Having been brought up with a thoroughly Jewish background, learning Aramaic in junior school and then Talmud in senior school, my evolution has been away from religion but increasingly more political in terms of Israel specifically and Jews in general. My academic training is in medicine, endocrinology and mostly endocrine oncology, and this has involved my travels to many parts of the world, with extensive visits to the Middle East including Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Iran, in addition to Israel. I have seen a major move towards tolerance and understanding towards Israel in many of these countries, including Iran, which is set into sharp focus by the violence of the protests against Jews and their surrogate Israel by Islamist groups, and a general move of the ‘left-wing’ towards a virulently anti-Israel anti-Zionist bias. I see the SPME as a broad-based movement to allow dialogue between all peace-seeking parties in the Middle East, aiding dialogue and partnership, and confronting the attempted demonisation of Israel wherever it appears. This is unfortunately the case on many British university campuses, where again an unholy partnership of radical Islamic elements and the extreme left is doing all it can to stifle peaceful debate and prevent rational discussions for brokering a Middle East peace. Sometimes these issues must be confronted to prevent them becoming the ‘normative ‘ attitude in the country, sometimes they should be ignored to prevent unhelpful publicity, but awareness on campus is always necessary.
Ashley Grossman FMedSci
Professor of Neuroendocrinology, Barts and the London School of Medicine
Co-Chairman, SPME (UK)