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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 8, 2011 4:00pm-5:15pm EDT

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they support the regime because they really believe in the return of of the imam, and ahmadinejad plays into that. it's not just a secondary thing. he uses -- that's how he gets his support. that's why so much time is spent on the imam and the return of the imam. we may joke about it, but i think 20 % of the public basically buys into that. and before we get too orientalist, it exact power of the united states. ..
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>> you can't find people. it sold as i overall explained you have to look at the state structure. yes. >> let's get the microphone over to that oh, no. sorry, joanne. i do want to hear from you. we will try to get you in again. the microphone does not seem to
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be on, actually. perhaps -- [inaudible question] >> it does seem like in the last several months that it has moderated his position by trying to take non confrontational approaches of dealing with the program in order to prevent a, sort of, a flock of support for the regime by using the network and not having a high-value target but they do in afghanistan and pakistan. so my question is, since the u.s. government and foreign policy is in a bind, how did you think that that is going to affect the green movement? if they were to directly allow israel or something to use military force, what you see russian support for the regime because of having some kind of, you know, outright attack?
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>> who would like to respond? >> i'll start. even before obama, the second bush administration ruled out military attack. that is not on the table. if it was, it would actually strengthen the machine to -- the regime, and that is one of the reasons they don't want that. i do not see moderation or shift in the obama administration the last few weeks as long as they are refusing to follow the track, the turkish and brazilian track. that was an opening. i mean, that was a clear opening that they could have taken if they were interested in negotiations. they closed that. they're basically insisting that iran should come to the bargaining table accepting the enrichment which is basically
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all starter. unless there is a change in that i don't see any breakthrough in negotiations. >> the result is where do you go from now? been the administration really doesn't have a policy beyond that. >> would you like to add about 30 seconds? >> you happen to be right. military the, the regime will declare a state of emergency, arrest thousands, execute hundreds, and it's over. with respect to the obama administration, i have not seen any qualitative change in terms of their policy. it fluctuated over the last few years. and think we are, perhaps, just as reading. >> boat, i am afraid we have been here for two hours, and that is going to wrap up the formal program. there will be more time afterward to chat up the panelist and have copies of the book signed to purchase.
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of want to thank everyone for coming and in particular are co-sponsors and speaker. [applause] [applause] >> published by melville house. to find out more about the book and its contributors this is their website. >> get the book tv schedule e-mail to you. to sign up, use our website,, and press the alert button or use your mobile phone. the text of the word book to 99702. standard message and the rates applied. >> next, author james carroll talks about the history of jerusalem with a panel of theologians and religious leaders at the interfaith center of new york city. a little under one hour and 15 minutes. >> let me just say, this book has a very personal sort of jump
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start for me. i was a young man, as you just heard from calling, who was shaped in large ways by my catholic faith, but also by my experiences as the sun of an air force officer. i came of age, at -- but i came of age in the late 50's and early 1960's and was actually defined by a sense of the evidence of the soviet threat and, understanding our place in the world, our being the american forces in germany, including the american dependents, innocent kids that we were, in effect -- i did not know what to think of the symbolic language. we were, in effect, on the altar. we were the tripwire also.
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if the soviets moved into west germany the first thing they would do is hit s which would immediately required the united states of america's involvement in resisting the soviet move. we were there a guarantee for europe that the soviet union could not move to the west without bringing down their wrath of the american nuclear power. and i actually had d5 my high-school chums and i used to joke about being sacrificial lambs. the trigger. we had a kind of dark sense of humor about it. we were terrified. i did not realize this until later dammar really, how nuclear dread defined as coming into our adulthood. and so it was not -- again, only later did i understand what i was doing. it was not surprising, therefore, with a vivid sense of the edge of the nuclear abyss.
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it was not so surprising that as a young man my first impulse to become an air force office of like my father gave way fairly quickly to a second in polls, which was to embrace the life of religion. i thought religion was the opposite of war, and i thought god was the opposite of the human temptation to massive violence. and so i entered the seminary. through the 1960's like many of you having the privilege of growing up in those years, the privilege and burden of reckoning with the ways in which religion was not the opposite of war, but implicated in it. in my experience that had to do with reckoning with the church history and relationship to the holocaust and also in a very powerful way reckoning with the complicity both of christian and
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catholic institutions in subliminal christian assumptions and american foreign policy. the implication of my religious identity with the war in vietnam which was started by a catholic despotic inquisition style regime. so, by that time i was ordained in 1969, became a priest, religion and violence were the practice within which i was living my life, and it is not a surprise, i suppose, that i defined my whole five years as a priest because i was conscripted into it but not because i chose it by the anti-war movement which is when i first mentioned wharton, when jim wharton was one of the profits of the anti-war movement. by 1960, 1973 my priesthood was a mess. i did not really know where i was, and it cannot be a coincidence that where i went
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with the feeling of being a mass was to jerusalem not knowing what to expect. but i've found, of course, was a mess. and the first thing i learned was that god does not come to us in our purity, in our being fixed, and our being finished. god comes to us and our being amassed. it was that sense of jerusalem as the defining way in which the human perception of god takes place, not the only place, of course, but certainly for western civilization defining it was a place in which i actually came into a sense of myself, able to be at home and a mess of my life, embrace it, and because it was somehow there that i had an experience as a religious people have had going back to the centuries of the present one is of god.
