HopeWays wishes to promote public discussions of the issues presented in this website. We encourage all our visitors to freely express their honest opinions, providing all participants treat each other with respect and good will.

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Letters To HopeWays' Editor: Dialogue List

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Chronological Order (from Old to New): HopeWays / Dialogue Corner
20/July/2003 - Yori Yanover On 'Community Democracy'

Yori Yanover of New York comments on Ehud Tokatly's plan of 'Community Democracy' and the (Hebrew) book 'NeuAltneuland'.

I believe that Mr. Tokatly's book lays down an excellent system for the future of Jewish life in Israel. However, I cannot see the same being true for our neighbors.
His vision requires a healthy dose of enlightened self-interest. It appears that our neighbors have no sense of self-interest. They're more engaged in avenging the recent insult to their egos than in treating their plight.
Israel should be the second country to give up its own national definition in favor of a universal one (No volunteers for number one? What a pity!). So should we wait and be the second country to offer all its citizens the rule of communitarian enlightened self-interest.

12/January/2004 - Dr. Brad J. Cox comments on Yori's letter

I assume that by "national definition", Yori Yanover means a Jewish State (by definition one that discriminates against non-Jews). If so, there are two volunteers who pioneered this path long ago: the U.S. and South Africa.

Both once defined themselves as white states and discriminated against non-whites. Both overcame this self-definition and embraced non-discriminatory policies during the same period that BOTH Jews and Arabs were busy pioneering the opposite approach. Both (mostly) escaped the death spiral that have typified Jewish/Arab relations for the last century. It worked for the US and South Africa. Why don't you (by you, I mean Israelis and Palestinians alike) give it a try?

See http://virtualschool.edu/mideast for more details.

12/January/2004 - Yori Yanover responds:

When the US decides to voluntarily dismantle its European political system and return full ownership of all lands to the Native American tribes, and when you, Dr. Cox, personally volunteer to return to the land from which your ancestors emigrated to the "New World", then remind us again to consider your kind offer to commit a colossal collective suicide. Unless, of course, you think that the Jews are not entitled to the internationally recognized right of self-determination because the Jews are not a nation like any other, which is not rare among certain circles.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner
24/August/2003 - Dvora ShurmanOn Asher Shla'in's "Small Head" Article

Dvora Shurman from Tel Aviv comments on the editotial "The Small Head Syndrome" by Asher Shla'in:

Unfortunately writing editorials doesn't get anywhere. In the U.S. active consumer and government groups of citizens ACT. But here we have a different history. I remember the 1970s when the new party D"sh started up and I was active in Petah Tikvah. At a neighborhood park people panicked at the idea of voting anything but Labor, knew they would lose their jobs. So think about how the "socialist" Histadrut contributed to the present state of ROT, not just mediocrity, because people were cowed, and saw no point in opening their mouths.

Asher Shla'in responds: Dvora Suggests that the roots of the present shortcomings lie in the intimidation of the citizens that have failed to act. Since the 70s the government shifted between left an right, and so the question is what maintains the present condition even nowadays.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Voices of Peace in Dialogue

Similar Values, Differing Ways

The next 9 items in our Dialogue Corner comprise one series. Ada Aharoni, president of IFLAC, The International Forum for the Literature and Culture of Peace, Ehud Tokatly, author of NeuAltneuland and of Community Democracy, and Asher Shla'in, author of Palistrael - all three appearing among the Peace Voices of our HopeWays - had an email-dialogue on the path toward peace.
To read the full 9 items in one document, click here. Brief excerpts are quoted below.

1. Ada to Asher:

I have read your interesting story - Palistrael, and wish it could be true.
The story is well written and is catchy, however, from my close interaction with our Israeli Arab citizens, at IFLAC: they have no intention of becoming Jews, or identifying with Judaism. They very much want to have equal rights and opportunities as Israeli citizens, while remaining Muslims, or Christians. If we accept them the way they are, and really want to be, and build bridges of culture and respect - then we have a chance for real peace.
It is a beautiful Aggada, but will remain an Aggada.

2. Asher to Ada:

I just wish to clarify one point about the Aggada.
That story never implied conversion of Moslems and Christians to Judaism - but it did speak of national unity, possibly based on historical background.
The alternative seems to be their identification with the Arab Umma.
In fact, I can hardly believe in peace without love (even if the anger and the hatred are present too).

3. Ada to Asher:

Thanks for your explanation. However, from my modest experience, the Arab citizens in Israel will always feel part of the Arab Umma, and we have to try to make friends with the general Umma too.

4. Ehud to Ada:

I followed your dialogue with Asher and, with your permission, I would like to add a small comment. I tend to agree with you that we need to design a peaceful future for our region, based on the diversity of our various ethnic, religious, cultural and other communities. Personally, I'm quite skeptical about changing loyalties and identities, so deeply rooted in our country. I also doubt the wisdom of it. Common values need not contradict separate identities and diverse cultural and spiritual legacies. I believe in 'Diversity Within Unity', a principle that opposes melting pots, nationalistic regimentalism or dogmatic doctrines. My own approach is presented in HopeWays' Peace Voices. I would be delighted if you could take a look at my article and let me know what you think of it.

5. Ada to Ehud:

I am glad that you agree that we need to "design a peaceful future for our region, based on the diversity of our various ethnic, religious, cultural and other communities." I too, like you, am quite skeptical about changing loyalties and identities so deeply rooted in our country and in the whole region. I too doubt the wisdom of it, and agree with you that: "Common values need not contradict separate identities and diverse cultural and spiritual legacies". I (too) "believe in 'Diversity within Unity' "...

