A few weeks ago there was a horrific attack in a park in Manchester of orthodox Jews by so-called Neo Nazis. About six months ago there was an attack of vandalism where I live with Nazi graffiti daubed on the wall next to a Jewish solicitor and last week Jewish gravestones were turned over in a Manchester cemetery.
These are just a few incidences of antisemitism that has occurred in the UK in the past year.
And my question is ..where was our Jewish spokesperson?
These cases were highlighted in the press and on the news media but where was our voice leading the way encouraging and reassuring our Jewish community?
Where was the voice pacifying those that were worried and explaining to those how antisemitism attacks are possibly rare.
Where were our leading community figures on the TV news, on the radio, in the press making sure our small community had all the information possible to protect themselves if incidences occurred again?
The answer is ..nowhere.
When the three teenagers were kidnapped a few weeks ago in Israel and with every incident of hate we had strong voices leading the way from Israeli spokespeople from all corners, and from all sides of the media condemning this vicious act.
When a tragedy occurs within the Jewish community in the UK we don’t hear anything from any leading spokesperson that is supposed to unify and bring together our community. It feels like our representatives are all over the place separated into different organisations with different funding and different leadership.
Instead we have a mishmash of small localised quiet condemnation from maybe the Chief Rabbi, or a small little paragraph maybe in the Jewish press, or if you’re very lucky maybe a line or two from organisations that monitor physical assault on Jewish people.
And this is where we have a huge problem.
This is why there is a complacency mentality when antisemitism occurs and probably why our Jewish youth in this country knows nothing about who represents us. Indeed ask anyone the question who heads the current “Board of deputies” I suspect no one could .
However as soon as an event is organised such as a simcha or a dinner fundraiser, you can bet that spokespeople will be coming out of hiding to make sure you buy their tickets with huge full page adverts.
We do complain that nothing in the media is said when an occurrence happens in Israel or in our community, but maybe it is down to our “unelected” representatives that they should be putting forward somebody, at least one person to speak on behalf of the 250,000+ Jewish people in this country. A clear voice that brings our community together.
I can think of many Jewish mothers who would like to take this position on and would probably make a better job of what is going on at the moment.