Since last weekend, we have been leading a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the hostages held by Hamas, including through billboards and digital vans that travel around London displaying the images of some of the child captives. We have also taken action against those who tear down or deface the leaflets and posters that have been put up around the city.

We expected that there may be pockets of opposition to the vans from terrorist-sympathisers and their fellow travellers in London. What we did not anticipate was opposition from the Metropolitan Police Service.

For the full story of this outrageous incident, join the millions who have watched our Chief Executive recount the episode, which was also covered across the national media.

Since the incident, we have engaged with the Metropolitan Police — in addition to our work with the Government — but the outcomes with the police have been unsatisfactory. This adds to our disappointment with current policing policy. It is time to take action.

The volunteers of our Demonstration and Event Monitoring Unit continue to gather evidence from the demonstrations around the country, bearing witness to the Metropolitan Police’s own findings that antisemitic hate crime in London is up by a scandalous 1,350%.

Instead of arrests, however, the Met has been making excuses for hate. The force permitted a rally by Hizb ut-Tahrir to go ahead; it announced, contrary to the view of the Home Secretary, that the chant “From the River to the Sea Palestine will be free” is not hate speech unless it expressly targets a Jewish institution; and it ignores calls for “Jihad” and “Intifada” by demonstrators; among other shortcomings.

While failing to take action against those expressing sympathy for terrorists or calling for violence, as shown here, the Met did find the time to order that our vans shut down their display of the faces of children taken hostage by a proscribed terrorist group. The protesters hurling abuse at our volunteers, just feet from watching police officers, were not apprehended.

In 2014, Campaign Against Antisemitism was founded when the community witnessed that the authorities barely lifted a finger to combat antisemitism on our streets. We made our voices heard then outside the Royal Courts of Justice, but only towards the end of that surge in antisemitic incidents. This time, we must make our voices heard earlier, to shape how the Met polices our streets over the coming weeks.

We will be rallying outside New Scotland Yard this Wednesday at 18:30. The rally will be held at New Scotland Yard, London SW1A 2JL, and the nearest Underground stations are Westminster and Embankment.

The BBC

We have been among those at the forefront of the campaign to pressure the BBC to report accurately and impartially, including by calling Hamas what they are: terrorists.

The BBC must be made to understand that not only is it doing a disservice to viewers, listeners and readers by not reporting in accordance with its guidelines, but its coverage has a real-life, adverse impact on British Jews.

We co-sponsored a rally outside Broadcasting House, which was covered by all the major broadcasters and press, backed a petition signed by tens of thousands (please do sign if you haven’t already), physically projected a powerful message onto Broadcasting House itself to shame the BBC, and recorded a special episode of our podcast with Noah Abrahams, a courageous and principled young sports journalist who has quit the BBC in protest at its failure to describe Hamas as a terrorist organisation (listen now).

We also called out the BBC for referring to the recent Brussels attack as terrorism while refusing to do the same for Hamas. After its hypocrisy was exposed, rather than accept that it must finally describe Hamas as a terror group, the Corporation quietly and disgracefully changed its Brussels coverage instead.

The BBC is not the only media outlet that we have held to account in recent days. Among the most egregious was the satirical magazine Private Eye. Perhaps appropriately, our response to its appalling front cover involved satirising their unfunny attempt at satire.

We have also reviewed material and submitted complaints relating to other broadcasters and newspapers, and continue to do so.

It is time for the BBC to hear the strength of feeling directly from the Jewish community and to justify its appalling coverage. Courtesy of Campaign Against Antisemitism, for the first time, a member of the BBC’s Executive Committee will be speaking at an open event for the Jewish community, and you are invited. To book tickets, visit antisemitism.org/bbc.

We are fighting back. Now it is the turn of the police to rise to the occasion in these challenging times and uphold the law against those who want to harm the Jewish community.

Blake Flayton, a columnist for the Jewish Journal and a social media commentator on American-Jewish and Israeli political issues, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he spoke about anti-Zionist antisemitism.

This podcast can be listened to here, or watched here.

“There’s a lot of misconceptions about Zionism, whether they come from within the Jewish community or outside the Jewish community,” he said. “The Jews have a right to live in the land in which they’ve always been associated with. We have been known as Jews, and in different languages, it’s just a variation on the word ‘Jew’. We have been named after this piece of land for the last 2,000 years, if not more so.”

