Sep 22, 2013

Common morality

It is very hard sometimes to go on “having joyful participation in the sorrows of this world” (The Buddhist motto that I try to keep as a guiding principle) when we witness so much injustice, so much poverty, so many deaths, and so much hypocrisy.  The key word and the most difficult is “participation”.  How do we participate in a meaningful moral way in such a world?  How do we know if we are doing something to make a difference, or we are unable to make a difference?  “God grant me the courage to change the things I can, patience for those I can’t change and wisdom to know the difference.”  How can we find this wisdom to know.  We struggle with these questions daily because we see so much destruction, death, hypocrisy, and stupidity.  Here are just seven examples from many that occurred to us this week under occupation:

1. Two women (one handicapped) were murdered in the Israeli occupied areas this week, one in Deir AlGhosn area (Tulkarem) and one in Yatta (Hebron). This is called “honor killing” by some!  Is there a more horrible thing than to claim there is honor restored through murder. I think we should all write to the Palestinian authority to demand accountability for the murderers (they must be treated as any other premeditated murders).

2. The US and Israeli governments feverishly lobbied other countries to narrowly defeat a non-binding resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that would have simply asked Israel to join the International Atomic Weapons Treaty. I think each of us should write to their governments that voted against or abstained to complain about this hypocrisy and collusion with an apartheid dangerous nuclear state.

3. The Egyptian military joined the Israeli military as Gaza's jailer making a desperate situation grow even more desperate. Sign petition here and write also to your media and politicians to demand pressure on the Egyptian military rulers: more info at:

4. The Israeli occupation forces manhandled EU diplomats and seized humanitarian aid for Palestinians being ethnically cleansed from the Jordan valley.  You can write to politicians and media.

5. The World Health Organization Refuses to Publish Report on Cancers and Birth Defects in Iraq Caused by Depleted Uranium Ammunition We should write to them and complain.

6. Nearly seven million Palestinian refugees still await implementing their internationally recognized right to return to their homes and lands.  Now we add two million Syrian refugees who are hosted by bordering countries (except Israel who does not take such refugees because it is a state for Jews).  Saudi Arabia and other gulf states who fund US wars and their own proxy wars on other countries  (including Syria) must be asked to pay poor countries like Jordan and Lebanon for the cost of hosting these refugees.

7. Israel continues to profit from the occupation to the tune of $10-12 billion/year. The boycott, divestmen, and sanctions movement is spreading.  You can help.  As an example, some activists decided to target Sodastreamwith a National Sodastream Day of Action - Saturday 28 September. Sodastream is a home carbonation device that is made in violation of International Law in an illegal Israeli settlement on stolen Palestinian land. The Geneva Conventions specifically prohibits this, and the International Court of Justice has advised that Israel’s settlements in the occupied  West Bank are illegal. Sodastream is profiting from the theft of valuable Palestinian water and land, and the exploitation of Palestinian labour.
To get involved please:
- Like and share the Facebook events page:
- Join your local action, posted here:
- Write to your local stockist – sample letter here:
- Organise your own action in your area on 28 September
- Invite your friends, colleagues and family to take action
- Leaflets and more information here:
- Get in touch/order campaigning cards:
Occupation Is Not Green: Boycott SodaStream!

The least you can do is be an arm-chair activist and use the wonderful gift of the internet to send politicians and media letters and inquiries.  It does make a difference.  Sometimes a short letter with two sentences is enough.  I find to be disciplined dedicating a set time every week to do that even 20 minutes or half an hour a week) can make a big difference.  The biggest difference is in our own hearts (satisfying our conscience that we were not just spectators).

I wrote before about “mental occupation” which is an illness that is much more dangerous than physical occupation/colonization.  But the more I consider the subject the more I realize that to liberate people’s minds we mush shed all chains that justify using culture, religion, and societal norms to justify our lack of action.  We must have an internal revolution that liberates our minds.  We must create a new human being.  I am not talking here about replacing a cultural and religious slavery with a materialistic capitalist slavery.  I am talking about real freedom that starts with acting on our common morality. What is this common morality?  If you try to distill the earliest ideas of all religions into their basic and common principles you find that the bottom line is “do no harm” or equivalently the golden rule which is to treat others as you would like to be treated.  Do no harm means no stealing, no killing. no rape, no  lying etc.  I know atheists and agnostics who lived all their lives with this common morality so it is not even related to religion.

We “can’t be neutral on a moving train” (Howard Zinn) and we must take actions based on this common morality or we join the hypocritical silent masses that allow evil to do what it does.  Each of us knows these truths at some deeper level and each of us must choose how to have “joyful PARTICIPATION in the sorrows of this world”.

