Mea culpas, self-denunciations and the Dweck affair

It's not just the hard left that demands its opponents fall in behind the party line

July 20, 2017 11:10

I’ve been away for most of this month. Returning to work today, I had a strong sense of déjà vu.

The big story is the rabbinic panel into the words of Sephardi rabbi Joseph Dweck.

The senior rabbi of the S&P Sephardi Community, who has been castigated by some elements within Orthodoxy for his views on gay love – he’s ok with it - and his criticisms of some fellow rabbis, has issued a mea culpa, expressing his regret for speaking in an “inappropriate and imprudent” manner.

And he has promised that in future he will allow other rabbis to approve the contents of any future lectures in advance of delivery.

The panel into his views - chaired by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis – noted Rabbi Dweck’s “sincere expressions of contrition”. And Rabbi Dweck apologised for making disparaging remarks about other rabbis: “I apologise wholeheartedly and publicly ask mehila (forgiveness) from my esteemed colleagues for those statements.”

This is, we are told, a happy solution in which everyone gets to save face.

I doubt the Chief Rabbi has ever previously been compared with Jeremy Corbyn, but I can’t help but draw a comparison with the Labour leader's supporters’ behaviour towards Luciana Berger.

Earlier this month, they took control of her Liverpool Wavertree CLP. The Corbynites' first demand was an apology from Ms Berger for resigning from the shadow cabinet last summer.

Roy Bentham – the driving force behind the hard left takeover of her local party - said that Ms Berger “needs to get on board quickly”.

In response, the Labour MP issued a statement with the new CLP secretary Angela Kehoe Jones, in which she heaped praise on the Labour leader, saying she wants a “return of a Labour government under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn as soon as possible”.

Demands for mea culpas, statements of self-denunciation, apologies for past behaviour, promises about the future: shall we play spot the difference?

It seems that demands for Soviet-style self denunciations and formal hearings for daring to express a view that differs from the mainstream aren’t the preserve of the hard left.


July 20, 2017 11:10

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