‘I am a Jew. Israel is NOT My State’

Israel/Palestine
on 44 Comments
John Kerry

John Kerry

This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.

Cease-fires come and go. Until there is one that stays, then comes and goes again.

Public statements, accusations and moral outcries proliferate. Old voices are heard from again. New voices join the fray.

The Israeli and Palestinian political broadsides are the worse. Posturing and more posturing. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

Even B’Tselem, normally on the straight and narrow, panders to the Israeli the public. Why else release such a ridiculous report that characterizes the weapons fired from Gaza as action that “defies humanity and is morally and legally reprehensible.”

Resistance is resistance. It isn’t pretty. But then neither is oppression.

Not to leave out the new fascist dictatorship in Egypt and its cease-fire remedy. The great negotiator of peace and democracy for the ages! I can’t stomach reading their communiques. Even for the jaded, they’re just too much.

Egypt should start at home. Negotiate a cease-fire in its war against the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists and dissenters, then think about the Palestinians that, like Israel, it is oppressing.

John Kerry is back on the scene. Is he the statements he makes, the documents he releases or an apparition that periodically appears in different parts of the world?

When Kerry threatened to appear in Cairo to broker a ceasefire, the Egyptian dictator told him to stay home. Dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Prime Minister for Life, Benjamin Netanyahu, would work it out themselves. With the corrupt Tony Blair it appears. Which they did. Sort of.

Finally, church pleas for peace. It seems that the churches love everyone, Jews, Christians and Muslims, thus their pleas for peace. As if historically Christians have been on the side of the angels.

Christwash. Unfortunately, the churches newly-found inclusive love hides the sins of the churches today.

These announcements are like knocks on the door – or knock on roof missile warnings in our up-to-date Israeli parlance.  Once they’re heard it’s already too late.

The real casualties continue to mount in an almost comical ratio. As I write it is two hundred or so Palestinians dead to one Israeli. The ratio of injured is even more lopsided, if that is statistically possible.

As for my own children, the die has been cast. A few days ago, my little one Isaiah, soon to be a senior in college, posted this on Facebook:

I am a Jew (period)
Israel is NOT my state (period)
Judaism does not equal Israel (period)

Definitive and cogent. Too easy?

Mind you, this was before the four children were killed on the Gaza beach yesterday.

Perhaps Isaiah lacks the sophistication of those Jewish pundits who trot out time-worn tropes like anti-Semitism, Hamas targeting civilians and the two rights/two wrongs theory as death once again reigns down on a defenseless civilian population. Or maybe Isaiah has heard all that, seen through it and says what’s on his mind.

Isaiah is a Jew of Conscience – without “buts.”

My big one, Aaron, is like that, too. On his third trip to the (un)Holy Land, Aaron was involved in a demonstration against home demolitions. To his surprise, one of the Israeli soldiers told him that he respected and even agreed with his protest. When I tried to show Aaron how that attested to the possibility of change in the future, he replied: “Dad, what he said and then did – I lost my faith in humanity.”

Like Isaiah, definitive and cogent. Too easy?

On the Jewish establishment’s scale both Isaiah and Aaron are lost to Israel, and they are lost to the Jewish people.

Lost – or found?

If lost, what does that mean in relation to Israel’s relentless military machine?

If found, what does that mean to the relentless militarization of Jewish life?

Israel will continue on its path regardless. And this will be how Jews are known throughout the world.

The Jewish witness in the future? We have already joined the vaunted realm of politics and the church. Posturing and more posturing. Hypocrisy of the highest order.

Is the Jewish witness beside the point, worrying too much about “us” and not enough about what’s happening to Palestinians? Could be.

Still, imagine this even now – a world without Jews of Conscience. Would the world be better off having lost a primal root of dissent and relentless justice-seeking?

Israel is on the move, invading the West Bank, destroying homes, bombing Gaza, murdering children playing on the beach, kidnapping and burning Palestinians alive. But Israel is doing more than murdering Palestinians. Israel is trying to eliminate the very conscience that calls it to account.

About Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is retired Director and Professor of Jewish Studies at Baylor University and author of The Heartbeat of the Prophetic which can be found at Amazon and www.newdiasporabooks.com

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44 Responses

  1. Citizen
    July 17, 2014, 12:30 pm

    ” Israel is trying to eliminate the very conscience that calls it to account.”

