Our weekly Readers’ Letters page, now published online and in print
• Dr Shafi and his alleged sympathy
I was disappointed by the column by Dr Shafi, of the Muslim Council of Britain (Jewish News, 31 July), which was an attempt to portray his supposed sympathies towards UK Jews.
I note he feels those who took to the streets were acting in a legitimate and effective way. He omits to mention them carrying placards stating: ‘Hitler was right’.
This is blatant racism and an affront to Israel, the six million murdered by the Nazis and those of us living here in the UK for far longer than his community. The use of that hurtful, disgraceful, cruel and untrue comparison shows only too well why our community will find it impossible to have good dialogue with his. Those placards showed a complete disregard for atrocities still raw with our community and how little Dr Shafi understands Jews.
He also commented on ‘runaway excesses of the Netanyahu government’. Yet there was not a shred of sympathy for the constant inhumane bombardment by Hamas with rockets on the civilians of Israel, or the stated charter of Hamas to destroy Israel.
Nor does he mention the cold-blooded murder of our teens, a baby in its cot having its throat slit, the blowing up of buses in Israel’s cities, and so on. Where was his outrage for the Israelis who suffer constant atrocities? Maybe he has missed them, as we don’t parade our dead and wounded on BBC and other news media for propaganda purposes.
No Dr Shafi, I do not accept you stand against anti-Semitism. I see clearly your biased attitude to Israel which, to date, has not had one day of peace since 1948. Read the real history and you will see that the Palestinians were offered a homeland alongside Israel in 1948 and on many occasions since but have refused. Why? Because they want all the land and Hamas would murder another six million if given the chance.
Rosalyn Hackenbroch, By email
• Qatar’s key role in helping out Hamas
Nick Clegg and Vince Cable have claimed the credit for an arms embargo on Israel ‘in the event of significant hostilities breaking out’ once again (Daily Telegraph, 13 August). So, if the Israelis retaliate against Hamas missiles, the British government will impose a suspension of components for ‘tanks, military radar systems and combat aircraft’.
However, what sanctions will the British Government impose on Hamas, which indiscriminately fires into Israel missiles that are imported from Syria and Iran as well as their own home-produced ones?
Hamas is a terror organisation proscribed by the EU. It is committed to the destruction of Israel and murder of Jews. It is supported politically and funded by Qatar. Hamas’ command centre is located in Doha, and Qatar’s Arab-language Al Jazeera network pumps out anti-Israel and anti-Egypt propaganda. Without Qatar, Hamas could not function as a military threat.
If Mr Clegg and Mr Cable want to stop the Israel-Hamas conflict, they should also put pressure on the Qatari Government by initiating a boycott of the 2022 Word Cup and Harrods, the Qatari-owned department store, as well as stopping Emir Sheikh bin Hamad Al Thani and his extended family hobnobbing with the Queen at Ascot.
Anthony Waldman, Ilford
• Place shame where shame is really due
David Middleburgh finished his letter [Jewish News, 7 August] by writing “shame on us”. In the context of his letter, the ‘“us” he refers to might be those of the Jewish faith, or perhaps anybody who supports Israel in the conflict against Hamas and/or the Palestinians.
Presumably, when referring to “us” he includes himself. However, as a British Jew (Reform) who supports Israel, unequivocally, in the ongoing war against those Arab Muslim nations who have remained, officially, at war with it since the Jewish state was formed, I exclude myself from the “us” he considers should be ashamed.
Let’s be quite clea. The democratically-elected coalition government of Israel, regardless of who may be prime minister at any particular time, has no option other than to take whatever military/ diplomatic/ political action necessary to protect its citizens at all times and ensure the continued existence of Israel as a sovereign Jewish state.
Mr Middleburgh and others may not always be in support of the action – so what? Clearly, there are those who do not understand that Israel is the spearhead against Islamist jihadists whose professed caliphate is spreading across the Middle East and into the Western world.
Israelis are quite used to ‘neighbours’ who declare their intent, quite openly, to destroy their country, kill all Jews, and, given the chance, do not hesitate to. It’s a bit different for them than it is for
Mr Middleburgh, who may visit the country for a few days, then return home safely.
Whether it be through ‘humanitarian’ operations, selected and minimal air strikes, or even ‘boots on the ground’, it will be necessary in the coming years to take military action as well – with the terrible consequences which always result for all truly civilian populations on all sides. If the Second World War taught us anything, it taught us (especially Jews, Israeli or not) this. No sir, it is not ‘shame on us’, it is shame on those who fail to understand it.
The most effective ‘humanitarian’ act is not after the event, but to defeat the enemy and thereby stop the event happening. No sir, it is definitely not ‘shame on us’.
