Talking about Gaza

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Marcia Kannry, founder of The Dialogue Project, demonstrates how her organization works to foster communication about issues in the Middle East with Rami Efal, a New Yorker born in Israel, visual artist and board member of Inkwell, a foundation which enables hospitalized children in New York to explore the world of art, and Linda Sarsour, director of the Arab American Association of New York.


Rami Efal, Marcia Kannry and Linda Sarsour

Comments [76]

Salma Abdallah from NYC

Linda Sarsour accused a woman who was to run a charter Arabic school of being a Zionist sell out because ADL contributed to her support...she said in Aramic Arab newspaper which is online. Later she accused the Jews of not supporting them and that's why the school's initiative fell through. Dialogue, is one sided. As a Palestinian Arab Muslim woman I can tell you that there are no one in the Arab world with scruples to point a finger at Arabs and tell the truth. Hamas has killed so many Palestinians, done so much more than Israel can and the worst is that they stopped Muslims from going to Hajj because of their party; can you imagine what they would do if Israel had done that? They are hypocrites in so many ways and won't take accountability. Maybe if we stop Hamas or if anyone showed care for the Palestinian regardless of who is the "aggressor" them maybe we can believe them. I spoke to some people in Gaza and they told me that they would move into Israel in a heart beat if they have a chance...what does that tell you? Truth that I hate to say, I have never met any Arab feeling guilt at all towards hating Jews and always there is a back ground thing about how much better the world will be without them...these anti Zionist organizations are just fools who serve a purpose to my community and they are worth a smile until they help us kill Jews.

Jan. 13 2009 05:32 PM
bob from brooklyn

The land, sea and air blockade that Israel have inflicted on the people of the Gaza Strip, has created a situation, whereas 60% of the children in the Gaza Strip suffer from anemia. This problem existed before the current crisis according to Rami Khouri Director of Public Policy of the University of Beirut, and a previous guest of Bryan's. The blockade is the main reason why the Palestinians in gaza make use of tunnels in order for them to exist

Jan. 08 2009 11:28 PM
Irene from Brooklyn

Herb e -
Just a quick response to one of your point: Tunnels are *not* just used to smuggle arms. THey're used to smuggle food -- and medical supplies, and livestock. In fact 90% of goods getting into Gaza have been smuggled fia the tunnels.

Jan. 08 2009 06:50 PM
Peter from Sunset Park

I stated the view yesterday that I think it is simply false for so many reporters, such as Brian and others, to keep asserting that a military solution is not possible in Gaza and against Hamas. Heck, a military solution may turn out to be the only solution. As I said yesterday, a military solution is certainly possible, it just isn't pretty. For example, in 1944, if there were cable TV reporters or WNYC reporters in Europe, they may have reported "this war cannot be militarily won." Of course, the US did win WWII. And of course, it wasn't pretty and there was a lot of death.

But for some reason that escapes me, the BL Show Ministers of Censorship have decided that it is not acceptable to suggest that Israel could actually beat Hamas militarily. No one thought that Israel could beat Egypt, Syria and Jordan in 1967, but they did. No one thought that Israel had a chance in 1948, but Israel still exists.

Deleting my posts serves no purpose other then promoting some kind of liberal, paranoid, close-minded agenda. I thought more of WNYC until yesterday's silly censorship. I thought such a board was about discussing things and presenting different opinions?

I have mailed the logs of yesterday's show to the WNYC Board for review. I hope they have courage to review them and see that thougtful comments were deleted.

A military victory is possible in Gaza. BL Show Moderators and Censors – dare to consider other views.

Jan. 08 2009 01:15 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Also, would it be possible for Brian Lehrer or one of his producers start EVERY broadcast with a pre-recorded audio disclaimer that views and comments made by the host, guests, producers, and the BL website’s posters are theirs and theirs alone and not the views of WNYC,, nor its corporate sponsors?

Jan. 08 2009 10:35 AM
Voter from Brooklyn

Brian Lehrer Producers (#67): As I mentioned in post #50, it is fully your prerogative to wholly remove or heavily redact any post you wish (for sake of preserving civility); however, if your moderation is done in the “spirit of trying to encourage respectful and productive dialogue” as well as keeping discussion to the topic at hand, please explain why the following post have remained: 1, 8, 32, 34, and possibly 60
Again, I have no problem with moderation, though I think would be better practice to visibly show when post have been removed or redacted (strikeouts or blank post indicating removed posts.) To do otherwise is dishonest or changes the context of redacted post.

Jan. 08 2009 10:33 AM
Herb E

Why dont they use the tunnels to import food instead of weapons?

Why dont you take hamas to task for putting civilians at risk?

How long should Israel wait before they stop the missels?

Is running for shelter from missiel attacks for eight years excessive?

Why doesn't the press enter Gaza from the tunnels or from the Egypt border crossing?

Send one of your Jewish reporters to Gaza to get the story. When he is there he should take pictures of the nonexistant churches.
Why dont they use the tunnels to import food instead of weapons?

When the palistines crossed into egypt why did the loot TV's. I thought they were hungry?

Hamus's mission is "No Isreal". They say so on your NEWS reports. They Target civliians, they say so, it is policy.

