When you witness anti-Semitism, to intervene or not to intervene?

Angela Epstein writing in The Telegraph poses an important question over whether to intervene if you witness someone being subjected to anti-Semitic abuse? However, she does so on the basis of a real life example experienced by her own son.

“Messages prefaced with the words “nothing to worry about” are almost always guaranteed to have the opposite effect.

And so it was the other day, when a text from my eldest son, Sam, began with this classic prologue.

In this case, it read “nothing to worry about, but…. just been verbally abused by a stranger calling me a ‘f***ing Jew’ on the Tube.”

I didn’t even have time to appreciate his deferential asterisks before dialling his number in frantic panic.

It turns out that as Sam and his girlfriend travelled the Northern Line on a lunchtime train, a complete stranger who appeared to be Muslim, began screaming at him for being Jewish. He also called Sam and his “people” murderers for killing “my people”.

(Sam, though dressed in typical student jeans and sweatshirt combo, was clearly picked out since he happened to be wearing a skullcap – something, as a proud Jew, he insists on doing.)

As the rant continued, the rest of the carriage buried their heads in their free newspapers or peered in fascination at their laps. Even though the stranger alighted at the same stop as Sam and persisted with his poisonous invective.

Fortunately my 23 year old son had the good sense to deprive his attacker of the oxygen of confrontation and walked away (although the incident has been reported to the police).

Your default position on reading this may well be, well, what were the other passengers supposed to do?”

What would you do if faced with or witnessing a similar situation? Let AntiSemitismWatch know via secretary@antisemitismwatch.com

 

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