6. Ehud to Ada:

Since we seem to agree on many points of principle and share strikingly similar values, the main issue of difference appears to be of a more political nature. If I understand your position correctly, you seem to prefer the two-states model because of "concrete and material aspects" which "have to be realistically solved"...
...In my view, realism is precisely the hurdle in this line of reasoning. Good fences, with or without bridges across them, have been tested in the last decade and their actual effects can now be examined in real terms, not in ideological or hypothetical exercises...
...My work with HopeWays reflects my deep conviction that no solution may be found without sincere attempts to seek innovative alternatives to the old, tested, and failed policies...

7. Ada to Ehud:

Thank you for your honest and thoughtful response. If I understand your message correctly, the model you are advocating is based on Israeli - Palestinian "democratic communities" living side by side and respecting each other; and each community takes care of its population according to its traditions and moral and cultural values...
...You are not stating who will be governing that State except for the mention that the PA is not desirable for the Palestinians...
...I am afraid that if we don't achieve the separation, according to the Two States Model ... Israel in a short time will tend to be overrun and will unfortunately be in danger of disappearing.

8. Ehud to Ada:

...Many of us wish to help creating a better reality... But our main problem, I truly believe, is that we are stuck with 19th Century Western concepts...
...Ideas that border on racism, apartheid and deportation emanate from the faulty, outdated model of a single national identity for all citizens of the state. Ethnic purity, implied by the term "A Jewish Majority", is closer to fascism than to either democratic or authentic Jewish values...
...On the other hand, the 'Community Democracy' model offers an opportunity for preserving both national self-determination (Zionism) and multi-cultural liberty. It is based on an undoubtedly democratic, well-tested model: Federalism...
...I know, it's hard to imagine such a reality... But if we don't try to address the complexities and retain a measure of realism and sanity, we are highly unlikely to build bridges toward a better future...

9. Ada to Ehud:

...As to our discussion, you write beautifully, I am impressed by your serious, honest and deep idealism, and your learned views and knowledge. I can indeed imagine a change in our world and in the relations between people and nations in the candid way you describe. May it be! This we have in common, we are both idealists and dreamers. However, many realities, as we know, started with dreams.

End of series. Readers are invited to join this dialogue.
Hebrew readers can see a discourse of a different character on the same subject (the path to peace), which takes place in the Dialogue Corner of the Hebrew Part

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

A Win-Win Approach?

The background of the following series of dialogue items is an article that appeared (November 25, 2002) in http://virtualschool.edu/mideast supplemented in http://virtualschool.edu/mideast/faq.html.
Dr. Brad J. Cox, a scientist from VA USA writes to us as follows:

1. Dr. Cox:

Please add a link to my article, "A Win-win Approach to the Mideast Conflict" to your web site.
The article argues that peace requires dispensing with cartesian dichotomy that only admits anti-Arab vs anti-Israeli positions in favor of identifying and correcting the abstract root causes of the conflict, namely discrimination.
It provides several examples of conflicts in other regions that long ago reconciled the discriminiation that might have led to similar conflict and recommends that Israelis and Arabs seriously consider learning to live together as equals within a non-discriminatory unified secular state.
Specific proposals for how to achieve this are not provided, but left to the participants to discover during a process called a voyage of discovery.

2. Asher Shla'in:

Brad J. Cox Ph.D., a brilliant intellectual, uses his know-how to serve peace in a distant land. He also offers his address to potential participants in the voyage he proposes.
I share his objection to separation between Israelis and Palestinians. His idea to build a community of caring individuals is charming. Yet, I find his analysis of the actual situation rather misguided. I feel that he does lack vital information about the nature of Zionism and about current conditions in the Palestinian society.
I refer Dr. Cox to my new editorial on the Geneva Accords, to the various Peace Voices in this site, and the various items in this page of our Dialogue Corner. I do hope for continued exchange of ideas that may result in viable cooperation.

Dr. Brad J. Cox first replied to Asher's question (in a message) what was the result until now of the offer to take subscriptions to the Voyage.

3. Dr. Cox:

Response has been consistently vitriolic from both sides, with very few rare words of encouragement. One such interchange with SPME (pro-Israeli academics) is outlined in the frequently-asked-questions section.
Everybody claims to want peace if they can hang on to the ability to discriminate against the other side. So on and on it goes.

4. Asher Shla'in:

I do differ with your view - but by no means would I be vitriolic.
I think that your concept of discrimination is not too productive in the necessary reconciliation. Eventually we need to convince the masses, and labeling what is dear to them as initially unacceptable, will not advance the cause.
The reconciliation community (in the voyage) must preserve equality and dignity of its members, but must allow expression of sectarian sentiments, which need not be detrimental.

5. Dr. Cox:

I'm also not sure that the word I chose, discrimination, is the best choice. I used that term only because that's the recognized name in America for anti-black, anti-Hispanic, anti-gay, or anti-Jewish prejudice. The term seems out of context in the Mideast context, where the word has to stretch to encompass the anti- Islamic feelings of the early Israeli settlers as well as the "throw the Jews into the sea" discrimination of the Islamist extremists. ...

To see the whole reply click here.
Then Dr Cox responds to the sentence (on item 2) "I feel that he does lack vital information about the nature of Zionism and about current conditions in the Palestinian society".

Dr. Cox (continued)

Although I'm always eager to learn more history, as I explained in the FAQ, the article specifically avoids the history of that region on the grounds that this history contains no solutions for this conflict, just reasons for continuing it ad-infinitum.
That is why I focused on examples from other regions that overcame their troubled histories many years ago.

6. Asher Shla'in:

Indeed my words were not about the past but about factors of current nature. Such must be dealt with if one wishes to be practical.
Yet, dealing with the past could be useful - if it is not a source of accusations but a help to understand what happens. In your article, you bring ample past events from other places. The past of the current relations, which includes also beautiful situations, is relevant for sure. Note the importance of bringing the past in the South African process.

End of series so far. Readers are invited to join this dialogue.


HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

The Geneva Accords

The following series of dialogue items is connected to the above subject.
So does our editorial "The 'Geneva Accords' And The 'Road Map' - Neither Saves The Palestinians From Terror".
Dr. Mohamed Mosaad, who coordinates the Abrahamic Forum, a Psychiatrist and peace activist in Cairo, Egypt, sent us a link to his article "Geneva Accord: A Popular Initiative?". Some highlights are quoted here.

1. Dr. Mosaad:

...the solution... must come from the peoples, not their presumed representatives. ...when an agreement comes to its final stage, each representative starts to worry about the public and is reluctant to sign it...
What this Geneva Accord could offer us, is a popular serious involvement in the details. ...this is an accord to be dealt with publicly... through serious engagement and faithful dialogue. ...The Israeli public must know that there is no peace with Netzarim, and the Palestinian public must know there is no peace with right of return to inside green line Israel.
...when it comes down to details, the majority of both Israelis and Palestinians, which certainly wants "peace" would vote against a peace accord.
...Non-governmental 'agreements' and initiatives for peace are major educational tools... It is the public, not the political authorities, who can understand and accept or, on the other hand, deny and refuse any future agreement...

Ehud Tokatly responded to this article. To read the whole response click here. Quoted below are some sentences from Ehud's letter.

2. HopeWays Editor:

(Quote from Dr. Mosaad:)"...both Israelis and Palestinians, which certainly wants 'peace' would vote against a peace accord."
... Why? ... there is something inherently wrong with ... these "peace models".
...To chop the Holy Land into pieces, deport civilians from their homes, force both communities to abandon their deepest aspirations and erect fortified walls between neighbours ...cannot possibly lead to mutual acceptance and true reconciliation.
...people would have us believe that ...either we accept the separation model, or we are doomed to fight forever. ...how many times do we need to repeat the same experiment? ...What we really need is both human contact between our communities, and fresh, innovative design discussions between creative thinkers on all sides.

Ami Isseroff, director of MidEast Web for Coexistence, comments in a letter that can be read by clicking right here. Following are some excerpts.

3. Ami Isseroff:

...we have to ask whether the real goal is peace or vanquishing the other side. ...One-state solutions and federation solutions need to explain how they are going to get Arabs and Jews to work together in one state, if we cannot even get them to live along side each other in two states.
The moral of the story is that political solutions such as Beilin's or the solutions at your site are not the answer. Until there is peace in the hearts of both sides, there can be no solution, and once there is peace, then it will not matter so much what is the solution.

Asher, co-editor in HopeWays, comments.

4. Asher Shla'in

Ami seems to use a well-prepared formula saying: "how they are going to get Arabs and Jews to work together in one state, if we cannot even get them to live along side each other in two states". Thus he ignores Ehud's argument that it is the corollaries of separation that "cannot possibly lead to mutual acceptance and true reconciliation" - so that an "along side" peace is expected to fail.
As I explain in my article, the chance becomes zero when we entrust the Palestinians to a PLO rule, that will bring them (and Israel) more misery and suffering. I cannot see how we can get "peace in the hearts" without freeing the Palestinians from inner terror.

Dr. Mohamed Mosaad kindly responded to the letter he received from HopeWays Editor, as follows.

5. Dr. Mosaad

Thank you so much for writing to me, and especially for writing such an illuminating message. Visiting your site was as inspiring as reading your message indeed. You are absolutely right that the human contact is most important. From my humble experience you need a half an hour to convince people with peace when they meet together and you might need an eternity to reach the same point by rationally discussing it! That is not to undermine the rational dialogue, but only to emphasize the human contact.
I hope in the not so far future I would add my humble voice to your forum. I even hope that we "download" our cyber friendship by meeting in the physical world, hopefully soon, whether in Egypt or Israel.

Ami Isseroff replies to Asher. His letter begins as follows.

6. Ami Isseroff

You write that the Palestinian Arabs are unlikely to get along with Jews as long as they are under the rule of the PLO. Therefore you want to establish one state or a confederation. Somehow you think that in this confederation or whatever, Palestinians will not be PLO dominated. PLO has dominated Palestinian life certainly since 1968, and perhaps it is a good thing if they continue to dominate it. The PLO is the moderate wing of Palestinian politics. The major alternatives are Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Arab and Jew lived in Palestine under the British mandate, with no PLO, and didn't get along very well. ...

The whole letter can be read by clicking here.

Asher responds To Ami isseroff.

7. Asher Shla'in

Ehud emphasizes the wrongs of separation, I point out the inherent evil in the PLO regime, while you present the somber and dangerous future for one-state. Thus everybody seems right, and the way to peace gets blocked. Indeed the situation is very complex.
My preference is not well described in your presentation. I avoid drawing a definite plan, because I cannot see a clear picture as yet, and fail to follow those who think they can.
So I hold to good values and practices, like: candor, respect, compassion, fairness, listening, proper dialog. I am not in a position to strike any deal. I do not know if I have partners and I look for them at grassroots.

Visitors are invited to join in to this series.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Ada and Fouad For Peace through friendship

Prof. Ada Aharoni, founder and international president of IFLAC, welcomes the peace effort by Dr. Fouad of Gaza.

Dr. Fouad To Ada:

Dear Ada,
I attended and finished high school in Gaza, and graduated from Cairo University, Egypt 1968 then I continue with my American education and graduated with a M.S. and Ph.D. with high honor and advance degrees, and became a professor in the field of x-rays and discharge of gas tubes technology with Northern Telecom Inc and Zenith Radio Corp during thirty three years in the United States.
I am working for Peace between Palestinian and Israeli through education and I use to work volunteer for Al-Aqsa University for one year and I donated US$ 3 Millions through a complete library.
I will apply for IFLAC and contact on the phone shortly. Thank you, God bless you
Fouad

Ada To Fouad:

Dear Fouad,
It is very generous of you to donate 3 million dollars for the library at the Al-Aqsa University, in Gaza, and it is indeed the most important thing to do, for through education and culture will come wisdom and peace.
I was interested to read that you studied in Cairo too. I was born in Cairo, and we had to leave in 1949. All my family lives in Paris, and I am the only one in Israel.
I deeply understand the full pain of the Palestinians, having gone myself through the misery of uprooting and the disruption of my community. Out of the 100.000 Jews in Egypt then, there are only 40 old Jews left in the whole of Egypt.
It was high time that through a culture of peace and education, the two nations learn to respect one another and to live in peace side by side.
Thank you very much in my name and in the name of Iflac, for the good work you do in this crucial direction.
Best wishes and blessings,
Ada Aharoni

Ada stresses that this exchange "shows that a dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians can take place even in these very hard times."

