The JC Letters Page, 31st May 2019

Mark Boyle, Stephen Vishnick, Steven R. Harvey, Jeff Lewis, Conrad Sandler, Stanley Grossman, Charlotte Taylor and Sylvia Newton share their views with JC readers

May 30, 2019 15:36

EHRC: It’s been too long

The Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into whether members of the Labour Party were harassed or intimidated because they were Jewish is to be welcomed.

Even after Hatton’s Liverpool, for too long, Labour at branch level has tolerated the Socialist Workers Party and other Trotskyite squadistras with faces permanently contorted in hate intimidating opponents in ways far worse than milk-shake-throwing while being quick to point to “sinister elements” within every other party’s ranks.

For too long, those elements have used Labour gatherings for peddling Jew hate disguised as “anti-Zionism” — including a ludicrous Starbucks boycott over non-existent links to the Israeli military.

For too long, we’ve kidded ourselves that Trotskyites’ anti-fascism and anti-racism fronts placed them on the side of the angels. For too long, we’ve ignored why all those they’ve demanded “solidarity” with — whether militant Irish Republicans, Palestinians or Islamic fundamentalists — all had one “enemy” in common. 

For too long, Gentile and Jew alike in the UK have allowed delusional romanticisms of Cable Street to blind us to antisemitism in our streets — where, for instance, a massive swastika is painted on Jewish property.

Mark Boyle

The news of the EHRC’s investigation into antisemitism within the Labour Party is better late than never. It is hoped that the veil will be lifted and the denial of institutional antisemitism by the upper echelons of the Labour Party and their members will be unmasked. 

Given that this investigation might take at least a year, I trust it does not imitate the seemingly never-ending investigation by the Labour Party themselves regarding outbursts by Ken Livingstone, who had the audacity to state that Hitler was a Zionist sympathiser. 

Since the arrival of Jeremy Corbyn — who for the payment of a £3 party joining fee has been a kind of  Pied Piper — he has gathered around him many fellow travellers and now that the emperor is no longer wearing any clothes let’s hope the truth will be revealed.

Stephen Vishnick 
Tel Aviv

The EHRC’s announcement of a formal inquiry into Labour antisemitism shames the party and confirms the legitimacy of our communal grievances against Labour the left.  

It should also, in combination with the recent poll showing 59 per cent of the public think Jeremy Corbyn will never stop Labour’s antisemitism, finally convince the JLM to disaffiliate rather than continue allowing themselves to be played for fools by Corbyn and his henchmen with their bogus promises of remedial action.

Steven R. Harvey

National Identities

Good to read Melanie Phillips (JC, May 24) supporting national identity and calling for it to be better understood in Europe. Perhaps she has by now deigned to extend the notion of national identity to Ireland, which, in a Times article a couple of years ago, she declared had only a tenuous claim to nationhood, coupling it with a denial of the British identity of the unionists of Ulster. I am not sure where she imagined their rootedness lay.

 Her lament for the lack of understanding of nationalism and patriotism in Europe in her JC column does seem to sit oddly with the great number of votes cast for stridently nationalist parties in the Euro elections of the past few days.

 As for our forebears a century or more ago, living in an age before the left became secular and Marxist, simple arithmetic reveals that this was the period of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia, and sympathetic movements elsewhere. 

A look back at the politics of those days, here and on the Continent, reveals much more in the way of kicking over the traces of accepted mores than we may think.

Suffragettes were considered subversive in their day by those who saw them as seeking to extend the woman’s place beyond where it properly belonged.

Jeff Lewis
Whitefield, Manchester

Criticical oxygen supply

I do not want in any way to question the scourge of antisemitism but I do believe that your blanket and detailed coverage is giving the perpetrators the oxygen that they so much desire. 

Why did the most important organ of news for the UK Jewish community give so much space to show a large photo of Anjem Choudary within a prominent article on Islamist extremism (JC, May 24)? He is probably very proud that he made so many column inches in the JC. 

We have the wonderful CST protecting the Jewish community but we don’t have to advertise that we have to protect all of our synagogues. 

The fact that we show and report on the Hezbollah flags being paraded is the kind of coverage wanted by these sick people. 

Never forget the words of Conor Cruise O’Brien: “Antisemitism is a very light sleeper.” 

Please think long and hard before you keep waking it up.

Conrad Sandler
London NW3

‘Noxious’ speech in Church

During the Church of Scotland (CoS) General Assembly 2019, a motion recommending the Church adopts the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of antisemitism and guidelines was presented and carried, but not without objecting voices. 

These included one noxious comment by the grandson of a Jewish Holocaust victim, who said that “nothing that happened in my family over history can exonerate what the state of Israel is doing”.  

He compared what is going on in Israel-Palestine to what happened to his grandfather’s business. 

Some present thought the comment “inappropriate and invidious” and the gentleman apologised to the Assembly. 

But it is not clear as to whether an apology to the state of Israel or Scotland’s Jewish community will be forthcoming.

 Would it be unreasonable to consider this another example of the antisemitism that some believe is becoming more recognisable within the Church of Scotland?

Stanley Grossman
Hon Sec. Scottish Friends of Israel

Moby can’t even count

From reading your article (I didn’t date ‘creepy’ Moby. JC May 24) it was very easy to calculate that Moby was wrong in saying that he and Natalie Portman “briefly dated”. 

He claims she was 20 and it was in 1999. Two incompatible statements (she was born in 1981 and therefore was 18 in 199). 

With Moby’s recollection of events being so unreliable, I am disinclined to believe any of his claims. 

Charlotte Taylor

Fresh bagel bliss

I was delighted to discover Warburtons bagels. Not everyone lives within the environs of Golders Green and can buy their bagels hot from the oven. 

So, usually by the time I eat them, I find them hard and indigestible.

We from the sticks find these new Warburtons bagels excellent —they also freeze very well.

Sylvia Newton
Esher, Surrey

May 30, 2019 15:36

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive