Paradox of the Gatekeepers of War

THE WORLD is embroiled in a conflict over the meaning of war, the right of self-defense, non-aggression and armed struggle, the very institutions of peace, justice and global harmony. Having taken Israel to the ICJ and gained interim measures, none of which involve a direct ceasefire order (the only tangible step, an order for the release of hostages — for Israel to report and abide by the convention), we are all stuck kicking a can of worms down the road.

Our country has failed to extract any compliance with the ICJ order from Hamas. Though Naledi Pandor has been robust in her criticism of Israel, urging the Security Council to enforce the convention, and South Africa may have some influence with the Palestinians, it has delivered nothing solid from any of the organizations whose beleaguered citizens it champions.

As Hamas leaders fly to Cairo to discuss a possible truce, and UN aid agency UNWRA is embroiled in a controversy surrounding the documented participation of its members in the tragic events of 7/10, we all become entangled in a power-play with Israel over the terms of the ‘Genocide Convention’ with world media attention turning to the plight of Jews within South Africa. Since the preliminary hearing, there have been several controversies involving a cricket captain, utterances by the Chief Rabbi, and even a debacle involving the wearing of a Star of David by a City of Johannesburg councilor.

If Pandor’s interpretation of the ICJ interim order means the Palestinian people are now a ‘protected group’, does it follow that their ongoing Jihad against Israel is similarly protected? Is the global Inquisition of Jewish Identity under the rubric of ‘Zionism vs Anti-Zionism’ even lawful, and is South Africa protecting its own citizens from religious-motivated attack?

The woke left have certainly not risen up to defend secular rights and freedoms for all, those who claim like the Proctors of Salem, to be able to tell a ‘Zionist from a Non-Zionist’, or a Witch from a Non-Witch, have not been forthcoming when it comes to protecting the universal rights of those under their immediate purview. To paraphrase, Sartre (after Voltaire), if the Zionist did not exist, the Anti-Zionist would have created him.

Any one of these subjects would ordinarily elicit a response, deserving of an essay or two. I hope they do. But for now, let me address this nugget:

An Almighty Rabble: Rabbi and Counter-Rabbi?

An organisation calling itself ‘South African Jews for a Free Palestine‘ released a statement this morning on Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein’s utterances throwing shade on the ANC, alleging ‘Iran is funding South Africa’s case and SA banks may be acting as conduits for terrorism’.

Jo Bluen posted “Rabbi Goldstein has acted as a gatekeeper of Judaism in South Africa. He has rejected the Jewish identity of people who belong to non-Orthodox Jewish communities and has been known to “encourage the institutionalisation of certain Ultra Orthodox customs within the community”.

The statement goes on to list a number of issues to do with language, colonialism and allegations of ‘lack of pluralism’. Is the Chief Rabbi whistling while Gaza is burning?

Unfortunately it is not simply the Chief Rabbi, but South Africa’s legal system which has issued similar determinations that otherise and exclude Jews outside the fold.

I for my part have been anathematized by a racist 2010 finding that since I am a “Jew in breach of my religion” I cannot claim anti-Semitism on the basis of an outrageous inquisition of identity by a party whose disciples see fit to define ‘who is and who is not a Jew’, who is authentically Jewish and who is not. Both Spinoza and Trotsky received similar treatment.

JFP claim: “Not only has Rabbi Goldstein himself refused to attend events that have platformed non-Orthodox rabbis and leaders but he has also implored other Orthodox Jewish leaders to do the same in the spirit of rejecting pluralistic attitudes. These include events with talks and panels on topics including Progressive Judaism, LGBTQ+ belonging in the context of Torah, and gender egalitarianism – which might be considered among the “liberal values” he claims that Apartheid Israel defends. Rabbi Goldstein’s reluctance to engage with these issues within the context of Orthodox Judaism, and his support for the active suppression of this engagement, only serves to uphold the legacy in many Orthodox Jewish communities of exclusion, queerphobia and misogyny. This environment has led to many queer Orthodox Jews having to leave their families to find belonging, and at least one recent case of death by suicide.

The criticism is certainly justified, but I suggest it would be better directed at our Judge President, the same justice system which upheld a 2009 order banning the Dalai Lama.

Kasrils, sadist or small-town schlimazel?

