Spoons, Tunnels, and Indescribable Prejudices.

Someone posted a cartoon – I only glanced at it, finding it so repulsive I clicked `off` immediately – showing the recent escape from an Israeli prison of 6 Palestinian terrorists or freedom fighters, (whatever they truly are,) and alongside that, an escape from a concentration camp of some Jewish prisoners – who also dug a tunnel using spoons, thereby escaping from a Nazi extermination camp in Lithuania in WW2. That the depiction came under the heading of the organization Jewish Voices for Peace left me, as their posts frequently do, lost for words and desperately alarmed.

Exactly just how uneducated or prejudiced do you need to be, in order to make these direct comparisons between the situation of the Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, and Jews under Hitler? I happen to know an Israeli human Rights lawyer. Currently she is not in Israel, but she returns there regularly to represent Palestinians (mainly) in Israeli courts, and is disappointed and sometimes horrified at the predicament of many Palestinians. (Not all.) But for goodness sake! This lawyer travels back and forth (Covid permitting) freely, and is able to represent the people she chooses to represent. Inside Israel countless groups form and reform of Israelis and Palestinians together,(if you want a list of some of these groups, seriously, please contact me.) Jews, Muslims and Christians, some Israelis, some Palestinians, also gather to promote co-existence. On university campuses, and in Israeli hospitals and health centres, there is equality. Yes, equality.

Today is the anniversary of 9/11. My two clearest memories are: we were in Lewes, in a small hotel. At that time we were contemplating retiring to Brighton. The small TV in the corner of our hotel room was on, and Jeff had gone out to buy some apples. I watched the clips of the twin towers, and thought that by mistake I had switched on a horror film, or a science fiction one.

2 months later we attended a party in Manchester. A stranger got into conversation with us, and obviously, everyone was still traumatized, talking about 9/11. She was a sensible looking woman, no idea what her name was, and she had no idea we were Jewish. `The most likely explanation,` she told us, ` is that it was Mossad. You know. The Israelis. There weren`t any Jews killed, you see. They all got out before it happened.`

Meanwhile, in my real world now, I am pleased about the forthcoming publication of the book: Age of Confidence – the New Jewish Culture Wave – which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the journal Jewish Renaissance. Good titles, certainly. Sounding optimistic. Grateful to have a small piece in the book, and wishing for peace and safety for all – everywhere. If only.