I grew up in south Wales. In the main life was good for Jews. Successive immigrations, Italians, Caribbeans, Greeks, Asian and Jews, all integrated well. I guess if we all “hated” the English, life was good.
However, there were flare ups of Jew hatred. One day while waiting for the school bus, I was set upon by four guys, who I had hitherto thought of as my friends. They pinned me to the floor, while a fifth guy took his ruler and measured my nose. They had fun and I was left as the bloodied victim. And that was the last day I was a victim. I joined the school rugby squad and from that day on, I was no longer the victim, I was no longer afraid, and anyone who dared, had to contend with the rugby squad. It is worth remembering at this point that many Welsh rugby forwards have necks bigger than Victoria Beckham’s waist!
The world seems to love dead Jews, victim Jews and frightened Jews. They build us memorials, attend our commemorations and provide us with security.
Shul attendance is up, attendance at communal events is up, restaurants and coffee shops are full and with thanks to CST and the police, our community is able to function sensibly and securely.
For that we must show gratitude . Of course, we are grateful.
The Royal Family and UK Government have shown time and again that it supports us and we must always show gratitude and respect for that.
However, led by the indomitable Gerald Ronson, our community has shown that gratitude, while shaking off the victimhood and trembling Jew image of the past. Gerald’s CST protects us while we go about our lives, strong and proud. Even at times of real threat, the CST leads us in not cowering, not hiding and not trembling. We know that there are threats and concerns.
Organised groups and lone wolves may seek to harm us, but we are led wisely to take precautions. Why? Because no one attacks a Welsh rugby forward; no one attacks a strong person. Show weakness and the enemy revels.
So why do we have to put up with day after day of organisations within our community and even some of the leadership too, telling the world how frightened we are, how we feel threatened and how concerned we are. That message is exactly what the terrorists want to achieve, to terrorise us.
Family from Israel call me to ask how we are, how we are coping and imploring us to stay safe. Please can we stop this? Can we stop cowering and pleading victimhood?
Can we take a leaf out of Gerald Ronson’s playbook and show leadership, strength, pride and wisdom. If those who plead victimhood would only look, they would see our community going about its regular life, with pride. Shul attendance is up, attendance at communal events is up, restaurants and coffee shops are full and with thanks to CST and the police, our community is able to function sensibly and securely.
The message that Jews want to hear is thanks to the CST, and thanks to the police, who share our concerns. We will not cower and we will not be frightened.
• Shimon Cohen, chairman of The PR Office, writes in a personal capacity.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.