… What I’m bringing to light is not a conspiracy of Elders of Zion nor a ridiculous notion of Jewish exceptionalism – Jews, said the chemist Chaim Weizmann, ‘are just like everyone else, only more so’ – but a way of thinking that has allowed Jews to see the world from an oblique angle. Do Jews think differently? The moment I asked that question, there could be only one answer.
As I reached the final chapters, antisemitism intruded. Born in London after the Second World War, I have lived my life as a Jew without hindrance, leaving work early on winter Fridays for the Sabbath rest and never encountering ugly prejudice. Now I heard antisemitism forming a normal part of daily discourse, a mainstream political party held hostage by haters and friends packing up for emigration.
I don’t share their apocalyptic fear. Antisemitism is a pendulum. I have to believe that my country will swing back away from it (or it will cease to be my country). My film The Song of Names recalls a time when Britain gave shelter to Jews. That mercy is not forgotten. This trouble time will pass. Some dissenting Jew, somewhere, right now, is about to change the way the world revolves.
The Song of Names can be seen at the London Film Festival on October 6 and 8.
Genius and Anxiety is published by Oneworld on October 10, price £20. Amazon link.
Read on here.