Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jimmy Carter gets the shaft

I guess I can't get enough of former President Jimmy Carter and his "peace mission" to the Hamas leadership in Syria. The article entitled Jimmy Carter Gets the Point by Philip Giraldi sheds some light on the abysmal treatment heaped on Mr. Carter by political elitists in America and Israel. How the media pilloried his efforts to achieve understandings between Israel and Hamas is sad testimony of the level of discourse in this country on the conflict. Israelis themselves, people on the front lines of this war of attrition, advocate for negotiations with the Hamas leadership. Israelis in general are more pragmatic about their conflict with the Palestinians than the American mainstream media outlets, as if these narrowminded opinion makers stateside are more aware of the realities of the conflict than the Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land themselves. An embarrassment. But Mr. Carter there are people who appreciate your integrity and honesty. Keep up the Great Work.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Surge

In the works is the trip to Germany next summer, in the summer of 2009. Our exchange school in Schwetzingen has decided to remain in partnership with us, despite our inability to muster a trip their town near Heidelberg this summer. So the tentative plan is to welcome them over in the Spring of 2009 and then reciprocate that summer, late June to early July. We hope to get an email/Inter exchange set up with our classes before then to prepare the groundwork for the visits. Peter Fuchs, the teacher at Hebel Gymnasium in Schwetzingen is keen on the idea. Click the picture to the left for a a view of their school. And of course the link above to see their very interesting website.

Other things occupying my headspace include President Jimmy Carter's trip to meet Hamas leaders in Syria. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but he did it, that grande homme of peace and justice. Pity his efforts to communicate with enemies, well, Israel's enemy really, are being ridiculed by American politicos. Secretary of State Rice says she fails to see any benefit to meeting with Khaled Meshal, while an Israeli minister passes along a message for Carter to the Hamas leadership concerning mutual issues. This is a tacit agreement that Israel is open to negotiating with the intransigent Palestinian group, while America squwaks endlessly our failed policy of isolating Hamas and forcing it to her knees by intense diplomatic and financial pressure. I can't think of any other example in recent human history of how an occupied, impoverished people who voted fairly for their leaders are subjected to the horrifying sanctions spearheaded by American chickenhawks in their zeal to support Israel. The United Nations is impotent, the EU is disinterested, the Arab Gulf States have other priorities, namely earning oil revenues and keeping their monarchies intact, and Palestinians in Gaza suffer, and the ones in the West Bank are forgotten in a fog of weak-willed "peace negotiations."

Another pity is that on the day of Carter's meeting with Hamas, Gaza erupted in border violence, starting with Hamas operations to infiltrate the Israel-Gaza border and kill and maim, and the typical hyperviolent Israeli response resulting in chaos and death. You'd think that if Hamas wanted to attain some respectability in the formalized world of international diplomacy, it would exercise restraint. But then again, I don't live under the rules of the Gaza-Israeli dispute, which is comprised of low-level Palestinian actions and heavy Israeli reprisals, or ulta-violent Israeli operations and low-level Palestinian reprisals. After the dust briefly settles, people are pointing fingers at one another, with the Arabs spending way more time burying their dead.

Let's hope that President Carter can coax Hamas into accepting a unilateral ceasefire and more flexibility. If he fails, we return to the status quo. A lazy world seems satisfied with that.

My wife says I should stop listening to the news because it makes my cynical and on edge. She's probably correct.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

April Fools

"Been a Long Time since I rock and Rolled!" I shake my head whenever I reference a rock band as decadent as the Led Zeppelin. Their glory days of wanton English Rock Blues wanderings across America in the 1970s combined immoral excess and soaring, anthemic rock music into a potent brew that remains with every Zep fan of that age. That is, if you were into their sound then, you're into their sound now; it sticks to your memory banks and continues to entertain. So I plead guilty to subscribing to the Zeppeling-line of thought. By the way, the picture to your right came from the "official Led Zeppelin Website, http://www.ledzeppelin.com/." Visit the website for the multimedia scoop on this legendary band.

The verse I quote above, of course, comes from their song Rock and Roll, and the lyric describes the attention I have been giving this website for the last two months, when in fact much has occurred. Like what you may ask? Well, like BASEBALL SEASON! With Detroit Tigers attempting another run to the playoffs. They missed it last year, and the year before lost in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006, and now, Good Grief, they begin the season losing game after game. Their record currently is 3-10, but their looking to sweep the Minnesota Twins for their first sweep of the season. Come on Tigers!

Visit their Official Major League Website at http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=det

President Jimmy Carter is visiting the Middle East in his capacity as diplomat, peacemaker, gadfly. He plans to talk to Khaled Meshal, the exiled leader of Hamas in Syria. President Carter says that not negotiating with your enemy is counterproductive. I would have have to agree. As much as I dislike Hamas and their style of governance, and their public rhetoric against Israel and support for low-level resistance against Israel's violent occupation, there is value in talking to them and persuading them to lay off the anti-Israel rhetoric, and publicly state their acceptance of a two-state solution to the Palestine-Israel conflict. Of course, it would also help if Israeli actions were in sync with its public statements of the need to erect and support a democratic Palestine in the West Bank. It is shameful that Israel has shunned President Carter's visit to Israel and Palestine because of his political philosophy. After all, his efforts in the 1970s secured a peace treaty with Egypt, which in turn allowed Israel to focus her attention on its colonization of the West Bank and Gaza. President Carter has devoted his life to peace and justice throughout the world for everyone. Treating him with diplomatic disdain like this is a truly classless act for which Israel should be embarrassed and ashamed. I hope President Carter can knock some sense into Hamas.

I ran across an interesting article, keeping the subject focused on the Middle East, and this article concerns Israel's purchase of oil from Iran. Israel enjoys calling attention to Iran's purported nuclear weapons program, and scolding people who do business with Iran, but it happily purchases oil from the country, know full well where the oil comes from. I bet America gets lots of oil from Iran also. And Iran also, while calling for Israel's dismantling, has no problem selling oil to her. All this talk about boycotting Iran and shunning Israel appears to be a sham when money and energy needs are involved.

Article from commentisfree.guardian.co.uk - Israel's Tehran connection