This is a tricky time to be Jewish

Why in discussions about Gaza do people asume that all Jews support what Israel is doing?

Olivia was at a party the other day and saw a woman standing by herself, as if she didn't know anyone, so politely, Olivia began to talk to her, but bad luck, the woman started discussing Gaza. "How terrible the Palestinians are!" said this woman, moaning about Hamas firing rockets, human shields, Israel only defending itself, and Palestinians breaking ceasefires, building tunnels and not leaving danger zones obediently when Israel tells them to do so.

Olivia blew a gasket. "What would you like the Palestinians to do?" she shouted. "Where are they meant to go? A hospital? A UN school? Anywhere else that might be blown to buggery at any minute?" Along came another woman, trying to calm things down.

"We have to have balance here," said she, but only set Olivia off again. "What balance?" she roared. "There isn't any balance." Then a friend towed Olivia away, or there would have been no end to it, although she was dead right. There is no balance. I can't help but notice that almost every bit of news still starts with Hamas's rockets and tunnels, then Israel "only defending itself", then – and only then – news of over a thousand dead Palestinians, scenes of flattened, ruined Gaza, and perhaps a tiny hint of the murderous siege that's been going on for years, killing Palestinians on the sly.

"This is the biggest boost to anti-semitism for decades. It's almost beating Islamophobia," said a chap on my dog walkie yesterday. "It's all coming back!"

This is tricky time to be Jewish. I heard Giles Fraser on the radio recently, discussing whether the Jews or the Romans killed Jesus. "No Giles," I thought, "stop it. Don't dredge up that Jews killing Christ business. Not now. We're in enough trouble." Granted, he blamed the Romans and was talking about Bach's St John Passion, but people don't always pay attention to whole speeches. They just pick the bit they fancy, like "Christ-killers", and run with it. Just as they assume that Israelis = Jews and we all support what Israel is doing. No, we do not.


Michele Hanson

The GuardianTramp

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