Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Promised Land's Unfulfilled Promises

It truly is a miracle that Israel exists. If you think of the events, the ingredients that came together to make it happen it is a phenomenon without precedent – a nation of what had been for centuries a powerless (in the collective) people.

But after creation – the paradox. The state is now in essence an unsinkable battleship. It’s as if a genie had said, “yes, I will give you your state but there will be a price. Just as you once were the eternal wanderers as individuals, so now you will be eternally under siege as a collective, though you may have any weapon you want and in any quantity. In the creation, you will gain the land, but the price is the Palestinians eternally chained to you, who will cause you to be the very thing you fled for centuries…you must become what you reviled. You will have power but you are condemned to use it oppressively.”

Can’t you almost hear it being said – what will it gain (a people) if they should gain (a land) but lose (their) immortal soul?
So Israel has a future – it exists and will exist – but at the cost of always wearing and using the iron boot? A home, but only as a prison warden, an eternal dictator to others? A home, but at the cost of always sounding the alarm? But the alarm…wasn’t that always near to Jews throughout history? And as the world moves toward multi-culturalism, Israel must by definition be exclusive and rejecting, a move backward in national development. Please tell me it is. Don’t break this heart that believes if only one thing has been learned by our species it is that all can be brothers and sisters!

So I take the opposite tack from Helen Thomas. I ask is price is too high? Come be my neighbor along with so many Jews who have full freedom to worship or not, to wear the attire they wish, to speak the language they want in a country that, though it will always have its troglodytes, also has an overwhelming majority who do not wish their neighbors ill and, most important, a young generation of all cultural backgrounds that is fiery in its defense of multi-culturalism.

If you say no then I see only one way off the battleship and that is to make the country essential to those around it, a vital dynamo for the region. But this can’t happen without risk and that risk requires backing off from being the nation that pre-empts, the nation that decides for other countries what they may or may not be allowed to have, the nation that must guide the legislators of a powerful nation to keep funds and arms flowing to it.

The state exists. The helpless are no longer. But the meek, the trusting, those who were abused and killed for being that way…now become those who are first to defy, first to slap the face of the other, first to make demands, first to strike? It is the most cruel of sentences.

Is that the fulfilled promise of the promised land?

Hat tip to Clif for this comment, posted on the South Jerusalem blog in response to an odd guest post that labelled Helen Thomas as a divisive "proto-Palin", only without the looks or, presumably, the marksmanship. It's worth noting that Thomas's octogenarian sisters have risen to her defence, and spun her notorious comments to mean that she wants Israeli settlers to get out of the West Bank and go back to whence they came - Germany, Poland, America, etc. Hmmmm. Her 100-year-old brother did not weigh in on the issue. Thomas is increasingly doddery at 89 and definitely "misspoke"; consequently she went down mouth first.

1 comment:

Izzy Bee said...

Phil Rockstroh, a Jew with a Native American father, captures the "Zionist state of mind, dreamscape of ghosts" in a poignant personal essay here