Anti-Semitism affects Jews and non-Jews

Chillingly, it is in the headlines all too frequently. During the last week, the scourge that is anti-Semitism seems to have infected everything from the Labour Party to the Church of England.

Troubling times indeed.

Much has been written about Labour’s transparent problems in its relationship with Jewish people and, having just returned from a stormy, ill-tempered and largely unruly Labour Party conference earlier this week, there’ll be more from me on that later.

However, first it is important to reflect on the fairly incendiary words of the Archbishop of Canterbury on this subject when he rather piously declared anti-Semitism is “deeply entrenched” in the culture of the nation and Christians are partly to blame.

The Most Rev Justin Welby said it is “a shameful truth that, through it’s theological teachings, the Church, which should have offered an antidote, compounded the spread of this virus” that is the worrying growth in anti-Semitism.

That, for me, was as disturbing as it was puzzling. I have been uniquely honoured and privileged to have hosted a number of events and gatherings for a wide variety of Jewish causes and I fervently hope there is not a shred of anti-Semitism in my being. To be told differently by the extraordinarily bright and hugely engaging leader of my faith, a man I have been fortunate to have met and with whom I have been exceedingly blessed to celebrate mass, is at the very least unsettling.

Each and every minority in the land must be aware of, and alive to the dangers of what is called “dinner party racism”.

For many of you reading this, it will be as relevant to your lifestyle as it would be keeping a unicorn in your back garden.

Unfortunately, across much of the country, it is the unsaid and delicately couched discrimination that is all too often allowed to pass. A sly comment, a vile characterisation or a distasteful “joke” among those who wrongly assume some kind of superiority by dint of their colour or faith. It is as low as it gets but, in certain circles, all too prevalent.

Truthfully, I’m delighted to report it must be so far back in time for me I cannot recall the last time I was subjected to the veiled disrespect of Jewish people, but this is possibly likely due to the views heard regularly on my LBC radio breakfast show, my appearances on Sky News and my weekly column in the Sunday Express.

Anyone who knows the views expressed in any of those outlets should know one clear message: discrimination against anyone due to their faith, colour or class is utterly reprehensible and contrary to our accepted way of life.

For some commentators, this has been a defining week in the fate of the Labour Party. They talk about a lasting mandate for party leader Jeremy Corbyn and a desire to build unity. In truth, this is a party as united as the totemic “Eton mess” they so despise.

This is a leader who finds is difficult to condemn Palestinian terrorism and a party seemingly at odds with its views on tolerance.

The only way to stamp out something as insidious as anti-Semitism is to condemn it wholly and without reservation.

Only in that way will one of the longest running discriminations on the planet ever be tackled.

About the Author
Nick Ferrari is a TV & Radio presenter
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