This is part of Marc H. Ellis’s “Exile and the Prophetic” feature for Mondoweiss. To read the entire series visit the archive page.
What does a Jew from America have to say on the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine? The answer is complex and appropriately so.
I will be speaking on this subject in the (un)Holy Land soon but first I share some preliminary ideas before the conference itself. Then after a week or so on the ground I will add, revise or emphasize certain themes more boldly. After all, the ground in Israel-Palestine is always changing and I haven’t traveled there for some years. Unfortunately, the changes are mostly for the worse.
I share these preliminary thoughts as well to add to or help jump-start a discussion that we aren’t having – the next five years of thinking and acting in relation to Israel-Palestine. The conference celebrating Kairos Palestine should be a time of deep reflection, mourning and renewed commitment.
As a Jew, I speak on the state of Israel because it is part of the longer arc of Jewish history, as is Christianity and Islam. Palestine, too, is part of Jewish history, then and now. Even the Bible is at play, here, in the most (un)holy of lands. The complexities of a Biblical and modern landscape that continues to captivate the world are many, even as the people of the land, Jew and Palestinian alike, desire what is most elusive, an ordinary life.
Extraordinary is the word here both for Kairos Palestine and the situation on the ground in Israel-Palestine. In such an extraordinary reality, I would be remiss if I concentrated only on the remarkable success of the document in its five years of existence. Rather I concentrate here on the present situation and look ahead to the next five years. All of us can agree that this is no time for cheerleading.
Is this, then, a time for pessimism? Kairos, that moment of decision, of turning, of conversion where we become more deeply who we are, comes always at the right time, even if it’s too late.
If we are to be honest, we know it is too late – for beating around the bush, proposing illusory solutions or offering a solidarity without sacrifice. Palestinians have experienced decade after decade of political and religious hypocrisy. Yet on the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine hypocrisy surrounds us. Intended and unintended, this hypocrisy infects whatever solidarity is offered to the Palestinian people.
Translated Jewishly, Kairos is the prophetic, itself a moment of decision, of turning, of conversion, where Jews become more deeply who we are. Like Kairos, the prophetic comes always at the right time, even it’s too late.
Everyone involved in Israel-Palestine knows in their gut that it is too late. Those on the ground experience it daily. Palestine is surrounded, ground down and expropriated. Even as resistance continues, Palestine is on life-support. Palestine’s governmental and religious leadership know this score, or should. On the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine, it is wrong to turn a blind eye to these harsh realities.
Here I offer several points of view on the reality of the situation as I see it on the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine. I do so as a Jew, who lives in America but sees Israel as part and parcel of the broad arc of Jewish history after the Holocaust.
For me and for Jews everywhere there are now two afters – after the Holocaust and after Israel. By after Israel, I mean after what Israel has done and is doing to the Palestinian people. No Jewish theology can be articulated today without including this second after. For after Israel, as it was after the Holocaust, everything has changed. Without power Jews in Europe were doomed. With Jewish power we have doomed others. The challenge for Jews in Israel and around the world is what to do after the Holocaust and after Israel. What is our witness as Jews today after?
On the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine, Palestinian land and life is surrounded by Israeli – Jewish – power. Those who come to the aid of Palestinians, friends of Palestine, are surrounded by Israeli – Jewish – power, too.
Israeli power is a central focus of Kairos Palestine. How do Palestinians shake free of their oppressor? A complementarity focus is the call to the friends of Palestine, the nations of the world, NGOs, the churches and the United Nations, to redouble their efforts on behalf of Palestine. On Israeli power, Kairos Palestine is strong and unrelenting. On Palestine’s friends, Kairos Palestine is generous, including, among others, Jews in Israel and beyond who are working for peace and justice in Palestine-Israel. As expected, Kairos Palestine emphasizes Christian witness and hope. Love in action, a specific Christian witness, with God’s help, can turn the tide.
