Naive? At a Jewish spiritual retreat center, I insist on talking about Gaza...

Lynne Lopez-Salzedo

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center (from its website)

This summer, I returned to the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center to relax in the Connecticut woods, canoe on the lake and take part in the workshops that participant/leaders were offering. When I arrived late afternoon, the lake was shimmering in the sunlight, framed by tall trees. Up the hill lay the organic farm; to the right was the kitchen where fresh goat cheese was made and lacto fermented vegetables were put up. I made my way up to my cabin, unpacked my yoga togs, then set out for a walk in the woods. But even the quiet tranquility of the woods could not totally distract me from the terrible images of Gaza’s destruction that filled my thoughts.

I’d come for the ‘Mikvah’ retreat, named after the purifying ritual immersion in water which is an integral part of Jewish practice. The Center described the retreat as a ‘transformative experience’, where we could delve deep into spiritual practice and emerge refreshed and purified. Isabella Freedman, part of the Jewish Renewal movement, also welcomes other spiritual traditions and practices. I was here to teach a yoga meditation workshop. I’d also volunteered to lead some discussions on Israel/Gaza. Awful as Israel’s previous assaults on Gaza had been, there was something qualitatively worse about this latest war. How could anyone remain complacent as the images of murdered children and gutted homes flooded the media? As Israeli journalist Gideon Levy wrote in Haaretz:

Alternative media success panics neocons

Kevin Barrett

A funny thing happened on the way to dystopia.

As Western mainstream media fall into the hands of lying billionaires, Zionists, and intelligence agencies (three categories with significant overlap) – and as neoconservatives script big media’s ignoble lies – a surging internet-based alternative media has arisen to challenge the elite’s false narratives. Thanks to alt-media, fewer and fewer people are buying the simplistic feel-good myths peddled by the mainstream.

While most old people still cling to the corporate media worldview, the young are skewing ever-harder toward alternative perspectives.

In Thursday’s Scottish independence referendum, for example, the London Daily Mirror reported that 71% of 16-17 year olds voted “yes” while those over 65 voted “no” by a 73%-27% margin.

Why does the vast majority of Scottish young people favor independence, while an equally crushing majority of old people opposes it? Short answer: Old people still believe BBC propaganda, while the young do not.

The Global Crisis: Food, Water and Fuel. Three Fundamental Necessities of Life in Jeopardy

Michel Chossudovsky

Famine in Ethiopia, June 2008

First published in 2008 - The sugar coated bullets of the “free market” are killing our children. The act to kill is unpremeditated. It is instrumented in a detached fashion through computer program trading on the New York and Chicago mercantile exchanges, where the global prices of rice, wheat and corn are decided upon.

Poverty is not solely the result of policy failures at a national level. People in different countries are being impoverished simultaneously as a result of a global market mechanism. A small number of financial institutions and global corporations have the ability to determine, through market manipulation, the standard of living of millions of people around the World.

We are at the crossroads of the most serious economic and social crisis in modern history. The process of global impoverishment unleashed at the outset of the 1980s debt crisis has reached a major turning point, leading to the simultaneous outbreak of famines in all major regions of the developing World.

There are many complex features underlying the global economic crisis pertaining to financial markets, the decline in production, the collapse of State institutions and the rapid development of a profit-driven war economy. What is rarely mentioned in this analysis, is how this global economic restructuring forcibly impinges on three fundamental necessities of life: food, water and fuel. The provision of food, water and fuel is a precondition of civilized society: they are necessary factors for the survival of the human species. In recent years, the prices of these three variables has increased dramatically at the global level, with devastating economic and social consequences.

These three essential goods or commodities, which in a real sense determine the reproduction of economic and social life on planet earth, are under the control of a small number of global corporations and financial institutions.

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