Mazin Qumsiyeh  


  1. Just a couple of corrections, out of many but who has the time to correct all of Qumsiyeh's distortions?

    1. Those women were murdered in Palestinian Authority occupied areas, not in areas administered by Israel pending an agreement on the partitioning of the disputed territories captured by Israel in 1967 after being attacked by Jordan.

    2. Sodastream is an excellent employer offering good jobs to the Palestinian Arabs, who are very happy to work for it. Try talking to the workers, who hugged Sodastream's CEO at the home of President Shimon Peres after he protested their treatment by security personnel.

    Anyone who is really interested in the welfare of the Palestinian Arabs would promote, rather than protest, Sodastream.

    1. Mathguy,
      You need to learn what Israel is doing. Read Miko Peled book, The General's Son. Maybe that will help you.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Mathguy
      You could do with liberating your mind to see the reality of what Israel is doing. You could also do with not putting all criticism down to "anti-semitism"

    4. 1) All the land between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean is occupied/under Israeli authory. A "Palestinain authority" has no authority
      2) For the issues of SodaStream, visit the links provided.

      It seems Zionists still have not internalized that repeating lies does not mean that people believe them. I agree with Miggy statement to the "mathguy" : free your mind and your ass will follow!

  2. Sodastream may provide economic relief to a few Palestinians, much like the labor used to build Israeli settlements. Ultimately those who benefit are Zionists.
    Do the math.

  3. I wish the morality described by Dr. Qumsieyah was common. Unfortunately, it's rare.

  4. Hello mathguy:

    I am here to let you know that your calculations are off. Way off!

    What I would like you to calculate is how heavy the burden heaped upon American taxpayers to fund Israel's multiple aggressions against a civilian population really is. How many more Palestinians' homes will be destroyed and/or families forcibly evicted so that outsiders can take over? How much more Palestinian land will Israel illegally seize before its thirst for more will be quenched? How many more livelihoods will be destroyed? More importantly, how many more years will Israel occupy a people before it realizes that its brutal, inhumanitarian occupation can't be sustained forever? When will Israel realize that, one day, Palestine will be free? Inquiring minds really do want to know, mathguy!

    Furthermore, how far-reaching is Israel's and the U.S.' hypocrisy in demanding that neighboring nuclear States do as they say and not do as they do. Does the sum total of culpability change if a woman's death is in a PA-controlled area or an Israeli-controlled area? Is her intrinsic worth less valuable in either location? Moreover, what equation or formula do you use to determine that the PA's “controlled” area is not ultimately controlled by Israel?

    As the world watches the U.S.' and Israel's hypocrisy being displayed in full view, your version of events is increasingly falling on deaf, global ears. And actually being rebutted with truth! But, if it's any consolation, it appears that the number AIPAC-controlled U.S. politicians shows no sign of decreasing in numbers. But, on the flip side, the number of Americans who are finally awaking out of their propaganda-induced comas is actually...well...increasing.

  5. Mathguy: If I stole your house, paid you to cook, protected you from my neighbor's security guards, would I be an excellent employer? No, that would not make me an excellent employer. That would make me a thief.

    1. You seem to forget the Jews were there long before any Arabs, including those relative newcomers who recently started calling themselves Palestinians - expropriating a term they former insisted they weren't and which had previously been used to refer to the Jews in Palestine. Unless you want to start history in the middle, it's the Arabs who stole the land and the Jews from whom it was stolen.

      But, please, don't let the facts get in your way.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Wow, you leave me almost speechless—and that is not an easy feat. If you believe what you wrote, I am not the one struggling with the facts.

      There are different definitions of “Jew” and you did not specify which version you employ. However, if by “Jews” you mean “descendants of the Eastern European Khazars,” those are foreign implants, not indigenous people groups in Palestine. If you are a descendant of biblical Jews, I have a few issues I would like you to clarify.

      Given that there is no secular, Zionist State in the Bible called Israel, the Khazarian blood line to Abraham was drawn with human hands. But, if you think that you are related to him, are you implying that your ancestors came from Ur of the Chaldees, like Abraham did (Gen. 11:31)? Did they also live in Syria like Abraham did and referred to it and its people and “my country and my kindred” (Gen. 24:4)? How far back does your Syrian heritage extend? Even Abraham's grandson, Jacob—whose name was later changed to Israel and became the father of the (real) Israelites—was Syrian (Deut. 26:5). His Syrian son Judah became the progenitor of the tribe of Judah and its inhabitants were called Jews. Is that who you and today's Jews are?

      Nonetheless, if it's any consolation, your “interesting” account of history has lots and lots and lots of loyal, devoted friends among American Evangelicals. I'm Pentecostal.

    4. for history of people see especially chaptesr 2 and 3
      For answers to common Zionist regurgitated myths see
      (sometimes I wish they would invent new myths just for variety as it get boring to hear the same myths)