I remember, when I was a child, my parents telling me an old Jewish folk tale, about a Jew who was constantly threatened and pressured by his local priest to convert to Catholicism. Eventually, the Jew gave in to the threats and converted. The priest, who did not entirely believe in his new parishioner’s change of heart, decided to pay him a surprise visit, to make sure the Jew wasn’t backsliding into Jewish ways. He chose a Friday for his visit, certain that if the Jew was pulling the wool over his eyes, the Eve of the Jewish Sabbath would be the best time to catch him in the act of adhering to Jewish practices.
Sure enough, when he arrived at the Jew’s house, he found the new convert and his family sitting down to the traditional Sabbath meal, the table laden with delicacies – including (oh, horror of horrors!), a succulent platter of meat.
“What is this abomination?” the priest thundered. “This is meat you are eating! Do you not know that today is Friday? A true Catholic would be eating fish! Only a Jew would eat meat on a Friday!”
“Indeed, no!” replied the Jew. “This is not meat. It is fish!”
“What nonsense is this?” snarled the priest. “Do you take me for a fool? I have eyes in my head! That is meat – no doubt about it!”
“No, no, sir. It is fish!” the Jew insisted.
“Fish? How can you stand there before me and tell me that is fish?” snapped the priest.
“Very easily,” the Jew replied. “Last week, you splashed a few drops of holy water over me and said: Now you are a Catholic. I realised that this holy water of yours can work miracles. So this afternoon, I splashed a few drops of holy water over the meat my wife brought back from the market and said to the meat: Now you are a fish.”
Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly said to the “Palestinians” (who are not, and who never have been, a people): You are now a nation state, your borders are the 1967 borders and your capital is Jerusalem.
And the wise shall understand. (Daniel 12, v.10)