Educating yourself about the Jewish experience will help you become a better ally.
A series of offensive tweets posted by British grime artist Wiley on July 24th has reignited the discussion around anti-Semitism and its effects in the UK. Only one month ago, the country was left reeling when Shadow Secretary for Education Rebecca Long-Bailey was dismissed from her post by Labour Leader Keir Starmer for sharing an article containing anti-Semitic sentiments. Evidently, the incident with Wiley is part of a larger and more complicated issue that needs to be addressed.
Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest and most complex forms of discrimination that occurs not only here in the UK, but around the world. For millennia, Jewish communities have faced various forms of oppression and abuse, and in order to discuss how that treatment manifests today we must first educate ourselves on the breadth of this topic.
For some people, reading is the most effective way of learning about difficult and deep-seated issues such as anti-Semitism, and there are books out there about the history of Jewish communities, common tropes that have been used to oppress Jews over centuries, and how anti-Semitism plays out in modern politics and culture.
This isn’t an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination but it should be a good starting points for those looking to learn more and to become a better ally.
- "Wiley tweets: Why what the grime artist said on Twitter was anti-Semitic," The Independent
- "When Wiley told me I wasn’t Black," GQ
- "Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s anti-Semitism row explained," BBC
- "Labour can expel antisemites – but that won’t ‘root out’ antisemitism in our culture," The Guardian
- "A man chased me down the road shouting ‘Hitler didn’t finish his job properly’ in a shocking anti-Semitic attack," Glamour
- "The only way to fight antisemitism is solidarity and compassion – not division," The Guardian
- "Lockdown led to fall in antisemitism – but new methods of attack," Jewish News
Discussing politics, hate crimes, and harmful stereotyping, Rabbi Julia Neuberger makes the argument that although anti-Semitism makes headlines, people are still confused about its history and what it really means for Jewish communities today. She explains what anti-Semitism is and why it’s so crucial that people understand it.
In his book Anthony Julius identifies four distinct versions of English anti-Semitism, which he traces back to medieval times. He looks at how anti-Semitic stereotypes have been spread through literature and how the politics of the last 50 years has fuelled the fire of an anti-Semitic movement.
In A Convenient Hatred Phyllis Goldstein places the reader at the centre of a narrative explaining the ways in which anti-Semitism has manifested throughout history. Using anecdotes and stories, the book calls out harmful assumptions and explains how stereotypes are weaponised.
John Mann explores how the Jewish community has been persecuted through the lens of Christian history. Examining modern-day foreign politics, the Neo-Nazi movement, and the work of some of the most influential thinkers of the last century, he explores why anti-Semitism is on the rise.
In Antisemitism: Here & Now, Deborah E. Lipstadt speaks about the rise of anti-Jewish violence and vandalism happening throughout Europe. Looking across different aspects of contemporary culture, the author analyses how opposing groups have found common ground in scapegoating Jewish people.
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