Sunday, June 14, 2009

The BNP on Jewish Continuity

The Independent sent Peter Victor to interview the British National Party's newly elected MEP Nick Griffin. (He's black, and so the discussion is about why the BNP want him to leave England).

Halfway through the interview, when discussing intermarriage, he mentions Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks:

What would he do, then, if one of his three daughters brought home someone like me? "I would be as disappointed, as I know many Sikhs, Hindus and black people would be, and I'd talk to them both about it, try and put them off. But in the end that's their business.

"Children grow up and do their own thing. I wouldn't go as far as, say, someone from the orthodox Jewish community could well do, which is to hold a funeral, a symbolic funeral for them. But I would ask you again – unless you're going to condemn the Chief Rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, for writing a book called Will We Have Jewish Grandchildren? – don't call me a racist, or some kind of wicked bigot, for saying I would be very disappointed."

Intermarriage is indeed a difficult thing for most Orthodox Jewish parents to accept (although the symbolic funeral is something I have never seen - what I have seen is the exact opposite). And Jonathan Sacks did indeed write a book about Jewish continuity.

But Jonathan Sacks also wrote a book called The Dignity of Difference, arguing not simply for tolerance of difference, but for a celebration of difference as a cure to intolerance. It is a powerful a call for a new religious pluralism.

That's not BNP.

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