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Vision of Hope
file under: vision of hopepeace in the Middle EastDemonstrationsbillionaires for peace 4 Mar 2011 4:24 PM
Doing Justice to the Martyrs Posted by Nissim Dahan

It's one thing to bring about a revolution; it's quite another to bring about revolutionary change.


There are people dying, even as we speak, on the streets of the Middle East.  Mohammed Bouazizi of Tunisia set himself on fire, and in one fell swoop, set the entire region ablaze. But to what end?


Like Martin Luther King, the man on the street has a dream. And his dream is not all that difficult to fathom. He wants the dignity of a decent job, and the freedom to live his life as he wishes. Are these aspirations in the cards for him, or will his dream be left in the dust, in the flurry of competing agendas?


One can only imagine what must be happening now behind closed doors, in the halls of political power; what promises are being made; what deals are being cut. When the dust settles, will the voices of the dead be heard?


Several possibilities come to mind. The old guard may find a way to reassert its grip on power, only in a new guise. Alternatively, the ideological extremists, who believe what they want to believe, could use the ballot box to gain control, only to impose a new regime of oppressive rule. Iran, after all, enjoyed a few months of democratic rule, after the fall of the Shah, only to usher in the Ayatollahs, who had a different idea in mind. One man, one vote, one time. Or so the motto goes. And finally, although there are no guarantees, it may actually be possible, this time around, to institute revolutionary change, the change that gives life to the aspirations of the people, and that does justice to the legacy of the dead.


What can be done to give substance to the hopes of the people? Three things. First, we should recognize the opportunity that exists for meaningful change. Second, we should embrace a vision which allows us to take advantage of that opportunity. And third, we should find a mechanism that allows us to give substance to the vision. In this way, we can finally make real what is now only a dream.


The opportunity that exists for real change in the Middle East comes from the fact that many of the key players are beginning to worry about the same kinds of things, and may actually need one another for a change, to stave off these very common existential threats. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." For example, many Arab leaders worry about two things in particular: the threat from a nuclear Iran, and the threat from the man on the street. These common threats could point to common interests, what I call a mosaic of mutual self-interest, which could in turn be used to create a strategic/economic alliance between the Arab states, Israel, the U.S., and Europe. The alliance will focus primarily on two things: providing security for the region and creating good paying jobs; jobs which grow our economies, jobs which protect the environment, and jobs which weaken the hold of extremist thinking.


What sort of a vision will be required to take advantage of the opportunity that exists for real change? It should be a Vision of Hope for the Middle East, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom. It will be a vision which puts together all the pieces of a possible solution to our most intractable problems-the Economy, the Environment and Extremism-which packages those pieces in the most attractive way possible, and which allows us to sell that package to the man on the street. It will be a vision which inspires a sense of hope, and which delivers on that promise by giving everyone in the region a place at the table, a stake in his or her future. And it will be a vision which is complete, in that it addresses all the needs and aspirations of the people, from every point of view possible.


And what mechanism can best give substance to a Vision of Hope? Certainly, political leaders will be needed, who recognize the needs and aspirations of the people, and who know how to translate those intangibles into hard realities. But in addition, and perhaps even more importantly, business leaders will be needed as well, Billionaires for Peace, who will work behind the scenes to push the peace process forward, and to revitalize the entire region with good paying jobs, moderate candidates and requisite institutions. These visionaries will put in place a new model for the Middle East, a model that inspires a sense of hope, and that delivers on that promise.


More than any other group, it is perhaps the business community which is best positioned, most qualified, and most inclined to turn the Middle East around, and to do justice to the memory of the dead, by giving life to the aspirations of the living.



Comments (35)Add Comment
written by GABE1, March 06, 2011
Again your theme is repeating itself. Long on dreams, short on details and specifics.

The business community is in it for itself and I have great doubts that it will enter into an area that is so full of uncertainties.

We have to allow the "revolts" to play its course and see where it leads. If it leads to more Islamist radicalization than we must abandon it with haste and if they truly want a better life than we, through our governments must support it both financially and morally.

It is still too early to take any actions until the dust settles.

We will know soon enough what this New Middle East looks like or is capable off.
written by GABE1, March 08, 2011
I am always intrigued at the suggestions that other people have and specifically asking others to do what they themselves will not. I hear on other sites people asking others on their peace site to open their E-Mails and invite others to participate. It has not occurred to them that their ideas, politically speaking, is not embraced by the vast majority of peoples around the world,especially in the West , the USA or even Israel.

I am also intrigued at people asking others to open up their wallets and pour money down the toilet so that we can accomplish a peace(whatever that means). The Middle East has been awash with money from the USA, UNWRA, The EU as well as joint venture projects that are non-governmental and yet we have no peace or even a semblance of accountability for that money.

As a matter of interest Nissim, how much have you invested in the Middle East and I mean other than in the stock market-IN OIL?

With the population growth and its jihadist agenda the Middle East currently is a funnel that will siphon vast amounts of money that will accomplish ZERO, ZILCH KLUM, NADA-In short NOTHING.

So far you have not persuaded me or even made a dent in my thinking and as an economist and accountant, I am not persuaded and neither will any millionaire or billionaire.

Yo are engaging in wishful thinking and nothing more.
Sorry to Disagree
written by Nissim Dahan, March 09, 2011
Gabe, I love you because you're one of the few who bothers to leave a comment, but I have to say that at least some of your skepticism is misplaced.

First you say that "We have to allow the "revolts" to play its course and see where it leads."

In my opinion, for what it's worth, you're dead wrong. If we sit on the sidelines, then things will probably go the wrong way, and the region could well become more radicalized, precisely as you fear.

What we need to do instead is to put in place, immediately, a new model for the Middle East, one that will capture hearts and minds, and one that will point to the possibility of peace, prosperity and freedom.

If you're hungry for change, and you look at the table, and all there is is extremism, then that's what you're likely to buy into, because that's all there is. But if you look at the table, and you see the promise of a job, and the hope for the freedom to live your life as you see fit, then now there's a choice, and most people will choose the promise of a better life.

