Dekho Dekho Dekho Shukhotara Aankhi Meli Jay. Look the stars gaze down on us. Poet, Rabindranath Tagore. Vocalist, Shudha Mukherjee.

Dhēkhō dhēkhō, dhēkhō, śhukhotārā āankhi mēli jāẏ, Look at the happy stars that gaze down on us. Probhātēr kinārāẏ, just before dawn, Ḍāk diẏēchē rē śhi’uli phulērē–the Siuli flowers have called out, ā ẏa ā ẏa ā ẏa, come, come, come over. Shukho thara aankhi maeli jaaye glad stars welcome. Ō jē kora lāgi jolē dhep, those who light the candle, kora lalāṭhē porāẏe ṭep, are the same ones who win fate, ō jē kora āgamanī gāẏa– ā ẏa ā ẏa āẏa. Those ushered in fate, come, come, come again. Jāgō jāgō shokhī, Wake up wake up companion, kāhāra āśhāẏa ākāśha uṭhila pulaki. Whose hopes have lifted the heavens blithely? Mālotīr bonē bonē ō’i śhōnō khoṇē khoṇē the maloti flowers spread across the forests. Kahichē śhiśhirabāẏa– ā ẏa ā ẏa āẏa and their dew says come, come, come again.

Woh Jo Hum Mein, that longing there was within us. French, n’oublie pas.

Woh Jo Hum Mein Tum Mein Qaraar Tha, Tumhe Yaad Ho Ke Naa Yaad Ho
Wohi Yaani Waada Nibaah Kaa, Tumhe Yaad Ho Ke Naa Yaad Ho.

The longing that was present between you and I, perhaps you have forgotten and then perhaps not.

Le désir qui était présent entre vous et moi , peut-être que vous avez oublié , puis peut-être pas.

Woh Jo Lutf Mujh Pe The Beshtar, Wok Karam Ke Tha Mere Haal Par
Mujhe Sab Hai Yaad Zaraa Zaraa, Tumhe Yaad Ho Ke Naa Yaad Ho

Those joys that were on our souls, they are the same ones that bring us together

Ces joies qui étaient sur nos âmes , ils sont les mêmes que ceux qui nous rassemblent

Woh Naye Gile, Woh Shikaayatei, Woh Maze Maze Ki Hiqaayatei
Woh Har Ek Baat Par Roothnaa, Tumhe Yaad Ho Ke Naa Yaad Ho
[ Hiqaayat = Story ] [Gila = Compaint]
Those new injuries and complaints came with uplifting stories as well.

Ces blessures et les plaintes sont venus avec des histoires édifiantes ainsi.
Kabhi Hum Mein Tum Mein Bhi Chah Thi, Kabhi Hum Se Tum Se Bhi Raah Thi
Kabhi Hum Bhi Tum Se The Ashana, Tumhei Yaad Ho Ke Naa Yaad Ho
[ Ashana = Friendship]

Some time ago, there was yearning between us, some time ago there was a path to us.
Il ya quelque temps, il y avait la nostalgie entre nous, il ya quelque temps il y avait un chemin pour nous.

Jise Aap Kehate The Baavafaa, Jise Aap Ginate The Ashana
Main Wahi huu ‘momin-e-mubatala’, Tumhei Yaad Ho Ke Naa Yaad Ho

That you mocked were useless, and now count among love. I am that poet Momin that you remember or will not.
Que vous moqué étaient inutiles, et maintenant compter parmi amour. Je suis ce poète Momin que vous rappeler ou ne sera pas.

This blog can no longer provide service to the human race. Come back after we are moralized.

Till then, best of fortunes.

Is There A Higher Law ? According to MK Gandhi only when the Creator permits it. It is realized as Moral Law.