I have more to say. Call me 646-458-2036. All the best, Herb

Jan. 08 2009 10:31 AM
Sam from teaneck, nj

In response to the challenge regarding whether or not this type of dialogue is "relevant" per the one caller, I was thinking that this is a common criticism of TRUE grassroots movements and efforts. It is certainly not unusual for social justice, civil rights, and peace initiatives in this country to start as small local efforts between a few committed individuals who are regularly reminded of their own insignificance yet press on anyway.

Jan. 08 2009 10:29 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Hey, BL producers,

When is the BL show going to have an educated, articulate and well informed supporter of Jewish rights in the Land of Israel on for a change? Wouldn't that be "radical?" Call Arutz Sheva in Israel, and I'm sure they'll be able to provide you with a suitable guest, if you have the gumption to put on a non-"PC" guest for a change.
You could put him on against a rep from Hamas, if you are seeking "balance" and "common ground."

Jan. 08 2009 10:10 AM
BL Producers

A central and highly valued part of The Brian Lehrer Show is the contributions made by listeners, in the form of call-ins and comments posted on our show page. Over the years we have received great reporting tips, thoughtful questions for our guests and additional information to augment many of our segments.

That being said, there are certain topics which we address that often inspire conversations on our comments page that derail from the topic of our show segment and do not take readers in a useful direction. We urge all of you to review our brief list of guidelines and please use our forum to participate in the conversation started by our show. Lengthy points on historical information or articles in other news sources can be referred to by links in your post. Attacks on other members in the forum, baiting other readers into arguments and offensive comments of any kind will be removed.

As you can surely understand, this is difficult subject matter, and has made moderating comments a particularly difficult and imperfect task. Understand that all our moderation is done in the spirit of trying to encourage respectful and productive dialogue. This is sure to displease some. You can always contact listener services – they exist for this very reason – at or at 646.829.4000.

Jan. 08 2009 09:34 AM
Gary from Queens

I'm always amazed how Brian manages to maintain this moral equivalence by having both sides air their greivances. Hamas is not an arab nationalist, or a refugee right organization. Their charter calls for the anihilation of the jewish state. They're a jew killing organization. A terrorist organization that is designated as such by the UN, yet the UN treats Hamas and funds Hamas as if it were a legitimate organization!

And Brian tops off the absudity by asking (seriously) where are the arab protesters against Hamas?! They're dead Brian! You remind me of idiot television correspondents sticking microphones in the faces of arabs in Gaza or the West Bank for THEIR opinions! If they criticize Hamas, they know they'll be killed. So they describe their hardships and blame Israel. And this goes on all day, without any caveats from the idiots that these views are coerced.

And when there's the rare man bites dog story----it get's ignored by the MSM:

Jan. 08 2009 03:32 AM
Christopher R Stone from New York

Excellent show today. I can sense that even the liberal side of MSM (e.g. NPR types) has avoided tackling the true issues and scale of the atrocities being committed by Israel. This segment was no exception. That said, at a time when tempers are hot it was the perfect way to approach the issue. I am going to look into the dialogue project further.

Jan. 07 2009 11:55 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To from Brooklyn.

Yo! Didn't the radiation level in Hiroshima and Nagasaki go up after the US dropped two nukes?
So what's the point? Is Israel supposed to use bows and arrows? Hamas is a suicidal enemy, like the Japanese kamikazes, and have to be destroyed. Period. They'll never recognize Israel's right to exist and make peace. They have to be crushed. Otherwise, this scenario will repeat itself endlessly. It's not as if Gaza is 8,000 miles away from Israel. It's just one mile from Sderot, an Israeli town, mostly populated by Moroccan Jews, where I worked for three years in the mid-1980s.

Jan. 07 2009 11:13 PM
bob from brooklyn

to Seth #57

Israels continued use of munitions which have depleated uranium in it will increase the cancer rate of the Palestinians in the Caza Strip and West Bank...that's a fact.

Jan. 07 2009 10:02 PM
Geoffrey Weg from New York, NY

Brian and Listeners,

Rami Efal, the Israel representative on todays show, did an OK job at explaining how the gaza situation is affecting Israelis' everyday lives.

Rabbi Gerald Skolnik of the Forest Hills Jewish Center, a conservative synagogue in Queens, wrote an intriguing blog post on his weekly column on the The Jewish Week website. He provides a good perspective as to how the gaza conflict is partly affecting Israeli lives. Here is the link, I hope you find to time to read it:

Jan. 07 2009 09:08 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Iraq does not have a border with New York City. But I was in Israel in late 1990 when Scuds were raining down, and we'd have to run to the "safe room" every time the sirens sounded. Picture this. I watched the war on CNN, and as the siren went on outside, I would see and hear it go on on CNN almost simultaneously.

I wonder how Americans would feel if the INdian reservations started firing rockets on nearby suburbs and shopping centers? How many near misses, or actual kills would it take until the army was sent in?

Jan. 07 2009 08:12 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To eva

WWII was a failure because of the high rate of civilian casualties in Germany and Japan from indiscriminate aerial bombardment. If CNN had had cameras on the ground during WWII, we'd have lost the war for sure.

Jan. 07 2009 08:02 PM

Why is it necessarily pro-Palestinian or anti-Israel to criticize self-defeating actions, as James Fallows has done?
It's akin to saying it's anti-American to protest the Iraq invasion.
The reality is that it wasn't well-planned.
To ask others to pretend that it was strategically brilliant in the face of ongoing failure is an unrealistic expectation.

