Passover should be a joyous time : i have wonderful memories as a boy of long exciting nights with all my extended family, celebrating something i little understood at the time: our freedom.
In the time of my childhood i was aware that layered on top of the story of the exodus from Egypt, was the liberation of Jewish people from the terror of industrial slaughter in the camps of the second world war. How did i know this? No one said to me, that i can recall: ‘ so this night is a celebration of our liberty from the camps too’.
But plenty of times people said ‘count yourself lucky you were born today; just think we could have been in the camps’ . In this way my childhood was shrouded by a cloak of terror that we all wore, no matter our age, or where we were, when the awfulness took place; and then we somehow shrugged it away and instead dressed ourselves in the dinner jacket of entitlement.
So, as i got older, I began to realise Passover was also somehow a celebration of Israel – ‘our’ guardian against this ever happening again. And as i got older still, i began to see how this essentially militaristic view of how we can guard against a repeat of the madness and terror and killing, how this in turn was a dreadful withholding of liberty from, and a colonisation of, of a whole people – the Palestinians.
And now it feels like nothing more than an abomination. A hyopcrisy. A dreadful colonisation. A planned programme of subjugation. A disgrace.
In these past two weeks of lockdown we have had just a little taste of the confinement and restriction of movement that confronts Palestinian people every day. An ironic twist.
So, when i celebrate my freedom this week i will also be shouting out for the freedom of Palestine and Palestinians. And when we end our celebration with a wish that please god we should do this again in Jerusalem next year, it is not in the now-colonised, physical capital of Palestine that i hope to be, but in a spiritual place with brothers and sisters from everywhere celebrating our freedoms together.
Freedom for Palestine, Justice for Palestinians, Return for the refugees.