A Leftist has a change of heart
I was last week at a meeting abroad, and found myself sitting at the same table as a Spanish colleague. He told me during the course of the dinner that there was something he wanted to talk to me about, something he needs to say.I remembered the first time I met him, 23 years ago, at another meeting. He said to me then, in the company of others over lunch, “How is that a Jew finds himself even in this research field?” I told him that it was true that there were more Jews in biomedical research than in other areas, and left it at that.After dinner last week, he came to me and we went out into the courtyard. He told me that he needed to apologize for something. I feigned having bad memory, but he led me through the event and I told him I remembered it, but had not given it much attention at the time.He said, “Ah, you are probably used to it. Let me tell you why I said that. I was a member of the Spanish Left, and that was why I said what I did, but I not anymore. But you did not deserve it. You people are the most talented, you contribute the most to science and to literature and to all fields. We have to remember that Jesus Christ, too, was a Jew. Israel is the only hope for the Middle East. Without Israel, the region is lost. How much did they pay Goldstone to lie in his report?”I told him I understood very well what he was saying, that I too was on the Left at one time but broke with it in part because of its attitude to Israel. An attitude that was all the more amazing considering the Kibbutz movement and the good, early ties between the European Socialists and Israel’s Labor Party. His explanation: “The Left lost the Soviet Union, and now they need something else to believe in.
They have found Islam. As for me, of my four grandparent’s names, three have Jewish roots.” This is a man who traveled and worked extensively throughout the Arab world.I told him he had a done a very brave thing to tell me that, and the discussion continued along those lines. He put his hand on his heart and said that it had been a great burden to him. He spoke about many of the issues we have talked about concerning Israel and Jews — he had clearly turned a corner and examined not only his heart but his view of the world.