Jan. 07 2009 06:54 PM

Israel isn't the only country that makes mistakes:

James Fallows, from The Atlantic:

"The one relevant thing I do know concerns a repeated source of tragedy in foreign-policy decision making. That is the reluctance to ask, before irrevocable decisions, "And what happens then?" For instance: so we depose Saddam Hussein. What happens then? This question is all the harder to ask when the step in question feels so good. Crushing Saddam. Or, punishing Hamas.

"I can imagine the Gaza ground war "working" from Israel's perspective in the short term. The obvious question is, What happens then? I find it very difficult to imagine a sequence of events that leaves Israel -- or anyone -- better off one year from now, or ten.

"If I thought the people making Israel's choices were stupid, I could tell myself that they hadn't properly weighed the consequences. But I don't think they're stupid. Instead I think that, like the people who rushed the U.S. into war in Iraq, they are reckless and unwise and will therefore hurt their country. Along with hurting a lot of others."

Jan. 07 2009 06:34 PM
seth from Long Island

Suha Arafat was spreading lies about the Israeli govt claiming they were responsible for increased cancer rates among Palestinians.

It's time for Palestinians of good will to send a clear and unmistakable sign to the Israeli govt that they reject the terror tactics of Hamas and Hezbollah.

Jan. 07 2009 06:21 PM
bob from brooklyn

President elect Obama doesn't represent change when it comes to the Arab and Israeli conflict. He will continue the same song as Israel being the victim, and completely disregard the plight of Arabs whether they are in the Gaza Strip, West Bank or Lebanon.
Hillary Clinton will be as ineffective regarding this problem as Sectretary of State, because she will remember the fire storm that was created when she only hugged the wife of.....Yassar Arafat.

Jan. 07 2009 06:07 PM
seth from Long Island

Why don't air raid sirens exist in territory ruled by Hamas? Why don't bomb shelters exist in teritory ruled by Hamas?

Peace in the Middle East will be reached when Hamas and Hezbollah feel more compassion for Palestinians than hatred for Israelis.

Jan. 07 2009 05:40 PM
seth from Long Island

I agree 100% with Peter in #52
My apology and let bygones be bygones to him was deleted.

Brian's moderators have completely lost their perspective and are doing a total disservice to free speech.

Jan. 07 2009 05:29 PM
Peter from Sunset Park

correction for 52:

I meant to write that many, not all, of the thoughtful posts have been removed.

Jan. 07 2009 05:06 PM
Peter from Sunset Park


Lots of good, thoughtful stuff is gone. I have kept a log of all of the posts as of 4:30 or so. I plan om mailing the logs to the WNYC Board to show them that all of the thoughtful posts that have been removed. For example, I brought up the fact that 20 Germans died in WWII for every one American. This is a seldom spoken fact which really speaks to the issue of proportionality in Gaza. If the US worried about proportionality, we would all be speaking German. Not sure why such an important thought was removed.

I hope the WNYC board takes this pro-Palestinian bias seriously.

And for the record, I run a board/forum and only moderate curse words and racist or bigoted language. People call me out and disagree with me all the time, but I would NEVER censor views as WNYC does.

Why is thought so scary at WNYC?

Jan. 07 2009 05:05 PM

voter at #31:
"Obama did say he wouldn’t want anyone firing rockets at his daughters so he understood the plight of the Israelis, but he made no mention of anyone denying his daughters food, medicine, refuge in a war zone… He made no mention of anyone dropping carpet bombs on his daughters nor examining them at check stops because they are little brown children with a Muslim sounding names. The point is, Obama only see one side of the issue, so he will be no more effective than those who have come before him."

Voter, that seems like a lot to infer from a single statement made by a man who is unable to speak at length on foreign affairs until he is actually (God willing) inaugurated?

Maybe we should try to let Obama make some headway before we pronounce him ineffective at a task that everyone else has been essentially ineffective at.

During this unimaginably volatile time, with everything from bailouts to Gaza to everything else, he's done an excellent job of not overstepping his role as P-E with regard to foreign affairs. That's that part of "orderly transition" that I respect. He has been more forthcoming with regard to domestic issues, which is spot-on.

Jan. 07 2009 04:56 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Dear BL Moderators:
It appears this chat thread has been heavily and haphazardly edited and censored, which is fine, as it is the producers prerogative. However, I would urge you to review your redaction and removal polices as there are many inflammatory and simply untrue post that have been allowed to remain.
Also, if at all possible or practical, could in-post redactions be shown as a character (*** or XXX, for example) or in black out form with removed post simply remaining blank to reflect the removal of an “inappropriate” post?
Seems weird that a segment on dialogue is full of out of context post (due to redactions and removals) that make it seem like commenters are speaking to the ether.

Jan. 07 2009 04:40 PM
seth from Long Island

I'm a lifelong supporter of Israel, but I'm deeply concerned that they have lost the support of the majority of Americans.

There needs to be a ceasefire as soon as possible.

Hamas and Hezbollah are the real enemies of Americans and not the Israelis.

