February 5, 2017

It has often been said the the United States was founded on immigration. And that is true. Its also true that each wave of immigrants has been blamed for all sorts of social problems. But is it true that each is eventually assimilated into being American? No. Certain communities have never really been granted the status of “Americans.” Oh, they may be citizens, vote, and have lived here for generations. Yet in a significant part of the public mind they remain resident aliens, foreigners... Read more

February 3, 2017

Let’s keep this fast: You don’t have to be an Arian Nation airhead wrapped in a confederate flag to be a white supremacist. You don’t need to hate people of color and love being pink. You don’t need to believe in segregation. You don’t need to be bad person. While the overt manifestations of white supremacy are are often violent and segregationist like Greenville Texas in the 50″s, the thing itself is more subtle and is manifest constantly in our... Read more

February 2, 2017

  Atlanta airport, T-Gates. A radio talk show features a debate on President Trump’s executive order banning travelers from several dominantly Muslim countries. A legal expert is trying to patiently explain that the courts will not interpret this as a ban on Muslims. An increasingly irate activist accuses him of supporting a ban on Muslim. He reiterate that he opposed the order, but that those who are going to fight it need to understand its real legal meaning. And the... Read more

January 20, 2017

Anti-Judaism is as old as the United States of America. Indeed, it is really as old as Christianity and Western civilization. In the last two days Jewish community centers across the United States have been evacuated because of a bomb threat. The threat may not have been credible. But the perpetrators did intend to cause harm. And they were sophisticated enough to have used various means of blocking any tracing of their threats. Attacks like this, and it was an attack, are intended to... Read more

January 17, 2017

In a few hours i’ll fly out of Tel Aviv to return to the US. This will be my 20th or 21st year of visiting Israel and the West Bank. In that 20 years I’ve never seen or heard less hope and more fear than I’ve heard on this trip. Not that there haven’t been positive changes. Better roads in Israel make it easier for tour groups. Fewer checkpoints in the West Bank make it easier for everyone who travels... Read more

January 16, 2017

On Facebook I’ve been posting pictures of visits to various sites in Israel and the Palestinian Territory. A friend said: “One of the reasons I have never been truly interested in seeing some of the sites linked to early Christianity is a skepticism that the locations claimed to be “the place” are grounded in verified data. How sure are we of the claims?” The short answer is that in almost every case we have no idea whether it marks the exact... Read more

January 14, 2017

I’ve been in Israel and the Palestinian territories nearly 20 times in the last 20 years, and have spent months here studying, teaching, and trying to listen. I’m there again, writing this in hotel lobbies from Jaffa to Tiberius to Bethlehem. Many things have changed over the last 20 years, but one of the most obvious among my conversation partners is that efforts at inter-religious understanding have gradually re-focused onto what might be called inter-communal understanding and with it dialogue about... Read more

January 6, 2017

Among the many pills my doctor advises me to take each day one is a “multi-vitiman.” There are lots of brands. What they have in common is that in one small pill are all the vitamins and minerals my body needs each day. In theory I could take my multi-vitiman and eat nothing but boiled potatoes and nutritionally I’d be fine. The potato would provide the fuel and the vitamin would do the rest. To get a feel for what... Read more

January 1, 2017

Live Large in the New Year! I usually try to understand fully the different forms of diversity in our society, and to encourage people to understand each other’s differences. In this blog I’m going to explain one reason I do this. More that 30 years ago I found a tumor in my left arm pit. My father had died of cancer when I was young, and for a couple of days all I thought about was what it would be like... Read more

December 28, 2016

I’ve been thinking about why the carefully crafted statements from all sides analyzing the relationship between Israel, the US, and the Palestinian Authority tend to make me angry. I think it has to do with the  objectifying of the other. Rationally speaking President Obama has been a strong supporter of Israel, the recent failure to veto a resolution against Israel’s settlement policy not withstanding. At the same time he hasn’t expressed any warm feeling for Israel and Israelis. His foreign policy decisions have been... Read more

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