Rod Kersh
Person-centred physician

Another Saturday

Photo by Rod Kersh, March 2024.
Photo by Rod Kersh, March 2024.

The war continues.

As the days lengthen,

now spring,

soon summer,

a cycling of seasons.

The angst

The sorrow

The worry

Blooming like cancers.


Gouty rot.

This week has been tough.

My daughter was caught-up in some post-10/7 fallout, a social media debacle.

I’ll explain shortly.

Last week I didn’t publish a blog on this platform,

It was too difficult,

My first was sent elsewhere,

The second never completed –

In it, I discussed my frustration following a conversation with my brother, ‘I’m not really interested in the suffering of the diaspora. We, over here, are threatened with war on multiple fronts, hostages, terror, massacre, and so on.’

The conversation as I can best recall went, ‘I (me, Rod) was telling you how I felt,’ ‘You asked what I thought,’ my brother replied, ‘No, I did not. I was expressing my feelings, you returned with your thoughts/opinion.’

The conversation tailed-off.

I am conflict averse – a definition I have adopted from Jon Ronson. Sure, I can cope with disagreements although they are not my preference, I’d sooner everyone got on.

The phonecall didn’t end in a fall-out, there was no shouting, it tailed off into transaction, ‘Have a good week,’ kind of thing.

And over here in the UK, we are fortunate to live in a country that is blessed with safety and security, our roads, schools, countryside are safe, we can roam where we like (so long as not onto ‘private land’ >trespassers will be prosecuted/their dogs shot<) – we have it good. For the most we don’t realise our good fortune.

Yes, we have a dissolute government and yes, young people struggle to buy homes or exit education-induced debt and yes, there are three million people in the country with food insecurity, many living with the threat of domestic violence or abuse; they aren’t in the headlines. The focus is Gaza. Although today, it’s Kate.


I veered into cynicism.

I mentioned my daughter earlier. She is, as far as I know ‘the only Jew in her school,’ she does not seek exceptionalism or special treatment, she merely wants to get on.

This week, she became entangled in something one of her classmates posted on social media. It wasn’t in the realm of overt Antisemitism – rather, one of those, ‘The Israelis are the new Nazis / the Holocaust in Gaza.’

Now, you or they can express an opinion based upon the many media images of shrouded Gazan children that indeed, the Israelis are Nazis.

I would argue that this is an oversimplification, not helped by Jonathan Glazer.

I suspect many young people have adopted this mantra Israel/genocide/Holocaust because they know little about any of the topics, neither the history or present of Israel, the meaning or reality of genocide or even what happened during the Holocaust.

The Israelis, have not, as far as I am aware, constructed factories to render Gazans into soap.

The expression of their opinion so entirely based on, let’s call it, informed ignorance, they do not realise the offence their words, they do not realise that to wish for the ‘non-existence of Israel’ is equivalent to the ‘non-existence of Jews’ (i.e. me, my family.)

If only we didn’t have Israel (or the Jews) everything would be OK.

The Palestinians would prosper, Darfur would be Disneyland and Yemen would open its ancient sites to Saga tour groups. If only.

You know of course what that ‘if only’ is – in the 1930’s it was called The Final Solution.

If only there were no Jews and no Israel, the world would be the best of all possible places.

Candide indeed.

Kate might not even have cancer. Sorry, that was unfair. I wish her well. I am in a pit.

I am not an Antisemite, only anti-Israel.

In a recent interview with the American Academic Ron Hassner, he expressed his opinion that Antisemitism and Antizionism are two sides of the same coin – one and the same.

No, no, I don’t have a problem with Jews, just Israel.

Do you realise the farcical nature of these words?

I don’t have problem with the French, indeed some of my best friends are French, it is the county, France, I want to wipe it off the map.

Yes, I support the gay movement, I just want same sex couples murdered.

Do you see the absurdity?

Israel is not all the Jews; it is the only Jewish state.

Yes, here you can use a Holocaust analogy, from Ellie Wiesel – not all the victims were Jews, all the Jews were victims.

On October 7, not all the victims were Jews or Israelis, all the Jews and Israelis were victims; even me, in my South Yorkshire home, a building designed without bomb-shelter or safe-room, felt the aftershock.

And yet, Hamas, don’t have an issue with the Jews or even the Israelis, they just want a state for the Palestinian People, they want dignity, respect.

Hamas spent the last 17 years preparing for an attack that would kill 1200 Israelis, Jews, and others, and in subsequent months 30,000 Palestinians, men, women and children, soldiers, and civilians.

Do you understand Islamic Fundamentalism?

Indeed, if you support any Fundamentalism, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, you have missed the point.

Have you visited Iran recently? Spoken to the Islamic State? Broken bread?

Are these nuances superfluous? Better to stick to the narrative; good and bad, Israel and Palestine.

I remember a while ago recalling the F. Scott Fitzgerald quote relating to intelligence being the ability to hold two contradictory ideas in your head at the same time.

Perhaps the task is greater.

Hamas good and bad, Israel good and bad, Jews, good and, well?

Yesterday I saw that Rishi Sunak made a reference not to the Middle East, instead domestic politics as 4-D chess.

What dimension are we exploring here?

The irony of this is that to me there is a black and a white, which to others may be inverted.

I see Hamas as bad.

No redeeming qualities whatsoever.

They, their members would kill me without compunction given I stand in the way of their goal (Global Caliphate).

Palestinians are people, they can be good, they can be bad, such simplicity is outside any useful dialogue, just as with the Israelis, the Saudis, Qataris, or South Africans.

All are human, created in God’s image, you can’t say much more.

There are some very bad Palestinians, there are some very good, just as with Israel. Smotrich and his buddy Ben-Gvir, whilst perhaps allowing me to live in a shoot-em-up would not be put-out if I was collateral damage.

Palestinians were displaced in 1948 and 1967 and all the years in between and since, so too were Jews. One million Jews were expelled from Arab countries after 1948. Before this, up to a third of the population of Baghdad were Jews, equivalent numbers in Iran, Yemen, and Morocco.

They aren’t calling for a right to return.

I don’t want to become bogged-down in historical details, there is too much going on.

My daughter struggling to attend school, for example.

A while ago my son had a similar experience.

The attacks are multi-dimensional.

Jews don’t count says the comedian, David Baddiel.

No joke.

‘Unfollow her,’ I advised my daughter, perhaps in haste.

This led to a spiral of social disconnection that is too much for a young person; life is difficult enough. Negotiating the minefield of social media, likes, thumbs-up and snaps.

This blog has not been well structured, perhaps my writing never is. I’m not one for rigorous beginnings, middles and ends – I perceive life as being too unpredictable for that narrative, alternatively, it might be that I am poor at planning or thinking ahead. I suspect the latter.

Spontaneous by name, spontaneous by nature.

Some people, those who are kind would call me intuitive.

And where do I go now?

A couple of months ago I was ready to engage with the Anti-Israel/Socialist Workers in Sheffield; that was the day of the demonstration.

Now, I lack the energy.

As the weeks and months have dragged-on, I have become drained, hearing similar arguments, the same angry statements directed at me, my people, my race.

I am not Netanyahu. I am not even Israel although that is the name the Nazis gave every Jewish man (Sarah for the women). I am not Right or Left.

Who do you support? I am asked, as if the complexities of life are football.

Perhaps I should support myself.

If I am only for me then who am I?

I am me, for me, for my family, for my friends, my patients; for the innocents, for those who talk peace and reconciliation, for the young and the old, the future and the past, I am at one with the present. Everything else is a sham.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

About the Author
Dr Rod Kersh is a Consultant Physician working in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. He blogs at
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