Put historic Hippodrome building to better use

I understand the Golders Green planning department was approached by a Jewish organisation some 10 years ago, with a view to using the Hippodrome site as a synagogue. Given the criteria for a Grade II listed building, the request was rejected. The same criteria still stand and this new application should consequently also be rejected on the same grounds.

It seems that even prior to planning permission being obtained by the present owners, the premises are already being used as a mosque, as the owners’ website listing times for prayer will confirm. This is somewhat premature, and presumptuous.

There is no question that this application must be rejected, particularly as there is existing evidence that the incumbents are already flouting the law. Jewish News seems to be dwelling on other aspects of the objections to the current application, which does not do it credit.

This is an historic building, with a specific criteria for use, and should be treated with respect. There is no question as to the decision which must be taken on this planning permission.

It must be rejected forthwith.

None of the emotional articles which Jewish News has published are relevant. The support of Jewish News would be better served for the entire local community, its laws and to its needs.

These should be paramount. Any other emphasis shows political bias and is irrelevant.

Vicki York, By email

Rewriting middle east history

In his letter (Jewish News, 16 November), Harold Miller adopted an interesting approach to historical reality when discussing the Arab population of Palestine in the 20th century.

He wrote: “The non-Jewish non-natives came from mass immigration from north Africa, Babylon, and Arabia in the early 20th century, drawn by jobs by returning Jews starting new industries.”

It would be helpful if Mr Miller could provide some evidence to support the idea that there was mass immigration of Arabs into Palestine. The facts suggest otherwise.

According to the British Government Survey of Palestine, 1922–1944, the migratory increase in that period was about 37,000 persons for non-Jews (ie Palestinian Arabs), whereas that of the Jews in the same period was about 327,000.

Presumably Mr Miller’s intention is to show that even though the Palestinian Arabs greatly outnumbered the Jews for the whole period up to and including 1948, they were somehow not entitled to the same democratic rights because they were recent immigrants.

Mr Miller is entitled to his opinions, but not to his own facts. His letter typifies the views of many Israel supporters who want to pretend that Palestinian Arabs didn’t really exist or, if they did, had no rights to statehood.

Fraser Michaelson, Southgate

Where the blame lies

If Glyn Secker of Jews for Justice for Palestine (Jewish News, 16 November) cannot cope with interruptions in his meetings, he should not hold them. I have been supporting Israel actively for nearly eight years. Some things have become clearly evident.

If there are issues in the West Bank and Gaza, the JJP lobby states it is always the fault of Israeli oppression and apartheid. Rubbish. Those issues are largely to do with the corrupt governments involved:  embezzlement, fraud and wasting money on building tunnels.

JJP always seems to circumvent this point – so answer these questions, JJP. With the housing and employment problems in the West Bank and Gaza, where did the money come from for the £10million mansion being built in Ramallah for Abbas’s retirement? Where did the money come from to build the seven-star hotel in Gaza City? Where did the money come from to build a super deluxe shopping centre in Gaza City while so many Gazans earn so little?

Jonathan Hoffman is one of a tiny handful of Zionists who have the guts and enthusiasm to represent Zionism in public.

Mike Abramov, By email

Reaction is plane crazy

Frankfurt District Court ruled in favour of Kuwait Airways in a case brought by an Israeli  barred from flying to Bangkok because of his nationality.

Where was all the international outrage and media coverage when Trump proposed a travel ban on people from certain countries?

His ban was seized on as Islamophobic purely because the countries involved were largely Muslim, and condemned by everyone and his dog.

So why was the Kuwait Airways story not also widely seen as racist?

Russell Ballen, By email

Matchmaking of cousins was long way from a myth

In his letter (Jewish News, 16 November), Ben Samuel says the marriage of cousins, which has been prevalent in the Jewish community since our records began, “a myth”.

I beg to differ. In the shtetls and towns of eastern Europe, in the gilded homes of the Anglo-Jewish “cousinhood” and certainly in rabbinical families, shiduchs, or matchmakings, were common, showing that not only was pedigree important but social spheres and, sometimes, pecuniary conditions were seriously considered.

Given the relatively small gene pool of the Jewish population, many of us would probably be surprised at how closely we are related, as shown in the DNA results of those who have researched their histories and the unfortunate effects shown up in Jewish inherited disease.

Doreen Berger, The Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain

Put Corbyn on notice now

I wholeheartedly agree with the comments about Jeremy Corbyn in Russell Ballen’s letter (Jewish News, 16 November). Almost weekly, there are column inches in this newspaper, about Mr Corbyn or those in the Labour Party, doing or saying something that is derogatory to Zionism and to Israel.

In his actions and comments, Mr Corbyn appears consistently to have shown himself to be ideologically opposed to the Jewish state, firmly wedded to the so-called Palestinian cause and reluctant to tackle properly the inherent anti-Semitism within the party.

To be accorded any respect, he needs to show respect to our community. Please bear this in mind when you cast your vote in the next general election.

This is likely to be sooner rather than later and it doesn’t seem that Mr Corbyn is going to do this any time soon. He is now just the Labour Party leader – he could soon be our next prime minister.

J D Milaric, By email