Monday, January 19, 2009


Here's a list of a few topics I'm interested in learning more about. If anyone has any firsthand knowledge/expertise send me an e-mail or leave a comment here so I can get back to you. Also let me know if it would be all right to publish your responses to my questions.

1. Western Sahara

2. Darfur

3. DRC

4. Burma/Karen

5. Indonesia/independence movements

6. Tibet

7. Weegars

8. Tuareg

9. Haiti

10. Global Warming

11. Communism

12. Ethiopia

13. Chechnya

14. Judaism

15. Islam

16. Buddhism

17. Hinduism

18. Iran

19. The U.N

20. Sri Lanka

21. Pakistan

22. Afghanistan

23. Somalia

24. Kurdistan

25. Turkey

26. Serbia/Kosovo/the rest of the Balkans

27. Native Americans

28. The EU

29. U.S intervention in Latin America

30. Blackwater/other U.S mercenaries


Bar Kochba said...

If you have any questions about Judaism, shoot me an e-mail. For live 24/7 chat with a rabbi, check out I hope that you at least interview a mainstream Jewish view, rather than Neturai Karta or Jews for Jesus.

nindee said...

Tell me if i'm wrong.
Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism, yes?

Bar Kochba said...

Depends on how you define it. If you define Zionism as the Jewish yearning for the land of Israel, for the Ingathering of the Exiles and for the return of Jewish sovereignty, then yes. Judaism has always had a national redemptive component.

Young Activist said...

Judaism is a peace loving religion, Zionism is a secular nationalist ideology started by atheists. Some might say Judaism has been hijacked by Zionism, but there really is not a strong connection between the two. Not all Zionists are Jews and not all Jews are Zionists and while there might be a weak correlation between being Zionist and following the Jewish religion, but there is no ideological link between the two outlooks.

Bar Kochba said...

YA, it all depends on your definitions. This can be problematic for many Orthodox Jews. I see Zionism as not beginning with Herzl but rather with the Jews sitting down by the rivers of Babylon and mourning for Zion. I understand Zionism to be just another aspect of Judaism, just as keeping kosher or observing the sabbath. Nachmanides and many other rabbinic codifiers consider dwelling in and conquering the land of Israel to be one of the 613 commandments of the Torah. A great many of the commandments can only be performed in Israel, and some only when the majority of Jews dwell there.

There are three main reactions to Zionism in the Orthodox world. (I'll generalize for simplicity's sake). Religious Zionists (characterized by their knitted kippot) and modern Orthodox view the state of Israel as "the first flowering of the Deliverance", or the dawn of the Redemption. This is based on the philosophies of the Rav Kook. They believe that the State of Israel, though it is secular, has intrinsic holiness, as do its institutions.

Another group is that of ultra-orthoodox, chareidi and chassidic. Many of them support growth and settlement in the Land of Israel but oppose the government which they see as secular and unholy. They believe that the Zionists have provided the physical framework for the Redemption ie. Ingathering of the Exiles, return of Jewish sovereignty, but they do not associate with the secular state. An example would be Chabad chassidim who would vehemently deny that they are Zionist, yet the Rebbe supported the IDF, opposed territorial withdrawal, etc. Chabad chassidim have been giving relief packages and spiritual support to the soldier in Gaza.

A minority view is that of Satmar which hold that Jews cannot have a sovereign state until the coming of the Messiah. This is a legitimate opinion, although a minority one which we do not hold by. (Judaism allows plurality of opinion, within the framework of Jewish law). They do not, however, deny the holiness of the Land of Israel, and many Satmar chassidim live in Israel.

Bar Kochba said...

I would refer you to these articles which I wrote about the subject:

Chet said...

On Native Americans a good book that might give you some insight is the biography of Fools Crow. He was the Holy Man for the Sioux Nation.

I have had the privilege of meeting Frank Fools Crow in 1972. At that time I was living on the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. This would be one aspect of Native American history as each tribe has their own believes that differ somewhat.

Some facts that might interest you is the Sioux originally are from North Carolina. They were traced back to NC in the 1500's.

The reason I know some of this is my children are half-sioux and my grandchildren are 3/4 Sioux.

Paul said...

YA, I have butted heads with you a couple of times now on different issues. I am a former soldier who has experience of Iraq and through all of my friends AFG.

As to Blackwater I have personally worked alongside them on a project in Iraq. I could discuss them at length but that is a separate issue.

Young Activist said...

Thanks Chet, I've got a lot I'm reading right now, but I'll check it out when I get a chance.

Send me an email, I am primarily concerned with the political influence of such groups, but I'd be interested in hearing your observations about their behavior on the ground in Iraq as well.