Jan. 07 2009 04:15 PM
Irene from Brooklyn

Tried to call in but time ran out, so here’s my point re “dialogue groups” (rather than a response to posts): I'm Jewish & have loved ones in Israel (inc. areas hit by Gaza rockets). I also have loved ones in Gaza/the West Bank. My issue with this type of group is the sense of false-parity it implies between the Israeli/Jewish-American & Palestinian participants. I have Palestinian & Israeli friends who participated in such groups in Israel, & they all stopped when they recognized that this built-in false-parity only ends up replicating the power-imbalances that exist between Israelis & Palestinians. Instead, collaborative Israeli-Palestinian peace groups like, for instance, Ta'ayush or Combatants for Peace (the latter is a group of former Palestinian militants & Israeli soldiers) recognize these built-in inequities & judiciously attempt to address them structurally, within the workings of the groups (imperfectly, of course). There is no expectation that Palestinians should listen to Israelis on an equal basis, since Israelis have far more power than Palestinians than the inverse. There are many other groups working for peace thru Palestinian-Israeli or Jewish collaborations that are more politically responsible than these types of dialogue groups. I worked with many Palestinian non-violent resistance/peace groups in the Occupied West Bank & Gaza who had ongoing collaborations with Israeli peace activists, as well as non-Israeli Jews such as myself. Having said that, I’m glad people are trying to reach out to each other in whatever way they can, & hope they can evolve these groups into active coalitions. & I salute the Palestinians who have the patience of Job to sit in these groups & engage in these dialogues. I also salute the Israelis/Jews who are trying to move beyond their comfort zone, even if I think they have a lot more work to do on/between themselves before expecting Palestinians to listen…

Jan. 07 2009 03:40 PM

All true points Peter, but frankly I don't know what a final peace deal will look like. All you are pointing out is how the Iranians are achieving their objectives by sacrificing civilians and winning the war of world sympathy. The IDF is playing right into their plans and Israel hasn't found a better way to actually deal with these guerrilla tactic, which are quite morally reprehensible but a reality none the less. You've presented many truths, but where are the solutions? Certainly not in the current course of action.

Fatah is no longer a real player in this game. The continuation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has ensured that.

There needs to be a reality check about who Israel is really playing with. As you've said, it's Iran.

Jan. 07 2009 02:27 PM
Peter from Sunset Park

Oh Zach,

Of course terrorists love their children. But frankly, everyone knows what a final peace deal will look like. Hamas/Iranian rockets will only get in the way. Just look at how Hamas and the Palestinians let themselves be used as Iranian puppets.

Iran is making a move to be a regional superpower. Iran has rockets and terrorist armies (Hamas and Hezbollah) on Israel's border. When Fatah is finaly back in power, in 4 years, 8 years, 12 years, or whatever, Iran is going to launch rockets every time there is even a sniff of a peace deal. Because of Hamas, Palestinian children will have not future for a long time. Hamas has literally sold its soul to the devil out of their hatred of Jews and people who aren't Muslims. That is truly sad.

Jan. 07 2009 02:20 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Final word.
"Dialog" will never solve this intractable problem, nor will force. Only the passing of much time, perhaps centuries, may do so. If the people who label themselves "Palestinians" can remain a cohesive group as the Jews did over the many centuries of exile, then they may have another shot it. Or if Israel dissolves from internal infighting between Jews themselves, which is not unusual if you know ancient Judean history. True nations stand the test of time. Nations just cobbled together and manufactured by "political correctness" eventually fragment.
See Yugoslavia, the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and many, many more. The test of a true nation, is the test of time, whether they stay together through thick or thin, or just when its fair sailing.

Jan. 07 2009 02:05 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

San Remo, the British Mandate, and The UN Partition Plan for Palestine must… MUST be discussed openly and forthrightly. That is the only way to any resolution. I understand you position and the 3000 years of background supporting how you feel; however, my question to you is this: You feel Muslim Arabs and Persians must accept this (San Remo) “mutually” agreed upon resolution. Agreed upon by whom? The UK? France? Italy? Japan? What were the positions of the people of the Ottoman Empire? The position of neighboring states Turkey and Egypt? This land was land lived on by Muslims and Jews with Muslims in the overwhelming majority. This land and it’s people were under European occupation, and partitioned largely by Europe. Regardless of how you feel, even if the partitioning is to be accepted per the 1948 UN mandate, can you not see how the party most affected by this decision had little to no voice in it. Can you not see accepting the resolutions (to Arabs) would be considered allowing another to determine your destiny?
Peter was right, I do not have an answer, but I do know a solution isn’t attainable until this very uncomfortable subject is recognized and discussed openly and honestly by all affected.

Jan. 07 2009 02:04 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Until ISrael's RIGHT TO EXIST is firmly impressed on the minds of 7 billion people, by educating 7 billion people about the League of Nations and its legal decisions of 1920 and 1922, Israel will never win. It will win wars, but never win the hearts of the people. Jews are a people BASED on law, and the Legal Basis of The Jewish National Home was embedded into what became known as "international law" by the League of Nations 20 years before WWII and the Holocaust. Until this fact is known by everybody (and educated Arabs know it better than do most Jews), Israel's right to exist will always be suspect and even challenged.

Jan. 07 2009 01:41 PM

As someone who is neither Palestinian nor Mexican, but who supports the right of Israel to exist and would like to find a workable 2-state solution, can I suggest that the comparisons between Palestinians and Mexicans (or Canadians now?) are unconvincing, at best?