We constantly pronounce judgments upon the value of actions. Some actions satisfy us and others do not. Whether a certain act is good or bad does not depend upon whether it is beneficial or harmful to us. In judging it, we adopt quite a different standard. We have in our minds certain ideas and on the basis of those we judge the acts of others. Whether any wrong done by one to another affects us or not, we do feel it to be wrong. Sometimes, we have a sympathy for the wrong-doer; but despite that sympathy, we feel no hesitation at all in pronouncing his act to be wrong. It may be that at times our judgment is found to be mistaken. We cannot always fathom a man’s motives, and may thus judge him wrongly. Nevertheless, we find no difficulty in judging an act in so far as the intention is known. Even if our personal interests are sometimes served by wrong actions, we do feel inwardly that they are wrong.  Thus it is established that the rightness or wrongness of an acts does not depend upon a man’s self-interest. Nor does it depends upon his wishes. There is a difference between morality and sympathy. Out of sympathy for the child we wish to give it a certain thing, but if the thing is harmful to the child, we hold it immoral to give it. It is doubtless good to show sympathy but, unrestricted by moral considerations, in turns into poison.
We see also that moral laws are immutable. Opinions change, but not morality. When our eyes are open, we see the sun; when they are closed, it is not seen. The change here has been in our sense of sight, not in the fact of the sun’s existence. The same hold true of moral laws. It is probable that in a state of ignorance we do not know what is moral; but once the eye of knowledge is opened, there is no difficulty in knowing it. Men rarely care to see single-mindedly the right or wrong of things; often prompted by personal considerations, they mistakenly describe the immoral as moral. The time is yet to come when men, freeing themselves from self-regarding considerations, will concentrate their attention on the ideas of morality alone. Moral culture is still in its mere infancy; it is as science was before the birth of a Bacon or a Darwin. Men were eager to know what the truth was. Instead of inquiring into morality, they have been hitherto engaged in discovering laws of nature -the laws of the earth’s motion, etc. Where do we find the disinterested students of morality, patient and painstaking, who, setting aside his earlier superstitious notions, devotes his life to seeking only the ideal good? When men become as eager to explore the world of moral ideas as they are now to explore the realms of nature, we shall be able to bring together the various conceptions of morality. It is unlikely that, on ideas of morality, there will be the same divergence of opinion as exists among men on matters of science. However, we may not for a time arrive at unanimity of opinion regarding moral laws. This does not, however, mean that it is impossible to distinguish between right and wrong. We thus see that, independent of and apart from men’s wishes and opinions, there is something like a moral standard which we may call moral law. If there are laws of the State, why may not there be a moral law too? It does not matter if that law is not committed to writing by man, and indeed it need not be. If we grant or hold that the moral law exists, it is incumbent on us to obey it, just as we ought to obey the laws of business and remain poor? Or if I disobey the laws of the State and incur the ruler’s displeasure?” But it will never do-either for me or anyone else-to say, “What does it matter whether I tell a lie or tell the truth?” There is thus a great difference between moral laws and temporal laws. For morality dwells in our hearts. Even a man practicing immorality would admit that he has been immoral. A wrong can never become a right. Even where a people is vile, though men may not observe the moral law, they would make a pretence of doing so; they thus are obliged to admit that moral laws ought to be observed. Such is the greatness of morality. It cares not custom nor for public opinion. To a moral man, public opinion or custom is binding only so long as it is in harmony with the moral law. Where does this moral law come from? This law is not laid down by the State, for different laws are found in different States. Many men were opposed to the morality which Socrates observed in his day. Even so the world admits that the morality he observed has remained, and shall remain, morality for ever. Robert Browning says, ‘If ever Satan proclaimed the law of hatred and untruth in the world, even then justice, goodness and truth will continue to be divine.’ (…justice, good, and truth were still Divine, if, by some demon’s will, Hatred and wrong had been proclaimed Law through the worlds, and right misnamed. Christmas Eve, XVII.) One may conclude from this that the moral law is supreme and divine. Such a law no people or individual can violate to the end of time. As has been said, even as the dangerous storm ultimately passes, immoral men must meet their destruction. (As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more; but the righteous is an everlasting foundation. Proverbs, X. 25.) No sooner did the cup of sin in Assyria and Babylon become full than it broke. When Rome trod the path of immorality, none of her great men could save her. The ancient Greeks were an accomplished people, still all their art and philosophy could not continue in their immorality for long. The French Revolution was but and insurrection against immorality. The same was the case with America. The good Wendell Phillips used to say that immorality even if enthroned will not endure. This mysterious moral law brings prosperity to the man who observes it: it sustains the family that obey it, and the community which lives by it ever flourishes. Freedom, peace and happiness are the lot of the nation that lets itself be ruled by this highest law.

Rabbis Against Occupation Who Are Not Against the State of Israel. “It’s the occupation, stupid”.

This paraphrase of Bill Clinton’s iconic campaign phrase looms large over everything I say or do that is related to Israel and Palestine. I believe that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and the Palestinian people who live there is the major moral issue facing the Jewish world today, and that we are being stupid not to acknowledge this loudly and often. Israel’s denial of basic civil rights to West Bank Palestinians is an ethical disgrace, and a source of shame for Israel and for those of us who love her. Furthermore, when Diaspora Jews (along with our Israeli counterparts) maintain ignorance of the occupation and its repercussions, we jeopardize the very future of Zionism and Israel as we know and love them. The occupation is a time bomb.

