ISRAEL IN EXILE

It’s a little like the Seinfeld show. The one where he says he’s not gay, but in case anybody thinks he’s gay, he wants them to know “there’s nothing wrong with that (i.e. being gay…).”

I think part of the problem, speaking as a Jew who constantly opines about Israel’s miserable lack of conscience concerning the Palestinians, is we don’t want to be mistaken for echoing sentiments originating with anti-Semitic hatred of Jews. And yes, unlike Seinfeld, there is something wrong with sounding like an anti-Semite or seeming to join our Jewish voice to theirs.

It is a neurosis of sorts, causing the current conflict among Jews who don’t quite know how to handle an apparent Congresswoman (Ilhan Omar) probably more anti-Israel as a Muslim than anti-Semitic, but who has said things that were full-grained, Elders of Zion refuse.

So, I have come to an important doctrine: I refuse to be mistaken for an anti-Semite. My complaints should be understood as not per se castigating Israel’s horrendous policies of Occupation and military subjugation of a neighboring population. They are not not even about the Palestinians-–as odd as that may sound. My concern is “Jewishness.” I am protesting that with each loss of my People’s historic bond to Torah values, we are losing our identity as Jews.

It is a self-inflicted Exile, a divorce from Adonai and Torah which occurs with every violation of the sanctity of the Torah’s explicit Covenant between Him and us.

No non-Jew can voice this criticism. To those wonderful, activist non-Jews who read this, please understand. You are being used to turn a world of other faiths against my People just as we are in the midst of a struggle to overcome the worst of our own. And, as your gentile chorus sounds its outrage in unison with ours, those who harbor renewed visions of cruel extinction of us, are frenzied with that hateful hope. So, please don’t join your voice to mine. I have only one protest: To my fellow Jews, whether Israelis or in the diaspora, who awaken in the morning and declare your love for God, if you do so while bearing false witness against a neighboring People, the Descendants of Ishmael, Covenanted by Adonai in the Torah, circumcised by Abraham, buried both by him and Isaac–even swearing to love Adonai with all your heart, beware: As your words rise to the heavens, while you build your houses on the land promised the Descendants of Ishmael in the Torah, swearing it is yours, punishing the families for the sins of their offspring, blowing up their houses, destroying their trees, so expressly forbidden in Torah, and forcing them to search for water when you have more than enough, judging them by different laws than your own, you are taking Adonai’s name in vain, desecrating a prosperous and fruitful future He promised them in Torah, according to His sacred Covenant. (Ber. 21:18; 25:18)

No non-Jew can say this.

No anti-Semite can feel what it means to sense the beginning of Exile.

About the Author
Abram Epstein, a New Yorker, has served as Director of Education for several synagogues and actively participated in the Manhattan Educators’ Council. His graduate studies at New York University’s Hagop Kevorkian Center focused on ancient Near Eastern religion and Biblical Judaism. He is a recipient of the university’s prestigious Founders’ Award for Academic Accomplishment and has a screen credit as Historical Consultant for "The Seventh Sign" starring Demi Moore. His other books include, "The Historical Haggadah," "The Matthias Scroll," "A Documented Biography of Jesus Before Christianity," and most recently, "The Matthias Scroll–Select Second Edition." Abram invites communication on his FB page: "Abram Epstein" or "Abram's Historical Writing."
Comments