So you put Jimmy Carter, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Mary Robinson and Koffi Annan a room what do you get ? Well if you answered a committee to build a float for the Israel Day parade you were wrong. Nor are they on a speakers list for a Yom HaShoah service at my shul.
These four people have many things in common, they are “Kumbaya” Lets talk around a campfire and make peace type liberals, they hate Israel, they don’t feel much better about Jews ,and they were all just appointed to Richard Branson’s (the Virgin guy) new “save the world group” called the Elders.
No word on whether Branson modeled this group after the Oregonian Council of Elders who made peace between the Klingons and the Federation in Star Trek. I hope not since the Star Trek Elders were FICTION, they were also wise. Branson’s Elders are just anti-Semitic bigots.
Elders to extend hand to world
By Michael Wines
New York Times News Service
July 18, 2007
JOHANNESBURG — Combining serious statesmanship and a large measure of audacity, former South African President Nelson Mandela and a clutch of world-famous figures plan to announce Wednesday a private alliance to launch diplomatic assaults on the globe’s most intractable problems.
The alliance, to be unveiled Wednesday during events marking Mandela’s 89th birthday, is to be called The Elders. Among others, it includes retired Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, retired UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and Mary Robinson, the human-rights activist and former president of Ireland.
Many, including Mandela, have been harsh critics of President Bush and U.S. foreign policy, particularly toward Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The group’s members and backers insisted in interviews, however, that they are guided neither by ideology nor by geopolitical bent.
Mandela states in remarks prepared for Wednesday that the fact that none of The Elders holds public office allows them to work for the common good, not for outside interests.
“This group can speak freely and boldly, working both publicly and behind the scenes on whatever actions need to be taken,” the stateement says. “Together we will work to support courage where there is fear, foster agreement where there is conflict and inspire hope where there is despair.”
Whether governments that become the objects of The Elders’ freelance diplomacy will agree remains to be seen. One of the group’s founders and principal sponsors, British tycoon Richard Branson, said that those leaders whom he had briefed, including British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and South African President Thabo Mbeki, “very much support the initiative.”
“There will always be skeptics of any positive initiatives, but these are people giving up their time for nothing,” he said of The Elders. “Most individuals in the world would welcome a group of people who are above ego, who, in the last 12 or 15 years of their lives, are above partisan politics.”
Precisely what problems The Elders will tackle is unclear; none has yet been selected.
A spokeswoman said the group would jointly decide where to step in, based in part on the seriousness of an issue and their ability to help.
In interviews, Branson and Carter offered two different hypothetical situations: The Elders might be able to help resolve regional crises like the guerrilla fighting and kidnapping in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger River delta, Branson said.
For his part, Carter said the group might address problems like the waste and lack of coordination among aid organizations providing health care in developing nations. “The Elders won’t get involved in delivering bed nets for malaria prevention,” he said. “The issue is to fill vacuums, to address major issues that aren’t being adequately addressed.”
In a telephone interview, Branson said that he began thinking about the notion in 2003, after he sought to persuade Mandela and Annan to travel to Baghdad to ask Saddam Hussein to relinquish power in Iraq. The two agreed, but war broke out before arrangements were completed.