RONNIE KASRILS, the man who lead 28 people to their deaths, in what is known as the Bisho Massacre appears to be an impassioned if misguided supporter of Islamist terror group Hamas. Not known as a great military tactician, he was later responsible for the botched SANDF invasion of Lesotho, in which several soldiers died unnecessarily, propping up the Basotholand National Party.

In a video clip circulating on X Kasrils can be seen enthusing about October 7, calling the massacre of 1200 including over 260 civilians at an outdoor music festival, “brilliant, spectacular…”

The former South African minister of intelligence says the event “will go down in the annals of guerrilla warfare and resistance”, which is sad considering the resulting retaliation.

Supporting the mutilations, rapes and beheadings documented during the Livestreamed event, Kasrils appears to be offering his services and has gone so far as writing a propaganda piece, published by Amandla comparing the event to the Warsaw uprising.

An early version of the piece carried accusations that Israel was lying about the extent of the atrocities, claiming ‘nobody was beheaded’, but these paragraphs appear to have been subsequently removed.

“Targeting of civilians can never be condoned or regarded in history as heroic…” responded Maggs Naidu, who like Kasrils is a critic of Israel.

“Kasrils is wrong if that is what he said…” tweeted Naidu.

READ: Op-Ed: No, Israel isn’t a country of privileged and powerful white Europeans

South Africa’s ‘Mosques of Terror’

“Are they recruiting for Hamas in South Africa or planning the same attacks in London?” asked Ahmjad Taha on

“These radical scholars of death in South Africa celebrated #Hamas terrorists’ attacks on #Israel. They expressed joy at seeing what Hamas did on the 7th of October – raping women, killing children, and kidnapping elders,” he wrote.

Taha is a Bahrain-based regional director of the British Middle East Center for Studies and Research. He is extremely concerned about the impact of such support on various communities.

“Some of these scholars are giving lectures in mosques in London, Washington, and Paris. Hearing this, I believe that Jewish people in South Africa are in danger.”

The video by Middle East monitor site MEMRI carries several addresses by local Imams and Islamist scholars.

Moulana Abdul Khaliq ( MJC), Shaykh Ebrahim Gabriels (Director al Quds Foundation), Arshad Samodien ( Youth for Al- Aksa), and Shaykh Rieyaad Walls, can be seen delivering addresses at Masjidul Quds in Gatesville, Cape Town, shortly after 7/10, in which Hamas is praised and the actions which resulted in the current war, lauded.

In particular the ‘mujahideen’ of the organization listed as a terror group in Europe are referred to by these men as ‘brave soldiers’ for having committed the atrocities which included rape, mutilation, abduction and beheadings.

Walls who is Imam of the Aljamiah Mosque, Claremont is ‘a third generation South African. His great grandfather came to South Africa during the Boer War as an officer in the British army.’ He goes so far as claiming the group have been ‘planning for this moment for years.’

Rape is not resistance

“Today, I have a question. A pressing question. For some Western feminists. How can you remain silent, when women and girls are raped, tortured, their bodies carried around naked and spat on by bearded men shouting Allah Akbar?” Assito Kanko Belgian MP, European Union MPL

Min. Pandor, don’t call me an Infidel

Dear Minister Pandor,

Statement by DIRCO 30 October refers.

Judaism is a religion. It is also an ethnic and historical community. Our views as Jews are certainly not monolithic. There are many Jews who do not support war, or who find the politics of the Netanyahu administration reprehensible.

There are those who disagree with the status quo, and who nevertheless support the two state solution, those who support Israel and who also support Palestine, those who do not support either Israel or Palestine, and even those who may over-identify with the cause, and who are willing to support whatever occurs on account of their own claims against ‘Imperialism’ on behalf of the oppressed and so on. The saying goes, take two Jews and you will get three opinions.

It does not assist the situation to declare what South Africans must believe, whom we should support, and which organisation is representative of our views in this conflict.

And it certainly does not assist the cause of peace to platform the perspective of those who claim Jews are Infidels or Kufrs when they’re in the Middle East, and Haraam or forbidden when your department disagrees with their views?

Hard as this may seem, one cannot simply remove Zionists from the picture in the Middle East, and as a statement by your department released yesterday suggests.

Turning such persons as Zev Krengel of the Zionist Federation into Heretics, results in sanctions and censorship on the basis of ethno-religious identity, sanctions that are dangerously and scandalously progressing towards that of a modern religious inquisition — a persecution of belief, outlawed by our own secular constitution.

