Rights - and wrongs

December 30, 2008

A judge, a JC columnist and a rabbi debated different aspects of human rights at a League of Jewish Women forum at the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, St John’s Wood.

Judge Dawn Freedman gave legislative examples of how the Human Rights Act has been interpreted, citing the controversial plan for 42-day pre-charge detention of terror suspects and the retention of DNA samples of people who had not been convicted.

Geoffrey Alderman said he had been stabbed in the face in 1972 after refusing to hand over money to youths. If someone now broke into his house at night and was threatening, “I will bludgeon them to death if I get the chance”. Citing the case of Norfolk farmer Tony Martin — convicted of murdering an intruder — he argued that Mr Martin had every right to protect himself against those who had targeted his property.

LJS minister Rabbi Alexandra Wright questioned whether the principle of all being equal before the law was met by the treatment of inmates at Guantanamo Bay. She went on to discuss the rights of individuals within Judaism, giving examples such as the criteria for entry to many Jewish schools.

Last updated: 3:02pm, December 30 2008