Thursday, July 31, 2014


Postscript to Our Jews, our problem

It may seem to be a bit premature, but really, someone ought to give you all a ‘heads up.’ Time is running out for the ‘state of Israel,’ and everybody knows it. You’ve had more than half a century to show the world you could not only wrest a garden from the desert sands, but also create a viable, democratic state that can live in peace both with itself and with its neighbors. Though some of you fall back on bible passages to justify your capture of the land and conquest of its people, most of you do not really believe in the God that reveals and commands in the Torah. In the end, those who really do believe will prove it by following the commandments of true righteousness and, heeding the prophets of Israel, do what they say. These alone will be allowed to remain in the land. For them, their footprints will spell ‘the land of Israel’ and they will live in peace with the indigenous peoples, whom they will welcome back, to replace those others.

Those others? Yes, those of you Jews who created the ‘state of Israel’ believing only in your vision of a ‘homeland’ where Jews would be safe from Christian persecution. You should start thinking about where in the Western world you want to live, and pack your bags. Will it be the United States, or the United Kingdom, or France, or Germany, or even Russia? It’s your choice, wherever you decide to go.

The justification for Zionism has disappeared with the evolution of Western society. There are almost no countries in the Western world that place burdens or unfair controls over Jews. If anti-Semitism still exists in some places, how can its reappearance not be related at least minimally to the existence and policies of the ‘state of Israel’? Some countries have even offered Jews incentives to return to their original homelands. Portugal and Spain are two examples. So there you are! Secular and other agnostic, unbelieving, and unobservant Jews in the ‘state of Israel,’ now is your chance! Why wait till you are forced to escape by the skin of your teeth?

Maybe it’s not your fault that you were born into a failed experiment. Even if you did it with eyes wide open, there’s still time. Your education and skills are probably in demand here in the West, and your departure, or rather your ‘return’ (giving the term ‘aliyah’ a new meaning) will help the peace process. That process will move forward with you or without you, because history doesn’t wait. Like God Himself, it is never too early or too late. It’s always ‘just in time.’

That time is running out for the ‘state of Israel’ might seem to be good news for the original inhabitants (if they really believed it), but though the land will be given back to them, along with all political, social, religious and economic rights, there are also responsibilities. For the Muslim Palestinians, they have experienced in reverse what many Jews, no, all Jews, experienced when living in the lands of Islam. According to your religion, the ‘people of the Book’ who do not convert to Islam become second-class citizens. They become dhimmī, must pay jizyah, and are excluded from participation in certain civic duties.

This aspect of Islam, whatever are its reasons, must be rooted out. Wherever Islam coexists with other religions, it cannot insist on special rights, privileges, or priority. This is a reality of the modern world, which has proved itself capable of providing safe homes and equal opportunity to all citizens. There is no place for fundamentalism in democratic societies, if that fundamentalism seeks to extend its influence and control over others who do not accept it. Christian and Jewish and Hindu and atheistic fundamentalisms are no different or less dangerous than Islamic fundamentalism. If the race is to survive, all must go.

This morning as I write this, the ‘defense forces’ of Israel are gathering in full strength for a deeper assault on the Gaza strip. Drive all your enemies, together with their wives, children, and elders, into a narrow, desolate alleyway off an already overcrowded but glitzy street, and when resentment among them produces gangsters with enough pluck to take aim at your property there on the main street (where they used to live), retaliate by pushing them deeper into that hole where you confined them, root out and demolish those criminals, even if you have to kill innocent women and children. Yes, that’s the ticket!

It’s not your fault, if the innocent are forced into being shields for the guilty. Kill them all, if that’s what it takes to defend yourselves. This all sounds like a very bad movie plot. No heroes in that film, really, just a bunch of sweaty, overweight commanders directing a few perfectly robotic army units with equipment that indiscriminately cuts down and cuts up swathes of human bodies like a mower cutting its way through a field of weeds. The weeds and the wheat, all cut down, so the ground can be roto-tilled and purified in preparation for planting a better strain of… weeds and wheat.

Perfectly helpless, if not perfectly mindless and heartless—that’s what we are. We are petrified by our prejudices against those whom we do not know, never cared to know, wished weren’t there, but would help, if only they would listen to our instructions and eat out of our hands. We feel awful that the innocent suffer at the hands of the—what shall we call them? the guilty? no, that won’t do. Maybe, the righteous. Well, whatever else they are, the Israelis aren’t the guilty. No, they’re the innocent, the ‘unschuldig’ like the Hungarian Jew in the film Fateless who pointed to the letter ‘U’ (for Ungarn, ‘Hungary’ in German, his origin) on his prison jacket and tremblingly snickered while he said ‘unschuldig’, innocent, to the teen-age boy with whom he lived in the concentration camp. A day or two later, he was missing from roll call, and his lifeless body dragged away somewhere. Yes, the people who are defending themselves, their homes and families, against the senseless savagery of Palestinian attacks are the descendants of the very same people we watch in films about Nazi atrocities. In those films, and in the real history behind them, they were losers. Today, they are winners, no matter what it takes.

Perfectly hopeless, that’s what they are, people like us who do not know their right hand from their left, who have lost their way amidst the wealth of their great city, who do not know, cannot see or understand, that they are not innocent, like dumb animals, like the dog that nips a child in the face out of unthinking excitement, but that they are guilty, like the man who displaces the boundary marker between his land and his neighbor’s in order to enlarge his own. Guilty, but too busy to notice, like the people who robbed the ‘third world’ of its natural resources and enslaved its people, because it was ‘good business’ and because everyone was doing it, and ‘we don’t want to be left behind.’ No, whatever else they are, helpless and hopeless describes that condition under which people live, unknowing that they are guilty of the crimes of which they accuse others, and therefore incapable of repentance. Where is the prophet Jonah for the people of this generation. Has he fled and been swallowed by the whale where he is hidden till this day, in contradiction to the plain words of scripture? Has the Word of God been falsified? Has the Bible lied? or have we simply allowed ourselves to sleep, while others weep?

Lord God, Holy One of Israel, hear the cries of your people, have mercy, awaken us, free us from our passions that we may be at peace, for You are the only lover of mankind!

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