Op-Ed: A Request for Israel
The stone monument and viewpoint on the beautiful hill 23 miles south of London Bridge says: In Grateful Remembrance of Leopold Salomons of Norbury Park Who Gave Box Hill To The Nation 1914. It was in danger of being developed and a Jew, Salomons, stepped in. The view is captivating.
This little undramatic action is typical of the Jewish people. Their names appear with predictable regularity with regard to charities and matters of social concern.
To my Jewish friends, for nearly two thousand years you were dispersed amongst us and yet in all that time there is not one record of State insurrection. Wherever you have set up home you have sought to become part of the host society insofar as that society permitted you.
There are remarkably few Jewish names in the annals of criminality.
You have served your home countries in all wars, serving with honour and loyalty.
Wherever you have been accepted, prosperity has followed.
You have enriched us in the Arts, particularly Music. Likewise, in the area of Science and Medicine.
It may not please you but without you Christianity would be Saviourless.
The story which I related above about Leopold Salomons was hardly earth-shattering but multiply it many times and your influence on our society is insistent and undeniable. True, this influence has occasionally been negative, but that is the exception, not the rule.
When we forbade you from owning land, you became doctors and lawyers, when we barred you from the professions, you excelled at trade. You have been attacked, seasonally robbed of your hard-earned life-savings, your books destroyed, your holidays banned, and your response was to pack your few sticks and to gather what could be salvaged from the ruin and start again elsewhere, from scratch. Occasionally we didn't allow you to take the sticks, they too were ours. It was the unnameable Nazi who said that you were to be left only your eyes, with which to weep.
We curse you to "Go home to Israel!" And, when you are there, we cry, "Get out of Israel!" In Israel you have had to hermetically seal yourselves in, a barrier to the side, a dome above, and sonar below, away from the bullies and the haters. The situation is a crying shame.
And you endure. For you are the people that cannot die. All others pass away, except the eternal Jew. We may despise you, be jealous of you, misunderstand you and narrow our eyes at you, or we may love you and admire you, we may care about your happiness and your future. But, ultimately, it will make no difference to your destiny, you march to an unheard tune, a sad and merry tune that the wind catches and is gone, perplexing to us Gentiles.
You are more than us and less than us. 'More' because you are dreamers on your way from the fiery Mount where none of us have been, and a noble dream is priceless. 'Less' because your high calling is not yet realised, in fact, it seems farther off today than it ever did. It eludes your grasp. Hence you are more incomplete than the rest of us, there's something unfinished about you, but that too is your glory and will not be taken from you.
You will never rest until we all rest. And we will not find rest until you do. We pass you on the road with a nod and secret smile and then turn to watch you go. The wandering Jew, clutching an unforgettable vision.
I have a request for you, you who have been hounded and torn through all time and every place and have made it miraculously, into the 21st century free of self pity and possessing a loving concern for others, even your tormentors.
My request is, will you accept our apology
Before God, our God, comes to us and asks "How did you treat my people?"