Friday 16 November 2012

A colleague thought I was joking today when I asked him to tell me who was right in the whole Israel-Palestine thing.

I think he thought I was either:

(i)  Making a joke about it being obvious/hard¹ to say who was in the right; or
(ii) Making a joke about not knowing about it.

I don’t know about it. I think it is meant to be one of the things you are meant to know about if you’re vaguely aware of stuff. I kind of assumed that Israel were probably the ones whose side you should take. The Jews have had such  a ruddy bad time of it – that really is the reason. I mean I’m a white man from a council estate in North Manchester, I was raised around people who dislike almost everybody. Well, that’s a bit harsh. Not dislike everyone – but be racist about everyone. But aside from my backwater upbringing I think it is fair to say that the Jewish people have had some bad breaks over the years. Wrong assumption apparently – Israel is in the wrong here, big time. Or so I am told. [Actually you shouldn’t equate Israel to Judaism apparently; the two do seem intrinsically linked in my head. My bad.]

Listening to (my old mate) Nicky C’s Radio 5 Live’s phone in on the issue was no help. Everyone seemed like a plank who was speaking.  Fair play, the Nottingham man who didn’t know what he was talking about but had still phoned in a national radio station to share his views was more pointless than the people with relevant views but by not much. “I’m praad to be from Nottingham and I’m praad to be a human being.”

Every time I had a bit of sympathy for someone they then said something that alienated me. Especially when they referenced The Bible or the Qur’an as though they were legally binding documents of land ownership. One man said religion wasn’t an issue, illustrating it with this story, “A Jewish woman every day throws rubbish on a Muslim man and he does not react; one day she doesn’t throw rubbish on him. What does he do? He goes to say is she is OK.” It’s nice that he could remove religion from this parable as it would probably have mudied what he was trying to say about women being messy and men being considerate. He was adroit enough to suggest that they probably wouldn’t solve all the problems between Israel and Palestine in the one hour phone-in though (lacks ambition).

Fuck knows. If the answers were obvious wouldn’t it be sorted? Yes, because that’s how life works – easy stuff with obvious answers gets sorted quickly. Nothing with an easy solution ever dragged on for years. I am pretty sure preying won’t solve anything, though. No matter how well written or sensible something seems, if the answer is preying then all the good work is undone. I don’t know the fucking answers though. Maybe I should start preying.

In the absence of God though I think I will give this a go instead. I’ll get back to you when I have the answers.

¹I suppose some people might think that a conflict that had been going on for years might represent something where the answer wasn’t obvious – but the man I was speaking to has a Facebook profile picture declaring his Pro-Palestine position, I suppose I should have asked someone with more of a neutral position. Only anyone who knows about it is on one side or the other.

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