In support of the Board, Oxfam and iF


By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
February 11, 2013
Share

I do admit that in my contribution to these pages, I have at times been critical of the leadership of the Jewish Community in this country. I did so as a critical friend and supporter when I disagreed strongly on certain issues but one who will definitely keep paying his subs to the Board via my Synagogue through thick and thin!

However, today I am delighted to congratulate the leadership of Anglo-Jewry, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and all the organisations who have responded so appropriately to the grotesque Gerald Scarfe cartoon published by the Sunday Times on National Holocaust Memorial Day. I feel pride at the manner of the Jewish Community’s response and thankful to them for eliciting the “unreserved apology” of the newspaper and remarkable personal apology from Rupert Murdoch to Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is concerning that it was the second time in a week that Anglo-Jewry had to appeal for penance from those whose remarks or actions fall into the category of ‘alibi anti-Semitism.’ This phrase coined by the renowned political philosopher Norman Geras is applied to comments whereby Israeli actions are used as a veil for anti-Semitism. The words of David Ward MP were a despicable example of a phenomenon that at any time, let alone around Holocaust Memorial Day, has become too common in public life. I commend the work of our Jewish communal leaders that has set a positive example for those in other communities.

More controversially, I would also like to congratulate the Board of Deputies on their decision to move forward with their Grow Tatzmiach programme with Oxfam. I believe that this was an important move and I pray that we will now see the fruits of this project as 25 Jewish activists benefit from what will be undoubtedly first-class training from experts in the field of activism and the alleviation of food poverty. Doubts expressed by some of potential brainwashing of these committed Jews are disrespectful to their integrity and strength of Jewish identity. The decision has now been made: let them get on with the work that will see them become beacons within society.

Indeed, we all have the opportunity to be beacons in society and to offer leadership through our actions. I am deeply proud to see the Jewish Community being serious participants in a global campaign to eliminate food poverty: ‘Enough Food for Everyone iF.’ The involvement of Gefiltefest, the Jewish Social Action Forum, Tzedek, and World Jewish Relief is not merely symbolic, it gifts every one of us the opportunity to act.

As the UK takes the Chair of the G8 for 2013, the time is right for Anglo-Jewry to put its values into action. I can conceive of multiple motivations for wishing to act. Some might feel commanded to do so, fulfilling halachot related to leket or peah; others from an historical empathy derived from the lack of food our ancestors experienced in Biblical times, perhaps their reliance on manna, and the critical need for an other to provide for them. There will be those for whom the elimination of food poverty is important just because it is right; and others because of the positive knock-on benefits they see might accrue for our country. Still others are just foodies and want to spread the love! Whatever the reason, I would have thought that 99% of British Jews would agree to the 4 key statements of the ‘Enough Food for Everyone iF’ campaign:

If we give enough aid to stop children dying from hunger, and help the poorest people feed themselves.

If we stop poor farmers being pushed off their land, and use crops to feed people, not cars.

If we stop big companies dodging taxes in poor countries, so that millions can free themselves of hunger.

If we force governments and corporations to be honest about the actions they take that stop people getting enough food.

So let us not leave action to the leaders of Anglo-Jewry or its activists. Let us all act according to our values. During this period, the campaign will call on the UK government to take action around four key policy areas: upholding its commitment to the aid budget; stopping big companies dodging taxes in poor countries; ending land grabs, where poor farmers are forced off their land; forcing governments and big corporations to be open and transparent.

Each one of us can participate now by signing up to the www.enoughfoodif.org campaign and by getting as many people involved as possible. The more of us who smaller the ‘iF’ of enough food for everyone.

This article appeared first in the Jewish News 07.02.13

COMMENTS

Jonathan Hoffman

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 16:39

Rate this:

0 points

Ok so you put your cards on the table for those that don't already know.

There are plenty of charities that don't demonise Israel that the Board could have partnered with -- but you are pleased it partnered with one that does demonise Israel.

http://www.thejc.com/blogs/jonathan-hoffman/why-board-should-vote-no-to-...


