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Author Archives: Marc H. Ellis
To many, Leonardo Boff is a prophet. As a Brazilian Roman Catholic liberation theologian for many years, Boff is respected on the religious left for his outspoken critique of injustice within and outside of the church. His influence is so wide and his ideas so radical that some years ago he was censored by the Vatican in Rome. In a wide-ranging interview in Iglesia Descalza, Boff spoke about the new Pope with ease and respect. Though Boff’s words on the Pope, especially his opening to gays and abortion, are important and in Catholic circles controversial, no doubt his reflections on Gaza – and Jews – will also garner attention.
Marc Ellis writes: In her recent writing on Gaza, Amira Hass’s words are strong and moving. They are also increasingly disconnected. As I once did and perhaps still do, Hass lives in a Jewish ethical history that no longer exists. Rather than addressing current events, her words represent mourning for a world that will not be resurrected.
Richard Silverstein has reported that an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants has been killed by Israeli forces lest Hamas obtain a bargaining chip in the conflict. Marc Ellis speculates that such a soldier is a martyr for the Jewish state. But does that fulfill the definition of martyr?
Some pundits are calling Israel’s invasion of Gaza a defeat. Even Israel’s international airport is under assault and some airlines are refusing to land there. A blow to Israel’s pride for sure. However, this analysis rests on the assumption that Israel goes to war to win – as in defeat the enemy once and for all. This assumption is false. No Israeli military analyst thinks Israel will win the Gaza war in the traditional sense of that term. Rather Israel goes to war to buy time, to further de-develop Palestinian society and to go about its business elsewhere, say in the West Bank.
Thane Rosenbaum in the Wall Street Journal treats Palestinian civilian casualties as almost a rite of passage for Jews. Let’s talk about Hamas, he says. But Marc Ellis recalls the words of Rabbi Irving Greenberg on the Holocaust: any statement about violence must be considered by how it would sound to the children burned by the Nazis.
Violence has come to define Jews as a people, witness the cheering of Gaza deaths. But the world’s condemnation won’t dissuade Israel of this choice; and Palestinians are now on the other side of history.
This latest invasion of Gaza is less about genocide, contra Ilan Pappe, though his points, as always, are well taken. Rather, the point of Israel’s invasion – like its continuing actions in the West Bank under Gaza’s cover – is to finalize what most of the world, including the Arab world, really wants. What the world wants is a policy that contains Palestinians and leaves the Middle East order, at least what’s left of it, in place. If the policy of containment should be called genocide, so be it, but politically the strategy is a policy of managing a collective. Terminology like this might seem harsh. It is.
Israel is not just attacking Palestinians, it is trying to eliminate Jewish conscience that calls it to account. Marc Ellis’s sons Isaiah and Aaron aren’t having any part of that.
Israel’s invasion of the West Bank and bombing of Gaza has further strengthened its stranglehold on Palestine. And with Israel exercising ever-greater control over the territories, no Palestinian government can succeed.
Mahmoud Abbas was condemned for saying “Shall we recall Auschwitz?” in condemning the Israeli assault on Gaza. But the wanton destruction should cause Jews to reflect that the destructive power of Israel is as formative in Jewish life as the Jewish destruction in Europe during the Holocaust, says Marc Ellis at Mondo
Marc Ellis writes, “The world is even deafer today than it was when outrage was first ramped up during Israel’s various military adventurers in the 1980s. Lebanon and the first intifada are distant memories. The lessons weren’t learned. The openings weren’t taken. . . Depressing for those of us watching Israel’s war machine once again exert its control? Worse for those who are being targeted. Much worse.”
Thinking about settler violence, settler rampages, settler murders. The call from political authorities, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, to pipe down, show restraint, act civilized is disingenuous while the soldiers under his command invade and bomb, blow up homes and shoot children. What type of violence is worse – mob violence or state violence?
Militarism isn’t irrational at all – from the perspective of those who benefit from it. War isn’t a waste either – from the perspective of those who benefit from it.
Read an excerpt from Marc H. Ellis’s new book “Future of the Prophetic: Israel’s Ancient Wisdom Re-presented”.
The Presbyterian vote for divestment affirms the existence of Israel as a Jewish state and distances the church from the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement, Marc Ellis argues at Mondo.
Even as we celebrate the divestment decision by the Presbyterians, we must recognize that Israeli soldiers move at will through Palestinian homes in the West Bank, arresting and delivering violence, Marc Ellis writes
The end of the two state solution is visible in the Israeli hunt for the missing teens, Marc Ellis writes. Palestine is that unique type of state that keeps declaring itself, is continually invaded with impunity and where the state’s government is expected to and even volunteers to cooperate with the invaders.
The hunt continues for the missing Israeli teenagers. The roundup of Palestinians also continues. More than 100 Palestinians have already been taken by Israel’s military. Have they, too, been kidnapped?
How commendable that the Palestinian Authority is assisting in the search for the three missing Israeli teens. Though even this awful story is a story of occupation, says Marc Ellis
By divesting from fossil fuel corporations but refusing to do anything re the Israeli occupation, Union Theological Seminary has decided to speak boldly internationally except on the oppression of the Palestinian people, says Marc Ellis at Mondoweiss.net
Taking a title page from Hannah Arendt’s famous reportage on the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem, the “prayer summit” at the Vatican yesterday should be dubbed “The Banality of Religion.” Or worse.
Pope Francis ought to scour the European soul of anti-Semitism on his visit to the Holy Land: Christianity’s involvement in the birth of Israel and the destruction of Palestine was crucial. Marc Ellis at Mondoweiss
Marc Ellis essay on the connection between the Holocaust, the birth and expansion of Israel and Germany’s reemergence into the world of civilized nations after World War II. He judges German repentance for the Holocaust to be real – and strategic. Without repentance, how could Germany show it was ready to begin again? Once readmitted to the world of nations, Germany has assumed its place as the central economic and political power of Europe. Without German money and military hardware, as well as its international political support, Israel would have a much more difficult time thriving and expanding. Contrary to the Christian imagination, resurrections seem unlimited. Israel and Germany have been resurrected together.
Israel’s prison bars clang shut on an Orthodox youth, Uriel Ferara, who refused to serve in the occupation. For Marc Ellis, the story recalls Elie Wiesel’s famous question, Where was God in Auschwitz?
Nowadays most Jewish thinking is associated with Netanyahu’s injustice or some progressive interpretation of Jewish life that surrounds Palestinians with a verbal Wall much like the concrete Wall they experience daily. Who wants to hear from Jews about Jewish history and theology, the Holocaust and the prophetic?