Skip to content

MAS dalam program ‘bellyup dan bailout raksasa’ – Satu Pengamatan.

August 14, 2014

Dzulkefly Ahmad (TMI)

Published: 13 August 2014

Akhirnya apa yang diwar-warkan sedikit waktu dulu tentang MAS akan berlaku. Satu proses pemiliknegaraan atau ‘Renationalisation’ sebelum dilakukan penstrukturan semula dalam satu tindakan penyelamatan atau “Bailout” yang raksasa.

Pemilik utamanya Khazanah Nasional Berhad yang memegang 69% sahamnya, tekad membuat tawaran awam di Bursa Saham bagi membeli selebihnya saham MAS iaitu 31% itu pada harga 27 sen sesaham berjumlah RM1.4 bilion. Harga pasaran kini, dengan nilai aset semasa, dikatakan dalam anggaran 25 sen sesaham.

Dengan itu Khazanah bersedia membawa MAS keluar Bursa dan kembali sebagai entiti yang dimiliknegerakan kembali.

Tawaran ini dianggap baik bagi pelabur jangka pendek yang sempat membeli sahamnya selepas tragedi MH370 pada harga 15 sen. Bagi ‘stakeholders’ atau pelabur ‘jangka panjang’ mereka mengalami kerugian besar pastinya.

Harga saham MAS pernah mencecah RM8 sesaham sebelum penswastaan 20 tahun lalu. Gurauannya, anda perlu 7 saham MAS untuk membayar secawan nescafe tarik.

Setelah diswastakan MAS (nyahsenarai), Khazanah berdepan dengan tuntutan kos operasi yang tinggi untuk terus mengurus operasi harian MAS. Khazanah pastinya perlu menyuntik dana baru untuk meneruskan khidmat MAS sebelum langkah ‘penstrukturan’ dapat dijayakan.

Seperkara yang tidak dapat dielakkan selepas ini adalah tentang kos pinjaman. MAS tidak akan dapat meminjam dengan penarafan Triple -A Khazanah semacam dulu. Akhirnya kos pinjaman ini akan dipindahkan kepada pelanggan pastinya sekaligus mengurangkan daya saing MAS.

Pastinya juga Khazanah memerlukan ‘rakan baru’ bukan saja untuk membayar hutang MAS berjumlah RM10 bilion kepada bank tempatan dan RM2.5 bilion dalam bentuk sukuk kepada Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen (KWAP).

Di samping itu MAS menjalankan tiga kali suntikan dana sama ada daripada ‘stakeholders’ utamanya iaitu Khazanah atau menerbitkan ‘right issue’ sekali gus mengurangkan ‘earning per share’ setiap pemegang saham MAS ini. Sejumlah RM7.25 bilion dijana dalam 7 tahun lalu, dalam pelbagai langkah penjanaan dana ini, terakhir pada Mei tahun lalu (RM3.25 bilion). Sangat parah kedudukan kewangan MAS.

Siapa bakal jadi rakan strategik MAS masih tanda tanya. Tidak mudah mencari rakan yang benar-benar memilikki kekuatan sinergi; keupayaan dana, kepakaran teknikal dan strategi bisnes serta pengalaman dan cakupan pengaruh yang luas dan berkesan. Ini adalah antara faktor kritikal kejayaan bagi program pemulihan MAS yang pernah menggondol pelbagai anugerah dan pingat kecemerlangan pekhidmatan antarabangsa.

Yang pastinya kreditor yang mahu menagih hutang daripada MAS berdepan hakikat mereka akan diminta mengambil “hair-cut” atau diskaun besar yang terpaksa diberikan kreditor kepada MAS. Mereka juga mungkin terpaksa menerima bayaran hutang dalam bentuk pertukaran saham atau ‘debt-equity swap’.

Umum mengetahui kerugian MAS di antara 2011 dan 2013 sebanyak RM5 bilion dan RM443 bilion pada suku pertama 2014 ini dan penganalisis hanya memberikan 6 bulan untuk beroperasi dengan jumlah tunai semasa yang ada. Lebih mudah, mengikut telahan penganalisis, seperti pernah juga saya tuliskan, supaya MAS diizinkan ‘goes belly-up’ atau mudahnya, ‘dibankrapkan’ bagi memulakan satu era baru. Mungkin ia pelik bunyinya, namun langkah tersebut bukanlah aneh dalam dunia korporat.

Sebaliknya adalah lebih mudah dan bersih sebagai satu ‘clean solution’ dan semua ‘kontrak dan komitmen lama’ yang tempang dan berat sebelah akan berakhir. MAS akan bebas daripada menanggung ‘baggages’ atau ‘legasi buruk dan beban lama’.

MAS akan mampu bermula seolah-olah sebagai entiti bisnes baru dan mengorak langkah baru, meneruskan legasi baiknya namun terhindar daripada memikul biawak dalam amalan ‘kronisme dan nepotisme’ yang merosakkan sistem penerbangan negara yang pernah dibanggakan rakyat!

