Trying not to be cynical about events in Israel

Better times in Israel. Rabin Square, 2017. Rod Kersh

In his book, The Jewish War Front, Ze’ev (Vladimir) Jabotinsky wrote of the way in which the Jews of Europe were used by Hitler and the Nazis as a means by facilitate their rise to power.

If my memory serves me correctly, he described the Jews as being the oil or grease which enabled Hitler. (This prior to the realization of the reality of Jewish rendering).

I read that many years ago, if the exact words are different, the sentiment is the same.

Throughout history people, mostly White Men have used the Jews either as a diversion from their own leadership or economic failings or as a focal point for a nation’s hatred.

Whether the Jews were in Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, France, or England, they have been the world’s punch bag. Those who to blame when times are bad.

Who knew? My people are a metaphor for everything that is and can go wrong.

We have no money/jobs/health/food/houses/ (we have hunger/plague/unemployment), etc. No matter the time or place, the Jews have always been a convenient scapegoat.

And, interesting that the Jews invented the term scapegoat, as the means by which a community’s sins were expiated through sacrifice.

So, perhaps the Jews are to blame after all.

My brother shared a cartoon with me yesterday.

The picture was of Parliament Bridge in London on four separate occasions, the first following Assad’s murder of over half-a million Muslims, then the killing for quarter-of a million Muslims in Yemen by the Houthis, third, after the 35,000 Muslims massacred in Myanmar and finally ‘Israel defending itself against Hamas’

On the first three occasions the mass demonstrations were absent, only against Israel were the people able to unite.

It summarized in a way that only cartoons and memes are able.

You might call it hypocrisy.

I’ll call it, ‘the way things have been for ever and always, if you are a Jew.’

Daily, I read the BBC headlines (Sorry, Guardian, I have deleted and unsubscribed) all describing the Israeli atrocities.

The broadcaster’s refusal to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization ringing in my ears – like my tinnitus that has progressively increased since 10/7.

Why? Why do this? Why have the BBC been anti-Israel for as long as I can remember, back to the days of their corresponded Orla Guerin standing outside the Old City, following a suicide attack ‘by Palestinian militants,’ wrapped-up within a narrative of, ‘They (the Israelis) brought it upon themselves.’

The BBC is a global network.

Do you like David Attenborough? The BBC has been his medium. The BBC is shown in secular, Christian and Muslim countries across the world, in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It has a reach far greater than that of Mr Sunak and his air-miles. And, although a great number of Christians and Muslims support Israel’s existence, the populist voice is opposed, and, if your viewers – your funders are populists and your requirement is for clickbait, well, the rest is obvious.

You don’t broadcast what is happening, you communicate what the people watching you want to see or hear is happening.

It is a perversion of reality exacerbated by social media and corporate greed.

What about Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and others?

The Arab world can demonstrate an incredible solidarity when they are able to fixate on a hatred of the Jewish People or of Israel.

It’s that same old lubricant.

Take a failing leader and watch his actions.

He (infrequently, ‘she’), can try to blame the opposition for their failings, ‘We’ve had ten years of ‘X’ government and look at the state of the economy!’ I’m not quoting verbatim although I may as well.

What happens when you aren’t ruling a democracy and you have been in power for 10, 20 or 30 years?

You can’t blame your opponents as, in many of these countries there are no opponents – any opposition is murdered, expelled or rotting in jail.

Enter ‘the Jew’ I use those words as for all of Sacha Baron Cohen’s poor-taste humor, this is something he has skillfully demonstrated with his Borat movies.

I know that the leadership of Jordan and Egypt and Morocco, all of whom are ‘at peace’ with Israel, enjoying full diplomatic relationships likely see the good in the country – the love of family, the celebration of youth, education, enlightenment, the desire for peace and, yet, they can’t show this publicly. They must ride the populist wave.

Queen Rania of Jordan has spoken about the Israeli brutality. You don’t have to go far to uncover the brutality directed towards the Palestinians living in Jordan. That is another story.

She and her husband occupy a perilous throne, one which is dependent upon control and command, one which could easily be overthrown.

Incidentally, the king’s great-grandfather, Abdullah the First of Jordan was assassinated by a Palestinian in 1951. I thought I would throw that in. I’m sure, that was also the fault of the Israelis.

And, so, I kind of get the actions of some of those countries who have ululated the Israeli genocide.

The genocide which allows humanitarian corridors, which in normal times employs (and is dependent upon) a significant proportion of the population, which has provided medical treatment and care to those same people (have you heard about the Gazan’s stuck in Israel – they had been attending Israeli hospitals).

If the Israelis are genocidal, they are not doing a particularly good job.

No, they are not. They are defending their right to exist, just as you would in their situation.

This is hypocrisy in case you hadn’t realized my intent.

What gets me, what infuriates me, are the young people, very often American or European students protesting. Calling to Free Palestine without knowing their topic, without realizing the complexity of the situation, the history, the pain of the past and present. For them, ‘From the river’ is a catchy slogan, even better as it rhymes. What more does and indolent protester need?

Those same people who have cosy existences, the Greta’s, and others, who have access to as much information as they can consume, who prefer not to read-up but to paint placards.


Is this just a trend?

It is trend that has been going-on for two millennia.

Do you see yourselves? Do you hear yourselves? Are you not ashamed, as you pull down posters of children who have been kidnapped, as you call for a ceasefire to allow Hamas to bed-down and kill more Israelis – Jews, Christians, and Muslims?

How come, Muslims living in Israel are prepared to take-up arms and defend the country that you are demonizing?

You forgot about the Israeli Arabs and those living in Druze and Bedouin communities. Their allegiance is to the State of Israel. Not to lily-livered Lefty ideology.

Listen to me! I sound like a fascist.

That is what happens when you are forced to take sides. When complexity is interpreted through a lens of simplicity, when you don’t consider historical biases and influences.

Trust me, I am not a Right-winger. And yet, at times I find myself leaning in that direction. It is a perversion.

A perversion that is almost as weird as the actions of Hamas that led me to purchase my Star of David or to attend the local Friday Night service at the synagogue or tune-in to Israeli Army Radio, rekindling my Hebrew language skills after a 30-year hiatus.

I am therefore perhaps as mixed-up as others.

I will say no. I believe I retain the insight to weigh what is good or bad.

I do not celebrate the men, women and children who have died in Gaza, just as people should not rejoice at the deaths in the South of Israel or the 19- and 20-year-old Israeli soldiers who would rather be dancing or watching the sunset with their boyfriends, dreaming of their future.

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