I trust Netanyahu more than Obama
I’m concerned by reports trivialising the manner in which Israeli Prime Minister [at the time of writing] Benjamin Netanyahu’s plea was made to the US Congress regarding the nuclear threat posed by Iran.
This is an important topic, which could have vast implications not just for Jews and the Middle East, but for the whole world. Iran’s rulers have been threatening to destroy Israel and the Jewish people ever since they came to power after ousting the Shah. They have shown their intent and resolve by being strongly suspected of attacking the Israeli Embassy and Jewish Cultural Centre in Buenos Aires, attacks that caused many deaths and hundreds of injuries. The mullahs intend to enforce regional domination, if not further.
These are rulers who readily sent thousands of young boys to their deaths, clearing minefields during the Iraq war. They would have no hesitation in hazarding millions of their subjects in a war to destroy the Jews.
The hands of the mullahs already stretch across the entire Middle East, supporting terrorist groups in four states. The US’s sudden alliance with Iran in fighting ISIS in Iraq is itself a worrying development.
As Jews, we should take seriously a threat made and posed by those who hate us. The US is leading the ongoing talks with the Iranians, having displaced the UK’s Baroness Cathy Ashton. But that’s not good enough. Barack Obama and his minion John Kerry are naïve incompetents in a joust with the chess-playing Iranians. Obama and Kerry’s track record in dealing with the Arab Spring – in particular their mismanagement of events in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen – and then in Ukraine, does not inspire confidence in their competence or ability to deal with determined ruthless opponents. Rather, I see a poorly-judged attempt to garner prizes.
Having completely misunderstood the Palestinian Arab situation and failed to produce an Israel-Palestinian “peace agreement”– they are looking for compensation in the form of the containment of Iranian nuclear ambitions. Would Iran abide by an agreement? Has it abided by the current non-proliferation agreement to which it is party? The secret, hidden nuclear development establishments – at least those we now know about – were not discovered by the US intelligence agency or the International Atomic Energy Agency – rather they were revealed by Iranian “dissidents”.
Netanyahu may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he was a soldier and fought for Jewish survival and fought off tough pressure from the US and EU. Given the choice of backing Obama’s judgment or Netanyahu’s, it’s no contest.
Rabbi Menahem Lester
Israel and south London
Brian is wrong to make such claims
I write in response to Conservative councillor Brian Gordon’s piece, ‘The Conservatives are the only sensible option for British Jews’ (Jewish News, 5 March).
The fact is there is no best party for British Jews. Our community is too complicated to apply such a simple label – and that is exactly how it should be. Any party that cares for our community should offer policies that attract votes from Jewish people – many, but not all of these issues are the same as for our non-Jewish neighbours. Our two mainstream parties – Labour and Conservative – offer people in our community two distinct offers – two different visions – every voter will need to make their own mind up. Both parties support shechita and both oppose boycott, divestment and sanctions.
Domestically, a Labour government will reverse the Conservative’s cuts to our neighbourhood policing so we have a more visible presence in our communities. A Labour government will give 25 hours per week of free childcare to parents with three and four-year-olds. A Labour government will want to make sure that our daughters are paid the same as our sons on equal terms. These are as much Jewish issues as they are non-Jewish issues.
On the Middle East, Labour wants Israel to be living side-by-side with a Palestinian state, as I and many of my friends do, as a Zionist necessity. Thirty-thousand people turned out on the streets of Tel Aviv two weekends ago to demonstrate against the current Israeli government – disagreement is part of democracy, and turning disagreement into a McCarthyist type litmus test is not good for democracy, our community or our people. In Britain, we are lucky that both of our two mainstream parties want our votes.
Labour Councillor for West Hendon
Rank hypocrisy at heart of UN
While the United Nations, various politicians and academia react in horror, outrage and revulsion and denounce as ‘war crimes’ ISIS’ deliberate destruction of ‘un-Islamic’ museums, statues and ancient Assyrian sites to erase the past, I have a few questions for the United Nations, our academic and political “intelligentsia” and sundry others:
1. Where is the outrage at the deliberate and continuous wanton destruction of Israel’s antiquities by the Palestinian occupiers of East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. What is the difference?