Tragedi MH370 dan terkini MH17 yang berlaku senggang 4 bulan tidak pernah berlaku dalam sejarah avionik moden di dunia. Dampak kewangannya bukan kepalang. Memulih keyakinan dan sentimen pelanggan tentunya memakan tahun.

Sedikit pengamatan penulis, untuk terus survive dan menjadi entiti bisnes yang punya daya saing, MAS perlu mengambil perhitungan dan tindakan menjalankan satu review yang komprehensif dan mendalam bagi menangani aspek polisi, dasar dan strategi perniagaan dan struktur organisasi.

Apa pun sangat penting supaya MAS mesti ‘dibankrapkan’ dahulu sebelum di bawa keluar dari Bursa sebab proses proses ‘regularisasi’nya akan menjadi telus termasuk hal-hal penjual aset, ‘divestures’ dan sebagainya akan menjadi telus. Kalau langkah ‘dinyahkan’ atau ‘delisting’ dahulu maka segala langkah-langkah tidak perlu telus kepada umum.

A. Mengatasi permasalahan pengurusan yang tidak cekap dan berkesan daripada segi ‘Menajamkan Akumen Strategi Bisnes bagi menangani cabaran persaingan sengit perkhidmatan laluan serta kawalan kewangan dan pelaburan-perolehan supaya produktif dan berpulangan tinggi.

B. Menghentikan campur tangan politik yang menyiksa pengurusan. ’Political interference’ yang menganggu kelancaran pengurusan pengambilan, pelantikan dan kenaikan pangkat serta khususnya pemberian kontrak servis dan perbekalan yang ‘berat sebelah’ serta membebankan kewangan dan menguntungkan kroni.

C. Mengimbangi peranan dan tekanan kesatuan sekerja yang ditanggapi terlalu kuat dan tidak membantu pencapaian prestasi dan kecekapan sistem pengurusan. Peranan mereka mesti diolah dan ditala bagi memperkukuhkan MAS dan tidak sebaliknya. – 13 Ogos, 2014.

* Ini adalah pendapat peribadi penulis dan tidak semestinya mewakili pandangan The Malaysian Insider.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/dzulkefly-ahmad/article/mas-dalam-program-bellyup-dan-bailout-raksasa#sthash.qXnonHs9.dpuf

PAS tidak akan bekerjasama dengan Umno Selangor, kata Mat Sabu (….kan dah ku kata, nah TP PAS confirmkan!)..)

August 13, 2014

OLEH Looi Sue-Chern (TMI)

Published: 13 August 2014

PAS tidak akan bekerjasama dengan Umno di Selangor, kata Timbalan Presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu, hari ini. Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider.

PAS tidak akan bekerjasama dengan Umno di Selangor, kata Timbalan Presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu, hari ini. Gambar fail The Malaysian Insider.Timbalan Presiden PAS Mohamad Sabu hari ini berkata parti Islam itu tidak akan bekerjasama dengan Umno Di Selangor.

Mohamad atau lebih dikenali dengan nama Mat Sabu berkata, tidak mungkin PAS bekerjasama dengan parti komponen Barisan Nasional (BN) itu di Selangor dan pada masa sama menjalinkan kerjasama dengan Pakatan Rakyat (PR) di negeri lain.

“PAS akan kekal bersama PR,” katanya, menghentikan cakap-cakap yang menyatakan parti Islam itu akan berganding bahu dengan Umno dalam menangani krisis menteri besar Selangor yang masih berterusan.

Mat Sabu berkata, PR masih memegang majoriti di Selangor untuk kekal menerajui kerajaan negeri.

Semalam, Menteri Besar Selangor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim yang baru saja menjadi Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri (Adun) Bebas memecat semua exco DAP dan PKR dalam pentadbirannya.

Khalid hanya mengekalkan empat exco PAS selepas persengketaan dengan bekas partinya PKR, yang berusaha untuk menyingkirkannya daripada kerusi menteri besar.

Mat Sabu berkata, memecat exco adalah hak Khalid.

Katanya, perebutan kuasa dalam politik adalah perkara biasa.

“PAS bersama PR. Tidak akan ada perpecahan. Khalid Adun Bebas.

“Isu di Selangor bukan perkara yang akan menghentikan dunia,” katanya, menambah menjadi perkara biasa jika rakan kongsi mempunyai pendapat yang berbeza.

Mat Sabu berkata, masih banyak butir terperinci yang beliau belum tahu kerana berada di Pulau Pinang sejak semalam.

Beliau menghadiri perbicaraan kes hasutan berhubung kontroversi Bukit Kepong di Mahkamah Sesyen Butterwort pagi ini.