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the notion of the ground of our being, that there is something essentially unquenchable in existence itself, and that became probable somehow for me. i had to say, in parenthesis, that my home was how wonderful catholic institution that has been presided over the last decade by my old and dear friend, father michael mcgarry, who is in the audience night. i want to make knowledge and for all he has given me about jerusalem in particular. so i left the priesthood, but i embraced my religious identity as a catholic in a new way, with the new fulness, which is ironic. and it was always clear to me that at some point i would return to jerusalem as a suspect -- subject, a visitor, pilgrim, and student again and again. now i return as a subject. jerusalem today is in the eye of a storm.
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we are all fully aware of that. the arab revolution, source of tremendous hope and expectation, also concern, were read, understanding how badly things to go. religion and violence both very vividly, the tectonic plates of not just the middle east, but in a way of the western world shifting right below our feet. at the center of it, is rare, palestine. also at the center of a new and contemporary form of nuclear dread, not the old standoff between the soviet union and the united states, but this new, less clearly defined but in some ways because of that more terrifying than ever way in which nuclear weapons are on the margin of every power struggle and in a very particular way in the middle east. so, what about it? very quickly, a tremendous
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source of hope by looking through the lens of the history of jerusalem and providence of the human condition. let me quickly give you a quick tour through many centuries of history to make the point. out of an inch and violence sacrifice, the babylonian destruction, jerusalem invented a new vision of human interconnectedness. we know that as monotheism. a better word for that is the one is of god, that unquenchable vitality that i, myself, had a personal experience of combat budget which has defined that place for religious believers century in and out from the ruins of the bombing destruction and 70 came and orienting memory for exiled jews and a permanent ideal for christians.
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jesus, as a jew, nonviolent, one of the very key things we know about him for sure. a movement that in some of the mediterranean world which is itself the great mystery of who this man was. constantine the dollar rising jerusalem, making it the source of unity for a widely dispersed empire with a dark consequence, theologizing the diaspore of the jewish people as a christian proof. in the seventh century within five years, within five years of mohammed's death islamic forces drew to the gates of jerusalem and took this city non violently. why is that? what is it about jerusalem that drew the first sweeping movement of muslim people? why? like a magnet drawing the
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diverse iron shavings of religious imagination from every direction to itself. in the middle ages, the early middle ages, jerusalem is the center of relocating vision of christendom, what we call western civilization. it takes hold in jerusalem, the temple, a special symbol which then becomes a special symbol of defining europe, the knights templars, we go all through the centuries with a kind of constant reference back to what? jerusalem. so much so that when christopher columbus makes his move to the west it isn't the nbc is after but a new, more efficient and safer route to jerusalem. and we secular americans don't emphasize this agenda, but his chronicles are full of it. his wish to bring europe to jerusalem as the ottoman empire
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lost its way in opulence in the 18th, 19th centuries, the mobile sanctuary in the center of jerusalem remained at touchdown of the islamic conscience and is still a defining note of the islamic conscious. one hundred some years after columbus when those puritans settled in new england or came to new england, what was it that they said they were doing? they were founding a city on the hill, jerusalem. the settlement they founded after the sermon when they got off the boat was not boston but salem, another word for jerusalem. when the dissenters in salem moved on, where did they go? they crossed the walked -- border into what is now new hampshire. they established their own settlement called salem, salem, new hampshire less than 50 miles from salem, massachusetts.
