Out of the Ashes purports to be a theological re-examination of what it means to be Jewish after the Holocaust. The first hint of its orientation is the identity of the endorsers on the jacket: Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, and their ilk—none of them remotely a Jewish theologian. This is as much a work in theology as is the New Age drugs-and-Marxism Tikkun magazine, on the editorial board of which Ellis is perfectly at home.
In this book—one in a series of anti-Israel tirades published by Pluto Press—Ellis (University Professor of American Jewish Studies at Baylor University, a Baptist institution in Waco, Texas) makes this proposal: Jews should learn from their Holocaust experience to denounce Israel unambiguously and support the Palestinian agenda totally. That is because, for Ellis, Israel is the embodiment of all that is evil and all that is wrong in Judaism today. He sees Israel as a belligerent, selfish entity, mistreating and enslaving the Palestinians as part of a grand pursuit of the goals of the Jewish settlers in the Palestinian territories.
Ellis seems to admire Jews only when they are victimized. Should they stand up to defend themselves, they lose their Jewish soul and even their right to exist. He thinks Jews have exploited the Holocaust as a gimmick to grasp power and oppress Arabs. Israel's original sin was using the Holocaust as an excuse to occupy Palestinian land. Deir Yassin (1948) and Jenin (2002) are for him the moral equivalents of the Holocaust.
The author is openly contemptuous of Jews being in need of national empowerment, dubbing this "Constantinian Judaism," or conscripting religion to serve the agenda of the militarist state. Jews can only fulfill their ethical role in history if they are stateless and suffering. Strangely, in a book about the lessons of the Holocaust for the Jews, one finds not a word about the Nazi-like demonization of Jews by the Palestine Liberation Organization and its affiliates, nor the calls for genocide against Jews.
Ellis adopts a position so extreme that he rejects even the views of Israel's extreme left. He has no patience with Ehud Barak's offer to the Palestinians at Camp David II in 2000, for this offer did not come close to what Ellis believes Israel must do—which is to cease to exist. He passionately endorses the "one-state solution," in which Israel is eliminated as a Jewish state and enfolded within a larger Palestinian-dominated state that stretches from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. This, insists Ellis, is the ultimate realization of Jewish ethics.