Actress Tracy-Ann Oberman gave a poignant tribute to her grandmother - who stood on the “frontline” against fascists in the battle for Cable Street - as she spoke on Wednesday about the antisemitic and misogynistic abuse Jewish women have received throughout history.
Speaking at a House of Lords event to celebrate women campaigners, she said Jewish women were “at the front” in the battle against antisemitism and spoke about how her grandparents’ generation faced abuse and prejudice when they fled the pogroms of Europe to come to Britain.
“This was about Oswald Mosley and his upper-class fascists turning working class communities because the trope was ‘those Jews are getting better market stalls and better housing,” she said, “At the battle of Cable Street, women, children, my grandmother, my great grandmother stood there on the front line with other working class communities and said: ‘You shall not pass’.”
Describing herself as an “accidental activist”, Ms Oberman spoke about the antisemitic and misogynistic abuse she has received on social media for speaking out against Jewish-hatred.
Abusers said the actress was anti-Jeremy Corbyn “because I didn’t want to pay Jew tax” and accused her of being a “Rothschild whore” working for a “foreign government”.
“I realised the only way to fight antisemitism was to reclaim the narrative and put females at the front of the story of fighting antisemitism,” she said.
The event was hosted by Lord John Mann, the Government’s independent adviser on antisemitism, and the Antisemitism Policy Trust.
Lord Mann told activists, charity workers and former MPs: “Thank you for what you are doing I think the role you play is the critical role. In my terminology you are the actual street fighters in the battle against antisemitism and more power to you, please keep on doing what you are doing.”
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies, told the audience: “It takes special courage for women to speak out because women are subject to more vitriol, more hatred, especially online – we face more vitriol, more death threats and this is something we have got to do because trolls know women are targets and if all the haters think women are going to be quiet, they have got that wrong because women are tenacious and we are going to fight the good fight. We cannot let hatred go unchecked, we all know online is the new frontline so we all know there is so much more we have to do – whether it’s on campus, on the streets or online.”