Countdown star Rachel Riley says she has been left ‘shaking with fear’ due to amount of hatred for British Jews she has seen since Hamas terror attack on Israel
- Countdown’s Rachel Riley said the events have frequently brought her to tears
- The star told MailOnline: ‘Sometimes I go online and I’m terrified’
Countdown star Rachel Riley says the amount of hatred she has witnessed for British Jews since the attack on Israel has left her ‘shaking with fear’.
The 37-year-old Jewish star, who has had long running battles with the Corbynite wing of the Labour party over antisemitism, told how the events of recent weeks have left her frequently in tears – and she has witnessed a torrent of abuse and misinformation.
But she said the positive support in contrast had been ‘heartening’ – including the 50,000 British people who signed their name to an ‘October Declaration’ speaking out against antisemitism and the need to call out Hamas as ‘terrorists’.
Rachel told MailOnline: ‘Sometimes I go online and I’m terrified by this huge overwhelming amount of people who seem to be baying for blood.
‘For me and my Jewish friends, the pain and the stress are something we are all struggling with.
‘We are crying when we wake up, we are struggling to sleep and the images of carnage are hard to get out of your head.
‘People are scared, they are hiding themselves, antisemitic attacks have gone up by more than 1000 per cent in London. The last global survey found there were 1.09billion people in the world who hold antisemitic views – so for every Jew on the planet there are 70 people who hate them. This is the scale we are dealing with.’
Countdown’s Rachel Riley spoke of how the events of recent weeks have left her frequently in tears – and she has witnessed a torrent of abuse and misinformation
The 37-year-old Jewish star told MailOnline: ‘For me and my Jewish friends, the pain and the stress are something we are all struggling with’
People celebrating the Hamas atrocity in Israel outside a café in Acton, West London
Rachel added: ‘But really there are a lot of people who support us and there are also people who are terrified about making a mis-step, saying the wrong thing, because they don’t know enough about the conflict.
‘Social media is polarising and those letters make you realise it is just a snapshot.’
The star was in a local restaurant on October 7 when she saw pro-Palestinian locals were dancing in the street in celebration of the Hamas attacks – something she put on her social media account.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations started almost immediately while there was a celebrity letter headed by Steve Coogan, Tilda Swinton and Charles Dance, in which the massacre of 1400 Israelis wasn’t even mentioned.
But Rachel was moved by a contrasting action from Hollywood stars, including Madonna, Bradley Cooper, Chris Rock and Gwyneth Paltrow who signed the No Hostage Left Behind Campaign in support of Israel.
READ MORE: Rachel Riley leads backlash against celebratory scenes following bloody massacre in Israel
She said: ‘The new letter from the Hollywood stars feels in stark contrast to what we are dealing with in the UK where we have so many proud and open antisemites.’
‘There are people in this country – and we’ve seen this conflict before – who appear to dedicate their lives to anti-Israel activism. They don’t do that with facts, they don’t do it calmly.
‘And even when they have seen 1400 innocent people brutalised in the most appalling way, they say nothing, just as they say nothing about the 350,000 killed in Syria or the genocide of the Uighur people in China.
‘And it feels like people are scared to denounce that.
‘On social media there is so much denial and hatred. At least some of that hatred is being funded by genocidal antisemitic countries who are using this as a method to win a PR battle. It feels like there is so much misinformation, hostility, hatred.
‘I don’t want innocent people to die, of course I don’t. But this is something that Hamas has started with its horrific actions. That is why it is important that people who have reputations, and are well-loved, have the moral compass to say, “this is wrong”.’
The presenter also criticised media organisations, particularly the BBC, over its reporting of a bomb blast at the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza when it repeated Hamas propaganda that it had been deliberately attacked by Israel and 500 were dead.
Both Britain and America, as well as independent reports, have backed Israeli claims that it was a local rocket which had misfired and hit the hospital’s car park.
On the night, BBC correspondent Jon Donnison said it was ‘hard to see’ what else could have happened at the hospital other than an ‘Israeli air strike’. The corporation gave a tepid apology two days later.
‘There is a phrase that a lie will get halfway around the world before the truth has got its pants on and you could really see this with the hospital strike, with the BBC saying one thing even as others were saying it was likely to be a misfired rocket,’ said Rachel.
‘So they were accusing the Israelis of committing this horrendous act based on the world of Hamas – the terrorists who rip babies out of their mother’s stomachs.
‘And then from this one report you see outrage and hatred online getting many more likes than there are Jews in this country.
‘The willingness of people, who should know better, to believe misinformation is terrifying. It leads to huge waves of antisemitism. And for the BBC to continue with this farce of calling terrorists militants is grotesque, utterly indefensible.
‘It is not a neutral position and it puts the idea in people’s heads that there is a moral equivalence, that is complicated. But terror attacks are never complicated.
‘And so I thank everyone who is standing up for us, demanding the hostages are brought home. It means so much and I know it will for the families who have lost loved ones.’
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