“Seperti anda, saya juga mengetahui perkembangan isu itu daripada laporan berita,” katanya.

Mat Sabu berkata, Lajnah Politik PAS akan mengadakan mesyuarat malam esok dan satu lagi pada 17 Ogos.

Ketika ditanya apa agenda perbincangan, Mat Sabu berkata pelbagai isu akan dibincangkan.

“MH17, Palestine dan beberapa isu lain,” katanya. – 13 Ogos, 2014

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/pas-tidak-akan-bekerjasama-dengan-umno-selangor-kata-mat-sabu#sthash.tVYIWXcg.dpuf

FIMA RESOLUTION ON THE INVASION OF GAZA 2014

August 12, 2014
FIMA Gaza Relief Updates No: 27
11 Aug 2014
The FIMA annual council meeting was held in Arusha, Tanzania from 7-8 August 2014. The following resolution was passed. As part of operationalising our plan of action, a joint summit was held with all our affiliates & global partners. Pictures of members involved to follow. Some were however held up with another FIMA Adduction Working a Group summit!
From 9-10 Aug FIMA joined IMANA in their annual scientific conference. IMANA & 9 others were the founder members of FIMA on 31 Dec 1981 in Orlando, Floridaphoto(11)

photo(12)Israel launched its campaign of collective punishment of Gazans called “Protective Edge” on 8 July 2014 and caused unprecedented mayhem and destruction. The  unrelenting brutal assault by air, sea and land strikes resulted in over 18,800 deaths and 9,600 severe injuries, the majority of whom were innocent women and children. More than 10,000 civilian homes were destroyed displacing 500,000 people seeking shelter in UN schools and families.

In addition, mosques, schools, hospitals and primary health clinics were either severely damaged or destroyed. Ambulances, used to retrieve the injured and wounded or transport between health facilities were also targeted with 36 destroyed beyond repair. The health services were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of casualties already handicapped by critical lack of essential drugs and other consumables.
The civil infrastructure was also severely damaged impairing essential services and supply of clean water, electricity and sanitation precipitating a humanitarian crisis in this besieged strip.
photo(4)
FIMA and its partners responded immediately to this humanitarian crisis by supplying essential drugs, consumables and equipments as well as food, drinking water and other humanitarian aid.
These consisted of  2 convoys of 23 trucks containing essential supplies worth $700,000. Our partners Doctors  World Wide Turkey transferred $250,000 worth of medical and surgical supplies. 4 ambulances were transported via Irez crossings.  5  WHO health  kits (IEHK)  serving the health needs of 50,000 for 3 months  were airlifted by IMANA and awaiting clearance for entry into Gaza. 2 Medical teams of seasoned surgeons were commissioned in the various hospitals in Gaza and assisting in the care, treatment and rehabilitation of the severely wounded casualties.
FIMA unconditionally condemns these violations of all humanitarian laws and calls for a permanent ceasefire and viable resolution to the conflict in the occupied territories of Palestine. FIMA further pledges to support the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the health services in Gaza with the following interventions:
1.      Coordinating medical missions of specialists assisting the MOH Gaza  with patient care and training
2.      Delivering 20 equipped ambulances for transportation of patients
3.      Supply of essential medicines, medical equipments, surgical consumables and equipments as requested by the MOH Gaza.
4.      Securing the release and transfer of the 5 Interagency Emergency Health Kits (IEHK)
5.      Convening an international conference of service providers to address the long-term rehabilitation of the population on both humanitarian and medical grounds

photo(7)Chairman in yellow Dr Ashraf forensic psychiatrist FIMA/IMA South Africa. To his right Dr Musa paediatrician FIMA/VPM. Dr Intizar ophthalmologist FIMA/IMA Pakistan. Dr Parvaiz plastic surgeon FIMA/IMANA. Dr Aly endocrinologist FIMA/Islamic Hospital Jordan. Dr Muhamad Hassan AMU. Dr Omar Hospital Director IMA Egypt. Prof Iqbal vascular surgeon Pakistan IMA. Prof Jurnalis Indonesian IMA. Dr Ammar IMA Jordan. Others not in pictures to follow!

Military court rejects CD evidence in air force man’s trial over indelible ink…Well Done!

August 11, 2014

BY MUZLIZA MUSTAFA (TMI)

Published: 11 August 2014

Royal Malaysian Air Force officer Major Zaidi Ahmad is being court martialled for making a media statement without the defence ministry's permission, as well as sending two mobile messages which are said to be political in nature. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 11, 2014.

Royal Malaysian Air Force officer Major Zaidi Ahmad is being court martialled for making a media statement without the defence ministry’s permission, as well as sending two mobile messages which are said to be political in nature. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 11, 2014.

The military court hearing the trial of Major Zaidi Ahmad, charged with violating the armed forces’ orders on the use of the indelible ink during the general election, today rejected the prosecution’s application to submit a CD as evidence, saying the authenticity of its contents could be disputed.