Let me be the first one to tell you that I find your department’s open threats of prosecution against those who support Israel’s ‘right to self-defense’ — a viewpoint held by the majority of leaders of the free world — in the absence of consensus on your own legal position — completely illogical given the circumstances of 7 October, and especially given the rights of free speech guaranteed by our constitution.

If persons such as Krengel have something to say, they should be allowed to say it in public. If their views are disagreeable, they should be debated and their views proven wrong, rather than closed down by government fiat or departmental proclamation.

Such an easy resort to a fatwa and threat of punishment are the hallmarks of totalitarian regimes, as they were the currency of the apartheid state and demonstrate quite amply why South Africans should be concerned about your recent trip to Iran and callous phone calls to various Iranian proxies in the Middle East.

Not only has your spokesperson made the astonishing claim of ‘repeated discredited information related to the beheading of children in Israel’ without bothering to attend the recent press briefing in which the first forensic reports were released to the public,(following Hamas live-streaming of its bloody mayhem), but you further confuse ’cause and effect’ by claiming: “This disinformation is part of the arsenal of dehumanisation tactics used to justify a ‘by any means necessary’ approach.”

Such a statement is immediately contradicted by the reality of Palestinian open support of ‘just war ‘ and ‘by any means necessary’ — policies long since advocated by Hamas, as a recent SABC programme aptly demonstrates.

The events disputed by your department are extremely troubling — the least of which is the lamentable loss of life experienced on both sides and especially the loss of life of innocent children, those who deserve our support.

Instead of compassion your spokesperson chose to weaponise the plight of Palestinian civilians — innocent persons who should not be political footballs nor sacrificial lambs. It is Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh who has openly demanded the blood of these children for his revolutionary cause in pursuit of his “Final Battle”, while holding hostages, and continuing rocket attacks against civilians — action that risks drawing all nations into another World War.

We are a nation at peace, and no South African wishes war to become the order of the day. The cause of the Palestinian people and the rest of the world, is not served by your department authoring cant and issuing propaganda over what has occurred.

Sincerely yours

David Robert Lewis

How did my country turn into a support club for Jihadists, rapists, child killers & gay bashers?

SOUTH AFRICAN politics has long seen itself as the moral equivalent of the civil rights movement, the inheritors of a long history that includes the battle for women’s rights, the suffrage, the Freedom Charter, majority rule, and progress towards economic freedom and other liberties such as LGBT, animal rights, earth rights and the liberation of humanity from all forms of oppression.

It thus sickened me to witness a deafening silence when it came to the terror attacks on Israeli civilians, in particular the deaths of 260+ attendees at an outdoor peace festival, this while our rulers rose to express solidarity with Palestine.

Instead of unequivocally condemning these atrocities, which included deaths of Arabs and Jews within Israel, our President simply bemoaned the ‘loss of life on both sides’, whilst appearing to deliver an endorsement of ‘just war’ — thus ‘similar acts’ of barbarism had occurred during our own liberation struggle, and were ‘to be expected’.

For many commentators, Israelis deserved what had occurred on the Jewish Holiday of Simchat Torah, 50 years to the day after the 1973 Yom Kippur War — 75 years of alleged ‘occupation’ of disputed territory, in a region with competing historical claims, meant ‘they had it coming.’

For Naomi Klein, celebrating the killings merely fuels militant Zionism.

Farid Esack, a theologian, alongside whom I had once campaigned to end apartheid and especially ‘environmental racism’, reiterated, these central anti-Zionist talking points — all equivocations on the tragedy — chicanery which has routinely flowed from Luthuli House, even directly in the runup to the massacre.

During a special SABC Sunday debate on humanitarian aid, Esack stated somewhat disingenuously “Hamas won more than 50% of the Palestinian people’s vote” … “let us not reduce the history of our liberation struggle to two three years of CODESA, we had an armed struggle, international solidarity throughout the world, Mandela didn’t go to jail for organising Sunday School picnics. Mandela went to jail because he was a terrorist.”

The audience appears oblivious to actual historical facts: “It was ANC policy – ever since the formation of MK in 1961 – to avoid unnecessary loss of life. The ANC … never permitted random attacks on civilian targets.” Of course these rules of engagement, codes of conduct for armed struggle were often breached, but were never officially condoned.