On Christian love and witness, I am an agnostic listener. With Christian history in mind but as well the present reality, I believe politics is a better bedfellow. Yet the political landscape is dire.
Kairos Palestine’s generosity is real. It is also, at least partially, misplaced.
During the five years of Kairos Palestine’s existence solidarity with Palestinians has increased and taken on a new hue with the parallel success of the BDS movement. Nonetheless, the celebrated victories are overshadowed by defeats. In the last five years, settlements have thickened, the number of settlers continues to grow, land confiscation is increasing. Perhaps the exclamation point of these last five years is the war in Gaza. The reconstruction of Gaza, yet to begin, and with posturing all around, is another, devastating, exclamation point.
The reckoning that Kairos Palestine calls for hasn’t happened. It won’t happen in the near future either.
What we know now and should state openly is what has been evident for decades; the powers that be in the world are uninterested in Palestinian freedom, if one means by that disinterest a willingness to sacrifice on behalf of Palestine. Examples are many. Think of the failed American-brokered peace process, the recently promulgated European redlines, the Arab nations increasingly close relations to the United States and Israel, the limited though heavily invested in divestment battles in the American churches, and the continuing letters of support for Palestinians issued by the World Council of Churches. Have any of these nations, organizations or entities actually sacrificed anything for Palestinian freedom?
If they have sacrificed anything, it is too little and too late. Of course they could seize the kairos moment now. I doubt they will.
When the political and religious rhetoric and lack of action taken is analyzed, we find a “ritualized solidarity.” Ritualized solidarity is as an ineffectual rhetoric that is repeatable for decades and easily updated. Aside from the rhetoric, in Israel-Palestine ritual solidarity enables a status quo that is untenable for Palestinians but which those with status and power inside and outside of Palestine can live with.
Was the recent visit to the Al Aqsa mosque and the statement released by the leaders of the churches here any different? Their heartfelt appeal was interesting and illustrative of the general problem. The statement appeals to Israel as occupiers to restore the worship status quo which, of course, can only continue the downward spiral of Palestinian life. Their statement begs the question of questions: Does freedom of religion matter if the people and the religions are denied political freedom?
In truth, Islam, Christianity and Judaism are all occupied religions here. And the escapist appeal to the Abrahamic faiths is part and parcel of that occupation. Anyone who thinks that Palestine will be rescued by appeals to the Abrahamic faiths should have their head examined. It might be a variant of the much discussed Jerusalem syndrome, though one that achieves status and attracts donors.
Even after the war in Gaza, ritualized solidarity continues. The friends of Palestine mobilized during the Gaza war and as the war continued, with casualties mounting, some upped their rhetoric. Yet during and after Gaza a true reckoning, a renewed commitment, one characterized by sacrifice, remains missing. If Gaza this time wasn’t a kairos moment, what is? But there have been many kairos moments before Gaza. The friends of Palestine have failed repeatedly. After Gaza, they continue to fail.
Proceed down the line with each church denomination, NGO and the United Nations. During and after Gaza, are their changes that are effectual and entail sacrifice?
Think of the American churches response to the war in Gaza. The Lutherans send a letter to President Obama reiterating every policy they have adopted in their past assemblies. The letter reads like a remarkably detailed laundry list. At the end of the letter, the Lutherans have spoken their piece. Every failed policy and plea is back on the table. To fail again? If we cannot blame the Lutherans for failing, we can ask what the Lutherans risk. In my view, the Lutherans have not risked a thing in their Americanness and not enough in their relations with the Jewish establishment in America. Nor do they state honestly where their resolutions would, if implemented within the context of John Kerry’s recent peace process, actually lead.
Think of the Presbyterians in America whose victory in BDS was followed quickly by the war in Gaza. What did the Presbyterians risk? In their BDS vote, the Presbyterians put on a dramatic live-streamed event. But the truth of the matter is that their millions invested in the companies they divested from were only transferred to other for-profit companies. The Presbyterian multi-billion dollar profit portfolio remains untouched. During and after Gaza, have the Presbyterians spoken in a new voice or enhanced their divestment efforts? In short, have the Presbyterians put their dollars where their Gospel rhetoric is?
