This post is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
I think this is my favorite, the last gasp of the ‘purity of arms’ — the phone call. See it below in an official update from the Consul General of Israel to New England:
It should be noted that the IDF made 20,000 phone calls to Gaza residents to warn them about the military operation. The IAF dropped flyers throughout the Gaza Strip calling for the people to distance themselves from known terrorists, weapons stores and launching sites.
Isn’t the absurdity of this statement obvious to the Consul General?
On the dropped flyers – perhaps it should contain the following message:
Memo to Urban Gaza City
This is your friend, Israel. For your safety everyone please stay inside for the next days or weeks, or better, go underground and even better, to be safer, leave the city but, of course, not Gaza itself. We are quite aware that you city is one of the most densely population in the world. That’s why we’re calling you. We want you to be safe.
If it gets boring or you’re feeling unsafe in your home, know that during this difficult time we’ll be liberating you from your nefarious leadership. Remember, too, that though we’ll have destroy everything that urban populations like yours need – including your telephone service – you’ll have time afterward to rebuild it with the help of international donors.
Know that the State of Israel apologizes for any inconvenience you experience!
I doubt it’s the same person but just after September 11th, I gave a presentation in Boston with the then Consul General for New England. He assured me that what I was calling the Apartheid Wall – he called it a security fence – was temporary. ‘Why are you insisting that the fence is permanent? Do you want to give a false impression of Israel?’ he said to me with a befuddled look.
The phone call routine is a perfect set-up for Jon Stewart, don’t you think? He should do the segment with his hilarious New York Italian mafia impersonation: ‘Hey guys, I have you on the telephone, you’ve been warned!’
I came across this ‘ethical’ phone act, as I continued to ponder the distinction between decent and rogue states. The Consul General wants to assure Jews that Israel is decent. As well, he wants to assure Jews that ordinary Palestinians aren’t the problem – a fairly new but now extensive Israeli and Jewish establishment tactic. It’s the Palestinian leadership that has gone rogue.
Does the Israeli Consul believe that Jews are going to take the phone calls and leaflets to heart as evidence of Israel’s ethics? How patronizing Jewish leadership has become. Or am I mistaken? He might be speaking to the true (Jew) ‘Israel as innocent’ believing remnant.
Are there any of them still out there? Perhaps they helped fund the hundreds of Romney robo-calls I received during the American election cycle. Romney is part of that remnant, or so he said on the campaign trail.
The phone business keeps popping up. Weren’t Gaza’s phones ringing before Operation Cast Lead? Amazing what comes your way when you’re homebound and your city is under assault.
I suppose it’s better to get the phone call in Gaza then the response by an Israeli woman, Philip Weiss asked yesterday about what should happen with Gaza:
Gaza needs to disappear,” said Chen, 23, a clerical worker in a doctor’s office in Ashkelon. “Disappear?” “Yes, kill them all. Of course. One time, and that’s it.” She dusted her hands together. “Nobody’s good there.” Her coworker, Miri, 52, nodded agreement.
You see what I mean.
What’s even scarier is that the Consul General is phoning in the same sentiment, just using diplomatic language.