David Baddiel’s 'Jews Don’t Count' gets people thinking

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David Baddiel: Jews Don’t Count (Channel 4, 9pm)

Over the past few years, more people than ever have been fighting the good fight against homophobia, disablism, transphobia and, particularly, racism.

However, at a time when important and urgent discussions are finally taking place about representation and inclusion, David Baddiel feels that Jews appear to have been neglected from the conversation – and in particular by those who consider themselves progressive.

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In this one-off documentary, based on his influential 2021 book, the 58-year-old writer and comedian explores why, in his opinion, antisemitism isn’t considered as unacceptable as other forms of discrimination.

Indeed, when we talk about antisemitism, many tend to think about Nazis or white supremacists claiming Jews as responsible for all the world’s evil.

But Baddiel, who describes himself as a Jewish atheist, has identified a less obvious form of antisemitism, arguing that Jews are often ignored by exactly those people on the progressive left who loudly and proudly support other minority groups.

Using examples from popular culture and theatre to football and politics, he asks why, at a time of extreme sensitivity about racism and discrimination, does there appear to be a lack of inclusion towards Jews?

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He talks candidly about the volume and frequency of anti-Semitic abuse he has personally experienced on social media and expresses the alienation he’s felt – as many Jews have – at the lack of support from what he considers to be his default political home.

He also has shocking, surprising, humorous and sometimes awkward conversations with a wide range of voices – including prominent Jewish figures like David Schwimmer, Stephen Fry, Sarah Silverman, Jonathan Safran Foer, Neil Gaiman, Miriam Margolyes, Howard Jacobson and Rachel Riley.

And in the end, he will ultimately ask why identity politics seems to have failed one particular identity and why Jews really should count.

He says: “I’m very excited to be given the chance to present my polemic about Jews not counting – not counting in the identity politics conversation, not counting as a real minority who experience real racism – on TV.

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“My critique is aimed mainly at progressives, at those people who care about minorities and racism – those people who consider themselves on the right side of history – and I think of a lot of those people as Channel 4 viewers.

“So let me thank Channel 4 in advance for giving me this opportunity to address, and maybe take apart a bit, their own audience’s self-image.”

One man who knows how to make a hard-hitting documentary is Louis Theroux.

He is also one of the executive producers of this programme through his company Mindhouse Productions, and adds: “I am delighted to be involved in bringing David Baddiel’s Jews Don’t Count to the screen.

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“With so much more awareness around the world about the importance of diversity and the reality of all kinds of racial bias, it seems the perfect time to take a thoughtful, challenging, and funny look at why Jewishness has sometimes been left out of the racial reckoning.

“This documentary is exactly what we need right now, a provocative and sparkling polemic that will start arguments and get people thinking about identity politics in a different way.”

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