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The shattering of the Jewish world The promise of safety was merely an illusion

'In that sad happiness — that we were Jews' (Janos Kummer/Getty Images)

'In that sad happiness — that we were Jews' (Janos Kummer/Getty Images)


October 13, 2023   4 mins

My father had told me, the night before, that he wanted to go to the synagogue, because of the festival, that it would be a happy time to be in the sanctuary. And so that morning, we went, knowing something bad was happening in Israel, but not exactly what.

On the Sabbath, we are supposed to rest, and we did not have our phones. But when we got there, the dark faces were not those of a holiday, and we started to suspect that, somehow, things had got a lot worse.

“Have you seen what’s happening?” someone said. There were dozens dead, maybe more. And they were still dying.

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We blessed the Torah. Like always, we read from it. And we said a prayer to remember my grandmother. And then, at the time it always is, it was the time for the sermon.

“For those of you that don’t already know,” said the Rabbi. “Israel is under attack. There are over a hundred dead.”

At that moment, a thought came, like a scream from somewhere inside me. A sharp stab.

How many times have I sat here, in the midst of our songs, of our togetherness, and heard them announce something similar? How many times have I heard the Rabbi say those words, “Our brothers and sisters have been killed”? In terror attacks in Israel, in America, in France, in Germany, in Tunisia — it goes on. It goes on too long.

I tried to remember, as the Rabbi was speaking, but I lost count. It seemed like only yesterday that the Rabbi said a prayer for Pittsburgh, 11 dead, a blessing for the Hypercacher, five dead. Because, really, it was only yesterday. The Rabbi was still speaking, but I could no longer hear him.

My wife and I are expecting a child in January. And so frightened am I, that he may not be born; that if we dare to settle on a name, as our hardwired old superstitions go, the Angel of Death may find him. I hadn’t wanted, or really I hadn’t dared, to imagine what the whole course of his life might look like.

And at that moment I did.

All my life, I have wanted a Jewish child. All my life, I have felt it my highest calling. My ultimate purpose. That I should pass this on. But in that moment, full of the fear of fatherhood, in the confusion and pain and elation of letting go of an old life, there was now something else: the knowledge that he could be killed as a Jew. That the thing I had most wanted for him, or needed from him — to be Jewish — could hurt him, harm him, could even kill him. Like the dead babies I didn’t yet know about.

The Rabbi switched for a short moment to a verse in Hebrew. And my eyes drifted to the corner where my grandmother used to sit on holidays. She’s been dead for almost 13 years but I always see her there. She was a Holocaust survivor. And I remember when I used to think pogroms belonged to her world. Not to mine.

Ever since we first started praying for “our brothers and sisters” killed in France, not just in the Middle East, and certainly since we started doing it for those in America, the knowledge it could happen anywhere has, attack after attack, woven itself into our lives as Jews. It’s always there. In the back of my mind. That the places we pray, or the places we go, are the places where something could happen. I remember thinking pogroms could never happen inside Israel. I remember last week.

Sitting there, I realised it’s not my own enormous failings, or worries about money, or all the usual stuff that frightens me about being a father. It’s also the knowledge that I am bringing a Jewish soul into a world where not even the greatness of America, the principles of Europe or the soldiers of Israel can make this promise: that your children will not be killed as Jews.

“This time,” said the Rabbi, “is set aside for our rejoicing, as it is written in our Torah. These festivals are for our happiness, even now at the time of our sadness. And so let it still be there, even today. Let it be a sad happiness… that we are together, that we are still here… and that we are Israel.”

I know this pattern almost by heart. The prayers we say after the sermon. The songs when I know it’s almost done. And then, like any other time, we left the sanctuary to say the blessing over snacks. It’s a particular kind of recognition you have with the people you pray with. You might never have more than nodded at them. But their faces are part of the furniture of your life.