Mr Flayton explained how, during the first 30 years of Israel’s existence, neighbouring Arab countries would denigrate the country, even going as far as to assert that they would “push the Jews into the sea” and that “Jews are cockroaches.” 

The activist said how that in the shadow of the just-passed Nazi era, these statements were ones that “nobody in the West who could ever call themselves ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ could support”.

“Standing up for the Jews was a good, progressive cause overseas. And then, the Soviet Union enters stage-left somewhere in the mid-to-late ‘70s and basically flips the language of anti-Zionism in order to make it more palatable to people in the West, to journalists and academics and activists,” Mr Flayton said.

The Soviet Union would then “make the language of anti-Zionism sound as though it was a progressive fight for justice, a call for righteousness, and it’s been going ever since because it’s believable,” he said.

“They use the lingo, they use the words, that connect with people who style themselves as activists. In reality, it’s the same Nazi-like war against the Jewish right to self-determination that’s been going on since 1948. The goal is the same, and that’s from the river to the sea, there will not be a Jewish state.”

When asked why university campuses have seen an increase in anti-Zionist rhetoric, he said: “This is actually in-line with how antisemitism has worked forever, because the antisemites take advantage of the hot-button issues of the day, and they connect Jews with those hot-button issues in order to whip up outrage among their supporters and get closer to their goals on campus.”

Elaborating on the goals in question, Mr Flayton said that some examples might be the “passing of BDS resolutions or isolating Jewish organisations, or simply just making individual Jews feel uncomfortable.” 

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.

Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, television personality Robert Rinder, writer Eve Barlow, Grammy-Award-winning singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, and actor Eddie Marsan.

Alma Hernandez, a Jewish Mexican-American politician serving as a Democratic member of the Arizona House of Representatives for the 20th district, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where she passionately addressed how she brought Holocaust education to Arizona.  

This podcast can be listened to here, or watched here.

In 2021, a bill that Rep. Hernandez introduced requiring Holocaust education in Arizona public schools was passed by the State Legislature. This made Arizona the sixteenth state in the United States to make Holocaust education mandatory.

“The process was very long. It took about three years to get it done,” she said. “Not because it wasn’t a good policy, and not because I was doing anything wrong. It was really politics, that’s what it came down to. We had people on both sides using this bill to play politics.”

She revealed that certain politicians intentionally held up the process in order to ensure that Rep. Hernandez would cast her vote on specific policies, even if they did not align with her own views. However, Rep. Hernandez refused.

“I said, ‘Look, we can get it done this year. This is what the ask is of me,’ and I had many [Holocaust] survivors tell me, ‘We will wait as long as we need to wait so that you do what you need to do and what is right,’ so at the end of the day, I didn’t have to compromise my values and I didn’t have to do something I was going to feel morally wrong for doing,” she said.

While the bill was eventually passed, the length of time that it took, unfortunately, had severe consequences.

“We were able to get it done, but it took three years. It was a long process…at the forefront of all of this were the survivors. We had three survivors that passed away, unfortunately, during the three years who were very involved but didn’t get to see it happen.

“That was very difficult because I really wish that they could have all been here to be able to witness a historic moment, but because of politics, we couldn’t get it done.” 

Despite this, Rep. Hernandez’s sense of achievement over such a monumental accomplishment was clear, stating: “I’m just really grateful we finally got it done. I’m really proud of it.”

Many of the survivors were close with the Arizona representative even prior to her election, with one in particular — Theresa Dulgov — who was not only a “friend and a mentor” to Rep. Hernandez, but was also her first-grade teacher.

She said: “She used to teach about the Holocaust when we were younger. She was my brother’s and sister’s reading teacher as well, and I just never forgot her story, and as I got older, we kept in touch. I found her on Facebook.

“She had such a big impact on my life because I met her when I was so young and we just kept in touch over the years. We reconnected through the Holocaust survivor’s network here in Tucson and she was able to come testify on behalf of my bill, and that was really moving for me; having her support and knowing that she’s someone who I personally have known literally my entire life now, and has supported me throughout the years…just seeing her, how happy she was to finally see this done, was really rewarding.”

Speaking on how the implementation of Holocaust education in Arizona has been going, Rep. Hernandez said: “I know that the schools have been implementing different curriculums. They’re allowed to select the curriculum that works best for them through the Department of Education…It’s going to start with the children and educating the future generation, because they are the ones who are hopefully going to be breaking the cycle of hate and bigotry in our communities.”

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.

Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, television personality Robert Rinder, writer Eve Barlow, Grammy-Award-winning singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, and actor Eddie Marsan.

Judy Gold, a Jewish comedian, actor, writer, and podcaster whose comedy addresses antisemitism, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where she spoke about fighting antisemitism through comedy.

This podcast can be listened to here, or watched here.

“You can joke about anything,” the Netflix and Comedy Central comedian said. “I have jokes about the Holocaust, but they’re good, well-thought-out, well-crafted jokes that make you think.” 

On the difference between comedians who joke about antisemitism in a considered way versus those who mock Jews and incidents of antisemitism in a cheap and tactless way, she said: “If you’re going to take the easy way out and just disparage just to disparage people and get a laugh, that’s not comedy to me.”

The comedian and actress addressed the idea that comedians should always “punch up” rather than “punch down”, meaning that a comedian’s jokes should be aimed at those in power carrying out harm rather than the victims of it.

“Punching up, to me, is real comedy…Jews have used comedy as a weapon, as a coping mechanism, as a way to disarm people. It’s a powerful weapon. Mark Twain said ‘Under the assault of laughter, nothing can stand,’ because you can have whatever weapon you want but humiliation is extremely powerful.

“I don’t know if a lot of people know this, but during the rise of the Third Reich, it was comedians who were getting on stage and telling the truth about what was really happening in Germany. They were speaking the truth to power, which is one of the things a comedian does, so Hitler passed the Treachery Act — those jokes weakened Nazi propaganda — Hitler passed the Treachery Act of 1934, which made telling or listening to an anti-Nazi joke an act of treason punishable by imprisonment or death.” 

“That is how powerful comedy is,” she added. “It’s a huge part of our culture.”

Ms Gold said: “It is a tool, and people who are full of hate don’t want to be disarmed, because their hate is their armour.”

However, Ms Gold is careful about how she intertwines antisemitism into her act.

Asked about her own craft, she told us: “When I’m doing material, especially about Jews and antisemitism, and I think [the audience] is laughing for the wrong reason, that’s my line. People are like ‘How can you tell?’ You can tell, believe me.

“There’s ways of talking about antisemitism in a way that is hilarious and enlighting.”

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.

Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, television personality Robert Rinder, writer Eve Barlow, Grammy-Award-winning singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, and actor Eddie Marsan.

David Hirsh, an expert in antisemitism and the Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he spoke candidly about his experiences of being called a “far-right white supremacist” by the University’s then-Students’ Union President.

This podcast can be listened to here, or watched here.

Initially, the Students’ Union apparently refused to investigate Sara Bafo, its now-former President, following allegations of antisemitism, despite being requested to do so by the University.

She is to said to have tweeted: “D*vid H*rsch is a far right white supremacist. All you have to do is read his work and tweets and that’s all the confirmation needed.” 

Ms Bafo’s tweet was said to have been written in response to a tweet from Mr Hirsh which said: “There is an antisemitic edge to official, institutional, university campaigns to ‘decolonise’ education.”

Ms Bafo later tweeted that the University “has tried to get the SU trustee board to investigate me for a tweet I made in response to a Zionist Goldsmiths academic’s explicit racist history & his delegitimisation of ‘Decolonisation’ campaigns,” adding: “This was a dirty tactic from the institution to silence me further as I was leaving.”

Shortly after, an “independent review into antisemitism at the College” was announced by the University.

Mr Hirsh revealed on the podcast that when he brought up the incident to his department’s union at Goldsmiths, little was done about it.

“There was a little bit of sympathy and warmth and support. I mean, there’s always a little bit, there are always people who are solid. It’s not unanimous by any means.” he said. 

However, he added that after department representatives said that they would speak to members of the union branch, a period followed “where there was a fight going on about whether it was legitimate to say David Hirsh is a far-right white supremacist or not.”

He said: “Just the fact that there’s a fight going on between my colleagues about that is already utterly humiliating, and even more humiliating is that my department colleagues in the union lost, and the union stood firm and refused to do anything about it.

“When I’m at a union meeting now, I’m sitting there thinking, ‘The official position of this branch is that I’m a Nazi’.”

When the topic of mental health arose, he stated that “evidently, it must have” had an impact on him.

“I’ve been dealing with this stuff for twenty years now, for the main part of my adult life, and the main part of my career, and sometimes it’s really hard,” he said. “Sometimes, I get treated with great respect. Sometimes I get treated with nothing but contempt.”