We need to get into the thick of it, and right now, not manyana. We need to get a Vision of Hope our there. We need to empower moderate candidates with a vision that captures hearts and minds, and that beats the extemists at their own game. If the extremists talk about an ideology of violend Jihad, we will talk about an Ideology of Common Sense. If the extremists invest peanuts in charitable handouts, we will invest some serious dollars in jobs. If the extremists sell a vision of hope for martyrdom, or paradise, or vigins, or what have you, we will sell a Vision of Hope for Peace, Prosperity and Freedom. At every turn, we will cut them off at the pass and beat them at their own game. In the final analysis, the ideological extremists, whichever religion they happen to subscribe to, will not be able to capture the public's imagination, once people begin to imagine a better life for themselves.

You are an accountant and an economist. I want you to put a new hat on. You are now a Saudi Prince. Let's analyze your situation. You have Iran on your border threatening to go nuclear, and promising as well to re-allign the Middle East as it sees fit. You have the people on the street clamoring for jobs and freedom. You have the extremists ready, willing and able to put their model in place, and to kick you out of power. You see regimes toppling left and right. You need to protect the free-flow of oil. You need to consolidate support from the U.S. and Europe. You need to stablize the situation on the street. What do you do, Gabe? What do you do?

Here's an idea. You take some of you capital, and invest it to create jobs; jobs which grow your economy, jobs which protect the environment, and jobs which weaken the hold of extremist thinking. You sell your people on a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom. You partner up with Israel, the U.S. and Europe to consolidate your security, and to help you create good paying jobs. You marginalize the extremists in the minds of the people by beating them at their own game.

Who is the realist Gabe, me or you? I submit that my idea is not only a good idea, but is probably the only way to go, the only idea that could possibly work. If you're looking for guarantees, there are none. But give the circumstances on the ground, I see no alternative that makes any sense. Please correct me if I'm wrong.
written by GABE1, March 09, 2011
First, who is the "WE" that you are talking about. There are no Saudi Arabian princes that will sink their money into a funnel that has no chance of a return either now or anytime in the future and that is where you are dead wrong. There are no millionaires or billionaires prepared to do that either. The we consists of only you as I am not part of the "we" as I am not buying these used goods at a premium price.

When in Paris, I was told by one of my colleagues, that politics is on par with prostitution and the body goes to the highest bidder. There is no one that is leading this so called "peoples revolt" and within a short period of time it will be business as usual. Lots of smoke but too few visuals.

You are wrong. The way to go is to bring in birth control as China did. Look what they accomplished. From starvation to prosperity. It is not the system that we must look at but rather at the religious system and the politics of the womb.It will not overwhelm Israel but rather kill the Arabs as it is not sustainable.

You keep missing this completely and all you believe in is that money can solve all the ills. That is a fallacy.
written by GABE1, March 10, 2011
What is your the name of your Organization that has invested in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen and how much. What donation have you made privately to this or any other entity that has donated to these countries, either now or in the past.

I am anxious to know whether you are putting your money where your mouth is or is it simply platitudes as practiced on that MEWAR site.

I have given you self help realistic solutions, but you are ignoring any reply to these and just continues on the same dead end topic.
It's Time To Open Up Our MInds
written by Nissim Dahan, March 10, 2011
You ask me how much I've invested in the Middle East. I really don't know what difference that makes. Suppose I'm a poor man with a good idea. Does my poverty detract in any way from my idea?

In our modern societies we place a lot of confidence in our degrees and our credentials and our position and our wealth. As if those things automatically mean that our ideas are good ones. But what about the guy, off the street, who has none of these? Can his ideas receive any measure of consideration?

It's time to judge new ideas based on their merits, and not necessarily based on who is proposing them. Don't you agree?

Not that it makes any difference, but our family has invested, primarily in Israeli education and infrastructure. We haven't invested in the other countries because the structure for such investments has not as yet been put in place. That's the point. That's what my project is all about: To put a new model in place for the Middle East, whereby investments from around the world, and particularly from the Arab world, can be used to create good paying jobs in the Middle East, and to revitalize the region as a whole.

Gabe, you say that no Saudi prince is willing to make such investments. How do you know this? Aren't you infact judging based on the past? But we're not in the past. We're in the here and now. And the here and now of today is a hell of a lot different than when Mohammed of Tunisia decided to set himself on fire, which in turn helped to set the Middle East ablaze. The Saudis may be much more receptive to this than you think, especially if they become convinced that this is the way to consolidate their hold on power, and stabalize the situation on the street. They will be even more convinced if they see the possibility of a strategic/economic alliance which will keep Iran's ambitions in check, and which will help them create good paying jobs for their people.

Once again, Gabe, I ask you one simple question: Do you see any sensible alternative to what I am proposing?

Your answer is "birth control." Fine, but we cannot control that as yet. So why don't we try to do something we can control? And I'm not saying we have to invest all this money. Most of the capital will be Arab capital, since they have a great deal of investment capital at their disposal.

In terms of the religious fanaticism you speak of, I would say that such extremism is not attributable to only one religion. All religions have their fair share of religious fanatics. The way you neutralize that type of extremism is to put something else on the table which will capture hearts and minds. You do that with an Ideology that makes more sense, and with some serious investment dollars that are used to create good paying jobs.

This is an idea whose time has come. Israel has never made a concerted effort in this regard, nor have the US of European states. I am talking about investments, not handouts. Thus far, we have satisfied ourselves with dumping cash and hoping for the best. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about profitable investments which will create good paying jobs, and which will give the man on the street, and his wife, a place at the table, a stake in their collective future.
written by GABE1, March 10, 2011
In my younger days I negotiated with the Unions when I was with American Standard. Even though I was part of management, I did have a lot of sympathies for the Unions and thought that some of their ideas were reasonable even though I knew that logically they could not be implemented.

The Saudis had a chance to help the economies of their brethren since the 1920's yet they failed to do so. Human nature being what it is they will not do any different now. There is no money to be made in the Muslim world and so they will stay away. In clan societies, members of a clan are paramount.

Just like I sympathized with the Unions ,so I sympathize with your viewpoint and feel sorry for the poor of Egypt. As i told you before, my wife is from Egypt and I visited there and found the people very friendly. But no matter how I may want to, I cannot help any of them or even the poor in Israel. That is a function of government and luckily Israel has a good economy and does OK even with the mini depression that we had.

