I usually get inspiration for my blog from the Daily Telegraph. Each day brings a host of unbelievable stories from the Land of Hope and Glory. (For readers not steeped in British culture, that’s Great Britain in the words of Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.) But today I was reminded of a story from closer to home, our own Jewish folklore.
A husband and wife were fighting over their household finances. After some time without coming to an agreement, they decided to ask the local rabbi for his advice. The rabbi listened carefully to the wife, nodded his head and said, “You’re right.”
The husband then gave his side of the story. The rabbi listened carefully, nodded again and said, “You’re right.”
The rabbi’s wife, who had been listening, expostulated, “But, Rebbe, how can they both be right?”
The rabbi spent a few moments deep in thought then said, “You’re right, too!”
This, probably apocryphal, story came to mind while watching Sky News and hearing some of Israel’s many critics, including, sad to say, some of our own. Israel is bad, Israel must not do this (or that), Israel is wrong.
They’re right, I thought, Israel is wrong. But that doesn’t help much. We don’t need to be told why we are wrong; it’s easy to say what not to do, we need to know what we should do to if we want to be right. None of the very voluble commentators on Sky, nor the many newspaper columnists in our own newspapers, have come up with any workable solution for our dispute with our Palestinian neighbours. If they would tell us and the Palestinians “You’re both wrong,” it would be a good start but all we hear is Israel wrong, Palestinians right.
So, let us have less pontification from the Pope (Pope ‘very worried’ by Gaza violence). Warning that violence will never bring peace, Pope Francis rather unnecessarily told an audience in St. Peter’s Square “War is called war, violence is called violence.” He may have forgotten that every war in history was ended by one side being defeated, the other victorious. Or perhaps he was trying to tell us, in a pretty opaque way, that the current ‘violence’ is not enough. We should go for ‘war’ which always brings peace. After all, the Pope is always right.
Following our apocryphal rabbi’s lead, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land issued a statement, “We believe that there is no reason that could prevent Jerusalem from being the capital of Israel and Palestine.” In short, you’re both right, we’ll let you work out the details.
The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, would do well to keep quiet about things that are none of her business. Sitting in Berlin, Merkel had the temerity to ‘Urge Romanian President To Not Move Embassy To Jerusalem’. We should urge her to move Germany’s capital back to its rightful location – Bonn. Unlike Merkel, we are not afraid to say what is Germany’s capital. (Germany refuses to say if Jerusalem is Israel’s capital) Just to put Mrs. Merkel right, Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
And the same people who sent a huge armada to occupy a small sliver of Argentinian territory thousands of miles from home, now try to tell how we should deal with murderous terrorists only meters from our border. (May urges ‘greater restraint’ by Israel after Gaza violence). They would have us believe that what is right for the UK is wrong for Israel. A clear case of do as I say, not as I do.
The French, who have never hesitated to pronounce on the rights of Palestinians and the wrongs of Israelis, will have to miss an opportunity after President Emmanuel Macron cancelled his planned visit to Israel. A year ago, Macron said he would visit both Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the spring of 2018. The visit was postponed from spring to autumn but has now been cancelled. Although no reason was given for the cancellation, it could be that France is in a right mess with rioting sweeping the country.
I started with a rabbi, to be fair, I end with a Saint:
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” (Saint Augustine of Hippo 354 CE – 430 CE)