Anybody with a scrap of pity in their soul must feel great sadness for the inhabitants of Gaza who have lost relatives, friends and children. There is widespread international criticism of the casualties, but what is too often ignored is that Israel didn’t start the war. It started with the massacre of 1,200 Jews on October 7th.
Much is made of civilian casualties but the reality is that war involves such horrors. Between July and December 1940 no less than 70,000 Brits died in the Blitz. In 1944 we deliberately bombed Dresden, a civilian town, with 25,000 deaths in two nights. In modern times the Turks killed between 300,000 and 900,000 Greeks between 1913 and 1923, and the President of Turkey, Recip Tayyip Erdogen, is still criticising the Israelis. In 1994 800,000 Rwanda’s were slaughtered.
Over 800,000 military personnel died in the Korean War and two million North and South Korean civilians. All of this almost fades into insignificance when China’s record since 1900 is calculated. It is 100 million and today it is estimated that 21 million Mulim Uyghurs are being detained in that country. 13,500 died in Kosovo and 6,000 have been killed in Burma.
What would Israel’s critics have done if 1,200 of their citizens had been slaughtered? Whether you like Benjamin Netanyahu or not, would we have expected either Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer to do nothing? To shrug their shoulders and say that the response must be humanitarian.
Yes, of course, the Israelis need to avoid hurting civilians if they possibly can, but Hamas have no such restrictions. They have said loud and clear that their objective is to kill all the Jews. Well, we’ve been victims for centuries and enough is enough. Where we are treated properly we are a useful addition to any country’s efforts to balance its trade.
The prison population in this country is just over 95,000. Of that number 475 are Jews. Oddly enough 1,650 are Buddhists. Thirteen per cent of the population are from ethnic minorities but 27% of the prison population come from that source. If there are 270,000 Jews, we are 0.5% of the prison population. A very small part of that 27% from ethnic minorities.
It is difficult to see the cause of antisemitism today. It used to be based on religion but today all religions have in common a need to advocate faith as an essential part of life, and both the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury have apologised for the atrocities that have blighted the lives of so many members of Jewish communities in the past.
What would Israel’s critics have done if 1,000 of their citizens had been slaughtered? Whether you like Benjamin Netanyahu or not, would we have expected either Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer to do nothing? To shrug their shoulders and say that the response must be humanitarian.
These very honestly felt guilt complexes even cross the centuries. The Spanish have decreed that if a Jew can prove his ancestry goes back to Spain in 1492, when the Jews were expelled, they are welcome to apply for Spanish citizenship. There are many Muslim communities in this country who have the friendliest relations with their Jewish neighbours and there can be nothing but praise for the resolute support of successive governments.
I would expect, if it was ever needed, that the German government would send its armed forces to protect Israel. It will be centuries before the Holocaust, like the Inquisition, is dispatched to the darkest corners of recorded history. We’ll still have to explain the antisemitic clauses in Magna Carta but then Cromwell, the father of British parliamentary life, is still not popular in Eire.
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