Thursday, July 17, 2003

Meryl Yourish on British anti-Semitism. Strong words.

I have a confession.

I am Israeli. But a part of me will always be British as well. I find I do have quite a bit of affection for the old place, and its inhabitants, with all my misgivings and feelings of alienation. I do feel gratitude and quite a bit of amazement that the British should have taken in my ancestors. They couldn't have been very impressive, fresh off the boat with their pekalach (bundles). They had little to offer. They probably looked, sounded and acted very strange. Beats me why they let them in, in the first place, never mind allowing them to become naturalized British subjects of the crown, long before it was fashionable to be nice to poor minorities. If they hadn't, my ancestors or their children (or both) would probably have perished at the hands of the Nazis. I wouldn't even have been dreamt of *.

I cannot forget this. It is a personal debt I owe. How do I repay? That's a tough one. I could say that I repay with a certain degree of loyalty, albeit limited, especially when it conflicts with stronger loyalties. Maybe by watching the odd royal wedding or funeral. But then, you don't have to be British to do that, do you? And maybe by being a reluctant, unwilling Anglophile (although I will deny it to the death).

Hopefully not the exception to the rule, John Williams is certainly no anti-Semite nor anti-Zionist. Quite the contrary.
* This could be an interesting plot for a Sliding Doors type movie. I wonder if it has been done.