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'Awful Things Happening In Israel Nothing To Do With British Jews'

2024-02-19 (298)

Antisemitism has reached record levels in the UK, with over 4,000 incidents recorded in 2023, according to the Community Security Trust, a Jewish charity.

The report highlights a significant increase in anti-Semitic incidents since the October 7th Hamas attacks. Jewish individuals and communities are experiencing online abuse, vilification on university campuses, and even physical assaults.

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, the director of Maidenhead Synagogue, emphasizes the distressing nature of the anti-Semitic incidents. He mentions instances of abuse online, vilification of Jewish students on university campuses, and even a recent incident at a theatre in London where someone was hounded out for not standing up for the Palestinian flag.

Rabbi Romain asserts that blaming British Jews for events in Israel is as illogical as blaming someone with blue eyes in England for a crime committed in Kansas City. He highlights the need for unity and peaceful coexistence among different faiths in the UK.

Video Transcription:

anti-semitic hate has reached record

levels according to a Jewish charity

more than 4,000 anti-semitic incidents

were recorded in the UK in 2023 this

according to the community security

trust this is a report we're going to

speak to the person that wrote that

later they say this has just absolutely

magnified since those October the 7th

Hamas attacks well joining us now for

more is Rabbi Dr Jonathan raain who's

the director of M synagog sorry not your

fault guys this is our guest on the last

so that's that's wrong that's sorry well

it he is here he is here he's down the

line that's okay confusing and also and

also D Babu a former met police chief

superintendent is here Jonathan can we

start with with you just to explain to

us this report Jeremy's just laid it out

there says there's been a significant

increase um since the 7th of October um

what can you tell

us uh well it's deeply upsetting um and

it's uh on all sorts of levels and we've

seen it um uh certainly online

with a lot of abuse we've seen it on

University campuses with students Jewish

students um being vilified we've seen it

the other day in theater the Soho

theater in London uh with somebody who

didn't want to stand up for the

Palestinian flag, not only being booed but

handed out of the theater uh and this is

really quite extraordinary um and and

and just so Un British and so unfair uh and

it's really a direct result of what's

happening in Israel um and yes of course

awful things happening Israel and

they're suffering on both sides what

that's got to do with British Jews

absolutely nothing it's like you know if

if the um whoever killed the people in

Kansas city was blue-eyed blaming

someone blue-eyed here in England well

it's as dared and as ridiculous as that

but unfortunately it is related because

what happens in Israel or uh the Middle

East is is often uh seen the British

Jews are somehow responsible uh we're

not British citizens you know it seems

almost uh ridiculous for me to have to

explain that British Jews are not

responsible what happens in in Israel

and yet British Jews are are often seen

as responsible um I have to say of

course this is not Universal these

incidents are awful uh but there's also

a lot of very good work and relations

going on and in fact immediately after

October the 7th when the Hamas attacks

took place um I got together with the

local Vicor local Imam and we set a

prayer for peace it didn't change the

world but it gave a very clear signal to

our own congregations here in the UK

that whatever is happening over in the

Middle East we are not going to import

here and it also emphasize that what's

going on in the Middle East is a

political problem it's not a religious

problem and therefore there is

absolutely no reason why Jews Muslims

Christians Hindus everybody else cannot

go get on uh together here as well can

you tell us that's sort of The Wider

political context that is then having

very real impacts on people in Britain

we're seeing reports of violent

anti-Semitic assaults um damage and

desecration of Jewish property I mean

what have you seen people that you

know um well all of the above everything

you said unfortunately is true um I

personally and curiously enough haven't

seen it on an everyday basis because the

where I live in Maiden head has actually

been an oasis of um of calm and that's

not an accent it's because of the really

good Interfaith relations we've

established in the last 30 40 years but

that's not the story elsewhere in

Britain and certainly there are places

in London in Manchester where it's

really very upsetting where Jewish

children particularly are frightened to

go to school if they go to a Jewish Day

School because they're going to be um

shouted at or bullied on the bus or

because there's people outside the

schools um holding placards or Screaming

abuse again people taking out on Jewish

children in Britain uh for what's

happening over uh the other side of the

mediteran can I cut to the chase really

glad to have you on um I I asked a

question last hour and I'd love to ask

it of you and I will say again cu no

doubt certain people will go that's not

the right thing to say I think any form

of racism is abhorent I understand what

you're saying about what's happening in

terms of The Wider conflict and nobody

wants to see what's happening in in uh

Gaza right now we are talking about

anti-semitic crime on the streets of the

United Kingdom amongst and for and

against Jewish people what I don't

understand my friend is this why is

there not the level of abhorrence about


sentiment as there is against anti- well

racism against other races colors and

Creeds I've never understood that maybe

I'm missing the point but why are Jews

an easier Target why are they not looked

upon in the same way or those sorts of

crimes or hatred or whatever that's what

I've never got can you try and explain

that to me and help me out uh well

unfortunately your spot on and it is

inex inexplicable because it's totally

illogical I mean you are right

anti-Semitism is a form of racism in

fact it is racism it happens to be

racism against people of Faith rather

than people of color um uh and it is you

know anybody who would say I'm Against

Racism uh should not be anti-semitic

because the two are absolutely the same

unfortunately in the world we live in

somehow it's okay uh to be totally PC

about gender um race color whatever but

also you can be anti-semitic it's it's

wrong it's ridiculous it shouldn't

happen and and the point you make

anti-Semitism is racism is just as

abhorrent and should not be allowed um

and yet somehow it seems to slip through

the net um and and Je seem to be a

