I am of Jewish heritage. I grew up in the certain knowledge that, born a few years earlier on the European continent rather than in Britain, I too would have been in the concentration camps along with my mother, sister and probably my father (for being an artist and marrying a Jew). I was proud of my heritage. I went to a school where a third of the pupils were Jewish: we had a kosher kitchen, Jewish as well as Christian assemblies, and Jewish RE was available. In languages, Hebrew was an option. I was very happy to be educated alongside Jewish girls, we learnt about the evils of anti-semitism. I was proud, that in my own small way, I belonged among them. Now, an adult, and a minister of the Church, I have taken the opportunity when it has been possible, to attend the Synagogue. With full knowledge that I am a minister of the Church, I have been made very welcome in the Synagogue. Treated as ‘one of our own’ come home’. I am proud of my Jewish heritage, and glad to honour my mother and grandfather as Jews among Jews.

But when I look at what Israel is doing to Palestine it tears my heart! This is MY FAMILY, my beloved people, who I have been so proud to be part of. Who know, as no other one nation knows, what genocide feels like, what it feels like to be treated as non-human. True, black people know it too but for the Jews, they had it for 2000 years, and finally the concentrated horror of the Holocaust. My people, who know that horror, are imposing the same horror on the Palestinians! My people, whose very identity rests in the escape from slavery in Egypt and the misery of the Exile in Babylon, the pogroms throughout Europe and finally the Holocaust – are doing the same to the people of the occupied lands of Palestine. This is not a war, it is not a conflict – those terms imply equality. This is genocide of people who live, if living it can be called, under constant Israeli control and harassment – and who, from time to time – dare to fight back. They fight back with rockets that are little better than fireworks against Israel’s US-supplied, state of the art munitions. This is pea-shooters against bombs. My people, who I love, I pray that you learn the law of Love which gives peace, not in return for armaments, but in return for love. When Jesus said, ‘love your neighbour’ this was not a new commandment, but one which came from the Jewish tradition. It is a Rabbi who said, ‘love God and love your neighbour, all else is speculation’. Learn to love your neighbours, my family in Israel, and then my love for you will cease to tear my heart to bits.


Posted on August 3, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I find myself torn. Rockets are being fired into Israel, and Israel has the right to defend herself. But when looked at from the perspective of the number of casualties then I find Isrel’s actions disproportional. I can find no sympathy for this kind of action.

    But on the other hand, how can I sympathise with people who keep their armaments in schools and set up command centres in hospitals? I can find no right on either side in their actions.

    Yet listening to the the words from both sides, both see that right is on their side. There is hope though, international pressure can be brought, as evidenced by the actions of these Muslims in the Netherlands.

    • I would point out, Steven, that the armaments which were in a school were in a school which was empty. The schools and hospitals which are being targeted by Israel are not empty. Some are even under UN control!

  2. A very true and profound statement Elspeth, The basis of this conflict is, as always, pure greed, wrapped up in a load of lies. The Zionists want the Palestinians out of Gaza so they can claim it for their own. They are doing it by degrees anyway, but now want to hurry the process along. They are doing a great dis-service to the Jewish people, as they are resurrecting anti-semitism amongst the European comunity. One of the ten commandments is not to covet thy neighbours goods, the inhumanity of man to man never had such a sad example.

  3. I’d like, as a Jew, but mainly just as person saddened by so many of the current (and past, and almost certainly future) events in Middle East, that I sympathize with your concern. The situation is difficult to discuss with my Israel friends – those that aren’t Israeli are deemed ignorant of the specifics of the matter, and those that are Israeli and yet still concerned about the human cost of their policies are drowned out by exactly the same sentiments which fueled the Iraq war and so many others before that. At times there seems no rational limit to humanity’s capacity for useless violence.

    That said, I think the greatest tragedy is that the Palestinian people, perhaps from decades of denigration, have given up any hope of meaningful assistance from the outside world and have turned towards a government that, while toothless, is nevertheless also frighteningly extremist. Had the 2006 elections gone differently much might have changed for them, unless Israel decided to still impose a general embargo and other sanctions upon an already desperately impoverished people (a depressingly possible scenario).

    Anyhow, It was my hope that the upcoming elections in Palestine might produce a less obvious “bogeyman” for Israel to blame all things on and justify all actions because of. Of course, the current conflict suggests this to be a practical impossibility – anti-Israeli sentiment cannot be higher in Gaza. And this makes me wonder what Israel’s long term plan for the situation can possibly be, if they will react with such force to each and every provocation, leading in turn to a more radicalized Gazan people, and so forth and so on. I sometimes feel as if I am watching the wiping out of the American Indians in fast forward.


    – John Chernoff

    • Oops, first sentence should have “to say” in it. Didn’t realize I can’t edit the post after sending. Also, second sentence should of course read “Israeli friends”.

    • It is not surprising that Palestine has supported an extremist government, their circumstances, the oppression the people were suffering was extreme, but of course you’re right that that makes it unlikely that Israel will work with them. Sadly, I get the feeling that Israel realises the cycle that you have recognised, and has simply decided to eradicate the Palestinian people. Which is why I’m currently committing myself to every demonstration that comes up.
      I think it’s important to remember that there are organisations such as Jews for Justice for Palestinians and even that is only one of a number of Jewish organisations which are pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist. The assumption that all Jews must be zionists is a denial of Jewish freedom as much as a denial of Palestinian freedom.

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