Sunday, January 31, 2010

Upper Crust and Upper Crumpet - Antisemitism in the UK

Extracted from the extract of Trials of the Diaspora by Anthony Julius

...Diana, Princess of Wales...telephoned me one afternoon and asked me to come to see her at her home in Kensington Palace...

...She was interested in Jews but had no idea about them, save that Jewish men (she had heard) were more likely than the men of her own class and background to treat women decently. She was happy to take Jews to be hostile to everything to which she herself was hostile. She once said to me that she should never have married into a German family.

...As a Jew I was an “outsider”, not “Establishment”, and this confirmed Diana’s own “outsider” status. I was also an “intellectual”, a contrast to the unacademic Diana. My background was middle-middle-class, a contrastwith Prince Charles’s lawyer, Fiona Shackleton, a partner at the royal family’s law firm.

The profiles tended to be uncertain how to assess the significance of my Jewish identity, save that they all took it to be of immense significance. I also started receiving odd letters during this time. Some gave me advice, some chastised me for disrespect towards the monarchy and some were anti-Semitic. It was all rather bemusing, but nothing more than an intermittent, minor distraction from the negotiations themselves.

The piece in the Saturday July 13, 1996 edition of The Daily Telegraph was of an entirely different order...“Unfortunately, her softly-softly approach is at odds with the more bullish attitude of the princess’s solicitor. Anthony ‘Genius’ Julius, 39, is not a divorce lawyer but a specialist in media law, acting for Robert Maxwell and once employed by the Daily Mail.

“His background could not be further from the upper-class world inhabited by his opposite number. He is a Jewish intellectual and Labour supporter and less likely to feel restrained by considerations of fair play...The author went on to speculate about whether I had secured a good settlement for the princess.

...The next day, at the foot of another story about the royal divorce, the following item appeared: “Our royal divorce coverage last Saturday...Intended to compare and contrast their styles, but without in any way seeking to question his professional integrity, we referred to Mr Julius’s background as a Jewish intellectual in a context which we now recognise, to our profound regret, to have appeared pejorative.

“Many readers have taken the strongest exception to this paragraph, making clear that they regard it as a racial slur. In acknowledging the force of this criticism, we offer our sincere apologies to Mr Julius and to all those who took offence.”

...Of course, one could not grow up as a Jew, living in part among Jews, without hearing of anti-Semitism. For Anglo-Jewry in general, anti-Semitism is the background noise against which we make our lives. Almost always barely audible, one then must strain to detect it, although very occasionally it irrupts into a dissonant, heart-stopping din. The question of the extent of my experience of anti-Semitism, then, is perhaps best answered thus: just enough. That is, just enough for it to inform my understanding of the subject but not so much as to overwhelm me...

Read it all!

1 comment:

sbobet said...

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