None of us had our phones, at least openly. None of us knew that more than 1,200 Israelis were dead or about to die. This was the crescendo of the worst massacre of our kind since the Holocaust — but we smiled, said a few how-are-yous and ate the cookies. None of us knew how many people we would be texting to see if they were safe, in our own families, among our relatives, or our friends. We didn’t know that what was happening, right then, at the festival, in the kibbutzim, would chase us, in some way or another, for the rest of our lives. We only knew we were there together. In that sad happiness — that we were Jews.


Ben Judah is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and the author of ‘This is London’.

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Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago

Many Western liberals forget that civilizational memories of loss can have searing consequences. To see this author with whom I normally have intellectual divergence articulate his pain at the grotesque events in Israel strikes a deep chord.
It rekindles memories in my blood too, of the staggering losses caused in 1946-47 by the Partition of India and the events leading upto it..and why the anxieties of non Muslim India cannot merely be dismissed ( as they usually are by Western tropes) as chauvinistic nationalism.
Unless a solution is found to counter Islamic extremism, from within the Muslim community through validation of peaceful co- existence, we are entering into very troubled times..

Jen Segal
Jen Segal
6 months ago

Very well articulated. Thank you.

Bernard Hill
Bernard Hill
6 months ago

…It’s very difficult to identify likely mechanisms within Islamic theology and the Islamic sub-cultures for that to transpire unfortunately.

Sayantani Gupta
SG
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

Yes…that is the problem.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
6 months ago

And yet, there are historical precedents, such as Islamic Spain in the medieval period. I fully understand the world is different now, but the hope of an “Islamic Reformation” shouldn’t be extinguished.

Your opening comment, and this article, spoke for all who find themselves caught in religio/tribal conflict. It’s incumbent upon peaceful Muslims to push towards controlling their extremist elements. How we can further that, as non-Muslims, should be more fully explored.

What else can we all do, in the face of such inhumanity?

Last edited 6 months ago by Steve Murray
j watson
JW
j watson
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Well said

Sayantani Gupta
SG
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

To start with I hope that the public sphere in the West stops backing the wrong types…

Andrea Rudenko
Andrea Rudenko
6 months ago

Today the public sphere in the West is backing the wrong types on a large scale. Here in the U.S., university students all over the country have responded to Hamas’ call for a global day of jihad with massive pro-Hamas demonstrations.
I listened to a reporter at one of these demonstrations ask various students what they thought about the massacres that took place in Israel last Saturday – the beheading of babies, the rape of women, the slaughter of families. The students had several responses: (1) “It didn’t happen – it’s just Israeli disinformation”; (2) “The Jews had it coming”; and (3) “What? I haven’t heard about that.”
There is some evil sickness being promulgated through our universities. How and why has this happened? Why have our youth absorbed these ideas? The scale of today’s demonstrations are truly shocking to me. I never imagined I would see something like this in America.

Bernard Hill
BH
Bernard Hill
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Maybe “we” can be tougher on the extremists Steve, rather than leaving it up to the moderates? At present, most of the Anglosphere/Europe seems extremely timid in that regard. (But especially in the UK.)

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Islamic Spain was relatively peaceful internally because it had been conquerered, its lords and peasants subjugated, and it was relatively harmonious because it was the Middle Ages – civilisational standards were pretty low.

Islam, thanks to its very detailed scripture cum legal code, is locked in the Middle Ages. Without a major reworking of the Koran, it is impossible to believe and not accept at least some of the quite medieval cultural practices of its medieval warrior leader and prophet.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Islam is just under 1400 years old.

At the same ‘age’ Christianity was experiencing the birth pangs of The Reformation, inspired by Wycliffe, Hus & Co. Perhaps we may yet see an Islamic Reformation in the not too distant future?

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Stanhope
William Amos
William Amos
6 months ago

The Reformation was, among other things, an effort to return to the purity and simplicity of the Gospels. To try custom and practice against the words of scripture as laid out in the Bible.
“Holy Scripture is the highest authority for every believer, the standard of faith and the foundation for reform.” As Wycliffe himself put it.
I’m afraid we already know what such an effort would look like in an Islamic context because it underlies Salafism and Wahabbism. They are actually the sincerest expression what you might call ‘Reformed Islam’.
As anyone knows who has read the Koran, we cannot hope for an amelioration of that creed by a return to first principles.

