It seems that some out there in the right-leaning part of our free and fearless press - which, sadly, means most of it nowadays - are still willing to call out racism where, to paraphrase what the man said in North By Northwest, there ain’t no racism. And the latest victim of this exercise in pointless name-calling is children’s author Michael Rosen, for whom being Jewish is no defence against accusations of anti-Semitism.
I've been called WHAT?
Rosen, along with film director Ken Loach of I, Daniel Blake fame, has been sought out by the Show Racism The Red Card campaign: “Children’s author and poet Michael Rosen and filmmaker Ken Loach have been confirmed as judges for the Show Racism the Red Card School Competition this year. The two big names will help choose the most inspiring and original creative designs produced by young people on the theme of anti-racism”.
There was more. “Chief Executive Ged Grebby said: ‘Michael and Ken are both valued supporters of Show Racism the Red Card and we’re delighted that they’ve agreed to judge this year’s School Competition. The competition attracts thousands of young people to take part and I can’t think of two people better qualified to choose the winners’”.
Thus SRTRC Tweeted out the news, and soon afterwards, among the usual trolls and bots, a supposedly real journalist called Sarah Ebner (she’s “rather busy”, you know) retorted “Wow. Interesting choices to say the least. I can’t understand why you would pick people who have had such problematic relationships with many in the Jewish community. There must be other possible judges out there. Racism AND Antisemitism both need to be ‘shown the red card’”. Er, anti-Semitism IS racism, thanks.
Rosen wondered what her problem might be. “Can you tell me why I'm not suitable to judge a poetry competition about racism in football? Are you aware of what this looks like? Dubbing me as someone who has ‘a problematic relationship with many in the Jewish community’? What is ‘problematic’? Who are the ‘many’? What ‘relationship’? Who decides? Do you think your innuendo has any legal implications?”. Indeed.
Roger Jarman interjected “And what is the ‘Jewish community’? Do all those who self identify as Jewish or are of Jewish heritage share common interests, views and ambitions? Or perhaps there is a smaller group of ‘good Jews’ with whom the ‘not so good Jews’ relate? And who decides who is ‘good’?” And Rosen was not finished.
“Along with HistoryWorks Cambridge I worked with 5000 school students and teachers on Holocaust Education last month. ‘Problematic’? Does it make me not suitable to judge a children’s poetry competition on racism and football?” A Tweeter called Ms Ebner stupid.
She wasn’t having that. “Ha ha ha. I showed concern for a community that has felt beleaguered over the past few years & that makes me stupid. Obviously there’s no point looking to bring people together/being against all forms of racism. Nah, that makes someone stupid. Glad you can see it all that clearly”. Another urged her to “Stop digging”.
And coming from someone who has in the past taken the Murdoch shilling - Rupe infamously railed against the “Jewish owned press” - this is just a bit rich.
But good to see the Tel’s people are as silly as ever. Even when they’re rather busy.
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