Open Borders, Closed Borders

When the Oslo Accords were announced in 1993, I was an RRC student living in Jerusalem and studying at the Hebrew University. As flawed as it was, the Oslo process allowed many of us to experience a Camelot-like moment when the entire region seemed to blossom into the myriad possibilities that peace might bring. Within two years, when I was living and working in Jerusalem, the barriers seemed to be coming down as co-existence flowered. Palestinian buses to Ramallah or Bethlehem passed through West Jerusalem, making visits to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority simple.  I made such trips regularly in order to participate in dialogue groups, volunteer as an English tutor for Palestinian children and take Christian visitors to Bethlehem. More importantly, Israelis also visited the Palestinian areas of the West Bank regularly, allowing open-minded people on both sides of the then-porous border to get acquainted.

Twenty years later, the border consists of a concrete wall that is up to 26 feet high; metal fences buttressed by barbed wire and electricity; and scattered checkpoints where Palestinians who have secured permission to work or study in Israel are subjected to stressful ordeals, long waits, and frequent humiliation and danger. In some areas, the wall actually divides Palestinian communities internally: family members and friends living on two different sides of the same town must drive for hours to visit someone who lives just three blocks away. Farmers are prevented from working their own land on the other side of the barrier. Students are forced to traverse Israeli military checkpoints to get to class.

Symbols of Enmity

I witnessed these hardships regularly because I am not an Israeli citizen. Israelis—even those who carry foreign passports—are forbidden to visit the Palestinian West Bank. A few weeks ago, on a visit to Ramallah and its environs, I saw several huge, red warning signs stating: THIS ROAD LEADS TO AREA “A” UNDER THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY. ENTRANCE FOR ISRAELI CITIZENS IS FORBIDDEN, PUTS YOUR LIFE IN DANGER, AND IS AGAINST ISRAELI LAW.

These warnings reinforce many Israelis’ view of Palestinians as implacable enemies. Although some Israeli Jews have been kidnapped and even murdered while traveling in Palestinian areas, the average Palestinian is not interested in harming Jews. Many would like to see Israelis return to the area to purchase goods and services. Activists for peace and justice on both sides of the border argue that the laws preventing Israelis from visiting the West Bank without a special and elusive permit aren’t in place primarily for safety reasons; rather, they serve to prevent Jews and Palestinians from meeting one another and learning how to live as peaceful neighbors. Such xenophobic signs contribute to the credibility of hate and fear mongering Israelis, who add them to their pile of “evidence” that the Palestinian people are inherently dangerous to Israel’s survival.

In reality, the military occupation of the West Bank poses more danger to Israel’s survival. The many Jewish settlements that have been built have created a two-tiered social system that has so dehumanized Palestinians that the recently built Jewish-only roads on which they are forbidden to travel are actually called “sterile roads,” as if Palestinians would somehow infect them. I visited the West Bank during the Pesach holiday this year. Since many Israelis travel around the country then, the military police closed more roads than usual to Palestinians. Meanwhile, Jewish settlers living just down the road from Palestinian villages sport Israeli license plates on their cars, so they can zip through checkpoints and down brand new Jewish-only highways. The occupation builds resentment, which, combined with the growing settlements, makes peace-making ever more difficult.

Facts on the Ground

On a visit to several West Bank communities with Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR), I met olive farmers whose trees were destroyed by young Jewish settlers. I witnessed twenty middle-aged Palestinian men being forced to stand for hours in the blazing noonday sun without shade or water: while they had to address traffic violations at the nearby military police station, they were not allowed to enter the large Jewish settlement that houses it. Instead, they waited for hours for the military police to come and process the tickets. When the armored car finally arrived with its blue lights flashing, the officers climbed out with M-16’s drawn and police dogs at their sides. All of this for traffic tickets.

I am less interested in theories about how to solve this intractable conflict than I am in urging Diaspora Jews who care about Israel’s future to learn more about the occupation. Every Jewish visitor to Israel should also visit the Palestinian West Bank. The landscape is spectacular, and most Palestinians are warm and hospitable to Jewish visitors. The major population centers are a short drive from Jerusalem, and there are many guides who offer “dual-narrative” tours of the area. Only by visiting in person can one truly appreciate what the occupation means. My hope is that, when confronted with the disquieting reality on the ground, more of us will support our Israeli counterparts in their struggle to end it.

