The JC leader: Lord Rothschild was a giant of our community


Lord Rothschild pictured at Waddesdon Manor. Pictured behind - Jean-Marc Winckler (b.1952), A Family Tree of Rothschild Houses, 1996. Commissioned for the Centenary Restoration, it depicts the residences purchased or built by the Rothschilds in the 19th and early 20th centuries. At the base of the tree is the modest house in Frankfurt’s Jewish ghetto where the family business was established. On display in the James and Dorothy de Rothschild Room. Byline John Nguyen/JNVisuals 12/04/2023

February 29, 2024 16:52

Jacob Rothschild was born into wealth and privilege - and used both almost uniquely well and wisely for the good of his country and his community. His financial and business acumen was renowned, but he was still more of a giant as a philanthropist and benefactor whose legacy will endure for centuries. In Britain he gave his time and money not only to great national institutions but also to the Jewish community - and, equally, he gave his invaluable guidance. In Israel, the very fabric of the country was shaped by his chairmanship of Yad Hanadiv, his family foundation, which funded the construction of the Knesset, the Supreme Court and, most recently, the National Library, of which he was especially proud.

May his memory be a blessing.

The reaction to his death, however, tells a terrible story about the dark times in which we live. Since October 7 every passing week has unleashed a new wave of antisemitic hatred. But the name Rothschild has set off a level of execration that has rarely been seen before, prompting truly foul abuse on social media and elsewhere. It is of a piece with the abuse of MPs we report on our front page and marks a deeply disturbing escalation of the hate we have already seen on the streets. It is a sickness which needs to be tackled head on - but which also requires a fundamental rethink of how we approach antisemitism, both as a community and by society more generally. Plainly, the current modus operandi is not working.

February 29, 2024 16:52

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