I do however take umbrage with your suggestion that equates Arab fanaticism with other religious fanaticism. Other religious fanatics are not urging murder, suicides and genocide. That my friend is the most idiotic statement that I have heard so far from you.

I gave you two solutions that are the answer. China is a good example of one and Europe an example of the other.

Money is not the solution and you seem to be flogging that same dead horse. The USA should give know how aid instead of military aid. You know Israel is very active in giving agricultural aid to Africa and South America and could very well help the Arab States in the Middle East if the climate was better and there would be peace. I know you think its a chicken and egg scenario, but peace is not dependent on Israel but rather on the Arab states.

BTW: Israel or the USA cannot change the players in Egyptian elections, no matter what anyone thinks.

written by GABE1, March 10, 2011
Can you imagine the discussion that could be had if I and others were not banned on MEWAR? instead the site is dying with anti semites posting nonsense at will.
written by GABE1, March 12, 2011
You have no interest in Israelis being BUTCHERED either on this site or on MEWAR. Looks like you beaceful friends are celebrating once again because they killed 2 sleeping adults and 3 children. ONE ONLY THREE MONTHS OLD.

You and your friends at MEWAR are simply DISGUSTING.

Now lets see how you wiggle your way out of this massacre yet again.
written by GABE1, March 13, 2011


Fighting Fire With Fire
written by Nissim Dahan, March 13, 2011
Gabe, with your rage at what happened, you are putting words in my mouth that have nothing to do with how I feel, or what I want to accomplish.

You are disgusted by the murder of that poor family. So am I. As for my silence, I was babysitting this weekend and had to attend to the children under my care.

In my heart, I recognize the evil that we are all capable of, and I reject it utterly. The difference between you and me is that I believe that there is a logical way to confront that evil, and you don't.

You will notice that the 5Th aspect of my vision involves the willingness to fight. I believe that we do have to fight against evil extremism, and fight hard, but we have to fight with all our weapons.

A multi-faceted attack requires a multi-faceted response. We are being attacked on several fronts, and therefore, we need to confront that challenge accordingly.

So, for example, if we are confronted ideologicall, we counter ideologically. An economic attack requires an economic response. And so too spiritually, diplomatically and militarily.

Gabe, how do we defeat terror? We've tried the strictly military approach. Has that worked for us?

There are two ways to kill terrorists. One is to shoot them in the head. The other is to kill them in the minds of their people.

Selling a Vision of Hope is about inspiring the man on the street with a Vision of Hope for the future. It is about giving him a place at the table, a stake in his future. It is about putting something new on the table so that he at least has a choice.

In the final analysis, the ideological extremists will not be able to capture the public's imagination, once people begin to imagine a better life for themselves.

So to answer your question, I despise this cowardly act as much as you do, but I have no choice but to take it a step further, and to ask: What will it take to really turn this thing around?

My answer may seem too weak, or too peace oriented to you. But acutally, if it turns out that my idea works, then I would ask you again: Who between us the the realist? And who simply satisfies himself with his anger and his rage?

I use logic, yes. That doesn't mean I don't have emotions. But as between logic and emotion, I choose logic, and common sense. I believe that is how God talks to us. He made it pretty plain and simple, but He allows us to go ahead confusing the issues.
written by GABE1, March 13, 2011

Being disgusted is just not good enough anymore as this has been occurring in Palestine(Israel) since at least 1929 and in Europe for a long time. We must speak up and challenge the terror Rats and their antisemite allies such as you have on MEWAR- Basil and Sussan and Oliver and others. Have you noticed how they manage to kill off any opposition while we just meekly go along with them. That Nissim is my rage because they are the ones who are contributing to that murderous massacre.

What is it about "logic" that scares Jews to assert their rights? Have we lived so long amongst the gentiles that even when we come home after 2000 years we still feel that we must obey our masters elsewhere.

Your idea has never worked and will not work. You have assumed the mantle of your "cousins keeper" and teacher and mentor. You have missed the fact that they do not want you to be either these or even here on earth amongst them and certainly not in the Middle East.

Give me a time when this has not been the fact.

You know that I have a degree in Economics and Accountancy but what I did not tell you that like you I also have a degree in Law and have consulted on commercial law for Builders and Landlords and Developers for the past 25 years. I also have a degree in psychology.

In the 60's we were experimenting with social engineering and some of your current theories were tried in the Human Resources field as well as in the realm of Juvenile behaviour and laws thereof. I can tell you that these experiments failed miserably.

A pedophile cannot be cured neither can a murderer with no conscience. In either case either incarceration for life or a death sentence will stop them. When a dog tastes blood you must put it down and the same applies to terrorists. You do not arrest them, you eliminate them, period.

As for military means, it is a fallacy that Israel has tried the military route. It never happened and if tried without the military's hands being tied the war against terror can be won. Look into this and you will see that I am right.
written by GABE1, March 13, 2011
My first wife was Moroccan from Tangier and during my separation divorce, I was experimenting with other fields of endeavours in Law and Psychology. I found Law and Psychology theoretical and abandoned them and went back to doing accounting. If you are familiar with the Toronto market, one of my clients was the biggest builder of Condos in Toronto having build well over 30,000 suites plus towns and semis as well as detached as part of their portfolio.Since 1984 I specialized in Construction and related fields.

I am currently semi retired.
It's Not About What People "Want"
written by Nissim Dahan, March 13, 2011
Your idea has never worked and will not work. You have assumed the mantle of your "cousins keeper" and teacher and mentor. You have missed the fact that they do not want you to be either these or even here on earth amongst them and certainly not in the Middle East.

Gabe, it's not about what people want or don't want. My model is based on what people need to do to save their own neck.

What I am arguing here, and what Selling a Vision of Hope is all about, is that there is something new on the table, something that hasn't been there before. And because it's new, it is difficult for people to appreciate it, because as you suggest, these ideas have not worked in the past.

What is new is the fact that many of the key players in the Middle East are beginning to worry about the same things. In particular, they worry about a nuclear Iran, and about the man on the street.

They may well prefer to keep on hating Israel's guts. But unfortunately for them, they may actually need Israel for a change. If they ask themselves: Who in the region is best positioned, and most inclined to keep Iran in check, and to help us create good paying jobs, so as to bring calm to the street? The answer may well be Israel.

