Jews in the UK


By Jonathan Hoffman
March 25, 2012
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Writing in the Jerusalem Post recently, Vivian Wineman says that Isi Leibler's column (March 7) is “a long way from reality” but promptly shoots himself in the foot by implicitly conceding (by not challenging it) that most of what Mr Leibler wrote was correct. (There really isn’t much difference between the two men’s versions of Mr Wineman’s “access/influence” statement).

Most of the resistance to BDS is being done by grassroots activists, not by the Board of Deputies. StandWithUs and British Israel Coalition are both doing a great job.

In London there are now at least two anti-Israel public meetings every week where antisemitic discourse flows freely. It is a handful of activists (principally Richard Millett and myself) who go to these meetings to make our voices heard and ensure that what is said gets published. Only very occasionally do we see anyone from the Executive of the Board of Deputies and they never make their voice heard.

I myself organised both the fortnightly counter-demonstrations (with leafletting) against the Ahava boycotters and those against the Veolia demonstrators at the Natural History Museum. The Zionist Federation (of which I am co-vice chair) is often referred to by the most senior Board of Deputies members as a “fringe organisation”.

I – not the Board - referred the Charity “ War on Want” to the Charities Commission for telling lies about Israel and met the Commissioners.

I – not the Board - have written to the authorities of the Houses of Parliament about the antisemitic meetings held there in the evenings.

As for Judge Bathurst-Norman, it was me – not the Board - who obtained the transcript of the biased summing–up and wrote about it on cifwatch.com.

Many people – yes including the Board – then complained to the Office for Judicial Complaints but it was I who did the spadework.

The truth is that the Board has sometimes been downright obstructive to activists. An example was the recent motion I brought to the Board suggesting that the Guardian – a newspaper which has unremittingly vilified Israel and on occasions has hosted antisemitism – should be the subject of a Board statement encouraging a boycott by readers and advertisers. By a cynical procedural manoeuvre the Board’s Executive contrived to ensure my motion was never even discussed.

And so on. Mr Wineman contests Mr Leibler’s statement that the situation at universities is “absolutely horrendous”.

It is indeed horrendous. The survey from which Mr Wineman quotes also found that 48% of students who feel “very positive” about Israel experience antisemitism at University.

In other words: Advocate for Israel at a British university and there is a 1 in 2 chance you will be the recipient of antisemitic abuse.... Perhaps Mr Wineman can tell us how bad it has to get before it becomes ‘horrendous’?

75%?

100%?
Many Jewish students are scared to speak up for Israel.

Yet Mr Wineman claims “the situation on campus has measurably improved …” (!)

He also claims that the Board has “helped stem the growth of a fierce BDS movement in the churches.” But the Methodist Church Conference voted nearly two years ago to boycott goods from Judea and Samaria and there has been no sign of this being rescinded. And on universal jurisdisction: Yes the new government elected in 2010 has moved to remove the anomalies that threatened Israelis visiting the UK with arrest, as they promised, after the abject failure of the Labour government to deliver on its promises. But no-one senior from the leadership publicly advocated (as I did) for a change of government.

I turn to the piece on AIPAC – also published on 20 March in the Jerusalem Post – by Jamie Slavin, a staffer on the Board who was at the recent AIPAC meeting.

Mr Slavin argues first that British Jews have far more tangible connections to Israel which means they see it “warts and all” compared with an idealised US view.

I strongly contest the implicit assertion that American Jews are less well-informed about Israel because they are less "connected". All American Jewish students have the chance to visit Israel on a “Birthright” tour. And in any case the idea that Americans are too stupid to educate themselves about Israel’s problems – from media even if not on the ground - is obviously untrue (and many would deem it insulting). Slavin goes on to assert that Israel advocacy in the UK has to be more “nuanced” than in the US (because of a more sceptical public) but that “nuancing” should not be mistaken for “trembling”.

When I see Jewish students on US campuses resisting extremist speakers and BDS advocates – with the support of such organisations as “Stand with Us” – I certainly don’t see a US public which is universally supportive of Israel. Neither should the response – either in the US or the UK – be “nuanced” - whatever that means. The correct response is a proactive robust rebuttal of the lies put round by our enemies.

@Jamie Slavin: Since when was “nuance” the right response to defamation and antisemitism?

COMMENTS

Mary in Brighton

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 09:41

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Jonathan. Will you be needing any more rope over there ?


JC Webmaster

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 10:13

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This comment by Real Real Zionist has been moderated


zaheerayin

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:07

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Jonathan seems to be hurting.


Ben F

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 12:31

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Is the JC now totally given over to being a mere vehicle for the facilitation of Jonathan Hoffman's chest beating and self-aggrandisement?


Real Real Zionist

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 13:00

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" I myself organised...."

Did you not also organise the recent demo at Hendon Town Hall ? Total turn out 4, and they went home early.

And also last weekends counter demo at the NHM ? Total turn out 4 ?

http://richardmillett.wordpress.com/2012/03/12/final-psc-protest-veolia-...

Maybe you should admit defeat and hand over the organising reins to someone that has an aptitude for it.

Organising just doesn't seem to be your strong point.