Target in a way that um anybody else uh

would would would not would it would it

be called out as totally wrong it's a

mystery to us frankly and to the victims

of of it we really don't understand why

and why people who are otherwise very

liberal very woke um very PC it happens

and they find themselves they're very

blinker I don't see any of the PC World

who quite rightly and I'll say this I

don't see any of the people who are

quite rightly underlined saying that the

humanitarian crisis in Gaza is appalling

what's happening out there I don't see

any of those people jumping up and down

saying what's happening to British Jews

in this country is wrong that's just a

personal opinion we have it but I want

to ask you one further question if I can

before we bring D in there is a

condemnation an increasing condemnation

across the world from from America from

Cameron this morning we hear Australia

New Zealand and other countries saying

netu this is this is appalling there's a

a million displaced Palestinians in Gaza

they've gone South now you're going to

bomb there can you give me your take on

this anti-Semitism one side I accept

that what's your view on what's going on

out there Jonathan well you're quite

right to say they are one side and the

other side they are totally unrelated

and there are a lot of Jews who are also

equally appalled by what's happening in

Gaza I mean Palestinian suffering is

human suffering is equally unacceptable

and and it's not just me there are other

rabbis other Jews in fact Israelis

themselves and remember netanyahu's

government was fiercely opposed by 50%

of the Israeli electorate when he at the

time um Israel is not a United uh Nation

when they United against Hamas United

against what happened against on October

the 7th but there are a lot of Jews a

lot of Israelis who are really very very

upset about what's happening in Gaza we

don't think it's right we don't think

it's a long-term solution and we want to

find a more diplomatic Way Forward

there's no doubt about that um and but

and here's the important point it's

quite legitimate to be against the

policies of the Israeli government be

against um what Netanyahu is doing and

yet yet um you can still support the

state of Israel support Jewish people

and certainly not be anti-semitic or or

attack Jews here in Britain thank you of

course listening to that is D Babu

former met Chief superintendent D um why

is it that we have an incident like on

the 7th of October and then particularly

for the Jewish Community they are then

more at risk of things like damage to

their property violent assaults yeah I

it'san shocking and and I think there's

not a single word I would disagree with

what John uh Dr Jonathan has said said

yeah uh I think we need we need to very

very be very very clear we don't need to

conflate being Jewish with the Israel

State uh and I think lots of people will

be concerned about what Israel are doing

in Gaza but that's very very different

from treating somebody who's Jewish and

holding them responsible so I think we

need to be very very clear and

anti-Semitism is racism you know we

should be very very clear why do you

think D and and I'm really glad you said

that and it's one of those subjects we

were talking about it yesterday w't we

Ros you well we can't talk about that

why do you think that anti-Semitism

which you accept is R jism Jonathan does

all of us do is not I don't know the

Right Way D to put this is not on the

same level does not upset those who

apparently get upset quite rightly by

those things for all the people who

absolutely understand that racism is

wrong why do the PC bade seemingly not

think that anti-Semitism is equally

abhorent I don't get it I mean I don't

know the reason but I think what happens

is People conflate Israel yeah

with Judaism and I think that i' I've

Got Friends uh who who had children in

Israel who were very very worried about

what was happening on October the 7th

they didn't know couldn't get hold of

their children so and extremely worried

um so I think we need to understand that

there are many many Jewish people who

are equally concerned as as Muslim

people as Christian people about what's

happening in Gaza uh what what we do

have is almost without exception in fact

there are no exceptions whenever there's

a a conflict in the Middle East we have

a rise in anti-Semitism actually we also

have a rise in anti-muslim crime as well

so so what we need to be doing is ensure

that people understand there is a clear

distinction between Israel and The Wider

Jewish community and The Wider Jewish

Community some will support Israel many

people won't many of my my friends won't

support them you said we need to I think

we know there's a clear distinction how

do you reassure the Jewish Community

from a policing perspective which is

obviously why you're here and that they

will be looked after and and not feel

scared things like going to school or

you know not getting abused on the on

the bus we've heard school children

having an awful situation or not having

their businesses you know graffitied or

having thrown paint all over them um

you're dealing with the consequences but

how do we deal with the cause well I

think what's happened is that there's

been across the whole of the country and

I think this is where the the government

have stepped forward in terms of Jewish

buildings so synagogues uh Jewish

schools they are working with local

authorities and uh other partners to

ensure that there are additional uh

patrols to to protect those children so

there's a lot it's a very very

comprehensive certainly when I was in

the police we were Whenever there was a

conflict we knew that there would be

tensions and just listening to the rabbi

there it's very very clear the the

Interfaith work that goes on is very

very good to hear and and and I think

that Interfaith work happens all the

time across lots of different areas and

I think we and the police have valuable

role to play in facilitating that

working with the different communities

and I think um I think what the rabbi

said there was that we have very very

good Interfaith relationships if you

don't have those then then sometimes

that whole situation can be much worse

quick question before you go could the

police be stronger on anti-Semitism in

in the communities well Jeremy we've had

this conversation many times there's

been a massive reduction in placing a

quarter of all the police of less than 5

years experience if we had more police

would it make a difference I think the

police would be able to do things more

effectively if there was more resources

I know resources a very very easy

subject to bring up but it's the

inexperience coupled with the lack of

resources thank you D thank you very


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