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    Jews & world conflict – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Cambridge University Press in Australia has caused a furore* with a high school textbook on religion that says Jews cause all the conflicts in the world. Is there an element of truth to this?

    A. Dear Cambridge University Press:

    Yes, Jews cause all the conflicts. I have just looked at my atlas and marked in red all the places where there are conflicts of one kind or another. I ended up with huge red swathes everywhere. There are dozens of conflicts and I want to say thank you for your vote of confidence in us for causing them all. The fact that in most such cases there are no – or hardly any – Jews living there is admittedly a difficulty, but I guess it’s a tribute to Jewish ingenuity that we can orchestrate so much by remote control.

    It is also a compliment to us that the longstanding conflicts in the Middle East are also viewed as the responsibility of the Jews. No-one needs to know any history, economics or politics to blame the Jews because everything is always very easy and simplistic and there are never any complexities. The world is lucky to have a few Jews around – albeit a tiny percentage of the global population – without whom people would have to find another ready-made scapegoat.

    Thank you too for delving into rabbinic literature to find a statement that our ancestor Abraham was on one side and the world was on the other. Naturally the rabbis meant something else (they probably always do) and had in mind that Jews were told by God to stand for justice, mercy and peace regardless of what the others said.

    You would obviously much prefer that we didn’t mention God or else someone would start saying, “God causes all the conflicts”, and all the non-Jewish religions would then come shouting at you. I know you’d rather upset the Jewish people than the Muslims and Christians. There are more of them after all. The funny thing is that somehow or other they also believe in Jewish ethics, but one shouldn’t whisper that too loud.

    Yours faithfully,
    Raymond Apple

    * This Ask the Rabbi originally appeared in 2009.

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