Before, it was convenient to hate Israel, as a way of deflecting attention from corruption and inadequate leadership. Now, however, it may be necessary to recruit Israel's help in turning the Middle East around.

Maybe I'm being totally naive, as you suggest. But I have come to believe that there is a real opportunity here for Israel. She could choose to help the Arab world in this regard, on condition of a regional peace deal. That would be the price, and I think it is doable.

You don't believe as I do because you have never seen anything of this sort work in the past. But we're not in the past. We're in the here and now. And the white elephant in the room has not been around before. The Arab leaders have no coice but to come to terms with the threat of Iran, and the threat of the man on the street. They will need help to cope with these threats. And as I see it, Israel is one of the few players who can play a positive role in this regard. The other player is the U.S., but Israel's cooperation would make things a lot easier, since they have boots on the ground, so to speak.

In terms of dealing with terrorists, I agree that you have to be tough as hell. But you also have to be smart. What emboldens the terrorists is public support. If you cut that support, the terrorists will begin to lose they power, their prestige, their financing, and their ability to recruit.

Let me give you an example. Several years ago in Iraq, the head of al Qaeda was a guy named al Zarqawi. He was the one who murdered Daniel Pearl. He was monstrous, to say the least. One day, he got the bright idea to bomb some Muslim weddings in Jordan, and he proceeded to do just that. Several months thereafter, his exact location was disclosed to the Americans, and they took him out with a missle.

Why was his location disclosed. My opinion is that he went beyond the pale. He lost the support of the people. They came to feel that he was out of step with they goals and aspirations. And so, they turned against him.

That's what has to be done with extremists. We need to turn the tide of public support away from them. And the only way to do that is to put an alternative on the table that speaks louder than words, and thay points to the possibility of a better life for the man on the street. We have no choice but to compete for hearts and minds. We have a better product to sell. So why not sell it?

I am also semi-retired, but am prepared to work full-time Selling a Vision of Hope.
written by GABE1, March 14, 2011
If all it took was money or know how to bring peace to Israel, I would not hesitate to jump on your bandwagon , in a second. But I don't believe that this is possible, at least not currently-the Arab revolts notwithstanding.

Public support has nothing to do with poverty or social standing of the terrorists as evidenced by the 9/11 perpetrators or even El Azarqawi. All were well to do educated people with lots of support amongst the common man.

Revolutionaries throughout history have come from the upper classes who wanted to help the poor but in the Middle East we have the upper classes wanting to help bring their religious order to bear and maybe even bring back the glory days of their religion while killing and maiming the unbelievers.

written by GABE1, March 15, 2011
My favourite Leftist Israeli (Jewish) expression:


The Economic Argument
written by Nissim Dahan, March 15, 2011
A lot of people ask me, as you did, "How do you explain that the 9/11 terrorists were educated and well off?"

The answer is simple. The terrorist leadership may be well off, but that is not really the point. They need the support of the common man. In the absense of anything else on the table, the common man, who has nothing, is often times more than willing to lend his support, in the hope that something good will come of it. Keep in mind, there is nothing else on the table.

So the fact that the terrorists are well off is not the point. The point is: Who is going to win the heart and mind of the man on the street. If we sell him on a Vision of Hope, and if we deliver on that promise with a decent job, and an ideology that makes more sense, then we will win his heart and mind, and he will be less inclined to follow the path of terror.

It is not brain surgery, but it might just work.

As for money, I am not suggesting that we throw money at the problem. I am saying that we invest to create profits and good paying jobs. There is a difference. In the past, we satisfied ourselves to make payoffs to dictators. That is no longer working. How about investing for the benefit of the common man?

In terms of your comment, "We will have peace even if it kills us," it's a good line, but not inkeeping with my plan. I am not one to rush to the negotiating table, especially when we have nothing to say to one another. Intead, I believe we should start creating facts on the ground which speak louder than words. Sell people on a Vision of Hope, and start to deliver on that promise with jobs. If people see that there is even a hint of a better life for them, then they might just buy in. Gradually, you will condition them for the possibility of peace. In this manner, peace will have a strong foundation, as opposed to a deal that is not worth the paper it is writen on.
written by GABE1, March 16, 2011

What contacts have so far been made with that "common man" whoever he may be and how many "common man" must we reach to accomplish this task. Will the "new" leadership be made up of this "common man" or will they just be recycled failed politicians who did not manage to line their pockets last time.

Once you identify that "common man" and that "common man leadership" please feel free to call me and I will join you at my cost to talk to them and see what they need to make a peaceful, long lasting transition necessary.

UNTIL THAN I prefer to be a REALIST to your DREAM.


Policies and priorities and interests change with time and generations even in Democratic countries. China and Russia were once friends and are now bitter enemies. Israel and Iran and Israel and Turkey were once friends.
Alliances shift with the times and need of self interest.

Man is a predator by nature and what the Left is trying to accomplish goes against this nature. Germany was a thriving Democracy and yet became the worst tyranny known to history. We would do well to learn from history. OH ye Germany is a well respected member of Europe now and democratic and civilized. Can this picture of Europe change, You bet it can.
We're Not As Far Apart As You Think
written by Nissim Dahan, March 16, 2011
Gabe, you make some fair points, but I would argue that what you're saying is in sync with what I'm saying.

In terms of that "common man," do I know him by name? No. But I can tell you this. In the last several weeks, my website hits have increased by over 500%. Yesterday, the website was viewed by 136 countries, including every single Arab country in the Middle East. In addition, for the last two years, I have blogged on Middle East websites, and have received hundreds of comments from all over the Arab world, most of them highly supportive, and engaging.

So no, I can't exactly say who the common man is. But I know he's out there, and he seems interested.

You say that you prefer to be a realist than a dreamer. Well, I would say that sometimes it is necessary to take the reality that sucks, and dream of a way to make it better. I don't consider myself a leftist. In fact, it could be argued that my approach emboldens the fight against terrorism and extremism by giving us a much sharper focus on what it is that we're fighting for. We are not fighting a "War Against Terror." We are fighting a war to realize a Vision of Hope. There's a big difference.

