An award-winning Glasgow-based author has said he struggles with the idea that Jewish people are expected to support Israel "unquestionably". 

Dr Rodge Glass said he was only now coming to terms with his heritage because his discomfort over the 70-year conflict led him to "run furiously" from it.

The 45-year-old said his reaction to the atrocities in Gaza - on both sides - was similar to most peoples' and he felt both despair and a feeling of "complete powerlessness."

Dr Glass, who is senior lecturer in creative writing at Strathclyde University, spent a year living in an Israeli Kibbutz in 1996 through the synagogue he was part of growing up in Cheshire.

READ MORE: David Pratt: Gaza is every soldier's nightmare scenario or urban war

He said: "What happened immediately after for me was that once I learned more about Israel Palestine and the history of the conflict I really just ran away from it and I ran away to Scotland where I didn't know any Jewish people and fell in love with the people here.

"But I really was running from it because it wasn't something I felt like I could make sense of. 

The Herald: Dr Rodge Glass says the conflict made him question his Jewish identity Dr Rodge Glass says the conflict made him question his Jewish identity (Image: Wigtown Book Festival)

"I was very uncomfortable with so many elements of it which is why for many decades I hid from this. And of course you can't hide because Jewishness is something that some people can see.

"Even if I don't tell them, they can spot it in your look, it's a coded thing. I'm only now coming to terms with my heritage," said Dr Glass who is known for his biography of Scots writer and artist Alasdair Gray.

He said he had been in touch with a close friend, who lives in Jerusalem and is a Reform Rabbi, a more liberal strand of Judaism.

READ MORE: Tributes paid to Scot killed by Hamas as death toll rises 

"Immediately when the attacks happened he reached out to tell me that they were okay," said the writer.

"Kidnapping the vulnerable doesn't move anyone closer to peace. Neither does turning off water to or flattening whole communities of innocents. 

The Herald: Citizens carry the body of a young Palestinian manCitizens carry the body of a young Palestinian man (Image: Getty)

"No nation or religion is a team which must be supported, no matter what. Muslims and Jews can and do live together in peace and can do so in Israel-Palestine. But only if they recognise their common humanity.'

Comparing the situation to the Irish peace process he said a resolution had been achieved there "because of personalities on either side who were able to build unlikely relationships with each other rather than only speaking about their own grievances".

"That does feel quite absent in this debate," said the author.

He said it was undoubted that Jewish people in the UK would experience a rise in anti-Semitic abuse. 

"It is because people think of Judaism and Israel as the same thing," he said. "There isn't the same relationship in any other religion on planet Earth.

The Herald: People attending a vigil in London for victims of attacks by Hamas Picture: PAPeople attending a vigil in London for victims of attacks by Hamas Picture: PA (Image: PA)

"What's particular is that Israel is the only Jewish state that was set up to protect the Jews [but]  in a way that displaced Palestinians and it's important to recognise that.

"The children of Gaza or children of Tel Aviv did not make those decisions and they deserve citizenship rights for the place in which they live."

READ MORE: Concerns over antisemitism rise as reaction to Israel Gaza war

The writer was named winner of the Anne Brown Essay Prize for Scotland at this year's Wigtown Book Festival for his essay, On the Covenant, which explores his relationship with his Jewish family and the idea of what belonging and the ties of blood truly mean.  
He said: "It's about trying to come to terms with being Jewish haven't run from it for decades.

"Part of the reason for that was a discomfort with the conflict in Israel and Palestine and many people will conflate Judaism with Israel [and] feel that you are responsible somehow for a country that is on the other side of the world.

"It's so incredibly common that the two are conflated. Jewish people are expected to be a supporter of Israel unquestionably.

"What's so awful about what's utterly dominating the news is the lack of nuance to the conversation.

"[It's about] humanising and having understanding for people on the other side of the conflict."