The Is-Pal situation is quite unlike any other current situation, but especially unlike the US-Mexico relationship in the following ways:

1) The IP situation is more VOLATILE because the land is more contentious, claimed as it is by three different major religions, including the berserk wing of Christian fundamentalism.

2) The HISTORY is longer and FAR more complicated than that between the US, Mexico or Canada

3) Mexicans... unique culture, and not egged on by berserk neighboring countries

4) Relatively high intermarriage rates between Mexican nationals and US citizens, unlike IP situation

5)The relative arability of North America vs. Israel provides a sense of SECURITY in and of itself

6)Majority religion in all three countries (US, Canada, Mexico) is the SAME. Major help.

7) Despite the majority religion part, you have more DIVERSE racial populations in all three North American countries mentioned than in the Middle East, and longer histories of a diverse group of immigrants stably residing there. (Yes, Mexico is actually North America.)

8) The issue of BASIC fundamentals, such as water issues, which even in watery California, have been contentious, but are more so in the Middle East, Israel being no exception.

9) Population crowding. North America - not so much.

Perhaps a more convincing argument for pro-Israel supporters is to point out that most Americans are sitting on land that was unrightfully taken - and we have made something good out of it for a DIVERSE group of folk, and this is what Israel will be doing with the 2-state solution.

Jan. 07 2009 01:37 PM
Peter from Sunset Park

Israeli Prime Ministers want to talk about water rights, returning the Golan for peace and dividing Jerusalem. Voter's views are held by many, but offer no way forward.

Jan. 07 2009 01:29 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I want the Arabs to recognize the Council of the LEague of Nations 1920 decision, which was implemented in the League of Nations Mandate over Palestine given in 1922 to Britain to administer for the reestablishment of the Jewish National Home, and gave Jews the right to return and resettle their homeland.

To read it, just "google" San Remo text 1922

Jan. 07 2009 01:17 PM
Carlos from Jackson Heights


Now you are using Distraction Sophisms, but even they are factored in my point (and ONLY POINT) stands:

Invoking so-called "brown" peoples from developing countries such as Mexicans (and Latinos) and pitting them against a "Whiter race" is simply a way to PUSH RACIST buttons of those mostly Anglo American who invariably support Israel's war incursions.

This cheaply and stereotypically uses Latino (600 million people) and American-Latino (40 million) peoples as a sacrificial-lamb for Zionism political gains within the US. This scare tactic is a typical example of what is philosophically known as "The Othering of Others."

Regarding your sophisms, I would gladly talk about Latin American History, Puerto Rico (De)colonization, Nativism, South American Wars of Independence, etc., but these are NOT topics to be discussed here.

Jan. 07 2009 01:10 PM
kader from Rockland NY

I grow up in the West Bank. I moved to NY 19 years ago and I feel very angry and sad about the massacre in Gaza. I voted for Obama and I am outraged for his silence.

What makes me even more angry is most progressive American Jews who don't even notice that something is wrong. If 500 people where killed any other place by a "civilized state"would the world react differently?

Not to mention that our tax payers money paid for these F16. We are part of the problem.

I belong to Palestine Israel peace dialogue group, a very good Jewish friend of mine send me this article about the blindnes of racism and triablizem.( I am attaching a link below)

You can go on till you are green looking for excuses and justification.
People of Gaza deserve a voice.They are people too. The are entitled to defend them selves too.

Orwell, Blinding Tribalism, Selective Terrorism, and Israel/Gaza
by Glenn Greenwald

Jan. 07 2009 01:09 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Is it a so called “right to exist” or a mandate of creation you want Muslim nations to recognize?

Jan. 07 2009 01:01 PM

In her closing remarks your guest Linda Sarsour said she cannot forgive Obama for not having come forward regarding this last confrontation between Hamas and Israel, and at the same time she gives sessions about forgiveness?

See quote from the bio of one of your guests from the Dialogue Project, Linda Sarsour:

[Linda]"...has created dialogue interfaith study sessions around ideas about forgiveness, justice and charity".


Jan. 07 2009 01:00 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Oh me of little faith. “I also think it was an election year and he needed support from certain powerful sections of the electorate.” That may have been so, however, just because this election is over, doesn’t mean he isn’t looking towards the next. I voted for Obama, but I have no hopes for him on this subject. The president elect has shown his bias in this matter. It is unfortunate because he would have needed the faith of both sides to accomplish anything.

Jan. 07 2009 12:57 PM
Peter from Sunset Park

Just posted in the good ole NY Times:

The Israeli military contended that it fired on the school on Tuesday because Hamas fighters had fired mortars from the school compound. United Nations officials have called for an independent inquiry into the episode.

Here is how it works: Israel defends itself, Palestinians cry massacre, the BBC and others report it as fact, and then the UN steps in, studies the event (like the Janine myth) and declares, there was no massacre. Funny how the media falls for Palestinian hysterics every time.

Jan. 07 2009 12:43 PM
ltdunn from New York, NY

#31 Voter from Brooklyn, I think you've made very good points. I also think it was an election year and he needed support from certain powerful sections of the electorate. Will that affect the outcome for Israel and Palestine? Possibly. I want to look at what Obama wrote when...and hope that he can do what's right and fair by both parties. We'll find out soon enough.


