Even Israelis think I'm crazy
The fact that I support Israel despite not being Jewish seems to prompt a certain amount of curiosity and even suspicion. Particularly as I am not a Christian Zionist, nor an Islamophobe. Rather, I love Israel because… I love Israel. It might not be a common position but as far as I am concerned it should be. It is a sad indictment that a love of Israel is what confuses people when the real puzzle is surely hatred of Israel.
Nevertheless, the speculation is constant . One commenter shows up on my blog every few weeks to ask me: "So, how much are they paying you?" He also sometimes asks who it is that is paying me: "The Americans or the Jews?" The truth is of course I am not being paid a penny, shekel or a cent, for my Israel advocacy. It is done for love. But that's not exciting enough for some, and this anonymous guy still shows up (normally around pub closing-time I cannot help but notice) to broadcast his latest fiscal fancies.
There are other conspiracy theorists. A Christian chap from Nigeria has been warning me for years that a gang of rabbis is going to "forcibly convert" me. Sounds fun, but I'm still waiting. Despite Judaism not being a proselytising religion - unlike Christianity - this particular Christian promises he can "save me" from the Jews. Back in the real world, just the other week, a wonderful rabbi I was having tea with looked at me with a concerned expression on his face and asked: "I hope you're not hoping to convert?"
When I was invited to give a talk to a Jewish organisation about my love of and advocacy for Israel, one citizen of that country took me aside afterwards, looked deep into my eyes and said: "There is something I just have to ask you: what the heck does your mother think about all this?" Another Israeli was also curious about my mother: "How come you don't hate us like sensible people? Did your mum drop you on your head as a baby?"
I’m asked who pays me - the Americans or the Jews
I don't remember my mother ever dropping me, and as to what she "thinks about all this", well, when I recently began experimenting with facial hair, she announced that I suddenly "looked very Jewish".
You can see from the photo accompanying these words that, as far as there is any sort of "Jewish look" at all, I do not have it - however much or little fuzz I am sporting. Bless her, though, when I played an April Fool on my blog declaring that I had "converted to Judaism", she read the post, took it at face value and left a proud, congratulatory voicemail on my phone. When I phoned back to tell her it had been a joke, she did her best to laugh it off but I could hear a faint note of disappointment in her voice. Were any of these "forcible" rabbis to appear in real life, I don't think my mother would stand in their way.
Back to the hostile comments left on my blog, I find that the best way to respond is with a little creative imagination. Someone once left the comment under one of my posts: "I don't like Jews. Free Palestine!" To which I replied: "I don't like Jews-free Palestine either. It's so much better with Jews there." And that was the last I heard of him.
I wonder if his mum dropped him on his head as a baby?
Chas Newkey-Burden is an author of bestselling books and a radio pundit. He blogs in defence of Israel at OyVaGoy.com and is on the advisory boards of StandWithUs UK and Honest Reporting