Recently a sermon was preached in Jerusalem with strong words and honoring a Norwegian doctor and an American rabbi for risking their standing in service to the Palestinian people. Honoring others is important. Nonetheless the question is less about others than the church institutions that would bring honor to themselves by crossing the redlines crossed by those they honor. When will the Gospel preached in Jerusalem be banned by the occupation authorities? Are the churches afraid of their personnel being denied entry, their property being confiscated, their religious services being shut down?
Honoring others has its place. Symbolism has its place. But when the ghettoization and slaughter of innocent populations is occurring as the churches preach justice more is at stake than personnel, property and worship.
Jewish Particularity and the Prophetic
For Jewish voices and Jewish theology, the complexity and complicity is no less. Jews in Israel and beyond remain on both sides of the Empire Divide. The Jewish establishment has hunkered down. The Jewish prophetic, against all odds, continues to explode.
Yet the Jewish prophetic itself is divided within itself. Most prophetic Jews are decidedly secular and universalist, though, of course, in a specifically and undeniably Jewish way. Which means that Jewish dissent is in exile from the Jewish establishment and, for the most part, in exile from itself. This double exile is encouraged, perhaps unwittingly, by Kairos Palestine and its supporters, especially in the BDS movement in Europe and America. The BDS movement emphasizes that Palestine is a Palestinian rather than a Jewish issue. On Israel-Palestine, Jewish particularity has to be checked at the door.
Like Kairos Palestine’s sense of the friends of Palestine, this universality demanded and accepted by many prophetic Jews is generous. It is also misplaced.
The issue of Palestine is hardly a universal one, if there are any truly universal issues. Palestine is a particular struggle, of two particular peoples/identities/destinies, with universal implications. The idea of Jews and Palestinians living together in a democratic secular state is a future vision that has much to recommend itself to Jews, Palestinians and the world. However, to see One-State as the litmus test for involvement in Kairos Palestine or the BDS movement is to miss the mark and the meaning of Jewish dissent. The result is another form of ritualized solidarity.
Jewish dissenters, including those who now form the elite circle of Jewish dissent, publicly appear in an understandable disguise which even they are unaware of. For where does their profound interest in Israel, in Palestine, in Jewish dissent from a secularized Left, come from if not from the Jewish prophetic? And where does the Jewish prophetic come from if not from the root of Jewish particularity and the never-ending Jewish civil war over Jewish destiny?
Make no mistake about it: Jews of Conscience are on the Israel-Palestine scene first and foremost because of their Jewishness. They realize, often without articulating it to themselves or others, that Israel-Palestine is the ultimate test of historic Jewish identity. The Jewish struggle against the oppression of Palestinians is first and foremost the age-old Jewish struggle against idolatry. In Israel-Palestine, Jews of Conscience are struggling against the final assimilation of Jewishness to unjust power.
Should Jews be afraid of admitting this Jewish self-involvement? I, at least, want to state this boldly.
After all, the root of the prophetic, from which even Kairos Palestine as a Christian document springs, is Jewish. Since the contradictions around Israel-Palestine are obvious, this is an almost impossible context in which to discuss Jewish particularity. Nonetheless, Jewish particularity remains and is important to contemplate for Israel-Palestine and the world.
Today, Jews of Conscience embody the prophetic that is the indigenous of people Israel. Others, including Palestinians, shine a bright light on the failure of Jews to live up to our own prophetic heritage. That bright light will not be enough for the Jewish community in Israel or beyond to move beyond its oppressive policies toward Palestinians. Nonetheless, the importance of the embodiment of the prophetic by Jews of Conscience remains crucial. I believe that without that rooted embodiment, the prophetic around the world will atrophy.
