I had a CV workshop today. The organiser was half an hour late. I was just about to leave when he arrived. The receptionist didn’t know what was going on either. Apparently he had sent a text, but didn’t have my number. I was going to say that this is exactly what I expect from the state sector, but on reflection I’m not sure whether this is state sector or third sector (charitable) as it’s some kind of cooperative endeavour between the NHS and a mental health employment charity. Either way, the workshop was OK, but didn’t really tell me anything new. I think I’ve had enough advice. The problem is putting it into practice. I have another two sessions of this to come, though.
On the way home, I noticed a lot of Labour posters and boards. For the first time in my life, I was seriously tempted to vandalise private property. I wanted to write “ANTISEMITES” on every Labour board. They make me so angry. It’s not enough for me to worry about Labour winning; people online are already worried about antisemitic violence if Labour loses, and that seems all too possible (I was going to say that they have to win or lose so, but we could end up with a hung parliament again). The scariest thing this week in this regard was the historian Sir Richard Evans, who I previously had a lot of respect for (his book In Defence of History is the best introduction to historiography I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot), saying that Labour is antisemitic, and this upsets him, but he’s going to vote for them anyway. The irony, as many pointed out, is that Sir Richard is this country’s leading historian of Nazi Germany. No one knows better than him the danger of voting in an extremist party in the hope that they won’t follow through on their rhetoric if elected. So much for warnings from history. It prompted this thread I found on Twitter. It’s longish, but it boils down to this: within hard-left politics, “the elite” is now conflated with “the Zionists” and “rich Tory Jews” and that views about the Jews that were previously the preserve of the fringe (unreconstructed Stalinists etc.) have become mainstream in progressive politics as a whole and gone unchallenged by the liberal left, who prefer to pretend it doesn’t exist to keep a united front against the Conservative Party. Enter Sir Richard.
It terrifies me. For the first time in my life – in the life of myself and my parents – I’m worried about serious antisemitism in this country. Not the minor antisemitism that I learnt to put up with from a young age (people shouting, “Fucking Jew” “Hitler’s coming” etc. or throwing pennies… I suppose you would call it ‘microaggressions’ these days, were it not that the people who talk about microaggressions are the people who insist that Jews are white and privileged and don’t experience antisemitism any more), but organised, large-scale violence. We’ve already seen this to some extent in the violence against synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and kosher shops in the UK that accompany flare-ups in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, but now potentially we have could have a government that encourages, or at least ignores, such violence. And Jeremy Corbyn victim-blames by saying the Jewish community should “Engage” with him, even though historically he has tried to avoid talking to any Jewish representatives other than fringe groups that agree with him. This is not just my worry. Figures like David Toube of the anti-extremist organisation Quilliam and the historian Simon Sebag-Montefiore are seriously talking about it. I’ve seriously been running through scenarios in my head about under what circumstances I would start talking to my parents about fleeing the country and whether a Labour government would expropriate the property of fleeing Jews (because all Jews are capitalists grown wealthy by sponging parasitically off “ordinary working people” so seizing their money is morally justified).
I didn’t want to post all this. I’ve been going back and forth all week about writing about this and I kept deciding that this is not a political blog and, anyway, most people reading this are not going to vote for Labour, either because I know they support a different party or because they don’t live in the UK. However, this is a mental health blog and I am genuinely feeling extremely depressed and anxious about this whole situation. This is not just something ‘out there’ on Twitter or the media, but something affecting how I live my life from day to day.
In the afternoon, when not freaking out about politics, I spoke to my rabbi mentor and worked on the library proposal. I’ve found a CILIP salary survey with average, minimum and maximum salaries for different job titles in different sectors which might help me work out what salary to request, although it’s hard to find an exact parallel – the library is smaller than an academic library, so comparing with third sector libraries might be more sensible than the academic sector.
I went to shiur (religious class) which wasn’t good. The content was OK, but largely based on stuff I don’t agree with, like taking Midrashim (rabbinic expansions of Bible stories) very literally or assuming that non-Jews won’t have Olam HaBa (I’m not sure if Olam HaBa in the context of this shiur meant the world after the Messiah comes or the afterlife, but either way I’m fairly sure there will be non-Jews there and have sources to support my position). Plus I didn’t eat any of the junk food there. I ate almost no junk all week, although I do eat too many nuts and raisins, plus I basically eat four meals a day because on many days I get hungry or even faint and eat cereal before going to bed, which I probably wouldn’t do so much if I wasn’t up so late.
There is, as ever, a lot more I want to say. I feel like I’m drowning in Stuff To Do and don’t have enough time or energy, but it’s hard to say this to anyone as I seem (to the outside observer) to have so much time. But I sleep ten hours or more (and still wake tired) and everything takes me longer and I need recovery time for every little thing, but especially anything involving physical exertion (like walking to the shops) or interacting with people and then I get lost in depressed or anxious thoughts even without the election… I’m just treading water, maybe not even that. I haven’t felt remotely on top of things for two months, since the Yom Tovim (Jewish festivals) started. But, I should relax, or try to relax, and go to bed.