Show 433: “The Chosen People” w/ Todd Gitlin

“The Chosen People” w/ Todd Gitlin

Americans and Israelis have often thought that their nations were chosen, in perpetuity, to do God’s work. Through great adversity and despite serious challenges, Americans and Jews, leaders and followers, have repeatedly faced the world fortified by a sense that their nation has a providential destiny. As Todd Gitlin (w/ Liel Leibovitz), argue in this book, what unites the two allies in a “special friendship” is less common strategic interests than this deep-seated and lasting theological belief that they were chosen by God. The Chosen Peoples shows how deeply ingrained is the idea of a chosen people in both nations’ histories, and yet how complicated that idea really is. And it offers interpretations of chosenness that both nations dearly need in confronting their present-day quandaries.

Todd Gitlin is an American sociologist, political writer, novelist, and cultural commentator. He has written widely on the mass media, politics, intellectual life and the arts, for both popular and scholarly publications.

“My generation of the New Left – a generation that grew as the [Vietnam] war went on – relinquished any title to patriotism without much sense of loss. All that was left to the Left was to unearth righteous traditions and cultivate them in universities. The much-mocked political correctness of the next academic generations was a consolation prize. We lost – we squandered the politics – but won the textbooks.” -TG

Special Repeat: Joel Kovel on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Special re-airing of excerpts of Joel Kovel interview on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Due to the recent events in Israel, we have postponed our interview with Stephanie Koontz until March, and instead bring to you excerpts of an interview we conducted last year with Joel Kovel regarding his controversial book, Overcoming Zionism.  The producers and hosts of Equal Time for Freethought hope for a quick end to the colonialist assaults on Palestine and the Palestinian people in Gaza, and urge the incoming President (Obama) to break with the U.S. government’s current position on Israel so as to at least prevent further genocidal acts by the apartheid state.  Personally, as a person of Jewish descent, I can not more strongly urge all American Jews (religious or secular) to call upon Israel to live up to the cosmopolitan history of the Jewish tradition and demand the occupation and Zionism are both replaced with humanistic change.  Shalom & Salaam.

Show 234: Fund Drive Special With Dr. Joel Kovel

Joel Kovel has spent the better part of his adult life profoundly concerned with the effects of human relationships as they impact the species as a whole, and indeed the planet itself. Like many of us on the Left, Joel has come to his work from a place of deep emotional and intellectual conflict… a conflict we experience via between the way we see the human adventure, and the way certain forces have shaped where we are today. All too often, the clash between what “is” and what we think “ought” to be, winds up in the end to favor the status quo. We are given all sorts of reasons for this by our more conservative friends from political and economic “practical” reasons, to the “lowly” nature of human beings (whether of the Christian or Hobbesian kind).

Alas, many of us live with the notion that ‘the more things change (for better or worse), the more they stay the same… which is just another way of our accepting what “is,” and putting our aspirations, hopes, and desires into that hidden away bottom shelf labeled “Utopian Fantasies.”

But as we have addressed for a long time now on Equal Time for Freethought – and indeed all across WBAI – Utopia is not a fantasy, but a destination-one no one expects to reach, but is driven by our very nature to come closer to. Those who argue for another kind of human nature that somehow justifies the status quo, do so from either a place of ignorance, fear, or – for those of us who are financially or politically well off – narcissistic comfort. For Joel Kovel, this just won’t do, and he has done his part to see that Utopia is removed from the bottom shelf, brushed off, and returned back to all of us.
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Show 204: Jeff Sharlet – “BattleCry”

This Sunday, join co-host Sunsara Taylor for an exciting talk with Jeff Sharlet about BattleCry, the Christian fundamentalist movement that is training an army of youth to conquer the country and the world for their hateful, intolerant god.

In a recent issue of Rolling Stone, Jeff Sharlet, religious scholar and widely published author, took this exposure further in his piece, “Teenage Holy War: Behind-the-scenes with the most militant Christian youth crusade in America”

Excerpt: “Luce ends his rallies with an illustration from the Book of Judges: the story of a man who, after he gives over his concubine to be gang-raped, kills the disgraced woman and cuts her into twelve pieces, then sends one to each of the tribes of Israel as a reminder of what happens to the ungodly. For a finale, Luce or one of his junior pastors dissects a mannequin labeled with the sins of secularism and then – to the cheer ‘Cut up the concubine!’ — sends his assistants into the crowd to distribute the pieces.” (for the full piece, see here )

In March of 2006, Sunsara Taylor reported from inside BattleCry’s stadium, writing the first national exposure of this growing Christian fascist youth movement that has connections all the way up to George Bush himself. Her three part series appeared in TruthDig.com (here) and CounterPunch.org.

Show 163: Michael Neumann – The Case Against Israel

Humanism is a sociopolitical philosophy concerned with promoting, among other things, a behavior of peoples via ethical and moral interactions.  These ethics and morals include compassion, truth, honesty, interconnectedness, and fairness, and a resort to reason and the understanding of cause and effect in society.  Humanists, therefore, tend to look at the philosophical and scientific underpinnings of human behavior – studying both the biological and anthropological nature of our species – toward the attempt of creating a truly egalitarian, planetary culture – a culture, while not diminishing local cultures, strives for a universal humanity where violence, war, racism, and other social injustices become obsolete.

So what is a humanist take on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict?  Is there a way to look at this conflict not from an Arab or Jewish point of view, or even a political or historical point of view?  And if so, what would we learn from such an exploration?

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