You say that "alliances shift with the times and need of self interest." Exactly. That's why it's important to assess the self interest of the key players, at this particular point in time, and see if there is a way to create a mosaic of mutual self interet, and to grow that into a strategic/economic alliance between the Arab states, Israel, the U.S., and perhaps Europe. You think that's crazy. You think that's Hippie talk. But it's not. It's based on a realistic assessment of the self interest of the key players. Put yourself in the shoes of Arab leaders, and give me a sensible alternative to what I'm saying.

Of course we have to learn from history. The Holocaust still stands as one of the greatest evils perpetrated by the hand of man. And of course, Israel must remain strong militarily, so that something of that sort will never happen again. I would never suggest that Israel do anything that compromises her security. On the contrary. Much of my thinking is how to make Israel even more secure.

Gabe, will Israel be more secure if it were to be surrounded with 22 Irans?

To the extent that we sell a Vision of Hope to the man on the street. To the extent that we deliver on that promise with good paying jobs. To the extent that Israel positions herself at the center of an effort to secure and revitalize the entire Middle East. Then to that extent, Israel will enhance her security, even as she remains strong militarily. This would be a far better outcome than for Israel to isolate herself among hostile neighbors. And what I'm saying is that at the present time, our neighbors may be ready, willing and able to buy what we have to sell.
written by GABE1, March 16, 2011
Lets assume that you are correct, and that a big leap of faith.
What should Israel offer to the Arab world as an opener and how do you envision the Arabs reacting.

Lets flesh out the detail as that is where the devil is.

The Devil is in the Details
written by Nissim Dahan, March 17, 2011
Gabe, I agree that the devil is in the details. And in fact, it will take many experts, from all different fields of expertise, to pull this thing off. However, I could give you a rough idea of what it will take.

1. First of all, this is not, and should not be an Israeli initiative. If we do that, we will be shot down right from the start. This is an initiative of the international business community. Top business leaders, from the region, and from the U.S., will announce a Vision of Hope for the Middle East, and will begin to deliver on that promise with some good paying jobs.

2. Israel could choose to support the plan, and could decide to play an active role, using her research, technology and business knowhow. However, Israeli is not the initiator.

3. The business leaders, once they decide to join the team, will convene, and will us a support staff of experts, workers and volunteers, to launch various kinds of projects in the region. For example, a business leader could use his foundation to launch a humanitarian project. Alternatively, deals will be negotiated with profits in mind. However, all such projects will be calculated to create good paying jobs, and should be sensitive to environmental protection.

4. As these projects are being launched, some serious private and public diplomacy will be taking place. Private diplomacy will be used to bring together the Arab states into a strategic/economic alliance with Israel and the U.S. The threat posed by a nuclear Iran can be very persuasive in this regard. And the need to create good paying jobs could be another incentive. In addition, public diplomacy will be used to sell the people on an Vision of Hope, and to sustain that hope once they're sold. Such programs could include a program to empower women by financing female entrepreneurs and promoting women's rights. In addition, we could see a student exachange, a cultural exchange, a media camplaign, International Conferences, and an enlarged version of the Peace Corps.

5. Throughout this process, and as the circumstances allow, Israel, in conjunction with her Arab allies, could explore ways to finalize a peace treaty with the Palestinians, along the lines proposed by President Clinton and Ehud Barak in 2000, and as further negotiated by Olmert and Abbas.

6. Whenever possible, the projects launched should be environmentally friendly, and even beyond that, should address the environmental need endemic to the region, such as water shortages, green energy, healthcare, food production, etc.

7. If military action is to be taken against Iran's nuclear facilities, then it will happen with the backing of virtually the entire Arab world, instead of just Israel. Similarly if al Qaeda starts acting up.

This give you a rough idea of what I'm talking about. The business community will announce this initiative, and will begin to deliver on that promise, and hopefully, the message will be carried by moderate candidates in the region, and hopefully, the man on the street will buy in, and little by little, we will see the beginnings of the institutions which can support freedom and democracy, including viable economies which give everyone a place at the table, a stake in his or her future.

You are welcome to question any part of this. I have additional documents I could post. But it is fair of you to question how all of this could possibly come true.
written by GABE1, March 17, 2011
It looks very good on paper and believe me that I hope that you do succeed but practically (like in my Labour Union scenario) It is not realistic.

Where has the business been until now and I must point out that none of the Arab pledges EVEN to the Palestinians has been honoured so why would the Arab States come to the front now.

The EU is already pouring millions into the PA and what has been accomplished.

Now to Tachlis- Where will the trillions of dollars come from. How many trillions of Dollars will it take. Why is Saudi Arabia, The Gulf States , Iraq , Iran and Libya unstable with all the riches coming in from Oil money.Is there poverty and unemployment there? What is the unrest in Bahrain all about other than a Shiite majority being rules by a Sunni monarchy minority.

If we are to sink money into a hole lets at least understand that hole and whether it even has a bottom.

Again let me restate that I wish you luck. G-d knows we need peace as far as Israel is concerned and that peace will only come through a stable and democratic Middle East.

Your theories will not and cannot work as there is no will by Humankind to help its fellow man past the point of profit. Again this is not racist or anything else other than Human nature. I may not agree with it but it is what it is.
written by Nissim Dahan, March 19, 2011
Gabe, thank God for your comments. The rest of humanity must be in a coma.

You say I'm not being realistic. Let's take your points one by one.

Where has the business been until now...why would the Arab States come to the front now?

Business has been content to make profits. Now there are compelled to make a difference as well. The same thing with the Arab States. If you don't have to revitalize the Middle East with good paying jobs, then why should you? But if the house you're sitting in is burning, you better find a way to put the fire out. Selling a Vision of Hope is a way out. It will allow the Arab regimes to remain in power, while inspiring the man on the street that a better life is waiting.

The EU pouring millions into the PA is not the model I'm envisioning. Rather than throwing money at the problem, and satisfying ourselves that we're doing all we can, how about investing the job creation for the benefit of the common man? How about inspiring everyday people with a Vision of Hope and delivering on that promise?

Where will the money come from?