In 2012, I participated in a dual-narrative tour of Hebron led by an Israeli and a Palestinian peace activist. While the co-leaders of the trip were each forbidden to visit the other’s section of this deeply divided, heavily militarized city, we international visitors were able visit and talk with people on both sides, as well as with international peacekeepers stationed there. In Hebron I met Jewish settlers who have enshrined the grave of Israeli terrorist Baruch Goldstein, who in 1994 murdered 29 Muslims as they prayed at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a site sacred to both Judaism and Islam because it is built over the grave traditionally identified as that of our shared ancestor Abraham/Ibrahim. Those of us who are appalled by Jewish terrorism carried out and glorified by fanatics who claim to speak for the Jewish people and the State of Israel must not remain silent. We must confront and repudiate such people and actions, but we only learn about them by visiting both current populations of the West Bank: Jewish and Palestinian.

In conversation with an Israeli whose army service had been in Hebron, I came to understand that ending the occupation and resolving the conflict are two different processes. While a conflict is resolved between disputing parties, true negotiation can’t take place while the boot of one is on the neck of the other. He also pointed out that the amount of military resources deployed in Hebron and neighboring areas is vastly disproportionate to what is required in areas of Israel proper. This former officer declared that he would always pick up a gun to protect his beloved Israel, but for that pledge to be truly meaningful, Israel needs actual borders—something it has not had since 1967.

Possible Futures

A few weeks ago, my partner and I traveled to the West Bank with long-time peace activist and negotiator Dr. Gershon Baskin, who took us to the brand new Palestinian city of Rawabi, which has been featured in American media. We saw the innovative and impressive models of a city that will house Palestinians of all backgrounds. I agree with Baskin’s assessment that supporting the emerging Palestine is not only the morally correct thing to do for Palestinians, but is also the best guaranteed security for the Israel that many of us hope to see: an open democracy situated side-by-side with its neighboring state, Palestine. And counterintuitively, cities like Rawabi also may serve the interests of those Israelis who would rather keep Palestinians at a distance. A self-sufficient Palestinian society that does not depend on Israel for its basic needs will have less need for daily entanglement with Israel.

Visiting Ramallah, it was clear to us that the nascent State of Palestine already exists. The real question is whether its’ government buildings, cultural centers, commercial districts and banks become the dynamo from which Palestine grows, or whether we all continue to inch toward a single state that through demographic inevitability will eventually not be a Jewish state. Currently there is a one-state reality on the ground, in which Jewish Israelis control Palestinians in most aspects of their lives, and determine whether or not Palestinians who live abroad can return to their native land. Israel was not created so that Jews could subjugate another people without affording them basic civil rights. Regardless of what one thinks of an “ethnic democracy” (an issue many European nations grapple with), there is nothing democratic about a military occupation. As long as settlers live freely on a West Bank occupied by Israel, the Jewish state is far from a democratic nation.
As Gershon Baskin writes in his April 15, 2015 column in The Jerusalem Post,

Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory is undeniable: […]a majority of Israelis support a right-wing vision for Israel’s future. But let’s not forget, even for one minute, that nearly half of the Israeli population does not. Half of Israel’s population continues to support a vision of two states for two peoples, and I would venture to say that if Israelis believed it was possible to achieve such a solution, that number would grow to two thirds…

The people of Israel, even most of the half of them from the Center leaning toward the Left, do not believe there is a partner for peace in Palestine.

I strongly disagree, and I base my disagreement on constant ongoing contact with the Palestinians and their leaders.

I have sat with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and extensively discussed all of the issues in conflict in permanent-status negotiations, and I know that there are possibilities for reaching agreements that will provide Israel with all of its security needs. I have had these discussions with a large number of Palestinian leaders throughout the West Bank, in cities, towns, villages and refugee camps. I am there several times a week for years already. I speak to Palestinians in Gaza almost every day…I am convinced that there is a Palestinian partner for peace.

Baskin’s column is titled “The Citizens’ Challenge — from Despair to Hope.” We diaspora Jews who still believe that a just and peaceful two-state scenario is possible must offer hope to our Israeli counterparts who feel post-election despair. The only way for this to happen is to confront the reality of the occupation head-on.

After we have faced that harsh reality, we also need to act. I boycott West Bank goods as a protest against an illegal occupation that is sustained by a steady, large infusion of government money to the detriment of education and social welfare in the rest of Israel. You might choose a different path. However, for the sake of the Jewish people and of justice in the world, we must not be silent.

