The Garden of Tolerance
As the purpose of this blog is to inform of the facts learnt and emotions experienced while researching my family's Holocaust story I feel a justification to share my feelings about the current rise of antisemitism around the world.
I have avoided writing about the Gaza - Israel crisis for a number of reasons but predominantly because there is so much being written by people far more eloquent and informed than myself. If you have not read enough already - and I am talking about the real stuff here, not the lies on the news or in the newspapers - I urge you to read some of the articles written by Naomi Ragen and in particular 'Don’t Cry for Us Israelis' written on July 24, 2014. I can't resist quoting just one sentence here: "Don’t cry for us, or our families, or our children, or grandchildren. Not this time. Not ever. Not if we can help it. Because this time, thank God, we have a country. We are armed. This time, with God’s help, we know how to protect ourselves from Nazis and their high-minded media cheerleaders."
Now you might be thinking, there she goes again, rambling off on a tangent. Why are we suddenly talking about Gaza when this is supposed to be about antisemitism? Well because the two have become one. The war in Gaza and the actions of Israel defending itself against a terrorist organisation, Hamas, which uses children as human shields has given the radical Muslims in the world their excuse to ignite the anti-Semitic firebomb which has been quietly smouldering for years, complete with kindling courtesy of the well-meaning but uninformed liberal types who have been shocked into submission by photos of infant casualties.
So antisemitism has reared it's ugly head again in proportions not known since the Holocaust. I find the images from France particularly disturbing as they mirror the France of World War II which resulted in the murder of so many members of my family, although led this time by radical Palestinians rather than Nazis and right-wing French collaborators. That's why I am sure you will forgive me for secretly smiling when I watch the videos of the young French Jews fighting back and hurling tables and chairs at the Palestinians. Oh yes, you can be sure that there will be plenty of fighting back this time. At the same time I think about my mother, orphaned at four years of age and losing her brother and twin sister at six years of age in France, and I think that it is a blessing in disguise that she is not alive to see this happening. Would it have broken her spirit to see history repeating itself? Possibly although probably more likely she would have been on the next flight out there and thrown the first table!
My feelings about the current rise of antisemitism? I feel sick and shocked. I feel angry and frustrated. I feel disappointed and sad. And yes, a little scared but I hope that common sense will prevail. I have seen a glimmer of hope. It was just a token but it was something. We just returned from a holiday in Turkey. We booked it ages ago but when the time came I was hesitant about going. Turkey is usually a popular holiday destination for Israelis but at the moment they are not welcome there. A refund was out of the question so we went, to a lovely place called Belek. One week of sun, sand and family fun, we could have been at any holiday resort anywhere in the world. On the way back to the airport we passed something called The Garden of Tolerance and I noticed a window in the shape of a Star of David. When we got home I Googled it and found that in this garden there is a church, a mosque and a synagogue all existing peacefully together. I wished I had known about it sooner and been able to visit it but just knowing it is there makes me feel better.