It is really unpleasant to be the person who says things that are not in accord with the views of the majority.
Last night I watched the We Are British Jews documentary on the iPlayer.*
I’d heard about it from several people.
Most interesting was an exchange from my brother…
‘Can’t believe how naïve the young ‘pacifist’ girl was’
So, I watched waiting for this person, to see what they had to say.
This is the character who in the past had visited the West Bank and was against the Kibbutz celebrating the Israeli Army.
The thing is, I get much of where she is coming-from.
When I was in my early 20s, during the elective as part of my medical degree I found a placement in the Hadassah Medical Centred in Jerusalem. That was back in the days when I thought Paediatrics as a specialty was for me.
A week into the attachment I ran away;
Everything I found about the place was so very well… hate to say it, at least to my young eyes, Americanised, the traditional level of engagement with patients, the doctor nurse deference; it is hard for me now to remember the specifics, suffice it to say, I felt stifled.
I was at the time living in the hospital residence; I ran away from there too, to a hostel in the Old City of Jerusalem, just off the Via Dolorosa. It was a magical place full of travellers and lost souls.
Ultimately, I discovered a baby clinic in the Arab Quarter just down from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, run by a Dutch Paediatrician. She welcomed me to join her for a few weeks shadowing.
Here I saw another side of the healthcare divide; from the shining Chagall Windows in the Hadassah Medical Centre to the cracked and tattered flooring of a dishevelled clinic.
I have been writing lately about the left and right divide; well, here I was on the left.
I have never had a problem with the Israeli army; in my fondest imaginings dreaming what might have been had I become an ‘Eran Morad’ but, the Two-State Solution, Amos Oz, Peace Now, and so on, were all closer to my heart than the ranting of the Right.
I can remember, in fact, I can feel it today, over 20 years later, in a similar context, at a meeting in the Giffnock Synagogue in Glasgow where the Israeli Ambassador was visiting;
The room was filled with a mixture of the locals – Jewish people from across the spectrum, come to hear what Yoav Biran (I think it was) had to say;
When it came my turn to express my thoughts relating to equality, freedom and peace, the scene from last night’s TV transported me. Two, three or four people indignant that one of their own could espouse such corrupting views. Such extremism.
Being shouted-down at a young age isn’t pleasant.
I felt for the woman last night.
When people are young and, I guess, idealistic, it is desirable that they see the world through the eyes of others, perceive the suffering of those in pain and distress. We need the right and the left, we even need those who aggressively suppress any other point of view;
It is just sometimes hard to take.
I guess we need those people who can take a beating and come back for more, who can’t ignore their beliefs or principles.
Bring on the pacifist…
*Gah, on a Friday night, avoy.