Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Modest Proposal, for Peace: Can It Be Done?

            Reading some of the invective which the Anti-Israel Facebookers (-ists?) fling against my people, I was caught by the charge of “Zionist elitism.” They reserve this relatively new term for those of us Jews who see anti-semitism in the more hateful charges thrown up (I choose my words carefully) online.
            This is, again, where Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are more alike than they might choose to believe; indeed, this might be where they could find common ground: the issue of Victimhood, the Jewish Yin to the Palestinian Yang, which I term the Semitic Ouroboros, the Mystical Serpent rolling through Time, Space, and History.
Historically, we Jews have always been victims: I recall reading an article of Nat Hentoff’s, some years ago, where he said that even we American Jews, living in relative safety beneath the red, white and blue, might not be surprised, were we to return home, and find posted on our door or in our mailbox, a notice stating simply, “Jews Out!” It is in our blood, our genes.
            That is why Israel’s Army must be the biggest and most dangerous dog on the block. That is why, if the Enemy—be they the Government (Czarist or Communist Russia), the Church (Middle Ages), an Army (Chmielnicki, Black Hundreds, White or Red Russians), or the Ultimate Evil (you know) comes after the Jews today with a knife, the Israeli Army answers with a gun. If a gun, then Israel has a missile. If a missile, then Israel has the Nuclear Solution—but only in case of Armageddon. (God forbid it ever comes to that.)
            And yet—in spite of all—the Historical Jew still sees himself as Victim; if you question him, he has the history to prove it.
            Meanwhile, what does the Palestinian have? Betrayed by his neighboring Arabs from the start, left alone and friendless, left to be a miserable refugee with only the ghosts of memory, fed lies or half-truths, for the most part, by dictators and self-serving gutter napoleons—he dwells amid squalor and waste, hungry and jealous, of whom? Surely, not of his fellow Arabs, those oiligarchs who preach Puritanical Islam, but jet off to Switzerland or Monaco to carouse, gamble, and drink in secret—but jealous of the Jew. The Palestinian refugee is the current Victim, and has his own historical scars to prove it.
            And that is why the Jew and the Palestinian should sit down, discuss their common histories, and inch, slowly, toward peace. What could they possibly talk about, they who have shed one another’s blood, over the past decades, wrestling together like brothers who hate one another with all their might?
Together, they would find much to discuss.
            Together, they could share a common narrative:
“I have suffered,” the One might say.
            “And so have I—but look: I have survived, and beaten down my enemies—and so can you,” the Other would respond.
            Together, they could plan mutual survival, and how they might help one another to flourish—economically, culturally, educationally—the details would wait to be worked out.
            No more blood.
            No more dead babies, or children hiding in shelters.
            No more burning buildings, or teenage boys lurking around street corners, trying to murder one another.
            All that would be required would be the willingness to do so, to overcome this rock-hard Stubbornness that the Politicians on both sides have built up, which has infected the latest generation of young men, so that they throw down their lives—and for what? A pile of stones? A tomb? A “holy place”? I tell you—and I consider myself a rabbi, a religious man, a teacher—a place cannot be holy today, if it requires blood to be spilt on a regular basis—have we not progressed upward to the Light of Humanity and Civilization, or do we still require Human Sacrifice, and of our Finest Youth, at that?

            It would not be easy, but it could be done, “for the Lord God Himself has spoken it.”