The JC Letters Page June 2 2017

Helena Hart, Dr D N Lawson, Vera Price, Pamela Melnikoff, Paul Bogdanor, Godfrey R Gould and M Schachter share their views with JC readers

June 02, 2017 12:53

Labour candidates’ inconsistencies

Attendance at the recent hustings at Finchley Synagogue was rather like being in some Orwellian parallel universe. 

In this universe, the Labour candidate sought to convince the audience that voting Labour in the forthcoming general election was the only way to ensure Jeremy Corbyn’s downfall!

Citing his utmost abhorrence and opposition to the leader and senior leadership of the Labour Party, with whose policies he claimed to vehemently disagree — even quoting the deletion of unacceptable and unpalatable wording in Labour’s draft manifesto as a result of his lobbying — Jeremy Newmark insisted that he came to bury Corbyn not to praise him and that the only way to change the Labour Party was to elect more Labour MPs.

The honourable course of action for someone who so patently disagrees with the current leadership and policies of the Labour Party with regard to the Jewish community surely is not to seek support for it.   

To make matters even worse, by standing in Finchley & Golders Green, he is asking the local electorate to reject Mike Freer, a proven, steadfast, honest and hard-working MP who is and always has been there for all of his constituents — whatever their race, religion or political affiliations.

Mr Newmark, you should hang your head in shame!

Helena Hart, 
London N3

It is slightly awkward that, immediately after the JC’s fawning interview with Luciana Berger, we read about Jeremy Corbyn’s further explicit support for anti-Israeli  terrorism. 

Presumably, Ms Berger is comfortable with that. Yet again, we see Jewish leaders asking Corbyn to clarify his views on Palestinian terrorism. 

You would have to be deaf and blind not to know the answer to that question. He is in favour of it — as he was of the IRA. 

One is reminded of Disraeli’s comment about an opponent, that one could see how the ancient Egyptians worshipped an insect. Sadly, so do some contemporary  Jews it seems.

M Schachter
London NW6

Kasztner’s guilt

In his latest attack on my book, Kasztner’s Crime, George Donath (Letters, May 12) denies that the small-scale “rescues” permitted by Adolf Eichmann in Hungary were part and parcel of the Nazi mass murder plan. 

Yet this point was accepted not only by Israel’s Attorney-General, while arguing in Rezso Kasztner’s favour, but also by Israel’s Supreme Court. According to the judges on both sides of the Kasztner case, even though he had no subjective intent to kill, Kasztner’s conduct objectively helped the Nazis to carry out the destruction of Hungary’s Jews.

Without any basis in fact, Mr Donath attributes the US bombing of Budapest and the order to stop the deportations to Kasztner’s letters abroad. 

Those messages actually camouflaged the victims’ terrible fate. 

The very letter cited by Mr. Donath claimed that Hungary’s Jews were being sent not to Auschwitz but to a non-existent work site, where they had supposedly written 750,000 optimistic postcards.

Mr Donath’s historical “consensus” that Kasztner was a hero is imaginary. In addition to my book, recent studies by Ayala Nedivi and Eli Reichenthal have documented Kasztner’s guilt.

Paul Bogdanor

Cemetery slips

You report that, as part of the consecration of the new Bushey cemetery, the Chief Rabbi “buried a Torah scroll with Dayan Menachem Gelley”.  What were the criteria for selecting Dayan Gelley for this ultimate honour?

Dr D N Lawson 
London N3 

I can’t believe how badly maintained the ladies’ toilets are in Jewish cemeteries. 

Recently, I went to the ladies’ toilet at Golders Green Cemetery and the lock was broken.  A small mirror was about 6ft above the floor.

When I telephoned the office, I was told that nobody had complained about it before.

Considering the burial fund costs, surely we are entitled to decent toilet facilities.

Vera Price, 
Harrow, Middlesex

Versatile Vanessa

I was interested to read Michael Etherton’s comments about Vanessa Redgrave (JC May 26) published at a time when Israel is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Six-Day War.  

At the outset of the War, the Jewish community staged a massive demonstration to show solidarity with the Jewish state.  I was the JC reporter at the time and went on the March to record the event.  

I remember mentioning in my story that one of the people demonstrating on behalf of Israel was a certain Vanessa Redgrave.  

She may not have proved particularly pro-Israel in subsequent years, but there was certainly a time when Vanessa Redgrave was a supporter of the Jewish state.

Pamela Melnikoff
Ilford, Essex

Names on a door

Sir Edward Burne-Jones lived at Aubrey Cottage, Rottingdean, Brighton and also in the adjoining Prospect House. 

The blue plaque (Diary, May 19) records his residence there. Today, the cottage is the home of Robert Feld, the son the late Alf Feld, flamboyant Mayor of Brighton who was, of course, Jewish —- thus the mezuzah. 

The house was also occupied by Edward’s granddaughter, Angela Thirkell,  by the artist Sir William Nicholson, and by Enid Bagnold, the author of National Velvet.

Godfrey R Gould, 

June 02, 2017 12:53

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