Speaking on the University’s antisemitism investigation, led by senior barrister Mohinderpal Sethi KC, he said that it was “really interesting” and “a real surprise”.

“We’ll see. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see what evidence emerges. We’ll see what the report says. I hope that people who have had experiences of antisemitism at Goldsmiths make submissions,” Mr Hirsh urged. 

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.

Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, television personality Robert Rinder, writer Eve Barlow, Grammy-Award-winning singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, and actor Eddie Marsan.

Avraham Vofsi, a Jewish artist based in Melbourne, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he described how his art had been influenced by his experiences of internal antisemitism.

This podcast can be listened to here, or watched here.

“I always knew I was Jewish,” he said, “but I think the way [internalised antisemitism] manifested for me was that I literally couldn’t be around other Jews. There was something about it where some part of it was too hard to face.”

He continued: “When it was just me, I could control it in a way, like, ‘This is what it means to be Jewish,’ and that’s how I’d present myself. But as soon as I’m around other Jews, or I’m doing Jewish programmes, or I’m going to synagogue, or whatever it is, all of a sudden…did I have these feelings of animosity? I don’t know.”

Mr Vofsi went on to describe how at his school, he was one of four Jewish students in his year, a source of great anxiety. Judaism as a subject was understood to be taboo among them. 

“We never talked about being Jewish with each other. Ever. And I don’t know if any of us were friends, because we all had to distance ourselves,” he said. 

Taking off his glasses to rub his eyes, he said: “Sorry, it just makes me a bit uncomfortable to think about. There was something really intense about it in this hard-to-articulate way…I was so terrified all the time.”

At one point, he considered whether his anxiety about being with other Jews stemmed from the idea that “the more Jews I was around, the more possible it was that [antisemitic incidents] would happen.”

In his most recent art exhibit, B’Aretz: Portrait of a Land, Mr Vofsi used his experiences to focus on Jewish identity and building a connection to Israel, where he spent five months honing a connection with the country for inspiration.

“The show is six portraits and four landscapes…I was like, ‘I need to explore my Jewish identity’,” he told us, adding that the process of creating his newest exhibition was what helped him work through much of his internalised antisemitism.

Mr Vofsi is one of those interviewed in the book Reclaiming Our Story: The Pursuit of Jewish Pride by author Ben M. Freeman, the second instalment of his seminal manifesto of the modern Jewish Pride movement.

Earlier this year, Campaign Against Antisemitism hosted a first-of-its-kind sold-out event, “CAA presents…An evening with Ben M. Freeman”, which attracted a room full of Jewish young professionals to an east London venue to watch a live interview with Mr Freeman, followed by a question and answers session.

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.

Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, television personality Robert Rinder, writer Eve Barlow, Grammy-Award-winning singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, and actor Eddie Marsan.

Image credit: Avraham Vofsi

Rep. Ritchie Torres, the United States representative for New York’s 15th congressional district, acting for the Bronx, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he spoke candidly of his dedication to fighting antisemitism and acting as an ally to Jewish people, which includes his commitment to the International Definition of Antisemitism.

This podcast can be listened to here, or watched here.

Rep. Torres told our podcast host: “One need not be Jewish to condemn antisemitism, any more than one need be Black to condemn anti-Black racism. I operate under the belief that we all have a moral obligation to fight extremism.”

Rep. Torres, who at 25 became the youngest elected official in New York City, said that he was reminded of a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

He said: “‘History will record that the greatest tragedy was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people,’ and at a time of rising antisemitism, we are all confronted with the simple moral choice; either we remain appallingly silent, or we speak out. Either we remain part of the problem, or we become part of the solution, and I feel deeply that I have a moral obligation to speak out and become part of the solution.”

However, the Congressman revealed that his activism on behalf of the Jewish people has led to his share of detractors, though he remains undeterred. 

“I do have critics who claim that I speak out too often about antisemitism, but the problem is not that I speak out too often but that society does not speak out often enough,” he said.

Recent FBI Hate Crime Statistics revealed that antisemitic incidents comprised 51.4% of religion-related incidents in the United States, despite the Jewish population making up less than 3% of the population. 

“There has certainly been a tidal wave of antisemitism that has swept American society, British society, and elsewhere in the world…There is a long and ugly history of scapegoating Jews,” he said. “We see that scapegoating rear its ugly head, sometimes against the Jewish community, sometimes against the State of Israel, and we have to speak out against it.”