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Adrian Chenzbraun from Mevasseret Zion, Israel comments on Prof. Ada Aharoni's article "The Great Danger Of The Glorification Of Suicide Bombers":

29/January/2004 - Adrian Chenzbraun On Art & Terror

In "The Great Danger", Mrs. Aharoni rightfully advocates an international campaign against suicide bombers. Besides that, her arguments border on lack of intellectual honesty.
Art is not gauged using dictionary definitions. From Oscar Wilde to Baudelaire, history abounds with examples of artists who were vilified as obscene only to be hailed as great creators later. I am not suggesting that this is the case of Dror Feiler but it is not the job of an ambassador to smash an exhibition item to make his point.
Mr. Mazel's reaction can be understood emotionally but is unacceptable for a diplomat and our representatives should know better.
Feiler is an Israeli Jew. This weakens the "anti-Semitic" meaning of the incident, so Mrs. Aharoni ignores it and Dror! becomes Swedish. Many see anti-Semitism in any criticism of Israel. A few of them are honest but suffer from a paranoid tunnel-vision, others are not, but use the argument to obliterate disapproval of Israel policies. The rub is, this disqualifies the fight against real anti-Semitism.

Celine Leduc of Montreal Canada, comments on Adrian Chenzbraun's letter above

4/February/2004 - Celine Leduc On Anti-Semitism And Courage

In 1955, Emmanuel Levinas spoke of "the Blood of the Just", to exemplify the killing of 6 million Jews.
The expression, found in Luke’s gospel, was understood by Christians that it was the blood of Jesus. For 2,000 years Christians believed that Jews killed Jesus and it lead to the holocaust. To this, I add Jesus was a Jew and died as a Jew at the hands of the gentile Romans.
The Swedish organizers chose to use Dror Feiler's "Snow-white" because Dror is the "just", the "heroic" Israeli Jewish artist who challenges the evil Israeli government. His piece presents the Palestinians as innocent victims and "the Jew" as the murderer. Once again, the gentile world is justifying the brutal killing of Jews.
True courage comes from challenging mainstream society’s perceptions. Dr. Aharoni took a courageous stand that exposes anti-Semitic perceptions, while Mr. Chenzbraun is justifying the murder of Jews.


HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Noha Karel from Prague, Czech republic comments on the ideas in the HopeWays' 'Peace Voices' section:

30/January/2004 - Noha Karel On our Peace Voices

To rebuild a peace process in this part of Mideast necessitates a lot of step and it is sure the long way is in front of you. Even you propose the possibility of federation or con-federation you have always begin with the first step which anybody of you hadn´t mentioned. You have to teach the main actors of this political proces to listen to each other without the interruption even if some unawaiting events happen. If they learn to listening to each other they will be after able to understand each other and the time to propose the different model of the mutual co-existence will be install.

Asher Shla'in comments:

2/February/2004 - Asher Shla'in On Dialogues

In my article at HopeWays "No Two-state Solution ..." of Dec. 11, 2003, I wrote: "Now is not the time to negotiate a practical arrangement... This is a matter to be discussed among people... at grassroots... with no authority to negotiate... to give a chance to an authentic, respectful, compassionate dialog process, where real needs will be presented, values discussed, feelings aired, narratives cleared..." I do not believe that the present "main actors of this political process" can be taught to act in this spirit, and I support bypassing them by rank and filers.


HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Bilal Fouad Barakat from Karlsruhe, Germany comments on HopeWays' ideas and lingual versions:

1/February/2004 - Bilal Fouad Barakat On HopeWays

Dear friends/brothers/future co-citizens ;)
while I greatly appreciate your initiative and find my own vision reflected somewhere between the proposals suggested here, I am somewhat disturbed that your site is Hebrew / English and doesn't include Arabic.
I realize that you might simply not have been able to enlist the support of any Arabs (which must be frustrating), but even so, at least the "Links" page could have an Arabic / Palestinian section in addition to the Hebrew.
Also, it would be very much in the spirit of the attitudes expressed here to do your best providing an Arabic version yourself; errors would only serve as an invitation for a Palestinian counterpart to come forward and help you out.
On a marginal note, I'm not quite sure what the IFLAC has to do with national design and why it's given such prominence.
Peace,
Bilal.

Ehud Tokatly, HopeWays Editor, responds:

1/February/2004 - Ehud Tokatly To Bilal

Dear Brother Bilal,
Thank you so much for your message.
You are perfectly right about our failure to provide an Arabic version of HopeWays. Indeed, we have tried very hard to find Palestinians to join our voluntary mission and, although we have received quite a few words of support like your own, none of them was willing to be openly associated with our views and goals. Maybe you can help us in finding Arabic speaking volunteers to join our quest?
As for IFLAC - they are a group that believes in promoting peace through literature and education. We feel that building bridges of mutual respect and brotherhood is vital if we want all the children of Ibrahim / Abraham to live together in our beautiful land!
Salam / Shalom / Peace!
Ehud Tokatly
Editor



HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Israel Bonan from Framingham, MA USA comments on Elon Jarden's article "At Last: Peace Is No 'Commodity'.":

6/February/2004 - Israel Bonan On International Law

Your point about international law is well taken; the flaw in the argument is, currently Israel has territory that was acquired after June '67. Before normalcy between nation sets in, the issue remains. Does Israel annex the territories or??? Since it has not yet for over 35 years, until a disposition of this issue is reached between the parties then international law will not be enough to adjucate this issue.