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salem to my jerusalem, the most common place names in the united states of america. what is this? the american ideal of the city on a hill is a measure against which we still check the requirements of realism. columbus, winthrop, abraham lincoln in his last words whispered to his wife at the future work, i think i should like to see jerusalem. ronald reagan whose most resonant theme was the city on the hill and always be primordial memory of the holy city. next year he captured jewish learning alive until the narrative of enforced diaspore, christian enforced diaspore could be reversed in 1948. yes, jerusalem is the ground
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zero still of conflict, but this is a litany of ways in which jerusalem has been the source of the resistance to violence. i know this history can be recounted negatively. the home of apocalyptic thinking, the dreadful idea that to save the earth we must destroy it. the center of a monotheism that is of sanctifying. we are number one. our god is better than your god. a destructive monotheism. yes, jerusalem against the jews, which is the way that the christians began to think of it. yes, crusader me m1099. cults of martyrdom, fundamentalism in all free traditions. these have all found homes in jerusalem. fratricidal rivalry from cain and abel to the israelis and palestinians. and, yes, jerusalem shaped and some powerful way in our time by auschwitz and also by hiroshima,
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the two brackets within which that ancient question of the relationship between violence and religion are asked not. that is the mass of the human condition. what do we do with it? jerusalem is the center of a double vision, therefore i put before you life and death. choose life. recalling the importance in this history of human choice is urgent because of human choices shaping this history in the past, they can still shake in the future. jerusalem is a city of self surpassing. god check abrahams' ninth here. religion was limited by ethics here.
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the one ms. of god makes every individual who participates in it sacred, which is the ground of the universal declaration of human rights. the fact that god, the god of the bible, the god of jerusalem peroni sides with the victims instead up with those who victimized is the cd of democracy. the temple is vacant. the holy of holies is vacant. this data will not be represented. it means that no one owns this god, therefore no going to work in the name of god. god's elusiveness, the only thing we know of god is that god is unknowable. in jerusalem humans realized that that is knowledge. that principle is the key to human freedom.
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it is a real. religion. jews. i don't believe that we have come all this weight through the millennia, the hundreds of thousands of years of our development to bring about our own extinction. yet, that is what is before us now. as a matter of towards jerusalem, as i said at the beginning, is the eye of the storm, the eye of the storm this month. israelis are right to be wary. palestinians are right to be impatient at promises unkept. the world is right to be alert to what is unfolding in the this swirling mass, but jerusalem, the eye of the storm, remains the best reason for keeping an eye and not on fear, but on
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hold. both sides of the human condition, the mess and the glory. we choose jerusalem, jerusalem thank you. [applause] [applause] >> i would like to thank you so much and invite up the other speakers. lisa miller who is the religion editor at newsweek and author of the book heaven, which is over here and available after words. conducting the rest of this conversation. thank-you, lisa. >> of goring to stand up here for. >> introductions and then i'm going to sit down. i hope that we can have a conversation.
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i'm hoping that this will be not too formal, lively, casual, and in the interest of that i am going to -- i was sitting over their editing all of the buyers so that we could crunch of the time. i edited so much that i am going to go through them one by one and introduce very quickly do the esteemed panelists are. at the very end of the table is feisal abdul rauf, the chairman of the court of initiatives to his left is the rev. dr. serene jones who is the president of the faculty of the union theological seminary. next to her is james carroll, the author of "jerusalem, jerusalem: how the ancient city ignated our modern world." to my right is rabbi burton visotzky who is the professor of and to religious studies at jewish theological seminary.
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i'm going to open with a question about jerusalem. a first of jerusalem and i was 21 years old. i was given a trip to jerusalem by my grandparents who had fled the nazis from europe. but israel was overly important place. i grew up as a completely a religious secular jew and had no religious identity except for the fact my grandparents had fled the holocaust. my whole life i had been told you don't look jewish. now i arrive in jerusalem and got on the bus and saw busloads of people who saw exactly like me. i thought, i'm really connected. i had no idea. enchained carol's box he talks about the power of coming to jerusalem. how shattering it would be, how
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changing it would be, how profound it can be, even for people who don't have any sense of identity as a faithful religious person. my question to the panel, and i'm just going to ask you to go one by one. describe the first time you saw jerusalem and how bad vision lives with you as an american i've, a citizen of the world's, and as a person of faith. the other wonderful thing about jim's book is that it talks about about jerusalem as a place, an actual, physical, real place that exists in the world in time now and also a series of hopes and dreams and conflicts and paradoxes that exist in our mind simultaneously. so feisal abdul rauf. >> the oldest religion first. well, i first went to jerusalem in 1978. my father, late father was a
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close friend of jim morgan, was invited by the institute to do a seminar which they had been conducting their every year. at a delicate time because the 1977 peace talks had just happened. my father, being an egyptian citizen. i used to -- he would often invite me to substitute for him, and i was young, 30 years old, 51 years old, anxious to, you know, take risks. i went to jerusalem for the first time. it felt like a pilgrimage. we believed and still believe that the invitation can be anything to my but the real divine intend behind anything that is happening, you don't know until we actually go there. in my soul i felt that it was
