Day 11:47 am

  • Democracy Now: Henry Siegman, Leading Voice of U.S. Jewry, on Gaza: “A Slaughter of Innocents”

    Democracy Now:  a daily independent global news hour

                                                          with Amy Goodman & Juan González


    Given his background, what American Jewish leader Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s “big three” Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories.

    “When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success,” Siegman says. Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says: “What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. … The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation.”

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  • ELCIC National Bishop expresses deep concern for the people of Mosul; urges Prime Minister call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion



    600-177 Lombard Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 0W5
    Phone 1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185

    From the National Office of the ELCIC

    ELCIC National Bishop expresses deep concern for the people of Mosul; urges Prime Minister call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion

    Winnipeg, 30 July 2014-Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) National Bishop Susan C. Johnson wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and expressed her deep concern for the people of Mosul. In her letter, Bishop Johnson urged the Government of Canada “to call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion,” and provide humanitarian aid to those forced to flee as refugees.

    A pdf of the letter to the Prime Minister can be viewed here:

    The text of the letter follows.

    The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
    Prime Minister of Canada
    Office of the Prime Minister
    80 Wellington Street
    Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2

    July 30, 2014

    Re: Expulsion of Christians in Mosul

    Dear Prime Minister Harper,

    I am writing to express my deep concern for the people of Mosul, who are living with intimidation and violence. In particular, I hear of Christians being targeted with threats and expelled from their homes and communities.

    I am also concerned about reports that the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is destroying holy sites. This represents an atrocious and long-term violation of religious freedom.

    Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Baghdad, and Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, have called on Christians around the world to express their solidarity with those who are suffering. A report by Amnesty International indicates that violations of international humanitarian law are being carried out by all sides, including ISIS and Iraqi Government forces.

    The world seems to be in danger of ignoring this tragic situation.

    I urge the Government of Canada to take every opportunity to express its concern for the people of Mosul, and to call for an end to violence, intimidation and expulsion. And I encourage the Government of Canada to provide humanitarian aid to those forced to flee as refugees.

    My prayers are with all who suffer the effects of war, violence and expulsion. And my prayers are with you and the Government of Canada as you seek to promote peace, human rights and religious freedom around the world.

    Yours in Christ,

    The Rev. Susan C. Johnson
    National Bishop, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

    c.c. The Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs
    The Honourable Thomas Mulcair, The Leader of the Official Opposition
    Justin Trudeau, MP, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada
    Daniel Paillé, MP, Leader of the Bloc Québécois
    Elizabeth May, MP, Leader of the Green Party of Canada


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