” but “Captain George” allegedly said he would issue a demolition order if the center was not closed.
Siam said “George” shouted at him and sent him home with the admonition: “I hope you behave better.” Siam said he was then summoned for two additional conversations with “George.”
Russia Today discusses the appointment of this alleged torturer: