What does tolerance mean? Is it necessary? What are the advantages of a tolerant society? How do we distinguish between what should and should not be tolerated? Should children be taught about tolerance at school?
Ruth Copland features her on-the-street interviews on the topic ‘What does tolerance look like?’ She also speaks about Ilya and Emilia Kabakov's remarkable art installation project with children around the world, The Ship of Tolerance (www.shipoftolerance.com)
To listen click here What Does Tolerance Look Like? | It's A Question of Balance (broadcast May 12).
The Museum Of Tolerance defines tolerance as:
1) A fair and objective attitude toward those whose opinions and practices differ from one’s own. 2) The commitment to respect human dignity.
Every person is both a purveyor and beneficiary of tolerance.
Depending on the day and one’s perspective, it can feel like our society is becoming more inclusive, caring and understanding, or that it is still mired in prejudice, cruelty and intolerance. What does tolerance mean to you? Have you examples of being tolerant towards others, or others treating you with respect? Is it a case of the Golden Rule, treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself? Or is it more complex than that? Should we be expected to tolerate all ways of being in the world? If not, how and where do we draw the line? What do you think?
For more info on the show and to hear past shows visit www.itsaquestionofbalance.com
Photo: Ilya and Emilia's Ship of Tolerance photo by Daniel Hegglin
Actress and producer Marguerite Moreau and actor, writer producer Hus Miller, stars of the narrative feature film ‘You Can’t Say No’, are Ruth Copland’s guests on the show this week. ‘You Can’t Say No’ recently had its world premiere at the Cinequest Film Festival in Silicon Valley, California, and also stars Peter Fonda, Hamish Linklater and Julie Carmen, and is directed by Paul Kramer. Ruth talks to Marguerite and Hus about ‘You Can’t Say No’ and also about their first experiences of art, what attracted them to acting, and the power of film.
Click here to listen You Can't Say No | It's A Question of Balance (broadcast on May 5th)
Marguerite C Moreau is known for her roles in the fantasy horror film Queen of the Damned, cult film and now Netflix Series Wet Hot American Summer, Runaway Jury, and The Mighty Ducks series of films, as well as appearances on the popular television series Grey’s Anatomy, Smallville, Shameless and The O.C.
Hus Miller, who wrote and stars in ‘You Can’t Say No’ is an actor, writer and producer who has worked with Twentieth Century Fox, Skywalker Ranch, Park Pictures, Gunn Films, and CBS.
For more info and to listen to past shows visit www.itsaquestionofbalance.com
Photo: Still from 'You Can't Say No'.
You may have seen a meme or email making the rounds suggesting that gun ownership or armed teachers have prevented the possibility of school shootings in Israel.
MZ asked me to look into gun ownership and school safety in Israel. The reality is considerably more nuanced.
In the wake of the Ma'alot massacre in 1974, in which three armed members of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, took a school hostage, ultimately resulting in the deaths of 22 children, Israel enacted policies to protect school children from terrorism. While there have been terrorist attacks since 1974, there has never been a school shooting of the sort we are all too familiar with in the US.
On first examination, gun control advocates in the US would see many of their talking points reinforced.
First off, Israeli Teachers are not armed.
According to Almog Elijis, a spokesman for the Israeli Consulate in New York, “Israeli schools are protected by professional authorized security officers, not members of the teaching or administrative staff”. (source)
Licensed commercial security firms guard schools; contrary to some perceptions, armed civilians have not been deployed as school guards on a large scale since the 1970s.
Outside of the military, police and security guards, very few Israeli's carry guns.
“Israeli citizens are not allowed to carry guns unless they are serving in the army or working in security-related jobs that require them to use a weapon,” said Reuven Berko, a retired Israeli Army colonel and senior police officer. (source)
It is extremely difficult to obtain a gun license.
Only a small group of people are eligible for firearms licenses: certain retired military personnel, police officers or prison guards; residents of settlements (in the West Bank and the Golan Heights) or those who often work in such towns; and licensed hunters and animal-control officers. Age requirements vary: 20 or 21 for those who completed military service or civil service equivalent, 27 otherwise, and 45 for non-citizens. Firearm license applicants must have been a resident of Israel for at least three consecutive years, pass a background check (criminal, health, and mental history), establish a genuine reason for possessing a firearm (such as self-defense, hunting, or sport), and pass a weapons-training course. Around 40% of applications for firearms permits are rejected. (source)
A gun license would only be for a single pistol and a gun owner can only have 50 bullets at any one time.
A majority of the licenses are granted for 9 mm pistols. The few licenses for automatic rifles are reserved for people who need them for ongoing security roles. Annual bullet supplies are limited to 50 per licensed individual, or 100 for security guards. (source)
Permits are given only for personal use, and holders for self-defense purposes may own only one handgun and purchase an annual supply of 50 cartridges (although more may be purchased to replace rounds used at a firing range). (source)
Owning a gun is not considered a right.
As the Public Security Ministry explains on its website, Israeli law “does not recognize a right to bear arms, and anyone wanting to do so must meet a number of requirements, including a justified need to carry a firearm.” There is no inkling of a belief among Israelis that citizens should be permitted to own guns as a check on government power. (source)
However, when one considers the role of the military, security and armed citizenry in Israel, the gun rights advocates in the US would see many of their familiar augments demonstrated.
While private gun ownership is rare in Israel, the active military are required to carry their weapons at all times. In a nation of 8.5 million people, with 176,500 active military personnel, 130,000 security guards and 170,000 private citizens carrying firearms, 5.6% of the population is armed at any given time, many of them openly with military grade weapons. If you add to that, the obvious fact that the concentration of firearms will be much greater in high threat areas, the possibility of walking down a street in the West Bank or parts of Jerusalem and seeing dozens of armed citizens is highly probable.
There have been many instances where civilians stopped terrorists.
The overwhelming majority of terror attacks in Israel are stopped by armed civilians, not law enforcement. For example, the terrorists in the 2016 Sarona market attack were stopped by armed passersby. A pistol-carrying tour guide put an end to the 2017 ramming attack in Arnona that left four soldiers dead. (source)
There have been efforts to relax the gun licensing process in Israel.
When the knife intifada erupted in September 2015, the Israeli government's response was to ease the process for the civilian populace to obtain weapons. After a particularly bloody Jerusalem shooting attack that killed four, then-Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan drastically changed the gun laws in order to significantly raise the number of armed civilians on the streets. Instantly, graduates of Special Forces units and IDF officers with the rank of Lieutenant and above were permitted to purchase guns at their will, security guards were allowed to bring their guns home after work, and the minimum age for a license was reduced from 21 to 18. (source)
“I believe that the right to defend oneself and carry a gun is a basic human right, not a right that the government gives you,” Moshe Feiglin, a former Israeli Knesset member who has now formed his own party called Zehut, told The Media Line. “I am not talking about an AK-47 or an M-16 but a pistol for self-defense.” (source)
Another consideration is, that while there are comparatively few armed civilians, what is stopping a member of the military from enacting a mass shooting? Unlike the US, where Posse Comitatus Act generally prevents the use of the military for domestic purposes and where members of the military would only carry weapons in public in extreme circumstances, 18-21 year old IDF conscripts are generally required to keep their weapons with them at all times. So, what is preventing a disturbed 19 year old IDF soldier from returning to his former high school with the intent to kill?
Perhaps the answer lies with the unique history and culture of the US.
“The United States is deeply heterogeneous, and deeply aware of its heterogeneity, and that fosters deep distrust generally,” explained Daniel Correa, who teaches law at the University of North Texas at Dallas.
“There is a triple fear that drives” the American gun debate, he said, and “every one of these fears is internal to the US, not external. Right-of-center people are afraid of the federal government becoming so powerful that states can’t retain their sovereignty. Among libertarians, there’s a fear that government generally, whether state or federal, will run amok unless citizens can protect themselves from it. The third level is the distrust people have toward each other in the United States.” (source)
Outside the gun debate, one fact stands out as an obvious reason why Israel has no school shootings. Israeli schools are designed to be resistant to terrorist attacks.
Most schools maintain only one unlocked entrance that is typically staffed by an armed guard.
But the schools have escaped American-style violence in large part because of measures to confront Israel’s unique security challenge — and not because of efforts to deter troubled youths and lone madmen.
“The guards are there for other reasons, mainly terrorism,” said Amos Shavit, spokesman for the Ministry of Education. He said the guards stationed at schools are under the authority of the police. In large cities, he said, the police and the local authority carry out security patrols around the educational institutions throughout the school day. (source)
Let's not forget to ask if comparing Israel to the US is a false equivalence. Can Israel with its small population, geographic vulnerability and substantial security concerns really be compared to the vast, secure and diversely populous United States?
Perhaps the lesson to be drawn from Israel’s failure to fit neatly into either American narrative is simply that the public debate about guns in America is too narrow. There may be more policy options available to Americans than are imagined by the two sides, and these can only be seriously explored by moving beyond the usual fight about whether “guns kill people” or “people kill people” to the deeper disagreements about the character and future of American society that underlie this divide and lend it its potency. (source)
Article By Jonty McCollyer
An academic with an international rap career; a lyrical writer fascinated by behavioral science; and a funny, charismatic performer. Ruth Copland talks to Dessa and play tracks from her album Chime prior to her performance at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz on May 5th.
To listen to the interview click here It's A Question of Balance | Dessa (broadcast 28 April).
Singer, rapper, and songwriter Dessa has made a career of bucking genres and defying expectations. The albums she’s released with Doomtree Records include rap bangers, a cappella arrangements, and big, catchy pop hooks. She’s co-composed for a 100-voice choir; contributed a track to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s The Hamilton Mixtape; and recorded a cover “Balance” by Mountain Goats (Merge Records) that plays like a Bond theme. She performs in equally varied venues; she tours gritty rock clubs, velvet-lined theaters, and top-tier festivals like Glastonbury and Lollapalooza, but also takes special pleasure in dreaming up themed events for intimate rooms—such as her recent curation of a sold-out residency series at WYNC’s The Greene Space, in which Dessa matched lyricists with researchers who tackled scientific subject matter on stage. The LA Times says she “sounds like no one else;” NPR says she’s “breaking the rules of rap;” The Chicago Tribune simply calls her “enchanting.”
As a writer, Dessa has contributed to the New York Times Magazine, MPR, the Star Tribune, Minnesota Monthly, literary journals across the country, and has published two short collections of poetry and essays. Dessa has a book coming out in September called ‘My Own Devices: True Stories From The Road On Music, Science, And Senseless Love’.
For more info and to listen to past shows visit www.itsaquestionofbalance.com
Photos L to R clockwise: Dessa by Bill Phelps; Dessa with her band by Chad Kamenshine; Dessa performing live by Matthew Shaver.
Regularly named among the top 10 living artists in the world and the ‘two most consequential artists to emerge from Russia since the 1920s’ (Robert Storr), Ilya and Emilia Kabakov have a unique pioneering place in the international story of conceptual art.
This is the first in a two-part series of interviews with Emilia Kabakov. This week we’ll be talking about when Emilia and Ilya first became aware of the power of art to affect us on a deep level, how they work together, their early life in Russia, why they started creating ‘total installations’ and also about their wonderful art installation project with children around the world, The Ship of Tolerance (pictured above).
To listen to interview click here Emilia Kabakov | It's A Question of Balance (broadcast 7 April)
Ilya and Emilia Kabakov have worked together in the USA, where they live, since the late 1980s and are known for their complex large-scale projects and immersive ‘total’ installations. To date, together they have created nearly 200 of these total installations, which invite the viewer to become an active part of the work considering the meaning of utopia, the place of the artist, power, hope, fear, escapism, fantasy, and much more.
An art project that is dear to the Kabakovs hearts and which I’ll be talking to Emilia about during the show is The Ship of Tolerance. This is a conceptual piece which hundreds of local schoolchildren from different ethnic and social backgrounds in different cities round the world have participated in with the hope that through the creative process they can learn about tolerance.
For more info and to listen to past shows click here It's A Question of Balance