British immigrants

February 13, 2014

We are a community of immigrants. We are also proudly British. Far from being incompatible, those two statements go together like shabbas and candles. The Ben Uri Gallery has come up with a novel and clever way of illustrating this most fundamental point about our own community. By changing its website to highlight great works of art from “Great British artists”, it makes a very simple point. Because each of those Great British artists is also an immigrant. The artistic contribution made by British Jewish immigrants is immense, just as it is in science, politics, business, literature, philanthropy, academia — and across every area of British life. We of all people should celebrate that. It is to the Ben Uri Gallery’s immense credit that it has decided to take the lead in doing so. Because as well as celebrating among ourselves, we ought also to make the point more widely. The word immigrant is now often used as a term of abuse. Our own experience, surely, mandates us to fight that.

Last updated: 11:06am, February 13 2014