Jews Don’t Count: Which celebrities will appear, and everything else you need to know about the David Baddiel Channel 4 documentary

The comedian has turned his book into a documentary

Comedian David Baddiel
(Image credit: David Levenson/Getty/Future)

The comedian and writer fronts a personal documentary exploring why anti-Semitism is often seen as a lesser form of racism. 

David Baddiel penned a book about anti-Semitism, and Jewish identity and culture, in 2021. Such was the huge response to the book entitled Jews Don't Count, he is now set to front a documentary of the same name, questioning why the Jewish community are excluded from important discussions ​about representation and inclusion regarding race. The documentary will see Baddiel engage in frank discussions about the volume and frequency of anti-Semitic abuse he has experienced on social media, and chat to Jewish celebrities about their own personal experiences, and issues they've encountered. Read on for an exploration of which celebrities are set to appear in the documentary, and other facts about this important documentary.

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Jews Don’t Count: Which celebrities will appear?

Sarah Silverman, David Schwimmer, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry, Jonathan Safran Foer, Rachel Riley and Miriam Margolyes are set to talk to David Baddiel in Jews Don't Count

These are the only names Baddiel has revealed so far, adding that "all sorts of people – thinkers, writers, actors – mainly Jews" will appear. Celebrities will discuss modern-day antisemitism, and why the progressive left don't view it as a form of discrimination. Examples including Whoopi Goldberg claiming the Holocaust wasn’t about race will be highlighted, along with Labour MP Dawn Butler’s failure to mention discrimination against Jewish people when reading out a list of oppressed groups - Goldberg has since apologised for her words. 

Baddiel spoke to Variety (opens in new tab) about the documentary, and whether any Jewish public figures had declined to appear in the film. He said "quite a lot" approached had declined to take part, but did not reveal their names to respect their privacy. He did reveal however, that the list included "some quite prominent Jews who don’t want to bring their Jewishness to the fore and just don’t want to talk about this".

Although his book and documentary share the same name, Baddiel was quick to point out differences between the two. He said "The book is very personal piece of work. It’s me talking about my own experience of this particular phenomenon. [In the documentary] I can go speak to other Jews, and they can tell me whether or not they’ve experienced the same kind of thing. It turns out that this is something which, as Sarah Silverman says, a lot of Jews have been feeling for a long time, but maybe hasn’t been articulated before."

Actor David Baddiel

(Image credit: Zuma Press Inc/Alamy)

Jews Don't Count: Release date and time

Jews Don't Count will be released on Channel 4 on Monday November 20, at 9pm. It will then be available to view on All4 when it finishes airing, for viewers wanting to catch up.

When asked why he chose Channel 4 as a platform, Baddiel replied that the channel is the most radical of broadcasters. He argued it's "a channel that you’d imagine is watched by people who really care about minorities, representation, and inclusion. It’s a woke channel, the wokest of all the channels, and my polemic is directed towards those people because my feeling is that Jews have been dialled down in the mix of that conversation, and that’s the space where that conversation is going on."

He added "there is a lot of quite complicated racism that is expressed towards Jews. Antisemitism is difficult to spot and sometimes it happens unconsciously or unintentionally and that is what the Jews Don’t Count phenomenon is. It’s about Jews not being mentioned and not being included when people talk about visibility."

Actress Miriam Margolyes

(Image credit: JEP Celebrity Photos/Alamy)

What ethnicity is David Baddiel?

David was born to a Welsh father and German mother, both of whom were Jewish. Although born in New York, he moved to England at five months old. 

His father Colin, came from a working-class Swansea family, and his mother Sarah, was born in Nazi Germany - a swastika was marked on her birth certificate. She had moved to England at the age of five months, when her parents fled Nazi Germany in 1939. Her family had been wealthy, but were stripped of their assets as a result of being Jewish. 

He has spoken out on the issue of Jews changing their names to hide their identities. He said "it still happens, I mean it certainly still happens in showbusiness. People are still not that comfortable with very Jewish names. In terms of the fear, I don’t like operating from fear in general. Sometimes people will say to me about Israel, but don’t you think Israel’s a sanctuary for Jews and that’s why it’s great?"

He added "I kind of think like, well I don’t think in the fight against antisemitism, that we should be thinking in terms of where we can run to, we should be thinking in terms of how we change antisemitism rather than oh there’s no way we can fight it so at least we’ve got this place to run to." 

Comedian Sarah Silverman

(Image credit: Bruce Glikas/Getty)

David Baddiel and Jason Lee: Blackface controversy 

Fantasy Football League once allowed Baddiel to caricature footballer Jason Lee, using blackface. Baddiel will apologise to Lee face to face, as part of Jews Don't Count.

The show mocked the footballer's dreadlocks, of which he was very proud. He told The Guardian (opens in new tab) the apology was "long overdue", continuing to say "I’ve had to wait a long time, I’ve always felt I was contactable and there was an opportunity. I thought it was a poor excuse to say he couldn’t get in touch with me. I think he admits embarrassment, shame and the longer it took, the harder it was to have that conversation."

Baddiel responded with "I wanted to do more than just engage with it intellectually. I wanted to engage with it on a human level - talk to Jason, to try and restore what needs to be restored in any conversation really about racism, discrimination and about people not being treated properly which is to restore a human element to it, to remember we’re always talking about human beings here, not cartoons."

He added "That’s something which I forgot, me and Frank Skinner forgot too much when we did those sketches about Jason Lee. So considering that Jason has said in the intervening years that he wanted us to come and talk to him about it, I felt here was an opportunity. I mean I should have done it before – of course - but the opportunity was there as part of this project because I’m making a film about discrimination and racism." 

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