Channel 4 has engaged a famous personality to deliver this year’s alternative Christmas message, in which they will condemn the recent rise in antisemitism.
In October of this year, just after the terrorist group Hamas carried out horrendous assaults on Israeli people, the Metropolitan Police reported a 1,353% spike in antisemitic and 140% increase in Islamophobic offences in London compared to the previous year.
The ensuing battle has caused outrage and destruction, with people all over the globe expressing their sadness for the innocent Palestinians who have been hurt and murdered in Gaza and appealing for the release of Israeli captives still held by Hamas.
Channel 4 will broadcast its annual Alternative Christmas Message on Christmas Day, the same day King Charles III will address the country, with the aid of TV and cinema legend Stephen Fry.
The 66-year-old will discuss his personal Jewish identity, highlighting the impact that the recent surge in antisemitism has had on communities.
‘Exclusion, exile and disgrace had been and surely always would be the fate of the homosexual,’ he will say in his speech.
‘But, look, in my short lifetime – well, I think of it as short – Britain has moved towards an understanding and acceptance of gay love.
‘All right, it’s not, it’s not perfect of course, but what an improvement over the grim culture in which I grew up.’
The former QI host will then speak about his Jewish identity, explaining that he never thought it would be something that he ‘had any cause to worry about in this country’.
‘I don’t think of myself as especially Jewish. Indeed, sometimes people rather embarrassingly refer to me as “quintessentially English”, whatever that means,’ he will state.
He then will say that he accepts and claims his Jewish identity with ‘pride’, declaring: ‘I am Stephen Fry and I am a Jew.’
Speaking of the war between Israel and Hamas, the former Blackadder star will say: ‘The horrendous events of October 7 and the Israeli response seem to have stirred up this ancient hatred.
‘It’s agonising to see all the violence and destruction that’s unfolding, and the terrible loss of life on both sides brings me an overwhelming sadness and heartache.
‘But whatever our opinions on what is happening, there can be no excuse for the behaviour of some of our citizens.’
He will then cite Metropolitan Police figures on the astonishing rise in antisemitism since Hamas’ heinous October 7 attack, stating that there have been’shop windows smashed, Stars of David and swastikas daubed on walls of Jewish properties, synagogues, and cemeteries,’ as well as Jewish schools forced to close.
‘There is real fear stalking the Jewish neighbourhoods of Britain,’ he will say.
‘Jewish people here are becoming fearful of showing themselves, in Britain, in 2023.’
He will conclude his alternative Christmas message by pushing viewers to’speak out’ and’stand’ with Jews, finishing with the urge to ‘be glad to have us as much a part of this magnificent nation as any other minority’.
Channel 4’s chief content officer, Ian Katz, expressed his hope that Stephen’s “brave and personal intervention” will encourage others to stand up against antisemitism in a statement on the Alternative Christmas Message.
‘It’s inevitable that the horrific events in Israel and Gaza have caused strong feelings across the world, but the sharp rise in antisemitic incidents in this country has been profoundly shocking and left many British Jews feeling fearful and isolated,’ he said.
‘I hope Stephen’s brave and personal intervention will draw attention to a form of racism that does not always attract the same concern and condemnation as other forms of hate and remind us that we all have a role to play in defending British values of respect and tolerance.’