It is time to look at the overcrowded Seder plate, which includes:
Olive – Symbolizing the self-determination of the Palestinian people and an invitation to Jewish communities to become allies to Palestinian liberation struggles.
When breaking the middle matzah, we must of course say that Israel should be overrun with Arabs.
As we break the middle matzah we acknowledge the break that occurred in Palestinian life and culture with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 when hundreds of villages were destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. This damage cannot be undone — but repair and return are possible.
A new set of four questions must be asked, including this one:
How will we, as Jews, bear witness to the unjust actions committed in our name?The actual Passover story is long and noring, so we will skip over that, except for the Ten Plagues, because we want to remember the suffering of the Egyptians:
Our freedom was bought with the suffering of others. As we packed our bags that last night in Egypt, the darkness was pierced with screams. May the next sea-opening not also be a drowning; may our singing never again be their wailing. We shall all be free, or none of us shall be free because our liberations are intertwined.
However, we would be remiss if we didn't talk about the ten plagues that Jews are inflicting on Palestinian Arabs today, including:
- Restrictions on movement
- Water shortage
- Destruction of Olive Trees
- Home demolitions
- Political prisoners
- Denial of the Right of Return
- Erasing histories
Then comes the Palestinian Freedom Riders Song.
Now, the Forward has published an article by a JVP member encouraging this same self-hating mentality!
Passover has become a complicated holiday for me. I am still moved and inspired by the recounting of the Exodus. But the irony of celebrating Jewish freedom and deliverance into Israel, especially when, in today’s Israel, it is the Palestinians who face oppression at the hands of the Israelis, makes it painful. Yet it also renews my commitment to pursue the kind of justice that the story of Exodus teaches us is part of our legacy.Yisrael Medad of My Right Word published a cogent comment at the Forward:
I bring this commitment to the Seder by including an olive on my Seder plate. The olive tree is a universal and ancient symbol of hope and peace. And sadly, the destruction of Palestinian olive trees by Israeli settlers and the Israeli army is just one example of the way that Israeli policies systematically deny Palestinians of even their most basic rights.
First of all, regards from Shiloh, a community I think you know well.
Second, an olive is not a bad idea. It reminds me of the annointing of the High Priest when we had a Temple. It reminds me of the moral ethical measurement standard (kezayit) which people of JVP blur all the time.
Third, it reminds me of all the olive trees the Arabs have destroyed here in Shiloh Bloc.
Fourth, it reminds me of the supreme value of the Land of Israel, "a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees and pomegranates; a land of olive-trees and honey;", the Land conquered and occupied by Arabs in 638 CE.
I would be remiss if I didn't point to the hilarious spoof of the JVP Haggadah made by Divest This! last year. It is a shame that the Forward wouldn't get the jokes.