The CD purportedly contains a recording of the press conference by Zaidi in front of a surau at the Kepala Batas police headquarters, after the early voting process on May 1, 2013, days before the 13th general election.

Zaidi’s counsel Mohamed Hanipa Maidin told the military court that the CD was only secondary evidence as the original copy had been wiped out, as admitted by an earlier witness, Lt. Col. Muhammad Rosli Yaakob, head of Provost Marshal of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF)

“Thus, this CD cannot be submitted as evidence,” Hanipa told a six-member panel of the court presided by Col Saadon Hasnan.

The other panel members were Lt Col Zainurin Mohd Dom, Major Khuzairi Mohd Arshad, Major Khairul Nizam Taib, Major S. Nadzeer Salehuddin and Major Noor Azman Ahmad.

Zaidi, 45, an RMAF officer, pleaded not guilty to four counts of violating the Malaysian Armed Forces Council’s orders on the use of the indelible ink last year.

The officer, from the air base in Butterworth, also pleaded not guilty to three other charges, namely for making a media statement without the authorisation of the Defence Ministry and sending two SMSes which were political in nature.

Taking the stand today, Rosli said he was the head of an inquiry board set up to investigate Zaidi for giving a media statement on the indelible ink, without his superiors’ consent.

Rosli admitted that the original copy recorded by two Provost Marshall officers using two cell phones were deleted after the content was transferred into a laptop for safety purposes.

The recording in the laptop was also deleted after it was burned into a CD for the same reason.

Hanipa argued that the evidence was now inadmissible as the court would not know if it was the original recording.

“How are we going to know that the copy we have is the original, since the original has been destroyed? And the witness himself has admitted this?” he asked. – August 11, 2014.

- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/military-court-rejects-cd-evidence-in-army-mans-trial-over-indelible-ink#sthash.XacHxWmM.dpuf

Israel has broken my heart: I’m a rabbi in mourning for a Judaism being murdered by Israel

August 5, 2014

I’ve always been proud of Israel, but the brutal Gaza assault requires Jews worldwide to be honest, not nationalist

 

Israel has broken my heart: I’m a rabbi in mourning for a Judaism being murdered by Israel

A Palestinian boy comforts his father, who medics said was wounded by Israeli shelling in Shejaia, at a hospital in Gaza City, July 30, 2014. (Credit: Reuters/Suhaib Salem)

My heart is broken as I witness the suffering of the Palestinian people and the seeming indifference of Israelis. All my life I’ve been a champion of Israel, proud of its many accomplishments in science and technology that have benefited the world, insistent on the continuing need for the Jewish people to have a state that offers protections from anti-Semitism that has reared its head continuously throughout Christian and Islamic societies, willing to send my only child to serve in the Israeli Army (the paratroopers unit-tzanchanim), and enjoying the pleasures of long swaths of time in which I could study in Jerusalem and celebrate Shabbat in a city that weekly closed down the hustle and bustle of the capitalist marketplace for a full 25 hours.

And though as editor of Tikkun I printed articles challenging the official story of how Israel came to be, showing its role in forcibly ejecting tens of thousands of Palestinians in 1948 and allowing Jewish terrorist groups under the leadership of (future Israeli Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir) to create justified fears that led hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians to flee for their lives, I always told myself that the dominant humanity of the Jewish people and the compassionate strain within Torah would reassert itself once Israel felt secure.

That belief began to wane in the past eight years when Israel, faced with a Palestinian Authority that promoted nonviolence and sought reconciliation and peace, ignored the Saudi Arabian-led peace initiative that would have granted Israel the recognition that it had long sought, an end to hostilities, and a recognized place in the Middle East, refused to stop its expansion of settlements in the West Bank and imposed an economically crushing blockade on Gaza. Even Hamas, whose hateful charter called for Israel’s destruction, had decided to accept the reality of Israel’s existence, and while unable to embrace its “right” to exist, nevertheless agreed to reconcile with the Palestinian Authority and in that context live within the terms that the PA would negotiate with Israel.

Yet far from embracing this new possibility for peace, the Israeli government used that as its reason to break off the peace negotiations, and then, in an unbelievably cynical move, let the brutal and disgusting kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens (by a rogue element in Hamas that itself was trying to undermine the reconciliation-with-Israel factions of Hamas by creating new fears in Israel) become the pretext for a wild assault on West Bank civilians, arresting hundreds of Hamas sympathizers, and escalating drone attacks on Hamas operatives inside Gaza. When Hamas responded by starting to send its (guaranteed to be ineffective and hence merely symbolic in light of Israel’s Iron Shield) missiles toward civilian targets in Israel, the Netanyahu government used that as its excuse to launch a brutal assault on Gaza.

