Feb 18, 2013
MEMO 340 A weekly overview of information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.
Feb 14, 2013
To Jennifer Lipman's very interesting article on David Ward (http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/102445/lib-dems-could-remove-whip-jews...) can be added an intriguing PS: Mr Ward's latest "Israel" blog posting (http://davidward.org.uk/en/article/2013/659668/guardian-continues-the-ho...) was written not by Mr Ward, but by a Mr John Hilley, who blogs at "Zenpolitics" (http://johnhilley.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1 http://johnhilley.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1). Mr Ward credits this "source" at the bottom of the piece on his site, and there on Mr Hilley's site (http://johnhilley.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/guardian-continues-hounding-of-...) is indeed the very piece that Mr Ward reproduced word for word on his own site, all about how Mr Ward is apparently being "hounded" by Zionist liberals who write for the Guardian. Who in Mr Ward's office can possibly imagine that this was useful to his cause? One must assume that Team Ward saw Mr Hilley's piece and thought: "At last! A commentator who has written supportively about David Ward!" What is there to say?
- Leon A Smith
Feb 14, 2013
It’s always startling to see the extent to which the government find it necessary to leak/trail the announcement of any new policies in an attempt to soften the impact of a stark announcement in parliament. The coalition government’s response to the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission would surely win a prize for the “All time greatest leak”. It was leaked extensively, repeatedly and with a very considerable degree of accuracy. Therefore when the news was announced in parliament on Monday, we already knew everything that there was to know. I have long been extremely cynical at the attempts of successive governments to stall on the question of funding long term care by setting up repeated commissions of enquiry and then sitting on the often unpalatable results of those enquiries. That’s what happened with the Royal Commission in the late 90’s and to a lesser degree that’s what’s happening now. The coalition government came into power in 2010, yet any changes to the funding system will not take place before 2017 – which is after the next general election. Who knows which party may be in power at that time!
Notwithstanding this and not wishing to be churlish, the government’s acceptance of some of the principles of Dilnot are to be welcomed – the principles being (a) a cap on any one individual’s liability for fees; (b) a raising of the absurd and artificially low limit at £23,250 – above which people have to pay for their own care. I would like to examine first the £75,000 cap. The first thing to recognise is that this is not a “cap”. It’s £75.000 plus the costs of what might be termed as “hotel costs” – a combination of food etc, which could easily come to another £15,000 per annum. If for example somebody were to stay in a care home for 3 years, the real costs to the individual would therefore be £120,000. Jeremy Hunt has said that “nobody will have to sell a property”. The detail has not been published and therefore it is difficult to understand exactly how this is going to be achieved.
Many people paying fees in care homes do not have assets of any significance other than their property. Quite how somebody in their late 80’s is suddenly going to raise £120,000 is something of a mystery! There was a vague hint – details of which have not yet been specified – that perhaps the government or more likely local government will “cash flow” the care paying the fees on behalf of the client so that they do not have to sell their home and later claim back what is owed to them from the estate when the client passes on. It is heartening to think that by 2017, local authorities will have sufficient cash to be able to do this.
Feb 12, 2013
Top marks to the gay Jewish parents who have written to the Lib Dem MP Sarah Teather to dissent from Ms Teather's opposition to equal marriage (http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/102435/gay-jewish-parents-slam-catholi...). Slightly lower marks, perhaps, for the headline about "Catholic MP" - or am I being over-sensitive? Yes, I believe that Sarah Teather is indeed a Roman Catholic, and it is perhaps reasonable to mention her Catholicism in the context of reporting her views on gay marriage, but headlining it "Catholic MP", as if her Catholic identity was the only factor...Would we like it if the Catholic Herald gave a "Jewish MP" headline to a story about liberal Catholics writing to a Jewish MP to complain about the MP's conservative stance on gay marriage? I wonder. Incidentally, since last year's reshuffle, Sarah Teather is no longer, as the story would have it, a minister.
Re:- David Ward, by the way, I have written:
There's an old joke in which a beggar asks a distinguished gentleman for money in the street, and the distinguished gentleman pompously replies: "'Neither a borrower nor a lender be' - William Shakespeare." To which the beggar responds: "'F**k you' - David Mamet."