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constant. it was an important trip, a powerful chip. i had just come with my father took coverage in 1973. an important part of my spiritual journey. we went to bethlehem, the various religious sites. the church of the holy sepulchre. to walk the streets for you know jesus walked, that was something which does something to oneself, that deep, internal mobile and to watch how the jews at the wailing wall to walk on the temple mount, pray in the mosques, visit the dome of the rock and pray there as well. and for those of you who don't
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know the significance of jerusalem to our faith of islam, we believe that the profit on one night was taken by gabriel, the archangel gabriel to jerusalem where he prayed at the temple mount that all the profits. from there he was raised on the night journey to the various levels of heaven where he saw angels standing by you know, and an address of angels standing among worshiping god. the next level in the bowling position and the next level and the processing position. the next in the seated position. the next powerful visual which even on muslims have of muslims praying was the profit experience. it was on that night that he was given the five times daily prayer for his community and the choreography of the angels incorporated in the five tyne daly pairs of we performed. jerusalem was then the first
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direction of prayer. muslims prayed toward jerusalem until a few years later when it was changed to mecca which i often believe was something like an act of mercy of god. i think the tension between muslims and the other faith religions would have been even more intense. jerusalem has certainly been of very important thing in rebuilding of the temple mount. a peacefully conquered jerusalem in 638. and most americans and most muslims are unaware that the jewish community which had been prohibited from living -- affected by the romans in 70 a.d., invited 70 jewish families right after the conquest of jerusalem by plans forces to
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take up residence in the city of david. and when the jews and the muslims and the orthodox also evicted in the first crusade, i believe, from jerusalem, the crusaders basically, you know, slaughtered every but the defeated was not until selig then came back and reconquered jerusalem that jews and orthodox christians took up residence again in jerusalem. i share this because there is a lot of misconception. and the last 30-40 years we have seen the increase of what i call an imposition of dominance, but of want to emphasize how much this particular interpretation we have seen flies in the face of both the principal and teachings of islam and the vast majority of our history in terms of how we interact and engage with the other faith traditions.
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so jerusalem has this importance. i think it is as symbolism of how more importantly the points that jim spoke about bridges a question to us modern people of god today. that is, what and how, what lessons have we taken from the past? how can we build a new concept of jerusalem? this is a challenge that i believe we have today. to me, jerusalem as the place will always be important, the physical symbolism of the geographical point, the contact point, if you will, between god and humankind. and it is that symbolism which is very important. it may be important for us in and out to religious way. god is great, as we say.
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what we learned in our spiritual talk is that we have to always search for god, gods face. it is an internal one. you never arrive at it, and at every point you have to give up the idolatry of a particular action that you have. you have to give up the idolatry of even your prayers. you have to -- you don't worship your prayers, jerusalem to be every icon and idle that comes between us and the purity of our faith in god is a form of idolatry. and this jury is an inner journey we take as individuals. as a society it is important for us to remember that these names we give ourselves today of
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christian, jew, muslim or not the labels or definitions are names that the founders of the state traditions gave to their communities. moses was among the children. the danger did not come until later. christianity was not a name that was recognized by jesus christ, but given to them by the romans. even the term muslims today is not the way our profits called themselves. god always calls upon the words of the profit the libras. it was not until a century later that we called ourselves muslims. so the idolatry that we have toward these entities which actually are relatively hands later than the founders should teach us that we need to go back to the oneness of our faith traditions. it is not about, as i say,
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jesus, moses, mohammed. it is about god with all of the profits as regional representatives from time and space of the one god and the one message. i look forward to this center being called the interfaith center, not the interchurch center, and that we see ourselves as worshipers of one god in different languages and different choreography's but all celebrating the diversity and one is of god. the poor of this permanent, not only in the american sense, but the spiritual sense. thank you very much, and may god bless you. >> thank you for the question. it is interesting how our traditions, i think, form the way we respond and what we see. i am not going to represent product it develop products that protestantism and give you a very flat answer that is an
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imaginative talk about the altman the displaced religion that hovers above innocence, all image. in doing so affords itself all ford's of appearances that it cannot afford. i first saw jerusalem in 1983. i was in the middle of my seminary education at yale, and i was on my way to india where i was going to spend some time living in south india at a seminary. the theological seminary sponsored by the world council of churches. i was very good friends with the rabbi at yale. implored me on my way to india that i must stop in israel on the way and spend some time in jerusalem. so, i followed her directive, and she arranged the whole trip for me. i was met by one of her cousins at the airport and driven into jerusalem. the two things that i remember about that first moment or i
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should say those first three hours was i grew up in oklahoma and i thought, oh, my gosh. this looks like obama. in one way it is a flat answer, but in another way the commonness of it. that is in the desert. that is a place where poor and outcast people live. i immediately felt at home. in a sense it sacrificed my own understanding of the place from which i had come. the context of native american history. the history of displacement in this country. the second reaction was one that i had not anticipated at all. the cousin that pick me up, we immediately picked -- hit it off. she had all these things planned. i had an urgent matter to take care of.
