By Daphne Anson
Our old friend the ex-vicar of Virginia Water has landed in the land he loves to slur, and is now in Bethlehem.
Surprised Israel let him in?
In answer to one of his followers who expressed that very thought, our old friend has paid unwitting tribute to the strength of Israeli tolerance and forbearance:
I’d like to share with this Israel-delegitimiser and so-called “Peacemaker Mediator,” who seems to evince no sympathy whatever for Jewish links to ancient holy places (remember this?), the words of a rationally-minded Jerusalem-based rabbi from the Reform tradition on Tisha b’Av this very week:
‘Twenty five hours of darkness…
Twenty five hours of memory…
Twenty five hours of recalling how they poured out our blood…
At this hour, we hold in our hearts centuries of Jews persecuted just for being Jews … tortured, scorned, and driven to pitiless deaths.
And we remember the Temples…
One thousand years of devotion…
One thousand years of encountering God on earth in the heart of Jerusalem.
These are facts of history … facts that today are tragically denied by much of the Palestinian leadership.
They say that the Temples are a matter of “belief”.
They refuse to accept that centuries before Islam, Jews worshiped God in beautiful structures on that noble mount for more than a millennium.
They will not acknowledge the slaughter, the destruction, and the gruesome losses that Jews experienced.
Deniers of history do not genuinely seek peace.
Those who seek to delegitimise the other, and the facts of the past, have little familiarity with olive branches.
There is one thing even more painful than the memories of this day:
That on this day of memory, there are those who seek to deny that our memories have any validity at all.
And so we fast. For the past … and the present…‘