The JC Letters Page April 7 2017

Steven R. Harvey, Stella Lucas, Stephen Miller, Sharman Kadish, Paul Bogdanor, and Ken Turner share their views with JC readers

April 26, 2017 10:50

Livingstone, Labour and lies

The Labour Party's indefensible failure to expel Ken Livingstone effectively condones his antisemitic lies, and we in British Jewry must unite in showing our anger by communally voting against Labour in record numbers in May and at all future elections.

Especially after this latest outrage, no ethnically-loyal, self-respecting Jew would in all conscience want anything to do with Labour or the Left in general, who can't justify their hypocritical pretence of being anti-racist while continuing to practise, preach and condone the world's oldest form of racism.

Steven R. Harvey, Cheshire SK8


Your article Ken Livingstone claims Jews and Nazis 'collaborated' during Second World War (March 31) says that three of the witness statements cited by Mr Livingstone were from "prominent" members of Jews for Justice for Palestinians. This is gratuitous and misleading. None of them are members of JfJfP’s Executive or were speaking on its behalf.

Their statements plainly express personal convictions and do not mention JfJfP. Our organisation is irrelevant to your story. We have no role in in this dispute or position on it. JfJfP does hold positions on the myriad, routine humiliations inflicted on the Palestinians; the 50-year-old Occupation; the contempt of Israel's increasingly extremist government for decency and human rights; the fresh approval of wholesale expansion in settlements; the plans to celebrate the Balfour Declaration without the slightest recognition of the Palestinians' huge losses; and the continuing violence, which creates victims on both sides but kills vastly greater numbers of Palestinians.

These are painful issues for Jews in the UK, and we see care and sensitivity, on all sides, as essential to constructive discourse. For example we are sadly accustomed to sweeping claims of antisemitism targeted at legitimate criticism of Israeli government actions, with the purpose of closing down debate.

However we believe in working for a just peace – that is, the only lasting peace – between Israel and the Palestinians. It's certainly a more pressing priority for us than Mr Livingstone's opinions and what the rest of us should make of them. John Speyer, For the Executive Committee, Jews for Justice for Palestinians

No longer onboard I have been very proud to have been associated with All Aboard since its foundation 30 years ago and that it has been responsible for providing substantial funds to British Jewish charities.

However, I am unable to accept that the shops should open and trade on Shabbat and accordingly resigned my association with All Aboard on 22nd February 2017.

I wish my former colleagues good luck for the future.

Stella Lucas

London NW8


Why negotiate?

On the BBC News at 22.00 Tuesday 29 March Sarah Smith, the Scottish BBC Reporter, made an interesting comment. She concluded her piece on the issue of a second referendum on Scottish Independence, by asking “how Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon could pursue it in discussions with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May, if the latter refuses to talk about it with her?”

In that vein, I would ask “how can any Israeli Leader enter into negotiations, and engage in any form of discussion, with Palestinian and many of the Middle East Arab Leaders, who do not recognize the State of Israel. Some worse still – are committed to wiping Israel off the map and seeking to kill all Jews in Israel?

Stephen Miller,

Hertfordshire WD6

Women weren’t ‘hidden'

Back in 1989-1992 I was the first woman Editor of HaMaor, the in-house journal of the Federation of Synagogues. I edited seven issues. Whilst a feature was occasionally “pulled” by the then Powers-That-Be who were publicity-shy when it came to money (this was in the days of the infamous Jersey bank accounts), pictures of women contributors, including myself, were never deleted.

Dayan Y.Y. Lichtenstein joined the Federation Beth Din during my tenure. A clue to the evident change of policy since then is to be found on p.24 of the same issue of the JC that quotes the Federation's President, writing in the current edition of HaMaor , calling for the setting up of a new Orthodox 'umbrella body' to be 'one powerful pressure group' on behalf of 'the fastest growing section of British Jewry in Gateshead, Manchester, north-west London and Stamford Hill'.

In other words, the Federation, an organisation whose raison d'etre was originally to represent the Jewish East End, is seeking to align itself with the forces of the Religious Right in order to reverse its long term decline.

The burgeoning Haredi press has a policy of not publishing pictures of 51 percent of the population, and HaMaor is simply following suit. Deferring to the Hasidim who, traditionally, do not refer by name to their wives and daughters on wedding invitations, today's so-called 'strictly' Orthodox world cannot even tolerate pictures of Her Majesty the Queen or Prime Minister Theresa May on the pages of their illustrious publications.

Doing the rounds last year on the Internet, (no wonder this is another 'no-no' in Haredi circles), was a parody Haredi paper whose take on the change of Government was the headline: 'Philip May enters Downing Street'!

(Dr) Sharman Kadish,

Manchester M25

Kasztner’s Crime Attacking my book Kasztner’s Crime, George Donath (letters, March 31) refers to “Kasztner’s merit” in saving several hundred Hungarian Jews who were taken to the SS-guarded Columbus Street camp in Budapest during 1944.

He does not mention the reason why the SS agreed to such “rescue operations” – a reason acknowledged by Israeli Attorney-General Chaim Cohen while arguing in Kasztner’s favour.

The “rescue” of a few, admitted Cohen, “was organised on Eichmann’s orders to facilitate the extermination of the whole people.”

Nor can Mr. Donath explain why Kasztner’s messages to the free world described Auschwitz-Birkenau as a mere “industrial centre,” or why Kasztner stated that the Jews deported from Hungary were alive and sending postcards from the Nazi decoy site of “Waldsee.”

Kasztner knew full well that Auschwitz-Birkenau was a death camp and that the deportees had been murdered there. Mr. Donath accuses me of dissembling when I say that I originally believed in Kasztner’s innocence.

The truth is that on March 5, 2008, to my subsequent regret, I chaired a meeting at the London Jewish Cultural Centre devoted to defending Kasztner. Among the speakers was Kasztner’s daughter.

Paul Bogdanor, Bournemouth BH1

Lauterpacht recalled

I read with sadness the excellent obituary on the outstanding Sir Elihu in last Friday's JC. However in discussion with three of my contemporaries who attended his lectures at LSE in 1952-53 we were shocked to realise that the sophisticated, elegant, softly spoken barrister who was constantly successfully defending himself academically against his ebullient and colourful antagonist Professor Georg Schwarzenberger at UCL, was no more than three years older than we, his pupils at the time.

In recalling those days, we would respectfully point out that, no doubt due to the demands of space, your article implies a continuous academic career for "Eli" at Cambridge. In fact, he spent at least two years prior to his Cambridge Fellowship at LSE, as part of the staff teaching the then tiny International Relations Department which is now so large. I am sure he remembered with pleasure, that early carefree episode in his illustrious career

Ken Turner B.Sc (Econ) LSE 1950-'53

Ilford, Essex IG1

April 26, 2017 10:50

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