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and turning 21 next week and then trying to decide if i should get married. i have a proposal on the table, and there is this great fortune teller that i think we should gusty. and so here we were, both of us very religious people. immediately in the context of jerusalem going to participate in a religious practice that was not something that was immediately claimed as are on buried in a way that represents a lot about how religion functions in the world today. by the way, she did not marry him. >> i have the privilege of speaking a lot of ready and i would love to defer from the rabbi. >> it is not often that rabbis it referred to these days. i want to recognize what a privilege it is for me to be here with my colleagues from all
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of whom i have worked with before and love. what a privilege it is to be here. his books i've read avidly. i still turn toward jerusalem when i pray. that has been part of a jewish yearning and practice for as long as there has been jerusalem. to answer your question more immediately and with apologies to chloe who is competing up for big neon. i first stepped foot in jerusalem in 1967. i got there one month to the day after the 6-day work on that team tour of jerusalem. i think the thing that struck me the most about being in the holy city as a pilgrim was seeing the remnants that the tarkanian had left behind, the barbed wire, walls, gates, jerusalem had been a divided city between 1948 and
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1967. i think that double meaning sentiment among all who visited jerusalem was that it should never be so again. the jerusalem should be reunited and that it be as it was in those heady days following the war, a place of access for all religions that jews could come and go freely, christians could come and go freely. muslims can come and go freely. it is not exactly turned out that way. weekend visit jerusalem now and see it once again divided this time by jewish hands. not the city where we all rejoices kids. we noticed a preponderance of cats wondering the streets jerusalem should be a shared secret space. just as all of us share sacred
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ancestors who we read about and think about and look back to who we invoke in your purse and memories become a just as we all share one god. we should be able to share that one city whether it is christian jerusalem wandering the churches on the mount of olives or the via doloroso, whether it is the privilege to be up on the her around and see the mosques bury it actually under the temple mount and seek their excavation or whether it is jewish jerusalem. here i cannot stress enough that in hebrew we don't call it jerusalem. as you were talking about, that is salem. we can parse that and a couple of ways. one is that it is still in, that jerusalem has that one this. it is a complete city. it is a united city.
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the other way we pronounced jerusalem is years along that it would be a city of peace. >> thank you all for the wonderful responses. i have written a book about have been, and in this conversation it strikes me how similar the adjective describing jerusalem are to the adjective describing heaven. i was particularly struck. when people describe have been the talk about home. obviously this city on the hill is jerusalem. getting our city back at the end of time is jerusalem. i was wondering if the rabbi could talk of a bit about the place of jerusalem and the identity of dashboard to us because we are never in our home
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our home, that is part of who we are. >> i would like to talk about that. let me start from an odd angle, since it is ash wednesday today. let me start with that other city of god in, which was in the dave brown. in their early fifth century santa guston of hippo reacting to the sack of the great city of rome wrote his book, city of god. he imagined not rome, the physical place, but the heavenly place. in some very conscious way a guston was paralleling how jews think about jerusalem. jerusalem, even though it may not physically be hours in any given century and god knows it has not been jewish for most centuries, it was always an idea. always something we prayed about. indeed, even though jews control jerusalem today we still pray
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about it. we still say the same old prayer, which is made godspeed lead rebuild jerusalem. now, we choose amongst ourselves disagree on what that may mean. for some people it means building as fast as possible in east jerusalem. for some of us it means building a jerusalem that can be shared among all people. it remains a lodestone, a touchstone for all of us to look to. moving very much in the diaspora, medieval spain said it so poignantly into words. my heart is in the east. i observed this poignantly in 1973 when as a rabbinical student i had a professor who was teaching as hebrew literature but it happened to be this semester of the yom kippur war. he was physically in the
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classroom. his heart was in the east. i've learned what it is like to be a jew of the diaspora from that professor. however secure we are here in america and we are very secure here in america, there is this yearning for a homeland where you can walk the streets, as you had the experience. everyone is like us. the language is one we all share, even if you may not know hebrew. the calendar, the rhythms of the day are the rhythms of the jewish state, even as we compare the muslim faith to prayer or watch the christian pilgrims walked the streets. so, there is this dislocation. we are here, and god knows new york is one of the great jewish cities and all of jewish history. still, we yearn for jerusalem. >> anybody want to add anything?
