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Monday 18 December 2023

Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message

Stephen Fry strongly denounces the surge in antisemitism in Britain, expressing genuine concern for the Jewish community. As a self-declared atheist and humanist, Fry will deliver the 2023 Alternative Christmas Message, urging everyone to recognize and condemn antisemitism as a form of racism.

Motivated by the alarming increase in antisemitic incidents in the UK following the October 7th Hamas attacks and Israel's response, Fry openly acknowledges his Jewish heritage to confront antisemitism and counteract the "hateful abuse" it has provoked. In his heartfelt speech, Fry reflects on the progress Britain has made in accepting diversity but highlights the unexpected fear he now feels regarding his Jewish identity.

Citing Metropolitan Police statistics showing a 1350% rise in reported antisemitic incidents in London since October 7th, Fry details the distressing impact on the Jewish community—smashed shop windows, defaced Jewish properties, and forced closures of Jewish schools. He emphasizes the genuine fear within British Jewish neighborhoods, with people afraid to openly express their identity due to the risk of reprisals.

Expressing his grief over the unsafe environment for Jews in 2023, Fry acknowledges that his grandparents, who sought refuge in Britain, would be disheartened by the resurgence of antisemitism. He calls for solidarity against all forms of racism, stressing the importance of standing up against antisemitism and condemning hateful rhetoric.

Channel 4's Chief Content Officer, Ian Katz, supports Fry's intervention, highlighting the sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents in the wake of events in Israel and Gaza. Katz hopes that Fry's message will draw attention to a form of racism that requires collective condemnation, emphasizing the role everyone plays in upholding British values of respect and tolerance.

Since its inception in 1993, Channel 4's Alternative Christmas Message provides an alternative perspective to the monarch's annual televised address, delivering a thought-provoking message relevant to the events of the past year.

The Alternative Christmas Message will air at 17:10, Christmas Day on Channel 4


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