A Nuclear Weapons and WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East ? Prospects and Challenges

A Nuclear Weapons and WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East ? Prospects and Challenges

Jackie Cabasso

June 29, 2014

JackieCabasso (2)Fears and suspicions about weapons of mass destruction have fueled tensions in the Middle East for decades, and a nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East has been on the United Nations (UN) agenda since 1974. Last December, an unprecedented assembly of current and former members of the Israeli parliament and local and international peace and human rights activists met in Haifa, Israel, to call for a zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East and for a world free of nuclear weapons. Jackie Cabasso (Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation and a lifetime member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) attended the December 2013 Haifa conference and a May 2014 meeting on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty at UN headquarters, and will discuss these efforts. (Co-sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Peninsula branch – contact person: Lois Salo, lsa1o@aol.com, 650-493-8872.)

Click here for Jackie’s Presentation

Here are the articles Jackie refers to in The Guardian and the one from the Haifa Conference.


Humanist Community Forum (2014-06-29): A Nuclear Weapons and WMD-Free Zone in the Middle East? Prospects and Challenges from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.


Dr. Roberta Ahlquist

Close Encounters, ‘Take II’ –The Middle East from a Post-colonial Lens

Dr. Roberta Ahlquist

September 8, 2013

Roberta Ahlquist
Roberta Ahlquist


This  presentation is a broad-brush overview of two months of travel in 2012 to Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and the UAE, visiting and speaking in schools, seeing archeological sites, talking with ordinary people on the streets, attending a three-day wedding in Pakistan, meeting Egyptians in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, and visiting Petra in Jordan, among other places.

This presentation is given through the lens of a social justice academic who teaches at San Jose State University in the College of Education.  Some of her questions were: What role has ‘Empire’ played in the lives of people in these countries? What kinds of changes have occurred? What kinds of curriculum exist for k-12 students, and for university students?   Is it Western or Middle Eastern; Anglocentric, Eurocentric, Egyptian, or?

Professor Ahlquist’s research includes post-colonial studies, indigenous education, and unlearning racism and other forms of bias. She teaches multicultural foundations courses to prospective high school teachers.


Program Addendum

Alistair J. Sinclair is a philosopher residing in Glasgow, Scotland.  The source for this “Addendum” is his article “Henry Ford: The Visionary Humanist” published in Volume 20 (2) of “Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism”, a peer-reviewed journal published  by the American Humanist Association.

“It is a shock when the mind awakens to the fact that not all of humanity is human — that whole groups of people do not regard others with humane feelings.”                                           — Henry Ford (1922)

Dr. Sinclair argues that Henry Ford was a humanist who changed the world for the better. He had a humanist vision of society in which the standard of living of everyone would gradually improve and poverty would be gradually reduced. The humane capitalism which Ford popularized led to more efficient ways of lowering costs in large scale organizations. It also insured that there was a trickle-down effect that benefitted workers and improved industrial relations.

On January 5, 1914 Ford announced that his company would almost double the wages of its car workers and introduced the eight hour day and the five day work week (Previously the norm had been a twelve hour day and a six day week), He also introduced vacations for his hourly paid workers.

Ford was adamant that work should be found for disabled people instead of excluding them from employment because they are disabled. It would be quite outside the spirit of what we are trying to do, to take on men because they were crippled, pay them a lower wage and be content with a lower output.

This “Addendum” is a half-page presentation of a 20 page philosophic article, complete with notes and references.  I commend the article to your attention.


Humanist Community Forum (2013-09-08): The Middle East from a Post-colonial Lens (Prof. Roberta Ahlquist) from Humanist Community-SiliconValley on Vimeo.