The Great Debate

  • Wael Ghonim: Let's design social media that drives real change

    January 18, 2016 16:00

    Wael Ghonim helped touch off the Arab Spring in his home of Egypt ... by setting up a simple Facebook page. As he reveals, once the revolution spilled onto the streets, it turned from hopeful to messy, then ugly and heartbreaking. And social media followed suit. What was once a place for crowdsourcing, engaging and sharing became a polarized battleground. Ghonim asks: What can we do about online behavior now? How can we use the Internet and social media to create civility and reasoned argument?

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  • Israel’s Human Rights Activists Aren’t Traitors

    January 18, 2016 15:57

    By: Michael Sfard, New York Times


    Michael Sfard is an Israeli human rights lawyer who serves as a legal adviser to the Israeli organizations Breaking the Silence, Yesh Din and the Human Rights Defenders Fund


    In March 1968, my father was a member of the Warsaw University students’ committee that helped lead the enormous protests demanding reform from the Communist Polish government. The government responded with a smear campaign to try to delegitimize the protests’ leaders, claiming they were acting in the interest of Western powers, or — exploiting widespread anti-Semitic sentiments — of a Jewish-Zionist plot against the Polish People’s Republic.

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  • Settlers, Palestinians come together to seek EU-model end to conflict

    Jewish settler Eliaz Cohen, left, and PLO member Muhammad Beiruti May 30, 2016 10:17

    BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF May 28, 2016, 10:21 am


    Unlikely initiative, supported by leading figures in settler movement, envisions 2 states, but one homeland — where ‘anyone can live anywhere they want’


    A group of Israelis and Palestinians has teamed up in a movement calling for a European-style confederation between Israel and a future state of Palestine that would allow citizens from both sides of the conflict to live in either country but retain their original nationality.


    The “Two States, One Homeland” movement — the Israeli side of which is mostly comprised of settlers — is the culmination of four years of low-profile meetings and discussions between activists on both sides. It was reported upon by Channel 2 news on Friday night.

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  • European Solidarity In a World of Crises

    January 18, 2016 15:54

    By: Jean-Claude Juncker


    Jean-Claude Juncker is President of the European Commission


    BRUSSELS – The end of the year is always a time for taking stock. At the end of 2015, we could look back on a year when European solidarity – at the risk of sounding overly dramatic – withstood what may have been the greatest trials it has faced since the end of World War II.

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  • A New Century for the Middle East

    January 18, 2016 15:46

    By: Jeffrey D. Sachs


    Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development, Professor of Health Policy and Management, and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, is also Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, and, most recently, The Age of Sustainable Development.


    NEW YORK – The United States, the European Union, and Western-led institutions such as the World Bank repeatedly ask why the Middle East can’t govern itself. The question is asked honestly but without much self-awareness. After all, the single most important impediment to good governance in the region has been its lack of self-governance: The region’s political institutions have been crippled as a result of repeated US and European intervention dating back to World War I, and in some places even earlier.

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  • To defeat ISIL, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved

    January 31, 2016 21:19

    By: Rami G. Khouri



    Rami G. Khouri, a Jordanian-Palestinian national, is a senior public policy fellow at the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut and a senior fellow of the Harvard Kennedy School.


    A top Obama administration staffer admits that the long-running conflict is an obstacle to regional peace


    Last week the National Security Council’s Robert Malley offered an unusually sensible statement on Middle East issues. Malley, President Barack Obama’s senior adviser on countering the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), said that the United States must resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to defeat ISIL and similar Islamist extremists.

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  • The Better Angels of Our Nature …

    February 01, 2016 11:12

    By: Abraham A. van Kempen, Editor



    We’ve learned our lesson. The European people won’t allow Europe to create another quagmire. We can and will help the State of Israel and the State of Palestine to break out of their jam (to put it mildly) and to help build bridges if and only if both voluntarily lay down their arms. Inevitably, a democratically decreed regime change, voted in by the majority of the people on both sides of the Divide is in order. Thereafter, Europe can and will guarantee authentic security and sustainable peace, especially when pressured to do so by the Court of World Public Opinion. We Europeans can propose but cannot impose upon the people of the region to do what’s right. If only all parties could rethink what’s right rather than what’s wrong with the other, they’ll be light years ahead. Abraham Lincoln referred to the idea as seeking “the better angels of our nature.”

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  • Is Springtime On the Horizon?

    February 29, 2016 12:02

    By Abraham A. Kempen, Editor


    Will millions of like-minded and unlike-minded people deploy their pens to achieve what matters most, to upstage each achievement with the next …

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  • Jimmy Carter: President Obama can still advance Israeli/Palestinian peace

    (Photo: Abed Al Hashlamoun, epa) April 20, 2016 09:51


    Jimmy Carter 3:28 p.m. EDT March 17 2016


    Even this late in his presidency, creating a clear outline for moving forward is crucial


    Since the time of President Harry Truman, the United States has assisted Israel, including persistent efforts to forge peace agreements with her neighbors. Our government has also vetoed more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions that were critical of Israel, including many that were supported unanimously by all other Security Council members, and for several decades our support has included massive economic and military aid, amounting to about $8 million per day. This financial commitment is now being renewed, unless Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decides to wait and conclude the deal with the next president.

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  • Homing In On Hamas

    June 27, 2016 14:24


    By Eric Willoughby


    The author has been campaigning on the Palestinian issue since 1967 and is now voluntary Publisher and Editor of the Palestine Media Digest. He has had personal involvement in the region for some 30 years, mainly resident in Amman, and has written and broadcast widely on the Palestinian issue.


    Hamas is often given as the excuse for Israel's worst excesses of barbarity, including the massive bombing operations on Gaza.


    In a 2015 "debate" in the UK's upper parliamentary chamber (House of Lords) the myths were trotted out time and time again, including a recital from the 1988 Charter, which has been superseded a few times since then.


    The simple fact is that Hamas emerged as a RESULT of Israel's intransigence and inhumanity in enforcing its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, after 20 years of trying everything else. The only wonder is that such an organisation didn't start earlier.


    The one and only problem is Israel's invasion of June 1967 and the ongoing occupation and oppression of the Palestinian people.

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