Peace No More: A Prayer

I don’t believe in peace anymore.

I used to think of myself as a pacifist. Now I’m not so sure.

Today I understand what the slogan “No Justice, No Peace” means. But I want more than justice. I would be ok with nearly anything if it stopped the genocide in its tracks.

“Does that mean you would approve if a nuclear bomb was dropped on Israel?” a friend asked. No, I do not want that. I do not want to trade one holocaust – Armageddon — for two.

Do I want some country, or the United Nations, to place soldiers at the border between Gaza and Israel – and the West Bank and Israel and Lebanon and Israel – to drive their soldiers away and shoot down their warplanes and missiles?


Another friend is trying to convince me that I should pay attention to the sincere efforts of Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers who are trying to find a way forward to live in peaceful coexistence, often behind the scenes. I truly appreciate those efforts.

But I have a problem. The genocide. Guernica on steroids. Hiroshima to the tenth power. The wholesale massacre of a people.

What good is kumbaya if not a single Palestinian is left? What good is planning for the future for a people who have no future and no present?

I have no answers. I have no words. I know I am not alone in these feelings. I want to gather in a circle and huddle with all the people who feel what I feel.

I want to put my life, my career, my body on the line, but I am too cowardly for that. So I scream at rallies and standouts and scream into my pillow. I want to stand in front of the soldiers, or at least rioting police, and say, “Shoot me first. I’m Jewish.” And they would.

I want aliens to descend to earth and render all mankind’s weapons useless, like in that episode of Star Trek where the aliens turn out to be highly evolved, non-corporeal life forms. It sounds silly, I know, but it’s no less likely than any human being taking a real action to stop this slaughter. There are no humans left in power, only monsters.

I believe that peace can only be made when power isn’t one-sided, when there isn’t a clear oppressor and oppressed, and both sides want more or less the same thing: peaceful coexistence. I believe Palestinian people want that. Hell, they just want existence. I do not believe Israelis want that. If they did, they wouldn’t elect monsters. I do not believe Americans want that. If we did, we wouldn’t elect monsters.

Israel’s intentions have been laid bare for all to see: the complete extermination and eradication of non-Israelis from Palestine. Israel must be stopped.

Some years ago, I read Nicholson Baker’s Human Smoke. It made me understand that the “Good War” was a myth – that there might have been peaceful alternatives that could have staved off World War II.

What if, however, the Allies had entered the war to stop the Holocaust at its root (as we all know they did not) and save millions of Jews? (And the U.S. hadn’t used hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians as our own guinea pigs for genocidal madness?) That might have been a good war.

Who out there will be courageous enough to put a stop to the 21st century’s Holocaust unfolding before our eyes in real time? Where incendiary bombs are the ovens, and everything else – civilians executed in cold blood, mass graves, etc. — is mostly the same. Even if it risks the ultimate annihilation of nuclear war. Because what else is there left to do except watch our species descend to its lowest level? Do we deserve to live then?

I am not an “observant” Jew, but I know the story of The Flood. As I write this, I am watching a deluge of global warming-caused rains flooding the streets of my neighborhood. God may already have plans for us. May God bring down the storms and the hail and brimstone and whatever else God does. May God part the Gaza Strip and West Bank from the insane armies of Israel’s pharaoh.

God help us. Somebody do something. Please.

Fred Baumgarten is a writer living in western Massachusetts.