Last edited 6 months ago by William Amos
Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
6 months ago
Reply to  William Amos

Exactly this. Salafism, Wahabism, the Muslim Brotherhood etc ARE the Islamic version of the Reformation, right down to their brutal fight against ‘idolatry’ that led them to demolish most historical sites in Mecca and Medina. The most severe adherents even forbid gravestones. They are the reformed version of Islam

Nell Clover
NC
Nell Clover
6 months ago
Reply to  William Amos

Indeed, Islam is having its reformation moment and returning to its roots.
Christianity’s lord lived peacefully and modestly. Islam’s prophet brought mayhem, death and subjugation. You really couldn’t have two more different religious figures.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago

Very poor from you, Charles. Rather makes me wonder if you’re a young scamp pretending to be a ruthless old British imperialist. You know well enough that the Muslims enjoyed their apex during our ‘middle ages’ and have been in a long, slow decline ever since. You also know that the Islamic reformation already happened and is known to Westerners as ‘Wahhabism’ – al-Wahhab being the Islamic Luther.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

I was hoping to provoke some discussion.It seems to have worked!

I suspect one day, in the not you do distant future we, the West, will loose patience with Islam.

Then we shall follow the example of one Suetonius Paulinus, late Legatus* of Roman Britannia, when dealing with the pestilential Druids. It is the only way, as we shall soon discover.

(*Governor.)

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago

Even the druids can’t escape your wrath, O Charles! You’d make an excellent, if severe, mujahid. A sort of British Khalid ibn al-Walid.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

I would have preferred to have been a Legatus Augusti pro praetore, with my five Lictors carrying the Fasces before me.
A Province such as Lusitania or Aquitania would have been just fine!

Last edited 6 months ago by Charles Stanhope
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago

Forgive my impertinence but one suspects as a young man you’d very much liked to have cut down a man and then coupled with his wife as she lay in an ever-expanding pool of his blood, as did Khalid (radhi Allāhu ‘anhu).

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

A Bacchanalian orgy would be preferable.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
6 months ago

How ? We haven’t the power – even if we had the inclination – to use Rough Methods on the Muslims.

We are the Empire, they are the Barbarians. The Barbarians always win – they have cojones.

Only God can save us. Pray for miracles.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

The US Navy’s Ohio class submarines ALONE have the power to literally vaporise ALL of Islam.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
6 months ago

Excellent idea.
Still different method is required to deal with Muslim infestation in the West.

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
5 months ago

Not without vaporizing most of the rest of us. To say nothing of the fact that it would be wrong.
The best hope for Islam is reconciliation with modernity, as almost all Jews and Christians (and Hindus and Buddhists) have done, starting during the Enlightenment and continuing, perhaps a little too enthusiastically, through the present day.
All religions start out extreme – they have to in order to get any adherents – and become more moderate over long periods of time. Within that process there are cycles of fundamentalism and liberalism. There really was a modernizing period in Islam from about 1920 to 1970, and the current madness is a reaction to it. It won’t last forever, although it will outlast most people now living.
The problem is not Muslims, who are people just like the rest of us, but Islam.

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Of course West has the power.
We just don’t have the will.
It doesn’t help that West is undermined by woke Neo-Marxists from within.

Warren Trees
WT
Warren Trees
6 months ago

Or Islam will lose patience with us! It’s a demographic reality that the West is ceding its culture to the other side.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

‘They’ haven’t got a chance. When it comes to extermination ‘we’ are the EXPERTS.

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago

I think Romans dealing with Carthage are better example of what is required.
Constantinopol is still occupied by Muslims.

D Glover
D Glover
6 months ago

The authentic Charles Stanhope would know the difference between ‘loose’ and ‘lose’
Might be an impostor?