Here I think of a Jewish theology of liberation which I originated in the early 1980s, culminating in 1987 with my Toward a Jewish Theology of Liberation. I gave my first lecture on a Jewish theology of liberation in Jerusalem in the spring of 1987, months before the first intifada began.
My lecture developed into quite a scene, with an American rabbi, then living in Jerusalem but now somewhere in Europe, admonishing me that the Jewish prophetic ended with the rabbis. Michael Walzer, the doyen of Jewish ethics even to this day, responded to my lecture with such anger that his hands shook as if he was a victim of early on-set Parkinson’s. Then, the moment of moments, when Rabbi David Hartman, whose center, the Shalom Hartman Institute, I was speaking at, confronted Fr. Elias Chacour at a coffee break. Having told Chacour that he had offended him in Chacour’s positive response to my Jewish theology of liberation, Chacour apologized for the offence. Chacour inquired as to what part of his response offended Hartman. Hartman responded: “Your presence offends me.”
The “offense” committed by Chacour was prefaced by my lecture where I called for a confession by the Jewish people for what we had done to the Palestinian people. I also called for a real two-state solution and reparations for the Palestinian people. A few years later, I spoke, also in Jerusalem, of Jerusalem as the broken middle of Israel-Palestine where two broken people could meet and begin the process of what I called revolutionary forgiveness. Another idea yet to be realized.
No doubt, revolutionary forgiveness is too limited, though the idea that forgiveness with justice is categorically different than forgiveness without justice, remains with me. Others have suggested the need for a revolutionary justice that begins in Jerusalem. Whatever that might mean in actuality is even further from the horizon.
Are both revolutionary forgiveness and revolutionary justice so distant that they too have become ritualized solidarity?
Ritualized solidarity is pie in the sky when translated religiously. Is a Jewish theology of liberation, perhaps, like Kairos Palestine, stuck in a reality that may have once been possible but is now eclipsed?
Clearing the Decks/Collecting Our Witness
Kairos Palestine and the BDS movement cleared the decks. On the 5th anniversary of Kairos Palestine, sensibilities that prevailed before – the Two-State solution, appeals to international law and alike – have faded and correctly so. New, though sometimes recycled, ideas have taken their place. Most prominent among them is the call for a One-State solution and the international pressure for boycotts, divestment and sanctions.
On the Jewish scene, along with the Two-State argument, the Progressive Jewish option, prominent for so long, has diminished. The last five years have seen the demise of Peace Now and Tikkun as movements even tangentially related to reality.
Progressive Jews have been exposed for what they represent, the Left-wing of the Constantinian Jewish establishment in Israel and America.
Yet having been instrumental in clearing the decks, with its Christian focus, in some ways Kairos Palestine is itself a throw-back. Kairos Palestine’s emphasis on the tenets of Christian Zionist fundamentalism as misguided and a wrongful interpretation of scripture and Christian witness is important but to what effect? In the long and complex history of Christianity sorting out orthodox and heretical Christianity has distinct limitations. While correctly addressing a Christianity that is spiritually and politically offensive to Palestinian Christians, it can also stigmatize movements in Western Christianity with close ties to Jews as similarly on the wrong path.
Many supporters of Kairos Palestine in the West are in an increasingly positive relationship with Jews and Judaism as a shared heritage of faith with Christians and Christianity. While Kairos Palestine encourages a just and positive relation between Christians and Jews, the solidarity of Western Christians may be inhibited by Kairos Palestine’s stark and, in the Western Christian sense, sometimes retrograde Christian theology that features elements of Christology they no longer affirm. As difficult as it might be for some Palestinian Christians, in the main, Christian solidarity with Palestinians in Europe and America comes through a solidarity with Jews and Jewish history.
