Our Jewish duty
It could hardly be a more dissonant conjunction. Earlier this week, the artist Anish Kapoor used the award of the Genesis Prize to “speak out against indifference for the suffering of others”, as he put it. He went on to argue that “as inheritors and carriers of Jewish values it is unseemly … for us to ignore the plight of people who are persecuted, who have lost everything and had to flee as refugees in mortal danger.” The relevance of his message was rammed home days later, when the Home Office announced the closure of the so-called ‘Dubs Scheme’ for bringing lone child refugees to the UK. After one last group of 150, the scheme will end. Eight decades ago, we opened our doors to some 10,000 child refugees from Nazi persecution through the Kindertransport. Even if the moral aspect is ignored, they have repaid the UK’s hospitality many times over with their contribution to society. We are now exponentially more wealthy than our grandparents. The idea that we cannot afford to take in any more children is not merely risible — it is shameful. Anish Kapoor is right. We have a duty to speak out.