Casting my mind forward to this time next year, I find myself in another, cooler, more temperate, climate. It is not the temperature of the planet that has changed but an all-too-human atmosphere. I am referring to the climate of debate that surrounds discussion whenever people – fellow Jews especially – broach the subject of Israel and Palestine.
In my mind’s eye, I am in a large space somewhere in London. It is larger than the usual venue for a Jewish public meeting; large enough to include Jews who live on the margins of the mainstream and who, in the bad old days of 2007, were still being discounted as marginal Jews. A new crisis has erupted in the West Bank and the room is full to the rafters.
But instead of one collective voice chanting ‘”solidarity with Israel”, there is the polyphonic sound of many individual voices. A spirited argument is in progress, point and counterpoint. It is not a discordant sound. For every speaker strikes the same chord: human rights, social justice, and a better future for Palestinians and Israelis alike. It is music to my ears.
I wonder: could Jerusalem be builded here in England’s green and pleasant land?
As a founding member of Independent Australian Jewish Voices, I have similar wishes for Australia.