It happened after I finished lighting my menorah. The phone rang. I reached to turn it off so I could contemplate my candles undisturbed,glancing at the ID: Senator Sanders. I had to find out who was joking with me.
“Who is this?”
“Anne, this is Bernie.”
“Come on. Who’s is this really?!”
“Anne, we don’t have time for that. I need you to do me a favor. With Trump issuing hateful ultimatums against Muslims, and Jews pledging to stand in solidarity with their Islamic sisters and brothers, and me winning the popular poll for Times Man of the Year, I think its a good time to strengthen my Israel/Palestine policy. Spin me a Hanukah revelation. Nothing too radical, Anne. Have it to me before your candles burn out.”
A policy request from Bernie Sanders? I glanced at my menorah. Was I imagining it, or were my candles burning more slowly? It’s Hanukah, I thought. Who am I to question a miracle?
I decided to focus on two foreign principles already put forward by the Senator. 1. He is not about regime change and 2. He faults the United States for overthrowing democratically elected leaders like Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala installing and supporting dictators like the Shah of Iran and myriad Latin American tyrants just because they were friendly to U.S. business interests.
I typed fast, one eye on the candles:
“Under the Sander’s administration we will no longer provide unconditional support to any state. Instead we will reach out our hands to any nation engaged in loosening the power of the world’s billionaires. We will lend our assistance to any state who provides equal citizenship, voting and economic rights to all people regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation or religion. We will support efforts at reparation, truth and reconciliation anywhere, leading by example, addressing our debts to African Americans and indigenous people. We will aid any effort to reverse climate change and do our part to demilitarize our world by ending the U.S. arms trade, shutting down U.S. bases, halting drone warfare and nuclear weapons manufacturing…
“In this context we will halt aide to the Israeli state until all inhabitants of Israel/Palestine enjoy equal rights. For decades the United States has posed as a peace broker in the Middle East, while arming everyone. The military budget for Middle East Wars, is immense. Repurposing those funds we could facilitate the Palestinian right of return and war reparations in a day.”
“Under the Sanders administration, the United States will no longer be a super power but a real -small d democracy.” *
I was just getting warmed up — wondering if Sanders should say something about being Jewish, maybe end with a quote by Art Spiegelman creator of Maus-– about how Israel is a battered child with PTSD who has grown up to batter others— but before I could make my decision, the last candle went out.
I turned on the light in the darkened room, reached for my cell, to send Bernie what I had. But there was no record on my iPhone of a call from Senator Sanders.
Oh well. Six more days for a miracle to happen here.