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The JC letters page, 9th February

David Fordham, Clive A Lawton, Leon Newmark, Joseph Feld, Marvyn Slater, Clive Boxer, John Jackson and Martin Sandler share their views with JC readers

     Chelsea’s weak defence

    May I add a postscript to your article about Chelsea’s “say no to antisemitism” education programme ( Chelsea launch bid to curb antisemitism, JC January 19)? 
    At last year’s Wembley semi-final, when Spurs played Chelsea, my son was assaulted by a so-called Chelsea supporter who literally put his face into my son’s and hissed loudly. 
    My son quite lawfully and understandably confronted the thug. This of course led to a mêlée of perhaps a dozen Spurs and Chelsea passers-by who just got sucked in and a very serious incident, caused by this idiot thug, was only narrowly averted. 
    We wrote to Chelsea saying that we would do everything to help them identify this person because we simply will not stand by in the face of this antisemitism. Chelsea’s reply was, put simply: “We have a policy of complete intolerance of antisemitism. There is nothing we can do. Contact the police.” 
    But there is more Chelsea can do. They have the resources and the stewarding to collar some of these thugs, shlep them out from the stands when they start their hissing or abuse and ban them. That will stop it. 
    Until Chelsea take that sort of effective action I think you have to take these other policies, welcome as they are, with a healthy dose of cynicism.
    David Fordham
    London W1K

    Shamnesty, more like

    First, let us warmly acknowledge that Amnesty International does some truly important and magnificent work and it’s important that they exist. But, of course, that doesn’t make them perfect.
    The protestation from Kerry Moscogiuri, their Director of Communications, in your letters page last week was typical of a certain type, often on the left, who is so used to being the “good guy” that he or she thinks that is sufficient proof that they cannot be “bad” — “how can I be antisemitic? I’ve fought racism all my life.” 
    And now this. “It’s ludicrous to describe a principled opposition to Israel’s illegal settlements as antisemitic”, Moscogiuri asserts in a monumental demonstration of missing the point. No one is doing that.
    Those of us who have objected to this crass and prejudiced decision are describing as antisemitic the banning of a Jewish organisation on its assumed attitude, presumably just because it’s Jewish and therefore Amnesty assumes it must think certain things, entirely unsupported by any evidence.
    Of course we might be wrong. After all, apparently Amnesty has taken into account the fact that “JLC members worldwide represent a range of views.”
    But the JLC is a purely UK organisation — and it all becomes clear. It’s a simple misunderstanding. Amnesty has confused the JLC with its older brother, “the Elders of Zion”. The JLC’s not the international lot. An easy mistake to make. Sorry, Amnesty. Now I see you’ve thought about this carefully and have indeed assessed all the evidence without any prejudice.
    Sorry. Our fault again.
    Clive A Lawton
    London N10


    Post Modern vacuum

    Southend and Westcliff Hebrew Congregation members should learn from what has happened in Stamford Hill, where, in recent years, United Synagogue and Jewish Care properties were sold to Chasidim.
    Today, sadly,  there are virtually no communal facilities in Stamford Hill for Modern Orthodox Jews.
    Leon Newmark 
    London N16

    Obama and mandate

    Barack Obama was among the overwhelming majority of US Senators who were on the record stating that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people and calling on the president to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.  
    Where we parted company was when President Obama condemned Jewish settlements in the West Bank as making the two-state solution impossible.  
    About 25 per cent of Israeli citizens are Palestinian Arabs and they enjoy 100 per cent of the same human rights as all Jewish Israeli citizens. Why should any Jewish settlers in the heart of biblical Israel be a problem ? 
    The PA is looking for ethnic cleansing to produce a judenrein state, a state with no Jews, 100 per cent Arab with all Jews deported (into the Mediterranean Sea). If a million Arabs can be Israeli citizens, why can’t a million Jews be citizens of a Palestinian state ?
    The British Mandate for Palestine led to the creation on the East Bank of the Palestinian Arab Kingdom of Jordan in 1922, with 77 per cent of Mandatory Palestine, and no Jews being allowed to live there. 
    Britain, according to Sir Winston Churchill, expected the 23 per cent of Mandatory Palestine on the West Bank to be designated the Jewish National Homeland.  
    UK PM Neville Chamberlain appeased the Arab oil states by closing the gates to Jews fleeing Nazism while allowing Arabs to move into the proposed Jewish national homeland.   
    Israel accepted most of the 850,000 Jews expelled from Arab states in 1948 while the 24 Arab states, aside from Jordan,  refused to accept fellow Arabs displaced from Israel during the war of independence, creating second, third and fourth generation Palestinian refugees living in camps.
    Joseph Feld 
    London NW11

    Narrow priorities

    Those who have chosen a secular education for their children in order that they might identify, mature and succeed as British Jews rather than Jews in Britain might have noticed that the sequencing of Jeremy Newman’s priorities as chair of trustees on the Finchley Jewish Primary School Trust ( Letters, Feb 2) says it all: 
    “[T]o help our students to be fully committed to a life of Torah, Jewish values and to the state of Israel, but also with a strong commitment to Britain and British values and who will make a meaningful contribution to the Jewish community Israel and wider society”.
    Being a worthy British citizen in Britain is last on his list of priorities.
    Marvyn Slater
    London N3


    Opportunity missed

    This year, the national day marking the Holocaust was Shabbat, 27 January.  National Holocaust Day or “ Holocaust Memorial Day” as it is now called, was instigated largely as a result of the efforts of the Emeritus Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks.
    It is with considerable disappointment and concern that we noted that many synagogues failed to mark the occasion by reciting any memorial prayers, or even referring to the occasion in any way.
    This is particularly ironic as most synagogues, on a Shabbat, recite memorial prayers marking the occasion of the passing of relatives of members or attendees.
    It is unlikely that 27 January (HMD) will fall on a Shabbat for some time, but we urge all synagogues to ensure that the occasion is not allowed to pass without even a mention.
    Clive Boxer
    Vice-Chairman – AJEX 

    Liver wars

    One aspect of this change ( regarding kosher liver) by the rabbis bemuses me.
    We are always being told that decisions by earlier rabbis cannot be reversed by current rabbis unless they are of the same lustre and status, not something really possible.
    Yet here we have a courageous change of a previous ruling that is going to deprive many people of a choice of food that they enjoy and for which there is no alternative. After all, each cook’s version is the best. 
    Maybe there is hope still that second day yom tov in the diaspora will be eliminated. 
    That, of course, would take real courage!
    John Jackson
    London N13

    Pitta patter

    The rumoured global chickpea shortage reported in the JC diary, which has led to hummus panic, is not the only cause for concern in deli circles.  
    Mitten drinnen, at the height of the crisis, the Greek Ministry of Finance has exercised its emergency powers to restrict supplies of taramasalata, in an apparent attempt to avert a double-dip recession.
    Martin Sandler
    London NW7

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