Since I don't believe in any god(s), I believe the only ones who do pass judgement is ourselves - although nature has it's laws as well, they are not moral, but solely based on might-makes-right. So in that sense, the global collective has the role a a judging God on this matter. The question is: when will people worldwide rise up against Israel's racism?
I would look at Israeli internal demographics as a ticking bomb that will eventually leave the nation alone, destabilized and without allies. If you want to look at that through a theological perspective, you could say that Israel has been given time to make peace, allow refugees back and make a state for all citizens that is not based on ethnic cleansing of the ones you don't like.
Look at the increasing number of children from religious schools. These are now about 40% of the newest high school generation (!) and 82% percent of them believe Arabs should not be able to vote. Compare this to 47% who believe this in secular schools. This means there is already a majority of people in the newest generation who would want to institute real apartheid without trying to hide it in any way.
In about 10-15 years, Israelis from religious schools will constitute a definitive majority of all school students. Think about how their values compare to those of their parents.
Accordingly, the conflict will likely only get worse in 10-15 years to come. But at the very latest in 2030, demographical trends in public opinion are going to make it outright impossible for the US to support Israel any longer.
Thank you Marc for this very deep and insightful post.
"The lessons of history have been lost to us. Or did we learn them too well?"
I found these sentences very chilling.
It reminds me of how you train fighting dogs, and the similarities to the perpetuation of violence in the I-P conflict. The animals are beaten without giving them a chance to understand why, in order to increase their latent aggressiveness. Senseless violence risks creating psychopaths. This is of course also connected to how abuse in childhood can do the same.
With regards to the present, any further pondering on the aspect of a cycle of violence is hardly necessary. It is the past and the future of this cycle we must examine, in order to see the big picture.
From the very beginning of recorded history:
"When Yahweh your God brings you into the land that you are about to enter and occupy, and he clears away many nations before you — the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Perizzites, the Hivites...and when Yahweh your God gives them over to you...you must utterly destroy them...Show them no mercy...For you are a people holy to Yahweh your God; Yahweh your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession"
"But as for the towns of these peoples that Yahweh your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them—the Hittites and the Amorites, the Canaanites and the Perizzites, the Hivites and the Jebusites—just as Yahweh your God has commanded, so that they may not teach you to do all the abhorrent things that they do for their gods, and you thus sin against Yahweh your God"
The Jewish people seized the promised land from the Canaanites with violence, but were enslaved by Egypt. Later, the promised land was reclaimed again with violence, but the Jewish people were enslaved by the Assyrian king, who resettled their lands with other peoples. When the Jewish people returned and built the Second Temple, it must have seemed as if the future held peace. Only things such as records on the views on intermarriage and the refusal to include the Samaritans in the construction of the Second Temple might have given particular reasons to fear for future tensions. And so later eventually the Sicarii (who were to the Roman occupation what Islamic Jihad are to the Israeli occupation today) and other Jewish zealots, fuelled by nationalist fervour (or "baseless hatred" as some would say) provoked the Roman occupiers into driving them from Jerusalem. As a side note there was one rather famous Jew who argued against the Jewish nationalism prevalent at the time in the sense that he thought that political leadership is a political, and not religious, matter.
It is interesting to note the similarities between Hitler's imagined Lebensraum and the Promised Land as described in the two quotes above. With 8 million dead in the war, the Germans paid the price in blood immediately. Zionism as a response of Judaism to the baseless hatred and nationalism on the European continent therefore seems very paradoxical - how can somebody ever argue for one people's "inherent" right to land after the Holocaust? Who, and/or what system is perpetuating the violence here?
For the future, universal judgement blind to religion or ethnicity seems like the only way to finally end this cycle of violence, which might go on indefinitely otherwise. Unfortunately, I fear even in these enlightened times it would truly take a meshiach to do this and reverse the escalation towards the next deadly cycle.
Here are the words of MLK on the subject:
“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
You raise very interesting issues. (I'm unsure about the facts behind the bioweapons part though). People who are interested in social injustices (I include myself in that group) often forget that the language that is most commonly spoken in the corridors of power is that of economics. There is a very significant connection between Israeli military SIGINT capability and start-up companies in the IT sector.
I believe tourism would absolutely boom in a post-apartheid Israel/Palestine, although cutting edge military technology, and especially the positive side effects of mandatory military service in SIGINT units would almost surely disappear. Personally, I believe that this part of the economy tends to get too much focus because of the current situation. You associate Israel with these fields, and then you subconsciously forget all the other existing and potential areas of entrepreneurship and innovation.
On the other hand, there are also positive economical side effects to one person, one vote, one state. Companies such as SodaStream could fully employ the new Palestinian working class, without risk for boycotts or the obstacles of the occupation. It opens up the markets of neighbouring Muslim countries to a far greater degree. Palestinian citizens of the post-apartheid state would be natural emissaries and salesmen to these Muslim countries. Full EU integration would likely be offered on a silver plate. The resulting nation would become a symbol for peace all over the world and an icon fit to place between Gandhi and Mandela. In fact, the more you think about it, the better the economic reality looks on the other side.
It is easy to profit from the occupation, but the potential for economic prosperity is undeniably greater with equality. I agree that it might be ideal with an intermediate deal, where you don't immediately offer all Palestinian refugees right of return, but create a democratic state on what is now Israel and the West Bank. When stability has been achieved with those parameters, you could go to the next step.