First an apology to a good friend whom I thought was going over the top in his criticism of a Guardian cartoon yesterday. I was totally wrong and thank Andy for pointing out my ignorances. It has made me think about the whole concept of prejudice.
I would classify myself as untra liberal on issues of prejudice, whether it be race, religion, sexuality, disability or whatever. However my upbringing in middle England since the 1950’s has left some marks. I think I may be overly prejudiced against those whom I believe to have racist, etc. views. However I do have sympathy for those that have been cast aside economically by the loss of well paid manufacturing jobs in Northern mill and mining towns, and places like Dagenham (demise of Ford plant), etc.. I have less sympathy for those who have resorted to the welfare system as a choice. I may also be an inverted snob when it comes to the likes of JR-M and his ilk.
But racism – despite being brought up in tye era of “Til death do us part”, and Enoch Powell; a father who would not have considered himself as racist (but believed black people were less intelligent – mainly I believe because he never met those who had had a full education. I have never used the word nigger or wig although these were relatively common at school. So on colour I think I am OK! Albeit with a smattering of perhaps over compensation.
Religion – basically I believe religion to be a totally personal thing. So if I was to turn religious it would be as a Quaker. Christianity in the past was about power and influence as revealed by cathedrals and churches and even the suppression of the written bible and the promotion of Latin to deny the masses access. The pograms against religions across the world are abhorrent, whether in Myanmar, Gujerat, Gaza, or wherever.
So to the Jews. Has any group in history been more persecuted for their beliefs? I am trying to understand why? Unlike a black, brown or yellow person they do not stand out (sympathy with Dianne Abbot here!). Their religion has a few odd bits like kosher and the ways of slaughtering animals that people in the past would not have even noticed. Was it because they have often behaved like immigrants and maintained their religion and customs, whilst the rest of us have “gone with the flow”. Why was the Nazi venom against them so rabid? I honestly do not know! Vague concepts of being financiers is all I was either taught or absorbed. In this country we expelled all Jews in 1290 (18th July!) and when they were readmitted they were not allowed to be buried inside the city boundaries (Exeter). Many of our leading Banks were established by jews, SchroderWagg, Rothschilds, etc. and companies like Tesco’s. So is it jealousy and avarice that causes anti-semitism? I am not aware of ever knowing a jew.
Seeing the way Israel is behaving today (and I have been there and enjoyed a hippy travelling around experience with kibbutz visits). It was a nice country.
This is not easy to write. Of course the holocaust occured and millions of Jews and others were slaughtered. But that does not give them the excuse to gert sympathy for ever more. Is there not an aspect of being anti-semetic that is based on the concept of; “you can never criticise us again?” because of the holocaust – I guess I need to understand the hatrid that Jews across the centuries have created and endured. I think that when I was at school the whole WW2 bit was still to close to discuss (I 3as not a precoscious child – I do intend being a 70 precoscious person though!).