Peter B
Peter B
6 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Whatever you might think of Luther, someone had to do what he did. I’d take the view that he made a major contribution to creating a better, freer, wealthier and ultimately democractic Western world.
Doesn’t feel at all right to suggest any crossover between Luther (who created something new) and Wahhabism (which seems to look backwards).

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Luther and al-Wahhab were both looking backward to the early days of their respective faiths; the latter did so with some accuracy, but the former’s Christianity was indeed “new” (contrary to his intention).
Forgive me for sounding more hostile than I intend, but the protestant reformation gave us Biblical literalism, witch-burning and the reflexive anti-medieval sentiment that haunts us to this day. The civilizational vandalism Europe underwent was our very own Maoist ‘Cultural Revolution’. As was pointed out by others, the behaviour of the protestants and Wahhabists is strikingly similar. Upon reflection, it’s odd to consider how many of England’s medieval religious buildings might have survived an Islamic conquest, but could not survive ‘the reformation’.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Of England’s corpus of ‘great churches’*a mere 27 out of 60 survived the onslaught, far worse off course in Scotland & Ireland.

(*In England 29,000 sq feet and over.)

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Most of us UnHerd readers are looking back in order to find something new; to create a positive change. Only the rightly maligned progressives imagine creating a brave new world out of whole cloth.

Last edited 6 months ago by laurence scaduto
Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

With due respect Reformation resulted as well in quite catastrophic events like 30 years war.
When population of German lands declined by 30% (8 million people if I recall).
We need to wait till Hitl*r and Stalin and Mao to improve on that.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
6 months ago

That is to misunderstand the Reformation. Luther, Calvin and the other Reformers were a puritanical Christian equivalent of the Taliban, not reformist liberals.

Peter B
Peter B
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

That’s not a correct understanding either ! Not all protestants were puritans. And they certainly did more for women than the Taliban ever have (and indeed more than the Catholic church).

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago

How many times did we hear this excuse?
Since Islam has clear evidence of advances made by different cultures, why should we wait for 700 years for Islam to reform?
Anyway, I don’t particularly care what these savages do in their Muslim shitholes.
Just let’s not have them in the West.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

And yet, there was tacit toleration of those of other faiths, at least by some of the Islamic leaders. And yes, i know the history, that’s why i referenced it. It remains a precedent for Muslims of today to follow, both within the lands of their own jurisdiction and without, and included a high degree of cultural flowering.

There is no other way forward. Persecution breeds future conflict as surely as night follows day.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Other faiths were only tolerated so long as they lived on their knees and recognised who their masters were

Last edited 6 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

“tacit toleration… at least by some” is hardly the precedent needed for Islam to fit into 21st century plural societies.
To accept “tacit toleration… at least by some” as some sort of compromise is appeasement and submission. And I doubt that many Hamas supporters are willing to concede even that much.
The last 100 years has seen Islam displace other religious groups wherever it has a significant foothold. Demographics in both muslim minority and muslim majority countries have seen an inexorable exodus of non-muslims. Africa, the Middle East, Asia – the pattern is shockingly similar. Something isn’t right.

Last edited 6 months ago by Nell Clover
Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Let’s have some perspective here. At the same time that Muslims in Spain were practising a degree of tolerance of other religions, Christians were burning and torturing fellow Christians.
I’m not advocating a religious state for goodness sake, i’m an atheist! A plague on all their houses. My pointing out that Islam has had more benign periods in it’s history is being taken out of all context, with added mundane opinions that we all know about.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Christianity questions and reforms itself. Hence no longer burns or tortures people.

Islam can’t question or reform itself.

And sadly, it’s not in one of its benign periods.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes, Steve, but as I explain in a comment on Kat Rosenfield’s essay, Muslims have no theological precedent in either the Quran or the Hadith.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

“civilisational standards were pretty low”
“medieval cultural practices”
You’re regurgitating 500 year old propaganda and don’t even know it.

