Wednesday, January 07, 2009


I cannot bear war. I love the Jewish people. I do not love the State of Israel. It is morally bankrupting itself.

I have visited Israel.

I have seen the Palestinian people. Who are poor. Who have been UN Refugees in camps since WWII. Who were displaced from their land, from their homes, walled up into enclaves, now the most densely populated area in the world, systematically shut off from water, food and medicine, their wells destroyed, their homes bombed, now even their UN schools bombed. These are the people who still live the pages of the Bible, with olive trees, camels, donkeys. Many are Christian. Some are Samaritan. It was amongst them, the Syro-Phoenicians, that our writing began.

I have seen the Israelis. Who have all western technology at their fingertips. Who once came to that land as cattle-herding nomads from Iraq. And who then returned to Palestine/Israel in atonement for genocide practiced against them. Who could return because they had learned from the Phoenicians their writing and had written their history of their conquest of this land, a book, the Bible, shared and known world-wide. Yet the State of Israel is atheist. It has been given back its land because of suffering genocide. It may lose its right to that land if it, in turn, practices genocide. It is destroying that land with cars, roads, buildings, military hardware, a globalized non-identity that mars its pages of the Bible.

In a family where a child is acting out psychiatrists know the family etiology lies elsewhere. Oppressed peoples act out against their oppressors a theatre of the violence they themselves endure. They are then labeled 'Terrorists'. But they are mirroring back to the States the violence, the injustice, practiced against them. Gandhi, starving, was telling England she was starving India, economically and politically. Irish prisoners fasting were telling England she starved Ireland. Suicide bombers are telling States that their violence is annihilating the individual and collective right to life. An anorexic daughter is attempting to liberate herself from parental oppression by the only means left to her. An 'acting out' child is saying something is going terribly wrong in his home.

When Abraham came to semitic Palestine he was greeted by its priest-king Melchisadec with the gifts of bread and wine, gifts produced by the labour of human hands working in harmony with the earth. Australian Aborigines taught me this story in the context of their desire to coexist with the Whites in Australia, to share their expertise of living with their land and its harshness, rather than rob its life-giving aquifers of water pressure.

When I see the poverty of the Roma in Italy and learn of the bulldozing of their poor shelters made of materials no one else wants, this being justified because people must not live that way, I remember the Palestinians' homes bulldozed by the Israelis, I remember the homes of the Blacks in South Africa bulldozed by the Whites, I remember the housing of Blacks in San Francisco bulldozed by the Whites, always those with power against those without power with no alternative provision made for housing or work that can raise their standard of living. I saw in Israel a camp in the desert, a concentration camp, within it Black Jews, families in poverty baking in the hot sun surrounded by barbed wire. I have seen in America the poverty and despair of Native Americans on the reservations. A war waged with high technology against the poor in the face of violence is terrorism. There are mourners at funerals on both sides.

Instead, let there be weddings. Without bombings. My friend, Karen Graffeo, has a splendid project. She, Christian, makes chuppas for Jewish weddings, where the Moslem Roma, refugees from former Yugoslavia in Italy, embroider the names in gold thread on white silk of the Jewish ancestors.

The solutions lie here. In the sharing of bread and wine. In the planting of olive trees. In the open access to wells and to land. And to good schools of learning where the book of Isaiah is read.

Blessings and olive leaves of healing against violence,
Julia Bolton Holloway