Rich Armbach

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 16:58

Rate this:

0 points

What a sore loser. I guess that is what comes from an addiction to abject failure. The enterprise shows all the signs of a rip roaring success and it is killing him.


Mary in Brighton

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:43

Rate this:

0 points

Jonathan, Harvey, and Richard are prophets crying in the wilderness. Long after constructive and sensible people have put together an imperfect but livable-with settlement in Israel/Palestine, they will still be crying, but even less people will be listening than are listening now.


Rich Armbach

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:51

Rate this:

0 points

Stephen Pollard and Martin Bright will be listening.


Ben F

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:54

Rate this:

0 points

Martin Bright will do what he's told.


Rich Armbach

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 17:55

Rate this:

0 points

koff


joemillis1959

Wed, 02/13/2013 - 18:47

Rate this:

0 points

מספיק. הפסדתם. תתנהג בכבוד ותמשיך הלה. קצת כבוד עצמי לא יזיק. גם קצת ענווה

In translation: Enough. Act with some respect and move on. A little self-respect won't hurt. Nor would some humility


Mary in Brighton

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 10:56

Rate this:

0 points

I don't think Jonathan does self respect.


Yvetta

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 15:50

Rate this:

1 point

A robust pro-Israel stance seems to be beyond Liberal Judaism in the UK.


joemillis1959

Thu, 02/14/2013 - 17:40

Rate this:

-2 points

Yvetta, that's a rather blinkered view, if you don't mind me saying so. As the Israeli ambassador has said twice at limmud we have to engage with those groups that reflect our individual values when it comes to supporting israel. And he specifically mentioned two organisations that no doubt you would disagree with, Yachad and the New Israel Fund. He also talked favourably about the UK Taskforce that fights discrimination against Israel's non Jewish citizens. Do you think the Israeli ambassador, of all people, is encouraging us to adopt a pro-israel stance that is less than robust? Or perhaps an anti-Israel stance?

So what is a robust pro-Israel stance? Agreeing with every Israeli policy? Of course there are those who want us all to be sub contractors for this Israeli government or that. But the majority of us don't.

That's not to say that the "robust" Israel right or wrong defence is invalid. If it works for some people, that's fine. Other methods work for other people. We aren't, as I am sure you agree, a monolith or automatons. Thank goodness for our diversity


StevenKalka

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 13:41

Rate this:

1 point

"A robust pro-Israel stance seems to be beyond Liberal Judaism in the UK."

That's not so true in the US. It's more like "Democratic politics with holidays". While I've heard Norman Podhoretz cite that quote, he didn't name any sources.


joemillis1959

Fri, 02/15/2013 - 17:56

Rate this:

0 points

Yvetta, still waiting for a reply, but that's a rather blinkered view, if you don't mind me saying so. As the Israeli ambassador has said twice at limmud we have to engage with those groups that reflect our individual values when it comes to supporting Israel. And he specifically mentioned two organisations with which you no doubt disagree, Yachad and the New Israel Fund.
So what is a robust pro-Israel stance? Agreeing with every Israeli policy? Of course there are those who want us all to be sub contractors for this Israeli government or that. But the majority of us don't.
That's not to say that the "robust" Israel right or wrong defence is invalid. If it works for some people, that's fine.
Other methods work for other people. We aren't, as I am sure you agree, a monolith or automatons. Thank goodness for our diversity. It has kept us sane and strong - and not automatons who are susceptible to brainwashing by anyone or any entity.
By the way, Taub also talked favourably about the UK Taskforce that fights discrimination against Israel's non Jewish citizens. Do you think the Israeli ambassador, of all people, is encouraging us to adopt a pro-israel stance that is less than robust? Or perhaps an anti-Israel stance?

POST A COMMENT

You must be logged in to post a comment.

RABBI AARON GOLDSTEIN ON TWITTER

    LATEST COMMENTS