Showing posts from November, 2011

Self-fulfilling prophecies: The Bible, Zionism and the Palestinians

The Bible contains quite a few prophesies about the Jews returning to Israel.  Some of them related to the Babylonians and the first exile, which ended in the Sixth century BCE, but others came from later.
My favorite is Ezekiel 37 (Yehezkel in Hebrew), whose "Dry Bones" prophesy, in which a valley full of dry bones slide together to make an army of skeletons, sounds like the script for a Hollywood movie:

:1 The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. 2 Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. 
3 And He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
So I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” 
4 Again He said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! 5 Thus says the Lord God to these bones: “Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you…

Collective responsibility: Gaza, Jesus and Gilad Shalit.

My mother recently met an old friend, they had a little chat, but then the next day she got an e-mail from her former friend saying she couldn't talk to her any more because of what Israel is doing in Gaza.
My mother is 90 and lives in London. She has absolutely no influence over Israeli policy and certainly bears no responsibility for it. You might as well blame her for the death of Jesus.  Yet there is this notion in certain circles that Jews are collectively responsible for the fate of the Palestinians. Fortunately, perhaps, the same people have no such claims about our responsibility for our own fate.  If my mother gets bombed, these same people will consider it entirely her own problem.

The idea of collective Jewish responsibility is not a purely antisemitic thing. A recent article in the New York Times  (A Yearning for Solidarity Tangles Public Life by Ethan Bronner) commented on the sense of mutual responsibility that exists in Israel and suggested it was a potential proble…