At the turn of the century, Anti-Semitism was rampant in Europe, and in 1903, the Jews of Russia were offered the then British Protectorate of Uganda as a temporary safe haven.
They didn’t take it – they waited out for Israel.
But it’s interesting to imagine a bunch of assimilated Russian Jews trying to get along with some Buganda people. (Given the current state of Israel and Palestine, things wouldn’t look too good for the Ugandans.)
I wonder how the Jews would have made out under Amin and Obote – or if they would have at all.
There are Jews in Uganda – a small tribe in the East.
But most Ugandans know nothing about Jews.
Today in my office, they played Ask the Jew.“No, we don’t believe Jesus was the son of God.”
“The Jews don’t believe in Jesus?”
“Well, yeah, that he was around….”
“Do they believe in God?”
“Sort of. Depends who you ask. You’re supposed to struggle with the idea of God.”
“Jews hate Christians, don’t they?”
“No! Well, maybe some do. But some of everybody hates some of everybody else. But more Jews don’t than do. It’s just part of the mythology of Antisemitism.” I tried to tell my editor about how people used to say that the Jews ate Christian babies, but I guess if you’ve never heard that myth in a time when Jews were like the Golems they feared, then it just makes me sound a little cuckoo.
I’m afraid that the guy who sits across from me, who has a postcard of a Virgin Mary with a practically neon red Cross above it, might think I’m a little blasphemous.
It’s okay, they probably already thought I was cuckoo.