Harry Levy, Pinner
• Surrender to mob rule is so alarming
Thank you for drawing attention to the Bristol Encounters Film Festival’s decision to disinvite two Israel film-makers [Jewish News, 28 August]. This instance echoes similar responses from event organisers in Edinburgh and London. It also reflects the fear of street-mob rule witnessed in Manchester and Brighton.
What I find particularly disappointing is the obvious fact that responsible people and organisations are starting to surrender even to the possibility of mob rule. One can only wonder how long it will be before the anti-Israel street lobby will start to shape policy making in government and public administration.
European public life is gradually being manoeuvred into a position of political correctness on all matters relating to Israel; and that position is: hatred of all things Israeli.
Personally, I do not think it is a coincidence that the only country being singled out for such treatment is the Jewish homeland, and while I do draw some wry comfort from the fact that the world expects a higher standard of moral behaviour from democratic Israel than it simultaneously expects from Israel`s despotic and disfunctional neighbours, the implicit condescension to those neighbours has either not struck home with the protestors, or is not relevant to the protestors’ cause.
Perhaps most shocking is the remark of Debbie Lander, the organiser of the Bristol Encounter film festival: that the Israeli film directors are welcome as individuals, but implicitly not as citizens or representatives of the cultural life of the Jewish state, even though that state offers a peaceful freedom of religion and expression totally unknown elsewhere in the Middle East.
Alex Schlesinger, Hon President, Bristol Hebrew Congregation
• Camden statue for the wrong icon
I was given pause for thought by two adjacent obits [Jewish News, 28 August] – one for Amy Winehouse, a singer who had serious addiction problems, and the other for Helen Bamber, who assisted victims at Belsen, helped found Amnesty International and the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, and worked from the age of 20 until her death at 89 for those and many causes.
It is gratifying to read that a life-size statue of Bamber is to be erected… Oh, no, I’ve got that wrong. The statue is of the pop singer.
Do we have our values a little misplaced?
Barry Hyman, By email
• Time to be proactive …not reactive
Having attended a meeting at my synagogue and the infamous community-wide town hall meeting regarding the recent Gaza conflict and the growth in hate crime, I feel a sense of concern that we are lurching from one crisis to another without grasping the issues and taking proactive – as opposed to reactive – measures.
Yes, letter writing is important – particularly to MPs, MEPs, PPCs (prospective parliamentary candidates) and the rest, but this is purely reactive.
I have heard people suggesting more inter-faith dialogue is important. I agree, but it is only putting a plaster on what is a much bigger challenge.
I urge the great and the good to identify some innovative ideas on how we can address the challenges we face so we can lead from the front and not eight steps behind.
Natalie Shaw, Borehamwood
• Politics and religion are rarely seperate
I assume it is the same Joseph Cohen, who made his crass comments a few weeks ago, who again in your comments section, makes his ridiculous view about keeping politics out of religion.
How naive can he be, how desperate he is to cower down and grovel for his own way of life.
He should be called an invisible Jew – that would be a kind comment on his opinions.
Sidney Sands, N12
• Israel’s defence does helps Israelis to live
I was rather mystified by Louise Mensch’s recent column in which she stated that ‘there are better ways to punish for rockets’ and ‘Iron Dome already kept Israel safe and defended’. What punishment does she suggest? Grounding them and taking away pocket money? Why, when she was an MP, did she not question what our taxpayers money to the EU was being spent on in Gaza? Certainly not on improving Palestinian lives.
Experience shows that whatever Israel tried and whatever patience it demonstrated in the face of extreme and prolonged provocation did not work. As with a child, you cannot keep on saying: ‘If you do that again, I will punish you’, they do it again and you then don’t keep your word.
And the fact Israel had to build an Iron Dome to defend itself proves that it was constantly being attacked. Israel’s problem is that Hamas provides a more emotive picture to the world. Israelis going about their daily lives because their government defends them sticks in the throats of those who wish to destroy her.
Perhaps Ms Mensch should try living with rockets aimed at her and tunnels under her and then see if she could find another way. In the meantime, I am glad my children and grandchildren are defended and can go about their daily lives.
Marilyn Russell, Edgware
• DEC Funding must be well scrutinised
Rabbi Miriam Berger’s column in last week’s Jewish News stimulated me to write that DEC funding of Hamas is not scrutinised sufficiently to ensure money does not go to more armaments and weapons to continue its objectives of destroying Israel and world Jewry.
The US Govt has given Hamas $300million but instead of funding infrastructure renewal projects, a lot of that money has been diverted into weapons. The organisation of Hamas is complex as it has a cultural, religious and social agenda for the Palestinians, but still not all the money goes to these causes unfortunately.
Only until Jewish organisations could guarantee that the money was not being used for terrorism by using forensic accounting systems, we would be endangering Israeli and Jewish lives.
These are the facts of the matter as Israel and the world Jewry has a lot of enemies.
Professor Jonathan Bellini, By email