Miliband, Mail and antisemitism

Referring to the Daily Mail’s recent attack on the Miliband family a headteacher says that ‘if the Mail speaks for Britain, it is not a Britain I want to be part of.’ He continues: ‘It sets a very bad example to young people to belittle someone who is dead. I think it is nasty, it lacks taste and decency, and I worry about antisemitism. Everything that I value and try to get across to young people here, this seems to cut across. It is antithetical to everything I try to teach our pupils. The constant trashing of people for the sake of selling newspapers is demeaning and destructive of trust.’

A Church of England bishop criticises the Mail for being a dangerous influence to public life. ‘Its article about the Miliband family was not just a matter of taste, but a matter of the corruption of civic life and the public discourse … The Mail knows exactly what it is doing. I believe it is both corrupt and dangerous.’

It is now widely recognised that the Daily Mail’s recent attack on the Miliband family was an outbreak of anti-Jewish racism. ‘Mrs Cohen,’ says a headline, ‘the Mail is talking about you, too.’ ‘What does it mean,’ asks another, ‘to call a Jewish person “un-British”? ‘Antisemitism doesn’t always come doing a Hitler salute,’ observes a third, commenting that ‘hatred of Jews is often more coded than explicit’, and that the Daily Mail’s attack ‘pressed all the same old buttons’. Ed Miliband, says a fourth headline, interpreting the Mail’s message, is ‘a Jew not quite English enough’. A senior rabbi asks: ‘What is really going on at the Daily Mail? … Their attack on Ralph Miliband is so preposterous that there must be a hidden motive behind it. But what? … Why is the Mail claiming he was so evil?’

There is a short discussion by Robin Richardson of these allegations and comments, and of the persistence and changing dynamics of antisemitism at the present time, at http://leftcentral.org.uk/2013/10/10/miliband-the-mail-and-antisemitism-some-points-arising/ .

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