05 August 2013

Perhaps Art Can Succeed Where Politics Has Failed

The repetitive geometric patterns in Islamic art teach Arabs to see their world as a continuous uninterrupted pattern that extends across North Africa and the Middle East. They see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern.

NEW IRANIAN PRESIDENT CALLS ISRAEL AN "OLD WOUND" THAT MUST BE ELIMINSTED WHILE THOUSANDS MARCH CHANTING “DEATH TO ISRAEL.”

President Hasan Rouhani calls for the destruction of Israeli as Iran races ahead to build an atomic bomb to carry out its threat.  Rouhani calls Israel an "old wound" that should be eliminated.  Former president Ahmadinejad, known for vitriolic anti-Israeli rhetoric, pledges to “wipe Israel off the map.”


Israel is viewed as an alien presence that Palestinian Authority television calls a “cancer in the body of the Arab nation.” The Hamas charters calls for jihad to destroy Israel, an ugly stain in the midst of the Islamic world. “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them.” 


PEACE: Perceptual Shift Derived from Islamic Art
The perceptual shift needed to lead to genuine peace can be found in Islamic art where a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates human creation as less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Imam of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, explains why the idea of including some voluntary counter-pattern in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, and architecture. Devout Muslim women who weave rugs would not be so arrogant as to attempt a perfect rug since such perfection only belongs to Allah. Consequently, they deliberately break each rug’s patterning as a mark of their humility.


The Islamic World Needs Israel to Realize Its Values
Peace can be achieved when the Islamic world recognizes that they need Israel to realize its own religious values. Israel provides the break in the contiguous Islamic world extending from Morocco to Pakistan. Accepting the Jewish State as the necessary counter-pattern demonstrates humility and abrogates arrogance before Allah and honors the diversity evident in all of God’s creations. The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

Sheikh Palazzi quotes from the Koran, Sura 5:20-21, to support the Arab world’s need to switch their viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.”

Jews are the Indigenous People of the Land of Israel
According to the Imam, Islam’s holiest book confirms what every Jew and Christian who honors the Bible knows: The Land of Israel was divinely deeded to the Children of Israel. The Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel who have continuously lived there for more three millennia despite the conquests of numerous imperialist empires. Jews are from Judea. Arabs are from Arabia. The Arabs are blessed with 21 other countries.

A paradigm shift can transform the perception of Israel as a blemish to seeing it as a tiny golden seed from which a lush green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East.

Israel is a Blessing for the Muslim World
Professor Khaleed Mohammed, expert in Islamic law, explains: “As a Muslim, when I read 5:21 and 17:104 in the Quran, I can only say that I support that there must be an Israel. The Quran adumbrates the fight against tyranny and oppression, using the Children of Israel as an example, indeed as the prime example.” Tashibih Sayyed, Editor-in-Chief of Muslim World Today writes: “I consider the creation of the Jewish State as a blessing for the Muslims. Israel has provided us an opportunity to show the world the Jewish state of mind in action, a mind that yearns to be free…. The Jewish traditions and culture of pluralism, debate, acceptance of dissension and difference of opinion have manifested themselves in the shape of the State of Israel to present the oppressed Muslim world with a paradigm to emulate.”

An Islamic Metaphor to Usher in an Era of Peace
Peace will come from a fresh Islamic metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will. A shift in viewpoint where Israel is perceived as a blessing, as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world, will usher in an era of peace. Peace will come when the Islamic world recognizes that Israel as the national state of the Jewish people is the realization of its own values.

02 August 2013

Israel is a Wound on the Islamic World


NEW IRANIAN PRESIDENT CALLS FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL WHILE THOUSANDS MARCH CHANTING “DEATH TO ISRAEL” AND “DOWN WITH AMERICA”
The newly elected Iran president Hasan Rouhani calls for the destruction of Israeli as Iran races ahead to build an atomic bomb to carry out its threat.

Rouhani called Israel an "old wound" that should be eliminated, while tens of thousands took to the streets in anti-Israeli rallies across Iran, chanting "Down with America" and "Death to Israel." Protesters burned American and Israeli flags.
"The Zionist regime has been a wound on the body of the Islamic world for years and the wound should be removed," so-called “moderate” Rouhani ranted.

Outgoing President Ahmadinejad - who was known for vitriolic anti-Israeli rhetoric while in office, including calls that Israel be wiped off the map - spoke to the crowds after Friday prayers at the Tehran University campus in his last public speech before his term ends.
"You Zionists planted a wind but you will harvest a storm," said Ahmadinejad. "A destructive storm is on the way and it will destroy Zionism."

28 June 2013

New Opportunity for Creative Peacemaking


Fresh Directions
The
Jerusalem Post, 28 June 2013

Sir – Hamadallah’s resignation from being a powerless Prime Minister in a corrupt Palestinian Authority with a bogus “peace” process is good news (“Abbas accepts Hamadallah’s resignation” June 24).

His return to the presidency of An-Najah University offers him a creative opportunity to become an honest peacemaker.  Rami Hamdallah has the power to initiate a real peace process by driving 20 minutes to meet with Dan Meyerstein.  Hamdallah used his creative energies to build a small college into a major university in Nablus while Meyerstein built a major university a mere 12 miles away in Ariel.
Today, 600 Arab students study in Ariel University.  Hamdallah can initiate a genuine peace process by inviting 600 Jewish students to study in An-Najah University. 

These two neighboring universities working together can forge fresh directions for Arabs and Jews to live in peace with each other between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River.

Mel Alexenberg, Ra’anana
The writer is professor emeritus at Ariel University
 

02 May 2013

Allah Is a Zionist

By Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi                         

quran  
An 11th-century North African Quran in the British Museum. (Wikipedia) The Quranic argument for Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel

Over the past 15 years, the political conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs has been reframed as a religious war in which leaders from Yasser Arafat to Hassan Nasrallah to Osama bin Laden have appealed to the authority of the Quran to support their goal of eliminating the State of Israel. The authority of the Quran has also been cited in support of a revisionist history that seeks to deny the historical connection of the Jewish people to the city of Jerusalem and to its holiest sites, including the Temple Mount. Ignorant of what the Quran actually says about Jerusalem, Western reporters have recently tended to ignore archeological and historical evidence and give equal weight to the supposedly competing religious narratives of Jews and Muslims: Jews are said to believe that there was a Jewish temple in Jerusalem, while the Quran states that the historical and religious claims of the Jews are false.

The transformation of a political conflict over land into a religious war is one of the most dangerous and frightening goals of radical Islamist politicians—but it has nothing to do with the Quran. Here the Italian Muslim communal leader and Quranic scholar Sheik Abdul Hadi Palazzi examines what the Quran says about the connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel. Far from negating the historical claims of a Jewish presence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Quran actually confirms Jewish accounts of the building of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and supports the Biblical claim that the land of Israel was given to the Jews by God.

1. Jewish sovereignty in Jerusalem
In August 2002, the Yasser Arafat-appointed “mufti of Jerusalem and the Holy Land,” Ikrima Sabri, told the Western media that “there is not even the smallest indication of the existence of a Jewish temple in Jerusalem in the past. In the whole city, there is not even a single stone indicating Jewish history.” By saying this, he confirmed what Arafat had already said to the London-based Arabic paper al-Hayat and reportedly repeated to Bill Clinton and Ehud Barak at Camp David: “Archaeologists have not found a single stone proving that the Temple of Solomon was there because historically the Temple was not in Palestine.”

In making such statements, Sabri and Arafat not only blatantly denied history, archeology, and the teachings of the Bible, but they also denied the words of the Quran. From the time of the Revelation of the Noble Quran until recently, all Muslims unanimously accepted that the Haram as-Sharif, or Holy Esplanade, on which the Dome of the Rock today stands is the same place where Solomon’s and Zorobabel’s Temples once stood. As a matter of fact, Haram as-Sharif, the Sacred Area of Temple Mount, includes a place called Solomon’s Standpoint, or Maqam Sulayman—according to the Muslim tradition, Solomon used to sit there and supplicate while Hiram’s masons were engaged in building the Temple. From that same place the Muslim tradition says that Solomon prayed to dedicate the House once it was completed and to intercede for those who will approach it for worshipping.

Accepting that Solomon’s Temple was in Jerusalem is compulsory for every Muslim believer, because that is what the Quran and the Islamic oral tradition, called the Sunnah, teach.
In the Quran, Surah Bani Isra’il (the Chapter of the Children of Israel), verses 1-7, we find a description of Solomon’s Temple and of how it was destroyed twice by the enemies of the Jewish people:
Glory to Him Who caused His servant [Muhammad] to travel by night from Masjid al-Haram [in Mecca] to Masjid al-Aqsa [in Jerusalem] whose precincts We did bless, in order that We might show him some of Our Signs: for He is the One Who heareth and seeth everything. We gave Moses the Book [Torah], and made it a Guide to the Children of Israel, commanding: ‘Take not other than Me as Disposer of your affairs.’ O ye that are the offspring of those whom We carried [in the Ark] with Noah, verily he was a devotee most grateful. And We warned the Children of Israel in the Book, that twice would they do mischief on the earth and twice be elated with mighty arrogance. When the first of the warnings came to pass, We sent against you Our creatures [Babylonians], given to terrible warfare: they entered the very inmost parts of your homes, and thus the first warning was fulfilled. Then We did grant you the return as against them; We gave you increase in resources and sons and made you abundant in human power. If ye did well, ye did well for yourselves; if ye did evil, [ye did it] against yourselves. So when the second of the warnings came to pass, [We permitted your enemies] to disfigure your faces, and to enter your Temple as they entered it once before, and to bring to destruction all that fell into their power.
Imam Abu Abdullah al-Qurtubi, who lived from 1214 to 1273 and was one of the most authoritative medieval Quranic annotators, in his Al-Jami’ li Ahkam il-Qur’an, or Encyclopedia of Quranic Rules, explains the context (asbab) of the verses by mentioning among other sources the authentic Prophetic tradition (hadith). He wrote:
Hudhayfah Ibn al-Yaman asked the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him:
‘I travelled more than once to Jerusalem, but saw no Temple standing there. What is the reason?’
The Prophet Muhammad replied:
‘Verily Solomon son of David raised Bayt al-Maqdis [i.e., Beth ha-Mikdash, the First Temple] with gold and silver, with rubies and emeralds, and Allah caused human beings and spirits to work under his command, until the raising of the House was completed. Afterwards a Babylonian King destroyed Bayt al-Maqdis and brought its treasures to the land of Babylonia, until a King of Persia defeated him and ransomed the Children of Israel. They rebuilt Bayt al-Maqdis for the second time [the Second Temple], until it was destroyed for the second time by an army led by a Roman Emperor.’
One can easily verify that Jewish and Muslim traditional sources are confirming each other: The Temple was built by Solomon and destroyed by a Babylonian king. A Persian king later defeated the Babylonians and ransomed the Jews, permitting them to return to the Land of Israel. The Temple was rebuilt but afterward was destroyed by the Romans. This Temple stood in the area referred to as Beth haMikdash in Hebrew and Bayt al-Maqdis in Arabic. Those political and pseudo-religious Palestinian leaders who claim that “there was never a Jewish Temple in Jerusalem” are surely aware that, in order to support their political claims, they are compelled to lie, hide sources, and contradict the letter of the Quran and the Islamic tradition.

An earlier Quranic exegete and jurist, Imam Muhammad ibn Jarir at-Tabari, who lived from 838 to 923, writes in his Tarikh al-Rusul wa al-Muluk, or History of Prophets and Kings, that the same sacred area was the place where Jacob had his vision of the Heavenly Ladder:
When Jacob awoke he felt blissful from what he had seen in his trustful dream and vowed, for God’s sake that, if he returned to his family safely, he would build there a Temple for the Almighty. He also vowed to perpetual charity one tenth of his property for the sake of God. He poured oil on the Stone so as to recognize it and called the place Bayt El, which means ‘the House of God.’ It became the location of Jerusalem later.  
In Jerusalem on a huge Rock, Solomon son of David built a beautiful Temple to expand the worship of God. Today on the base of that Temple stands the Dome of the Rock.
Historical negation of Jewish and Islamic sources concerning Jerusalem is recent and does not predate the PLO and its political propaganda. In 1932, during the British Mandate period, the Supreme Muslim Council of Jerusalem published a Brief Guide to Haram as-Sharif for Muslim pilgrims, written in English. “This site is one of the oldest in the world,” it says. “Its sanctity dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.”

Not only were Arafat’s minions and heirs in Jerusalem attempting to rewrite the history of Arabs and Jews in the region as told by others; they were also attempting to rewrite the history of Arabs and Jews in the region as told by Islamic Arab sources, too.

2. Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel
The Biblical notion that God granted the land of Canaan to the Children of Israel is confirmed by the Quran. In the Surah of Jonah, verse 93, we read:
We settled the Children of Israel in a beautiful dwelling-place, and provided for them sustenance of the best.
In Surah al-Ahraf (of the Barrier), verse 137, we read:
We made a people considered weak inheritors of the Land in both Eastern and Western side [of the Jordan river] whereon we sent down Our blessings. The fair promise of thy Lord was fulfilled for the Children of Israel, because they had patience and constancy, and We levelled to the ground the great works and fine buildings which Pharaoh and his people erected.
Surah al Maidah (the Table), verse 21, is the only passage in which the Holy Land is mentioned by that title (al-Ard al-Muqaddas). It refers to the words Moses spoke to the descendants of Isaac:
Remember Moses said To his people: ‘O my People, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when He produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave You what He had not given To any other among the peoples. O my people! Enter The Holy Land which God hath written for you, and turn not back ignominiously [to this heritage of yours], for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.
In a commentary of Imam Abu al-Qasim Mahmud al-Zamakshari, who lived from 1074 to 1144, titled al-Kashaf, or The Revealer, we read the following explanation:
As for the borders of ‘the Holy Land,’ some scholars says its northern border is the Mount [Hermon] and its surroundings, and for others in also includes a part of the Land of Sham [the Golan]. Others say it extends from the territory of the Philistines [Gaza] until Damascus and a part of Urvum. Some say that God presented to Abraham this Land as an inheritance for his children when he went up to the mountain and said to him: ‘Look around as far as your gaze can reach. Every place reached by your eyes will be theirs.’ The Holy Temple was the dwelling place of the prophets and the residence of the believers. ‘God hath written for you’ means ‘God swore it and wrote in the Divine Tablets of Predestination: that it is yours, belongs to your people and do not turn back from it. Do not be afraid of the Philistine giants who live there.
A similar note is also found in a commentary of Abdallah ibn ‘Umar al-Qadi al-Baidawi, who lived from 1226 to 1260, titled Asrar ut-Tanzil wa Asrar ut-Ta’wil, or The Secrets of Revelation and the Secrets of Interpretation.

3. Jewish sovereignty in the Land of Israel was never abolished
Moreover, the Quran explicitly refers to the return of the Jews to the Land of Israel before the Last Judgment when it says in the Surah of the Children of Israel, verse 104:
And thereafter We [God] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.’
Therefore, from an Islamic point of view, Israel is the legitimate owner of the land God deeded to her and whose borders were defined by Abraham in Genesis.

All recent claims according to which the “assignment of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people was withdrawn or abrogated” are bereft of scriptural or traditional evidence. The Quran mentions the territory that God assigned to the Jewish people, but neither it nor the traditional Islamic sources mention a supposed withdrawal.

Imam al-Qurtubi explains in al-Jami that the last promise concerning the return of the Jewish people “together in a mingled crowd” after the destruction of the Second Temple will be a sign that precedes the coming of the Messiah.

The Quran only mentions a double period of mischief and a double punishment with exile from the Land. God says:
We warned the Children of Israel in the Book, that TWICE would they do mischief on the earth and TWICE be elated with mighty arrogance.
According to this Quranic proof, the contemporary Zionist rebuilding of the State of Israel—the third entry of the Jews to their divinely appointed land—is not mischief but rather a fulfillment of what Imam az-Zamakshari reminds the Jews: “God swore it and wrote in the Divine Tablets of Predestination: that it is yours, belongs to your people and do not turn back from it.”

Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi is secretary general of the Italian Muslim Assembly.

01 December 2012

Praise to the Czechs


The Czech Republic is the only European country that moved past Europe's anti-Semitic past to vote against the UN attack on Israel by the genocidal Palestinian Arabs who call for the annihilation of Israel and the murder of Jews.

The desperate need to obliterate the Jewish presence in their midst is stated in the Hamas charter: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them…. I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill."

These murders approved by the UN General Assembly showered Israel's civilian population with thousands of rockets.  One made a direct hit on my niece's apartment house in Kiryat Malachi killing her neighbors and sending her children into shock!

In December, I was happy to be in Prague participating in the 2012 Mutaphorphosis conference exploring interrelationships between art and science.

The last time I was there was in 2004 for my exhibition Cyberangels: Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East at the Robert Guttman Gallery of the Jewish Museum in Prague.

Peace will come from a fresh metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will, rather than an alien presence that they seek to exterminate. 

25 May 2011

Aesthetic Peace Tweets

Artist Mel Alexenberg with the ambassadors of Israel and United States at the opening of his "Aesthetic Peace" exhibition in Prague
Dots are a counter-pattern woven into an Islamic rug

The tweets below are a commentary on the the biblical book Numbers/Bamidbar from the Torah Tweets blogart project http://torahtweets.blogspot.com/

Four of our grandsons are serving in the Israel Defense Forces protecting us from enemies committed to Israel's destruction.

When Mel served in the IDF, we had hoped that our children and grandchildren would live in our land at peace with all our neighbors.

Netanyahu made it clear in his address to the US Congress that peace can only come when the Arabs accept a Jewish State in their midst.

However, all peace processes from Oslo to Obama are doomed to failure because the conflict is not political but aesthetic and religious.

At his Aesthetic Peace exhibition in Prague, Mel explains to the ambassadors of Israel and US about his peace plan derived from Islamic art.

Behind them is a painting of a pattern from a Damascus mosque superimposed on a map of the Islamic world in which Israel is a counter pattern.

The continuously repeated geometric patterns in Islamic art are perceived by Arabs as spreading across North Africa and the Middle East.

They see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern, an alien presence they try to eliminate through war, terrorism and political action.

Rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs.

Since only Allah creates perfection, they purposely disrupt the uniform pattern to demonstrate that human creation is less than perfect.

Peace will come from a fresh metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will.

Perceiving Israel as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world will usher in an era of peace.

The Arab world needs Israel to realize its own aesthetic and religious values. Perhaps art can succeed where politics has failed.

06 August 2009

Aesthetic Metaphor to Counter the Fatah General Assembly's Rejection of Peace


All peace processes and road maps are doomed to failure because the Arab world’s refusal to accept a Jewish state in its midst is an aesthetic problem rather than a political one.

A New Islamic Metaphor for Peace is Needed
In Israel’s former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s July article in The Washington Post, he asks: “To this day, I cannot understand why the Palestinian leadership did not accept the unprecedented proposal I offered them. It included a solution to all outstanding issues: territorial compromise, security, Jerusalem and refugees. It would be worth exploring the reason that the Palestinians rejected my offer.” This is the reason, Mr. Olmert: without a perceptual shift and new metaphor for peace, no Arab will rest content with Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people existing in the Middle East.

Islamic art and thought can provide an alternative to viewing Israel as the alien presence that the Arabs have continually tried to eliminate through war, terrorism, and political action. Genuine peace can be achieved through a perceptual shift in which Israel is perceived as a realization of Islamic aesthetic values. Peace will come through a new metaphor through which Muslims see the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will rather than as an unbearable blemish in the heart of the Arab world. Perhaps, thinking out of the box from a fresh aesthetic viewpoint can succeed in bringing peace where politics has failed. The Peres Center for Peace proposes that art and creativity can inspire new approaches and create new metaphors to transform attitudes fixed in old patterns of mutual mistrust and prejudice.

A Jewish State in the Land of Israel 1,600 Years before Islam
The Arabs reject the fact that Israel is the only nation among the 21 countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea where its people still speak the same language, follow the same religion, celebrate the same holidays, and live by the same calendar that it did more than 3000 years ago. When King Solomon ruled in Judea, the Arabs were primitive pagan tribes in the Arabian Desert. Islam was founded and its warriors invaded the Land of Israel 1,600 years after King David moved the capital of the Jewish state from Hebron to Jerusalem.

Fatah Joins Hamas in Calling for the Extermination of Israel
Denying Israel as the historic homeland of the Jewish people was forcefully reiterated by the so called “moderate” Fatah in its General Assembly in Bethlehem when it called for the “objection by force to all political solutions that are offered as an alternative to the extermination of the Zionist entity.” The desperate need to obliterate the Jewish presence in their midst is also stated in the Hamas charter: “Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them…. I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill."
What does Fatah mean when they disingenuously talk of “two states for two peoples” hoodwinking the Americans and Europeans so that they parrot their mantra? Since Fatah refuses to acknowledge the right of the Jews to a state of their own, who are the other people? In the Fatah Assembly’s call for a strategic alliance with Iran is now clear that Fatah has joined Hamas, the front-line Iranian proxy army that has been testing the waters of world opinion by launching thousands of rockets into Israel as a prelude to an Iranian atomic bomb annihilating Israel.

Netanyahu and Obama Set Parameters for Peace
Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama set the parameters to overcome decades of hostility and lead to peace. Netanyahu’s first principle is the need for explicit Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. Obama rightly sees that the war between Palestinian Arabs and Jews can only come to an end within the framework of a regional peace that involves all the Arabs states. Both these two crucial parameters can be realized with a perceptual shift and fresh metaphor derived from Islamic aesthetics.

Art is a Mirror of Culture
Historian of Islamic art, Elisabeth Siddiqui, writes that art is the mirror of a culture and its worldview. She emphasizes that there is no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the Islamic world. “Not only does its art reflect its cultural values, but even more importantly, the way in which its adherents, the Muslims, view the spiritual realm, the universe, life, and the relationships of the parts to the whole.”

The repetitive geometric patterns in Islamic art teach Arabs to see their world as a continuous uninterrupted pattern that extends across North Africa and the Middle East. They see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern. From this perspective, Israel is viewed as an alien presence that the Palestinian Authority television calls a “cancer in the body of the Arab nation.”

A Perceptual Shift Derived from Islamic Art
Fortunately, the perceptual shift needed to lead to genuine peace can be found in Islamic art where a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates human creation as less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Imam of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, explains why the idea of including some voluntary counter-pattern in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, and architecture. Devout Muslim women who weave rugs would not be so arrogant as to attempt a perfect rug since such perfection only belongs to Allah. Consequently, they deliberately break each rug’s patterning as a mark of their humility.

The Islamic World Needs Israel to Realize Its Values
Peace can be achieved when the Islamic world recognizes that they need Israel to realize its own religious values. Israel provides the break in the contiguous Islamic world extending from Morocco to Pakistan. Accepting the Jewish State as the necessary counter-pattern demonstrates humility and abrogates arrogance before Allah and honors the diversity evident in all of God’s creations. The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

Sheikh Palazzi quotes from the Koran, Sura 5:20-21, to support the Arab world’s need to switch their viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.”

Jews are the Indigenous People of the Land of Israel
According to the Imam, Islam’s holiest book confirms what every Jew and Christian who honors the Bible knows: The Land of Israel was divinely deeded to the Children of Israel. The Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel who have continuously lived there for more three millennia despite the conquests of numerous imperialist empires. Jews are from Judea. Arabs are from Arabia. The Arabs are blessed with 21 other countries.

A paradigm shift can transform the perception of Israel as a blemish to seeing it as a tiny golden seed from which a lush green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East.

Israel as a Blessing for the Muslim World
Professor Khaleed Mohammed, expert in Islamic law, explains: “As a Muslim, when I read 5:21 and 17:104 in the Quran, I can only say that I support that there must be an Israel. The Quran adumbrates the fight against tyranny and oppression, using the Children of Israel as an example, indeed as the prime example.” Tashibih Sayyed, Editor-in-Chief of Muslim World Today writes: “I consider the creation of the Jewish State as a blessing for the Muslims. Israel has provided us an opportunity to show the world the Jewish state of mind in action, a mind that yearns to be free…. The Jewish traditions and culture of pluralism, debate, acceptance of dissension and difference of opinion have manifested themselves in the shape of the State of Israel to present the oppressed Muslim world with a paradigm to emulate.”

An Islamic Metaphor to Usher in an Era of Peace
Peace will come from a fresh Islamic metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will. A shift in viewpoint where Israel is perceived as a blessing, as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world, will usher in an era of peace. Peace will come when the Islamic world recognizes that Israel as the national state of the Jewish people is the realization of its own values.

09 January 2009

Perhaps Art Can Succeed Where Politics Has Failed

Framed with a pattern from a Damascus mosque is a quotation from the Koran stating that the ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland realizes Mohammed's prophecy
Aesethic Peace Facebook Group
Hundreds of Jews, Muslims, and Christians worldwide are joining together in an “Aesthetic Peace” Facebook group to promote a new metaphor for peace to end the sixty-year war aimed at destroying the State of Israel. This metaphor derived from Islamic art invites a perceptual shift through which Muslims see the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will rather than as an alien presence in the midst of the Islamic world. Perhaps thinking out of the box from a fresh aesthetic viewpoint can succeed in bringing peace where politics has failed.

Misguided Peace-Making Efforts
All diplomatic processes and road maps from Oslo to Annapolis are doomed to failure because the conflict is not political but rather aesthetic. The misguided peace-making efforts of the Americas and Europeans have not stopped Iran in its race to develop weapons of mass destruction while its proxy armies Hamas and Hezbollah rain murderous rockets on Israel’s towns and cities as part of their stated aim of wiping Israel off the map.

Israel Seen as an Ugly Stain
The repetitive geometric patterns in Islamic art teach Muslims to see their world as a continuous uninterrupted pattern that extends across North Africa and the Middle East. Unfortunately, they see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern. From this perspective, Israel is viewed as an alien presence that they have continually tried to eliminate through war, terrorism, and political action. Palestinian Authority television labels Israel as a “cancer in the body of the Arab nation.” Its emblems, publications, and web sites show the map of Israel labeled Palestine. Israel does not exist. Former Iranian president Rafsanjani expressed his longing for a day when an Islamic nuclear weapon could remove the “extraneous matter” called Israel from the midst of the Islamic world.

Perceptual Shift Can Bring Peace
Fortunately, the perceptual shift needed to lead to genuine peace can be found in Islamic art and thought. In Islamic art, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates human creation as less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Imam of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, proposes that the idea of underlying the Divine infinitude and the human fallacy by including some voluntary counter-pattern in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, and architecture. The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with the perfection of Allah.

In “Islamic Textile Art: Anomalies in Kilims,” Muhammad Thompson and Nasima Begum write that the weavers of kilim rugs, “devout Muslim women, would not be so arrogant as to even attempt a ‘perfect kilim’ since such perfection belonged only to Allah. Consequently, they would deliberately break the kilim’s patterning as a mark of their humility.”

Islamic Art Relects Islamic Values
Historian of Islamic art, Elisabeth Siddiqui, writes in the Arabic journal Al-Madrashah Al-Ula that art is the mirror of a culture and its worldview. She emphasizes that there is no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the Islamic world. “Not only does its art reflect its cultural values, but even more importantly, the way in which its adherents, the Muslims, view the spiritual realm, the universe, life, and the relationships of the parts to the whole.”

Peace can be achieved when the Islamic world recognizes that they need Israel to realize their own religious and aesthetic values. Israel provides the break in the contiguous Islamic world extending from Morocco to Pakistan. Accepting the Jewish State as the necessary counter-pattern demonstrates humility and abrogates arrogance before Allah and honors the diversity evident in all of God’s creations. The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.’”

Welcoming Tiny Israel in the Huge Islamic World
Instead of dreaming of wiping Israel off the map, the State of Israel needs to be drawn on Islamic maps as a small counter-pattern in the continuous design running from the Atlantic Ocean to the borders of India. If the contiguous Islamic world were the size of a football field, Israel would be smaller than a football placed in the middle of the field.

Sheikh Palazzi quotes from the Koran (Sura 5:20-21) to support the Arab world’s need to switch their viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.’”

Jews Are the Indigious People of the Land of Israel
According to the Imam, Islam’s holiest book confirms what every Jew and Christian who honors the Bible knows: The Land of Israel was divinely deeded to the Children of Israel. The Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel who have continuously lived there for more three millennia despite the conquests of numerous imperialist empires. Jews are from Judea. Arabs are from Arabia. The Arabs are blessed with 21 other countries.

A paradigm shift can transform the perception of Israel as a blemish to seeing it as a tiny golden seed from which a lush green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East.
The Jewish State as a Blessing for Muslims
Professor Khaleed Mohammed, expert in Islamic law, explains: “As a Muslim, when I read 5:21 and 17:104 in the Quran, I can only say that I support that there must be an Israel. The Quran adumbrates the fight against tyranny and oppression, using the Children of Israel as an example, indeed as the prime example.” Tashibih Sayyed, Editor-in-Chief of Muslim World Today writes: “I consider the creation of the Jewish State as a blessing for the Muslims. Israel has provided us an opportunity to show the world the Jewish state of mind in action, a mind that yearns to be free…. The Jewish traditions and culture of pluralism, debate, acceptance of dissension and difference of opinion have manifest themselves in the shape of the State of Israel to present the oppressed Muslim world with a paradigm to emulate.”

The “Aesthetic Peace” Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7590742794
and the “Aesthetic Peace” blog http://www.aestheticpeace.com/ promote the innovative paradigm that peace will emerge from a fresh metaphor in which the Islamic world sees Israel’s existence as Allah’s will. A shift in viewpoint where Israel is perceived as a blessing, as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world, will usher in an era of peace. Peace will come when the Islamic world recognizes Israel as the realization of its own values.

04 January 2009

Join the Aesthetic Peace Facebook Group


Join the AESTHETIC PEACE Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=7590742794 and invite your friends to join, too.

Promote a New Metaphor for Peace
The Aesthetic Peace Group aims through art and creativity to inspire new approaches and create new metaphors for peace between Israel and its neighbors. The Arab conflict with Israel stems from an aesthetic problem that calls for an artistic solution. Jews, Christians, and Muslims are joining together to make peace through promoting an aesthetic peace plan for the Middle East.

Emphatically Reject the Hamas Charter that calls for Destroying Israel and Murdering Jews
An aesthetic peace between Israel and the Islamic world derived from Islamic art and thought will bring tranquility to both Gaza and Israel when Iran’s proxy army Hamas is defeated and its charter emphatically rejected. The Hamas charter states:

“Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims…. The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him…. I indeed wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will assault and kill, assault and kill, assault and kill.”

17 February 2008

Steps to Peace on an Islamic Rug


The Jerusalem Post, February 15, 2008

If I could meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, this is what I would tell him:

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post this week, you spoke about making peace with Israel, saying, “This is a small and rough neighborhood, and we have to do it right, and doing it right requires a new paradigm, a new thinking” (Fayad tells ‘Post’: Israeli security needs must be met,” February 13).

The new paradigm that you propose can be derived from Islamic art. It can provide that “new thinking” required to bring peace between Jews and Arabs in their shared neighborhood. This paradigm shift could end the Arab attitude of seeing Israel as an alien presence in the Middle East, and the 60-year war to wipe it off the map.

In Islamic art, as you probably know, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern to demonstrate that human creation is less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug-makers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with Allah.

Perhaps you see a continuous pattern, like a beautiful Islamic rug, running from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern borders of Iran. Shift your perception to see Israel, not as a blemish on that great Islamic rug, but as a small counter-pattern needed to realize Islamic values.

The ingathering of the Jewish People into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘Scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near, we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

Switch your viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews in the Land of Israel as the will of Allah as expressed in Sura 5:20-21: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.’”

Recognize the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will.

Shalom/Salaam,

Mel Alexenberg
Petah Tikva

10 January 2008

Art as a Mirror of Culture




“Art is the mirror of a culture and its world view. There is no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the Islamic world. Not only does its art reflect its cultural values, but even more importantly, the way in which its adherents, the Muslims, view the spiritual realm, the universe, life, and the relationships of the parts to the whole.” Art historian Professor Elisabeth Siddiqui writes these words in Arabic journal Al-Madrashah Al-Ula.

Conflict as an Aesthetic Problem
The Arab conflict with Israel is an aesthetic problem that calls for a shift in perception. Islamic art teaches Arabs to see their world as a continuous geometric pattern that extends across North Africa and the Middle East. They see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern. It is viewed as an alien presence that they have continually tried to eliminate through war, terrorism, and political action.

Perceptual Shift and Fresh Metaphor
A perceptual shift that can lead to a genuine peace can be derived from Islamic art and thought. In Islamic art, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates that human creation is less than perfect. Only Allah creates perfection. Rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs.

Israel's Existence as Allah's Will
Shaykh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Iman of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, writes, “The idea of underlying the Divine infinitude and the human fallacy by including some ‘voluntary defects’ in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, architecture, etc.” Peace will come from a fresh metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will. A shift in viewpoint where Israel is perceived as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world will usher in an era of peace.

The Koran as a Zionist Book

Quotation from The Koran (Sura 5:21) attesting to the divine gift of the Land of Israel to the Jewish People. (Digital print derived from a decorative pattern in an Isfahan mosque.)

Peace will come from a perceptual shift in which Muslims see the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will and Christians see it as the Divine fulfillment of the biblical promise of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.

The Indigenous People of the Land of Israel
The Koran, Islam’s holiest book, confirms what every Jew and Christian who honors the Bible knows: The Land of Israel was divinely deeded to the Children of Israel. The Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel who have continuously lived there for more three millennia despite the conquests of numerous imperialist empires. Jews are from Judea. Arabs are from Arabia.

Fulfillment of Mohammed’s Prophecy
The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

The Koran Honors a Jewish State
The Koran (Sura 5:20-21) supports the Arab world’s need to change their viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you, and then turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.’”

Golden Seed and Lush Green Tree
A paradigm shift can transform the perception of Israel as a blemish to seeing it as a tiny golden seed from which a lush green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East.