Charles Stanhope
CS
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

What about ‘The expulsion of the Moriscos’?

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
6 months ago

1609, from memory.

Topical !

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
6 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Perhaps, but it DID work did it not?

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
6 months ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

Not to mention how fundamental Islam weakens modern nations because the subjugation of women wastes the talents of half the population. One only has to look at the partition of India for a live example of India’s modern progress versus Pakistan’s.

A D Kent
A D Kent
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Quite so, but ‘we’ can begin by not using islamist extremists as geopolitical instruments. See Mark Curtis’s “Secret Affairs” for details or google Timber Sycamore or Charlie Wilson’s War.

Francisco Javier Bernal
Francisco Javier Bernal
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Please spare me the preaching. The almoravids, almohads and benimerids make Hamas and the Taliban look like chancing amateurs. Any chance of an Islamic enlightenment extinguished with the fall of Cordoba to one fundamentalist sect after another. I see no hope for Islam, they’re almost 600 years behind and not just figuratively

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Peaceful Muslims?
Keep dreaming or read Koran.
They have no place in Europe.
They contribute nothing to humanity.
They are locust on the planet.
Just because some of them have oil fields doesn’t change these basic facts.

Vijay Kant
VK
Vijay Kant
6 months ago
Reply to  Bernard Hill

The Sufi movement in Islam did try to humanise Islam by emphasising on inward search for God and making Islam a personal relationship with the Almighty. But I guess most modern muslims would argue that Sufis are “true” muslims.

Last edited 6 months ago by Vijay Kant
Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

The Sufi movements had been Wahabized at least in the sub continent by the 19th century. The ethnic cleansing of Bengali Hindus in Noakhali circa 1946( by conservative estimates at least 6000 killed) was done at the behest of a Muslim League leader renowned as a Sufi Pir.
Even Moinuddin Chisti whose dargah at Ajmer is visited by both Hindus and Muslims encouraged the rape and murder of countless Hindu Rajput women in the mediaeval era.
Let’s not get carried away by generics of Sufi- ism too

Last edited 6 months ago by Sayantani Gupta
Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago

A number of highly-regarded Sufi ‘saints’ personally beheaded people and in India told their followers that they were to be merciful and generous to non-Muslims until they were in the position to impose the sharia upon the vile kafirūn.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

If you have to look for peaceful sects instead of the Sufis see the Dawoodi Bohras.

Francisco Javier Bernal
Francisco Javier Bernal
5 months ago
Tony Buck
Tony Buck
6 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

Sufis are a fringe group of mystics.

Their practical impact is very limited.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
6 months ago
Reply to  Vijay Kant

I take your point, Vijay, despite the typo. You must mean that “most modern Muslims would argue that Sufis are [not] true Muslims.”
This is a problem for mystics in all religious traditions. The nature of mysticism transcends all orthodoxies and is therefore a potential threat to religious customs, doctrines and institutions. It could be argued that the mystics of all religions have more in common with each other, in fact, than they do with their co-religionists.

m pathy
m pathy
6 months ago

But would Ben Judah rethink his blind support for mass immigration to Europe once this pain passes? Otherwise he is a hypocrite.

Sayantani Gupta
Sayantani Gupta
6 months ago
Reply to  m pathy

I agree that this event should lead to a lot of soul- searching by all the advocates of unchecked mass immigration anywhere in the world( my part also suffers from similar trends of Left Liberals advocating unchecked immigration from Burmese Rohingyas).

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  m pathy

It seems to be a trait when you look at who the advocates are

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
6 months ago
Reply to  m pathy

He supports it to Europe, probably not to Israel. Draw your own conclusions

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago
Reply to  m pathy

He’d be a hypocrite if he espoused a universalist creed, but he does not. Like Islam there is a radical ethical double standard but at least in Islam you can, theoretically, convert.