The oil producing Arab countries are sitting on 3 trillion dollars, not even counting on what is in the ground. We convince them to take part of that, say 1 trillion dollars, and invest to revitalize the Middle East. We structure it so that it will be profitable. We make it green. We use oil profits to create green profits. We bring hope and stability to the region, and protect the environment as well. We bring a sense of pride to the Arab world, and usher in an age of peace in the process.

You are not sinking money "into a hole." You are using your knowhow to create sensible investments in the future of man.

You wish me good luck. It's not enough. I need your help. Your comments are a step in the right direction. I need more. I need help to open some of those doors several inches so that I can make my sales pitch. Can you help me with that? Before you say not, sit back and think. You may not know the billionaires. But you know people who know people.

You say that my theories will not work because people will not help each other unless there are profits to be made. Well guess what, Gabe, there are profits to be made. There are jobs to be created even in the Western world. And my approach will make that happen. So we will help one another not because we love one another, God forbid, and not because we want peace, but because we all have the same knife to our throats, and a knife to your throat concentrates the mind.

As for "human nature," it is time to re-look at that. We were created in the "image of God." It's time to prove it.
written by GABE1, March 20, 2011
Every dreamer has a point where they wake up ,smell the coffee and get back to reality (job,or other daily activities). It seems that you are an eternal dreamer that will not let the sunshine of reality enter.

I am not sure what you are smoking but all that mumbo jumbo made be dizzy from shaking my head in disbelief. DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE IN WHAT YOU ARE THINKING OR is that just a show for your "friends" who are stuck in never never land.

You have not heard a word that I nor the rest of humanity has said over the last 6-10 thousands of years or even in the last 60 years. Even your "image of God " reference is nothing short of platitude.

If I brought your ideas up at any chamber of commerce meeting or in private with people that have money and pull, I WOULD BE LAUGHED OUT OF THAT ROOM AND I just hate being characterized as a stupidly naive person (polite version).

On a final note. Why would anyone pour money into a backwater illiterate economy with no economy to speak off other than exporting radical Islam and terror. I prefer investing in South America where poverty is just as acute,or in Africa where poverty and unemployment is even worse and how about Asia?

These places are rather peaceful and do not export they internal feuds and do not demonize other people and frankly do not demand a silver spoon as do Arabs.

It's Time For Something New
written by Nissim Dahan, March 20, 2011
Gabe, I am a dreamer, but isn't also true that there are times when it is precisely the dreamers who see things most clearly.

Don't you think that this is just such a time, when it is necessary to think out of the box?

It is funny that you talk about the Chamber of Commerce. I recently attended a meeting of the Muslim Chamber of Commerce, and they heard some of my ideas, and for some reason, they didn't laugh. They took it quite seriously and agreed to have me meet some of their business leaders.

What kind of people are you hanging out with anyway? People who can't read the writing on the wall?

Look around you. This is not business for the sake of business. Of course there are other places that are easier to deal with. That's not the point, my friend. We are dealing with a crisis that has the potential to surround Israel with 22 Irans. Is that what you want?

If the oil supply of the Western World is put in jeopardy, we may well be talking World World Three.

Does any of that resonate with you.

You say that my ideas are way the hell out there. But let's look at what it is I'm saying:

It's time to believe in what makes sense, instead of believing what we want to believe.

It's time to invest one another to create jobs: jobs which grow our economies, jobs which protect the environment, and jobs which weaken the hold of extremist thinking.

It's time to sell one another on a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom.

It's time to sustain that hope with public and private diplomacy.

And finally, when necessary, it time to take up arms, in self-defense, against the extremists, against those who would deny the possibility of hope for a brighter future.

Gabe, what's so crazy about that? It is not only a good idea, but with all due resepct, it's the only idea. It's the only way to move forward. It's the only thing that will work.

You talk about the last 10,000 years. Well Gabe, the last 10,000 years sucked. And they sucked so much, that we find ourselves stuck in an existential corner, in which we can't even be sure that we'll make it another 100 years, let alone 10,000 years.

You owe it to yourself to think out of the box that you've built for yourself. As far as I'm concerned, there is no realistic alternative to what I'm saying, if we want to survive.

I've lived my life realistically, and have accomplished all that I've set out to do. Now, I choose to do the impossible. Not because I'm unrealistic. But because I recognize that there is no alternative, and that we owe it to oursleves, and to future generations, to at least try.
written by GABE1, March 20, 2011
MARX AND ENGELS had a dream that the Working Class would one day rule the world and all mankind would be equal. We now know what monsters this has created with the USSR and their satellites as well as with Mao's China and the Khmer Rouge Cambodia and that ever lasting North Korea problem as well as Cuba.

I have analyzed your solution, if it can be even called a solution and it mimics parts of the Marx/Engels worldview with the equality part (Your "good paying jobs" for the whole Arab world). You are even skipping that "any jobs" phase and are going for the jugular. That is not a solution.That my friend is UTOPIA and as far as I know NO ONE on this universe has been able to attain it.

You are even dropping the pretense of self help and expects humankind (especially the wealthy ones) to just endow the "poor" Arabs with instant UTOPIA. I am not sure in what world you are living in , but in mine you have to work very hard to accomplish it and in some parts of the world this is simply a pipe dream. I did give you examples.

I am still not certain or even understand those 22 Iran analogies. Are you saying that unless we succomb to Arab blackmail we may have 22 extremist states spending their money on weapons instead of helping their people? And we may have 22 extremist states on our doorstep instead of the 22 sleeper extremist states we now have. Wow a hell of a choice you are presenting. All this for a minimal cost of how many trillions? Wow, out of the box thinking. I even remember another time and another blackmail that was in fact consumated and later on was paid for again with the blood of 22 million victims. Wow what a bargain this would be when you only consider those trillions of dollars.

Whenever you accomplish the impossible, please do call me after the fact and daydreams do not impress me. How long have you been working on this? Other than an interview, what other accomplishments can I read or hear about. Please point me to a source!!!!

PS In my days I attended meetings upon meetings and found that most of them were a colossal waste of time but as far as meetings go they were very self satisfying especially when my ego was massaged by others.
written by Nissim Dahan, March 21, 2011
One thing I have to give you credit for: You take the time to write back, which is more than most people care to do, and I thank you for that.