Rabbi Rebecca Lillian
Rabbi Rebecca Lillian, a 1995 graduate of the RRC, currently lives in Malmö, Sweden. She is a project manager for the Open Skåne Social Cohesion Initiative and teaches at Lund University. A founding Board Member of Brit Tzedek V’Shalom, she has been an activist for a non-violent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for over 20 years.

Gandhi NEVER invested in America. Asia and the Americas, Volume 22, By East and West Association (U.S.)

     MK Gandhi. 19th century. “America tells the world how to live.”

I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence.  I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor. But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment, forgiveness adorns a soldier. But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish, it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. A mouse hardly forgives cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. … I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature. Only I want to use India’s and my strength for better purpose. Let me not be misunderstood. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. The existence of God is like a geometrical axiom. It may be beyond our heart grasp. I shall not talk of an intellectual grasp.  Intellectual attempts are more or less failures, as a rational explanation cannot give you the faith in a living God. For it is a thing beyond the grasp of reason. It transcends reason. There are numerous phenomena from which you can reason out the existence of God, but I shall not insult your intelligence by offering you a rational explanation of that type. I would have you brush aside all rational explanations and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. With me it is a necessity of my being as it is with millions. They may not be able to talk about it, but from their life you can see that it is a part of their life. I am only asking you to restore the belief that has been undermined.

In order to do so, you have to unlearn a lot of literature that dazzles your intelligence and throws you off your feet. Start with the faith which is also a token of humility and an admission that we know nothing, that we are less than atoms in this universe. We are less than atoms, I say, because the atom obeys the law of its being, whereas we in the insolence of our ignorance deny the law of nature. But I have no argument to address to those who have no faith.

I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence.  I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor. But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment, forgiveness adorns a soldier. But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish, it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. A mouse hardly forgives cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. … I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature. Only I want to use India’s and my strength for better purpose. Let me not be misunderstood. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. The existence of God is like a geometrical axiom. It may be beyond our heart grasp. I shall not talk of an intellectual grasp. Intellectual attempts are more or less failures, as a rational explanation cannot give you the faith in a living God. For it is a thing beyond the grasp of reason. It transcends reason. There are numerous phenomena from which you can reason out the existence of God, but I shall not insult your intelligence by offering you a rational explanation of that type. I would have you brush aside all rational explanations and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. With me it is a necessity of my being as it is with millions. They may not be able to talk about it, but from their life you can see that it is a part of their life. I am only asking you to restore the belief that has been undermined.

In order to do so, you have to unlearn a lot of literature that dazzles your intelligence and throws you off your feet. Start with the faith which is also a token of humility and an admission that we know nothing, that we are less than atoms in this universe. We are less than atoms, I say, because the atom obeys the law of its being, whereas we in the insolence of our ignorance deny the law of nature. But I have no argument to address to those who have no faith.

I do believe that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence I would advise violence.  I advocate training in arms for those who believe in the method of violence. I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honor than that she should in a cowardly manner become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonor. But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment, forgiveness adorns a soldier. But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish, it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature. A mouse hardly forgives cat when it allows itself to be torn to pieces by her. … I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature. Only I want to use India’s and my strength for better purpose. Let me not be misunderstood. Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. The existence of God is like a geometrical axiom. It may be beyond our heart grasp. I shall not talk of an intellectual grasp. Intellectual attempts are more or less failures, as a rational explanation cannot give you the faith in a living God. For it is a thing beyond the grasp of reason. It transcends reason. There are numerous phenomena from which you can reason out the existence of God, but I shall not insult your intelligence by offering you a rational explanation of that type. I would have you brush aside all rational explanations and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. With me it is a necessity of my being as it is with millions. They may not be able to talk about it, but from their life you can see that it is a part of their life. I am only asking you to restore the belief that has been undermined.

In order to do so, you have to unlearn a lot of literature that dazzles your intelligence and throws you off your feet. Start with the faith which is also a token of humility and an admission that we know nothing, that we are less than atoms in this universe. We are less than atoms, I say, because the atom obeys the law of its being, whereas we in the insolence of our ignorance deny the law of nature. But I have no argument to address to those who have no faith.

War and the movement against it. Non-violence is the greatest force.

non-violence weapon of the strong(From The Hindu 11-8-26 MK Gandhi)

The movement against war

Will America, England and the other great nations of the West  continue to exploit the so-called weaker or uncivilized races and hope to attain peace for the world? Not till the spirit is changed can the form be altered. The form is merely an expression of the of the spirit within.