Stop this Islamic centre hostility 

The Barnet Multi Faith Forum (BMFF), the council’s strategic partner for the faith sector in the borough, endorses the welcome by faith representatives in Golders Green to the clerics of Markaz El Tathgheef El Eslami, the new Islamic Centre.

The forum’s role is to promote inclusion and celebrate diversity in Barnet while building on our rich tradition of welcoming newcomers, and we will continue to support people of all faiths and none to live together in peace.

This support chimes perfectly with the themes and values of Inter Faith Week as illustrated by events in Barnet, including this week’s exhibition hosted by BMFF in partnership with Yad Vashem UK, Faith Matters and Middlesex University about Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust and have been honoured by Yad Vashem as Righteous Among the Nations.

Revealing these incredible stories is specifically designed to demonstrate the excellent work by the many organisations working together to promote social cohesion and integration here.

In this context, the BMFF condemns the hostile and, at times, racist response to the new centre’s opening. We have every confidence the democratic process and governance of our planning procedures will address any legitimate concerns relating to the centre’s future use. For more information, contact us at info@barnetmultifaithforum.org.

Esmond Rosen, Chair of Barnet Multi Faith Forum

Patel and Polak helped Israel-haters

It’s a shame Priti Patel and Lord Polak helped to arm those opposing Israel.

That the name of Sir Alan Duncan (no friend of Israel), has now surfaced in the Foreign Office is no surprise.  Probably if this had been any other country, the result would have been different.

It also beggars belief that people didn’t realise the meal Labour would and have made of this visit, which had some good intentions that were not reported in the media.

Sidney Sands, By email

A rabbi who is ‘only a little bit’ wrong

I’m confused by Rabbi Shaul Rosenblatt’s idea of “doing the right thing”, seeming to advocate that as long as one apologises for mistakes, it is OK to be “a little bit unethical” or “just a tad dishonest” (Jewish News, 26 October).

Knowingly doing something wrong before you do it is a sin; apologising
afterwards does not remove the offence.

I saw in my friend’s fridge some non-kosher salami. I was surprised, and told her so. She replied: “Don’t be silly,  read the ingredients; it only has a little bit of pork in it.”

Please tell me, rabbi, am I only “a little bit” wrong in my interpretation of your article?

Diane Linden, Edgware

The fair-weather friend

Your article on Labour MP Wes Streeting hosting a meeting of an extremist Arab group in Parliament tells us MPs Anna Soubry, head of the all party Parliamentary All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims, and known parliamentary supporters of Palestinian supporters Crispin Blunt and Joanna Cherry cancelled (Jewish News, 2 November). But Streeting, with fellow Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, saw it through.

Before the last election, Streeting sat on a wafer-thin majority of 589 in his Ilford North constituency. It was believed the local Jewish population, whatever their political opinions, had helped to see him over the line. After the last election, his majority was a towering 9,600-plus. This was nothing to do with Jewish votes; it owed more to students and a changing demography.

His Jewish band of voters may or may not stick with him in the future. Some will be genuine socialists. But to discover another fair-weather friend will undoubtedly shock many of us.

From beyond the grave, perceptive Lord Palmerston will have a wry smile on his face.

Adrian Needlestone, By email

Not an inch of respect

Where do you find contributors like Keith Fraser, who wrote ‘Applaud Jeremy Corbyn for refusing to
attend Balfour Centenary’ (jewishnews.co.uk, 31 October)?   

He says Corbyn not attending showed his honesty. Corbyn’s official reason for not attending has nothing to with principles; he did not want to attend an event for Israel.

Let’s not give an inch of respectability to Corbyn and his colleagues.

Russell Ballen, By email

British policy on Israel immigration led to problems 

Although constantly ethnically cleansed from their native lands in Israel, Jews lived there continuously for 2,000 years and came back constantly over the years.

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

Tellingly, Yasser Arafat, the gangster head of the PLO, was born in Cairo, like most of the new “people” not even one generation in Israel.

Post-Balfour, the intentional British policy both to allow unrestricted non-Jewish immigration and also to viciously restrict Jewish immigration had its desired effect, and we see the problems it has created today.

Harold Miller, By email

Hoffman and human rights

Regarding Jonathan Hoffman’s blog, ‘Running with the fox and hunting with the hounds’ (jewishnews.co.uk, 25 October), he and Richard Millett attend meetings discussing Israel’s violations of Palestinian human rights and disrupt them by loud filibustering. They interrupted Wes Streeting’s meeting persistently until he asked them to stop.

It is indicative neither of them addressed the main purpose of the meeting: to draw attention to the fact that owing to Israel’s 10-year siege, Gaza is now becoming uninhabitable. Nor did they address surgeon Dr Philippa Whitford’s key point, that Israel prevents the import of radio isotopes for breast cancer treatment on grounds of dual (military) use, a vindictive policy that forces surgeons to adopt mastectomy to treat Gaza women suffering from breast cancer.

Glyn Secker, Executive Committee, Jews for Justice for Palestinians