A personal essay
This is a powerful piece, thanks for sharing it with us.
As a Jew, I share your learning experience about Israel. It's so hard to accept the role reversal. Just read the prayers in the siddur where the Jews pray for relief and an end to the exile. We were supposed to return to the Holy Land in joy and in peace. Your analysis is correct. I have nothing to add. I think the coming war in Gaza will spread and will incur horror and unfathomable repercussions.
As a jew who also lived in Israel and for many years dreamed of Aliya it has been a slow journey to opening my eyes and taking in the reality of the situation versus what I have read and been taught and always believed. But this, what is happening now, is beyond. I am horrified, I am appalled, I am heartsick. I cannot and will not defend what is happening to the people of Gaza. And of course that does not mean that I am not horrified, appalled and heartsick over what happened to the Israelis. Unfortunately there are too many in my family and circle who believe it must be one or the other and that it cannot be both. Thank you for this essay.
Agree completely. My Chomsky moment was his pieces in Ramparts after the 6 day war. I grew up as a zionist and what he wrote shocked me. I went to the library and read around following his references (god bless his footnotes) and emerged a month later realizing I had no idea what I had been talking about after 20 years of misinformation. It took another couple of years to appreciate that the history he gave, and you reviewed, was largely correct and that, as he once said in Peace in the Middle East: when one has a sizable non jewish group within Israel then the choice is a jewish state or a democratic state. To the degree it is jewish and canot be democratic and vice versa. True in mid 60s and no less true today. Sadly, this simple fact of logic is hard for pro Israeli supporters to absorb. And, given this truth, the alternatives are always the same: cut a deal so both groups can live in a democratic state which is the state of its citizens and not one ethnic sub part, impose apartheid where one of the dominant ethnic sub groups rules and the other suffers subjugation, ethnic cleansing or genocide. Sadly, right now Israeli policy is one of the last two. This cannot be allowed to stand. We need a cease fire now, and after, a push to finally get the first option realized.
Thank you for this, Jonathan. Sending this to 136 people now.
Thank you for your voice. Your courage clears a path for good works.
Called Biden and my senators and congressional representative this morning.
Asked that they stand up publicly against the genocide. That they send no more weapons - only humanitarian aid. Represent me rather than the munitions industry. Protect the babies. I am appalled that this is needed. So ashamed that my country is perpetuating this.
Brilliant and powerful essay. Thank you for putting your heart into it and for sharing it.
Thank you so much for the factual information and broad context you have provided here. I feel like I can now have an informed conversation with family and friends. I see the wisdom of an inclusive, democratic one-state solution, but is there any hope, at all, that that could ever happen?
Is it possible to be in 100% agreement with the arguments of both sides of something?
I agree with Katz on one point: For both Jews and Arabs, "Israel" and "Palestine" are the same place -- not some "side-by-side" set of segregated entities. Ethnocracy (a "Jewish State," a "Palestinian State") is no "solution."
Nonetheless, a narrative of Exile and Return has been recognized as a defining element of Jewish identity throughout the world for over 2,000 years. "Palestine" is the name applied by the Romans in conjunction with kicking out the Jews.
When Jews started peacefully returning from Exile (decades before 1948), Palestinians (predominantly ethnic Arabs) ) staged riots (verging on pogroms). It's not as if they welcomed the Jews home with open arms. Had they done so, there'd have been no "Nakba," and they'd be prospering now.
Under these circumstances, Israel should annex the Territitories, and offer the inhabitants full and equal citizenship -- in return for their full allegiance to the Israel that results. In the process, Israel (while remaining a refuge for Jews) would cease to be explicitly a "Jewish State."
Jews and Arabs should be free to live in peace throughout the land. Those (Jews or Arabs) who won't accept this deserve no place there. (For that matter, following on the heels of its military actions in Gaza, Israel should immediately begin building hospitals and schools.)
Jews must now demonstrate that we're as adept at statecraft as we've been at war. In America, we've proven that we can flourish when "self-determination" is recognized as inherently an INDIVIDUAL right.
"Settler/colonialism"? If the price of being Jews (even Mizrachim) is that we’re not indigenous anywhere, Israelis might as well all be “packing for Perth.”
This won't be over until the Al-Aqsa Mosque is emblazoned with the words, "My house shall be a house of prayer for all people."
All the rest is hubris, bloody hubris. We’re all indigenous to that reality.
PS: My Zionism is similar to that of Judah Magnes. And yes, I’m aware that he was driven out of Israel (by ethnic chauvinists on both sides), and that he died in the Diaspora of a broken heart. We owe him — and ourselves — a better legacy than that,
I upgraded my subscription to paid. Great read on a horrible topic. Thank you for writing this.
Super powerful. Wow.