Founded in 1968, the Runnymede Trust describes itself as “the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank.” Its chair is Clive Jones CBE, a former executive at Britain’s ITV; its director is Omar Khan, a Governor of the University of East London and member of a variety of advisory groups involving ethnicity and integration. Runnymede’s reports are taken extremely seriously, and its recommendations heeded, at the highest levels of the British government.
In 1994, Runnymede published a report on anti-Semitism. Its title, A Very Light Sleeper, was borrowed from a statement by the author Conor Cruise O’Brien: “Anti-Semitism is a very light sleeper.” Now, anyone familiar with contemporary Britain knows that the alarming contemporary rise in Jew-hatred in that country – as in all of western Europe – is principally a consequence of the growing population of Muslims. But the Runnymede Trust’s report seemed designed mainly to divert attention away from that fact. Tracing anti-Semitism through Luther, Voltaire, Marx, Henry Ford, and Hitler, the report did a splendid job of implicitly identifying anti-Semitism as a Western phenomenon – a product of what the report presented a distinctively Western tendency to divide the world into “us” and “the Other.”