Jan. 07 2009 12:30 PM
Peter from Sunset Park

I posted the link to one of these stories yesterday about Hamas firing from the school packed with children from Haaretz - the most liberal Israeli paper. Since then, even the BBC has reported this at the tail end of their Global News (of course, they say it in passing as if it isn't important).

I picked up the NY Times and Post today ( I wanted to see the difference in reporting). The Post has numerous stories on it and the BBC posted this:

Also check out this NY Times audio report from Ethan Bronner that Israel was firing at Hamas terrorists that were next to the school. He actually questions if Israel has the right to fire at terrorists who are hiding among civilians, but he admits that this was the case with the UN school.

Jan. 07 2009 12:21 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

her point was one I wondered myself. Obama did say he wouldn’t want anyone firing rockets at his daughters so he understood the plight of the Israelis, but he made no mention of anyone denying his daughters food, medicine, refuge in a war zone… He made no mention of anyone dropping carpet bombs on his daughters nor examining them at check stops because they are little brown children with a Muslim sounding names. The point is, Obama only see one side of the issue, so he will be no more effective than those who have come before him.

Jan. 07 2009 12:18 PM
Carlos from Jackson Heights


Invoking so-called "brown" peoples from developing countries such as Mexicans (and Latinos) and pitting them against a "Whiter race" is simply a way to PUSH RACIST buttons of those mostly Anglo American who invariably support Israel's war incursions.

This cheaply and stereotypically uses Latino (600 million people) and American-Latino (40 million) peoples as a sacrificial-lamb for Zionism political gains within the US. This scare tactic is a typical example of what is philosophically known as "The Othering of Others."

As a Colombian-American, we also know about war, conflict and dialogue, but can NEVER stop getting appalled at overwhelming destruction, death and bloodshed caused by military supremacy.

Finally to answer your question, if there are legitimate grievances to an issue (which you seem to agree on your premise), they eventually need to be recognized, negotiated and overcome. We have come a long way from Slavery and now have an African American president. We have recognized gender inequality and almost elected a woman president. ISSUES and GRIEVANCES are tackled (sooner or later) and eventually resolved.

Jan. 07 2009 12:17 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

But Jgarbuz (#18), would not anyone in the position of gain (Jews) be favorable and persons in the position of loss (Muslims) oppose?

Jan. 07 2009 12:13 PM
e s

In response to Carlos,

An analogy I've frequently heard is that of Canadians firing rockets at America.

Jan. 07 2009 12:13 PM
markBrown from and

I applaude this project.

There is a basic question, mentioned above.
is the land jewish or arab/palestinian.?

If you go by time on land, palestinians have 500 year claim on land, and israel has 300 year.

The better question is
will BOTH sides accept the UN two state solution?
(first propised in 1948?)

This is the real question.
When BOTH sides agree that there need to be TWO states taht are neighbors we can start to talk

And for shame Linda, for your last biased blast at 50 minutes past the hour.

When BOTH sides can talk, we will be be able to go forward.

I say start with the 1948 UN proposal, that BOTH peoples need a land.

THEN figure out where the borders need to be.

And UNTIL ALL sides accept the premise of a two state solution, ALL dialog saying
that someone is "OCCUPIED" is NOT fair, and NOT unbiased.

For shame on you Linda, your "SLIP" is showing, and you show the low level problem
intrinsic to this problem...

We (jews/israelis) have NO one to have a VALID dialog WITH. So called "GENERATIONS" of
palestinians CANNOT be unbiased.

They still (as shown by Linda's slip up)
feel that Israel STILL occupies the Gaza Strip, even though Israel left there in 2005.

So how do we have a dialog, if during a discussion about having an UNBIASED dialog, ONE of the two sides "SLIPS", and AGAIN blames the other side!

I almost found LINDA's slip up to be funny, if it weren't so painful, and sad, and EDUCATIONAL at the EXACT SAME TIME.

I hope you at least listen to this segment (at 50 minutes into the second hour of the show...)

Jan. 07 2009 12:08 PM
Helen Engelhardt from Christiansted, St. Croix

Amos Oz supported the attack only in its initial phase. I heard a lengthy discussion with him last night on NPR saying that he wants an immediate cease fire, too many civilians are being killed, wounded and terrorized. He was asked about his experience as a child living through the siege of Jerusalem which he wrote about so movingly in Love and Darkness. He said, it helped him to empathize with what the Palestinians are going through now.

Peter -if the facts are that HAmas militants were actually in that UN school firing rockets at the Israeli soldiers and using Palestinian children as shields that is vile. I didn't hear it reported on NPR -from reporters that were as close as they were allowed to be. What is the source of this information?

It is all the more reason why there should be an immediate cease fire so that innocent civilians cease being killed. During a cease fire, whatever diplomatic discussions and decisions can be made. The US blocked a cease fire in LEbanon three years ago -and it led to a month long battle with many lives lost -and without HEzbollah being defeated. The US blocked a Security Council resolution the other day, defying the wishes of most of the world.

Jan. 07 2009 12:08 PM

Demographic trends suggest there will be a defacto one state solution, perhaps in the next century. That will be a majority-arab state (much like how South Africa is today, and was during the time of apartheid a majority African state). It all depends on how long the IDF can hold back the deluge through apartheid tactics and occasional decimation of the Palestinian population. This is not sustainable however and the leaders of Israel know this. Quite selfishly, however, they realize that they will all be dead by the time this comes to pass so they can afford to ignore the reality.

