Sunday, May 30, 2010

Marc Ellis: The Ongoing Nakba and the Jewish Conscience / palestinecenter. org

Dr. Marc Ellis is University Professor of Jewish Studies, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Jewish Studies at Baylor University. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation, now in its third edition, Unholy Alliance: Religion and Atrocity in Our Time, Practicing Exile and most recently, Judaism Does Not Equal Israel. Dr. Ellis has been inducted into the Collegium of Scholars at the Martin Luther King International Chapel and Morehouse College.

Ellis sees contemporary Jews as divided into 3 groups in terms of their positions on the question of Israel/Palestine:
"... Constantinian Jews see Israel as a remarkable and innocent flowering of Jewish history. Progressive Jews see Israel as a remarkable and innocent enterprise that has gone wrong. Jews of Conscience go further than Constantinian or Progressive Jews, back to 1948 as the war for a state of Israel that ethnically cleansed the Palestinian population. An ethnic cleansing that has continued under various guises since the formation of the state of Israel and continues apace today. "
Perhaps because of his training and work as a theologian, Ellis has a somewhat different way of looking at things - which I found deep and compelling.

Racheli Gai.

Marc Ellis: The Ongoing Nakba and the Jewish Conscience

Thursday, May 27, 2010

To view the video of this briefing online, go to

The Palestine Center
Washington, D.C.
27 May 2010

Dr. Marc Ellis:

Thank you very much for that introduction. I see many old friends and some former students. This is my third time speaking at the Palestine Center, so I'm very glad to be back. I have many good memories of my times here. Thank you for your invitation to speak at the Palestine Center. I spoke here many years ago and have fond memories of that time. But of course they are shadowed by the continuing and increasing desperate situation in Israel-Palestine. I have been saying that things would get worse and worse, over the years, and they have. I've been accused of being too despairing and that I should bring a message of hope. But hope can only come from reality; without reality hope is false. Jews and Palestinians are in a terminal condition, realistically speaking. And though vastly different in experiences, we Jews and Palestinians share the same sinking boat. We will be rescued together or we will go down together.

Today I am addressing the ongoing Nakba and Jewish Conscience. I will address these questions, partly through sum events that have occurred since I was invited to speak here because, I believe, they open the question of the ongoing Nakba and the Jewish Conscience in a relevant way. I'll also refer to a recent important lecture here by Professor [John] Mearsheimer where he referred to Righteous Jews, a category I will discuss in a few moments. But I have to make an immediate disclosure – he did not include me among the Jewish notables he lists as Righteous Jews. I may have been included in the "among others" category. Now I don't mention this because I am hurt or surprised. I doubt has ever heard of me. I mention it because it is telling for what he and others leave out. What is often left out of the discussion about Jews and Palestinians is an understanding of Jewishness that I believe forms a substantial component of the Israeli-Palestinian impasse and a substantial
component of a life beyond that impasse. The "something" that is left out is a crucial aspect of the war between Israelis and Palestinians and the internal war among Jews over the question of Israel-Palestine. That "something" often is not recognized by Palestinians either. To this "something" I will return. But first two recent articles in the press that illustrate this missing understanding.

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The video is 44 minutes long.

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