Rod Kersh
Person-centred physician

Left and Right Unite and mutually assure our compassion

Ben and Sheila circa 1995. Photo by Rod Kersh
Ben and Sheila, Glasgow c. 1995. Photo by Rod Kersh

When driving on a straight road,

Without traffic or pedestrians,

If you let-go of the steering wheel for a few seconds,

The car will travel straight for a time

and then, start to veer to the left or the right –

Part related to the road’s camber,

Part, the car’s own mechanics and balance,

So too with people.

No matter how straight the road,

No matter how apparent the truth,

There will always appear a divarication,

Sinister or dexter

They say in Latin.

It used to be

If you were a Lefty,

That is a left-handed child,

Your teacher would beat you with a stick,

Resorting to physical manipulation – tying your hand behind your back in an attempt to defeat the devil.

As an aside,

My grandfather Ben

Wounded by shrapnel in the Second World War

Suffered a compound fracture of his right arm (photo);

He’d been a Lefty (Like Obama, I recall),

forced to use his right at school,

the wound, subsequently undoing the education.

Everything about him was left-handed except his cutlery which was,

Let’s call it Orthodox.

And the value of this deviation into the Latin origins or right and wrong and my family history?

Since I came of the age of reason, my inclinations have been towards the Left,

Within the European / Western concept of the ideology. (If you live in Israel it’s slightly different – I will explain shortly.)

I have always sided with the disadvantaged,

Whether those affected by socioeconomic deprivation, extremist ideology or environmental inequality.

I’ve supported the Green agenda.

I most recently protested in defense of a group of Syrian refugees living in a nearby hotel.

My NHS credentials are the same as my colleagues, free at the point of delivery, everyone equal.

I cringe at the notion of inequality

Inequity gives me heartburn.

I’ve even bought Greta’s books.

I don’t believe in hunting, I don’t eat animals.

I do my best to be what my mum would have described,

As a nice Jewish boy,

A mensch.

And yet,

Here I am,

Faced by those who have been driving similar cars to mine,

Traveling the same rutted roads

Who have veered into a mess of Anti-Israel and Antisemitic rhetoric.

It is hard to understand.

There is an argument that the academics in some universities in the US and UK have followed the notion that as Israel is strong and Palestine is weak, the former must be the aggressor and the latter the victim, much based upon their own internalized colonial and imperial guilt.

They have focused on the superficialities and, sometimes, realities and accepted that the plight of the Palestinians trumps any alternate, their situation so grim that history can be distorted, manipulated in an Orwellian switch. Good becomes bad and bad good. The devil dances with the angels.

And whilst it is true that the Palestinian People have experienced decades of tragedy after tragedy almost all of which has been wrought by their flawed and self-interested leadership, they haven’t always sat on the best side of history, whether that was buddying-up with the Turks and Germany in 1914, Hitler in 1939, celebrating 9/11 or more recently dancing in the street over the 7/10 massacre.

And yet, the intellectuals have adopted, let’s call them, academic blinkers and pursued one narrative; they have taken the Left and veered so far off-course that they have about-turned, they share more in common with the Right that was ever conceivable.

The Left, traditional doyens of peace and love, singers of Blowin’ In The Wind, instead shout for the blood of the Jews, for the annihilation of Israel.

It has left me discombobulated.

Am I on the Right or the Left?

Is my steering awry?

In Israel, the respective ideologies have traditionally represented a stance in favor of peace at all costs, including Palestinian independence and autonomy, rights for minorities and less to do with wind-farms and veganism than in England and America, and the Right, security over all, including morality, suppressing the rights of others, expanded West Bank Settlements and the like.

And, oddly,

Following 10/7, the Israeli Right and Left have come together.

From the brink of civil war this summer and early autumn, they have united against their common foe (all except a few cranks, Ben-Gvir, Shmotrich and others).

Consequently, as we in the UK have separated, Israel has unified.

It’s interesting.

I used to rationalize that part of the left/right split amongst peoples was an evolutionary trick to save a group – literally, one set of hominids would have veered to the left and lived, the other to the right and not, all influenced by our asymmetric brains, and now, this confusion has thrown that theory into disarray.

Am I to the Left or the Right?

I still drive my electric car, I still go out of my way to support my disadvantaged patients and yet, I stand with Israel, I stand with blue and white.

It seems precarious.

At times I am on the edge, the cusp of association. I see the murdered children, old men and women in the South, the fallen soldiers then listen to the news about Israeli bombardments in Gaza.

And yet, I always seem to fall one way.

And, I am OK with that.

This blog has brought me full-circle.

Back to where I began.

I try to do my best from a position of equity and equality. All men and women are created equal, all have the same weaknesses and strengths, the same inadequacies and disorientation.

Mostly human, yes, all too human.

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