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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 6, 2010 / 27 Elul, 5770

Facebook and social media offer the potential of peace

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As Israeli and Palestinian leaders reopen Mideast peace negotiations, a phrase that computers worldwide autocomplete from habit of repetition, Planet Earth rolls her eyes. Been there, done that, gave away the T-shirt decades ago.

Can anyone really hope that this time -- This Time! -- things will be different?

But. There may be hope yet, if not this moment, then in the near future, thanks to other factors possibly not considered. To illustrate, two scenarios:

At the State Department, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sits between Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. There is much gray hair among them.

Not far away, at a sidewalk cafe near George Washington University, four college students converse amicably. One is Israeli, one Palestinian, another Syrian, the fourth African American. (One of my young tablemates knows and identifies them.) Their iPhones join flatware among platters of couscous and falafel. They are speaking English, laughing, trading news and barbs.

The scene just described is not rare in the nation's capital or in many other cities where colleges and universities attract diverse populations. I've witnessed variations of the same tableau dozens of times. Different faces, ethnicities and nationalities, but the same dynamic and, for members of an older generation, the same revelation.

The ancient rivalries and the heavy burden of history are being lifted among a rising generation of world citizens even as the taupe generation rehashes the same -- may I just say -- absurd arguments over who gets to claim which square inch of the sandbox.

That is so last millennium.

Enter the Facebook generation, for whom el mundo es un pa˝uelo, as perhaps 500 million people might put it. Translation: It's a small world. When one can communicate with another with a keystroke or a click, the world is a computer bit.

As I watched these four interact, it occurred to me that in Facebook world, where friends connect, and friends of friends "friend" each other, and networks of associations expand like a circulatory system to all reaches permitted by technology (and governments), it is increasingly unlikely that warring factions can sustain themselves for much longer in the grand scheme of things. Friends don't kill friends -- most of the time.

We seem to understand the opportunities social networking provides for commercial and political purposes. Barack Obama is president in no small part because of the grass-roots facility of social media. That same power can be harnessed for peace. In fact, it is happening under our noses.

But why not be strategic about something so easily channeled for good?

In a virtual universe, where Google can translate almost any language instantaneously, younger people of all nationalities are creating and communicating through a common idiom.

Not to be a Pollyanna, but it is striking to realize that peace becomes plausible when barriers to communication are eliminated. More than 500 million people use Facebook alone. Of those, 70 percent are outside the United States. MySpace has 122 million monthly active users, and Twitter reports 145 million registered users.

Obviously, some countries don't like these media for the very reasons we do. People talk. Facebook is blocked in Syria and China and until recently was also blocked in Iran, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Where freedom flourishes, so do open channels of communication.

And vice versa.

We also know that where freedom and communication thrive, wars are less likely. This isn't computer science but human nature. Hence, we gather around heavy tables to talk things out.

If I were dictator for a day, I would arrange for every young person to "friend" another in the enemy camp of their choice, creating virtual student-exchange programs in every neighborhood on the map. While the old folks bicker over their sandboxes, the children could begin building fortresses of friendship.

The hope for freedom and peace that resides in most human hearts may not be realized soon. But for the first time in history, it seems inevitable. Social media may not create peace, but surely it will increase demand for it.

The talking cure is at our fingertips.

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