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The JC letters page, 15th December

Jennifer Sheridan, Davina House, Tony Greenstein, William Philpott, Harold Miller, Peter Booth, Barry Hyman, Gabriel Herman and Ian Kay share their views with JC readers

    Photo: Getty Images
    Photo: Getty Images

    Unsung heroes

    I was pleased to read the article about Paperweight Trust (JC, December 8). This is a largely unsung Jewish charity and clearly deserves to be more widely known in the community. I can testify to its outstanding work, having had contact with it for the past few years. 

    As a result of a Jewish Care referral, Paperweight intervened on behalf of a friend, unable to cope with her affairs, due to advancing dementia.  The charity is always there for her at the end of the phone, visits regularly, and fire-fights on various fronts when necessary.  
    Jacob Rees Mogg MP, in typically perverse fashion, regards charity food banks as “rather uplifting”, for all the wrong reasons.  Paperweight is certainly uplifting, but for all the right reasons. It does sterling work, given the critical state of social care in this country. 

    As a result of punitive cuts imposed on local authorities by the current government since 2010, councils are hard pressed to maintain even the minimum of requirements to assist their clients. Thus, charities bear the onus of caring for the needy and those at risk, thanks to a savage ideology which denies this. So much for the Prime Minister’s caring-sharing sentiments at the start of her tenure in Downing Street.

    We are the sixth richest country in the world. It should not be thus. It is a stain on our moral conscience that social care has deliberately been out-sourced to Paperweight and similar charities, to reduce state provision for the less fortunate among us.   

    We must of course support charities to the best of our abilities, while reminding ourselves that this is a default position created by a government lacking compassion and morality.

    Jennifer Sheridan, 
    London W2

    Having read your article on Paperweight, I should like to express my gratitude to this organisation. It has made so much difference to my friend’s quality of life. She is no longer able to deal with financial situations and this organisation has taken over with empathy and compassion to make her everyday life much less stressful. 

    The Government seems to be unaware of the enormous responsibility this organisation, and others like it, take upon themselves. In most cases, Social Services do what they can but it is NOT enough. Money MUST be made available to these charities and the politicians MUST lobby for this. The government must stop relying on the goodness of organisations like Paperweight

    Davina House, 
    London NW2

    Making his point

    It appears that Marcus Dysch is insistent on fulfilling his normal quota of mistakes (JC, Dec 10: Labour activist wins High Court injunction to delay disciplinary hearing on antisemitism charges).

    It is untrue that Labour Against the Witch Hunt, of which I am Vice-Chair, is a Marxist group.  It is a socialist group opposed to Labour’s witch-hunt of supporters of the Palestinians.

    It is also untrue that Mark MacDonald QC represented me. I represented myself though Mark very generously gave me the benefit of his advice.

    What is absolutely untrue is that I have abused Louise Ellman MP racially.  I would never attack anyone because they are Jewish. I detest antisemitism just as I detest all forms of racism including that of Israeli politicians who describe the Palestinians as sub-human.

    I certainly criticised Ms Ellman, for what I consider to be her support of the Israeli military’s abuse of Palestinian children as young as 12.  This is extremely well documented and includes midnight raids to seize children, beating them, incarcerating them for months, denying them access to their parents and lawyers. None of this happens to Jewish children.

    My reference to Louise Ellman as the MP for South Tel Aviv is no more racist than the references to former Tory MP John Carlisle, a supporter of Apartheid in South Africa, as the MP for Pretoria. Marcus Dysch should develop a sense of humour.

    Tony Greenstein,
    Brighton BN5


    Capital issue

    Despite the arrival of winter, the Palestinian view of President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, as presented by Daoud Kuttab (This Declaration is bad for Israelis and Palestinians) fails to cut any ice.

    One can only wonder what the Middle East might look like today if the Palestinians and their Arab allies had welcomed the two-state solution as approved by the UN in 1947.

    Instead of spending the past 70 years violently rejecting Israel’s legal right to exist, perhaps they, too, could now be enjoying the benefits and of course the challenges of life in a democratic, modern state.

    It is often said that timing is everything and despite the many difficulties Israel still faces and whatever the future holds with regard to the disputed territories, maybe, just maybe, the possibility of a Palestinian state has now passed its sell-by date. Discuss.

