The JC Letters Page, 4th January 2019

Roslyn Pine, Dr Anthony Isaacs, Prof Norma Rinsler, Michael Braham, Susy Stone, Dr Stanley Jacobs and Jo Freeman share their views with JC readers

January 10, 2019 10:50

Due process and allegations of racism 

Herbert Goldberg would have me “disowned by our community” based on my alleged “brazenly racist comments” (Letters, December 21). He dismisses due process which has “obscured far weightier issues”, namely, comments I was “reported” to have made. 

Due process defines a civilised society, unlike trial by hearsay and mob rule — characteristics of thug societies.

I totally refute accusations that I am ‘Islamophobic’ and have made racist remarks. My trenchant comments relate to extremist Islamic jihadi ideology and their proponents, a point I made to the JC when I stressed that, in a free society, all religions, including Judaism, should be exposed to criticism. 

Mr Goldberg is hoist by his own petard when he writes that “anyone who said of the Jews, as Ms Pine said of the Muslims that ‘they are the vilest of animals’ would have been brought to book.”

This referred to a retweet from a parody account, where “Infidels” was substituted by “Muslims” from a Koranic verse sometimes preached in sermons — ie hatred by some Muslims towards non-Muslims often being ignored, yet the reverse greeted with outrage.

I explained the meaning in further tweets for those unfamiliar with parody. Nothing better endorses the point of the tweet than the character assassination that followed, by those with a sinister agenda intent on removing me as a deputy. The accusation that I brought the Board of Deputies into disrepute is nonsensical, as there has never been a single complaint against me from the wider community.

The Board’s constitution requires that it “take such appropriate action…to promote Israel’s security, welfare and standing”, yet complaints against deputies participating in the Kaddish for Hamas scandal were dismissed with weak excuses, the Board’s President even demanding respect for their views!

Equally damaging was the ignorant statement by the Board’s Senior VP on Israel’s Nation State Law, seized upon by Jeremy Corbyn using the Board’s authority as proof that Israel discriminates against its minorities. 

The Board’s Constitution Committee’s panel (a kangaroo court) saw no evidence, and independent lawyers said its judgement (which libelled me) would have been dismissed by every court of law.

The Executive ignored multiple criticisms against it by the Appeal Panel. Instead, it offered me the “possibility” of the suspension being reduced to two years if I apologised. 

I refuse to yield to blackmail.

I never claimed to be the “sole, legitimate campaigner against antisemitism and anti-Israel activities”, rather I said that I have been one of very few foot soldiers regularly challenging the antisemitism masquerading as anti-Zionism in unglamorous venues countrywide for twenty years, in the absence of any presence by communal leaders.

Had they addressed it earlier, the scale of the antisemitism we now face would be much reduced.

Roslyn Pine.
London N3

Tunnel vision money

Alex Brummer (Thought of Corbyn has Jewish investors running for the hills, December 28) reports on wealthy people who seek to avoid potential taxation by transferring assets overseas, an unsurprising, if depressing revelation. 

Many will find it disturbing that a concern for keeping cash “safe” in private hands is prioritised over contributing to the public funds necessary to ensure the provision of services to the whole community. 

Given the scourges of poverty and homelessness, the plight of those quaintly described as “earning as little as £80,000 a year”, nearly three times the median income, is unlikely to evoke much sympathy. If Mr Brummer’s inaccurate advice, whether or not delivered on Yom Kippur, wasn’t bad enough (Labour’s proposed 50% marginal tax rate applies to earnings above £123,000, not £80,000, per annum), what makes his article much worse is his focus on Jewish business leaders in seeking “bolt-holes” and outwitting those “marauders” who act in the public interest. 

While he is ostensibly concerned about the threat of antisemitism, this tunnel vision is likely only to further the spread of anti-Jewish tropes. Had his piece been written by a non-Jewish author in a paper other than the JC, it would no doubt have been roundly condemned for doing just that.

Dr Anthony Isaacs
London NW3

See ourselves as seen

Barbara Weiss (This is the wrong place, December 28) and Baroness Deech are right: Victoria Tower Gardens is not an appropriate site for the proposed Holocaust Memorial.  Even in the artist’s impression, it looks completely out of scale in this small, peaceful space.

And why are we so bad at seeing ourselves as others see us?  Such a memorial has no more claim to a place in the shadow of Westminster than a memorial to the victims of other past tragedies.  There is a small, modest memorial in another green space not far away, and the Imperial War Museum already offers a fitting location, soon to be enlarged, in a relevant historical context.  The huge cost of the projected building would be far better devoted to education: it’s minds and hearts we need to win, not architectural prizes.

Prof Norma Rinsler
London NW8

He was not alone

Whilst not wishing  to detract from the achievements of Mike Barnard (Two-sport master dies, December 28), he was not the only Jewish  sportsman to reach the top flight in two sports. 

Louis Bookman (ne Buchalter) represented Ireland at  international level at both football and cricket. The son of a Lithuanian rabbi, Bookman is, I believe, the only Jewish football to represent one of the four Home countries gaining the first of his four caps in 1914 when Ireland won the International championship. 

He was also almost certainly the first Jew to play football in the top flight when he joined FA Cup holders Bradford City in 1912.  Bookman, a left hand batsman and slow left arm bowler, played First Class cricket for Ireland as well as Minor Counties cricket for Bedfordshire when on the books of Luton Town.

Michael Braham
Southport, Merseyside

Happy and thriving

Simon Rocker’s article about SATs results (The information that you will not have seen about Sats, December 28) reminds me of the famous quote from Mark Twain: “Most people use statistics like a drunk man uses a lamppost, more for support than illumination.”

What parents need to know is simple: that their child’s school uses its data to drive improvement that ensures that all pupils are happy and thriving.

Susy Stone
Headteacher, Akiva School, 
London N3 

Working for pay rise

Reading of the Jewish Doctors who enhanced the NHS (From refugees to medicine’s cutting edge, December 28), I alighted upon the name of Dr Michael Balint.

He kindly allowed me to sit in on his weekly GP seminars while I was a senior registrar at University College Hospital, London.  My abiding memory of these were the affection in which he was held by the doctors attending.  Despite being almost blind he would peer over his impressively thick rimmed lenses always with a benign twinkle in his eye.

He encouraged me to persist with research showing, to the surprise of the senior consultants, the long number of hours worked by junior doctors in the1960s.  This soon resulted in them gaining a significant pay rise at the next round of negotiations.

Dr Stanley Jacobs 

Where did it go?

I have been reading your publication for over 60 years.

My ‘go to’ page is the Social & Personal, following the family tradition of “guess who died?”.

Imagine how I felt when in last week’s edition (December 28) there were no announcements.
Is this an oversight or were there actually no announcements.

Jo Freeman
Carluke, South Lanarkshire

Note from the JC: 

Last week’s S&P did not appear because of the short working week. It resumes this week.

January 10, 2019 10:50

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