Often is it said that being a Jew is hard. This is not only because we have 606 more mitzvot to perform than the rest of the world, but also because we are a small people who suffer persecution.
We have only to look to the Labour antisemitism debacle to understand the fetid soup of conspiracy that unfortunately can surround us.
It is therefore a very great outrage when a prominent and identifiable Jew is convicted.
We remember the opprobrium poured onto Ernest Saunders and Sir Gerald Ronson at the time of the Guinness scandal. Much of this had to do with their Jewish ethnicity.
The Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal and his conviction, so soon after the Epstein scandal, has certainly done us no favours.
It doesn’t matter to our detractors that all of this abuse of others and sexual crime is several layers deep in prohibition.
The very disgust that we all feel at these heinous acts is borne into the wider world through our Jewish values, which even
our haters and abusers unwittingly share.
This is thus a lesson in the Third Commandment: “You shall not bear the name of the Lord your God in vain.”
Anything we do as an identifiable Jew can, and usually will, be used against us. We should therefore strive to adhere to the highest moral standards.
We cannot be responsible for Weinstein’s criminal acts, but we might be able to redress the antisemitic claims that his behaviour is particularly Jewish, by proving to the world that in fact the extreme opposite is the case.
- Rabbi Zvi Solomons serves JCoB, the independent Orthodox community in Reading, Berkshire