Don’t panic

Swastika near Belsize Square. Credit: the Board of Deputies
Swastika near Belsize Square. Credit: the Board of Deputies

There are about 280,000 Jews in this country and we are well organised by the Community Security Trust to protect our buildings and to fight antisemitism. They are an admirable organisation and the success of their efforts can be seen in their recent report on antisemitic incidents in 2021. All the figures quoted below are theirs.

278,000 Jews did not report any antisemitic incidents in 2021. Of the 2,255 incidents which were reported, exactly three could be classified as extremely violent. So 277,997 Jews did not suffer extremely violent assaults.

Of the 2,255 incidents, no less than 1,844 were classified as abusive behaviour; that’s 83% of the total. Manchester or Glasgow supporters at a derby match would probably consider they had treated the supporters of the other team with exemplary courtesy if they could only manage 1,844 abusive incidents in the one afternoon.

Those who dislike us are infinitesimal compared to just under half the Scots who voted to leave the United Kingdom.

When it comes to the education sector, there were 128. Incidents in 2021. That’s less than half an incident per institution in the whole year. Hardly a disastrous situation.

We are also fortunate that the antisemites have a pathetic understanding of public relations. If you set out to gather supporters for your cause what emblem would you choose for your organisation? You would be better choosing someone beating an old lady in a wheelchair than presenting yourself as supporters of the Nazis and the swastika. Not that many of the antisemites can even draw a swastika accurately.

If any political philosophy is detested by we Brits it is fascism. Nearly a century has passed since Hitler came on the scene, but there are millions of British families who lost a loved one in the Second World War. They were killed by a fascist regime and anybody who wants Hitler back is going to be as popular as bubonic plague.

If you deliberately set out to be unpopular, you could also add to your antisemitism, attacks on gays and lesbians, gypsies and immigrants.

Wherever you look in the corridors of power, there is universal dislike of racism. The Cabinet condemns it, the Labour party abhors it, the Liberals are all against it. The condemnation is practically universal. In a country of 67 million people, there are just over 2,000 antisemitic incidents. That’s 0.0003%.

If it was as much as 0.1% you’d need 670,000 incidents and all you’ve got is 2,000. You’ll definitely get more support for protecting the badger.

Antisemitism increases when fighting breaks out between Israel and Gaza. There are casualties on both side and you have to feel sympathy for all the bereaved families in the conflict. The cause of the bereavement is naturally of less importance than the pain of the loss.

The Community Security Trust are absolutely fair. They emphasise the support they get from the government and the police. There are nutters among the general public and there will always be. I’m more upset by the 1,000 Jews who died of covid.

About the Author
Derek is an author & former editor of the Jewish Year Book
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