In a special address given at the Kristelnacht 70th year commemoration event in Westcliff last Saturday night, leading British rabbi Yitzchak Schochet delivered a key note address in which he warned of the increasing anti Semitism in all parts of Europe.
Schochet drew references from the current credit crunch about which he said, “we live in a changing world as ever shifting cautionary winds sweep through our lives. And whatever the challenges that the current global crisis presents, there are always those looking for scapegoats – somewhere to vent. And with the proliferation of modern technology it is all too easy to spew venom and put malicious rumors out there. And there are always going to be those who listen to them and amongst those, some who actually believe them.”
Most notable however was his referene to a play currently showing in The National Theatre in London: “Take for example the new play Gethsemane playing at the National in which Jews are depicted in a vile manner. Sad as it is that a play can get away with this in 2008, it is even more disturbing that an audience can be entertained by it. It reflects an anti Semitic undercurrent that is every bit as alive today as it was seventy years ago.
“There are governments who vow to stamp this out – but a government is only as good as its practice not its preaching, and only effective when in power and useless when replaced by extremism, which can only get there on account of our own apathy – our own indifference.”
Schochet’s remarks made headline news on Sky TV last night, and was a main feature in The Independent Newspaper today.