IS origins: When you see your neighbour’s beard being shaved… better start getting yours ready.

Abd al-Wahhab demanded conformity — a conformity that was to be demonstrated in physical and tangible ways. He argued that all Muslims must individually pledge their allegiance to a single Muslim leader a Caliph, if there were one. Those who would not conform to this view should be killed, their wives and daughters violated, and their possessions confiscated, he wrote. The list of apostates meriting death included the Shiite, Sufis and other Muslim denominations, whom Abd al-Wahhab did not consider to be Muslim at all. There is nothing here that separates Wahhabism from ISIS. The rift would emerge only later: from the subsequent institutionalization of Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab’s doctrine of “One Ruler, One Authority, One Mosque” — these three pillars being taken respectively to refer to the Saudi king, the absolute authority of official Wahhabism, and its control of “the word” i.e. the mosque. It is this rift — the ISIS denial of these three pillars on which the whole of Sunni authority presently rests — makes ISIS, which in all other respects conforms to Wahhabism, a deep threat to Saudi Arabia.

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You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia

Alastair Crooke.

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(Cartoon: Bertram, Joep. http://www.cagle.com/2014/06/mind-of-his-own/)

Try asking this to many innocent supporters of Israel…. u’ll get scared with the answers, too.

Thus, attempting to have a discussion of “facts” does not solve anything because there is little agreement on a common set of facts. Without a common basis of facts, any discussion will be unproductive and usually devolves into a shouting match as often seen on TV, thus polarizing the sides even more…I’ve found that asking questions can be a more productive approach to discussion because answering well-crafted questions requires examination of beliefs instead of responding with prepared sound bites.So if you find yourself in a discussion with a pro-Israel person who seems willing to have a rational conversation as opposed to just shouting slogans, I’ve come up with a list of questions you might consider asking. Be careful of a lot of responses you might get – often they’re just hand-waving and exaggerations of minor exceptions to avoid directly confronting the question. Continue to bring the focus back to the cognitive dissonance between the pro-Israeli position and these questions. You can also get lot of good information from Richard Forer’s book Breakthrough, Transforming Fear Into Compassion.

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Questions to ask your pro-Israeli friends

Redress Information & Analysis.

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There are brave people everywhere… truly.

I fear that a line has been crossed that only yesterday seemed unapproachable. The past weeks witnessed calls for ethnic cleansing in the Jewish press and the Israeli Parliament. In Israel, thugs beat anti-war protesters in front of the police and peace activists suffer intimidation. At the solidarity meeting here, I overheard one of our leaders explaining to his friend that the Israeli Consul [Roey Gilad] had postponed the rally due to his schedule. This made my neighbor nervous. He did not want the war to end before the rally. Peace would have undermined its impact. There is a sickness in our community.Some history. Political Zionism emerged as a liberation movement in response to antisemitism and nationalism. The foundation of Israel included anti-colonial aspects. Yet the settlement of Palestine by European Jews was itself an act of colonization carried out with–and in opposition to–world powers. The project as it unfolded was based in ideas of Jewish supremacy and in a particular interpretation of our traditions and history. It turned on the violent exclusion of the region’s indigenous population. After 1967, Israel established an occupation in the West Bank and Gaza. After 2005, it initiated a siege of Gaza, designed to undermine Palestinian statehood. I therefore cannot remain silent when people portray this month’s conflict in isolation from the context of forty-seven years of occupation, collective reprisal, settlement expansion, and siege. We can attribute each individual failure to achieve peace to one side, the other, or both. But we cannot ignore that despite any rationalizations, Israel has occupied Palestinians for nearly fifty years. Ask what else Israel could have done from its position of strength to pursue peace. Consider what it means to accept so many deaths and the destruction of a city as collateral damage. No matter how we judge Hamas, the assault on Gaza has demonstrated Israeli disregard for Arab life. This will not bring peace. The choices that may bring peace will present serious risks, but none more dangerous, physically and ethically, than preserving the status quo.

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‘We made a mistake. There is a sickness inside our community’

 Jacob Ari Labendz

in

the synagogue.

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“homeland” and the conversations of the night

I am who I am, and my homeland is this valley in Eastern Spain… but I am also dreaming of flying away, and build my home in some other land.

Levant woman

On that starry night of August, we sat down on the sidewalk. We were a group of four, coming from different communities, cultures, and of three different religions as well. But who cares as long as we can find a way to understand each other and to feel each other. We worked in the same organization and lived in the same building, sometimes we ate together and almost every night we had that warm conversation on that blue bench on the nearby sidewalk where the desert breeze of Al-Qalamoon mounts can swirl through your soul like a river.
We were very different politically but as long as we all agree on the Co-existence of the Syrian people we always found a point of convergence.
Just on that starry night an idea popped out into a friend’s mind “Rafa” as he likes to be called. He asked “what does the word…

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Prof. Yuval Noah Harari points right on the spot of why the eternal Palestisraeli conflict is different to any other.

Ostensibly, since the conflict is founded upon such blatant violations of global norms, it should be fairly easy to resolve it. All that is needed is to apply these norms. Israel’s neighbors should recognize its existence, the Israeli occupation should end, and the Palestinian refugees should be allowed to strike roots, even if that falls short of giving them justice. In practice, as we all know, none of this is happening.The truly great anomaly of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that the global order has been willing to allow these anomalies to fester for decades, as if they were perfectly normal.

via Only in Israel, or only in Palestine?

 Haaretz.

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Dr. Yuval Noah Harari lectures at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and is the author of “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind.” ….. and he is also the teacher of the late MOOC I just started in Coursera. (https://www.coursera.org/course/humankind)

When I see thd IDF guys cheering up and celebrating… I can only ask myself WTF are they proud of??

If it is Hamas that you hate, let me tell you that the people you are killing have nothing to do with Hamas. They are women, children, men and senior citizens whose only concern was for the war to end, so they can return to their lives and daily routines. But let me assure you that you have now created thousands — no, millions — of Hamas loyalists, for we all become Hamas if Hamas, to you, is women, children and innocent families. If Hamas, in your eyes, is ordinary civilians and families, then I am Hamas, they are Hamas and we are all Hamas.Throughout the war, we thought that the worst had passed, that this was the pivotal moment when matters would improve, that they would stop there. Yet, that real moment of pain, of extreme fear, was always followed by something even worse.Now I understood why the photographs of corpses were so important, not only for international public opinion, but for us, the families, in search for an opportunity to bid farewell to our loved ones, so treacherously killed. What were they doing in those last moments? What did they look like after their death?I discovered the photos of my dead relatives on social networking sites. The bodies of my cousin’s children were stored in an ice cream freezer. Rafah’s Abu Yousef al-Najjar Hospital was closed after being shelled by Israeli tanks, and the Kuwaiti Hospital that we visited just a day earlier had become an alternate venue, where this freezer was the only option available.

via Never ask me about peace again

 Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East.

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