2. Where are UN declarations of war crime at the genocidal slaughter, mutilation, torture and enslavement of innocents: Christians, Yazidis and the ‘wrong’ sort of Muslims in Syria, Nigeria, Mali, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan?
3. Why no resolutions against Hamas teaching children to hate, via TV, in training camps, in UN-run schools with the same schools knowingly used as storage facilities for missiles?
In the distorted looking-glass of the UN, the EU and those of the academic left; destruction of ancient soulless statues comes before the protection of the modern statutes that are supposed to prevent the destruction of more valuable living souls.
Until the United Nations and others nail their colours to the mast of freedom, justice and truth and reject the loathsome despots that currently have them in thrall, then they will remain in all of our eyes, a suppurating cesspit of corruption and hypocrisy.
UKIP PPC for Hendon
Your spiel only half the story
Regarding your recent Purim spiel (This seder night will be different from all others, Jewish News, 5 March), you missed half the story! Just as the modern Orthodox and Reform are calling for one day yom tov to be consistent with Israel, there has been clear movement within the Charedi world here in Britain to be consistent with having an extra day for each yom tov.
We are now considering having two days for Shabbat – life in the Diaspora is only half as holy as in the Holy Land. If this is clearly the case with festivals, why should Shabbat be honoured less than the festivals? Watch this space for an announcement. You may need extra challahs!
Forget cameron, I am voting UKIP
As a non-observant Jew, I care nothing for shechita. Even if I did, Nigel Farage has pledged that UKIP will not oppose religious slaughter. I have always voted Tory, but no longer. They are not honest about immigration, among other things, so I will vote UKIP. Immigration cannot be controlled while we are part of the EU.
Was I east end’s only jewish boy?
I’m contacting Jewish News to establish whether I was the only Jewish male infant to live in London during the Second World War from 1940 until 1945, without being evacuated to safety.
I was born at Bancroft Road Hospital on 6 June 1940. It was fortunate that my father, Abraham Herskovitch, was born in Manchester in 1903. Although he was not even aware he held a British passport until his official registration for military service in Romania, he was told he was a British citizen and therefore exempt from service.
Because he was a British citizen by birth, he managed to bring my mother and siblings on the last train from Bucharest before the Nazi occupation. This would have been in September 1939.
No sooner had I been born than the Blitz began. My first home I remember was in Parfett Street in E1. To me, as an infant, air-raid siren warnings and bombs dropping everywhere was normal. In fact, both sides of my house were completely demolished.
I still remember that the public air-raid shelter at the bottom of the road, where my parents took me frequently, eventually suffered owing to a burst water main, resulting in the shelter being evacuated. I did not have the pleasure, as is the norm, of playing with my siblings. I can only remember one little boy who was not Jewish, called Peter. My siblings had all been evacuated to various parts of the country.
I was kept home with my parents for the duration of the war in Parfett Street. My first language during my infant years was Yiddish. The only time I came into contact with other Jewish children was in 1945 at the end of the war, when my family moved to Stamford Hill, and I attended the Yesodah Torah School.
I have no recollection of meeting other Jewish children during the war who, like me, had not been evacuated. So I am now searching for anyone who can help me establish something I have suspected for almost 70 years – that I was indeed the only Jewish male infant living in the East End during this historic period. Do any Jewish News readers of a certain age have similar memories to share?
Confusion over jews and zionism
It’s no use Roslyn Pine fretting that the line between anti-Semitism and anti-Israel activism has disappeared (Jewish News, letters, 12 March) while previously claiming it was deceitful for George Galloway to state that Zionism and Israel are different things from Judaism and Jewishness (Opinion, 12 February).
How does she expect non-Jews to discriminate between Jews and Israel when she herself promotes the notion that Zionism is fundamental to Judaism and that the connection between Jews and Israel lies at the heart of what it means to be Jewish?
Of course anti-Israel activists are going to attack Jews for being Jewish if being Jewish means supporting Israel and Zionism. If Jews refuse to draw the line between Judaism and Zionism, neither will those who protest against Israel and Zionism.