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Open synagogues is just rhetoric

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By Judge Richard Goldstone

(source: BusinessDay, 22 April 2010)

I read with dismay Chief Rabbi Goldstein’s article in yesterday’s Business Day. I was dismayed that the chief rabbi would so brazenly politicise the occasion of my 13-year-old grandson’s bar mitzvah to engage in further personal attacks on me.

I am prepared to respond fully to those attacks, but not in the run-up to my grandson’s bar mitzvah.

He and his family have been working for close to a year preparing for the once-in-a-lifetime rite of passage into the Jewish community. Of all people, the chief rabbi should be aware of the importance of this. Yet, for whatever reasons, Chief Rabbi Goldstein would rather focus on me.

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The unnecessary war

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The unnecessary war
By Roedad Khan

A internally displaced girl, who fled a military offensive in the Swat valley region, holds her pot while awaiting a serving of tea at the UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees) Yar Hussain camp in Swabi district, about 120 km (75 miles) northwest of Pakistan’s capital Islamabad June 7, 2009.
REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Somehow, our history has gone astray. We were such good people when we set out on the road to Pakistan. What happened?

Marx once said: "Neither a nation nor a woman is forgiven for an unguarded hour in which the first adventurer who comes along can sweep them off their feet and possess them". October 7, 1958 was our unguarded hour when democracy was expunged from the politics of Pakistan, perhaps forever, with scarcely a protest. The result is the mess we are in today.

"Liberty once lost", Adams famously told his countrymen, "is perhaps lost forever". We Pakistanis lost our liberties and all our democratic institutions in October 1999. Sadly, Pakistan also lost her honour and became a ‘rentier state’ on General Musharraf’s watch when he capitulated, said yes to all the seven demands presented to him at gunpoint by Secretary Colin Powell and joined the "Coalition of the coerced". Regrettably, this situation remains unchanged even though the country is now under a democratic dispensation!


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Rabbinic letter to goldstone

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‘your report is a clarion call to Israel and the Jewish people to
awaken from the slumber of denial and return to the path ofpeace.’
Dear Judge Goldstone,

As rabbis from diverse traditions and locations, we want to extend our warmest mazel tov to you as an elder in our community upon the bar mitzvah of your grandson. Bar and Bat Mitzvah is a call to conscience, a call to be responsible for the welfare of others, a call to fulfil the covenant of peace and justice articulated in our tradition.

As rabbis, we note the religious implications of the report you authored. We are reminded of Shimon Ben Gamliel’s quote, "The world stands on three things: justice, truth, and peace as it says ‘Execute the judgement of truth, and justice and peace will be established in your gates’ (Zekharya 8:16)." We affirm the truth of the report that bears your name.

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