Nissim Dahan's Blog (61)

You've Just Been Appointed U.S. Middle East Envoy...Now What?

With the bloody fighting in Gaza, emotions are running high in the region, and around the world. The ghastly images we see on the news evoke a wide range of emotions: sympathy, empathy, regret, guilt, remorse, and yes, anger. All this is understandable. And yet we sense that strong passions and unbridled emotions, in and of themselves, will not bring peace.

What is needed is a rational and concerted effort to broker a peace deal which maximizes justice, and which creates new… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on January 7, 2009 at 10:24pm — 1 Comment

We Could Argue Until The Cows Come Home...Or...

On the surface, at least, the purpose of a system of justice is to bring justice. In America, however, every defendant has the right to legal counsel. Every once in a while a sharp and crafty lawyer can get the defendant off, even if he was caught with blood on his hands. Such is the power of a persuasive argument. But is justice served when legal arguments and loopholes are used to subvert the truth?

We see unfolding before our eyes a tragedy in Gaza. Innocent civilians are losing… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on December 31, 2008 at 8:51pm — No Comments

We Have Met the Messiah and He is Us

Many religious traditions espouse the notion of the Messiah, a person who will be sent to redeem the world from sin and suffering.

In Judaism, the Hebrew Bible doesn’t really mention the idea of a personal Messiah who will end evil and usher in an age of peace. But the idea became popular as a result of rabbinic teachings, after the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans in the year 70 C.E. It is understandable that in the wake of the Temple’s destruction, and the… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on December 26, 2008 at 5:12pm — 4 Comments

What Does Mumbai Mean?

I don’t claim any particular expertise in Indian/Pakistani relations. However, given the horrific events of recent days, I think that certain conclusions can be drawn.

1. Terrorism will not go away any time soon: Given the strong probability that there will always be various groups around the world whose members perceive themselves to be the victims of injustice, and given that as few as 10 men, acting in tandem, and with scant resources, could wreak such havoc in a huge… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on December 5, 2008 at 4:30pm — No Comments

Where does Self-Defense End, and Terrorism Begin?

Almost every legal system recognizes self-defense as a legitimate legal defense. If somebody is coming at you with an ax, and you have a reasonable concern for your life, and you have no means of escape, then you have the right to protect yourself, even if it means shooting the guy in the head. In short, the right to defend oneself is the right to take the life of another.

But is it possible that the right to defend oneself is being stretched so thin, that it crosses over into the… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on November 21, 2008 at 8:21pm — 6 Comments

Where is the Honor in Honor Killing?

Every once in a while we hear of an “honor killing” carried out by a family member against one of their own. A recent article about an Iranian father who stoned his daughter to death, for bringing “dishonor” to him and to his family, is a case in point. The girl may, or may not, have consorted with a man without the father’s approval, but he took it upon himself to restore his “honor” in the cruelest way possible, by taking the life of his own flesh and blood.

How is it that people… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on November 12, 2008 at 7:21pm — 1 Comment

Can Barack Obama Deliver On A Vision of Hope?

Barack Obama is the president-elect; a momentous event in the annals of American history, and an inspiration to people all around the world. President-elect Obama campaigned on a vision of hope, and in many ways, his life’s story inspires a sense of hope: born into relative poverty, raised by a single mother, abandoned by his father, turning away from the reckless abandon of his youth toward the pursuit of the finest education, turning away from the pursuit of profit toward helping his own… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on November 6, 2008 at 11:45pm — 2 Comments


The biblical story of the Tower of Babel is fascinating to me, in part because I sense that the story is replaying itself as we speak. Here are several passages from chapter 11 of the Book of Genesis:

The whole earth was of one language and of common purpose…

…They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them in fire…”

…And they said, “Come, let us build us a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on October 30, 2008 at 11:36pm — No Comments

Islam: A Religion of Peace?

I attended a debate recently. The issue: Is Islam a Religion of Peace, and is Shariah, or Islamic law, consistent with the U.S. Constitution? Arguing in the affirmative was Suhail, whom I would consider a moderate Muslim. Arguing in the negative was Frank, an American who considers Islam to be a threat to Western civilization. The following is an abridged version of the actual debate. See what you think.

Suhail: The U.S. Constitution protects us all from discrimination on the… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on October 17, 2008 at 3:27am — 4 Comments

In Search of New Frontiers

America has always been a land of new frontiers. From the time that Columbus first set foot here, to the time that pioneers set out to settle the West, to the time that Americans set out for the moon, there has always been a sense here that there are new frontiers to explore. And yet, America now finds herself somewhat at a loss, and the promise of new frontiers is becoming illusory at best. Where do we go from here? The question lingers in the public mind.

America faces some grave… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on October 3, 2008 at 12:41am — No Comments

"You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?"

Remember that Robert De Nero film when he said those words? I think it was Taxi Driver, and believe me; you wouldn’t want to be the one talking to him. You probably have enough troubles without getting a crazed animal on your ass.