Elon Jarden responds:

6/February/2002 - Elon Jarden Replies

Unfortunately, my message was not clear enough. My point is that we should separate between Peace and any other issues, like territories, refugees, Jerusalem etc. While the latter disputes are negotiable, peace is not. This is not my opinion, it is simply the law. You can read about my views on the legal status of the territories, in my (Hebrew) book "Zion Shall Be Redeemed With Justice".

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Robert Farrell from Portland, USA responds to Ami Isseroff's comment on the Geneva Accords

18/February/2004 - Robert Farrell on Palestinian-Israeli Relations
The forebarance of Israel's Palestinian citizens -- whose involvement in terror has been extremely rare, in spite of land confiscations; house demolitions; discrimination in education,government service, and provision of state services, and more -- speaks volumes about the possiblities for Israel-Palestinian coexistence.
If second-class Arab citizens are so much more able to struggle peacefully for their rights than stateless Arab subjects in the territories, how much better might relations be in a society of equals?

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Celine Leduc from Montreal, Canada, comments on Elon Jarden's editorial: The Fence And Defence - The Conflict And International Law

26/February/2004 - Celine Leduc on International Law:
Theoretically, it sounds like an interesting idea: The aim is to resolve conflicts in international court instead of the battlefield. However, the motivation behind bringing the State of Israel to court has a dark side, which is deep rooted in the propaganda that surrounds the Palestinian cause. Since the 1970', the idea has been planted by the Palestinians leaders that the State of Israel equated Nazism. We have seen the Israeli flag with the Nazi swastika at the Durban conference. Then Ariel Sharon was taken to court for the Sabra Shatilla events at a court in Belgium. Now it is the Fence of Defense. A legal ruling will give ammunition to the claim that Israelis are Nazis, as the fence is referred to as the Berlin Wall.
In a broader context, the United States, John Ashcroft is being sued over the Patriot Act. Maher Arrar is suing the US and Canada for their role in his being held in Syria. The trend is suing everyone except the Arab world.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Here are some comments on the ICRC spokesperson, Ms. Antonella Notari's recent response to HopeWays' questions.
Celine Leduc from Montreal, Canada, finds the Red Cross position unacceptable:

18/March/2004 - Celine Leduc on Red Cross Policy:
Although Ms. Notari claims that the Red Cross is neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Israeli, they are in regards to the Magen David Adom. The answer is found in the assertion that Palestinian ambulances are not recognized either. This very statement reflects anti-Israel feelings because it legitimizes the statehood of Palestine which is not a country. On the other hand, the ICRC de-legitimizes Israel, which is a voting member and country under the United Nation Charter. Are the Basque entitled to a new branch of the Red Cross, or the Kurds entitled to their own branch of the Red Crescent? This assumption made by the Red Cross hence becomes anti-Israel and anti-Semitic in the very core of the biased argument which should not and cannot be used as a justification for excluding the Magen David Adom.

Sam Greenlaw from Secaucus, NJ, USA, thinks differently:

18/March/2004 - Sam Greenlaw on Red Cross Policy:
The piece with the letter from the Red Cross does say specifically what the nature of the issue is about recognizing a Red Star symbol.
The International Conference at the Geneva Convention has this responsibility, not the Red Cross.
This complaint is directed at the wrong people.

Yori Yanover from New York, NY, USA, remains sceptical about the ICRC:

18/March/2004 - Yori Yanover on Red Cross Policy:
Despite the clear and simple phrasing of the question, a singular, uncomplicated question, really, the Red Cross spokeswoman heaps on the verbiage until the reader's eyes glaze over.
The result, I suspect, is that most readers walk away feeling that although the Red Cross is a tad too wordyish, it nonetheless harbors good intentions.
The only readers who will find this exchange instructive as to just how awful it is for a supposedly humanistic organization to reject the validity of a Jewish ambulance service and its right not to be bombed, are those who know the score to begin with.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Celine Leduc from Montreal, Canada, writes about Ehud Tokatly's article: Hate Hatred.

25/March/2004 - Celine Leduc on her Love For Jews:
"Hate Hatred" motivated me to answer a question I am normally asked: "Why do you love Jews? Everybody hates them!"
Jews and Israelis are sincere, open people who never fear to question themselves or be critical. Why do people hate me? Leads to an introspective journey that asks: What have I done wrong? This self-criticism is tempered with a sense of humor and a song calms tempers!
My Jewish friends are not perfect, but they are compassionate. A friend who survived the holocaust is the perfect example. I felt guilty about my mistakes, so she spoke of the story of David, King of Israel. He too made mistakes, yet he was always forgiven. Because, he was sincere, admitted his mistakes and had faith in God. This is why I love Jews and Israelis.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Robert Farrell from Portland, USA, is critical of HopeWays policies:

31/March/2004 - Robert Farrell On HopeWays, Israel and the Red Cross:
•  I was shocked to find your website recommendating Joan Peters' widely discredited anti-Palestinian fantasy 'From Time Immemorial'. Serious historians have found this book to use discredited sources, selective quotations, and fuzzy math in an attempt to show that Palestinians are overwhelmingly recent immigrants.
I see your website as a haven for positive, honest dialouge. 'From Time Immemorial' should have no place here.
•  As regards the Red Cross' exclusion of the Israeli ambulance service:
Boycotts, sanctions, and other forms of exclusion and delegitimization played a constructive role in changing the conciousness of South Africans, and ultimately the regime.
Similar pressure directed at Israel is a critical step in forcing change in this racist and colonialist society.

