An Open Letter to Benjamin Netanyahu

Dear Benjamin,

I hope you don't mind me calling you that, but it sounds less formal than Mr Netanyahu. I just wish you had tuned into the BBC yesterday evening, to hear the inspirational of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by one of your inspired and enlightened citizens, Daniel Barenboim, and made up of Israeli, Palestinian and other Arab musicians.

Actually, with their beautiful playing of Ravel and Bizet (4 encores from the enthusiastic promenaders), they sounded as good as your own Israel Philharmonic with less of their arrogance. Actually we couldn't get the Israel Philharmonic, since the concert would be disrupted by protesters. But there was no distinction between Jew and Arab, Israeli or Palestinian, just a shared love of music. "Our ethic “, says Barenboim "is the belief that Israelis and Palestinians are absolutely equal. This orchestra sprang out of my belief that there can never be a military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Gaza. Here we have two nations who are absolutely convinced they have equal rights on the same little patch of earth, preferably without the other. There are many aspects of this conflict that are asymmetrical, not least the fact that Israel has been an occupying power for 47 years! But in this respect, they are exactly symmetrical, and each side needs to accept the impossibility of their dreams". Words of wisdom, don’t you think, Benjamin, spoken by one of your most distinguished citizens. Oh, and by the way, have you forgotten how to smile? Your stern, unsmiling appearance makes you look like a disgruntled old man.

Oh, don’t worry, my company, Pax Travel will still be bringing pilgrims to Israel. Their presence will benefit both Israelis and Palestinians. I have several Israeli good friends, and several Palestinian good friends. They have all implored us not to cancel, but to come to the Holy Land, so that they will be able to continue to earn a living from the tourist and guide services that both communities provide.

Oh, one last thing, Benjamin. The Son of God was a Jew, but your descendants failed to notice that, and did to him what you are now doing to innocent people in Gaza. That's not exactly rocket science to appreciate, is it?

Best wishes,

Philip Dean

Managing Dircector,

Pax Travel

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