Extremely old-fashioned

Campaign Against Antisemitism rally against antisemitism (Jewish News)
Campaign Against Antisemitism rally against antisemitism (Jewish News)

The Campaign Against Antisemitism, together with Kings College, London,  has conducted a study in which the respondents have considered whether they agree with six antisemitic tropes. 88% have not not agreed with even four of them. 89% do not believe the Jews have too much power in the media. 91% do not believe that Jews talk about the Holocaust as a way of progressing their political agenda. 84% do not believe the Israelis control the British media and 55% do not believe even one of the tropes. The report concludes that antisemitism is on the decline.

Of course, that isn’t the way the report is presented. The emphasis, as you’d expect, is on the tiny proportion who believe the tropes. There are, however, apparently people whose views are far more dangerous.

For example, what the government considers totally unacceptable is antagonism towards the badger. In case you haven’t studied the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 – there really is one – you can’t damage a badger sett. You can’t obstruct access to it, let your dog interfere, with it, or even disturb a badger. If you do, you are committing an offence. It seems unlikely that you can find even 5% of the population who are dead set against the badger, but if you are among that number, you have been warned.

Alright, you now know you can’t be unpleasant to badgers, but it’s no use turning your venom on foxes instead. You are not allowed – it’s clearly laid down – to “poison, asphyxiate, maim, stab, impale, drown, club or commit most forms of snaring on foxes.” You can go to jail for six months if you do any of these or you may be fined £5,000 instead. Admittedly I have never met anybody intent on impaling a fox, but our job at Jewish News is to warn you when you are likely to break the law.

Some laws do get forgotten. The Scottish Law Lords were somewhat abashed to discover that Hanging, Drawing and Quartering were still part of Scottish legislation after the Second World War. Hurrying to abolish a distinctly barbaric penalty, the Scottish Law Lords blamed the English for putting it on the list of methods of execution in the first place.

Don’t think it stops there. You can’t die in the House of Commons and you can’t flag down a taxi if you have the plague; pandemic apparently yes, but plague no. If you’re feeling unhappy about the pandemic, don’t go to Milan where, legally, you  have to smile at all times except at a funeral or on a hospital visit.

You’ll be relieved to know that you can name your pig Napoleon, but not in France. If you want to know the time, try to avoid Madrid between 3.29 and 4.47 when its illegal to ask. I wonder how Kings College will identify people who don’t know the time in the afternoon.

The point I’m making, of course, is that the world is full of nutters and a considerable number of them are in government. Most of the time they do little harm, though I must warn you not to carry a bow and arrow within the ancient city walls of York, because it’s legal to murder you if you do. Just leave your bow and arrow at home.  For those of you who attend German football matches, you need reminding that it’s illegal to mention the result of the World Cup in 1966. Back in Britain you can talk about it all you like in the pub, but it’s illegal to get drunk; really!

So what are we going to do about antisemites? We’ve got an accepted definition now and, basically, it needs to be pointed out that antisemitism is extremely old fashioned and antisemites are figures of fun.

There will be antisemitic incidents. There are also anti-Muslim incidents and anti-everything else. One of the most pacific religions are the Jains; they don’t even kill insects. There are anti-Jain incidents as well, though.

There is one law which is allowed to be broken and nobody seems to be doing anything about it, even though we are almost all in favour of it. That is the law forbidding graffiti. My beautiful city is being defaced, mutilated, blemished and impaired. There is an unlimited fine for doing so under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 but the police are apparently too busy stopping people impaling foxes. Six months and a £5,000 fine is the answer; perhaps Kings College will confirm this.

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