It seems the world has caught up with Israel and its shameful treatment of the Palestinians. In an era of instant communication, the ugly face of oppression snd the stench of Gaza and the persisitence of the Palestinian people has moved the world.
In November in a little noted speech the noted Israeli writer David Grossman spoke out. with the clarity that only comes with deep suffering, Grossman gave a speech on Rabin Day, November 4, His words were particularly poignant as his son Uri had been killed in the Lebabnon War. He stated that this year, “It was not easy to look at ourselves.” Israel has come to face to face with a crisis in every part of its existence.Grossman spoke as a Jew with no religious faith but one who like many of us, saw the creation of the Jewish state as nothing less than a miracle.
“We had the opportunity to create an enlightened, properly functioning democratic state that would act in accordance with Jewish and universal values. A country that would be a national home and refuge, but no only a refuge. It would also be a place that gives new meaning to Jewish existence. A country in which an important, essential part of its Jewish identity, of its Jewish ethos, would be full equality and respect for its non-Jewish citizens.
Look what happened.”
Here Grossman referred to the obfuscations, stalling, lying of its leaders in its unimaginative failure to end the criminal occupation of national humiliation
“Rabin decided to act because he detected with great astuteness, that Israeli society could not long continue in a state of unresolved conflict. He understood, before many people understood, that life in constant climate of violence, of occupation, of terror and fear and hopelessness, come at a price that Israel cannot afford to pay.”
And then this cruel cut—the stunning elevation to the Israeli cabinet of an out and out racist Avigdor Lieberman “ the appointment of a compulsive pyromaniac to head the country’s firefighters.”
“And these are some of the reasons that, in an amazingly short time, Israel has degenerated into heartlessness, real cruelty toward the weak, the poor, and the suffering. Israel displays indifference to the hungry, the elderly, the sick, and the handicapped, equanimity in the face of, for example, trafficking in women, or the exploitation of foreign workers in conditions of slave labor, and in the face of profound, institutionalized racism toward its Arab minority. When all this happens as if it were perfectly natural, without outrage and without protest, I begin to fear that even if peace comes tomorrow, even if we eventually return to some sort of normality, it may be too late to heal us completely.”
Such beautiful words from an artist—totally lacking in diaspora Jewry whose only response is to send more cheques and support the worst instincts of the right wing.
Can one imagine anyone in the US Congress so terrified of AIPAC the Israel lobby speaking like David Grosssman:
“Appeal to the Palestinian people. Speak to their deepest wound, acknowledge their unending suffering. You won’t lose anything, and Israel’s position in any future negotiation will not be compromised. But hearts will open a bit to each other, and that opening has great power. Simple human compassion has the power of a force of nature, precisely in a situation of stagnation and hostility.”
Language like this we are longing to hear. Judaism of the Torah we long to hear. Cheque book Judaism is absolutely irrelevant, harmful and nothing short of a betrayal of those jewish values David Grossman talked about.