Bernard Hill
BH
Bernard Hill
6 months ago
Reply to  m pathy

…Looks like dear old Henry K has changed his mind about Europe accepting Muslim mass migration.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
6 months ago

Quite. It seems unfair to ask the moderate Muslims in non-Muslim countries to step up – they, like the rest of us, would just like a quiet life – but step up they must, or the long-term consequences will be horrendous for all.

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago

I am not fan of Muslims, but comments about “Western tropes etc” by someone from a country with caste systems are just laughable.

Steven Targett
Steven Targett
6 months ago

I’m not Jewish and I cannot begin to imagine the personal trauma this atrocity must have caused but I am enraged that terrorists could carry out such vile crimes in the name of God. There is no reasoning or negotiating with such animals. Just cold brute force.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago

I am sorry but last week this author wrote an article sympathetic to, if not advocating, for mass immigration to Western Europe. The author seems to want to deny us our identity while proudly proclaiming his
Also why is so much ink being spilt on Israel an so little on the genocide being inflicted on Armenians which is being aided an abetted by Israel

Last edited 6 months ago by Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
6 months ago

100%. Christian lives and cultures don’t matter. Go on Youtube and see what it’s like to be Christian in Jerusalem at the tender mercies of Jews. Hatred cuts many ways and being Jewish isn’t some magical ticket to enlightenment

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

But it is a ticket to victimhood

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
5 months ago
Reply to  Paul Devlin

Arab Christians are the most highly educated population in Israel (more than Jews) and one of the most prosperous. You’ll have to try harder to convince me that Arab Christians are an oppressed minority.

Mark Turner
Mark Turner
6 months ago

Maybe now Mr Judah will be re thinking his support for mass immigration to the west as yet another example of exactly what these people bring with them by way of extremist views and world outlook plays out. Witness also muslim immigrants to the UK, parading up and down our streets celebrating the murder of jewish civilians and other atrocities and nothing being done about it….. Perhaps his eyes will now start to open to the complete folly of this crazed social experiment as our once decent country descends into chaos, social and moral unravelling and disaster. All caused by the same liberal left wing ideas he was advocating recently…….

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

It appears that many of these individuals are now beginning to see through the veil.

Andrew F
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  Mark Turner

Yes, only few weeks ago, the author was advocating all the policies which result in increase of antisemitism in Europe.
But where are his woke, lefty globaliser friends in his our of need?
Supporting Hamas filth on streets of London.
The only people supporting Israel are usual old Brexit gammon (as he and his, hopefully former now, mates would say)

Faith Pollack
FP
Faith Pollack
6 months ago

You have no guarantees as to his death. But you can teach him the joy and privilege of living as a Jew.

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
6 months ago
Reply to  Faith Pollack

Beautifully put.

RM Parker
RP
RM Parker
6 months ago

Thank you for a powerfully beautiful essay, Ben. Best wishes to you and yours; beyond that, words just fail me.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
6 months ago

My late father was once thought to be Jewish. The men he was talking to clearly judged that because they thought that Jews had a particular appearance. From the tone of their conversation, these men evidently were not well disposed to Jews, shall we put it as charitably as possible. 
Several times I have encountered people who thought the same about myself and for the same reason. That is, they had a prejudice about someone’s appearance. Only one of them, an elderly Christian lady from the Carribean – again to judge from the tone of conversation – had no ‘problem’ with Jews. One of the others, a leftist from an American country, was open about their reason for what they themselves frankly described as their hatred of Jews. 
I don’t believe for a moment that I am in any danger from looking like a Jew. Consequently, I find these prejudices of others instructive. They, the ones that knew me well – excepting the Carribean lady – judged by appearances, not by the heart. I never tried to disabuse these people of their error. Instead, I treated their misidentification as a compliment. 
 

Deb Grant
DG
Deb Grant
6 months ago

That piece is gut-wrenching, so sad. All the best for your baby’s future.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
6 months ago

Powerful writing.

