This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
If you followed Max Blumenthal’s tweets last night from the Cooper Union event featuring Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, and Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, it went pretty much as I expected. Little new. Nothing of depth explored.
Today, Netanyahu is in Washington for a meeting with President Obama. I expect little new. Nothing of depth will be explored.
It’s a bit ridiculous, though, that these two nuclear powers will butt heads over how to keep Iran from developing one nuclear weapon. I doubt either Netanyahu or Obama see the evident irony.
This is the colonial question of questions. Why we can have weapons of mass destruction. Why they cannot have the same weapons.
If it’s about ethics and civilized behavior we should be very careful. The “civilized” are often experts in ethnic cleansing and mass death.
Tomorrow at the United Nations, with or without cartoons, Netanyahu will hold forth. It’s hard to believe that someone ostensibly representing the Jewish people can rework Jewish destiny into a small aggressive state that exists somewhere between the likes of ancient Sparta and Dade County, Florida.
This doesn’t mean Israel is unimportant. It is. But Israel is important now mostly for the way it navigates out of the jam it got itself into. If Israel can’t find a way out the jam it will be a disaster for everyone involved.
The stakes are high on every count. Palestinians first of all, the entire Middle East included.
Jewish history is on the line. What we have to tell our children about Jewish aggression is already too much to bear. It will get worse.
Netanyahu knows only how to deepen the crisis. Whatever the rhetoric, leadership is about negotiating a way out disaster and finding a way with others into a future that is at least livable. To say that Netanyahu is a failed leader is an understatement.
Previous Israeli leaders have also failed. All helped dig a hole that is now so deep that Jews can hardly see the ground we should stand on – justice, compassion and reconciliation.
Nonetheless, that ground – the Jewish prophetic – is alive and well. When will that voice be heard at the United Nations?