Yom Kippur, the Day Atonement, (25/26 September this year), is the holiest day in the Jewish year. On BBC Radio 4′s Thought for Today, Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, explained the significance of the day for Jews. He said, among other things, “We apologize for all the wrongs we’ve done and we seek forgiveness.”
I had the impression from everything he said and the way he said it that his lordship was in no doubt that he was speaking from the top of the moral high ground. Up there his words may sound fine but they are out of touch with one of the most important aspects of reality.
The vast majority of Jews refuse to acknowledge that a terrible wrong was done to the Palestinians by Zionism, the terrible wrong being, and only starting with, the creation in Arab Palestine of a state for some Jews mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing; a process which saw upwards of 700,000 Palestinians dispossessed of their land and their rights.
In that light, how can the chief rabbi claim that on the Day of Atonement Jews “apologize for all the wrongs we’ve done”? Either he doesn’t know that a wrong was done to the Palestinians by Zionism, in which case he sees no need for Jews to apologise for it and seek forgiveness; or he knows that a wrong was done but cannot, dare not, say so.
If there is ever to be a peaceful resolution of the conflict in and over Palestine that became Israel, the process to bring it about will have to be kick-started by a significant majority of Jews everywhere acknowledging (1) that a terrible wrong was done to the Palestinians by Zionism in the name of all Jews; and (2) that the wrong must be righted.
In the view of this goy (me), Days of Atonement which ignore the need for Jews to be honest with themselves about Zionism’s crimes in Palestine are nothing but Jewish theatre.