This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
So now, after a summer filled with threats and unimaginable violence and with no end in sight, may I ask a question as a Jew – to you, the Israeli government and those who govern the Jewish state (as you claim it to be), in the name of Jewish history (as you often reference), and thus as the fulcrum of Jewish destiny (to which you say all Jews should pay attention)?
I pose the same question to those in high positions in Jewish institutions in America who enable Israel in the name of the Jewish people everywhere (as you also claim).
What’s your endgame in Gaza?
Then, tell me, what your endgame is in the West Bank and Jerusalem. As leaders you have a strategy – you have to. What is it? Where is it likely to lead us?
You justify everything Israel does. You invoke the Nazis, terrorist Hamas and now ISIS. Jews, indeed the whole world, has heard it all.
Tell us Israel, beyond tomorrow or the next day, what do you have in mind?
Gaza has been destroyed. Its infrastructure, such as it was, is reduced to rubble. What’s left to destroy?
You know every street in Gaza, with the addresses and the families dwelling therein. It seems you even know everyone’s phone number. Of course, and this seems central you, we should trust you because you know what makes Palestinians and Arabs tick – the iron fist. And now it seems from yesterday’s attack that even the highest echelon of Hamas is vulnerable to your power – along with their pregnant wives and children and others in the area where they happen to be.
With this extraordinary knowledge and skill, tell us Israel, now what?
With more than half of Gaza’s population under 21 years of age – minus the 1,000 or so of that age group you’ve already killed and a thousand more of various ages – 1.8 million Gazans remain.
Tell us Israel, after you have finished this war, what do you propose to do with the people of Gaza?
You know full well that no one outside your circles buys your reasoning. There have been few times when the global community has agreed on any issue or event so much as on your brutality and violation of all international standards of human decency. Even your greatest ally, the United States, at least President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, would disown you if they had the political will to do what their minds and conscience tell them is right and proper.
So with even the US (partial) roadblocks now in evidence, tell us Israel, is it your plan to shed your American blockers and make a run for it in the open field?
If you continued on your own and succeeded, tell us Israel, where that would leave you, the Jewish establishment in America and Jews in Israel and around the world? Would we Jews finally be free? What would that freedom mean?
It’s obvious that for you and your enablers, Palestinians are collateral damage. But it also seems that Jewish soldiers and Jewish history – our entire ethical tradition – is likewise collateral damage. Can both be sacrificed so easily for your as yet unannounced definition of the greater Jewish good?
Tell us Israel, the greater Jewish good – defined – as what?
It’s obvious where I’m going with this. But label my part deconstruction. I’ll even leave out what you consider utopian and traitorous – the numbers of Jews in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States who have been demonstrating against what you are doing in Gaza.
Since dissident Jews don’t have the power, at least lay out a minimum vision – of a somewhat sustainable, somewhat just and, alas, somewhat ethical view of the future of Israel and the Jewish people. I think this is a reasonable demand. To be honest, I haven’t heard anything close to this limited vision of a less than engaging future.
All I hear is ending the terror.
If you can’t imagine owing such a vision to the Gazans you’ve invaded and destroyed, then think of those in whose name you act. After all, Jewish history now is defined by your actions.
Isn’t it time to present your vision, on our behalf, if only to be debated?
There must be something beyond the terror you partake in and provoke.