This link with Jews partially represents a moral awakening after the Holocaust in Europe. It is as well pointedly self-interested. After all, it is this now positive entanglement with Jews and Judaism that is the saving grace of the deeply flawed and historically anti-Jewish Christianity of the West. On the Western Christian scene, Jews offer much more than Palestinian Christians. In fact, Palestinian Christians are a point of contradiction not so much in light of the Christian faith but in light of contemporary Christianity’s positive, often romanticized, view of Jews.
Obviously, the Jewish-Christian relationship in the West cuts both ways for Palestine and Palestinians. The interfaith ecumenical dialogue/deal of the post-Holocaust era has enabled the destruction of Palestine. But to think that Western Christians will leave that dialogue/deal in favor of a Christian solidarity with Christian Palestinians is wrong-headed. It is not in the self-interest of Western Christians to make this move. Cultural factors are prominent here as well. The idea that Christian faith trumps culture is mistaken.
So Christian solidarity in the West for those outside the West is limited by culture and self-interest. This means that European and American Christians, including those who support Kairos Palestine and promulgate it, can be friends – up to a point. That point runs through Jews and Israel. This is true on the political scene, too. Any idea that Europe and America will move Israel back, that is force Israel to give up what it has taken already, is mistaken.
Rhetoric notwithstanding, major political movements to chastise Israel in practical terms accept the expanded state of Israel. The redlines of Europe and America – as is true of the United Nations, NGOs and churches – with the more recent addition of the Middle East Arab powers – limit the possibilities for Palestinians to a truncated, dependent, autonomy surrounded by Israeli, Egyptian, Jordanian, American, United Nations and NATO troops.
Strangely enough, BDS, now a marginal political actor on the international scene, if successful, would lead in the same direction. The idea that political actors with economic, political and military power would move beyond Palestinian autonomy is an illusion. It is to mistake rhetoric and hope for reality.
In short, on its 5th anniversary, all political and religious roads lead in a different direction than Kairos Palestine proposes and those leading voices that have emerged during these last five years insist on. There isn’t going to be a Two-State solution or a One-State solution either, unless we consider the situation as it is and will be Israel-identified. The One-State solution with Israel in the lead has been accomplished and, for all practical political purposes, is permanent.
Israel in control from Tel Aviv to the Jordan River is the international consensus that has evolved in the last five years. No political vision inspired by friends of Palestine or a religious witness will counter this consensus. The race against time and more causalities, not Palestinian freedom, is the pressure exerted on Israel. So far, Israel has refused the offer to keep everything it has taken. Because it feels, appropriately so, that it can take more?
What Are Jews (and Christians) To Do With the Reckoning That Won’t Happen?
Does this mean that on its 5th anniversary, the Kairos Palestine witness needs to be cleared away as well? Perhaps it is more realistic to think of Kairos Palestine, with the other documents, movements, hopes and failures of the past, as part of a heritage of resistance that has failed politically but exists in history as a beacon of light. It is a witness that needs to be collected and preserved.
Collecting our witness means that our hope and struggle remains available when the time comes, when history becomes open to another path. No doubt that future path will include parts of the collected witness, though not in the way we anticipated it. Our responsibility is to do the best we can in the time we have been allotted.
That justice-seekers on all sides have failed utterly is part of the burden of our collected witness. Is this failure one of the central lesson our collected witness bequeaths to future generations?
Recent lectures/writing by prominent Palestinians and Jews who are on the cutting edge of the Israel-Palestine issue exemplify the conundrum we are in. Both Ali Abunimah’s recent book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine, and Judith Butler’s 2014 Edward Said Memorial Lecture, “What is the Value of Palestinian Lives?” though seemingly divided by political engagement and philosophical inquiry, are, in fact joined at the Israel-Palestine hip. Both are deeply apolitical, and though supposedly speaking to the moment at hand, are insufficient and distant from the reality on the ground. In short, Abunimah’s detailed roadmap of the secular democratic One-State solution and Butler’s philosophical category of “grievability” lack political resonance.
