What Would Jesus Do, If He Were Israeli?

Letter to the Editor

Published April 13, 2011, issue of April 22, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

I am writing to elaborate on a point I made in the article the Forward recently published about me, and my book “Jerusalem, Jerusalem” (“A Catholic Thinker Touched by Jerusalem and Its Mystical and Earthly Power,” April 1).

In emphasizing the important problem that Christians find it difficult to think of Jesus as a Jew, I said “If Jesus were in Jerusalem today, it wouldn’t be as one of the monks, which is hard for Christians to imagine. He’s still the prince of peace, so I’m not sure how to say this. But it’s possible he would be in the Israel Defense Forces. He would certainly be a member of the Jewish people.”

I was thinking of the ease with which some Christians regard the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a replay of the conflict of “the Jews” against Jesus, a signal of how deeply into the Christian imagination this old polarity goes. The permanent Jewishness of Jesus belies that perception. In imagining a young Jesus as possibly in the IDF, I was thinking of the way such service is a near-universal rite of passage for Israeli Jews, and therefore a marker of identity.

The identity was my point. I was not thinking of any particular judgment (by Jesus or by me) of IDF actions. In fact, while always defending Israel’s security, I have often expressed objections to certain Israeli government policies, including, for example, those having to do with the settlements, the occupation and the inflicting of casualties on Palestinian civilians. It is, of course, possible to make such criticism while being a good Jew, a loyal Israeli, a supporter of Israel — and, for that matter, a dissenting member of the IDF.

JAMES CARROLL
Boston, Mass.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.