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City of Brass

City of Brass

City of Brass Archives

the new Exodus: Christians flee the occupation of the Holy Land

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The narrative among Islamophobes and other partisans is that Islamic intolerance and Palestinian terrorism has forced Christians out of the Holy Land, but the reality is quite different, as reported by CBS’ 60 Minutes: The report is only 15 minutes […]

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Transcript: text of address to the United Nations by Mahmoud Abbas

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This speech is quite simply a tour-de-force. President Abbas lays out the clear grievance: the settlements, are the sole obstacle to peace. He reiterates the commitment of the PLO and the Palestinian people to the peace process, and continuing diplomacy […]

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Pirates of the Mediterranean: Is Israel’s Gaza blockade legal?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

On Monday, Israeli ships intercepted an unarmed flotilla of boats trying to break through the blockade of the Gaza strip. Israeli commandos rappeled onto the boats, and in the ensuing melee at least nine civilians were shot and killed by […]

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Iran’s nuclear ambiguity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

It seems that every year, there’s a breathless report that Iran is a year ortwo away from having nuclear weapons. Once again: Two of the nation’s top military officials said Wednesday that Iran could produce bomb-grade fuel for at least […]

The view from inside Israel

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a pretty depressing assessment by Joel Rubin at Democracy Arsenal, who just returned from the Herzliya conference in Israel (the premier security summit attended by all major Israeli politicians). It was clear, after attending this conference, that the […]

the lesson of 1989: Mr. Netanyahu, tear down this wall

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Today is the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall. Today will see many hagiographic pieces about Reagan from the right, but there’s real value in learning about the complex historical context, and not enough credit I think […]

Israel: the one-state solution

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

As I’ve argued before, the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will entail only two of Democracy, Greater Israel, and Jewishness. In terms of the settlements policy, it seems that Israel has essentially picked the first two. President Obama’s insistence that […]

human shields in Gaza for the IDF?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

One of the central rationalizations for the permissibility of “collateral damage” in warfare is that the enemy uses “human shields” – that militants are deliberately hiding among civilian populations so as to force the attacker to kill innocents if they […]

Pirates of the Mediterranean

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

via Richard Silverstein of Tikkun Olam blog, the Israeli military has boarded and forcibly confiscated the crew and cargo of a humanitarian ship bound for Gaza, carrying medicine, toys and other supplies, in international waters. The list of passengers taken […]

Would an Ahmadinejad victory be good for Israel?

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

There are always those who prefer to see world events through the narrow lens of their own political interest rather than universal principles of freedom and justice. Case in point: the extremists running Israel, whose entire narrative about Iran is […]

Iran as Amalek: Netanyahu pulls an Ahmadinejad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The threat is painted in stark terms: a rogue nation, flouting international law and human rights of its minorities, with nuclear capability, led by an ultra-nationalist leader who invokes religious symbolism and who makes existential threats against its regional neighbor, […]

Amalek and Jihad

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

This is a guest post by Jonathan Edelstein. The topic is especially relevant today, because Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu just made explicit his view that Iran represents a modern-day Amalek, so it is worth understanding just what the theologic […]

When Barack met Bibi

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

Israeli prime minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama for two hours today, according to various news reports, to discuss middle east peace. The outcome? President Obama reiterated support for a two-state solution, whereas Netanyahu toed the Likud […]

journalist Amira Hass arrested in Israel

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I view the freedom of the press as a sub-category of the general principle of freedom of speech, and believe that a free press is not only a sign of a healthy democracy, it is a prerequisite. Only with a […]

Walk like an Egyptian: Obama goes to Cairo

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama’s long-anticipated foreign policy address, from the venue of a major muslim capital, has been finalized – he will deliver his speech in Cairo on June 4th. In many ways this was the obvious, “safe” choice, though my personal […]

Bibi Netanyahu: an existential threat to the Jewish state

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

President Obama has publicly stated his desire to see the creation of a Palestinian state by the end of his first term. There’s substantial progress from the Palestinian side – Hamas has announced it will cease rocket operations and says […]

Israel censors Al Jazeera

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

During the Gaza war, Al Jazeera was the only news outfit able to report on the carnage from the field, by virtue of actually being on-location, while the international media was forced to watch from afar by the Israeli government. […]

Gaza and anti-semitism

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I am frustrated, because in the past few weeks I’ve received various email forwards from many people I respect that are laden with anger and frustration at Israel’s campaign of collective punishment in Gaza. These are intelligent, tolerant people – […]

We Shall Not Be a Party to Their Counsel

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The following is a statement of principles written by Richard Silverstein of the blog Tikkun Olam and other American Jewish writers (many of whom contributed to the landmark collection of essays, A Time to Speak Out) regarding the ongoing Israeli […]

Democracy, Jewishness, and Greater Israel: pick two

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

The idea of the state of Israel is one I support wholeheartedly. A nation for the Jewish people, a homeland where they can engage in the same right of self-determination and chart their own destiny. However, this right and this […]

Remember the Holy Land

As the bloodshed continues in the Holy Land, and the Israeli government says that what we have seen so far is the “first stage,” I am reminded of the Prophet Muhammad’s saying: “If you see something evil, try to change […]

Previous Posts

the 12th Annual Brass Crescent Awards - nominations open
It's that time of the year again! What are the Brass Crescent Awards? Created in 2004 by Shahed Amanullah and Aziz Poonawalla, they are named for the Story of the City of Brass in the Thousand and One Nights. Today, the Brass Crescent - ...

posted 5:13:45pm Aug. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Obvious: The Iraq War created ISIS
This is something that is so obvious, it is in danger of never being said, in which case those who led us into war will try to ...

posted 1:48:22am Jul. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Eid at the State Department
I am honored to be invited to celebrate Eid al Fitr at the State Department again this year. And I am relieved that this time, it's actually taking place after Ramadan, which means I can actually attend for the first time! :) I am looking ...

posted 11:01:00am Jul. 21, 2015 | read full post »

The Empire State goes green for Eid
As is tradition, the Empire State Building - the most beautiful skyscraper in the world - was illuminated in green to mark Eid al Fitr. Of course, in 2015, this is announced via the official twitter account ...

posted 1:21:00am Jul. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Ramadan Pearls roundup
Here is a link to all the posts in the Ramadan Pearls series I did during Ramadan: Criterion Non-existence Mystery Angels Objective Expectant Reed Veils Lend Good I hope you enjoyed these nuggets of wisdom as much as ...

posted 3:01:31pm Jul. 18, 2015 | read full post »

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