Ehud Tokatly, HopeWays editor responds:

Dear Mr. Farrell,
Thank you for seeing our web site as a haven for positive, honest dialogue. Mind you, we also believe in respecting all human beings, building bridges of reconciliation and encouraging creative ideas for peace.
Joan Peters' book is considered by many a solid piece of research. From my own family history, I can testify to much of its data's veracity. Therefore, we must decline your request to censor the book.
I would like to thank you for your candour on the Red Cross issue. If you think that peace would benefit from making Israeli ambulances legitimate targets for terrorist attacks, then we may have very different ideas on the meaning of peace.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Sami Aldeeb from Lausanne, Switzerland, announces an international conference:

9/April/2004 - Sami Aldeeb On A One-State Conference:
The "Collective for peace in Palestine/Israel" organises in Lausanne from 23 to 25 June 2004 a conference whose title is: "One Democratic State in Palestine/ Israel". Languages of the conference: French and English. The places are limited. The deadline for registration is 15 April 2004. Any Association accepting the one-state-solution and willing to sponsor this conference is welcome. For registration and more information see: English: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/one-democratic-state/message/50.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Sam Greenlaw from Secaucus, NJ, USA, comments on the current situation:

15/April/2004 - Sam Greenlaw on Middle East Solutions:
Renewal of "One State" or "One Organization" strategies make a lot of sense. But the realities on the ground make this difficult to see as a practical matter. *** If Arafat or any other Palestinian got a deal going that didn't kill a lot of Jews, he would be assassinated. That's where the idle oil money goes: to killing Jews. *** Sharon has to do something to end the suicide bombings. The Arafat Wall is a practical solution. His "Two State" solution is practical. *** Down side is that the Palestinians are in for a bad time. Minimal economic integration with Israel. Rule by thugs.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Sam Greenlaw from Secaucus, NJ, USA, criticises Palestinian leadership:

22/April/2004 - Sam Greenlaw on Arafat and Hamas:
"Bad money drives out good" is an old rule from economics. It's called Gresham's Law. *** Passing by the technical arguments, Palestinian rule by Arafat is similar. Bad, hate-driven coersion drives out sane, practical government. *** Arafat brings poverty, short life-spans and bad health, bad food, and violence. This gets blamed on Israel. *** Israel should state up front that Arafat and Hamas are foreign-financed thugs with no interest in building up Palestinian society. Joblessness is Arafat's engine for power.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Israel Bonan from Massachusetts, USA, comments on Ehud Tokatly's view on terror, which relates to Bonan's own article:"How Could They?":

29/April/2004 - Israel Bonan on questioning ourselves:
Dear Ehud, far be it from me to have suggested that, and it was not reality I described. Somehow if I read your response, dissociated from your analysis, I come to the conclusion that, both editorials are complementary to each other. The intentions in my piece was to highlight the belief, that there are as many Palestinians who questioned their feelings that day, much the same as some of us did, and felt uncomfortable about their ambivalence; something people who lack the ability to question themselves, would never do. In a way your response, was to assert the logical side of that equation, while mine the emotional one.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Prof. Ada Aharoni comments on Ehud Tokatly's newsletter of 29th April, 2004 (quoted):

30/April/2004 - Prof. Ada Aharoni on Suicide Terrorists:
I certainly agree with Ehud, that "describing aggressors and those who engage in self-defence, as morally equal, is the exact opposite of any known brand of morality. ... the free world must not accept any form of terror, for whatever reason or excuse."
To combat the "nonchalance toward evil" and the dangerous adulation and glorification of terrorists and suicide bombers, we at IFLAC PAVE PEACE, have a Petition, which we invite you to sign and to please spread as widely as possible.
Let us remember that for evil people to win - it just takes good people to do nothing

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Israel Bonan from Massachusetts, USA, comments on Daniel Gavron's article: The One-State Idea And Recent Events:

13/May/2004 - Israel Bonan on stopping the cycle of violence:
Thank you, you have articulated precisely how people ought to behave to break the cycle of violence. Whether one state or two, your analysis and conclusions gave me, and I am sure others, reasons to hope for a better future for the region.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Daniel Gavron disagrees with Ehud Tokatly's objection to Sahron's plan to uproot Jews from their homes:

17/June/2004 - Daniel Gavron on Racism:
The side-bar is puzzling: removing Jewish settlements is surely a move designed to grant the overcrowded Palestinian Arabs of Gaza some breathing space. There is nothing "racist" about such a proposal. I personally prefer the creation of a reality in which the Jewish villages will have exactly the same per capita development budgets, water allocations, and land resources as their Arab neighbors.

Comment by Yori Yanover fron New York, USA:

1/July/2004 - Yori Yanover comments:

Sometimes the particular use of language betrays an unintentional but nonetheless stunning historic perspective. Mr. Gavron's reference to granting the Arabs of Gaza "breathing space" is bewilderingly reminiscent of another era with its own claims on "living space" and its own problems with those messy, oppressive Jews.

Robert Farrell from Portland, USA accuses the Jews

2/September/2004 - Robert Farrell on Zionist Demands
Yori Yanover has it exactly backwards. It is the Zionists who are demanding living space in the east, and it is Jewish thugs who are attacking mosques, beating up Palestinians, and accusing Arabs of plotting to seduce Jewish girls and force them into prostitution.

Yori Yanover points out a misunderstanding:

2/September/2004 - Yori Yanover on Farrell's Point

Farrell's engagement in mudslinging as a substitute for discussion is beneath my dignity. But, had he been more fluent with the concept of reading text to ascertain its meaning, he would have surely noticed that my note was not about the debate over right and wrong in the region, but rather over the familiar phrase "living space," with its horrific connotations. Farrell's reaction, itself outside the scope of an educated discussion, serves as yet another reminder of the era when the phrase in question originated.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Celine Leduc, IFLAC coordinator in Montreal Canada, comments on Dr. Richard Benkin's article "Fighting for Peace and Justice"

2/September/2004 - Celine Leduc on Peace and Justice:
I read the article by Dr. Richard Benkin and I must congratulate him for a very informative article describing the fate of a person who wanted to be friends with Isrealis. Journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is an example that others should follow.
I invite you to sign a petition started at IFLAC to help release Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury, at:
http://www.petitiononline.com/IFLAC102/petition.html.
Thank you!