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>> i would love to add a word elaborating, but also showing how this has impacted not just the jewish imagination, but the imagination of the west. let me quickly tell you a story. it is the summer of 1916. the british are absolutely devastated by the losses they are taking on the western front. on the first day of the battle between 55 and 60,000 british soldiers fell. that was july 1st. the battle went on until a november. there were a million british casualties in that battle, that one battle. was the most savage battle. that day was the most savage state and british military history. what was the response? the poet laureate of great britain commissioned a distinguished composer this set to music and palm. his purpose was to address the
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despair and fear of the british people. it was an obscure poem written in 1808 by blake. it is actually the practice to a long poem about milton. my old friend is here, and he can probably tell me the title. this section of the poem set to music is what we know as the him jerusalem. the poet laureate says that set of verses because it is invoking of jerusalem as the purpose for british sacrifice to enable the lord to walk here in england began. it speaks to the power of this fantasy. it was made even more palpable than a year later. the board continued to go devastatingly. boy george took one of his most
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important commanders away from the western front and said to him, i want you to lead a special expedition, the purpose of which is to bring a christmas present to the british people, jerusalem which is how lord allenby was dispatched with an expeditionary force lending in egypt, moving up through into palestine and taking jerusalem. i think it was december 17th. in time to present jerusalem as a present to the british people. when he took jerusalem the press in britain was full of finally richard the lionheart is advanced. and, of course, that was the beginning of the british double game playing as british imperial methods always did, to local people's being played against one another as a way of maintaining power, a double game that continues today. the point being, jerusalem defining something essential to the british imagination.
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so we are, you know, it is obvious why jews should feel at home in jerusalem. it is obvious why muslims who have defined their religion and around the dome of the bark and as the second most important religious symbol in the tradition. the west, the rest of us, it is an inch below the surface of our lives, too. that is the point. it is an inch away from mass violence. it is always mass violence that generates this imagination. going back to the room and destruction of the jewish city, you know, the grumman pacifists to manage and historians tell us that we don't know the exact number, but more than 1 million jews were killed by the romans during between 70 and 135. during all the way back to the devastations of the babylonians. mass violence and the
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imagination tied to jerusalem is a human mystery. cards i am going to jump off of that if that is okay because there is great stuff in your book about the connection between a yearning for jerusalem and an identification and nationalism. it happened here in this country and it has happened in israel right now. i am wondering if you have any thoughts. when he talked about a city on the hill he was paraphrasing jesus, but talking about jerusalem and he was talking about america one. how is our identity as americans shaped by jerusalem for good and for ill? >> again, i was struck in listening to these responses how much in the protestant imagination and hints and that sort of founding protestant
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story about what america is as a religious sensibility that has no home. it hovers over history. in fact, it begins to take jerusalem into a space that can be turned into any fantasy that serves the political interest at the moment. it gets attached to jesus so that justifies it as well. i think that right now in the united states in terms of the fantasies of jerusalem, yes, this notion of jerusalem as having. we have to always remember that when it is configured that way in the protestant imagination and particularly in the evangelical imagination the flip side of hell. and so it becomes the occasion for telling a national story in which you can again and again find those who are in heaven or will be and those are going to
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be in help. as a nationalist movement it sets the whole thing going. what we see in these hearings now that are taking place with respect to islam, that same sensibility of being able to divide the world into the have and that is jerusalem and all that is not. >> anybody want to add anything? >> sure. i think there are a number of things that were mentioned. bullet points. i want to say that these bullets are daunts seem to form a picture. the idea of america as the new jerusalem, salem, massachusetts. salem, new hampshire. this shining city on the hill, the idea of america as a structurally multi-cultural society and an idea that, you know, we are in our diversity one. where does the one mislike? have been is that we have got approval or we feel a sense of
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intimacy. and how in my own case my own journey my own identity was fraught with pain. i was born in kuwait to egyptian parents. none of his 18 months old my dad was sent to england. at six after a few months in egypt he was sent to malaysia. i was always foreign, always felt myself alien. now i came to america at the age of 17 not knowing who i was. i've talked like county dump d. i did not know if i was english, arabic, egyptian and now american. that propelled me on my own self search for my own identity. i came here during the vietnam war, civil rights movement, very difficult time. but i also observed in my journey that everything that was measurable changed every few years. physically at a different every couple of years. my thoughts, my ambitions of what i wanted to do shifted
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every couple of years. even my emotions, i thought i would die if she didn't grace me with her smile. two years later i said what was i thinking about. i could not even trust the permanence of my own emotions. yet i had this inner conviction that in in spite of all these changes of a still the same person. it made me realize that there is a self within we call it soul, my spirit, my life force, my identity, my ego and by will power. that was my own identity. i felt most at home in new york. coming to new york. there is something about america and the hope that we have here in new york, as you mentioned, new york city being in a certain sense maybe not the jerusalem of history, but something about what we are creating in the american experiment which has
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the character of what god wants us to be. a nation under god. in our country in god we trust. that we really are trying to be beyond the -- if you look even now at the declaration of independence, the use of, you know, writes in doubt by the creator. we talk about providence of god. we have, actually, a society that has taken the societal structures are ethics of our respective faith traditions and expressed them in a supra or, you know, beyond parochial language to create a society of god. the godless society. and i think that, having been brought up like you in an area of sec rules and where religion was a crutch for the week and extra and to now see a resurgence of religion, i think,
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again, there is something here. i cannot express it very eloquently. i am grasping at it, but something very important about the fact that if, in fact, jerusalem becomes and we succeed in making jerusalem a prosperous city open to all faiths and truly international city that we will have done an important step in the healing of humankind today and healing many in this sense, not on the healing of divisions and injuries but creating a sense of wholeness, a sense of oneness in spite of our diversity. when you speak about israel, going through its own identity changes to my israeli friends tell me the israel of today is very different in the israel of 1950, 60, 90. it has been undergoing rapid changes in what it means to be, you know, an israeli.