Marx and Engels, and the rest of them, got it wrong. Many smart people, smarter than me, still end up getting it wrong. You can't pretend to make everyone equal. It doesn't work. It kills incentive. People have to wake up in the morning believing that there is a reason to get out of bed, to work hard, and to make a better life for themselves and their families. Self-interest is at the hearth of capitalism, and is indispensable to economic growth.

I am not talking about making everyone equal. I'm talking about a system which allows people to better themselves, with education, and hard work. The U.S. has been the best example of this, although in recent years, we may be losing our edge.

In terms of Utopia, it would be nice, but as you say, not realistic. And as I told you, I consider myself a realistic person, even though I hold on to my ideals with my teeth.

We're not talking about Utopia. We're talking about a realistic assessment of the self-interest of each of the key players in the Middle East, and using that to revitalize the Middle East with good paying jobs. I am suggesting, with all due respect, that there is something new on the table. The key players in the Middle East are beginning to worry about the same things, and may actually need one another, for a change, to stave off these existential threats.

People worry about two things in particular: a nuclear Iran, and the man on the street. Selling a Vision of Hope is a framework for dealing with these problems, and that is why it may sell. Not because of Utopia. Not because people love one another. Not because people want peace. Not because any of those fuzzy and warm things. It will sell simply because it is an answer that can solve some very big ass problems.

A military/strategic alliance between the Arab States, Israel and the U.S. could be used to keep Iran in check, including its extremist proxies, and could be used to create jobs in an effort to revitalize the region.

Gabe, imagine yourself as a Saudi prince. You see other regimes crumbling even as we speak. You sense the restlessness of the young people on the street, people with education, but without jobs. You sense that everything you own may well be in jeopardy. What do you do? Is it possible, under the right circumstances, that you become inspired to embrace a Vision of Hope, and that you proceed to invest some of your holdings in a new Middle East? You may do it simply because the alternative is much worse, and who knows, you may end up making money on the deal, and restoring Arab pride, and consolidating your hold on power.

When I say that Israel could end up being surrounded by 22 Irans, I mean precisely that. As bad as things are now in the Middle East, they could get a lot worse. Believe me. I'm not saying that things were rosy before. I'm saying that if the young generation loses hope for the future, and turns extremist, and if the leadership uses Israel as the scapegoat for all the ills in the world, and if the West decides to sacrifice Israel on the alter of its need for oil, then as bad as things are now, they can get a lot worse, indeed.

Altnernatively, if the key players in the region come to embrace a Vision of Hope, a vision of Peace, Prosperity and Freedom, and if they undertake to revitalize the region with jobs, and if they work together to secure the region and bring stability to it, and if the young people come to believe that their lives could get better, and if this buys time for gradual change, without too much violence, and if all this comes to pass, and granted it's a big "if," then yes, I see a chance for making this world better, and safer, and cleaner, and we will realize the potential that we've always had to make this place better, literally, a heaven on earth, as opposed to a living hell.

In terms of endless meetings, you're probably right. You can't get anywhere fast using just meetings. That's why we have to move a few heavy hitters, who have it in the DNA to make things happen. As an example, you get someone like Warren Buffet of Bill Gates behind this thing, and it's no longer a dream. Now, how do we get hold of these guys. Any ideas, Gabe?
Important Deeds Are Born in Ideas
written by Velvel, March 21, 2011
I am pretty certain I see what Gabe is against. It appears he calls this vision of a comprehensive, step-by-step attack on one long-standing, complex societal problem “utopian” and unrealistic. I agree with Gabe that the Marxist economic utopians, like utopians since Aristotle, aimed pretty simple and thus intoxicating social theories at the troubled fate of all of mankind. They were unrealistic and have done much more harm than good. The common fallacy in their dreams was that they nurtured no social structures for mankind to live in together after the revolution they proposed had wreaked its havoc on the status quo. So all the survivors came home to bed with dashed dreams of better lives and deepened cynicism about people of influence.

Failed utopian experiments have convinced all students of history that a few evil people can do a helluva lot of horrible harm (Inquisition, Crusaders, Stalin and friends, Hitler and friends, Pol Pot and friends, and a long list of other nightmares). But not all politicians are so evil (Washington, Lincoln, Mandela, - dreamers all!). So my math also says that a few good men can do a helluva lot of otherwise unpredicted good.

These are the exceptions, in the right place at the right time with enough right colleagues, resources and ideas right for their times. They remain skeptical but not paralyzed. Their doubts are outweighed by the necessity to act and the possibilities of success. With popular approval and minimal active government participation, the change begins. The larger numbers of professional politicians follow the new direction. Ask Bill Gates and a few others who see their wealth and power as, in part, a means to do idealistic, even altruistic projects. It is certainly far from stereotypic greedy capitalism. Ask any long-term, successful small businessperson how much good will towards employees and customers, as opposed to greed, has enabled him to succeed for so long. Remember win-win?

This blog is not ideology about changing mankind. It is rooted in reality and in common sense. It is about this moment with these players, rich and poor, in this part of the world. This may be a time when the vital economic self-interests of our fellow men and women in the Middle East, and that of most of the people with real influence there, are more similar than they have ever been. We see:
•Iran drumbeats sound unpleasantly in everyone’s ears in the region and in echoes even farther away than the reach of deadly delivery systems.
•Radical religious forces state daily that their theological ends justify any and all amoral means to change the entire world, and do all in their power to stir all to join in.
•Our global economic interdependence grows quickly on our flat earth, giving fiscal and monetary disruptions widespread consequences.
•The vision of relative prosperity and comfort enjoyed by others is plain to see electronically and even in person by vast numbers of everyday people with no prospects for their families but uncertain struggles for sheer necessities.

I betcha that among those in the Middle East with the most wealth and power, many are now doing the math on these and related current forces and concluding that something’s gotta give. If they look only at last year’s financial statements and macroeconomic numbers, they probably doubt that they see what their futures may hold. The wisest among them with self-interest alone will re-mold their strategies to diminish the influence of extremists by improving the lot of everyday people in their region. They can do so most effectively by enabling many more people in the Middle East to earn livelihoods with dignity, hope and good purpose, to thereby enjoy and improve their lives and that of their families, without having to harm others.

