I am suffering from a form of Social Antisemitism Tourette’s

No matter how much I tell myself to keep quiet, I keep mentioning the unmentionable


Drapers' Hall in the City of London (credit: The Drapers Company)

May 08, 2024 11:04

I think I’m suffering from Social Antisemitism Tourette’s (SAT), and it’s getting worse. Tourette’s is a condition that causes people to make involuntary sounds and movements they are unable to control. I have self-diagnosed myself with SAT, of which the main symptom is an inability to keep quiet in Polite Society about the antisemitism anxieties in my head. These include my thoughts about:

  • The basic anxiety of being Jewish today.

  • The Israeli hostages who no one seems to care about, whose names I want to keep shouting out.

  • Support for the death-cult genocidal terrorist group Hamas, not just by tweenies but by grown-ups.

  • Increasing violence toward Jews.

  • The media’s obsession with misleading headlines and entirely unverified facts about the Israel-Hamas war (yes, I’m looking at you, BBC Verify – how many times can you keep getting it wrong?).

  • The mobs who happily stand next to the swastikas and jihad flags and Nazi-esque slogans floating around every Gaza demonstration while the police stand and watch – while brave Iranian Niyak Ghorbani holds up a “Hamas Is Terrorist” placard and gets arrested by our brave Boys in Met Blue.

  • The Holocaust denial and revisionism that is now par for the course, especially among the young. It’s David Irving’s fantasy.

  • And don’t even start me on the privileged students and their Tentifadas.

​Fun stuff like that the rages round my head 24/7. Every morning I wake up and say to myself: “Today is the day I am not going to talk about it OUT THERE”.

Obviously, among my friends, family and inner-circle it is all we talk about, WhatsApp groups ping minute by minute all day long as each new global insult and horror adds another cut to the deep wound we are suffering.

How wonderful it must be to be able to go about your day and not have these constant intrusive thoughts. I look with a form of envy at friends, colleagues and acquaintances who seem oblivious to the disaster that is unfolding. As we all know, what starts with the Jews doesn’t end with the Jews. It may be our people and our story that has been negated, denied, minimalised and disbelieved, but it’s soon going to be theirs.

And yet as I go out into Polite Society, I will myself not to mention it: “Don’t bring it up. Don’t talk about it.” Like a Harry Potter character, I know that He (Voldemort – or in this case What) Who Should Not Be Mentioned must never have his name uttered out loud in public. Oh bollocks, I said it! Like Basil’s “Don’t mention the war” in Fawlty Towers, I too end up mostly thinking, “I mentioned it, but I think I got away with it.”

“Don’t talk,” I tell myself, “about the ‘unmentionable’” – the antisemitism and the enablers, the one-time “Slebby” friends of mine who disappeared into the ether once pain got real and I started talking about raped women at Nova when no other celebrity feminists, busy monetising podcasts on feminism but uninterested in the rights of Jewish women, were mentioning it.

Yet my SAT keeps kicking in. I can’t stop it coming out of my mouth and I find myself embroiled in heated debates that I want to backtrack on but then have to fight to the death. Even when I only went out for a pint of milk.

This week was a case in point. We were invited by new, cultured, gorgeous friends to see a classical concert of young music students at Drapers’ Hall in the City of London. Beautiful Drapers’ Hall, built by the expanding Drapers’ guild to celebrate their wealth and status and monopoly of the thriving cloth trade. One of the highlights is the stunning Livery Hall ceiling by Herbert Draper.

That’s the same Drapers’ guild, of course, that historically barred Jews from joining.

And if you couldn’t join a guild you were unable to work in any part of the garment trade, and if you couldn’t get an apprenticeship to a guild you had no social mobility and were forced to stay in a religious and class ghetto as an outsider. Hence why so many Jews resorted to moneylending as the only way to make any sort of living.

“Don’t mention it! Don’t mention it, Tracy.” The Dvorak and Chopin was wonderful, although in the back of my mind I remembered Chopin was a narcissistic antisemite who betrayed his country. But ho hum. “Don’t mention it, Tracy. Don’t mention it!”

Dinner was exquisite and after some chit chat with our esteemed host… boom! My self-control evaporated as we started discussing the student grants that the guild gives yearly as part of its charitable arm. Student: now a trigger word. Before I could stop myself, out it popped: “Soooo, what are your thoughts about the happenings at Harvard and Columbia?”

We got into a good conversation about the silent majority – where were the hell were they and when will they finally speak out?

The woman next to our host was listening to the conversation. “And what do you do?” I asked. She told me she was a professor at a Scottish university and was very supportive towards her students and hates the term woke.

I nearly bit through my lip. Don’t mention the hate crime law that has JK Rowling and others asking how this performative nonsense is going to get policed. Don’t mention that Jewish students at both Glasgow and Edinburgh have spoken about the rise of intimidating Jew hate on campus.

If only Jewish students could rely on support from Scottish university leaders. Tracy, DON’T mention Stella Maris, rector of St Andrews. And don’t mention Ghassan Abu-Sittah, rector of Glasgow. I practically bit my fork in half to silence myself.

May 08, 2024 11:04

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