I have never written for the Daily Telegraph and I don’t share much of its politics. But if, like me, you have always been fascinated by the news, and remember yourself reading newspapers from the time you learned to read, then you’ll also share fond memories of the daily paper your parents bought.
That first newspaper where, in the pre-Internet era, you leafed through to check the football scores, followed the earliest election campaign you can remember, and where, for the first time, you deciphered a headline. In my case, I was five, and it was the report of the signing of the Camp David Accords between Israel and Egypt.
If you didn’t grow up in a Telegraph-reading home, you may not understand why after all these years, I still feel something vaguely reassuring whenever I’m in Britain to pick up a copy of its ridiculously massive broadsheet edition.
Yes, I know it’s hopelessly out of step with today’s Britain and probably already was all those years ago when I first read it, but it’s harmless nostalgia, interspersed with the occasional specimen of first-class journalism. Or so I thought until Thursday morning, when the Daily Telegraph ran an anti-Semitic main headline.
To understand what was anti-Semitic about it, first bear in mind that it had nothing to do with the Jews as a collective or with Israel. It dealt with an individual Jew, the financier George Soros, and didn’t identify him as such.
But two words in the headline – “Secret Plot” – said it all.
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