Perpetrators of the St James Church massacre were not granted amnesty by South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Young Muslim members of the “Its Topical” audience expressed their open support for Jihad, with concepts such as ‘by any means necessary’ which in the context of Hamas, come across as supporting characters from a Hollywood horror movie — Freddie Krueger or Chuckie, are all misunderstood, politically-motivated child killers, deserving of our sympathy?

The Simchat Torah attack with it’s absolute depravity that included rape, mutilation and beheadings of Arabs and Jews, has more in common with Barend Strydom, ‘The Wit Wolf’, who rampaged through the streets of Pretoria in 1988, shooting anyone he hated.

Read the Savage Nihilism of Free Palestine.

A disgusting debate on baby beheadings ensued, one which has been labeled ‘atrocity denialism’. ‘ Does it make a difference if it was one beheading or forty? asked a Jewish participant.

Palestinian ‘cheerleaders’ wrong to conflate SA liberation struggle and Hamas ideology — Dawn Barkhuizen

This morning our President was walking back similar comments made on Saturday, after Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein called out government support of Hamas as ‘Pure Evil’.

In his Monday briefing Ramaphosa wrote: “We stand firm against violence directed at civilians; against the killing of children, the elderly, the infirm and non-combatants;”

The left have long campaigned against microagressions, and even pronouns, but this week, they hated Jews for being Jews.

UPDATE: The Gauteng ANC Women’s League spokesperson, Gabriella “Gabi” Farber – who is a Jewish South African – has resigned from the African National Congress in protest, terminating her membership and accusing the party of supporting Hamas.

Read Aayan Hirsi Ali: I was raised to curse Israel and pray for the destruction of Jews

Gaza could of been Singapore, Hamas turned it ISIS.

Open letter to IOL’s Lance Witten,

Dear Lance Witten,

Your Editorial refers

A delusion is an unshakeable belief in something that’s untrue. You could call the Israeli government right wing and even extremists, and the status quo highly problematic (and take a non-binary approach) but you cannot call, the rape and murder of over 260 innocent civilians at an outdoor dance party, and the taking of hostages at the Nova Peace Festival, on the Weekend, the result of a ‘just cause’. 

During apartheid, if there was any doubt as to the modus of our struggle, we could point to a Freedom Charter, a secular document outlining human rights as the basis for our resistance. There is no similar document in existence amongst any of the opposing parties — neither Fatah nor Hamas. At no point during our struggle did any cleric nor religious authority provide a blank cheque. The ends do not justify the means here, and one has got to question the credibility of the bald assumptions being made by people who should know better? 

It is not helpful to bemoan Islamic fundamentalism, but in the same breath to continue to pursue equivocation after equivocation, the likes of which are demonstrated by a Hamas spokesperson on Sky News claiming that ‘no civilians have been killed by Hamas’ over the Weekend because the organisation has redefined civilians as ‘enemy combatants’. 

Shani Louk, a German-Israeli tattoo artist, captured at the Nova Sukkot Peace Festival, whose body was paraded naked through the streets of Gaza, is an example of the depravity of a political movement which until 2017 saw its goal as the ”elimination of all Jews wherever they may be found, and subsequently ‘all Zionists’. The attack on an outdoor music festival has demonstrated this group are the equivalent of ISIS in outlook, banning electronic music festivals within Gaza, imprisoning LGBT, and reducing the status of women to mere objects. 

The distinction drawn between Zionist and Non-Zionist has turned out to be both unsustainable and discriminatory. My own choices in this matter have been removed by an ecclesiastical case, reducing my identity to nothing more than stereotype and caricature, my rights expunged by zealous moral policing by South Africa’s own corrupt legal authorities. It is not a trivial matter that judges such as Siraj Desai openly support Hamas.

My country is currently a member of an economic block that recently concluded an agreement with Iran, a state which desires nothing more than the removal of Israel from the map, alongside advocacy of the death penalty for LGBT and ‘moral opposition’ to electronic beat music. In the wake of the 1979 Islamic revolution, the Iranian government ‘turned pop music into forbidden fruit, condemning it as indecent’.