Part of Abunimah and Butler’s apolitical sensibility have to do with the situation on the ground where Israel’s power-oriented and oppressive presence exists without any political power to oppose it. Part of their apolitical sensibility has to do with the particularity both thinkers in varying ways subscribe to. In Abunimah’s thought Jewish particularity is absent and Palestinian particularity is subsumed under a universal rubric. In Butler’s lecture, though more in her recent book, Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism, Jewish particularity is couched in an amorphous framework with little to anchor it, much like her understanding of gender.
Though with or without an emphasis on particularity, political defeat is assured, without particularity – a sense of essence and destiny attached to identity that no matter how much they are properly deconstructed remain – there is no witness for the future. To think that the end of the Palestinian struggle is a democratic secular state with no significant Palestinian identifiers is unworthy of Palestinian sacrifice then, now and in the future. To think that Jews of Conscience, including Butler, are struggling outside the specific and easily locatable Jewish prophetic, trivializes their emphasis on Israel-Palestine. More, it renders their views insignificant and difficult to understand.
The Next Five Years
For those who decry that collecting our witness is hardly enough, the next five years will raise the issue even more boldly. The next five years promise more of the same in the political arena. The next five years will likewise signal the end of justice-oriented Jewish theological reflection as we have known and inherited it.
To a large extent, the demise of Jewish theology and, broadly speaking, Jewish spirituality, has already occurred. Only vestiges of engaged rabbinic and Jewish Renewal sensibilities remain. Holocaust theology as a critical engagement ended decades ago, though the last strands of an unjust politically motivated Holocaust consciousness continue.
Jewish theology and spirituality today is thoroughly infected with imperialism, colonialism, ethnic cleansing and atrocity. This includes the Jewish establishment and the synagogue system that suffered its own demise when Holocaust theology became dominant. Imbued with empire and a colonial mentality what dominates Jewish life is a form of Constantinian or Empire Judaism. Progressive Jews and Judaism, once seen as dissenting voices, have either chosen empire or are journeying with the surviving remnant, Jews of Conscience.
Jews of Conscience are overwhelming secular in orientation and in exile from Constantinian and Progressive Judaism. Though some Jews of Conscience thought their exile to be temporary, attempting to bring the Jewish community into a new configuration and thus pave the way for their return to the Jewish community, it is clear now, and the next five years will make it even clearer, that the exile of Jews of Conscience is permanent. The permanent exile of Jews of Conscience will have a profound effect on the Jewish future.
This understanding of Jewish life comports with the politics of the next five years. Surveying the political situation is instructive and should inform our witness. In the United States, the 2016 Presidential race is about to begin. Despite his obvious feud with Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Obama will soon be a lame duck President, if he isn’t already.
Presidential candidates from both parties will offer strong support for Israel and emphasize the tumult in the Middle East as a clarion call for American military intervention in the region and a strong Israel. Senate and House candidates will echo that vision. At the same time, the midterm elections have featured sweeping victories for the Republican Party. During the next two years, both the House and the Senate will be under their control. Rather than a free Palestine, the danger for Palestinians is that the American administration may try to convince the Palestinian Authority to sign on the American-Israel-Egypt-European Union dotted line with fear that the next administration will be even be worse than the present one.
Though Europe has threatened sanctions and supporters of Kairos Palestine and BDS see this as an important victory, it remains to be seen how and to what extent those proposed sanctions might function. Unknown as well, is whether the United States will pick up any losses Israel incurs, if indeed they are significant. Though individual Israeli entities might be hurt if EU sanctions kick in, to frighten Israel the losses would have to be in the multiple billions. Another unknown and a significant factor is the possibility that certain European countries, themselves impacted by the EU’s sanctions against Israel and, of course, aware of the historic situation of Jews in Europe, might themselves overturn EU policies if sanctions impacted Israel in a significant way. Then there is the European interest, perhaps even dependence in certain sectors, on battle-tested Israeli military equipment. Though the United States is rightly criticized for its dishonest brokering of the Israel-Palestine conflict, Europe’s double dealing on Palestine is legendary.
