Rachel Riley vows to keep fighting the ‘Pandora’s box of antisemitism’
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Rachel Riley vows to keep fighting the ‘Pandora’s box of antisemitism’

Countdown presenter and activist against Jew-hate made her remarks during Limmud Together event featuring the winning trio of Jewish News' Forty under 40 list

Rachel Riley  (Credit: Yakir Zur)
Rachel Riley (Credit: Yakir Zur)

Rachel Riley yesterday vowed to keep using her platform to fight the “Pandora’s box of antisemitism,” but expressed relief that the “immediate danger of an antisemite” becoming Prime Minister had passed.

Her comments came during a Limmud Together UK Summer session in which the winning trio of the Jewish News Forty under 40 list reflected on the challenges ahead for the community.

Riley, who placed second on the list, added: “The last few months have been an incendiary time in general, not just for the Jewish community. George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent explosion of the Black Lives Matter movement has shone a spotlight on racism and how online hate translates into the real world.”

The 34-year-old Countdown presenter’s journey into one of the most vocal campaigners against antisemitism began with the torrent of abuse and physical threats from Labour activists in response to her criticism of Jeremy Corbyn.

Her concerns were echoed by Danny Stone, Director of the Antisemitism Policy Trust, a role the 39-year-old has held since 2009.

“I do worry about rising antisemitism. When the economy is shaky and people are scared about their future, we know this is rife territory for antisemitism to grow.”

Danny Stone

The antisemitism guru, who placed third on this year’s list, added: “I also worry that the more time people are spending online, the more they are encountering hate material. We have seen numerous examples of COVID-related antisemitism: people blaming Jewish people for either inventing COVID or seeking to attack Jewish people with COVID.”

More than 250 people joined the popular panel session, held over Zoom and hosted by former Labour MP and Top Forty under 40 winner Luciana Berger.

Mental health campaigner Jonny Benjamin, who ranked top of the list, urged the community to refocus attention on “young people’s mental health and wellbeing,” warning that issues of addiction and suicide remained taboo subjects.

Jonny Benjamin

Yet the former JFS pupil also expressed optimism that “young people are more motivated and outspoken” than when he attended school. The 32-year-old remarked that the students he meets are “more open about sexuality, mental health and the activism they are undertaking.”

“This makes me feel positive about the future,” he added.

The panel also recounted what they had missed during the lockdown. Jonny Benjamin movingly described his pain at being unable to hug his nieces, whilst Danny Stone longed for the return of competitive wrestling and Rachel Riley for the “banter without harm” that is football.

Danny Stone concluded the discussion: “The 40 under 40 list shows you can be a successful civil servant, educator or whatever you want to be. Hopefully this will inspire young people to see the diversity and potential they have.”

 

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

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.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

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...

Engaging

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.

Celebrating

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.

Pioneering

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.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

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.

read more:
comments