"That, dear viewer, is anti-Semitism. At its deadliest and most depraved. Which is how it always ends up. Which is why it can't be tolerated. Those still in doubt need to educate themselves. Fast." @afneil opening #bbctw pic.twitter.com/MFi7pYorkB— BBC This Week (@bbcthisweek) March 29, 2018
Welcome to This Week. I arrived in France last Friday afternoon just as the terrorist attack in the small south-western town of Trèbes was unfolding. It was over by bedtime. Three folks murdered, the Islamist terrorist killed, the policeman who had swapped himself for a hostage in hospital. We all awoke on Saturday morning to the heart-breaking news that Gendarme Arnaud Beltrame had died of his wounds. Shot and stabbed by the terrorist. Now I know in today's news cycle that Saturday is an age away and much has happened since. But I don't apologise for returning to it tonight because if this man's remarkable courage and self-sacrifice are not worth marking only a few days after his death, then nothing is. His mother said, "I knew he was the one who'd volunteered "before any name was released. "It's just the sort of thing he would do". The word "hero" is bandied about so loosely these days that it's become almost meaningless. Arnaud Beltrame was a hero, in every sense of the word, and he has restored its meaning. His example is a rare shaft of light in these dark, depressing days. An evil demon we thought had been slain, antisemitism, pollutes society on both sides of the Channel once more. I was told today that polls and focus groups show many Brits, and not just the young, don't know what antisemitism is. Well, gather round. Mireille Knoll was 85. In a wheelchair. Suffering from Parkinson's. She'd survived the Holocaust. But not an attack last Friday in her Paris council flat. Stabbed 11 times and burnt to death. Because she was Jewish. That, dear viewer, is antisemitism. At its deadliest and most depraved. Which is how it always ends up. Which is why it can't be tolerated. Those still in doubt need to educate themselves. Fast.