09 January 2008

A Metaphor for Peace from Islamic Art


A fresh metaphor for peace between Israel and the Islamic world
I made these photographs of counter-patterns in Islamic rugs into digital prints on canvas and had them hang on the museum walls alongside the actual rugs in my aesthetic peace exhibition in Prague.
Counter-patterns are woven into Islamic rugs to demonstrate that human hands cannot create perfect symmetry. Religious Muslim women acknowledge that only Allah creates perfection by purposefully introducing counter-patterns into their designs.
Peace will come when the Islamic world sees tiny Israel in its midst as the necessary counter-pattern in the huge Islamic rug that streches from the Atlantic Ocean to the borders of India.
The Islamic world needs Israel to realize its own aesthetic values

Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East

The artist Mel Alexenberg with the ambassadors of Israel and the United States at the opening of his Cyberangels: Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East exhibition in Prague.
Exhibition at Robert Guttmann Gallery of the Jewish Museum in Prague www.jewishmuseum.cz/en/acyberangels.htm

Artistic Solution to Aesthetic Problem
The lack of peace in the Middle East can be seen as an aesthetic problem that requires an artistic solution. It calls for a shift in perception that can be derived from Islamic art and thought. In my Cyberangels: Aesthetic Peace Plan for the Middle East exhibition, human creativity at its best in both Islamic and European cultures encounter each other. The beautiful patterns of Islamic art meet Rembrandt’s angels* in an aesthetic peace plan. The exhibition at the Robert Guttmann Gallery of the Jewish Museum in Prague juxtaposed my digital and systems artworks with authentic carpets from Islamic lands.

Perceptual Shift
The exhibition invites a perceptual shift through which Muslims see the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will and Christians see it as the Divine fulfillment of the biblical promise of the Land of Israel to the Jewish people. Digitized Rembrandt angels* emerging from Islamic geometries are electronic age messengers drawing out the beauty in European and Islamic cultures rather than the ugly anti-Semitism that plagues them.

Art as Mirror of Culture
Historian of Islamic art, Elisabeth Siddiqui, writes in the Arabic journal Al-Madrashah Al-Ula that art is the mirror of a culture and its worldview. She emphasizes that there is no case to which this statement more directly applies than to the art of the Islamic world. “Not only does its art reflect its cultural values, but even more importantly, the way in which its adherents, the Muslims, view the spiritual realm, the universe, life, and the relationships of the parts to the whole.”

Include Israel in Arab Maps
The repetitive geometric patterns in Islamic art teach Arabs to see their world as a continuous uninterrupted pattern that extends across North Africa and the Middle East. Unfortunately, they see Israel as a blemish that disrupts the pattern. From this perspective, Israel is viewed as an alien presence that they have continually tried to annihilate through war, terrorism, and political action. Palestinian Authority television labels Israel as a “cancer in the body of the Arab nation.” Its emblems, publications, schoolbooks, and web sites show the map of Israel labeled Palestine. Israel does not exist. The leaders of Hamas and Iran call for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Former Iranian president Rafsanjani expressed his longing for a day when an Islamic nuclear weapon could remove the “extraneous matter” called Israel from the midst of the Islamic world.

The major obstacle to peace between Jews and Arabs is the Islamic world’s rejection of Israel as a Jewish state in its midst. After more than a half century of independence, the State of Israel still does not exist on maps produced in Islamic countries. All road maps to peace in the Middle East will come to a dead end until the sovereign State of Israel is included in Arab maps.

Necessary Counter-Pattern
Fortunately, the perceptual shift needed to lead to genuine peace can be found in Islamic art and thought. In Islamic art, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates human creation as less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs.

Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Imam of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, proposes that the idea of underlying the Divine infinitude and the human fallacy by including some voluntary counter-pattern in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, architecture, etc. The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with the perfection of Allah.In “Islamic Textile Art: Anomalies in Kilims,”

Muhammad Thompson and Nasima Begum write that the weavers of Moroccan kilim rugs, “devout Muslim women, would not be so arrogant as to even attempt a ‘perfect kilim’ since such perfection belonged only to Allah. Consequently, they would deliberately break the kilim’s patterning as a mark of their humility.”

Patterns of Life
Indeed, breaking symmetrical patterns characterizes life itself. All living organisms exhibit the principle expressed by the renowned biologist Paul Weiss as “order in the gross with freedom of excursion in details.” Every grape leaf, for example, is a unique variation of a general pattern. No two grape leaves on the same vine are congruent. Although a whole leaf gives the overall appearance of symmetry, a closer look at the details reveals a different venation pattern in each half of the leaf.

Islamic World Needs Israel to Realize its Values
Peace can be achieved when the Islamic world recognizes that they need Israel to realize their own religious values. Israel provides the break in the contiguous Islamic world extending from Morocco to Pakistan. Accepting the Jewish State as the necessary counter-pattern demonstrates humility and abrogates arrogance before Allah and honors the diversity evident in all of God’s creations.

The ingathering of the Jewish people into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

The State of Israel needs to be drawn on Islamic maps as a small break in the continuous pattern running from the Atlantic Ocean to the borders of India. If the contiguous Islamic world were the size of a football field, Israel would be smaller than a football placed in the middle of the field.

Land of Israel Deeded to the Children of Israel
Sheikh Palazzi quotes from the Koran, Sura 5:20-21, to support the Arab world’s need to switch their viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah: “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you, and then turn not back ignominiously, for then will ye be overthrown, to your own ruin.’”

According to the Imam, Islam’s holiest book confirms what every Jew and Christian who honors the Bible knows: The Land of Israel was divinely deeded to the Children of Israel. The Jews are the indigenous people of the Land of Israel who have continuously lived there for more three millennia despite the conquests of numerous imperialist empires. Jews are from Judea. Arabs are from Arabia. The Arabs are blessed with 22 other countries.

