Leaders who lead to surrender
Readers of the Jerusalem Post have doubtless been bemused by a rumbling controversy over whether or not the Anglo-Jewish leadership comprises what Isi Leibler derided as "trembling Israelites".
Leibler suggested that both the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council were in denial over the UK's dramatic upsurge in anti-Israel feeling. In particular, they understated the threat of Muslim antisemitism and jihadism, and continuously issued statements warning of the dangers of Islamophobia which paled beside the violence and threats levelled against Jews.
Leibler was accused of misrepresenting the situation. What happened to Brooke Goldstein, however, suggests he is nearer to the truth. Leeds JSoc invited Goldstein, a US lawyer who fights Islamic extremism and defends Israel, to deliver a talk at about the stifling of free speech on the Middle East.
The JSoc then abruptly cancelled her talk - on the grounds that it would jeopardise community relations and endanger the welfare of Leeds students.
Why was Goldstein considered a menace? Apparently because she is a supporter of the Dutch politician Geert Wilders, had linked to an article about him on a website called Gates of Vienna, and a member of her staff had blogged about a film entitled The Third Jihad.
Political correctness has warped their judgment
Such reasoning shows how deeply political correctness has warped the judgment of these students. Wilders has been demonised because he stands resolutely against the Islamist aim of conquering the west - and because he thinks the Koran incites hatred and violence against Jews and "infidels". Does Leeds JSoc not think this incitement endangers Jewish students?
Gates of Vienna is an anti-Islamist site that has provided a platform for some ultra-nationalists. Goldstein says her organisation merely linked to one article. This tars her as a dangerous extremist? As for The Third Jihad, I know this is an important film - narrated by a Muslim - which charts the nature and extent of Islamist aggression and the inroads this has been allowed to make in the west. Yet this film has been smeared by the usual combination of Islamists and their western apologists.
I have a particular interest in this smear because I, too, am interviewed in this film. I, too, could thus be pilloried as an "anti-Muslim extremist" - and I'm afraid to say there are members of the UK Jewish community who already do that.
This derives from the confusion among much of the leadership, which seems to believe that to identify the threat from Islamic religious extremism is "Islamophobic". Indeed, a number of communal worthies wrote to the JC attacking it for "criticising and embarrassing" Leeds JSoc instead of "supporting" and "thanking" it.
Thanking it for what? For its "resolve" in repudiating the principle of free speech on campus? For "improving Jewish student life" by smearing those who fight Islamic religious fascism, thus effectively whitewashing the virulent Jew-hatred pouring out of the Muslim world? For "acting in the best interests of their members" by turning on a lawyer who would help them defend themselves against anti-Jewish attacks?
The fact that this morally bankrupt act by Leeds JSoc has been supported by UJS and so many in Jewish leadership suggests that these leaders don't understand who are the true friends of the Jews. "Trembling Israelites" isn't the half of it. These Anglos are not so much "trembling" as leading the surrender to the enemies of the Jews - and thus indirectly encouraging them to redouble their attacks. British Jews should indeed be trembling at being thus abandoned by those who speak in their name.
Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist