The JC Letters Page August 11 2017

Stephen Miller, Tom Carew, Jacob Mendlovic, Fiyaz Mughal, Sara Pittack, Melvin Lawson and Mandy Grossman share their views with JC readers

August 10, 2017 15:20

Myers — and all journalists — should think before writing

So the Sunday Times Writer (Irish columnist Kevin Myers) has turned the tables: “I’m the victim, says columnist sacked over the Jew-hate  slur” (JC, August 4). He may not be antisemitic or a racist, but should never have made the comments which he did about Vanessa Feltz and Claudia Winkleman.  
Mr Myers was writing about the already contentious issue of the gender pay gap at the BBC not Jews or any other ethnic group.  No reference to the women being Jewish was required or relevant. However, in making such reference, how else, other than derogatory, could he possibly have thought that his comments would be considered.  
I suggest that Mr Myers and all journalists bear in mind the maxim: “Think before you write, about what light your comments may be taken in, so that there’ll be no victim, and if in doubt, leave them out.
Stephen Miller, 
Borehamwood, Hertfordshire 
Gideon Falter, Chair of CAA has revealed they demanded the Sunday Times both instantly fire Irish journalist Kevin Myers due to part of his column,  and also have him blacklisted. Four disturbing questions now deserve public answers from CAA: 
Does CAA reject the duty of any employer to grant due process and a prior hearing to any staff member before dismissal?
Since when did CAA extend their UK remit to publications appearing only in the separate sovereign jurisdiction of the Republic of Ireland?
Did JRCI — the Jewish Representative Council of Ireland — seek CAA intervention ? 
Why did CAA not consult JRCI who, along with the founding chair of Irish Holocaust Memorial Committee,  have both emphatically rejected any allegation that Myers is an antisemite.? 
I am particularly concerned as not only a former chair, Ireland-Israel Friendship League but also as having been involved in TUFI [ Trade Union Friends of Israel ], TULIP [ Trade Unionists Linking Israel and Palestine ],  and SPME [ Scholars for Peace in the Middle East ]. 
Tom Carew, 
Dublin 6, Ireland
As a Canadian Jew, I monitored the Irish press during Israel’s war in Gaza in 2009. As Ireland is one of the most pro-Palestinian countries in Europe, I was heartened by those journalists and prominent Irish people  who stood up for Israel. One of them was Kevin Myers.
Jewish groups and Jews who attacked Myers for his alleged antisemitism should forgive his minor error, which he acknowledges, close the case, and move on. Forgiveness is another basic Jewish ethic, central to Yom Kippur, the most sacred holiday of the Jewish calendar.
Jacob Mendlovic, 
Toronto, Canada


Feeling positive

Phil Rosenberg’s article, No Room for Complacency, But We are Not Alone… ( JC, August 4) is heartening and hits the mark. As a former Haringey councillor, I know full well the reality of a far left activist base in the borough which uses the Israel and Palestine conflict to reinforce and create divisions in communities. I also am saddened by the small number of Muslims Rosenberg mentioned were taking part in what he calls “a rally for hate”.
Rallying against the IHRA definition of antisemitism is not only deeply disappointing, it denies communities the basic human right of defining what constitutes hatred against their very being, faith and culture. 
Such individuals would probably never undertake such activities around definitions associated with racism or anti-Muslim hatred and rightly so, so why do they reverse this when it involves Jewish communities? 
Haringey has been a diverse and welcoming borough. Thankfully, those who seek divisions are extremely small in number and, increasingly, they are looking irrelevant. However, if the IHRA definition can be adopted by Haringey Council, the road ahead, looks extremely positive. 
Fiyaz Mughal OBE FCMI,
Founder and Director - Faith Matters

Let down

When I saw the advert for the  Louis Jacobs Memorial Lecture and that it was to be held at the Central Square Minyan I felt that this was a generous forward step in inter-communal relations. From what I could see,  there was no prayer involved and anyone was free to attend. 
I was therefore bitterly disappointed to read of the decision that might prevent this group renting the building again. 
As a community, we Jews are small and while we can disagree on many matters, that does not mean we should not discuss them in an open and respectful manner. 
We live in a world polarised by dogma and we are quick to condemn it in other religious communities and countries. Surely we all can and should do better. 
Sara Pittack, 
London N3


A remarkable man

The Board and Trustees of Nightingale Hammerson are grateful to the JC for publishing such a well-written obituary on Gerald Lipton. It was a true tribute to his tireless work in support of the Jewish community. 
Gerald’s dedication was drawn of deep-rooted passion and the values upon which Nightingale Hammerson is founded. 
Our ongoing success as a leading, innovative provider of residential care to older members of the Jewish community is steeped in Gerald’s invaluable contribution, which helped raise our organisation to another level. 
Melvin Lawson, 
Chairman, Nightingale Hammerson 

More aid needed

After increasing trouble with my ex-husband, in which the police, social services and others were involved, I spoke to our rabbi (whom I considered a family friend).  He told me not to divorce and threatened that the children would suffer. 
The rabbi continued to involve my ex-husband in shul life, despite knowing he was withholding the get. The Beth Din told me to “be patient” and when I asked for further information, sent me a discourteous letter.
Jewish Women’s Aid was helpful up to a point but I was dismayed that they do not do more to protest against the get issue which is an act of abuse (controlling and coercive) not just by individuals,  but also the rabbis. I am concerned that JWA directs abused women to “specially trained rabbonim and rebbetzens.” These rabbinic couples are employed by organisations who, at best, don’t recognise domestic abuse and, at worst, are more concerned at keeping it hidden in the community. 
Anyone considering donating money might want to give it to national women’s aid organisations, instead.
Name and address supplied


Family Ties

Our two grandsons aged five and three from our daughter are blessed with having four great-grandmothers. Not so many years ago this would have been a normal occurrence, but as many young people are marrying later now, especially those who are not so Orthodox, how common is this?
Mandy Grossman, 
Edgware, Middx
August 10, 2017 15:20

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