Jan. 07 2009 12:07 PM
ltdunn from New York, NY

At the end of the segment, one of your guests commented on the role of Barack Obama vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine. Her thought was that he was no friend of Palestinians, his comments at the news conference this morning were a 'cop-out.' Two points here: 1) He did say, yesterday, that he was very concerned about the loss of life among Israeli's and Gazans; 2) on p 322 of paperback version of 'The Audacity of Hope' you can read his comments on a trip to Israel. It's not anti-Palestinian.

Jan. 07 2009 12:03 PM
Voter from Brooklyn

Josh, I challenge you and say that Israel does not support a true two state solution. A two state solution would mean both sides will need to respect the sovereignty of the other. Any preemptive action taken by Israel under a two state solution (closing borders, invading airspace, roadblocks, meddling in democratic elections, etc) would be declarations of war. The problem is the conflation of the sovereign state of Israel with the Jewish Identity. A similar case would be Vatican City. A physical attack on Vatican City would be an attack on Catholics worldwide. Defending Israel is more than defending a plot of land, it’s defending the Jewish faith. When Jews say Arabs and/or Muslims don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, what they are really saying is they don’t respect or recognize Jews right to exist. Until this piece of land is separated from the identity of an entire faith, neither side will feel secure enough to discuss land borders.

Jan. 07 2009 11:59 AM
Shalmon Bernstein from Brooklyn NY

If a dialogue consists of presenting the Palestinian view along side a self deprecating Israeli view you were successful. When you brought up "Shoshana from Brooklyn's" question you might have started a dialogue but you let yourself be distracted.

Jan. 07 2009 11:58 AM

Josh, all of those historical comparisons make me wonder whether or nit this is all just about rich white people versus poor brown people.

Jan. 07 2009 11:55 AM

It is easy for Isreal to have recognized peace organizations because they are the aggresor which allows the more level headed citizens, the usual non-violent intelligent people a place of leverage where they can see their conutry as an aggresor and strive for peace. The Palestinians have been under attack since the end of WWII. they are an embattled people whose only recourse is to strike out against their supressors any way they can, as is the natural reaction of a people supressed. Of course there are Palestinians who want peace. I would even say most want peace. But they want the respect and dignity that all humans deserve and until Isreal begins to talk about that, to be fair to the Palastinians, no tru formal groups striving for peace will rise

Jan. 07 2009 11:53 AM
NIvi from New York

Thank you for this important segment.
I am organizing an artist talk,
"Split Ends- the thin line between art and propaganda" A conversation between Palestinian and Israeli artists in A.I.R. gallery ( in NYC on July 2nd.
propaganda I find it more difficult but crucial to conduct during these unfortunate days. If you are interested in taking part in the organizing the panel,
please write me or to the gallery:
thank you, Nivi.

Jan. 07 2009 11:53 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

It seems always to escape people that the Jews ACCEPTED the UN 1947 Partition Plan (UNGAR 181), which split the country in half, but the Arabs refused and made a war that cost the new state 6,000 dead Jews, but ended up with 711,000 Arab refugees, and over 600,000 Jewish refugees from the Arab countries.
Jews have always chosen the path of compromise first, but the Arabs have never done so until they were repeatedly defeated in war, like Egypt.

Jan. 07 2009 11:52 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

Carlos, may I please comment:
First of all, there are differences between, zionists and Israelis looking for peace. Second, the Mexican analogy is quite warranted.

Say, Mexico claims Texas is theirs and we stole it in 1845 (which we did). Say they launched rockets and suicide bombers at a rate of 200 a week. What would you do? Ignore it? Send indiscriminate missles back aimed at civilians, or try to take out the missle launchers? What about American Indians? They want their land back (the land you live on actually) and started shooting at you. What would you do?

Jan. 07 2009 11:51 AM
Andres Varon from Washington Heights

I disagree with the opinion that this project is irrelevant in working a solution to the problem. I am a Colombian, and being able to dialog constructively with moderates of different opinion than mine regarding the Colombian conflict has helped me building constructive arguments when discussing with extreme opinions of both sides that would never get together. I don't think that a solution will come only from this kind of initiatives, but they will necessarily be involved at the end in one way or another.

Jan. 07 2009 11:51 AM

Someone should point out to Shoshana and everyone that:

(a) Palestine receives very poor media coverage relative to internal Israeli coverage,

(b) several high profile Palestinians, such as Hanan Ashrawi, have spoken out forcefully against Hamas' attacks,

(c) crushingly poor, desperately miserable people have far fewer resources or capacity to organize for peace, relative to the comparatively middle income, economically secure Israeli public;

(d) Palestinians by and large also deal with a highly repressive and corrupt public administration - not exactly conducive to the creation of large grass roots movements against Hamas; and

(e) Hamas has tremendous grass roots support for its public and social works in the community.

Jan. 07 2009 11:49 AM
Barbara from Brooklyn

My son and I both laughed at Marsha's non response to Soshana's question about human sheilds. it seems to us that this is MOST pivotal to the...dialogue.

Jan. 07 2009 11:49 AM
Rick from New York

Oh goodness, can we talk about something else? This conflict and topic is over reported.

Jan. 07 2009 11:48 AM

"Where is the Israeli peace now?"

