In 1948 just 3 years after the biggest act of genocide the world had seen the State of Israel was born. A homeland in the traditional homeland region for the Jewish people, a people who had been in that land unceasingly since Abraham journeyed there on the command of G-d. It was a world recognition of this fact.
Since that time, however, amazingly enough even some of those who voted in favour of the United Nations resolution have gone back on their word and would now deny that land to the Jewish people. Has there ever been an instance where a people have been praised and vilified, accepted and rejected all by the same groups of nations?
In spite of that which history has doled out to the Jews we have survived. There is no other people or race that has such a survival rate. It is truly a sign from G-d that it is His will that it should be so.
Chosen people doesn’t mean choicest or best or superior it means chosen for a purpose. As was promised to Abraham “I will bless those who bless you ………. And you will be Bracha (for a blessing)”. Through the Jewish people the nations of the world have the chance to be blessed. Who would truly want anything else but to be blessed?
The message that Abraham and the Jewish people were to bring to the world was the Belief in One G-d. Although Adam and Noah had that belief it had slipped from the consciousness of the masses. The covenant was given to Abraham and his descendants.
Does that mean nowadays that it is the sole responsibility of the Jewish people? The answer is most categorically no. The roots of Christianity are firm from within Judaism and have evolved since those early days. The message of Christianity is also the belief in monotheism and they carry this message throughout the world. This is just one of the ways that the Jews and Christians view a common theme.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Catholic Church’s Nostra Aetate. On visiting the site of the concentration camp Auschwitz in 1965, Pope Paul II was moved to make certain declarations.
There were other statements too but suffice it to say that the way to go forward in a non-confrontational way has been born. A pathway for common understanding to enrich our lives has been forged.
Since then and even parallel to those efforts organisations such as CCJ, Interfaith forums, The Christian Embassy of Jerusalem and others have met on a regular basis to understand anti-Semitism and bring about its eradication.
A common denominator is understanding and tolerance. This is not limited to Christian and Jewish relationships. All men were created in the image of G-d and so other religions need to be involved in the dialogue. The One and only G-d is a G-d of mercy and compassion, He is a G-d of love.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks has recently written a book “Not In My Name”. He writes,
"Too often in the history of religion, people have killed in the name of the God of life, waged war in the name of the God of peace, hated in the name of the God of love and practised cruelty in the name of the God of compassion. When this happens, God speaks, sometimes in a still, small voice almost inaudible beneath the clamour of those claiming to speak on his behalf. What he says at such times is: Not in My Name."
As we look around the world today we see nations against nations, peoples within one nation at war with each other committing the vilest acts that do nothing other than deny the concept of man being created in the image of G-d.
In the recent past and with an ever growing momentum, the new face of anti-Semitism seems to be anti-Israel. Under the guise of freedom of speech groups have banded together to give vent to their hatred of the “other”. Boycotting Israeli goods and technology is all the fashion. With no true understanding and with even less desire to understand the complexities of The Middle East people with only malice in their hearts for the Jew go about persuading others to follow their distorted example.
Persecution is nothing new to the Jew. Persecution of the non-likeminded is nothing new. Because of all that we claim to have learnt from the Holocaust let us keep our eyes open. It is happening again. Now it is the turn of the Christian groups to suffer at the hands of terrorist groups in the name of some imagined and contrived elitist form of religion. Before it is too late let us put an end to hatred and violence Nostra Aetate “In Our Time”. Dialogue that includes listening and hearing “The other”. Embrace difference and promote tolerance as we are doing tonight in this celebration. This celebration is indicative of how through the most difficult of times and through the most bitter experiences the G-d of mercy, justice, compassion and truth not only prevails but comes shining through. We are together and therefore stronger carrying the message together that this is the true face of G-d and He will triumph.
I salute Israel the country whose perseverance is a lesson to us all. I salute you the people of Northern Ireland who also know at first-hand what damage sectarianism can do but have a dialogue process that should be an example to many nations and I salute you who have gathered here this evening to show solidarity with these peaceful ideals to spread the word “Hear O Israel, The Lord our G-d, The Lord is One”
עושה שלום במרומיו הוא יעשה שלום עלינו
“He who makes peace in the firmaments He shall make peace over us”