    Not quite. The test of virtue is power. Israel has lots of that, thanks to the USA, the only superposer in the world at the moment, a superpower in every day that immunizes Israel from accountability. Jewish Zionists point to the Jews who walked weakly to their graves in Nazi Germany’s occupied territories. Israeli Jews say this will never happen again, and to insure this we have created the new Jew, a Jew worthy of Sparta.
    Problem: Goys, if given the facts of this history of the I-P situation, don’t come down on the side of the Zionists. The future will be determined by how much Jewish Zionists retain control of the US mainstream media. Israel can move on, as they did from Brits, to French, to Amerians, to load up on Jewish justice, but now Zionists have to come to grips with the fact China and India have no white guilt over the Shoah, nor do they they any religious affinity with Jews as the chosen people of the book, They do observe Jews in USA and Israeli Jews as good propagandists, same as Goebbels did with Bernays. They study us Goy Westerners and the Israeli Jews who were, are “big marchers” in the “Greatest Game” the Brits know so well. Meanwhile, the sons of Palestinian fisher man get murdered on the Gaza Beach while they play.

    • Chu
      July 17, 2014, 4:00 pm

      It seems like Israel and their diaspora helpers are going for broke. What’s troubling is there is nobody in all of their ranks are seeing this from the outsider perspective. Clearly Gaza is an overreaction, designed to punish and destroy the broken infrastructure of every Gazan, while at the same time stirring up Israel’s passion to hate the enemy, eating popcorn on the hillside while the air force drops bombs on civilian housing.

      Everyone is watching what Israel does now and are slowly questioning continuing support for an aggressive power that goes unchecked because of Washington’s beltway political support. Palestinians are the underdogs, the victims of Zionist hostility for 60 plus years.

  2. Walid
    July 17, 2014, 12:54 pm

    Isaiah: “I am a Jew (period) Israel is NOT my state (period) Judaism does not equal Israel (period)”

    Aaron: “Dad, what he said and then did – I lost my faith in humanity.”

    Smart kids.

  3. MahaneYehude1
    July 17, 2014, 1:08 pm

    I am a Jew
    Israel is NOT my state
    Judaism does not equal Israel

    Correct!!! No one forces you to support Israel or to declare that Israel is your state. You can be a Jew any place in the world. We can manage without you, but please, leave us alone.

    • libra
      July 17, 2014, 2:01 pm

      @MY1: We can manage without you, but please, leave us alone.

      Mahane, I’ve followed Professor Ellis’s globe-trotting adventures closely, from Austria to South Korea to Germany. But sadly he has yet to alight on Israeli soil. We can only hope he corrects this unfortunate oversight soon and that his schedule is not so hectic that he can’t stop by your stall. What a great story – parable even – that would make – The Prophet and the Potato Seller.

      • lonely rico
        July 17, 2014, 3:27 pm

        @ libra

        The Prophet and the Potato Seller

        For a change (from the last few weeks), I cry with laughter.
        LMAO ! Thanks libra.

    • Walid
      July 17, 2014, 2:07 pm

      “… We can manage without you, but please, leave us alone.”

      But keep sending those cheques.

      • MahaneYehude1
        July 17, 2014, 3:04 pm

        @Walid;

        This one was good… :-)

    • eljay
      July 17, 2014, 2:24 pm

      >> MY1: No one forces you to support Israel or to declare that Israel is your state.

      The problem, Potato-man, is that Zio-supremacist like you support Israel as / declare Israel to be / insist that Israel be recognized as a (supremacist) “Jewish State” – a state primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews – rather than a secular and democratic Israeli state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, ex-pats and refugees, equally.

    • Chu
      July 17, 2014, 4:03 pm

      lol, you can’t manage jack without the US conveyor belt delivering the weapons and loan guarantees. Israel has been running Operation ‘free ride’ from the pockets of US taxpayers for decades. You guys can’t seem to quit the free lunches but yet you all think your so independent. ya right…

      • DaBakr
        July 17, 2014, 9:17 pm

        its YOUR American military arms manufacturers that benefit the most from the sweetheart deals with Israel. Why don’t you target the US arms industry. I would be very willing to have Israel give up much of this ‘subsidy’ that benefits the 1% and not Israelis or Palestinians much at all.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2014, 1:22 pm

        “its YOUR American military arms manufacturers that benefit the most from the sweetheart deals with Israel.”

        Can you make up your mind whether or not you love or hate America. Try to settle on one, okay?

        But of course, I agree with you, the US should not have given the Zionists anything.

      • Chu
        July 18, 2014, 2:23 pm

        DaBakr, it’s called operation ‘free ride’

        and it’s much larger than the American military arms manufacturers. Someday I hope your nation will be able to stand on its own two feet and repay us for all the money we’ve provided your regime.