Dr. Richard Benkin from Chicago, USA, adds more details about Choudhury's situation

3/September/2004 - Dr. Richard Benkin with Update on Choudhury:
Unfortunately, Mr. Choudhury has suffered some recent reversals. Despite the promise of an expedited case and release, the Bangladesh High Court has ignored the Prime Minister's letter and lack of evidence. It denied him bail first for one day to attend his mother's funeral then altogether--claiming the matter was "under investigation." But months of investigating have produced nothing. There is no hearing or trial date set, and authorities recently discovered a bomb planted in Dhaka Central Jail. Choudhury's supporters fear he might turn up missing or worse unless freed soon.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Messages for the new Jewish year 5765:

Israel Bonan's feedback to Gabriella's Keren article "Vive la difference" on HopeWay's first anniversary party:

15/September/2004 - Israel Bonan on HopeWays' party:
How wonderful. 'Vive la Difference' indeed. Many more happy returns.

Dr. Richard Benkin from Chicago, USA, on the Jewish New Year:

15/September/2004 - Dr. Richard Benkin on Rosh haShana and Choudhury:
Last Rosh Hashanah, my Muslim friend and colleague, Salahuddin Shoaib Choudhury asked me to convey his wishes for a happy and peaceful new year to all his Jewish "brothers and sisters" and grettings of friendship and solidarity at this most august time. Little did we know that he would be a captive this Rosh Hashana and unable to again send us his good wishes. So, on behalf of him allow me to do so and add my own. From our Muslim friend, who remains even to this day a captive because he stood up for us, a most heartfelt wish for a blessed new year, a Shana Tova, and wishes for peace.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Dr. Richard Benkin from Chicago, USA, comments on Celine Leduc's article "Red Rag or Red Flag?"

24/September/2004 - Dr. Richard Benkin on Anti-Semitism:
Celine LeDuc's "Red Rag Or Red Flag" broaches a very critical and sensitive issue. Many Christians are counted among Israel's strongest supporters and are virtually incapable of thinking in antisemitic modalities. Israel's vilification, and "special treatment" by Christian Europe and others so often is given a "political" veneer, which tries to denude it of any moral (or more appropriately immoral) underpinnings. That demonization must be understood as a contemporary expression of old antisemitism and a repetition of its horrors.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Celine Leduc of Montreal Canada comments on Harun Yahya's article "Islam's Acceptance of Judaism and Christianity"

29/September/2004 - Celine Leduc on Faith and Love:
I do agree with Harun Yahya of Istanbul, Turkey. All people who have faith in God should unite to defeat the godless ones. I would like to add one comment to the very inspiring verse from the Qur'an which Harun Yahya has kindly quoted: All nations are expected to follow God's will without fail, and to do good deeds in order to earn His reward (Qur'an, 5:48). A quote from the Bible in Leviticus or the epistle of Matthew: Love your GOD with all your heart and Your Neighbor like yourself... my understanding of defeating hate is "We MUST first Love GOD, the I then the other."

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Celine Leduc of Montreal Canada comments on Nonie Darwish's article "An Arab Supports Israel - Making Peace Requires Acceptance".

18/November/2004 - Celine Leduc on Hope and Friendship:
Congratulation to Nonie Darwish on her great article.
Out of her pain and her loss came a new understanding and realization about Israelis. Out of anger and hatred comes love. It is so inspiring to read a person who found the seed of love of herself, for she is proud of her Islamic heritage and yet she is also happy to befriend Israelis. Knowing the good and the bad she chose to focus on the hope and the positive.
Once again congratulations for a great article, as we need to be reminded of the humanity of each side.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Sam Greenlaw from New York, NY, USA, sees Arafat's death as an opportunity:

25/November/2004 - Sam Greenlaw on Arafat's death:
Arafat's Death Removes Terrorism's Main Financier *** Tens of millions of dollars going from "Oil Princes" to support Jew-killers have been largely wasted over the last year or so. Credit this advance to Sharon's creation of the ARAFAT WALL. *** Now the Jew-killer, Arafat, has died under mysterious circumstances. His brain shut down, but no detected pathogen. OK, fine. **** Now, thank God, Palestinians have an opportunity to elect a rational, No Oil Thugs government. These Arabs can now reduce the oil-money thugs like Hamas. Really !! For the first time ever. Hooray !!

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Lynette Ladd, a U.S. citizen living in Saudi Arabia, is sceptical about peace through politics:

27/November/2004 - Lynette Ladd on Peace in Israel:
Yes, there will be peace in Israel. It will be due to a compromise made with an EU leader. The whole world will applaud and sigh with relief at the end of war, strife and terrorism. Then the EU leader will break the treaty and betray Israel. All hell will break loose upon Israel, but God will protect her. She should never fear her enemy. The Messiah will come and redeem His people and they will see Him standing astride the Mount of Olives. Let His peace come upon Jerusalem.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner
Yori Yanover from New York, USA, comments on Nonie Darwish's article "Will Palestinians Reject Arab Meddling?":
16/December/2004 - Yori Yanover on Arab Oil and Democracy:
Ms. Darwish's analysis is on the money regarding the support which today's larger Arab states render the more violent elements in the Palestinian body politic. However, I suspect that the only realistic way out is through eliminating the West's dependence on Arab oil. Small Arab states with little or no oil to sell are becoming democratic, while oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Egypt are promoters of repression. Since peace is more likely between democracies, our avenue to peace goes via the development of reneable energy.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner
Prof. Ada Aharoni from Haifa, Israel, comments on Nonie Darwish's article "Forbidden Country - An Arab-American Discovers Israel":
21/January/2005 - Prof. Ada Aharoni on Arab Acceptance of Israel:
Thank you very much for your latest HopeWays and for publishing the brave and hopeful article by Nonie Darwish. I hope that many Arabs and Palestinians will be convinced by her true and honest message and her call for peace. She is a courageous leader and I hope many women and men will follow suit.
21/January/2005 - Nonie Darwish responds:
Thank you for Prof. Ada Aharoni's e-mail. It is very emotional for me to receive e-mail from Egyptian Jews. What a loss for Egypt to have mistreated and expelled them from their country where they contributed a lot to its culture and society. In my small way I am trying to contribute and honor them back and honor Israel. In the process of calling for peace and respect for Israel it is healing me from the memories of the what was done to Israel and the Jewish people by my culture of origin.
Thank you for keeping me aware of the impact of my articles. That is what is keeping me going.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner
Prof. Ada Aharoni from Haifa, Israel, comments on Ehud Tokatly's front-page side-frame about the Dovrat Commission for reform in Israel's educational system:
24/February/2005 - Prof. Ada Aharoni on Education and Literature
Dear Ehud,
I agree with you that the Dovrat Education plan is lacking in creativity. One of its worst mistakes is to take off the autonomy of the subject "Literature" and just make it a part of "Hebrew Language." That means there will not even be a "Bagrut" examination in Literature and it will lessen the worth of this important subject. Through literature, pupils learn what life is about, it ripens their imagination, it develps their morality and ethics, and develops their personalities. Nobel Prize Elie Wiesel is so right when he said:"We are the books we read and the stories we hear."

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Dr. Richard Benkin from Chicago, USA, comments on Dr. Yitzhak Hayut-man's article "A New Vision for the Temple Mount"

26/February/2005 - Dr. Richard Benkin on the Temple Mount:
Dr. Hayut-man's article on the Temple Mount is commendable. However, dismissing as "highly unlikely" the Dome of the Rock's location over the Makom HaMikdash is hyperbole. Dr. Sagiv's work is hardly the final word; other archeologists, (e.g., Leen Ritmeyer) support the tradition. Worse is the continued destruction of Jewish Temple artifacts by the Waqf, which will continue if Har HaBayit is placed under some universal umbrella, its Jewish identity muted. With Muslims refusing to accept our legitimacy there, we must not de-legitimize our tradition for them.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Dr. Richard Benkin from Chicago, USA, comments on Harun Yahya's article "Uniting in Faith"

22/March/2005 - Dr. Richard Benkin on Bangaladeshi Freedom Fighter:
Harun Yahya's vision is so clear and convincing it is difficult to fathom arguments against it. It is, in fact, the same vision toward which Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury was working (together with Ada Aharoni, me, and others) before the forces of evil silenced him. May G-d grant that he regain that voice!

Israel Bonan from Framingham, MA USA comments on both Harun Yahya's article and Dr. Benkin's view:

23/March/2005 - Israel Bonan on Science and Faith:
In reply to Harun Yahya's column and Dr Belkin's comment: While I believe in the vision enunciated in the column, I cannot agree with some of the reasons articulated for having caused such golbal and societal problems.
I do not believe that scientific theories, or Darwinism have anything to do with decline of faith or religious beliefs or atheism for that matter. Decline in morality is also a phenomena that has nothing to do with scientific or theoritical pursuits which ought to be the seed for yet another column.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner

Israel Bonan from Framingham, MA USA comments on Shoshana Vegh's article "Don't Uproot The Living":

16/June/2005 - Israel Bonan on Israel's Settlements:
Dear Shoshana,
And I thought I was the only one asking that question! Thank you for the clarity of your query, why do it indeed (settle in areas where we have to eventually cede), and I am glad that as an Israeli you posed it.
We only succeeded in proving that two wrongs do not make a right, but alas we already knew that.

Ehud Tokatly, HopeWays editor responds:

16/June/2005 - Ehud Tokatly on Israel's Settlements:
Dear Israel,
I think that you're putting words in Shoshana's mouth. She wrote that Israel's settlement policy was a mistake, unwise, even crazy, but never said it was morally wrong.
I'm sorry, but I cannot accept that Jewish presence anywhere in the world, let alone in the Promised Land, is a moral wrong. It is also perfectly legal according to international law.
Our friend, Celine Leduc once said: "Two rights don't make a wrong"!

Israel Bonan immediately replied:

16/June/2005 - Israel Bonan on Ehud's comments:
Dear Ehud,
Now "you" are putting words in my mouth; I never said Jews cannot live anywhere either.
And if I equated : a mistake, crazy and unwise with wrong, it is purely semantic since the end result is the same (i.e. don't do it).
As to international laws, the laws is an ass; whether International or otherwise, and so has Shoshana implied in her article (without putting words in her mouth).
The issue of settlements would have been best answered after we reach a peace, a quasi peace but not when we still have no peace between Israel & the Palestinians.

HopeWays / Dialogue Corner
Prof. Ada Aharoni, IFLAC President, comments on Nonie Darwish's article 'Fear of the "Khawaga"' (the Foreign Non - Muslim):
7/July/2005 - Prof. Ada Aharoni on the Terror Monster
Nonie Darwish's article is especially relevant today, after the horrible massacre and wounding of hundreds of innocent civilians in the London Underground and buses.
Just after yesterday's joy of Londoners in Trafalgar Square, when they heard that London will host the 2012 Olympics, the Terror Monster has stricken again and gobbled the lives of so many unaware travellers, changing their tears of joy to bitter tears of grief. Beowulf should wake up again today, and rapidly slay the Terror Monster, for what he is after is to render all people as violent and horrendous as he is. The civilised world cannot accept that.
With great pain and sorrow in my heart and deep condolences to all our bereaved English friends.
Ada Aharoni

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