Mary in Brighton

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 14:27

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Jonathan, lots of people obtained transcripts of the judges summing up, including my humble self. Oh but you wrote about it on CiFWatch. Lot's of people wrote about it too, again including my humble self. ( in lots of places ).

The summing up became an issue when one line from it in the Brighton Argus was picked up
by The Guardian. That is, in the last war Chris Osmond would have Been awarded a medal.

If any one person can claim credit for subsequent events, or blame depending on your perspective, it is Joshua Rozenberg. You had no more influence than me, probably less.

Do try to be less of a shameless thunder stealer.


Jonathan Hoffman

Mon, 03/26/2012 - 17:59

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You're wrong as usual. I don't usually respond to anonymous Israel-bashing trolls but occasionally I make an exception for the most obnoxious ones especially when they lie through their teeth.

Nobody ripped apart the Judge's summing-up before 14th July 2010 - the date my piece was posted on CifWatch - and that was what led to the censure of Bahthurst-Norman. Mentioning Joshua Rozenberg proves my point since he got the transcript from me - and he didn't write about it until 6th August:

http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/3273

You say "Lot's of people wrote about it too, again including my humble self. ( in lots of places )."

So let’s see the links with date stamps of your and others' pieces taking apart Bathurst-Norman's summing-up, dated before my piece on 14th July …

Can’t do it?

Ah well. I would not expect an apology from someone who is beneath contempt ...


Mary in Brighton

Tue, 03/27/2012 - 10:13

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Jonathan never a night goes by in a Brighton pub when the decommissioners case isn't discussed in detail. So far as the process whereby the judge came to be censured is concerned, the name Joshua Rosenberg always crops up, the name Jonathan Hoffman, never. It was Joshua's piece that you very kindly linked us to that started the process.

At the end of this process the judge received the mildest slap on the wrist that was available.Akin to..

" Well old boy we have to say your summing up went just a teensiest, weeniest bit beyond reminding the jury of the evidence it had heard "

I imagine his mental response was " As if I give a monkeys. I'm retired. See ya."

Let me get this straight Jonathan, your part in all of this was you obtained a transcript, as did lot's of people, and you wrote about it in CiFWatch ( who exactly reads that comic ? )

I don't understand why you are arguing this. Tell me how does your being seen as " da man " rate in importance relative to the fact that the judge received the mildest available censure ? More ? less ? The same ?

Surely all that matters is that there was a censure ?

Are you running in some kind of election ?


zaheerayin

Tue, 03/27/2012 - 11:48

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Well, I'm not voting for him. Unless he's standing for Co-Vice Chair of a 30 year foot slog expedition to the North Pole and back.


Bonnie Prince C...

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 14:15

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To Jonathan Hoffman
I do wish that you would not be abusive to those who disagree with you. And whilst I am a great admirer and supporter of the work you do, you're not the only one involved in supporting / defending Israel. I acknowledge that you are one of the very few to actually turn up to protest at anti-Israel meetings and I applaud you (and Richard Millett) for this.

To those who criticise Jonathan Hoffman
Perhaps some of you would like to turn up at these anti-Israel meeting to support the 'regulars'. I also suspect that if you were to invest the same amount of energy, emotion and time as Jonathan, Israel's image amongst the media and the British public might be less negative and even more positive.

Now you can get back to laying claim to our various successes - relatively few in number - and slagging each other off!!!!!????


Bonnie Prince C...

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 14:20

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I was in a Brighton pub just a few weeks ago and didn't hear anyone discussing this subject. Please tell me which pubs I should visit to hear / participate in discussions on which topics.


Real Real Zionist

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 14:34

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I don't think anyone sets out to criticise Jonathan Hoffman. That would be a sort of categorical cul de sac. I think it is more a case of calling him on his self promoting irrelevant bull shit.


Mary in Brighton

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 15:26

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Did I say pub ? I meant of course The Cowley Club where the cognoscenti hang out. And they do a wonderful vegetarian Sunday roast. That is if you strike lucky and all the tables aren't taken up with under cover cops, unmistakeable with their long beards and in their Jesus sandels.


zaheerayin

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 15:50

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Oh yeah...that is just what Israel's image needs, a whole heap of Jonathan Hoffmans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBH6XONDpes


Advis3r

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 17:12

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Such a sharp wit - mind you don't end up cutting yourself. The fact is that the Ahava saga proved that bullying works and that should be cause for concern. Instead of posting and re-posting these youtube videos ad nauseum whose sole purpose is a pathetic attempt to ridicule Jonathan Hoffman why you don't you realise that the closure of a legitimate business represents a victory for the fascist tactics displayed by Jew haters whose actions did nothing to help the Palestinians - which obviously weren't their object anyway.


Real Real Zionist

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 17:45

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Jose I sometimes think I could go for a long holiday and confidently leave you in charge.


zaheerayin

Wed, 03/28/2012 - 17:58

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Advis3r, are you saying that I'm the ventriloquist and Jonathan is the dummy?


Advis3r

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 11:02

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How could you be it's well known you're the organ grinder's monkey.


JC Webmaster

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 13:27

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JC Webmaster

Fri, 03/30/2012 - 16:14

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