Laziness at the Telegraph

April 22, 2013

Sometimes we Jews are accused of being too sensitive and of seeing ant-Semitism where none exists. I readily admit that this might be just such a case but I was incensed this morning by an article in the Telegraph.

The article in question is entitled “Disillusionment comes home to la France profonde” and is by an English journalist and author called Michael Wright who lives in rural France. The article is about the effect that the economic crisis is having on the French people and about how disillusioned they are becoming with their own country and the way it is run.

Writing about the consequences of President Hollande demanding that ministers make public all their bank accounts, Wright makes this observation. “Even the ones who aren’t millionaires have been pilloried in the press for stashing their shekels in underperforming accounts.” (My highlights.)

Now I do not know if Wright harbours anti-Semitic feelings and I am not accusing him of so doing. But why oh why did he use the word “shekel”? The currency of France is the euro. The shekel is the currency of the modern State of Israel and was the currency of biblical Judea. Its association with Jews is a matter of fact. And when used with a pejorative verb such as “to stash” it conforms with one of the most common of anti-semitic tropes, that of the money grabbing Jew.

I hope that his use of the word “shekel” rather than “euro” represents nothing more than a piece of lazy writing (and editing) although it does make me wonder about the thought process that led to its use.

The fact that seemingly it did go through the Telegraph’s editorial process unchallenged also highlights the way that casual anti-Semitism is fast becoming the norm in Britain today, often flying under the radar in a way that does not apply to other minorities. Maybe I am being too sensitive but I hope the Telegraph is more careful in future.