When you are living in Gaza and struggling to provide food, clothing, and shelter to your family and yourself, you likely have little time to lend to anti-war activism.

Jan. 07 2009 11:48 AM
Helen Engelhardt from Christiansted, St. Croix

Thanks to the miracle of cyber communication, I read an email from Marcia alerting me to being on your program this morning about five minutes before they were do to be on. And thanks to the miracle of live streaming, I am listening to the discussion right now, through the tiny speakers of my laptop.

I've been a member of the Dialogue Project since it was formed in March 2001, and have served on the Board for the past five years. The Dialogue Project -and others like it in this country and in Israel-give us a safe space in which to actually listen to each other -our pain, our fears, our understanding of the facts, taking from our histories and our prejudices.

Listening to this discussion on air right now, may be helping people in the NEw York area to begin to talk about this emotional issue in a new way.

Jan. 07 2009 11:47 AM
david from NYC

Brian, the one thing I dont understand about Israel and Palestine is the same thing I dont understand about India and Pakistan arent they all the same people Indian's and Pakistani's, Israelian's ans Palastinian's it seems that your fight is about occupation and power?

Jan. 07 2009 11:46 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

Shoshana is a perfect example of a pro-Israel extremist simply ignoring the facts.

The late Edward Said, Rashid Khalidi, Hanan Ashwari, and thousands of others have loudly, vocally, repeatedly opposed Palestinian attacks and terrorism.

But -- let's ask another question: Israel occupies Palestinian land. Jews demanded the right of resistance in 1948 (up to and including the bombing of the King David Hotel).

DO the Palestinians have a right to resist occupation?

Jan. 07 2009 11:46 AM
Carlos from Jackson Heights

Talking about generalization and far-fetched analogies. Most Zionists in Israel draw the comparison (as a scare tactic) on Mexican (and Latin Americans by proxy) launching rockets in the Southern US to gain sympathy in the US for the humanitarian crisis that Israel is causing in Gaza.

These Zionists don't realize that they make a big mistake in alienating and dragging into this conflict the largest population of the Western hemisphere, and a large chunk of the US population.

These comparison for the sake of political gain are cheap and unnecesary.

Jan. 07 2009 11:45 AM
Josh from Brooklyn

This project is desperately needed. Whether it works or not is to be seen. The problem is trust. Neither side feels secure enough to enter into a significant dialogue. Here's my specific question. In order to have peace, there is one declaration that needs to be made. The arabs need to recognise Israel's right to exist. Israel is committed to a two state solution, but how could the arabs be if they don't agree to Israel's sovereignty? My question is, how will the dialogue address this.

Jan. 07 2009 11:44 AM
Whoindatgarden from Brooklyn

The only solution to this problem is for people to create a mass movement to want a United States of Israel and Palestine, a secular state. Have a truth commission and let people come forward and speak about their crimes and be forgiven. But it will never happen as it serves people on both sides to make money as long there is chaos.

Jan. 07 2009 11:44 AM
Hugh from Crown Heights

Excellent group of guests -- many thanks to Brian Lehrer and WNYC. All three cause me to stop and reflect on my own thinking and ranting.

That said, with regard to making generalizations, today an oft-hailed "expert" is glibly making generalizations on the Op-Ed page of the Times -- Thomas Friedman, who seems to think that a vague, ill-considered, and unsubstantiated generalization counts for insight.

Jan. 07 2009 11:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The questions are so simple: Whose land is it anyway? Is it Jewish land, or Arab land?
Will one side win over the other, or will there be a compromise? Hamas is clear that it never intends to compromise. The Jewish settlers are clear they will never compromise. So that's where it remains stuck.

Jan. 07 2009 11:40 AM
Shoshana from Brooklyn, NY

So the speaker feels Israelis and Pro Israel people should know Palestinians just want to go about their lives, haven't Israelis wanted that these last 8 years?
I hear plenty about Israelis and Jews who dissent from the Israeli government and the incursion, why have I heard nothing from Palestinians who disagree with the use of rockets, human shields, using children, etc?

Jan. 07 2009 11:38 AM
Deirdre Gill from Park Slope

I'd like to get more info on Inkwell. Do they have a website. Sounds like a worthy cause I'd like to volunteer for.

Jan. 07 2009 11:34 AM
Peter from Sunset Park

How would the folks from the Dialogue Project discuss yesterday’s events in Gaza? Let me give two dialogues. The first, the one I believe:

Hamas terrorists entered a UN school packed with children and fired at Israeli troops. Israeli troops fired back at the terrorists in self defense. The terrorists used the children as human shields and ended up killing 30 or more Palestinian children. Secondary explosions were reported which strongly suggest that terrorist weapons stored in a school exploded and killed their own children.

Second, the dialogue or lies I don't believe:

The BBC reported on this incident (both Global News and Newspod and maybe other BBC shows as well) that Israeli soldiers must surely have seen the UN painted school but shot at children anyway. No mention of Hamas terrorists using their own children as shields while they fired at Israeli soldiers.

How would the Dialogue Project discuss these events? Either Hamas did or did not fire from a crowded school. Would the Project be able to agree on this? How would the Project describe the Hamas choice to use a crowded school to launch attacks and store weapons? How would the Project discuss the UN inability to stop terrorists from using its installations as terrorist bases and launching grounds?

Jan. 07 2009 10:33 AM

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