The JC

Letters to the editor 7 June 2024

Palestine recognition, Melanie Phillips and Keir Starmer


Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his Michal meet with American actor Michael Douglas at the President residence in Jerusalem, June 2, 2024. Photo by Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90 *** Local Caption *** ארצות הברית יצחק הרצוג האמריקאי בית הנשיא שחקן מייקל מיכל דאגלס

June 05, 2024 10:05

Recognising “Palestine” as a state - as Norway, Ireland and Spain had recently done, joining over 140 others - not only rewards terrorism but is an integral part of a concerted effort by our enemies to edit us out of our Biblical land and history, and by this to give credence to the lie that Judea and Samaria is ancient Palestinian land.

Appropriation of our land and national story strips us of our Bible-bound identity and we effectively cease to be; our demise is the primary goal of radical Islam.

The two-state solution is thus much more than a territorial compromise or even the flaunting of international law of 1922 which reaffirms our right to the land from the river to the sea: it is a devious plan aimed at our spiritual and physical annihilation.

Eda Spinka

London NW4

I agree with Melanie Phillips that human rights have become the secular religion of the left (Israel is caught between terrorists, brainwashed mobs and “human rights” lawfare, 23 May). Just as Islam has been hijacked by Islamists, so human rights have been appropriated by fundamentalists who interpret “secular scripture” literally, without nuance and devoid of context.

From trans rights to the war between Israel and Hamas, a burgeoning human rights industry is enabling the most tenuous claims of abuse to be taken seriously, with the creation of a false sense of victimhood and moral equivalence. The very laws designed to protect human rights are being selectively used to undermine them.

Stan Labovitch


The headline of David Rose’s article tells us Starmer pledges to stand firm with Jews (29 May).

Presumably like he did between 2016 and 2019? Like he did in February 2019, when Starmer, then shadow Brexit secretary, told BBC Breakfast TV: “I do think Jeremy Corbyn would make a great Prime Minister.”

Or like he did later that year when, interviewed on the BBC's Andrew Marr Show about the resignation of Louise Ellman from the Labour Party and her claim that Corbyn was a danger to the British Jewish community, he responded: “I don't accept that. I don't accept that.”

It is arguable that as one of Corbyn’s closest shadow cabinet colleagues and accepting the doctrine of collective responsibility he was in fact been part of the problem, however he might seek to distance himself.

To me he comes across like an arsonist who, having set fire to the building, seeks to portray himself as a hero for rescuing the occupants.

Starmer’s involvement with these issues does not simply start in 2019 when Labour was defeated. That’s like starting a history of World War Two on VE day. It won’t wash.

He is now trying to make himself all things to all people. No, to understand Starmer you must first go back to Marx, in this case Groucho. “These are my principles, if you don’t like them, well I have others”.

Jeremy Moore

Hatch End, Middlesex


Edwin Shuker (Praise for Starmer’s record on antisemitism during Barnet walkabout, 31 May) states that "members of his synagogue and his colleagues on the Board believed that [of Starmer] “we’ve got a friend. So long as he’s around, we feel safe”."

I am a member of that synagogue (Woodside Park). Mr Shuker never polled me.

Starmer failed to condemn the ICJ's biased judgment against Israel and even supported the ICC's threat to arrest Israel's Prime Minister. Starmer was silent about Corbyn’s antisemitism when he was in the Shadow Cabinet before the 2019 election.

At the end of March 47 Labour MPs signed a motion to impose an arms embargo on Israel, almost one quarter of the total of Labour MPs.

Mr Shuker's statement may be true of the Board: four out of five of the new Honorary Officers are Labour Party activists, and the fifth holds similar views. It is certainly is not true of all the members of Woodside Park Synagogue (as he implied).

Jonathan Hoffman



For the BDS movement to agitate against Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood for performing Arabic love songs in Tel Aviv proves the old adage: It is hard to argue with clever people, but absolutely impossible to argue with idiots.

David Miller



The society wedding of the year takes place on 7 June at Chester Cathedral. The bride is Olivia Henson, who attended Marlborough College at the same time as Princess Eugenie, and has been employed as an account manager for an ethical food company, specialising in such delicacies as rose harissa, preserved lemons and port.

However, on this occasion, it is the bridegroom, Hugh Richard Louis Grosvenor, the Seventh Duke of Westminster, godson of King Charles III and friend of the Royal brothers Princes William and Harry who provides us with a Jewish link.

The Grosvenor fortune commenced in the reign of King Charles II with the marriage of Thomas Grosvenor to (twelve year old) Mary Davies, daughter of a law writer and heiress to her great uncle, Hugh Audley, a well known money lender.

Mary's inheritance has now become areas to the west of London, which include Park Lane, Mayfair and Belgravia.

The present Duke of Westminster has Russian blood through his mother, Natalia Ayesha Phillips, a descendant of the Grand Duke Mikhail Mikhailovich. He also has German blood through his great-great-grandfather, Sir Julius Charles Wernher. Sir Julian, a diamond magnate and art collector, was born in Darmstadt, Germany. He mixed well with his Jewish South African business associates and did not become a naturalised British citizen until 1898, in deference to his family.

Sir Julian's wife, Alice Sedgwick Mankiewicz, was born in Gdansk, Poland to Jacob or James Mankiewicz, a Jewish merchant. After his death, Alice married Henry Ludlow Lopes, coincidentally the ancestor of Queen Camilla's son-in-law, Harry Lopes.

The Second Duke of Westminster, Robert Grosvenor, who was notoriously antisemitic and part of the group who would have preferred to come to an accommodation with Nazi Germany, would surely have turned in his grave long ago at the Jewish family connection.

Doreen Berger

Stanmore, Middx.

June 05, 2024 10:05

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