        Surely the repayment will never happen, but I hope that we can stop being bilked for all we have in this one-way money funnel relationship. It’s really sad how Israel pretends it’s so independent but is always asking the US gov’t for another handout or loan guarantees.

        Zionists need America, but America doesn’t need Zionism.

    • amigo
      July 17, 2014, 4:25 pm

      “Correct!!! No one forces you to support Israel or to declare that Israel is your state. You can be a Jew any place in the world. We can manage without you, but please, leave us alone.”mehane 1, 2 or 3 ??/.

      When you leave your neighbours alone, we will be happy to leave you quite alone.

      Which shift are you taday.Your,e English is “perfekt”.

      What no comments on your beloved Israel that you are so proud of thats as we speak is committing war crimes by the minute.

      You souless vacuous urn.

    • Mooser
      July 17, 2014, 7:06 pm

      “We can manage without you, but please, leave us alone.”

      I agree, cut off all economic and military aid to Israel, and boycott, boycott, boycott.
      Why, you’d be better off without us. More purity and modesty among the womens, too.

    • Talkback
      July 18, 2014, 10:03 am

      You can be a Jew any place in the world. We can manage without you, but please, leave us alone.

      The problem is that you can’t be a Jew any place in the world and therefore has to deny Gentiles their fundamental rights. So please, don’t call yourself a Jew. You don’t even know what it means spiritually.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2014, 1:01 pm

        “So please, don’t call yourself a Jew. You don’t even know what it means spiritually.”

        Look, why don’t we just get down to the bare facts, Talkback! The fact is there are only two authentic Jews left in the world. You and me! And you know what? I bet you’re not so sure about me!

        My God, at the rate both Zionists and other Jews are willing to excommunicate each other, it’s a wonder there’s any of us left.

      • Talkback
        July 19, 2014, 4:43 am

        I excomunicated long ago.

  4. MahaneYehude1
    July 17, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Even B’Tselem, normally on the straight and narrow, panders to the Israeli the public. Why else release such a ridiculous report that characterizes the weapons fired from Gaza as action that “defies humanity and is morally and legally reprehensible.”

    Several of you cited B’Tselem many times when he reported against Israel and said that this organization is a reliable source, so why not this time? because it is not comfortable?

    • amigo
      July 17, 2014, 4:34 pm

      mehane , comprehension problems or just plain dishonest.

      You left out the next line.

      “Resistance is resistance. It isn’t pretty. But then neither is oppression.”

      Note one side is oppressed and the other is the oppressor.

      Capeeeesh.

  5. libra
    July 17, 2014, 1:15 pm

    Clearly Professor Ellis is very angry indeed with Israel. As well he should be as it buries his very own stock in trade – the notion of Jewish moral exceptionalism – on a beach in Gaza. Though not so angry that he can’t take a side swipe at the Christian churches. But then perhaps they’re really to blame for this ugly turn of events.

    • Chu
      July 17, 2014, 4:16 pm

      well said.

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2014, 1:04 pm

      “– the notion of Jewish moral exceptionalism –”

      Died the day Zionism was born. It died a quick death, as the Zionists explicitly had no use for it.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2014, 1:24 pm

        And who would ever thought the funeral would go on this long? I though Judaism demands quick burials?

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2014, 8:12 pm

      “his very own stock in trade – the notion of Jewish moral exceptionalism “

      From that you can make a living? Who knew?

  6. Karl Dubhe
    July 17, 2014, 3:33 pm

    “Israel will continue on its path regardless. And this will be how Jews are known throughout the world.”

    I’m too old to blame everyone for the actions of a few, or even most if it comest to that. I don’t see the actions of the US government as a reason to damn every Yankee, nor do I see the actions of the Russian government as giving a reason to despise all Russkies.

    This situation is a horror, an abyss, a gross evil. Yet I will try to refuse the ability of the abyss to look into me. I’m sick of the hate we have for each other, but there must still be hope for the future. Even if I think I’ve lost sight of the hope. :(

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2014, 1:06 pm

      “Israel will continue on its path regardless. And this will be how Jews are known throughout the world.”

      You haven’t figured it out yet? The Zionists think the world will thank us and honor us, for eliminating the Palestinians. They are convinced of that.

  7. Citizen
    July 17, 2014, 4:14 pm

    I am a non-jew. Neither Israel nor the USA is my state in any sense of agreeing with either, although I was born and raised in USA. Can we have a MW article on why this is? Do we non-Jewish Americans have to start our own blog, partnering with Phil Weiss’s blog here?

    • tokyobk
      July 17, 2014, 6:42 pm

      Yes, please write an article for Mondoweiss on why you think the way you do. Your background and how you think it shaped your ideas.

