Ever since David Baddiel’s polemic manual on modern antisemitism came out last year, it’s become a robust and accessible short hand for a distressingly common phenomenon.
For those that have managed to avoid reading it, Baddiel essentially argues that many on the socially progressive left have a very identifiable blindspot when it comes to Jews and antisemitism in particular. It’s fair to say this book was wildly successful at creating a label for something that many people had recognised for a while.
Fast-forward to now and the book is often quoted and dissected and its points picked apart, but one thing remains constant. The number of examples that it can be applied to week in and week out.
The most recent case study in #Jewsdontcount studies came courtesy of some abhorrent antisemitic abuse directed at a group of young Jewish people celebrating Chanukah in central London. As the widely-circulated footage shows, the group were very much minding their own business before being spat at, shouted at and violently threatened in a very public place.
As the reaction to this clip gathered pace and politicians (largely but not exclusively from the right) rightly queued up to condemn it, there seemed to be a fairly conspicuous absence. Those from the leftwing of the Labour Party and beyond seemed to have absolutely nothing to say about a pretty clear cut incident of racism on the streets of the UK. Nothing to say about a group of children having a holiday party ruined for the simple crime of being Jewish in London.
Video has emerged of a group of men spitting at a bus full of Jewish teenagers in Oxford Street where the group were celebrating the first night of Chanukah. pic.twitter.com/orOrA9kJEu— The Jewish Chronicle (@JewishChron) December 1, 2021
Now, to state the obvious, no-one has a moral imperative to comment on every abhorrent news clip that may or may not include all the necessary context. No-one should be forced at cancel-point to condemn anti-semitism or be labelled a Jew-hater, but it just seems a little bit strange that a group that is usually (and rightly) vocal about incidents of public racism, has very little to say.
This is disturbing footage. Racism of any kind will never be tolerated in our society and we will continue to do all we can to root it out. https://t.co/fnC1BoAxUE— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) December 2, 2021
But it’s not even just the progressive "anti-racists" who seem to have somewhat of a blindspot on this. Major media companies also seem to not know how to deal with racism stories when the victims are Jews. Whether it’s writing “anti-semitic’ when mentioning a nazi salute or even putting “spat at” in quotes when there’s clear video evidence of it, it seems like Jews are never quite the perfect victims.
And as the outrage subsides and the clip becomes just another piece of viral content for the usual players to react to, we’re just left once again with the feeling that Jews Don’t Count.