A voice lost in the whirlwind

Yes, the “evil” Israelis again have upset

The world — shot civilians who’d peacefully met

To throw stones, cut wires, send kites to burn farms

With guns at the ready in case they could swarm

Through some breach in the border to where they could vent

Their just indignation on some settlement

Of Israelis whose right to exist they dispute.

But instead of just letting them slaughter and loot

The Israelis brought snipers and shot quite a few,

Including a few half-grown lads, it is true,

Who with boyish excitement took part in the fray

And did what the men did, and drew the same pay.

So now the world mourns for the innocent dead,

And leaders whose hands to the shoulder are red

With the blood of ten thousands stand up to accuse

The Israelis of wrong (they do not quite say “Jews”),

And the echo is borne on a media world-wind,

By prelate and pundit the message is dinned

In the ears of earth’s flocks, where some may be scratching

Their heads with the question: “Is some rabies catching?

Here’s this people whose chiefs could have easily made,

With all the world’s humanitarian aid,

A Garden of Eden — and squandered it for

An infernal warren of tunnels of war.

And those who are stopping them are the bad guys?

Well. truth in this world is quite often disguised…”

While the wisdom of ages awakes in its crypt,

And mutters, “When nations of conscience are stripped,

They have to be stopped at whatever the cost,

Or the whole cause of justice on earth will be lost!

Those whose pitiful sighs on the cruel are spent

At last on the just their anger will vent;

And not all can be spared who are born among those

Who bring punishment down by the steps that they chose,

Lest the world turn to chaos.”  But all that’s too deep

For multitudes drowsed in a digital sleep

Or professionals always with one eye on grants

Whose source they don’t question; they can’t take a chance

On asserting what now is “correct” to deny,

Or they’ll get from their colleagues and friends the fish-eye,

And maybe get put on a list that someone

Is doubtless composing for when the time comes.

So by high-sounding phrases that served to disguise

Betrayal as kindness and fair compromise

We have reached a condition which surely appears

To an observer in some higher sphere

As though planet Earth had become a facility

For the housing of souls that had lost the ability

To notice the difference between dark and light…

Well, but Israel’s still here; so things may yet come right.

About the Author
Esther Cameron is a poet, literary scholar (Western Art and Jewish Presence in the Work of Paul Celan, Lexington Books, 2014), and editor of The Deronda Review. She lives in Maale Adumim.
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