Gary Sinyor
Film and TV Writer/Director

What’s the gripe with UK Jews?

Jews argue with each other.  It’s well known. Two Jews, Three Synagogues.

But at the moment, in the public eye, we seem not to. Our representatives in the UK at least are on the same page. Our MP’s, our authors, actors, intellectuals have been more or less towing the same line for years.  Our celebrities are in agreement.

That’s not because there aren’t other views. But breaking ranks, against the combined forces of the Jewish Press, Jewish Charitable Organisations, even many Rabbis, is a tough call. Possibly an unwelcome call.

Still…

UK Jews are very lucky. We live in a country of tolerance. We live in a country where Christianity is represented by the Church of England. We live in times where a Pope has apologised for crimes committed in the name of the Catholic Church against Jews. We worship freely. We can eat Kosher. We can carry out our baby boy circumcisions with freedom.  We can serve at the highest levels of government, right up to Prime Minister.

We can educate our children in Jewish schools or not. We get grants from the Government to protect our schools and events from attacks, whether those are physical or online.

We number less than 300,000 in a country of over 60 million and yet our cause has been taken up by politicians from across the divide. The Royals actively support our community and attend Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Compared to any other time in our history, we’ve never had it so good.

Compared to any other country, certainly in Europe, we’ve never had it so good. Over two millennia, we have been actively persecuted, singled out, discriminated against in law, and far too many times been kicked out of the country after country — or plain butchered.

What is our gripe with this country? Are we stopped and searched? Are we so uncared for that we live in appalling buildings where an electrical fault can wipe us out in a fiery inferno? Are we so desperate to feed our children that we rely on food banks? As Jews, as British citizens, should we not address those who are most in need of help? Now.

What was so threatening to the Jews of Britain that the Chief Rabbi could declare before the last election that the very soul of the UK was at risk?

If Jeremy Corbyn had been elected, do we really think that the British would have allowed active discrimination against us? What area of the UK can you visit and feel that there is a groundswell of support for singling out Jews.  The North, the South? Cornwall? Is it the Working Class who hates us or the Middle Class or the Upper Class?

Perhaps we should seek out Jew-haters in the Civil Service, in our Churches or Mosques or Hindi temples.

Or is it in our football grounds where intoxicated men get caught up in tribal insults before going home to a hot cup of Bovril.

The roots of all this debate lie in two places.  One is talked of a lot. The idea that Jews are rich and powerful. But the other never gets a look in.

Our own Rabbis, our own Media, our own celebrities and yes the non-Jewish media, the non-Jewish intelligentsia are all part of unspoken discrimination. Rather than confronting the issue head-on, as they do with the idea of powerful Jews, it never raises its head.

I won’t mention the word Israel but let’s talk about a Jewish State. A Jewish State that is theoretically not modern-day Israel. Let’s just use the words Jewish State.  A State that apparently not so many British Jews associate with according to an interview on Newsnight this week. Well, I guess 9 in 10 is not so many. How on earth was David Baddiel allowed to get away with this statement? He so wants to believe it but it’s not true. It’s a positively dangerous factual untruth. Borderline antisemitic.

If you argue against the need for a Jewish state then we are at odds. It is a Jewish State, any Jewish State, anywhere in the world, that allows for us not to be afraid of persecution. A Jewish State is a refuge for Jews in extremis.

“But” cry the atheists, “we don’t believe in religion. There should be no need for a Jewish State! Be rid of all religion and we will all be better off!”

Oh yes. Let’s do that Miriam and David and Lord knows who else. Tell you what though. Start by getting rid of Christianity and Islam. Speak out against those religions whose texts have been used to slaughter us  – or in nicer times, just keep us held back. From politics or owning property, or being doctors.

Atheism is the thing that unites Jewish enemies. It is what puts Corbyn in the same theological boat as the enemies of Corbyn. Both lack courage. Both lack insight.

In practice, it is a religion that has persecuted Jews. It is Christianity, pre-Enlightenment Christianity that didn’t just call for us to be killed but actually killed us. Believers in Christ killed us. They were taught to look down on us. For centuries. And you don’t resolve that overnight. Or over decades. If Easter is still the time when the Jews killed Christ, billons every year hear that message. Which is more celebrated? The New Testament or the Pope’s apology?

I fear these delusional atheists, which is why it is time to speak up. They don’t understand religion. They don’t study the texts. They don’t go to mosques or churches or synagogues. They sit comfortably on high, well-meaning but blind.

I fear all atheists including Jewish ones. I fear any Jew who doesn’t accept the need for a Jewish State. They have not learned the lessons of their own people. You may not stop persecution by having a way out, but you don’t stop the slaughter. Would the Holocaust have happened if there had been a Jewish State of refuge in the 1930s?

Many only look back to the tragedy of the Holocaust, and not beyond to the horrors of religious persecution that pre-dated it. These horrors were not caught on film so we cannot be shown time and again our relatives being burnt at the stake or thrust through with a Crusader’s sword.

I fear Jews who say Never Again when we see it happening again, not with Jews but with Muslims persecuted by Christians and Christians persecuted by Muslims. These people if they do not make the connection to a fundamental need for a place of refuge are the scary ones. If they don’t think religion plays a part in the slaughter of innocents, I fear them.

Never Again say our leaders, but not a word about how to avoid it. It’d just be nice for it not to happen again. If we say it often enough or loud enough, surely it won’t happen again.

Well, it won’t happen again here because as long as the Church of England has been around, it hasn’t happened here. It happened…there.

So yes, I fear for Jews. But not in the UK.

I fear for the Jews in France, Germany and Hungary and Spain. In countries where the tolerance of the Church of England hasn’t taken hold. In countries where the Right Wing factions are tied in with their religion.

I fear the 100 million Evangelists who dominate religion in the USA and think I’m going to hell for being Jewish.

But no, I do not fear for the Jews of the UK. Because this country has inbred tolerance. Yes, tolerance. Tolerance will do me quite nicely. Are there antisemites out there? Yes. There are people in our country who are biased against Jews — and Muslims and Blacks and Gays. And for now, I, personally, will settle for being allowed to live without fear. That will do me and I suspect many others.

Do I think there will ever be laws in this country that single out Jews? No. But you know what? If I’m wrong,  if there are, I have a place of refuge. A Jewish State. That State, we all know, is Israel.

9 out of 10. Time to get that message across.

About the Author
Gary Sinyor is a multi award-winning writer director and producer of Films and TV based in the UK.
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