It did not take long for antisemites to lay the cause of the global financial disaster squarely at the collective feet of the Jewish people. Like the nasty urban myths spawned by previous crises — such as the false claim that hundreds of Israelis mysteriously “failed to turn up for work” in the Twin Towers on the morning of September 11, 2001 — Israelis, Zionists or just plain old Jews were apparently both the cause and the exploiters of the current financial crash. Whether it was the Lehman Brothers executives (Jewish, of course) who sent $400bn to Israel on the eve of the bank’s collapse, or the bad banking practices put in place by the “Jewish lobby” — thanks for that one, Hamas — the only surprising aspect of these stories is that they took so long to emerge. And so it was heart-warming to hear the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, laud Jewish values so abundantly at this week’s UJIA annual dinner. Apparently, it is just those values that might help see us through the stormy days of the credit crisis and back into the calm waters of a new era of economic prudence and stability. “Hope is the defining theme of Jewish history,” Mr Brown told his audience, as he called for “morals” in the markets, based on “transparency, integrity, responsibility, [and] good housekeeping”. Let us hope for all our sakes — not least the charities that rely on our community’s generosity — that such values, combined with Chancellor Alistair Darling’s vast bank rescue plan, will indeed save us all from financial despair.