    William Philpott, 
    Daventry, Northamptonshire 

    It saddens me that we should be celebrating, but instead so much hatred is being spewed out against Israel over the USA finally implementing their decision to make Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, the seat of their ambassador’s residency. The last few presidents agreed, but cowardly left it in abeyance as a decision to await a peace settlement! 

    That the JC includes reports from people like Daoud Kuttab who declare that “Jerusalem is Arab” makes me ashamed.  Jerusalem as a whole was part of the League of Nations as a Jewish homeland.  It is not occupied. The British helped Transjordan, with a British trained army in taking Jerusalem after the UN vote, which was not accepted by the Arabs.  Transjordan occupied East Jerusalem and called it theirs for 18 years, until 1967 when Israel fought to survive and was able to take it back.  

    It was only in 1967 that the name “Palestinian” came into media language and is now used for millions of Muslim Arabs in all media.  Other words that float around like “occupation” and “Palestine,” actually a place that does not exist. Historically, Palestine meant the Jews of Palestine. The few Muslims who lived in the area were nomads such as Druze or Bedouin.

    Why do we Jews always act to be even-handed when the Arabs spend all their time demonising the Jews, calling them evil and  monkeys, using Nazi ideology?  It always surprises me, 70 years after the Holocaust, that our people don’t choose to put their heads over the parapet, except when they criticise the only democratic country in the Middle East.  

    As a woman whose Jewish family lived in Arab lands for 3,000 years, and suffered being ethnically cleansed from Arab countries 100 years ago, I have been taught that, when the Jew does not defend himself, he is weak. We should not kowtow to their BDS lies. We must also remember that Israel, according to most Muslims, is within their Islamic Khalifa and so will never be accepted. We can only get peace out of strength not weakness. Jerusalem is our capital of Israel.

    Jeanette Jonas (Mrs),
    London N3 

    Funny that the loudest voices against the Jewish people are the extremist Turkish leader and the Europeans. The regional states are largely silent.

    The fact is that Jerusalem is majority Jewish; even the piece that is erroneously called East Jerusalem is majority Jewish. As of course both were in the Turkish/Ottoman census of Jerusalem in 1900. 

    Harold Miller, 
    London NW7

    I am a Christian with friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and of no religion.

    I am also an historian and know that the tribes of Israel have been persecuted like no others in history. From vilification in medieval days to the Dreyfus Affair in France and then the Holocaust, the Jewish people finally recovered a homeland. Israel has East Jerusalem because the moderate Jordanians were bullied into joining the fanatical Syrians and Egyptians in the Six-Day War which Israel won. 

    Israel has the moral right to have Jerusalem as its capital as have the Catalonians the right for freedom — they, too, were the main victims of the Nazi-supporting Franco, but on both counts the world condemns. President Trump is not subtle, but he is brave and he has done the right thing.

    Peter Booth, 
    Altrincham WA15

     

    A remarkable man

    Matthew de Lange’s moving story (Letters, Dec 8) of his father David’s diary as a mine-sweeper commander, is of a man who survived to go on and make a major contribution to the Jewish community.  Both he and Elaine, his wife, were Board of Deputy representatives for many years. They left Edgware Reform Synagogue to become one of the 16 founder families of Bushey & District Reform Community, now the 2,500 member Radlett Reform Synagogue.

    Rabbi Nicky de Lange led services for us in our early days, and David’s rich stentorian tones when reading were commanding.  Matty de Lange and his wife Linda continued the family tradition of involvement with synagogue life, a truly committed family.

    Barry Hyman, 
    Bushey Heath


    How to spell it

    Further to Daniel Sugarman’s “pedantry”, (JC, December 1) I received an email from Curzon Cinemas wishing me a “Happy Haneke”.  

    I soon realised that this was not another way to spell Chanukah but a celebration of the work of European auteur Michael Haneke.  No eight-day wonder, then.

    Gabriel Herman, 
    London NW3


    True colours

    There are United Synagogue rabbis named Black and Pink. There was the late Reform rabbi Blue.
    Are there any rabbis called White, Brown,Green (Greenberg?), Yellow (Gold?) or Red (Roiter?) to make up a rabbinical snooker table?

    Ian Kay,
    Wembley, Middlesex

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