But it is the brutality of that assault that finally has broken me into tears and heartbreak. While claiming that it is only interested in uprooting tunnels that could be used to attack Israel, the IDF has engaged in the same criminal behavior that the world condemns in other struggles: the intentional targeting of civilians (the same crime that Hamas has been engaged in over the years, which correctly has earned it the label as a terrorist organization). Using the excuse that Hamas is using civilians as “human shields” and placing its war material in civilian apartments, Israel has managed to kill more than 1,000 civilians and wounded thousands.  The stories that have emerged from eyewitness accounts of hundreds of children being killed by Israel’s indiscriminate destructiveness, the shelling of United Nations schools and public hospitals, and finally the destruction of Gaza’s water and electricity, guaranteeing deaths from typhoid and other diseases as well as widespread hunger among the million and a half Gazans most of whom have had nothing to do with Hamas, highlights to the world an Israel that is rivaling some of the most oppressive and brutal regimes in the contemporary world.

In my book “Embracing Israel/Palestine” I have argued that both Israelis and Palestinians are victims of post-traumatic stress disorder. I have a great deal of compassion for both peoples, particularly for my own Jewish people who have gone through traumas that have inevitably distorted future generations. Those traumas don’t exonerate Israel’s behavior or that of Hamas, but they are relevant for those of us seeking a path to social healing and transformation.

Yet that healing is impossible until those who are victims of PTSD are willing to work on overcoming it.

And this is precisely where the American Jewish community and Jews around the world have taken a turn that is disastrous, by turning the Israeli nation state into “the Jewish state” and making Israel into an idol to be worshiped rather than a political entity like any other political entity, with strengths and deep flaws. Despairing of spiritual salvation after God failed to show up and save us from the Holocaust, increasing numbers of Jews have abandoned the religion of compassion and identification with the most oppressed that was championed by our biblical prophets, and instead come to worship power and to rejoice in Israel’s ability to become the most militarily powerful state in the Middle East. If a Jew today goes into any synagogue in the U.S. or around the world and says, “I don’t believe in God or Torah and I don’t follow the commandments,” most will still welcome you in and urge you to become involved. But say, “I don’t support the State of Israel,” and you are likely to be labeled a “self-hating Jew” or anti-Semite, scorned and dismissed. As Aaron said of the Golden Calf in the Desert, “These are your Gods, O Israel.”

The worship of the state makes it necessary for Jews to turn Judaism into an auxiliary of ultra-nationalist blindness. Every act of the State of Israel against the Palestinian people is seen as sanctioned by God. Each Sabbath Jews in synagogues around the world are offered prayers for the well-being of the State of Israel but not for our Arab cousins.  The very suggestion that we should be praying for the Palestinian people’s welfare is seen as heresy and proof of being “self-hating Jews.”

The worship of power is precisely what Judaism came into being to challenge. We were the slaves, the powerless, and though the Torah talks of God using a strong arm to redeem the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, it simultaneously insists, over and over again, that when Jews go into their promised land in Canaan (not Palestine) they must “love the stranger/the Other,” have one law for the stranger and for the native born, and warns “do not oppress the stranger/the Other.” Remember, Torah reminds us, “that you were strangers/the Other in the land of Egypt” and “you know the heart of the stranger.”  Later sources in Judaism even insist that a person without compassion who claims to be Jewish cannot be considered Jewish. A spirit of generosity is so integral to Torah consciousness that when Jews are told to let the land lie fallow once every seven years (the societal-wide Sabbatical Year), they must allow that which grows spontaneously from past plantings be shared with the Other/the stranger.

The Jews are not unique in this. The basic reality is that most of humanity has always heard a voice inside themselves telling them that the best path to security and safety is to love others and show generosity, and a counter voice that tells us that the only path to security is domination and control over others. This struggle between the voice of fear and the voice of love, the voice of domination/power-over and the voice of compassion, empathy and generosity, have played out throughout history and shape contemporary political debates around the world. Because almost every single one of us hears both voices, we are often torn between them, oscillating in our communal policies and our personal behavior between these two worldviews and ways of engaging others. As the competitive and me-first ethos of the capitalist marketplace has grown increasingly powerful and  increasingly reflected in the culture and worldviews of the contemporary era, more and more people bring the worldview of fear, domination and manipulation of others into personal lives, teaching people that the rationality of the marketplace with its injunction to see other human beings primarily in terms of how they can serve our own needs and as instrumental for our own purposes, rather than as being deserving of care and respect just for who they are and not for what they can deliver for us, this ethos has weakened friendships and created the instability in family life that the right has so effectively manipulated (a theme I develop most fully in reporting in my book “The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country From the Religious Right” on my years as a psychotherapist and principal investigator of an NIMH study of stress and the psychodynamics of daily life in Western societies).

