The JC Letters Page June 23 2017

Rosalind Schogger, Gideon Falter, David Levenson, Frank Angell, Stephen Miller and Dr Anthony Isaacs share their views with JC readers

June 23, 2017 16:06

Where are you?

I would like to know why the London Jewish community was so poorly represented, while Jewish and non-Jewish people came from across Britain last Sunday, to make a stand against terrorism.

Just a short time after three terrorist attacks inside England, the London Mayor shamefully allowed the Iranian-backed Al Quds Rally to take place in Central London. 

A small handful of pro-Israel activists managed to disrupt the parade of Jew-haters, whose desire it is to annihilate Israel. They conflated the horror of the fire in Grenfell Towers with their hatred for Zionism and Israel.

The many Israel advocacy groups across Britain are crying out for help with their projects in their local communities,but the Jewish population is on the whole, silent. Where are you all?

Rosalind Schogger
Bournemouth Action For Israel

Corbyn and the notion of a ‘benefit of the doubt’, facts and fallacies of ‘Jewish vote’ and ‘anonymous cosying up’

Anglo-Jewry has long despised some in its self-proclaimed leadership whose relationships with the Government and Opposition are crippled by insecurity, pusillanimity and a supplicant disposition. Yet it is that strain of non-leader whom you reported about on your front page last week (Let’s give Corbyn benefit of the doubt). 

Giving Mr Corbyn the “benefit of the doubt” is exactly what we Jews did to get into our current predicament. 

In the past, the JC has rightly called the Labour Party out on its endless disappointments such as Chakrabarti and Livingstone. The Labour insiders you gave prominence to last week suggested that Mr Corbyn be given the “benefit of the doubt” once again, but there is no doubt any more.

We know he has no intention of rooting out antisemites on the far-left having spent so many years fraternising with them. Instead of making yet another approach to him, like a torture victim afflicted by Stockholm syndrome, let our community show some backbone and insist that Mr Corbyn does what we have demanded for so long, namely attacking antisemitism in his Party without fear or favour. On the day he does that, I will be the first to congratulate him. Until then, let us hold our nerve and make antisemitism our indelible red line.

Gideon Falter
Chairman, Campaign Against Antisemitism
London W1

Your writers are no doubt entitled to indulge in speculation about the impact of the Jewish vote on the outcome of the recent general election. What is impermissible, however, is to mislead your readership by basing such speculation on erroneous data.

Your paper variously states that the national swing to Labour was 7.5 per cent (page 4) and 9.5 per cent (page 5), suggesting that a lesser swing in certain seats was due to a so-called Jewish factor. However, the national swing to Labour was in fact two per cent, comfortably exceeded in many seats with a significant Jewish population, including both Finchley (4.1 per cent) and Hendon (2.7 per cent), described by Geoffrey Alderman as “underperformance”.

He further implies, bizarrely, that “outraged” Jewish voters in these two constituencies could have been more likely to vote for non-Jewish Labour candidates.

It is equally plausible that, starting from a low electoral base and despite months of unremitting antagonism to Labour in your pages, many Jewish voters, turned off by the fumbling Tory leadership and negative campaign and/or energised by the positive Labour one,  decided in common with other British citizens that “enough is enough” and made their own contribution to the overall swing to Labour.

Dr Anthony Isaacs
London NW3

Marcus Dysch has written an important lead story revealing that senior members of the Jewish community are now mulling over their response to Jeremy Corbyn’s qualified success at last month’s general election.

Yet even Dysch has been unable to get his sources to go on the record.  Unsurprising really as they know exactly what kind of response they will receive.

So, just who are these “communal leaders” who believe it is time to start cosying up to Corbyn and his cronies? And who do they think they represent?

Let’s be clear, had Corbyn lost 30 existing seats as was widely predicted, there would have been no talk of this kind going on.  So why change tune now?  Why moderate the Jewish community’s position when it has just delivered its overwhelming verdict?

Some voices, notably those among the vanquished candidates from the Jewish Labour Movement, will argue that reaching out to Ken Livingstone when he was Mayor of London helped to repair relations between the Jewish Community and City Hall.  

This is undoubtedly true. But the crucial differences were that Livingstone’s antipathy to Jews, as displayed towards the Evening Standard’s Oliver Goldsmith, was personal and not evidence at that time of a spreading cancer within the Labour party.  Additionally, Livingstone was in a position to make policy decisions that affected the lives of Jewish Londoners, so community leaders collectively held their noses and did what had to be done.

Corbyn is not in the same position as Livingstone then was and, provided the Jewish community remain vigilant, he never will be.

David Levenson, 
Stanmore, Middlesex


Scottish sympathy

Stephen Daisley  (June 16) may be delighted to see the non-election of Paul Monaghan. However, also unelected were the other MPs who visited Israel as part of an SNP group.

Both Angus Robertson and Kirsten Oswald have been extremely helpful to the Scottish Jewish Community and hold very fair views on Israel. Kirsten as MP for the area with the largest Jewish Community, was highly regarded even among those opposed to her party’s politics.

Frank Angell, 
Glasgow 6 

Radiohead rave

I read with great satisfaction the item Radiohead frontman slams boycott stance (JC, June 9).  Good on Thom Yorke for responding to the BDS supporters who sent a letter to the band asking that they cancel their appearance scheduled for July, in Israel.

Mr Yorke made clear his views and that he is sufficiently intelligent to make up his own mind about where the band performs. Celebrity supporters of the BDS Campaign are always quick to tell their peers not to appear in Israel.  

Contrary to their misguided beliefs, such action will do nothing to help solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – only cause conflict with their fellow artists and further embolden them in their in their choice of venues.  

“Being Divisive & Selective” (BDS), this campaign is detrimental to the situation, while music has the power to bring people together, help heal wounds and be a positive influence for good in our world.  Along with other entertainers who have chosen to perform in Israel, Radiohead’s gig, will be “one small step” to counter the negative BDS Campaign.

Stephen Miller
Borehamwood, Hertfordshire


June 23, 2017 16:06

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