Anti-Semitism: The Acceptable Racism

December 8, 2014 | David Baddiel
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In Britain, as elsewhere, anti-Semitic comments and slurs remain socially acceptable in circles where voicing other prejudices—against blacks, or Pakistanis, for instance—is anathema. The comedian David Baddiel comments on the prevalence of anti-Semitism in social media and among soccer fans, and the reluctance of the left to object:

The depth, variety and just sheer number of hate tweets about Jews is simply breathtaking. And most of them mention money; and, if challenged, almost all of the tweeters convey the same sense of: what? What’s the problem? This attitude is not confined to hate tweeters, silly old football chairmen, and the right wing. One of the driving forces of the [campaign to stop the use of the word Yid by soccer fans to slur rival teams] was an attempt to query why the word was not in the same arena of unacceptability as the N-word and the P-word. A friend of mine, very much on the left of frame politically, said to me: “But it’s not as bad as the N-word.” I said: “Why?” He said: “Because Jews are rich.” It’s perhaps not worth starting to unpack how much is wrong with that idea (not least the implication that black people cannot possibly be rich). But it points to a key problem as regards the wider apprehension of anti-Semitism, which is that the left . . . has always been a little bit ambiguous about Jews (an ambiguity that has clearly become even more ambiguous since Israel was deemed the nutcase pariah state du jour).

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