What is our correspondent Gabe for? I’m not sure. Is it simply “nothing helps”? My grandmother used to say this about a cousin who would not stop a bad habit or a fever that inevitably went away in any case. Our world has more dangerous maladies. We have real danger, and maybe opportunity that is just as real. Let’s look clearly at today and tomorrow in the Middle East, and speak about how we can get a critical mass of influence and wealth to reduce the danger. This is not only about people talking on the web. Its about thoughtful, step-by-step ideas that may take root and produce. They should be nourished and developed.
written by GABE1, March 21, 2011
After reading your long winded incomprehensive and wrong reading of history, I have come to the conclusion that dreamers are averse to reality as well as a lack of reading comprehension.

Some problems are not fixable or are seen as problems by people with rose coloured glasses and are not problems at all.

What problems did Washington, Lincoln and Mandela fix and how were they dreamers or visionaries in any sense of the word.

I have already told Nissim how we can fix the problems of the Middle East but obviously this does not fit into the dreams that you harbour so why even acknowledge it and just say "nothing helps" is my answer.

I would ask that if such wealth distribution was possible where in the world do you think it would be most beneficial? I believe that the Arab world has that wealth distribution potential from within. I do not for one second believe that that will do it. But if you dream it enough who know, maybe a miracle will occur a la Velvel.
Enough with Half Measures
written by Nissim Dahan, March 22, 2011
Gabe, I would not dismiss Velvel's comments so cavalierly. He has much to offer to this discussion.

What is so wrong about his reading of history? He says that there have been good leaders, and bad leaders. There has been clear headed thinking, and thinking that was off the wall. What's so incomprehensible?

You say that dreamers are averse to reality. So when people like Washington dreamt of a free nation, they were being unrealistic? When Lincoln dreamt of ending slavery and keeping the nation whole, he was being unrealistic? When Mandela dreamt of of ending apartheid, he was being unrealistic?

And yet, somehow, all these things came to pass.

You say you've already told me how to fix the problems of the Middle East. As I recall, you mentioned smaller family size. Is that your solution? Do you honestly think that that will cut it?

When you say that "nothing helps," I think that you are sealing the fate of generations to come, and extinguishing any possibility of hope for the future.

Israel has all her explanations for why peace cannot be made. And to a certain extent, she is right to be disillusioned with the past. However, this is not the past. This is right here and right now. And as VElvel points out, there are common interests among some of the key players in the Middle East, and therefore, common reasons for coming together to stave off these existential threats.

You say we are looking at the world through rose colored glasses. I say, however, that a tint of rose is preferable to a shade of black that keeps us from seeing any possibility for change. To a great extent, the skepticism that some people have with regard to peace is based on a long littany of failed efforts. But Gabe, and I may be wrong on this, I say that there is something new on the table, something that is at least worth a try.

I don't know if you immigrated to Israel from Russia. But there was a time, not so long ago, when such immigration seemed as impossible as some of the dreams I have for the future. And yet, with determination, persistance, and hard work, this blessing came to pass. And in fact, my son-in-law is a Russian immigrant.

You keep talking about "wealth distribution." That's not what we're talking about. We're talking about a series of investments that will create profits, jobs, and environmental protection. We're talking about a realistic way of weakening the hold of extremist thinking. This is not crazy talk. This is about looking at the facts at hand, shifting some of the pieces of the puzzle, and reconfiguring some of what we do in such a way so as to point to the possibility of peace, prosperity and freedom.
For the record
written by GABE1, March 22, 2011
I never lived in Israel but have been there in excess of 30 times. My wife is Israeli and born in Egypt. I am of Polish parentage although I was born in Siberia, Russia. I have lived in Canada for 55 years now.

I do have an aversion to third parties answering on behalf of others. Velvel is talking in terms of wealth distribution in clear terms.

Let us make a wager and I say that in the next 10 years there will not be any change in the Middle East from the past 50 years. History and change do not turn on a dime dream as we may in technicolour. As an accountant ,I come in contact with a lot of wealthy people as well as mom and pop enterprises. Some of my employers have been in the Fortune 500 categories such as American Standard, Hawker Siddely and Garrard as well as well known builders in the Canadian market whose owners had a net worth of close to a billion dollars.

I know intimately the business mind and business psyche probably as well as anyone around.

Both you and Velvel are dreamers with rose coloured glasses without a shred of realism.

I asked you how long you have been at this dream and whether you have been able to sell this snake oil to anyone yet, Yes I heard about the meetings but show me any concrete accomplishment.

Until and unless the economy can outpace the population growth, not enough jobs (of any quality) can be generated to accomodate that growth. NO ONE in his/her right mind will invest in an unstable region where the main export is terror and where there is only a primitive economy operating. We already have a SHNORER economy operating in Gaza with so called jobs created by UNWRA.

You keep bombarding me with sound bites that I do not see yet on the horizon. THERE IS NOTHING NEW ON THE TABLE. We don't even know who the new players will be and what their agenda is.

People are actually starving in Africa and being murdered in Arab countries and you believe that the Arabs deserve good paying jobs so that they can be peace loving people.

WHAT pure unadulterated nonsense that you and Velvel are spouting. When in Poland I heard these speeches in various shades for 13 years and look where the communist world is now. Everyone had a job and no one starved and some even became wealthy until they were executed. The government called it Democracy and even held elections.
written by GABE1, March 23, 2011
Egypt Air removes Israel from map

Jordan stretches to sea in online map by Egypt's largest airline, though it continues to fly to Israel
written by GABE1, March 24, 2011
CAIRO — Israel should not rush into carrying out any military operations in Gaza, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Elaraby said in a statement on Wednesday.

Elaraby "asked Israel to exercise self restraint and warned it against rushing into a military operation in Gaza".

Winds of change, you call it. I prefer the peace we have now than your rose colored solutions
written by GABE1, April 03, 2011
Two Taliban suicide bombers caused carnage on Sunday at a Sufi shrine in eastern Pakistan, killing at least 41 people and wounding scores in the latest bloody attack on minority religious groups.

Police said some 65 people were wounded. They said the attackers struck during an annual ceremony for the Sufi saint to whom the shrine is dedicated. (Reuters)
written by yushumei, June 17, 2011
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