I am reminded of this joke by the fact that, while David Ward has called in aid a quotation in his defence from Noam Chomsky (http://davidward.org.uk/en/article/2013/658628/noam-chomsky-defends-davi...), Mr Ward has inadvertently omitted to also inform his readers that Elie Wiesel, whom Mr Ward had previously also quoted in his own defence (http://davidward.org.uk/en/article/2013/654457/bradford-mp-condemns-isra...), has said: "Although he (Mr Ward) quotes me correctly, I am outraged that he uses my words at the same time he utters shameless slanders on the State of Israel" (http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2576/exclusive_nobel_laureate_elie...).
- Rabbi Aaron Gol...
Feb 11, 2013
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.
Feb 11, 2013
MEMO 339 A weekly overview of information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.
Feb 3, 2013
MEMO 338 A weekly overview of information of interest to minority ethnic communities in Scotland, including parliamentary activity at Holyrood and Westminster, new publications, consultations, forthcoming conferences and news reports.
- Jonathan Hoffman
Feb 1, 2013
The motion ‘This House Believes That Israel is a Force For Good in the Middle East’ was defeated 132-208 at the Oxford Union Debating Society last night. It was a good debate with none of the drama that has preceded some other Israel debates at the Union. For example in 2007 most of the external speakers pulled out after Norman Finkelstein was disinvited (the motion was “This House Believes that One State is the Only Solution to the Israel Palestine Conflict” and Finkelstein bizarrely was invited to speak against the motion). It was clear from the quality of the debate that a lot of hard work had gone into the evening by Union President Maria Rioumine and her colleagues.
For the motion were Ella Robertson, a student at Balliol; Alan Mendoza (Director, Henry Jackson Society, replacing Stephen Pollard at very short notice), Richard Perle (Asst Sec of Defence under President Reagan), and Lord David Trimble (Co-founder of Friends of Israel Initiative and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate for helping secure peace in N Ireland). Against were Ghada Karmi, Baroness Jenny Tonge, Anna Baltzer (a pro-Palestinian campaigner in the US) and Peter Tatchell.
Feb 1, 2013
Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) is a nationally designated day of remembrance for the victims of the Shoah. It rightly calls on us to remember that man’s inhumanity to man has led to further genocides perpetrated since the Second World War. Sadly, there are no signs that genocide, or its intent, can yet be consigned to history. This year HMD has adopted the theme of building bridges between communities to combat racism and intolerance.
As if HMD last Sunday was not sad and thought-provoking enough, it was made much more depressing by two events in the public space here in the UK. The first consisted of comments by the Liberal Democratic Member of Parliament for Bradford East, David Ward. Using (more accurately abusing) a book of remembrance for HMD, Mr Ward accused Holocaust victims of committing atrocities on Palestinians comparable to those of the Nazis. He insulted their memory by accusing them of failing to learn the lessons of the Holocaust. He even received support from fellow Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies. Mr Ward’s remarks have been widely condemned, and the reasons are obvious. You can read the excellent post by the Board’s Jamie Slavin at http://www.bod.org.uk/live/content.php?Item_ID=130&Blog_ID=711
It took a summons by the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip to wring a brief apology from Mr Ward, the sincerity of which is considerably undermined by his leaving the offending remarks on his website. The Chief Whip has apparently censured Mr Ward, but only for his use of the phrase “the Jews”, which Mr Ward has undertaken not to repeat – and has already breached the undertaking by leaving the words on his website. Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats said in a radio phone-in on 31st January that he finds prejudice abhorrent. Why then has he not acted to require David Ward to take down his statement ?
- Jonathan Hoffman
Jan 31, 2013
Yesterday Jonathan Arkush (Board of Deputies’ VP and Chair of the Defence Division) said:
We note that David Ward MP has been censured by the Liberal Democrats. However, the Board regards this as wholly inadequate. The whip should have been withdrawn and he should have been warned that he risked being expelled from the party. The Board further notes that Mr Ward’s offensive statement remains on his website, which hardly inspires confidence in the sincerity of his apology.
I called Nick Clegg on LBC this morning (13.58 on the mp3 file) to ask why David Ward MP (Bradford East) has not lost the Whip and why this antisemitic comment is still on his website: