Sigmund Freud once wrote that artists’ creations were imaginary gratification of unconscious wishes, just as dreams are. He would not have been puzzled by the disturbing dream in Nablus that troubled Rev. Giles Fraser, the 50 year old Church of England priest at St. Mary’s, Newington in South London.
We know from writers as diverse as W. B. Yeats and Delmore Schwartz that in dreams begin responsibilities and end in the shock of the recognition of reality. Unfortunately for many pro-Palestinian advocates dreams do not have that outcome.
For those who persist in illusions of fantasy there is a helpful tool: the comprehensive, 947-page Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed. 2013.
This work defines and classifies mental disorders in order to improve diagnoses, treatment, and research. It may prove of some value in understanding and correcting some of the pathological processes in the dreams, and in the mind, of some critics of the State of Israel.
Giles Fraser had a Jewish father (nee Friedburg) who was a British Wing Commander coming from a prosperous London Jewish family, and a Christian mother.
Fraser insists that Christianity is his “theology,” though, in an interview on January 15, 2009, he was aware that Christianity has been involved in false conversions and pogroms, and oppression with regard to Jews.
He is not a typical cleric of the Church of England, having resigned on October 27, 2011 from his post as Canon Chancellor of St. Paul’s Cathedral because of his active support of the “Occupy Protest” group of about 200 members wanting to enter the Cathedral.
Fraser is also a self-promoting weekly columnist for The Guardian in which on May 29, 2015, he wrote of his dream while preparing to attend the Palestinian Festival of Literature in Nablus. For Fraser the dream was a hallucination of his true political disposition.
One part of the dream was a cat endangering a mouse, and another was a group of people running away from the source of panic. The panic, of course, was the “grand apartheid” in Israel. The image seemed to be of a ruthless Israeli Goliath pursuing little unarmed Palestinians.
Fraser related the dream in Nablus to the biblical story in Genesis of Joseph dreaming of domination in the town of Shechem (now Nablus). Fraser sees the same domination today, one of Israeli settlers over Palestinians. He joins the chorus of other leftists who, with mock anguish, hold that this policy imperils the Israeli soul as much as it creates untold misery for ordinary Palestinians.
Fraser frequently talks of dreams, or scales falling from his eyes, enabling him to see reality. Thus, on May 25, 2015, he tweeted that while previously he had avoided using the word “apartheid” in describing the occupation of the West Bank, he had changed his mind because of Hebron.
Unfortunately for Fraser and other like-minded pro-Palestinian advocates, the situation in Hebron is a case of the very opposite point of view, of a non-occupied city. On January 17, 1997 the Hebron Agreement was signed between Israel and the PLO, then led by Yasser Arafat.
This called for the partial deployment of Israeli military forces from 80 percent of Hebron in accordance with a previous agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This was Oslo II signed on September 28, 1995, concerned with Palestinian interim self-government in a number of territories.
The decision on Hebron, some 20 miles south of Jerusalem, was that 80 percent would be under Palestinian control, and 20 percent under Israeli control. Palestinians, more than 120,000, occupy the larger area, and 30,000 in the smaller area. In the latter there are also 90 Jewish families and 300 Yeshiva students, and the settlement of Kiryat Arba.
What apparently did not emerge from Fraser’s dream, or from the normal Palestinian Narrative of Victimhood, is that Hebron is probably the oldest Jewish city in the world and is regarded as the second holiest city in Judaism, containing the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Jews lived there from time immemorial until 1929 when an Arab pogrom murdered 67 Jews and all others left. From 1949-67, Jordan occupied the city. Jews were forbidden to enter the city or to visit the sacred Tomb.
The Jewish quarter was razed, and Jewish cemeteries and synagogues were desecrated. After the Six Day War a Jewish community was reestablished in 1967, on the non-Israeli side of the so-called Green Line.
The ignorance and misleading statements, as well as the dreams, of Fraser and pro-Palestinians on Jewish history and Israeli actions remain astonishing.
It would be far better for the critics of Israel to remember that wishing on a false narrative never gets you far, and that it is time for them to make a new start.
First published in The Commentator.