What it feels like to be a Jewish Labour supporter.
In one word, disappointed.
When I was in my Jewish primary school, one day the school was spray-painted with antisemitic graffiti.
Around aged 11, I went to Thorpe Park with other kids from my Synagogue. We had “fucking Jews” screamed out of a moving car at as we were going inside by adult men.
I started high school. We had a security guard at the gate every day. My local friends from outside of the school remarked that it looked like a prison, with walls and gates, high and spiked.
When I had my bat mitzvah, I was told not to wear my Star of David necklaces outside of safe places.
When I was 13 and walking home from school, in the uniform of my Jewish school, I had “Jew” screamed at me out the window of a moving car by an adult man.
When I was 14 I had my first boyfriend. His best friend text him a different Jew joke every single day we were together for months. He ran out of jokes, eventually.
I had to receive training on how to deal with antisemitic attacks or terrorist events when volunteering at a Jewish summer camp.
When I started uni, I lost count of the antisemitic jokes and tropes handed to me.
Every synagogue I’ve ever attended has had security outside. Most Jewish events are hidden, won’t put “Jewish” in their title, or use coded language for venues. Keeping each other safe is a community duty.
Every time a Labour MP, candidate, Councillor, or even a member is antisemitic it just makes me sad. I joined because I strongly believe in centre-left values, like equality and freedom.
I feel like we are politically toxic. No one seems to understand that this stuff is deeply hurtful and offensive. No one from the top has really taken the time to apologise or to reconcile. Sadiq Khan has done great work with the Jewish community lately, and John McDonnell seems to be trying his best. But apologies, of which there have been many, are met with a backlash of tweets and comments about the holocaust or Hitler. The online mob seems to think they shouldn’t apologise at all.
And an apology isn’t positive. It’s a sign of wrongdoing. Of guilt. It’s not a sign of inclusion.
I’m overwhelmingly disappointed. But I’m not surprised. Antisemitism comes in circles. It was bound to crop up again. I was hoping not in my lifetime, but here it is.
I’m sad, I’m disappointed, and I’m prepared. The community takes these attacks on the chin, turning ourselves inwards for support. If being Jewish stops a party accepting me, fine. We’ll look inwards.
I want to be a full member of society, and every time the party with the largest membership in the country turns its back on me, I guess I’ll have to turn my back too. I’m disappointed, but the further Labour walks away from me, the more the Jewish community will have to protect itself.