Howard Jacobson in the Evening Standard

I am posting on this interview with Howard Jacobson at the suggestion of ‘damon’ who is a regular Pickled Politics commenter – and an occasional Harry’s Place commenter too.  It has already been the subject of a short post by Sunny Hundal.  The relevant part of Howard Jacobson’s comment is this:

The good thing that came out of the riots was a renewed sense of community. “How does one put this without sounding gross … it was terrific to see the Asian communities on telly and not to have to think about terrorism, and not to have to think about the thing I’m always thinking about… do they want to kill Jews.

I sympathised with some of the (unsurprisingly) rather indignant responses on Pickled Politics– but (I suppose because I rather like HJ) felt a personal impulse to try to excavate some more positive reading:

Could it be a bit more multilayered? Could it partly be a critique of the media coverage of terrorism? Is that phrase ‘the thing I’m always thinking about’ self-critical, or self-parodic in any way?

Another commenter on PP made, I thought, an apt observation about the irony of this being picked up on by Mehdi Hassan (in a tweet).


I think while reading this on Pickled Politics I felt empathy for those who felt upset by this remark – even though some of them are people I disagree with on other matters, and even though I found some of the comments on the thread unhelpful.  I’m now concerned that I may, in posting this, have failed to empathise with those who worry, personally, about antisemitism.  ‘Chairwoman’ thoughtfully notes that it’s important to confront our fears and prejudices – which are, to some extent, beyond our control.

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