“‘So, the first question we must ask ourselves is, what is a Boggart?’
Hermione put up her hand. ‘It’s a shape-shifter,’ she said. ‘It can take the shape of whatever it thinks will frighten us most.’
‘Couldn’t have put it better myself,’ said Professor Lupin, and Hermione glowed. ‘So the Boggart sitting in the darkness within has not yet assumed a form. He does not yet know what will frighten the person on the other side of the door. …
Yesterday, I found myself in a Youtube rabbit hole and as it’s currently Pesach I clicked on a video titled, ‘The Prince of Egypt in the West End | “When You Believe” performance’. As a huge fan of the original film (which I watched after Seder on Saturday) I excitedly clicked on the link.
As I watched the performance, my first question was whether these actors were Jewish? The importance of Pesach as a fundamental Jewish story is clearly fresh in my mind and I was curious as to whether these actors, portraying some of the most important people in…
When I was writing my book, Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People, I struggled with what to call Jew-hatred. Should I describe ‘the world’s oldest hatred’ as ‘Jew-hate’, ‘anti-Jewish racism’ or should I stick with the standard descriptor, ‘antisemitism’ (with no hyphen, of course)? Ultimately I decided to use all three, but let me explain the reason for my initial questioning. I take great issue with the term ‘antisemitism’, a term popularised by Wilhelm Marr in his 1879 article, The Victory Of Judaism Over Germanism (although Marr spelled it with a hyphen). This new term was coined to replace the historic…
I would like to propose a new sub-categorisation of antisemitism:
It is connected to other categorisations of antisemitism, such as Conspiracy Fantasy which is why I offer it as a sub-categorisation as opposed to a distinct categorisation of its own.
It can take two forms:
1. The erasure of Jewish identity.
2. The erasure of Jews as victims of prejudice.
The Erasure of Jewish Identity
On the 18th of September 2020, the first night of Rosh Hashanah, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died.
There was a time that I would brace for impact whenever I told people that I was Jewish.
I was never scared for my physical safety, but I was always nervous about how people would receive me.
Would they berate me about Israel? Would they tell me that Jews should have learned from the Shoah? Would they make a joke about Jews and money?
After years of enduring this kind of abuse — particularly at university — there came a time that I didn’t want to brace for impact anymore. There came a time when I didn’t want to be…
I have lived in Hong Kong for three (non-consecutive) years. Initially, I was the Director of Education at the Hong Kong Holocaust and Tolerance Centre and latterly I became a Humanities Teacher at an International School. Since moving to Hong Kong I have experienced antisemitism several times. Each and every time I have been a victim of antisemitism the perpetrator was Western. It was a westerner that told me that if Nazi war criminals were still being tried then Israelis should be tried too. It was a westerner that told me the Jews should have learned from the Holocaust and…
Today Medhi Hasan announced his victory over Melanie Phillips and Dr Einat Wilf in a debate over whether antizionism is antisemitism.
For context, the ADL defines antisemitism as “The belief or behaviour hostile toward Jews just because they are Jewish.” They define Zionism as, “ the Jewish national movement of self-determination in the land of Israel — the historical birthplace and biblical homeland of the Jewish people.” Merriam Webster defines antizionism as, “Opposition to the establishment or support of the state of Israel: opposition to Zionism”
To be clear, antizionism is antisemitism, not only in its content but it also…
This week I discovered the lengths that pro-Corbyn supporters will go to to silence Jews who speak out against his antisemitism.
After the election of Lisa Forbes, the Labour MP for Peterborough, I tweeted something that I and many other Jewish people and our allies believe: That Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to the Jewish community:
‘Are you gay, Mr Freeman’, asked my eight-year-old student today.
‘Why do you ask?’, I responded.
‘Well, Janine* in Grade Four said you were and I wondered.’
‘Oh’, I said, ‘Well there is nothing wrong with being gay.’ And with that, I changed the subject.
The truth is, this simple question of just five words made me freeze. I felt instantly uncomfortable, emotional and then the shame set in and then I felt shame for feeling ashamed.
For the record, I am an out and proud teacher when working with High School and University students and I am a proud…
Ben M. Freeman is a Jewish educator and author of Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People.