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we see this happening with the revolutions in the arab world today and how the principles of that america stands for of multiculturalism. to me as an egyptian the picture of the muslim holding up the career on an next to him and optic christian holding up across protecting each other against, you know, the secret police and trying to overthrow the mubarak regime is a kind of put of pluralism and society that i pray we will actually develop. >> we should stop this conversation pretty soon and take questions from the audience. you all have cards tar and if you want to pass them to the center, right down your questions. volunteers will come around and take them. one of the things that is striking about jim's book is that the story of jerusalem, the
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story of god has been interpreted to 4l as the story of sacrifice and territoriality in all sorts of terrible things. what jim does in his book is show you a very generous interpretation of all of those issues. i commend it to you. is there anything you want to say about violence? violence is the theme that is the spine of your book, i think. >> well, it is. what i would like to add to all that was said, it behooves us to be wary of the negative impact of this heavenly philosophizing about jerusalem across the world, across civilization, the negative impact of that on the actual people who live in the real city. talk about violence, violence that threatens and defines
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tension between israelis and palestinians is bad enough without carrying the weight of our fevered imaginations about it. so, the word of caution here is we also need to back off and let the israelis and palestinians have their place and work out their attention with each other without putting on them, as christians have certainly done for most of 2,000 years, the fate of the cosmos. defining the fate of jerusalem as the fate of the cosmos, well, i did what you mean, but it is also where real live human beings lived trying to make a life and trying to shop and have babies and raise families and get jobs and pray. find a way to live with each other in incredibly difficult situations.
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so the rest of us having as much as i love the discussion, all of us, in no way, speaking of our traditions pending our relationship to this place also owe it to the people who actually live there to leave it to them. >> do we have questions? okay. what is the message of jerusalem city and jerusalem the book for someone who is an atheist and to is not searching for god? >> well, atheists are one real chance of being saved from religion. so it is important for me to
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know that in that ancient roman world jews and christians are both regarded as atheists because they failed to vow to the conventional bonds. atheism has been a profound form of attention to the other, what we might call the transcendent. we should not be too ready to see atheism as the polar opposite of faith. my own sense is that we live in a time when traditional structures of religious imagination have been turned upside down. i don't think it is coincidental , speaking as a christian and writing as a christian, one of the first to call into question our traditional christian categories and whether they are adequate anymore and that he did it from a nazi prison awaiting his execution is also to the point. the 210
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.. humanism with atheism as well. >> here is another question.
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do you see a contradiction in the ideal of the west existing in these? >> the idealism? finreg jerusalem-- jerusalem as the western idea but it sticks it is the eastern place her. >> i would not use that word west or east but to maybe a christian and jewish understanding of that is what is meant then i can understand the question but and certainly the importance of jerusalem is there primarily for the faith religion. i doubt jerusalem is of much significance to the hindu religion of the orient. i would like to comment on the issue of a fee is some. with the delegation to iran
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under house arrest the ayatollah said if someone does what he or she truly believes to their conscience , even though there hypothesized. i am not sure if that is a rejection of the aspects of the religious practice that we all have problems with. i had problems when we went to jerusalem or two mack of the same as you and it is a lovely book. i have not read every page of but many chapters in a strongly recommend but we all seek god and looking to
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experience god he may happen there and said you will find ad under here. the notion of finding god what everybody is looking for. just as they do george harrison and i want to see you lowered describes the e eternal instinct that every human being once to see the creator and no the creator and it is that journey and to the extent of any site is it tends to open the possibility that we see god there. one of the things we have learned is best expressed where i went to guide to find him i could not find
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him there. jerusalem. i could not find him there. every where finally i looked into my own heart and there i found god. the atheists is the agnostic searching for the absolute being and consciousness and love and that is my response to the atheist and people civic that is a wonderful one and a different angle on that. i found one of the most compelling parts of the book was an account how with our understanding it is the relentless drive to scapegoat and to require a sacrifice. that is most vividly apparent in religious stories but going back to the question of nationalism, it could just
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as easily be a story about a nation and not a god. in the context of atheism, there is no assurance even the etfs will not fall prey to the dynamics that you described as being so destructive. no protection from that even in the absence of god. >> i have two questions here that to our interface questions and i will ask them together. and they seem to be implicit as far as a rejection of judeo-christian is america at a christian nation? what is our tradition? many people have called for the adoption of the judaic christian islamic tradition is it possible to say that?
