Non-Jews Have a Moral Duty to Fight Anti-Semitism

January 4, 2023 | Stephen Daisley
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On Friday, Buckingham Palace released its list of those who will receive knighthoods and similar honors from Charles III in 2022—which includes Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as well as the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews (Anglo-Jewry’s main communal organization) Marie van der Zyl, her predecessor Jonathan Arkush, and a few other prominent Jews who have been vocal in opposing anti-Semitism. Stephen Daisley observes:

They are not the only British Jews to be acknowledged on the New Year honors list but they have in common a commitment to confronting anti-Semitism and a record of making people in power take notice of the problem. In recognizing their efforts, the honors committee is expressing admiration for their public service and an affinity with the cause of fighting anti-Semitism. This is all well and good but it’s not enough. It’s not enough to give recognition or solidarity to Jews then go back to letting them tackle anti-Semitism on their own. Anti-Semitism and its suppression is not a “them” thing but an “us” thing.

The first six months of 2022 saw 786 anti-Semitic incidents in the UK, four in five of them taking place offline and one in ten involving assaults. Although this marked a reduction on the first half of 2021, another disturbing trend emerged: where age could be ascertained, one in five perpetrators were under the age of eighteen.

Commending Jews for standing up to all this hatred is like applauding when the woman you’re watching being mugged across the street gets a decent punch in. Challenging anti-Semitism is a moral imperative for non-Jews and one that is growing more urgent by the day.

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