Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Jerusalem part 3

Part 3
I thought a bit of sight-seeing was in order and managed the Knesset and the Dead Sea Scrolls in one morning, which were just a load of old books really. Judaism was the first religion to write things down, therefore, it could survive. I often ask whether the bible is the work of man or God. The general consensus seems to be it is the word of God through man. I then ask why Jesus had to correct the ‘eye for an eye’ phrase. Nobody has yet given me an answer.
The gospels were written 30–70 years after the death of Jesus and were not witnessed by the authors. Many other books were written and ignored by some churches. Only 2 out of 4 ever agree on anything, with 3 ‘last words’ on the cross. I have always thought that, “Put the kettle on Dad, I’m coming home!” might be a fitting final tribute. So, when something is described as ‘gospel’, it means a convincing story but not fact.
The Old Testament is full of wars and killing despite the ‘thou shalt not kill’ bit. David had no reason to kill Goliath other than to start a phrase to be used every FA cup day. It does not help that it says that God is on the side of the winners. An unhelpful justification for all the wars we have.
Apparently, Moses went up Mount Sinai and said, “God I’ve got a headache!”
“Take these 2 tablets!” was the terse response. He then became the first car driver as he went over the hill in his Triumph.
I felt like I needed cheering up in the afternoon. So, after lunch I wandered towards Yad Vashem, often mistakenly called the Holocaust museum. I use the ‘mistakenly’ because there is no mention of any other groups that perished. I know the Jews were the largest group and received the worst treatment, but to disregard the others is a form of Holocaust denial.
It was a powerful experience and a 6 million volt shock went through me as I entered the hall of remembrance. The low lights added to the ghostly atmosphere. Exhibits tell the story of how Nazi Germany persecuted the millions. However, another guilty party was Britain. It was the British governments fault for not allowing Palestine to become a Jewish state.
I was gob-smacked. My father fought in the war and by doing so saved many Jewish lives, even though he had a hatred of them. He would often make disparaging comments. I often asked him what was the matter with Jews. His stock answer was always “Pah!”
He was born before the Great War, I do not know what was so great about it. He was illegitimate, and, in the days before love children, he was a bastard. I remember my Grandma with fond affection and have found it difficult to come to terms with, but not as bad as my dad.
I only once saw him naked, in a shower on holiday. He was circumcised. Perhaps his father was Jewish and insisted on the snip before he disappeared. Either way this would not make me Jewish under Hebrew law.
The British were responsible for the holocaust because the Balfour Declaration was not implemented. Balfour was a foreign minister who wrote to Baron Rothschild stating, ‘His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object’.
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This was used by the Zionists as ammunition despite the fact that there had been several changes of government and legislation had not been passed by Parliament. Also, the declaration is never quoted in its entirety. Perhaps the most significant part is ‘ it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine’. Yeah, right!
I left Yad Vashem angry and confused. Brits were always the good guys, were we not? The saviours of the world, bringing civilisation to our massive empire: 20% of the globe and 25% of its population, including a whole swathe of the Middle East, our mandate and the legacy that went with it. It is a fact that wherever the Brits have been a mess is left behind. The sun never sets on the British Empire; God does trust the Brits after dark.
I walked back along Ben Yehuda street which is a problem for an Englishman.

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Of all nationalities, the English are the least likely to make physical contact, if statistics are to be believed, and statistics show that that they are. In this part of the world, niceness is seen as weakness and to be avoided at all costs. There was a Canadian called Dan who was breaking down gradually each day. He felt such anxiety that he said that he walked in a straight line. This meant bumping into people every stride, something I never got used to and never will.
As the sun dropped a rosy tinge fell across the city. Lots of action as everybody prepared for Shabbat. The next day I had booked a guided tour of the Old City. I ordered a beer which flew along the counter cowboy style. I sat there thinking, as Bugs Bunny was racing across the screen, euphoria was being replaced by reality.

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