Tim Franks was assigned by BBC to cover the Middle East with particular focus on Israel and Palestinians. He was surprised when people in his London synagogue assumed since he was Jewish his task was to present a “Jewish version” of events. During his years in Israel, critics have charged Franks was an agent of the Jewish lobby, he has been charged with being sympathetic to Palestinians, and he has experienced Jewish violence and Palestinian “victimhood” being displayed in the name of truth and righteousness. He confesses being upset that Israeli worshippers in his Jerusalem synagogue “did not show signs of being upset by videos in which Jewish rioters wrecked their vengeance on Palestinians” because the army had evicted them from illegal West Bank settlements. ” I do not believe I had covered the story for radio or TV differently because I was a Jew. But, was I feeling more bleak the following day because this was violence perpetrated by Jews? Well, perhaps.”
As a Jew, the feelings of Frank are my own. I was raised in a liberal Socialist east European Jewish neighborhood where a dominant feeling was that Jews must work with other oppressed people if we are ourselves to be free from death and destruction. It remains a shock to me when Jews are the oppressor who kill the innocent in the name of “security.” Every demagogue and tyrant has used the defense of “security” to explain away killing defenseless people. I expect Jews, given our experience with death and destruction, to never kill the innocent.
Farewell, Mr. Franks, you did a good job.