I currently do not possess the right to a legal personality, based upon equality, privacy and freedom of religion, which in my case entails freedom from the religious views of others, this within the borders of South Africa, my home. I therefore challenge you to openly debate your perverse ‘just war’ thesis and especially the so-called apartheid analogy

Islamic Fatwa Council issues Fatwa against Hamas

THE Islamic Fatwa Council (IFC) has ruled on the conduct of Hamas (Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-ʾIslāmiyyah), charging the Islamist entity with violating the laws of the Holy Quran. The Fatwa was published on the IFC website on 9 March 2023 and is signed by Grand Ayatollah Shaikh Fadhil al-Budairi.

According to the document, the IFC “deems the recently publicized audio and video material containing testimonies of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip to be both alarming and concerning. It is the responsibility of the Islamic Seminaries to take a clear and firm stance in light of the inhumane actions of Hamas.”

The IFC says it has “reviewed extensive documentation of Hamas behavior towards Palestinians in Gaza, including their recently publicized testimonies. Our findings — which are also displayed in our jurisprudential reasoning — result in our ruling that:

  1. A) Hamas bears responsibility for its own reign of corruption and terror against Palestinian civilians within Gaza;
  2. B) It is prohibited to pray for, join, support, finance, or fight on behalf of Hamas – an entity that
    adheres to the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

The IFC says it “joins The UAE Fatwa Council and the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia in declaring the Muslim Brotherhood movement and all of its branches as terrorist organizations that defame Islam and operate in opposition to mainstream Islamic unity, theology and jurisprudence.

Gwede’s folly is Hamas partisanship

Mr Gwede ‘Lenin’ Mantashe

IF THERE was a big difference in strategy between the ANC under Mandela, and Hamas under Mashaal, then it certainly showed at Gwede Mantashe’s press conference.

Mandela understood that there was no possibility of winning a conventional war, and that the armed struggle itself, was doomed. Instead of fighting for a one-party Marxist state, (or a unity government under a sovereign monarch), he dreamt up a democratic “We the People” Constitution and a Bill of Rights in which all South Africans, black and white, Jew and Non-Jew, could live side-by-side.

This contrasts strongly with Khaled Mashaal and the Hamasist fantasy of a Jew-free Jerusalem. A second Mecca, in the hands of an Islamic Republic under the Caliphate.

Like Kemal Ataturk, who abolished the Ottoman Caliphate and built a secular country called Turkey, Mandela abolished the Christian Theocracy which had ruled South Africa under the National Party and introduced a secular constitution, whose 20th anniversary is coming up next year in 2016. The SA Bill of Rights includes Freedom of Religion (and freedom from religious rule). It contains 45 rights and freedoms missing in the Hamas Death Charter advocating the destruction of Israel in a “final battle against the Jews”.

If Hamas had been in charge of the South African struggle, then its leadership too, would have delivered belaboured speeches of reconciliation, but only involving the ANC, PAC and AZAPO, while excluding the Afrikaner Nation. Leaving out the other side unfortunately, is all part of an heroic religious battle. “Al Quids (Jerusalem) is our right, our capital, and we will continue until we get rid of occupation,” says Mashaal. Is there any point in raising an uncomfortable rhetorical question — what about everyone else, those religions and sects whose capital the City of Jerusalem also represents, in world history?

Listening to the Hamas spokesperson on SABC, was like listening to a salesman offering a major Reform of Islam on a Communist instalment plan, an end to ‘Segregation on the Temple Mount’, coupled with an end to Israeli occupation of Al Aqsa, and all in keeping with the vaguely Marxist language of Hamas, along with its Politburo.

So in order to capture the jewel of Dar al-Islam from the Zionists, Mashaal is willing to forego general customs and traditions in a reform of Islam in the image of Hamas? All this perhaps, in order to negotiate favour with the country that is perceived to offer the gateway to Paradise — South Africa and its readily available freedom struggle, providing moral immunity from such democratic questions, as how many rights does it take to make a real constitution? Forgetting that Mandela himself, was a secularist and bipartisan, who supported a two-state solution?

“Support for Yasser Arafat and his struggle does not mean that the ANC has ever doubted the right of Israel to exist as a state, legally. We have stood quite openly and firmly for the right of that state to exist within secure borders.” Nelson Mandela. If Mandela  were alive today, his views would be quite similar in regard to Hamas, and especially the problem in the Middle East surrounding religious conflict.

