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Like most people, I am furious about the Mail’s behaviour – both for personal and professional reasons. First it has further discredited an industry still suffering as a result of the News International phone hacking scandal. But my personal reason is partly because, as I have outlined previously, a couple of my relatives enjoyed a warm acquaintance with Miliband Senior, Professor Eric Hobsbawm and their circle. One of them however, Professor Avrom Saltman, was strictly Orthodox and eccentrically, his expertise was not Marxism but Medieval Christianity! Yet there’s much more. Many Jewish people agree that the Mail’s actions were not anti-Jewish. But others, including The Guardian newspaper’s Jonathan Freedland and me, believe that an unpleasant odour lingers there.

My contention is thus: If the Mail did not intend to pander to anti-Jewish feeling, it has done so unintentionally as the Miliband fracas is just the latest in a list of recent stories which have fed traditional prejudices about Jewish wealth, power, influence and prestige. I have decided not mention them individually or to name the people who featured in them here. Let us reflect merely “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose” and say that the Mail’s initial story was written by a Jew, not only because probably he was well apprised of Miliband’s background but almost certainly to deflect accusations of anti-Jewish sentiment. I suggest the same could be said of those Jews who write for Israel’s chief enemies in the British media – The Independent and indeed, The Guardian. Much of this is a matter of personal opinion and perception – just like the continuing arguments about the use of the word ‘’Yid’ or attitudes towards antisemitic figures in great literature. It’s a matter of tone and context: What is painfully objectionable to an individual on a particular occasion may barely register with another sometime else. No matter. I am convinced that the Mail’s tirade against the late Ralph Miliband is part of a growing, sickening trend in British society, bred partly by poverty, which in turn causes envy and fear. I am glad I need bear it no longer.

© Natalie Wood

2013 november ©

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