Paradigm Shift
A paradigm shift can transform the perception of Israel as a blemish to seeing it as a tiny golden seed from which a lush green Islamic tree has germinated and spread its roots and branches across North Africa and the Middle East.Professor Khaleed Mohammed, expert in Islamic law, explains: “As a Muslim, when I read 5:21 and 17:104 in the Quran, I can only say that I support that there must be an Israel. The Quran adumbrates the fight against tyranny and oppression, using the Children of Israel as an example, indeed as the prime example.”

Tashibih Sayyed, Editor-in-Chief of Muslim World Today writes: “I consider the creation of the Jewish State as a blessing for the Muslims. Israel has provided us an opportunity to show the world the Jewish state of mind in action, a mind that yearns to be free…. The Jewish traditions and culture of pluralism, debate, acceptance of dissension and difference of opinion have manifest themselves in the shape of the State of Israel to present the oppressed Muslim world with a paradigm to emulate.”

A Fresh Metaphor for Peace
Peace will come from a fresh metaphor in which the Arabs see Israel’s existence as Allah’s will. A shift in viewpoint where Israel is perceived as a blessing, as the necessary counter-pattern in the overall pattern of the Islamic world, will usher in an era of peace. Peace will come when the Islamic world recognizes Israel as the realization of its own values and draws new maps that include Israel.

*Angels of Peace
The Hebrew language links art and angels in our digital age. The biblical term for “art” M’LAeKheT MaKhSheVeT is a feminine term literally meaning “thoughtful craft.” Transformed into its masculine form, it becomes “computer angel” MALAKh MaKhSheV. The spiritual concept “angel” and reshaping the material world “craft” are united in the biblical image in Jacob’s dream of angels ascending and descending on a ladder linking heaven and earth.

Malakh Shalom (Hebrew) and Malak Salam (Arabic)
We can learn from the Hebrew words for “angel” MALaKh and “food” MA’aKhaL being written with the same four letters that angels are spiritual messages arising from the everyday life. Before partaking of the Sabbath eve meal in their homes, Jewish families sing, “May your coming be for peace, ANGELS OF PEACE, angels of the Exalted One.” The song begins with the words shalom aleikhem (may peace be with you). Shalom aleikhem is the traditional Hebrew greeting when people meet. It is akin to the Arabic greeting salam aleikum. Indeed, the word Islam itself is derived from the same root as salam (peace). May the Hebrew Malakh Shalom and the Arabic Malak Salam be recognized as one and the same Angel of Peace.

Counter-Patterns in Islamic Rugs


The perceptual shift needed to lead to a genuine peace can be found in Islamic art and thought. In Islamic art, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern that demonstrates that human creation is less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs to demonstrate that they are not competing with Allah.


Sheikh Abdul Hadi Palazzi, Imam of the Italian Muslim community who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences by decree of the Saudi Grand Mufti, writes, “The idea of underlying the Divine infinitude and the human fallacy by including some ‘voluntary defects’ in works of art is common in Islamic art, and extends to tapestry, painting, music, architecture, etc.”


In Islamic Textile Art: Anomalies in Kilims, Muhammad Thompson and Nasima Begum write that weavers of Moroccan kilim rugs, “devote Muslim women would not be so arrogant as to even attempt a ‘perfect kilim,’ since such perfection belonged only to Allah. Consequently, they would deliberately break the kilim’s patterning as a mark of their humility.”

Be Active in Promoting Aesthetic Peace Before It Is Too Late

Acrylic painting on computer printout of a pattern from a Damascus mosque superimposed on a map of North Africa and the Middle East with Israel as a counter-pattern of blue and white stripes. A digitized image of a Rembrandt angel carries a message of peace.


TEHRAN, Feb 18, 2008 (AFP) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards on Monday predicted that Israel would be destroyed by the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah in the "near future", the Fars news agency reported. "In the near future, we will witness the destruction of Israel, this cancerous microbe Israel, at the able hands of the soldiers of the community of Hezbollah," the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said.


Alexenberg's Letter to Ahmadinejad
Islamic Art Teaches that Israel is Allah's Will

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad:

Your aim to wipe Israel off the map defies the values of Islam expressed in the Holy Koran and through Islamic art.

In Islamic art, a uniform geometric pattern is purposely disrupted by the introduction of a counter-pattern to demonstrate that human creation is less than perfect. Based upon the belief that only Allah creates perfection, rug weavers from Islamic lands intentionally weave a small patch of dissimilar pattern to break the symmetry of their rugs. The Islamic artisan does not want to be perceived as competing with the perfection of Allah.Perhaps you see a continuous pattern like a beautiful Islamic rug running from Morocco on the Atlantic Ocean to the eastern borders of Iran.

Shift your perception to see Israel, not as a blemish on the great Islamic rug, but as a small counter-pattern needed to realize Islamic values.The ingathering of the Jewish People into its historic homeland in the midst of the Islamic world is the fulfillment of Mohammed’s prophecy in the Koran (Sura 17:104): “And we said to the Children of Israel, ‘scatter and live all over the world…and when the end of the world is near we will gather you again into the Promised Land.”

Switch your viewpoint to recognize the sovereign right of the Jews over the Land of Israel as the will of Allah as expressed in the Koran (Sura 5:20-21): “Remember when Moses said to his people: ‘O my people, call in remembrance the favor of God unto you, when he produced prophets among you, made you kings, and gave to you what He had not given to any other among the people. O my people, enter the Holy Land which God has assigned unto you.’”As a devout Muslim, you should recognize the State of Israel as a blessing expressing Allah’s will.

Take the leadership role in making peace with Israel as an example for all the Islamic world to follow. Help the Islamic world see that it needs Israel to realize its own values.
Peace
Ashtee
Salaam
Shalom
Professor Mel Alexenberg, melalexenberg@yahoo.com