Article about Roden book sparks hate

Some social media users linked the book to the Israel-Palestinian conflict


An Observer column paying tribute to Claudia Roden’s encyclopaedic Book of Jewish Food sparked a torrent of antisemitic abuse on social media.

An online user shared screenshots on Monday of Facebook responses to a  since deleted Guardian post promoting the Jay Rayner piece published last week. 

Comments contained references to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and some drew parallels to Nazi Germany, according to screenshots circulated by anti-racism activist Joanne Bell.  

One user wrote: “No ty I do not eat stolen food from the original owners, Palestinian.” 

Another asked: “Would you have bought a German recipe book during WWII slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent people?

“Even though the author may have been living somewhere else, Britain perhaps?”

Ms Roden, 85, is a Cairo-born British cookbook writer and the author of over a dozen volumes. Her Book of Jewish Food, first published in 1997, was the result of 16 years of research. 

It blends together Jewish history and culture with a myriad of Sephardi and Askenazi recipes and is widely regarded as the definitive volume on Jewish cooking.

A Guardian News and Media spokesperson told the JC: “We take online abuse and hate speech incidents very seriously and were horrified to see these disgusting and offensive remarks posted underneath a Guardian article on Facebook. Such comments are unacceptable in any circumstances.

“We removed the Facebook post as soon as the antisemitic comments were brought to our attention overnight. We have since reposted the article and will act as necessary if further such comments occur.”

The company said there was a “clear need” for social media platforms to enable news publishers to share journalism, in the public interest, with user comments turned off.

“News publishers have suggested that such functionality should be made available by the platforms as a result of the UK government’s upcoming online harms legislation."

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