No wonder that Jews and Judaism have had these conflicting streams within our religion as well. In the 2,000 years of relative powerlessness when Jews were the oppressed minorities of the Western and Islamic societies, the validation of images of a powerful God who could fight for the oppressed Jews was a powerful psychological boon to offset the potential internalizing of the demonization that we faced from the majority cultures. But now when Jews enjoy military power in Israel and economic and political power in the U.S. and to some extent in many other Western societies, one would have expected that the theme of love and generosity, always a major voice even in a Jewish people that were being brutalized, would now emerge as the dominant theme of the Judaism of the 21st  century.

No wonder, then, that I’m heartbroken to see the Judaism of love and compassion being dismissed as “unrealistic” by so many of my fellow Jews and fellow rabbis. Wasn’t the central message of Torah that the world was ruled by a force that made possible the transformation from “that which is” to “that which can and should be” and wasn’t our task to teach the world that nothing was fixed, that even the mountains could skip like young rams and the seas could flee from before the triumph of justice in the world? Instead of this hopeful message, too many of the rabbis and rabbinical institutions are preaching a Judaism that hopes more in the Israeli army than in the capacity of human beings (including Palestinians), all created in the image of God and hence capable of transformation, to once again become embodiments of love and generosity.  They scoff at the possibility that we at Tikkun and our Network of Spiritual Progressives have been preaching (not only for the Middle East, but for the U.S. as well) that if we act from a loving and generous place, that the icebergs of anger and hate (some of which our behavior helped to create) can melt away and people’s hearts can once again turn toward love and justice for all. In an America that at this very moment has its president calling for sending tens of thousands of children refugees back to the countries they risked their lives to escape, in an America that refused to provide Medicare for All, in an America that serves the interests of its richest 1 percent while largely ignoring the needs of its large working middle class, these ideas may sound naively utopian. But for Judaism, belief in God was precisely a belief that love and justice could and should prevail, and that our task is to embody that message in our communities and promote that message to the world.

It is this love, compassion, justice and peace-oriented Judaism that the State of Israel is murdering. The worshipers of Israel have fallen into a deep cynicism about the possibility of the world that the prophets called for in which nations shall not lift up the sword against each other and they will no longer learn war, and everyone will live in peace. True, that world is not already here, but the Jewish people’s task was to teach people that this world could be brought into being, and that each step we take is either a step toward that world or a step away from it. The Israel worshipers are running away from the world, making it far less possible, and then call their behavior Judaism and Israel “the Jewish state.”

No wonder, then, that I mourn for the Judaism of love and kindness, peace and generosity that Israel worshipers dismiss as utopian fantasy.  To my fellow Jews, I issue the following invitation: use Tisha B’av (the traditional fast-day mourning the destruction of Jewish life in the past, and starting Monday night Aug. 4 till dark Aug. 5) to mourn for the Judaism of love and generosity that is being murdered by Israel and its worshipers around the world, the same kind of idol-worshipers who, pretending to be Jewish but actually assimilated into the world of power, helped destroy our previous two Jewish commonwealths and our temples of the past. We may have to renew our Judaism by creating a Liberatory, Emancipatory, Transformative Love-Oriented Judaism outside the synagogues and traditional institutions, because inside the existing Jewish community the best we can do is repeat what the Jewish exiles in Babylonia said in Psalm 137, “How can we sing the songs of the Transformative Power YHVH in a strange land?” And let us this year turn Yom Kippur into a time of repentance for the sins of our people who have given Israel a blank check and full permission to be brutal in the name of Judaism and the Jewish people (even as we celebrate those Jews with the courage to publicly critique Israel in a loving but stern way).

For our non-Jewish allies, the following plea: Do not let the organized Jewish community intimidate you with charges that any criticism of Israel’s brutality toward the Palestinian people proves that you are anti-Semites. Stop allowing your very justified guilt at the history of oppression your ancestors enacted on Jews to be the reason you fail to speak out vigorously against the current immoral policies of the State of Israel. The way to become real friends of the Jewish people is to side with those Jews who are trying to get Israel back on track toward its highest values, knowing full well that there is no future for a Jewish state surrounded by a billion Muslims except through friendship and cooperation. The temporary alliance of brutal dictatorships in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and various Arab emirates that give Israel support against Hamas will ultimately collapse, but the memory of humiliation at the hands of the State of Israel will not, and Israel’s current policies will endanger Jews both in the Middle East and around the world for many decades after the people of Israel have regained their senses. Real friends don’t let their friends pursue a self-destructive path, so it’s time for you too to speak up and to support those of us in the Jewish world who are champions of peace and justice, and who will not be silent in the face of the destruction of Judaism.

