In a powerful essay for the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has decried the tendency in society to be dismissive of antisemitism, writing: “Antisemitism is at the heart of racism. Yet, because it is so deeply entrenched in our thought and culture, it is often ignored and dismissed.”
Showing a strong grasp of the potent ability of antisemitism to mutate, he wrote: “It latches onto a variety of different issues: financial inequality, wars and depressions, education, politics and government, grave international issues, such as the rights of Israelis and Palestinians, and interfaith tensions. It twists them to its own ends, with the perverted and absurd argument that a small group runs or plots against our society and manipulates international affairs.”
The Archbishop also had strong words about the role of the Church of England in the spread of antisemitism, writing: “It is a shameful truth that, through its theological teachings, the church, which should have offered an antidote, compounded the spread of this virus.”
As patron of the Council of Christians and Jews, the Archbishop has warm relations with the Jewish community. In his essay he listed some of the accomplishments of British Jews and called on society to act against antisemitism for the good of all of society: “The goal is ambitious but attainable: if we eliminate antisemitism we take a huge step in undermining the whole tradition of racism in our society.”
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