This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
Tell it like it really is.
The unfolding tragedy in Syria demands accountability. The various players, including Saudi Arabia, refuse to admit they are fueling the cycle of violence. Worse, the players don’t seem to care. The United States is mute on Saudi Arabia’s complicity. The United States is mute on its own complicity.
Oil can’t be handled with euphemisms. Oil speaks. The powerful follow.
With winter’s arrival, few people know the corruption of our world as Syrians do. No matter the recent UN declaration that Syria is the worse emergency in its history. Syria will remain at the mercy of theologies, ideologies and power.
The Syrian people aren’t in a emergency situation. They’re experiencing total dereliction.
Speaking of another never ending emergency, John Kerry has lost any claim to being an honest broker between Israel and Palestine. Predictably, he is feeding Israel everything it can devour. Palestine is reduced to rummaging for crumbs under the table.
For American foreign policy the Israel/Palestine end game has moving goal posts. Over the last days, state institutions as a societal and political test have replaced a Palestinian state. Israeli troops on Palestine’s borders have replaced Jordanian troops. All of this is to ostensibly protect Palestine from itself.
State institutions – preparing Palestine for statehood – euphemisms multiply.
Because Kerry has fumbled Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, it has become a front burner issue. What such recognition might mean to a victorious Israel is difficult to fathom.
“Jewish state” is another euphemism. But for what?
Whatever Jewish state may have meant in theory, in reality it has become interchangeable with unaccountability for injustice. Today it means pursuit of empire without concern for the cost to others.
“Jewish state” has become a synonym/understatement for everything that’s wrong in the world. That and not anti-Semitism is the reason Israel is singled out. As well it comes with the territory. If Jews see themselves as a light unto the nations, Jews can’t complain when Israel’s dark deeds are highlighted.
Israel is debasing the Jewish ethical tradition – including the prophetic – making it a euphemism for power over others.
Someday, Palestine will become an autonomous entity with the possibility of becoming an (un)real state. Israel, Jordan and Egypt will patrol the borders of the West Bank and Gaza. Jerusalem, well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? So goes the latest euphemistically-defined peace process.
Kerry promises that this peace process is different than the others. I believe it is the same but much more dangerous because the end game is finally in sight. With or without signing a document, Palestine’s fate is clear. Unless there is a reversal of unparalleled magnitude, realistically rather than euphemistically speaking there’s no way out for Palestinians.
Reversal would be a miracle. Even those Christians hawking Christmas as an endless shopping expedition can’t promise the type of miracle Palestinians need.
Palestinians have looked in vain for their savior. “Savior” for Palestinians has become just one more euphemism for defeat.
To make matters worse, negotiating the end only presages worse times ahead. This is because the end is only another step in finishing off Palestine. Herein lay the ultimate tragedy.
At Oslo, Palestinian leadership surrendered Palestine. What did they get in return? Israel tightened the noose. Any agreement signed by Israel and Palestine will tighten the noose further. For that matter, if no agreement is signed, Israel will tighten the noose anyway.
So what is the Palestinian Authority doing in this no-win situation other than highlighting its place on the UN emergency list? Making matters worse by prevaricating on everything. Why this caution at the end?
A few days ago, President Abbas once again undercut the BDS movement by pronouncing what is and isn’t legitimate dissent for Palestinians and their supporters. Abbas demands BDS be limited to the occupied Palestinian territories.
Yet limiting BDS evades the central issue. Only by confronting Israeli power can the occupation be challenged. The occupation involves all of Israel’s institutions and Israeli society at large.
Limiting calls for action to the settlements and it products or academics associated with compromised Israeli universities is fine for euphemistic grandstanding. It demonstrates that Israel’s right to exist – whatever that means in a world of nation-states – is respected. Such half measures are weak. They ultimately grant Israel everything it already has taken.
Would Israel having conquered Palestine, then stopping there, be a victory for BDS? Palestinians within what is now Greater Israel will enjoy only the freedoms a ghettoized reality offers.
Having lost Palestine why doesn’t the Palestinian Authority cast every tried and failed political method to the wind and go for broke?
President Abbas should refuse to meet with Kerry. Better yet, Abbas should turn his back on Kerry in a public setting. He should have his security detail impolitely show Kerry the door.
Palestinians have already lost their world. There’s no reason for them to lose their soul.
Of course, the Palestinian Authority would have to dispense with the euphemisms that legitimate its power.
When power loses its euphemisms, there isn’t much left, is there?