And that gets to my last point. Younger Jews, like many of their non-Jewish peers, are becoming increasingly alienated from Israel and from the Judaism that too many Jews claim to be the foundation of this supposedly Jewish state. They see Israel as what Judaism is in practice, not knowing how very opposite its policies are to the traditional worldviews most Jews have embraced through the years. It is these coming generations of young people whose parents claimed to be Jewish but celebrated the power of the current State of Israel and never bothered to critique it when it was acting immorally, as it is today in Gaza, who will leave Judaism in droves, making it all the more the province of the Israel-worshipers with their persistent denial of the God of love and justice and their embrace of a God of vengeance and hate.  I won’t blame them for that choice, but I wish they knew that there is a different strand of Judaism that has been the major strand for much of Jewish history, and that it needs their active engagement in order to reestablish it as the 21st century continuation of the Jewish tradition. That I have to go to non-Jewish sources to seek to have this message printed is a further testimony to how much there is to mourn over the dying body of the Judaism of love, pleading for Jews who privately feel the way I do to come out of their closets and help us rebuild the Jewish world in which the tikkun (healing and transformation) needed becomes the first agenda item.

Above all else, I grieve for all the unnecessary suffering on this planet, including the Israeli victims of terrorism, the Palestinian victims of Israeli terror and repression, the victims of America’s misguided wars from Vietnam through Afghanistan and Iraq and the apparently endless war on terrorism, the victims of so many other struggles around the world, and the less visible but real victims of a global capitalist order in which according to the U.N. some 8,000-10,000 children under the age of 5 die every day from malnutrition or diseases related to malnutrition.  And yet I affirm that there is still the possibility of a different kind of world, if only enough of us would believe in it and then work together to create it.

Rabbi Michael Lerner is editor of Tikkun Magazine, chair of the interfaith and secular-humanist-welcoming Network of Spiritual Progressives, http://www.spiritualprogressives.org and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without Walls in San Francisco and Berkeley, California. He welcomes your responses and invites you to join with him by joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives (membership in which also brings you a subscription to Tikkun Magazine). RabbiLerner.Tikkun@gmail.com.

 

 

 

Can a lone ranger run a government? – Dr Wong Chin Huat

August 1, 2014

OUTSPOKEN: This is almost a question of political theory but we can approach it like a sport question: is team spirit needed for victory?

That really depends on what sport you play.

Boxing vs Football

For football, the epic 7-1 victory of a solid German team over a bunch of Brazilian football stars in the recent World Cup semi-finals is the best case in point. But if you play badminton singles, what team spirit do you really need? You don’t have a team mate to start with.

But even individual sports rely on team, just that we don’t see it. Consider boxing. We only see two boxers fighting in the ring, but behind them there is a substantial support team: trainer, promoter, manager, cutman, second.  http://how-to-box.com/content/building-your-boxing-team

Then, the question can be perhaps more accurately rephrased: can the lead player dominate the team?

For our example of boxing, the answer is clearly yes. People pay to see him fight. To analogously put in political terminology, he enjoys a direct and personal “mandate” from his fans. He can therefore choose the members of his supporting team. He can pick anyone for and sack anyone from the team. The team is his. Period.

This is clearly not the case for football. Football is played between teams, who represent clubs or nations. A football captain does not own a football team. He merely leads it. No matter how much fans may like a football star, their “mandate” is invested collectively in the club or the nation, and only indirectly in the players. No one – not even the captain – can claim a permanent role in the field no matter how much he is well-liked by the fans.

This comes down to the logic of the game. Football is a team game and needs ideally 11 players, not one. No matter how great a football star is, he does not make a team in himself. Hence, he cannot dominate his team at whim. He can only lead them as a team.

Presidentialism vs Parliamentarianism

Now coming back to politics, are there different types of government that are as different as boxing and football? You bet.

Continue reading here….

- See more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Can-a-lone-ranger-run-a-government#sthash.t4SNSDe7.dpuf

Saudi Arabia’s crocodile tears over Gaza #GazaUnderAttack

August 1, 2014

Saudi Arabia needs to decide if it wants to support Palestinians in their resistance to occupation, or support the siege manned by Israel and Egypt until Gaza is demilitarized

It is tough work being the Saudi ambassador to the UK. First, you have to stir yourself into action to deny the undeniable: The Israeli attack on Gaza comes with Saudi backing. That, in itself, is demeaning. But no sooner has your wrath been righteously expressed, than a colleague contradicts you. Worse still, he’s the boss’s brother. What is a prince to do?

In his reply to my column, Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud wrote: “To think that Saudi Arabia, which has committed itself to supporting and protecting the rights of all Palestinians to self-determination and sovereignty would knowingly support the Israeli action is quite frankly a grotesque insult.” He then admits “dealings” between the Kingdom and Israel but claims those “limited to bring about a plan for peace.” Then he says:

“The Palestinian people are our brothers and sisters -whether they are Muslim Arabs or Christian Arabs. Be assured we, the people and Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, will never ever give up on them, we will never do anything to harm them, we will do all we can to help them in their rightful claim to their own homeland and return of lands taken illegally from them.”

