The JC

Letters to the editor, 31 May 2024

The ICC, David Baddiel and Rob Rinder


Jews trying to reach the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai after it was declared a closed military area, during the Jewish holiday of Lag Baomer, in Meron, on May 26, 2024. Photo by David Cohen/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** לג בעומר מירון משטרה בלאגן מדורה ל״ג בעומר חרדי חרדים הרב ירושלים

May 31, 2024 10:52

The ICC's chief prosecutor, Karim Khan KC, seems to believe that Israel should be responding to Hamas just as the UK government did to the IRA. The analogy is utterly misguided.

It is true that the UK government did not drop a 2000lb on the Falls Road in response to the campaign of bombings and assassinations from Irish Republican terrorism, as Khan put it. That is because the IRA did not launch a military invasion of Britain, annihilating thousands of civilians in their homes, including children, burning villages to the ground and raping countless women.

The IRA did not fire tens of thousands of rockets indiscriminately at British cities, hold hundreds of British civilians hostage, among them babies, or build a vast tunnel network underneath Belfast with which to plan future attacks. Despite its litany of evil crimes, the IRA did not seek to destroy Britain or kill all British people on the basis of warped religious ideology.

Had the IRA posed a threat to mainland Britain on a par with that of Hamas today, and had it controlled the territory of Northern Ireland, the UK government would have been entitled to invade this territory, bomb its military infrastructure and employ the level of force used by Israel today. By making such a bogus analogy, Khan has exposed the institutional rot within the ICC.

Dr. Jeremy Havardi

Director, B'nai B'rith UK Bureau of International Affairs

David Baddiel seems not to realise that Jew-hatred starts with words and soon moves to more active expression, as is now happening in, for example, universities (Nazi comparisons are wrong, whoever is making them, 24 May).

We know, and surely he does, that it has now spread across the entire western world. It will continue to move to the next level unless governments take firm action against it. I hear words but see no action.

Baddiel is too flippant. He must take the Jew-hatred more seriously before we are all engulfed.

Geoffrey Bernstein

Harrow, Middx

A significant number of pro-Palestinian activists claim that the current war in Gaza "didn't start with the October attack." In reality, it did. It was Hamas that initiated the attack, not Palestinians as a whole. Like many of them, I also agree that it is neither logically nor ethically sound to equate Hamas with all Palestinians, yet their “It didn't start on 7 October” claim effectively does exactly that, suggesting that Hamas is the expression of fighting for the Palestinian cause.

History provides some frightening similarities. The Nazi leadership (not, of course, all Germans) justified their invasion and atrocities by claiming they were provoked by Czechs and Poles oppressing German minorities in their countries. While there were instances of discrimination against Germans, just as there have been acts of unjustified violence by some (a tiny minority) West Bank settlers, those situations could not justify acts of horrific cruelty against Israeli civilians who were in no way responsible for the violence committed by the settlers.

To suggest that any acts of cruelty against civilians are somehow justifiable because of previous violence from a particular group is a dangerous path. Liberal democracies, unlike Gaza under Hamas, aim to avoid this by emphasising individual rather than group responsibility for immoral and illegal acts of violence committed by members of any ethnic or religious group. Sadly, a significant number of pro-Palestinians fail to understand that concept.

David Frencel

London N4

With the likes of Spain, Norway and Ireland recognising a mythical Palestine, and Germany, reportedly, eagerly awaiting a signed copy of the ICJ/Khan arrest warrant for Jews, surely this calls for a sequel to Mel Brooks’ The Producers and Springtime for Hitler’? Perhaps Springtime for Hamastan?

Stanley Grossman


Back in 1982, when I was 22, the late Chief Rabbi Jakobovits appointed me to the position of director of his office. After a few days, he called me in to tell me that the United Synagogue were concerned about my age. “They seem to think youth is a sickness,” said Lord Jakobovits. “Fear not” he continued, “I have told them that you will get a little better every day.” Much has been written about the age of the Board of Deputies’s new president. Let’s all wish him well, recognise his evident capabilities and encourage his drive and enthusiasm.

Shimon Cohen

London N2

It was interesting to read that Rob Rinder had such wonderful support by Jewish Care for his late grandmother (Rinder is grateful for his grandma’s Jewish Care, 24 May).

What a shame that Jewish Care did not show the same compassion and support when they suddenly closed the Hyman Fine House in Brighton two years ago, with very little warning to the residents or relatives.

The need for this facility is as great now, as it was in past years, and the lack of it is felt throughout the community.

Angela Davis
Hove, Sussex

May 31, 2024 10:52

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