Is it just my imagination, or do people in the Middle East get pissed off easily? Do you think that some of them, at least, get up in the morning wondering where the next insult will come from? And once they lose their cool, they don’t forget so easily, do… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on August 29, 2008 at 11:00pm — 5 Comments

The Soldier and The Terrorist: A Conversation

Most of us know, deep in our gut, that terrorism—the use of force against innocent civilians for the sake of political advantage—is wrong. But proving that is often more difficult than it first seems. The following hypothetical conversation is a case in point.

Soldier: I can’t believe you guys; strapping on suicide bombs and blowing up innocent civilians. Have you no shame, no sense of decency?

Terrorist: I can’t believe you guys; strapping on your seatbelts… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on August 8, 2008 at 5:53pm — 2 Comments

Don't Laugh: Can Saudi Arabia become the "Mecca" of Green?

Even the title sounds a bit out there. What, the Middle East, the world’s largest producer of oil, becoming a center for green technology, and renewable energy? Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? And yet, the sheer incongruity of it all may just be enough to make it work. In a world of increasing uncertainty, sometimes it is the unexpected that is to be expected.

Look at the world, and what do you see? A lot of good things, that’s for sure. Beauty surrounds us wherever we choose to look. But… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on July 23, 2008 at 4:42am — 3 Comments

If you were John McCain, how would you sell a Vision of Hope for the Middle East?

John McCain has a daunting task ahead of him. He believes deeply in securing a victory in Iraq, at a time when the American people’s support for the war is at an all time low. He believes deeply that Islamic extremism is the transcendent issue of our time, at a time when Americans are preoccupied with economic woes. He believes deeply in cleaning up the environment, at a time when Americans are facing the prospect of $5 a gallon gas.

One of the hurdles that John McCain will have to… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on July 8, 2008 at 1:00am — No Comments

Global Warming: The Beginning of the End, or perhaps a New Beginning?

There is as we speak, a growing awareness about Global Warming, and a growing controversy about the dangers it poses, and the possible solutions which could address those dangers. Some believe that Global Warming is the end of life as we know it, and others dismiss it as environmental quackery. To my mind, however, there is enough scientific evidence of the threat of Global Warming, such that the risk of not doing anything about it, is far greater than the risk of doing something, and later… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on June 28, 2008 at 8:53pm — No Comments

If you were Barack Obama, how would you Sell a Vision of Hope for the Middle East?

Given the choice, most voters would rather forget about the Middle East. With so many pressing problems here at home, it is hard to keep worrying about that precarious place. But the Middle East is not easily forgotten. In the first place, our oil supply, which continues to fuel our economy until we find feasible alternatives, requires a measure of stability in the region. And in the second place, John McCain has stated repeatedly that the threat of Islamic extremism is the transcendent issue… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on June 14, 2008 at 5:38am — 4 Comments

What If Being Good Were Made Profitable?

The political philosopher, Machiavelli, concluded that “fear” was the best tool a leader could use to keep his subjects under control. And there is no doubt that fear has worked well over the centuries to keep people in line. But could it be that in today’s globalized world a new organizing principle may be emerging?

Take China, for example. I don’t doubt that the leaders there would like nothing more than to crack a few more heads in Tibet. They are tempted to use fear to quell the… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on June 1, 2008 at 9:23pm — No Comments

Talking To Our Enemies: Why Even Bother?

President Bush’s recent trip to Jerusalem hinted at what will surely become a contentious issue in the upcoming presidential election. In addressing the Israeli Knesset, the president said something to the effect that talking to Iran’s leaders was tantamount to “appeasement,” which history has proven to be a failed policy. In fact, the Bush administration has been repeatedly criticized for refusing to negotiate with certain, specifically selected enemies, like Iran and… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on May 24, 2008 at 10:00pm — No Comments

A Recipe for Peace Pie


• 1 Nanotechnology Research Department at an Israeli University

• 1 state of the art Green Technology Product

• 1 Industrial Zone in the Palestinian West Bank

• 1 mid-size Factory Building

• Several Palestinian and Israeli Entrepreneurs (preferably of the male and female variety)

• 200 Palestinian workers (preferably of the “peace-loving” variety)

• Several Saudi Investors

• 1… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on May 18, 2008 at 4:30pm — No Comments

The Hamsa and the Businessman

Most of you probably know what a Hamsa is. Right? For those who don’t; it is a good luck symbol, in the shape of a hand, which has been around as part of Arab and Jewish cultures for centuries. Most Hamsas feature an “eye” to protect us from the “evil eye.” And in recent times, a great many feature a “dove” to symbolize peace.

What would you say are the evils that we need protection from in this day and age? I would point to three in particular. Today’s evil is the evil of… Continue

Added by Nissim Dahan on May 12, 2008 at 8:30pm — No Comments


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