Monday, April 06, 2009

The New Pharaohs?

From NCR Online an article by Rabbi Lerner of Tikkun Magazine. He is using the season of Passover to illuminate the revulsion of many American Jews to what they see going on in Gaza and what it means to them as Jews.

Millions of Jews have been watching Israel’s role in Gaza and the West Bank with particular horror this year. Most share anger at the ongoing terrorism that has made life in the Israeli town of Sderot so difficult. Few sympathize with Hamas. They are aware that over the course of the past few years dozens of Israelis have been killed by terror. Yet the wildly disproportionate response of the Israeli army that led to the killing of over 1,200 Gazans, hundreds of them children and women civilians, has shocked and dismayed many Jews whose identification with their Jewishness came primarily through their commitment to its ethical teachings.

He also brings up the historical context behind the violence (emphasis in BOLD is mine);

Moreover, growing numbers of Jews in Israel and the rest of the world have become aware that the core of the problem lies in the way that Israel’s creation in 1948 led to the expulsion from their homes of some 800,000 Palestinians. Some fled in anticipation of a quick destruction by invading armies of the newly formed Israeli state. But Israeli historians in the past two decades have documented that hundreds of thousands of those refugees left their homes because of fear generated by Israeli terrorists that Arab civilians would be targeted during the war, or to escape a war zone as civilians have traditionally done during active hostilities, or, in the case of over 80,000 of them, because the Israeli army itself forcibly evicted them from their homes and marched them off to Gaza or the West Bank. And then in 1967 when Israel struck at Egypt, Syria and Jordan in a preemptive war (on the basis of a genuine perception of threat), it conquered the West Bank and Gaza and inherited control over the lives of many of these refugees. Today, some 2.5 million Palestinians live under Israeli rule, without the right to vote in Israeli elections, and demanding their freedom.

From his own congregation:

As several congregants put it to me, “We Jews have become Pharaoh to the Palestinian people — so we would be hypocrites to sit around our Passover table celebrating our own freedom, rejoicing at the way the Egyptians were stricken with plague and their firstborn killed, while ignoring what Israel is doing today in the name of the Jewish people.”

I don't believe that Charles Krauthammer would agree with the good rabbi. Neither would some of the readers at The Jerusalem Post. Check out Caroline Glick's column for a clearly opposite view. However, killing children is still killing children. Pushing people out of their homes is still pushing people out of their homes.

If Native American tribes decided to establish their reservations as actual sovereign nations, with their own Departments of Defense and State, what would we do in response? If they decided to expand their reservations beyond current borders, what would we do? Especially if they had an international sponsor?

Israel is a reality, as are the Palestinians. There has to be a solution that honors the lives, rights and dignity in person for all.

1 comment:

The North Coast said...

Very spot on, Kheris, and I commend you for your courage in publishing this post.