0 0
PF
0 0
6 months ago

I don’t know how to understand the phrase: ‘all my life I have wanted a Jewish child’. I only ever wanted a child and then only as I became an adult myself – a boy or a girl, their skin colour, their ethnity, their religion would be as it would be, who I met, what choices the child made. What does it mean to want a Jewish child?

Simon Tavanyar
Simon Tavanyar
6 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Jews are a special people because they were chosen by God for God’s self-revelation; firstly by His promises to Abraham’s seed of a unique holy covenant relationship between God and man, then for a nation to give the world the written Bible through many different inspired authors, and then to be the nation which would bring forth the Messiah. So yes, a Jew is a special human being in terms of birthright.
Christians believe the strong historical and prophetic evidence that Jesus Christ is the Jewish Messiah, and that the offer of the Jews’ special relationship with God is extended to all humankind through relationship with Jesus – the Jew who was shown to be the Son of God by his life, death and resurrection from the dead.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
6 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Peter B
Peter B
6 months ago
Reply to  Simon Tavanyar

Certainly, their culture and history tell them they are a special people. And they are free to believe that. But there’s no reason for anyone who isn’t Jewish to believe or accept that. I think we’d do better to see them as people just like everyone else.
Americans sometimes seem to fall into this assumption that their country is somehow “special”, which by implication also makes them “special people”. It’s the sort of attitude that can end up with people valuing an American life as 100 or more times greater than a foreign one.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

God chose the Jewish People for His purposes, only incidentally for theirs.

To be a Jew is an astonishing honour, but not a privilege.

It is also a very risky honour – Jews are inevitably at the epicentre of the supernatural battle between Good and Evil that rages in the world – because it rages within every human soul.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

But America is “special” in that we are the only country founded on the principle that our elected leaders are to derive their power from the electorate and not the other way round.

Paul Nathanson
PN
Paul Nathanson
6 months ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

Actually, Warren, that’s true of some other countries as well, Canada and Australia being examples. Although older countries have become representative democracies, such as the United Kingdom, they weren’t exactly founded hundreds of years ago with that in mind. Nonetheless, the United States (like every country) has its own distinctive, or special, features.

Last edited 6 months ago by Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
6 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

You make an interesting point, Peter, although I think that you’re missing something. Everyone feels special in some way. Likewise, every community feels special in some way. Otherwise, why would anyone want to maintain it, let alone to perpetuate it or sacrifice for it? Being “special” doesn’t necessarily mean better than other people (although it can in pathological circumstances). Usually, it just means being “at home” within the larger world, being a link between the past and the future. I suspect that this urge to feel special is hard-wired in us both as individuals and as a species.

Peter B
Peter B
6 months ago
Reply to  Paul Nathanson

Good point Paul. I think subconciously we tend to read “special” as “better” – and it’s the implied “better” I’m not comfortable with. I’d be happy with “unique”.

Paul Nathanson
Paul Nathanson
6 months ago
Reply to  0 0

It means the same thing as anyone means, 00, by wanting a child to continue a community and its culture. We all want to leave behind something of value for future generations, including the sense of belonging in an otherwise indifferent world. Parents care for their children partly by initiating them into long traditions of ideas, customs, stories, relationships and moral insights. For Jews today, though, there’s an added sense of urgency.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
6 months ago
Reply to  0 0

He does explain: to hand down the traditions.

Malcolm Webb
Malcolm Webb
6 months ago

Thank you.

Andrew Henrick
Andrew Henrick
6 months ago

So very well written. Thank you. Dt 6.4-9

0 0
0 0
6 months ago

If Israel really cared about the lives of women and children they would open a corridor into Israel – and give them huminatarian aid.

Mirax Path
MP
Mirax Path
6 months ago
Reply to  0 0

That is certain suicide.

Andrew F
AF
Andrew F
6 months ago
Reply to  0 0

Really?
Gaza is given billions from EU and Arab countries every year.
Instead of using this money to improve lifes of the inhabitants of Gaza, they use it to dig tunnels and manufacture rockets to kill Israeli civilians.
You can’t reason with Hamas vermin.
You need Rentokill.