Ben Rebuck, a Jewish vegan chef and activist who runs the popular Instagram page Ben’s Vegan Kitchen, appeared on the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism where he discussed his dislike for comparisons made between industrialised farming and the Holocaust, which often occur in the vegan community.
Mr Rebuck said: “It’s one of those things where I’ve seen people say it, and then I’ve sent them a message straight away and not holding back, being like ‘How dare you talk about [the Holocaust] in this way?’”
He further said that “people being killed in gas chambers and firing squads” is “far worse than animals being killed,” adding that the comparisons are “absurd.”
Mr Rebuck dismissed the comparisons as “shock tactics” and revealed that more than one confrontation has arisen from him standing up for his beliefs, so strong is his aversion to such references to the Holocaust.
One fellow vegan activist even referred to the Ben’s Vegan Kitchen founder as “not a real vegan” after he voiced his concerns over Holocaust minimalisation.
“Using shock tactics is one thing but when it relates to one of the greatest genocides in the history of the human race…it’s not something I appreciate people doing. I’ve had quite a few arguments with people that I’ve seen do it,” he said.
“It’s the shock factor. It doesn’t actually work for me, especially when it comes to the Holocaust. It’s stupid.”
Speaking on how antisemitism fits into wider activism, Mr Rebuck lamented how anti-Jewish racism is often overlooked, which he believes is partially due to Jews not being recognised as a minority in the same way as other groups.
“One of my favourite games to play,” he said, “is I ask people ‘How many Jews do you think there are in the United Kingdom, and what percentage of the population do you think it is?’ I think the biggest answer I got was about 15 million.”
“There are not 15 million Jews in the world,” our host pointed out.
“Well exactly,” Mr Rebuck replied. “I have friends who live in Hackney, friends who live in North London, so they know Golders Green, they know Stamford Hill. They see Jews, and they know Jews, and they’re friends with Jews, so they presume we’re a big part of this society, but we’re not and as a minority, we’re overlooked.”
“Antisemitism is a huge problem,” he added, “and it’s something that seems to be growing year on year and not going away, and we need more people to talk about it.”
Throughout the interview, Mr Rebuck touched upon a variety of other issues which included his online activism, how antisemitism has historically influenced Jewish foods and the similarities between keeping kosher and veganism.
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.