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are we all from the same tradition the other question could we have the multiphase worship experience focusing on jerusalem as a city of peace? in other words, can rethink a ritual that we'll do together to have it be meaningful? may seem to be versions of the same questions i thought i would throw it out there. >> i will take a stab is it possible to say judaic christian is okay it is a mouthful to clunky we need to brand that better i cannot help but observe this country has gone in the arc
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of inter religious dialogue being we used to talk about the protestant ethic -- ethic in this country if the united states was a christian country then relearn after world war ii to talk about it has to do christian because my a teacher may he rest in peace was assistant we were jews and protestants together and the thing they he did just across the street was to insist that catholics and protestants learned to speak with one another. so we became judeo-christian now we are on the cusp of the judeo-christian islamic abraham nec if you will dike gives the been the advantage of the rise be well have something about sarah. [laughter] but what i alluded to earlier if genuinely mono
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siesta if they share a notion there is one god, than what divides us is the ways that we approach that god. we share a lot as our god. we have our own tribal were shipped, if you will. that is the second part of the question. can we find a uniform way to worship? i am not sure of the value. each of us does need a bourse tradition as a means to recognize god and to connect with their own ancestry. with that said, as we were shipped we should learn to shape our prayers' in a way they are not often shaped to not exclude the other. >> i'd like to offer another thought of american religion. this addresses the issue at
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the surface level and by far the less important level. the religious character of america took a new form of the 20th century, shaped by the apocalyptic character of nuclear weapons. after 1945 when we directed the structure of nuclear deterrents as our method of holding back the soviet union, which was a demonic stalinist movement, to be resisted for sure, nevertheless we tragically fell into a way of thinking about our relationship to being its self that was lifted right out of the book of the apocalypse interpreted in the most fundamentalist way to divide the world in a fashion between radical good and radical evil. only that division would enable us to have as a
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slogan that people remember this as a crackpot slogan, the better dead than red. because the american military strategy presentation presumed the destruction of civilization as preferable to any mitigated compromise halfway solution with our enemy. i grew up in a world that took for granted the coming nuclear war and was sent god forbid dell loss of downtown manhattan. it was nuclear winter giving the earth over to the insects who will do fine. thank you. that is what we define ourselves. that is profoundly religious and apocalyptic and saving the earth by destroying it. that is their religion to this day.
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we have yet to dismantle the system for this way of thinking which is the only reason a hundred billion through $1 trillion can go on criticized and unquestioned as the defense budget every year even in the era of savage budget cuts. the only reason we have thousands and thousands of nuclear weapons. and we have a president who's determined to shrink the arsenal he finds it politically impossible to do it. that is our religion not judaeo-christian rupert muslim. ours is nuclear weapons. >> i would expand a low bit to say given what you just described them on both the is some of to do christianity is equally prone to be excessive with that kind of the fallout of the monotheistic view but in terms of how we describe the united states today, i don't
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know what it means to describe christianity as being so diverse there are times that i feel closer to one imam and then at from a faster in oklahoma. [laughter] but not so much of the koop -- carefully constructed conscious principle but the daily practices of our lives as we cohabitate and as we bumped up against each other and learn at the base level what it means that we share with each other's world. >> i'd like to comment. james talked about bad
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religion and could religion in your book. there is bad islam and good islam and bad christianity and good christianity and bad and good religious people. from god point* of view from the reading of the q'uaran and scriptures, there is only heaven and hell. those who receive god's approval or disapproval. those who live well as good or bad americans, the american ethic that represents the highest of values and those that represent the worst and fdr taught us we have nothing to fear but fear itself. and we need to eliminate that from our vocabulary for what jesus came to teach us. the fact he taught us to love our neighbors and enemies rather


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