British Actress Speaks Out on Racist Abuse Suffered by Jewish Women: ‘We Will Not Be Silenced’
British Jewish actress Tracy-Ann Oberman wrote about the “sexual, fetishist, personal and brutal” abuse experienced by Jewish women in an article published on Monday, which marked International Women’s Day.
“I have discovered that Jewish women have long held a special place in the heart of Jew haters and misogynists,” Oberman wrote in an article published by The Times. “In recent years I chose to challenge. Sticking my head above the social media parapets to speak out … In attacking me, my allies and Jewish sisters the abuse was sexual, fetishist, personal, brutal, full of smears and lies and with one aim: make us shut up and go away. Which we didn’t.”
The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was #ChooseToChallenge, a call to confront gender bias and inequality.
Oberman’s article accompanied a video message from the actress discussing the “distinct link” between misogyny and antisemitism. The clip was published on Monday as part of “We are truthers,” an educational campaign launched by the Antisemitism Policy Trust and the Community Security Trust.
In her Times article, Oberman also noted how the coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a rise in antisemitism. “The pandemic has forced us further online, but the abuse hasn’t let up. I have been attacked by mainly men, across far left and far right, calling me a Rothschild whore, a Zio Shill, a hag and unnatural,” she wrote. “But like my foremothers, I won’t go quietly. I am proud to stand against them for myself, for my community and for the next group of women they will target.”
“We continue to challenge, so that our daughters and granddaughters don’t have to face similar abuse,” she continued.
Oberman called on the the Law Commission — an independent body that recommends legal reforms in England and Wales — to “better understand and act” on intersectional hate crime. She referenced the Online Safety Bill upcoming before the British parliament, which would impose requirements on social media and internet companies to curb misinformation.
“[Members of parliament] must make us safer online and when the harms are defined, intersectional abuse should be a part of the conversation,” Oberman said. “Until then, through the pandemic and beyond, we choose to challenge. We remain unafraid and deeply proud of our heritage and who we are. We will not be silenced.”