Contesting the importance of America and Europe’s enablement of Israel’s occupation is the Arab world. The list of problems – and complicity – is too long here for enumeration. But if one thinks of the new dictatorship in Egypt in relation to Gaza, the war in Syria which features multiple players with varying regional agendas, and the posturing of Jordan on the Al Aqsa mosque, not to mention Iraq, Turkey and Iran and their contested role in the region, the place of Palestine and Palestinians is obvious. As much or more than Israel, the United States and Europe, powers in the Middle East region want an empowered Israel to play a positive role in regional stability and in disciplining Palestinians to accept a dependent, truncated, occupied autonomy.
From the friends of Palestine among the churches, NGOs and the United Nations, in the next five years look for more ritualized solidarity. While none of these entities have the power to change the situation of Palestinians for the better, they will continue to place their self-interested presence within Palestine and their relations with the Constantinian Jewish establishments in America and Israel before the needs of the Palestinian people. Or, perhaps more succinctly, they will continue to evaluate their presence in Palestine within the context of their own needs and mission. Though not without value, the reckoning that was needed after the Gaza war hasn’t and won’t take place is telling.
The issue has been raised before but is now more urgent: Are the churches, NGOs and the United Nations, regardless of their stated intentions, change agents for the better or part and parcel of the status quo occupation?
For Jewish theology the end is clear. Any Jewish theology that doesn’t take on the two afters – after the Holocaust and after Israel – is complicit. As well, any Jewish theology that derides Jewish particularity, as if all forms of Jewish particularity lead to racism, colonialism and atrocity, lacks thought and depth. As with Shlomo Sand and others, such so-called secular universalists cannot account for their own existence, thought and resistance. If indeed Judaism and Jewishness is a prison from which some want to escape, as the French writer, Jean Daniel wrote some years ago, it is also the place where the prophetic is found, takes shape and forges its own contextual witness. The question for Jewish life for the next five years is found in the Jewish (prophetic) prison.
What will the Jewish (prophetic) prison yield in the next five years? The Jewish prophetic witness will not liberate the Palestinian people. Nor will it liberate the Jewish people from its own oppressive policies in Israel and beyond. Israel will remain dominant, Palestine, occupied. Constantinian Judaism will grow stronger. The numbers of Jews of Conscience will continue to grow but the majority of Jews, as is true now, will have little to say about Israel-Palestine or Jewish destiny. In Israel and America, Jews will continue benefitting from empire and colonialism as all the affluent around the world do.
On the Palestinian Authority and its enablement of occupation, its future is uncertain. So, too, with the future of Hamas. Palestinian resistance will continue over the next five years both in its insistence and desperation. The collected witness of Palestinian resistance is strong but the casualties over the years has taken its toll. So, too, the diminishment of land and the corruption of Palestinian leadership.
In the next five years, Jewish and Palestinian resistance will be carried forward in the Jewish and Palestinian Diasporas of Conscience. These diasporas have grown over the years in number and in cooperation. Though few have commented on this phenomena, there is a Jewish-Palestinian Diaspora of Conscience forming that includes newly arrived refugees from Israel and Palestine in their ranks. How this diaspora will interact with Israel-Palestine, whether Jews and Palestinians of Conscience can have any effect on the homeland is up for grabs. My own sense is that this community, while continuing to be engaged in the affairs of Israel-Palestine, will be more and more rooted in the broader exilic community of our time now gathering in the New Diaspora. What Jewish and Palestinian particularity will form or even survive there is a question for the next fifty, rather than the next five years.
If this view of the next five years seems pessimistic, it is. Or rather, the arc of the present day is not bending toward justice. Yet history remains open. Palestinian and Jewish resistance to the occupation will continue. The causalities on both sides, different for their diverse contexts, will continue to rise. Collecting our witness is the only thing we can do now and in the next five years. It may hold out another path for the future. When that future will arrive is unknown.