That's why my initial thought when people act like twats is "they don't like me" not "they don't like Jews" - and yes, I do accept that not everyone will like me, but I also know that trying to please everyone all the time will only lead to unhappiness. Sometimes I can be overly sensitive - you try being called "a Jewish whore" purely on the basis of your religion - but mostly I try not to be.
Every once in a while a series of incidents force me to confront the fact that anti-Semites exists. A few years ago I wrote this post - The Steady Rise of European Anti-Semitism: Lessons From History - and I still stand by my conclusions. I very rarely go to parties, as I can't be bothered to talk to most people, and years ago I realised that I used the glasses of champagne we kept being handed at them to ... well, to be able to cope with the inanities uttered by too many of the other guests.
I'm not an alcoholic, I was simply using alcohol as a crutch - and often bad alcohol at that. I was brought up in a family that drank Mouton Rothschild rather than Manischewitz, and I love the taste of wine - at one point I was thinking of singing up for the MW - but I chose not to drink it often.
I don't go to the supermarket drunk in the afternoon, as Waitrose seems to believe - presumably this reflects their other customers. Accidents happen, and a simple slip in Waitrose should have been easy to sort out - accusing a customer (me), of being drunk didn't help. What also didn't help is how markedly their attitude changed from pretending to be concerned and helpful to being deliberately insulting and obstreperous after I had explained that I was not drunk, and rarely drink except on religious occasions where I am required to such as Passover.
Now I don't want to say for sure that I am the victim of anti-Semitism - it may well be a coincidence, and that Martin Walters is genuinely merely incompetent, since he has 'lost' the branch's CCTV footage, 'lost' a legal letter sent to him, and that he genuinely thinks that a £25 gift voucher should cover falling in their filthy store.
Something had be bothering me about the way Waitrose have been behaving, something that has been making me very angry with them, but that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Their attitude seemed more than normally cagey - and then last night it struck me. I'm Jewish, and the attitude of their staff changed when they found out. I chose to wear a small Star of David around my neck, which the shop girl who made the "joke" about me being drunk may or may not have noticed. Ditto, the attitude changed after I mentioned Passover.
This rather threw me, as I often pick up products in the kosher section at Waitrose - they sell kosher products, so I must be wrong, surely? Well actually, this is where it gets interesting as we've been joking as a family about their kosher products for years, and I realised one simple fact: Waitrose cannot have bothered to pay a Jew to advise them on Jewish food.
Waitrose bring in extra Challa for Passover - the long festival during which Jews can't eat bread in memory of the Exodus. It's always discounted as few Gentiles buy Challa. Also, they have a 'kosher' section for dry goods, and another for refrigerated goods, with nice little stickers on the items confirming items are kashrut but ... They do not seem to have worked out that Jewish dietary law prohibits dairy and flesh touching, so when they put products containing meat and products containing milk next to each other, they stop being kosher.
I very much doubt many Jews who keep that degree of kosher shop at Waitrose, but I'm pretty sure it is a Trading Standards violation to claim you are selling kosher food when you're not.
Waitrose is not unique in this respect, they have simply chosen to make a painful incident worse.
I was chatting with a friend who moved to London from Paris, and we agreed that it was odd that in both France and the US there was a stronger Jewish network, with Jews supporting Jewish projects and causes. In London, we both agreed, about 90% of people don't bother answering emails about causes, even people we've known for years. English Jews have taken assimilation to an extreme. So if there is a problem with people and companies being anti-Jews, then it may well be our own fault for not doing something about it.