Touchy, me? Come outside and say that

Look, we’re going to have to face it — there are people out there who just don’t like Jews.

Unfortunately for us, they don’t leave it at that. Rather than just say “Jews – nah not for me”, they tend to invent lots of nasty things about us to rationalise their dislike. We are responsible for the collapse of international finance; the global spread of communism; Aids; 9/11; milk going off before its sell by date; the rising/falling price of petrol and the current spell of bad weather.

But how about the vast majority of people in the world who don’t mind us? It’s very hard to tease Jews about our Jewishness without offending us. This has something to do with the fact that we’re a bit touchy (I can say this but non-Jewish people can’t as we’re a little touchy about being called touchy). But it also has to do with the fact there are not any socially acceptable ways of taking the mickey out of Jews.
Take Aussies for example. We can banter with them (they lack something in refinement, wear corks on their hats and aren’t very good at cricket). Australians say we (the English) are over-formal, smelly and not very good at cricket. But the great thing is that we can all go out for a drink and only rarely will it all end in a punch up.

There is no Jewish equivalent. You can’t gently take the mickey out of Jews by saying we are tight, have big noses and have an insidious influence over US foreign policy.

What the world needs is some mildly disparaging things to say about us which will not be seen as antisemitism. Here are a few suggestions for our non-Jewish readers:

1. Jewish food is so bad that their greatest contribution to world cuisine is a chewy roll with a hole.

2. Jews don’t like rain because their hair goes frizzy in the damp.

3. Jews (British ones) love football but are generally useless at playing — there has never been a British Jew in the Premiership and only about two in the League. Not only are Jews rubbish at playing football, the team they support is rubbish too. Tottenham, considered the most Jewish team in English football, last won a league title in 1961. Fortunately, saying unkind things about Spurs does not count as antisemitism.

4. Jewish people are quite argumentative. This is a controversial thing to say (there will almost certainly be half a dozen letters in next week’s JC stating that Jews are neither argumentative nor touchy, do not have frizzy hair and are actually quite good at football) but it is not antisemitic.

You could debate it with them at the pub, but I wouldn’t recommend it; Jews can’t hold their drink.

    Last updated: 1:08pm, July 23 2009