By Jonathan Hoffman
March 23, 2012
In today's JC there is a great letter from one Melvin Berwald about the utterly misguided decision by Leeds J Soc to disinvite the inspirational and charismatic speaker Brooke Goldstein:
Leeds J Soc deprived students of an inspirational talk ... Leeds J Soc has shown disappointing judgment
Interestingly Michael Bodansky (the Oxford J Soc President) takes issue in his letter with those who believe that Jewish students must never be criticised:
It is within Leeds J Soc's mandate to cancel any speaker; equally communal organisations are entitled to offer a response ... the ZF should be praised for its support of Israel-related matters on campus
But the most interesting letter was the one from members and affiliates of the Jewish Leadership Council:
We wish to express our firmly held view that regardless of whether one agrees with their decision, one must admire the resolve of these Jewish student leaders who dedicate their time voluntarily to improving Jewish student life on campus.
Rather than criticising and embarrassing them for trying to act on the best interests of their membership, we should be supporting, commending and thanking those who take an active role in simply trying to do the best they can with regard to the issues faced at their respective universities.
Signed, Richard Benson, Sir Victor Blank, Sir Trevor Chinn, David Dangoor, Mick Davis, Lord Fink, Henry Grunwald, Lord Janner, Brian Kerner, Hilton Lorie, Jeremy Newmark, Leo Noe, Stephen Pack, Gerald Ronson
(Unaccountably Daniel Grabiner of UJS is missing but of course he signed too).
All these 15 are JLC members or JLC trustees or JLC Vice Presidents.
It's interesting not because of the content (the 'Jewish Establishment' in the UK has long believed that Jewish students are beyond criticism....... Quite why is unclear........)
No - it's interesting because 17 JLC members/trustees/VPs DID NOT SIGN, as follows:
Bill Benjamin, Ilana Fenster, Lucian Hudson, Debbie Klein, Nigel Layton, Steven Lewis, James Libson, Joshua Marks, Bernie Myers, Jenny Pizer, Harvey Rosenblatt, Michelle Vogel, Vivian Wineman, Poju Zablodowicz, David Cohen, Howard Leigh, Lord Woolf ....
Surely they were invited to sign?
The inevitable conclusion is that there is dissent within the JLC's ranks ... how very healthy ...
It seems that this is not the first example of spinelessness at Leeds University:
Fantastic piece on LUJS's spinelessness by Melanie Phillips in JC 30/3/12