      And start your own website for the old white non-Jew perspective since there are basically none of those. True the Jews will probably try to shut it down through media (and assorted) influence, but it will be fun for a while.

      • Mooser
        July 17, 2014, 7:08 pm

        Ah, that’s a Zionist, always willing to help foster misunderstandings between Jews and the rest of the world. They do it for free, but for them it’s an investment.

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2014, 1:09 pm

      “I am a non-jew.”

      Oh, don’t worry, Citizen! About, oh, six months of lessons and training (why rush something so nice?) a quick Bar Mitzvah (gotta catch up) and you’ll be in like Flynn.
      But watch out for those conversion-by-mail places, some of them are rip-offs!

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2014, 8:13 pm

        “But watch out for those conversion-by-mail places, some of them are rip-offs!”

        No pun intended, of course.

  8. W.Jones
    July 17, 2014, 5:58 pm

    Finally, church pleas for peace. It seems that the churches love everyone, Jews, Christians and Muslims, thus their pleas for peace.

    That’s nice. I tend to agree.

    As if historically Christians have been on the side of the angels. Christwash.

    The way Christians identify what it means to be a Christian means that they are always on the angels’ side. If they are doing something really bad, then they are not being a Christian.

    What about self-professed Christians? Sometimes they are on the side of the good angels, sometimes they aren’t. An angel means a messenger of God, and there have been major times in history when they have delivered inspired messenges. I think that John Brown the preaching militant abolitionist, Martin Luther King Jr., and Desmond Tutu were inspired Christians. Imagine if those inspired Christian leaders hadn’t existed how much darker our world would look!

    Yes, they went through a form of Christwashing too: they were not only baptised in water, but in God’s spirit.

  9. yonah fredman
    July 17, 2014, 9:03 pm

    I am a Jew (question mark).
    Israel is a place where millions of Jews live (period).
    Would I feel a sense of belonging to Israel if 1. none of my relatives had survived the abyss because they immigrated to the land that eventually became Israel?
    2. If I hadn’t spent two and a half years studying Torah in Israel before I started college?
    3. If I hadn’t at one time prayed three times a day including “And to Jerusalem your city in mercy return”?
    4. If none of my siblings and none of my nieces and nephews lived there, instead of most of them?

    • Talkback
      July 18, 2014, 10:08 am

      Israel is a place where millions of Jews live (period).

      And you keep millions of Nonjews expelled. Is that Jewish, too?

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2014, 1:14 pm

      Jeez Yonah “I am a Jew (question mark)” What the fuck is that, Yonah?
      Here, Yonah, this is how you do it:

      I, Derbig Mooser, am a Jew!!!! And F—k You if you don’t like it.

      But I realize Yonah, that your commitment to Judaism is provisional, dependent on what you can get out of it.
      “I am a Jew (question mark)” wow, you’ve written some contemptible things, but that has to be the lowest.

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2014, 1:16 pm

        Two and a half years studying Torah, to put a question mark after “I am a Jew”? The poor schlub

  10. michelle
    July 17, 2014, 9:38 pm

    .
    are we not here to encourage good and to stay the arm bent on evil
    we can disown our ‘brother’ though in G-ds view is he not still our brother
    we who claim to know better must try to redirect those who seem not to,
    or we will be the unclean ones
    .
    is not Christianity a sect of Israel therefore Jewish
    i’ll leave that answer to G-d
    .
    we are all endowed with our own brains for good reason
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  11. American
    July 18, 2014, 10:04 am

    “I am a Jew. Israel is NOT My State”..ellis

    o.k. so you are a Jew–so what is your state?

    Most people in the US whatever their religion or ethic when making a statement in that context would have said…’I am a American, Israel is not My state’……

    I guess you are just a stateless Jew then.

    • Mooser
      July 18, 2014, 1:20 pm

      “I guess you are just a stateless Jew then.”

      Hey, don’t knock it! You can dine out on that for years, now that all the White Russian Countesses and stuff are gone. It makes you cosmopolitan!
      And you get out of the local the sales tax, too!

      • American
        July 18, 2014, 3:58 pm

        hummm…hadnt thought of that….wonder if I could pass myself off as stateless (former american) who had to flee the US for being a anti Isr terrier?

      • Mooser
        July 18, 2014, 8:15 pm

        ” who had to flee the US for being a anti Isr terrier?”

        You can try, but from what I hear, it’s a dog’s life.

  12. Mooser
    July 18, 2014, 1:26 pm

    “My big one, Aaron, is like that, too. On his third trip to the (un)Holy Land”

    ROTFLMSJAO!

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