The representative for the Bronx turned his attention to antisemitism in his home city of New York. According to police data, New York City saw 263 antisemitic attacks in 2022, which translates as one every 33 hours on average.

He said of the attacks: “New York City is supposed to be a cosmopolitan city, where everyone is welcome, where more than 200 languages are spoken, and I consider the prevalence of antisemitic to be a stain of the soul of our city, to be a moral indictment.

“All of us have a human right to live freely without fear of intimation and harassment and violence.”

Rep. Torres commented on how the media’s portrayal of Israel can influence antisemitic incidents, an issue on which he has been outspoken. Recently, in addition to Campaign Against Antisemitism and other Jewish groups, he called out a BBC journalist who said that Israel is “happy to kill children.” Following the complaints, an apology was issued by the Corporation.

Rep. Torres said: “I find that anti-Zionism in the real world often rises to the level of antisemitism, and one clear-cut example is the BBC anchor who casually said that Israel is happy to kill children, which to me is a modern manifestation of the medieval blood libel, and we know that the blood libel has a long history of provoking antisemitic violence.

“Casual antisemitism permeates our culture so deeply it appears under the guise of objective journalism. I have found that Israel is often a blank slate on which antisemitic conspiracy theories and tropes are projected.” 

The International Definition of Antisemitism has been another topic on which Rep. Torres has vocalised his support. Britain was the first country in the world to adopt the Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism worked hard over many meetings with officials. Since then, numerous national, state and local governments have adopted the Definition.

“I not only accept, but I embrace, the Definition as the most complex definition of a complex phenomenon that is antisemitism, and it ought to command universal acceptance. I find that the attempt to discredit the Definition is based more on a caricature than a fair characterisation of the Definition,” he said. “Questioning the right of the Jewish state to exist, questioning the legitimacy of the Jewish state, holding the Jewish state to double standards, that’s not mere criticism, it’s extremism. That’s the nuance that the Definition is attempting to capture.

“If the majority of leading Jewish organisations are telling me that the most comprehensive definition of antisemitism is [the Definition], then I’m going to be deferential. I’m not going to presume I know what’s best. I happen to believe that on my own, but who cares what I believe? I care more about ‘What does the leadership of the Jewish believe?’ And that warrants deference and respect from allies like myself.”

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.

Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, television personality Robert Rinder, writer Eve Barlow, Grammy-Award-winning singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, and actor Eddie Marsan.

Eitan Bernath, the award-winning celebrity chef, entertainer, author, television personality, and content creator, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he spoke about using his platform to fight antisemitism.

This podcast can be listened to here, or watched here.

“I haven’t always, on my platform, been as loud about combatting antisemitism,” he said. “Now, to be fair, I was a teenager! So, I also wasn’t as knowledgeable. I was still in high school and figuring out life and gaining confidence, but as I’ve grown into myself as a young adult, this is something that’s very important to me.”

The 21-year-old continued: “The way I see it with combating antisemitism and standing up for the Jewish people, I will be Jewish until the day I die and antisemitism will affect me until the day I die, and it will affect my children and grandchildren, and so on.”

The TikTok star revealed that speaking up about antisemitism has, unfortunately, come at a price. However, he says that it “comes with the territory.”

“Most times when I post, whether it’s about Holocaust education, or about combatting antisemitism, I lose many, many thousands of followers, and get thousands and thousands of hateful messages. I have grown a very thick skin.”

Asked whether the backlash to his activism affects him, he said: “I am 100% of the time okay with the ramifications that come with me posting on social media in support of my fellow Jews and combating antisemitism because that hate exists out there, and when I receive that, it’s not something I take personally. 

“It’s a large, systemic issue that is perpetrated by all sorts of things, whether its media, whether its fictional stories that portray Jews negatively.”

Mr Bernath revealed that at times, he has received hateful messages to the point of death threats.

“It’s never fun getting messages or getting death threats for various things I’ve posted about. Very scary, awful messages and comments aren’t enjoyable at all and it’s sad that it exists out there, but I believe the positive effects of advocating severely outweigh any negative effects it has,” he said. 

Podcast Against Antisemitism, produced by Campaign Against Antisemitism, talks to a different guest about antisemitism each week. It streams every Thursday and is available through all major podcast apps and YouTube. You can also subscribe to have new episodes sent straight to your inbox.

Previous guests have included comedian David Baddiel, television personality Robert Rinder, writer Eve Barlow, Grammy-Award-winning singer-songwriter Autumn Rowe, and actor Eddie Marsan.