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The Guardian: Atrocity Created Israel
Last uploaded : Friday 29th Sep 2006 at 16:22
Contributed by : Julian Gold


To: Carol Gould:

I've just read - and been greatly moved - by your article 'The Guardian: An Atrocity Created Israel's Birth'. So much so I wept a little as I read it.

I was born to Jewish parents, and so I am Jewish. That I rejected the religion as an anachronism is of little import, for I realise that I would still not have been spared the gas chamber. My eledest brother actually lived in Israel for seven years when I was a teenager, so I know more than many what a bitter-sweet place it is. Still, there was a part of me that - during my somewhat left-wing student years - wrote off the Middle East as "a plague on all their houses". My brother returned to the UK after National Service had worn him down mentally and financially, and this again diminished my interest in the region. Only relatively recently has my conscience re-awoken, and mainly because from a personal point of view, I believe truth to be a fundamental element of our spiritual lives - and conversely, lies to be things that cause hurt and pain. And I realised just how easy it was to equivocate on the subject of Israel because there were so many lies being told about it that were being swallowed without question: "Israel stole the land" being chief amongst them. The slow ascent of Islamic influence on UK policy has amplified my concern - from the Rushdie fatwa - book burning in our streets! - to the Danish cartoons; and the observation that wherever Islam resides in the world there is violent conflict.

My "fight" against this is a small one: I inhabit a number of internet discussion fora, whose members are mostly the typical "Just because I criticise Israeli policy doesn't make me an anti-semite some of my best friends are Jews look at at what they do to those poor Palestinians" type. My weapons are the Google search engine and a small collection of websites that contain accurate historical and legal information. My hope is to dispel the myths. It is a draining experience, so intransigent are these people. Picking away at them - and despite their initial protestations that 'a 1967 border solution is fair' - they usually finally confess to believing 'Israel shouldn't exist in the first place'. The boundary between this and anti-semitism is not well-defined; and when you even hint to these people that they might be anti-semitic, they take - or feign, I can never know - great offence. It is deeply disturbing.

Which is why I want to thank you for your article, which has recharged my batteries a little. I have a young family - my girls are 1 and 3, and although we will raise them as atheists, I understand that I will at some point have to explain my - their! - heritage, including the Holocaust. When you said "Growing up non-Jewish means NOT hearing about the various ways one’s family members were tortured and exterminated. It means tea and hockey sticks and cricket bats and perhaps a bit of unpleasantness at school" that hit a nail that has been waiting to be hit, for whilst a child probably will not understand the deep and unpleasant ramifications of the Nazi campaigns, it changes one's outlook on life completely. In some ways worse - for a victim mentality is never a positive state of mind; but in some ways better too, for in me it awoke a deep desire to speak out against injustice.

I sincerely hope that - somehow - within my children's lifetime, the Middle East can be peaceful. Sometimes I feel that all it would take is for the Palestinians to say "right, we're not going to bomb or rocket you any more" and Israel could begin its side of the bargain. I realise that we're quite far from this place now, and that the forces of Islamic Fundamentalism are hell-bent on creating a Middle-East Islamic uber-state. Why other people cannot see this when the Mullahs have explicitly stated it is a mystery to me. However I can do nought but carry on trying.

Again, thanks. I've wittered enough.


Julian Gold.


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