On the most recent episode of Podcast Against Antisemitism, Eyal Booker, a contestant on season four of the hit show Love Island, opened up about his personal experiences of antisemitism growing up.
Mr Booker said: “The start of my secondary school life was when I realised that antisemitism is very real and that because we wore a school uniform that identified us as going to a Jewish school, it sounds dramatic but we had a target on our back.
“It was very obvious, and…and there were other kids from other schools that didn’t like that we were Jewish, didn’t like that we went to a Jewish school and would try and intimidate us…would, as you said, throw rocks and stones at our school bus.”
He went on to say: “They would wait for us as we got off the bus because we would get off in small groups and intimidate us and chase us home and that’s when…that’s when it got quite real because I can vividly remember, you know, running up that hill like my life depended on it because I didn’t know who was behind me or what was coming for me, and that was at a point that I realised that antisemitism is real and it exists and it is dangerous.”
The Love Island star went on to say that he had trauma from what he had experienced, revealing that it took time to recover: “Slowly but surely I realised that, ‘okay, not everyone wants to attack me and hates me’.”
Mr Booker also disclosed his thoughts on antisemitism today, saying: “I’m shocked that we still live in a world where hatred is fuelled by more hatred, and that, you know, we have to continuously ask people to stand in alliance with us and say ‘please, can you not see that this is wrong?’ We’re people like anyone else, why would you not just call out wrong and hatred behaviour when you see it?
“Because we know wrong from right, we all do. We’re humans, we have morals, we have values. We can see when somebody is feeling uncomfortable, when there is aggressive body language or behaviour towards them. We can see when there is someone vulnerable, on their own or in a small group of young kids or girls or women that are being attacked, and it makes me feel sick that people would stand by and let that happen because they think, for some unknown reason, that we’re bad people or we’ve done something wrong, because we were born into a religion and a society and we’ve decided to grow up in that way.”
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, The Sunday Telegraph columnist Zoe Strimpel and actor Eddie Marsan.