Hardly was the ink dry on this official news release, when Prince Turki al-Faisal, Bin Nawaf’s predecessor as UK ambassador, former intelligence chief and the brother of the current foreign minister wrote in al-Sharq al-Awast that Hamas was to blame for firing rockets and for refusing to accept Egypt’s ceasefire plan (which would have disarmed them). This is Israel’s and Egypt’s view too.

So which is it? Does the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia support Palestinians in their resistance to the occupation? Or does it support the siege manned by Israel and Egypt, until Gaza is demilitarized? These are two clear policies — support for the Palestinian resistance to the occupation and ending the siege of Gaza, or keeping the siege in place until all factions in Gaza are disarmed. Either Israel is engaging in genocide (strong words, Mr. Ambassador) or the resisters are terrorists who must be disarmed. Decide what it is you want the Kingdom to say. You can’t say both. You can’t swear allegiance to the Palestinians and give a nod and a wink to their killers.

And are the Kingdom’s dealings with Israel really “limited to bring about a plan for peace”? You are privy to the cables, Mr Ambassador. Tell us what passed between Prince Bandar and the Mossad director Tamir Pardo at that hotel in Aqaba in November last year. The Jordanians leaked it to an Israeli newspaper in Eilat. Were Bandar and Pardo: 1. soaking up the winter sun, 2. talking about the Arab Peace Initiative, or 3. plotting how to bomb Iran?

And why are your new friends the Israelis being so loquacious? Why, to take the latest example, did Dan Gillerman, Israeli ambassador to the UN 2003-08, say at the weekend that “representatives from the Gulf states told us to finish the job in Gaza time and again.” Finish the job? Killing over 1,000 Palestinians, most of them civilian. Is that what you meant when you said “we will never do anything to harm them”?

The carnage in Gaza at least gives the world clear sight of the protagonists. The wonder of it is that all are American allies, three have US bases on their soil and a fourth is a member of Nato. America’s problems in the Middle East are more to do with their sworn allies than their sworn enemies.

On one side, stands Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Jordan. They consider themselves the voice of reason and moderation, but their methods are violent — the military coup in Egypt and the attack on Gaza have all happened in the space of 12 months. On the other, stands Turkey, Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood and its affliate Hamas.

We should, however, talk of governments rather people, because one reason why the government of Saudi Arabia has such an extreme position on Hamas and the Brotherhood in general, is that it knows full well that its own people don’t share their view.

Saudi Arabia’s leading pollster Rakeen found that 95 percent out of a representative sample of 2,000 Saudis supported the continuation of the Palestinian resistance factions. Only three per cent did not. Eighty-two percent supported the firing of rockets into Israel and 14 percent opposed it. The kingdom’s hatred of Islamism stems not from the fact that it presents a rival interpretation of Islam. It is that it presents to a believer, a democratic alternative. That is what really scares the monarchy.

The proof of all those secret Saudi-Israeli meetings is to be seen in the behavior of Egypt. It is impossible to believe that its new president Abdel Fattah al Sisi could act towards Hamas in Gaza independently of his paymasters in Riyadh. He who pays the piper — $5 billion after the coup, $20 billion now — calls the tune.

Sisi sees Hamas entirely through the prism of the Muslim Brotherhood he deposed last year. Hamas is villified in the lickspittle Egyptian press as the enemy of Egypt. A trickle of aid has been allowed through the border crossing at Rafah, and it is sporadically opened to a few thousand wounded Palestinians. The Israeli Army is not alone in blowing up Hamas’ tunnels. The Egyptian army announced recently they had blown up 13 more, a deed which earned them the title of being “a sincere neighbor” of Israel. Sisi is content to let Hamas and Gaza take a hammering, and make no efforts to get a ceasefire. The last initiative was not even negotiated with Hamas.

Mubarak made a similar miscalculation during the 2006 incursion into Lebanon, supporting an operation which he believed would cripple Hezbollah. In the end he was forced to send his son Gamal to Beirut to express Egypt’s support for the Lebanese people. Both the kingdom and Sisi know that dropping the Palestinian card is a risky business.

Saudi Arabia is treading a fine line. According to my sources, Netanyahu’s rejection of Kerry’s peace initiative over the weekend was due in part to the full support of its Arab allies. Saudi Arabia’s active support is keeping this brutal war going.

- David Hearst is editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He was chief foreign leader writer of The Guardian, former Associate Foreign Editor, European Editor, Moscow Bureau Chief, European Correspondent, and Ireland Correspondent. He joined The Guardian, from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.  

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye. 

Photo Credit: A handout picture released by the Palestinian president’s office (PPO) shows Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (L) meeting with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud on July 27, 2014 in Jeddah (AFP)

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/saudi-arabias-crocodile-tears-over-gaza-1866358040#sthash.8AKi6YWs.dpuf

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55,484 other followers