“Islam, doesn’t need a Reformation, it needs an Enlightenment”, says Maryam Namazie writing in the Guardian. A critic of religious zealotry, Namazie also perceives what is immediately apparent, both in the rhetoric of Hamas and the radicalism of ISIS.

She says, “Islamism must be challenged by an enlightenment, not a reformation. (Some would argue that Isis is Islam’s reformation),” but for this to happen, “the right to criticise religions and the religious right (including the Christian right, Buddhist right, Hindu right and Jewish right) is crucial, as is international solidarity and an unequivocal defence of migrant rights, secularism, equality and citizenship.”

Thus, while one may be moved into solidarity with the oppressed, it makes no sense if we do so whilst resurrecting the political ghosts of 1976, only to fail even further in our duties, in forgetting that National Reconciliation only came about in South Africa via a negotiated settlement — ballots not bullets — certainly not a winner-takes-all victory of war and bloody mayhem.

Thus one may also add, it is crucial here, that we recognise the right to criticise, debate, and engage, what is rapidly becoming yet another conservative backwater in South African politics, the Marxists (and Marxism) of the Gwede Mantashe’s of this world. The empty Hamas rhetoric of those who brought us Marikana, Andries Tatane, and so many countless betrayals of Mandela’s democratic dream. These are surely empty political promises, made by today’s ruling party elite in the name of ideology and human-made religion.

[Note: A version of this piece has been published as a letter in The Star, morning and late edition, as well as the Diamond Fields Advertiser]

Why I am not joining the March for Gaza

WHEN I joined the struggle against the apartheid regime there was never any doubt in my mind that the armed struggle was a just struggle against an oppressive state. Not only was there a Freedom Charter guaranteeing human rights for all, but our demands and that of the demands of our leaders such as Nelson Mandela were rock solid and beyond reproach.

One of the reasons I became an anarchist and non-zionist in the 1980s was the aggressive Palestinian Solidarity campaign in which the two struggles were ostensibly linked. Although Jews had made an enormous contribution to the anti-apartheid movement in particular the Treason Trial, the situation back then presented itself with many predicaments.

Nelson Mandela himself recounts his conversation with the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who had complained about the presence of Jews in the ANC, to which Mandela replied, ‘yes, we have Jews, … we work with Jews in our organisation.’

tonyThe absence of Jews in the Hamas organisation is telling. In South Africa, we were not simply silent partners in the liberation of our country, but active participants and in some instances, heroes. Hamas’ lame explanation that it has Jewish supporters, who like me, support rights for Palestinians, does not ring true given their absurd lack of commitment to civil rights in their own domain, for their own people in Gaza.

When people call for the death of something, such political rhetoric may be excused in the heat of the moment, a battle cry of the oppressed against the oppressor, it is quite another issue to have a vendetta in a written document, a credo enshrining death and destruction.

Hamas, far from being a noble liberation movement like the ANC, seeking the end of oppression, the end of the colonial occupation as they see it, have made it abundantly clear that their objective is the destruction of the Jews in a final battle, alongside the creation of an Islamic state on the rubble of Israel.

The movement’s ultimate goal is a theocracy under the Caliphate, in which Jews are expected to either die or conform to an Islamic version of Judaism, as Dhimmi or People of the Book.

Now while a piece entitled: ‘7 Zionist Myths’ based on work published by David Duke, an American White nationalist, writer, right-wing politician, and a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is being reposted and circulating on the Internet, (see my analysis of a similar piece by Illan Pappe and others) I am moved to write the following:

The struggle for a Jew-free Palestine must be condemned as too the struggle for a Palestinian-free Israel. The tactics of genocide and targeting of civilians by either side can never be condoned. The war being fought by adults against children in the Middle East must end.

I am an anarchist, I am also most certainly a secularist. When it comes down to being held hostage by an Islamic State vs being held hostage by a Secular State, I choose Secularism. In a battle of ideologies, I reserve my right to reject authoritarianism and fascism on either side.

As the humanitarian disaster of 40 000 members of the minority Yazidi sect who have taken refuge from ISIS on Mount Sinjar, (identified in local legend as the final resting place of Noah’s ark), plays itself out — the group face slaughter if they go down and dehydration if they stay, —  and Gazans begin to pick up their lives after the retreat of the IDF amidst the rubble of a 20 day war, and a lengthy siege surpassing the Cuban missile crisis, one can only hope and dare one say, pray for peace in the Middle East.