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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.

Iron death. What else is an iron fist engaged in war?

If it wasn’t already, the massacre in Shuja’iyeh makes it abundantly clear. So the world’s leaders are scrambling. US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cairo hawking President Obama’s call for an immediate cease-fire. Look for a Kerry Plan to emerge, even if it’s never announced, as was the case with his vaunted end-it-all scheme that collapsed months ago.

From the Sunday talk programs and Kerry’s unscripted sarcastic remark about Israel’s “pinpoint” targeting of Hamas “terror” targets, we know Kerry knows. Remember his comment some months ago about Israeli apartheid? That was when his peace efforts were falling apart.

What is to be thought of world leaders who know the score in private and continually lie in public? They are little better than the Israelis gathered on the border of Gaza who cheer each Israeli bomb strike.

Maybe those Israeli bomb cheerleaders are not far off. Israel was born through violence. Israel has expanded through violence. Israel makes sure that there won’t be a Palestinian state through violence.

Violence has become central to Jewish existence – in Israel and outside of it. Our violence is defining us as a people.

The announcement that an Israeli firm, Elbit Systems, will provide the surveillance system for the border fence between the US and Mexico is part and parcel of this violence. After all, Israel is an expert in border “control.” Israel has the experience and technology to prove it. Why shouldn’t Israel – the US, Europe and everyone else – take advantage of Israel’s expertise in developing advanced apartheid technology?

Somewhat like Israel’s arm industry and their experience in testing weapons against Palestinians. Who in the world rejects those Palestinian-tested armaments? Many who buy these weapons are now calling on Israel to halt the slaughter. Nation-State Hypocrisy 101.

Eyewitness accounts in Gaza say it all. If you’re still on the fence about Israel’s right to defend itself take a listen to Mads Gilbert. Unlike the diplomats, the doctors in Gaza know the human score.

Israel’s gloves are off. There is less and less moral grandstanding.

Does the world’s condemnation make Israel the ultimate loser in this latest Gaza war? I doubt it. If you remember, the 2008 Gaza war was thought to be the end of Israel’s ability to violate international law. The world would never let Israel’s aggression go unpunished again.

Like Israel’s last invasion of Gaza, this invasion – with the parallel invasion of the West Bank – will work in Israel’s favor. The soon to come cease-fire will leave the power equation intact, only more in Israel’s favor. The US will seek Palestinian Authority control of Gaza as an obvious ploy for a severely truncated Palestinian autonomy in what is left of Palestine.

What’s sad is that most of the world will back this plan as a way out for Palestinians.

So it goes in the world of power politics. After this long and arduous history, Jews and the state of Israel have learned, indeed refined, the political art of conquest as a way of life. Unlearning this art is essential but that is another long haul. More and more Jews won’t think the hard work is worth it.

Palestinians are on the other side of history – as Jews once were. But, unlike Jews, their way back will be even more difficult. Like his predecessors, Prime Minister Netanyahu is determined to make the resurrection of Palestine impossible. Count Israel’s Gaza invasion as part of that end-game.

Marc H. Ellis

Marc H. Ellis is Professor of History and Jewish Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of the Global Prophetic. His latest book is Finding Our Voice: Embodying the Prophetic and Other Misadventures.

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7 Responses

  1. Citizen on July 21, 2014, 10:44 am

    A small example of the problem you articulate re your mention that Israel’s Elbit Systems (US subsidiary) beat out big time US Suppliers in contract to provide surveillance on US southern border: http://www.presstv.com/detail/2014/03/02/352952/israeli-company-elbit-systems–wins-the-us-department-of-homeland-security-contract/

    Elbit is a BDS target, but our government takes Elbit’s bid to defend US border. Why? Elbit’s services and products are tried and true–tested by Palestinian lab rats?

    American born and raised Jewish youth is now serving the IDF’s massacre in Gaza, and American born and raised Palestinian youth gets brutally beaten in Israel by Israeli border guards–for no reason except he’s of Palestinian ethnic extractions.

    Did that bill get passed yet, the one that will be the first in US history of asymmetrical and not mutually reciprocal visa waiver?

    The US-Israel FTA in ’86 was the very first US FTA; to this day it remains highly lacking in reciprocity, all to the advantage of Israel. This despite the fact it’s now known Jewish Israel firsters in US gave the Israeli negotiation team all the classified documents outlining US negotiation strategy and pin pointing US private companies involved. US team never had a chance to negotiate a balanced FTA.

  2. Citizen on July 21, 2014, 10:56 am

    Mr Ellis bemoans how little Jews are engaged in the Jewish prophetic tradition, the tradition of calling out status quo power on their divergence from the best Judaism has to offer for a humane world. America also has such prophetic tradition, and nobody influential is listening to the current prophets there either. I haven’t even mentioned the Christian prophetic tradition.

  3. amigo on July 21, 2014, 11:23 am

    So much for never again.

  4. Sycamores on July 21, 2014, 11:50 am

    ample amounts of Israeli violence is needed to maintain the occupation over the Palestinians, supported and praise by Israel supporters throughtout the world. disturbing times.

  5. annie on July 21, 2014, 3:44 pm

    well, i don’t agree.

  6. ivri on July 21, 2014, 5:39 pm

    The assertion here about violence being endemic to Israel would have had more credence had the region around it been peaceful. As in fact it is immensely violent throughout and remembering Jewish liberal traditions you can just as well advance the thesis – based on the very same evidence – that Israel got embroiled in a violence culture and have had no choice if it wanted to survive but to follow suit.

    • oldgeezer on July 22, 2014, 12:29 am

      “that Israel got embroiled in a violence culture and have had no choice if it wanted to survive but to follow suit.”

      Of course. Clearly it can’t be Israel’s fault. They had no choice. They were forced.

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