The burning children



After the Holocaust, no statement, theological or otherwise, should be made that is not credible in the presence of the burning children.
Theologian Irving Greenberg 1974

Sunday midnight in Gaza
1014 killed
832 civilians
212 children

Be ever hearing, but never understanding;be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’
Make the heart of this people calloused;
make their ears dull
and close their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.
Isaiah 6: 9

For the great bible scholar Walter Brueggemann Jeremiah was the prophet par excellence, the one who saw with great clarity what his people had become. They simply refused to look.

Amira Hass the brilliant israeli journalist is among the many Jeremiahs for her time. She implored fellow Israelis to see the ugly handiwork of the state—and it was only 15 minutes away. She lived among Palestinians saw the effects of the brutal occupation, relatives cut off from each other, from farmlands and markets, an ugly apartheid wall stealing even more land, a proud people forced to undergo humiliating checkpoints and 600 roadblocks, collective punishment, extrajudicial murder in a so-called democracy. She felt the the constant annexation and colonizing activity of “the only democracy in the Middle East”—in reality a state living in a dream world of its own fantasy.a  country which has become a pariah on the world stage.

Isaiah’s anticipation had come true. The “royal consciousness” of power and exclusion had, horror of horrors, become like Pharaoh’s court. The Mosaic revolution of the freedom of the slaves had been overturned and the slaves had now become the slave master.

Jeremiah was sick with grief

My grief is beyond healing. My heart is sick within me. (8:18). His beloved Israel is living in Disneyworld. the status quo is just great.

Peace, peace, but there is no peace”(6;14)

The people have become numb. Denial is massive. Criticism must be faced before newness can break through. The covenant has been broken. God is grieving. The only way through is to die to all the old lies, the truth of the Nakba, the dispossession of 750,000 people in 1948 and the theft of land post 1967. Another people on the same land must be embraced. Innocence and victimhood must be laid aside.

False prophets of course are always with us, Stephen Harper and John Baird immediately come to mind. Those who parrot the stupidities of “what would you do if rockets were shot into your country”—no history, no understanding of the 50 year massive and unrelenting state violence which provokes a desperate response—pathetic rockets which have killed two innocents against precise guided missiles, drones, Apache helicopters, naval blockades and the arsenal of the fifthe strongest army in the world.

Earlier we saw another Jeremiah—Naomi Wolf express her disgust with her synagogue’s silence.

Sara Roy is another brilliant female Jeremiah, a senior scholar at Harvard whose parents were Holocaust survivors. as well 100 members of her extended family murdered in Poland Ms Roy has spent much of her academic life studying Gaza..

What will happen to Jews as a people whether we live in israel or not?Why have we been unable to accept the fundamental humanity of palestinians and include then within our moral boundaries. Rather we reject any connection with the people we are oppressing. Ultimately, our goal is to tribalize pain, narrowing the scope of human suffering to ourselves alone. Our rejection of the “other “ will undo us.”

And now forty years later professor Greenberg’s famous statement which holds up in sickening tension the awful reality of burning innocent children sacrificed to political, military pompous obfuscation and warn out ideology. This time it is Palestinian children burning at the hands of Jews.

No matter. This means nothing to blind men like the Israeli ambassador to the US,Ron Dermer: “the truth is that the Israeli Defence Forces should be given the Nobel Peace Prize… a Nobel Peace Prize for fighting with unimaginable restraint.“

George Orwell, where are you when we need you? The  hearts have indeed become calloused.





  1. 1
    mushafta Says:

    I have to hand it to you Ted- you have enormous tenacity! Like a timex watch you just keep going.

    So many have simply given up and moved on. You are relentless in your pursuit of justice and standing up for your principals; resolute and defiant like David against the giant.

    I so admire your capacity to ignore the small minded nit picking bullies who come here to deface your work of art and try to sell their fake goods. There’s no market here, but you still allow their presence respecting their point of view.

    The sad part of their comments is the fact that as they enter text upon your blog, more and more innocents are being slaughtered. As they ridicule and scold people for minuscule typographical errors, hundreds more Palestinians are sacrificed in a manner not so different from my Jewish brethren at the Holocaust.

    Many have forgotten the Holocaust Ted . I thank God for you and your gifts of intellect and the enormous power of your written word. Thank God you have put your gifts to good use to remind us of the atrocities of the past and the present day. For many of us who cannot connect the dots, you do a masterful job. And Ted, you know as well as I, you will never help some who come here as they have not the eyes to see.

    May God continue to encourage , inspire and bless your gifts Ted!

  2. 2

    like mushafta says. thank you, ted. keep up the good work.

  3. 3

    Mushtafa – Are you equating “nit picking” with the pursuit of facts and details? Passion is good, but shouldn’t it be tempered with intellect? You know, like the line from the W.B. Yeats’ poem. “The best lack all conviction/ while the worst are full of passionate intensity”? Instead of diverting valid questions, you deride the poster. Just answer the question. Really simple. Why have the terrorists built tunnels?

  4. 4
    mushafta Says:

    No one seems to understand the plight of these people. They are desperate. They are oppressed, imprisoned, nowhere to go. I’m not agreeing with the rockets being fired by Hamas; but that does not make it right for the massacre the Israelis are doing. This conflict will not be resolved with arms. The scale of death and destruction of infrastructure is horrific.

    Just when and how do you suppose it will get resolved?

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