Letters

H.E.T. pays tribute to our hero survivors

Last week we were thrilled to see the news that 10 Holocaust survivors were recognised in the new year’s honours list. They deserve it. We believe passionately that the survivors who share their testimony so tirelessly, all deserve it. In particular, during the past incredible year, when we marked 70 years since the end of the Holocaust, the survivors were at the very centre of every commemoration, as always reminding us of their determination and strength. We work with many survivors – each and every one of them as important to us as the other. We have said before and will continue to say, that every one of these remarkable people deserves the highest possible honour for what they do. They constantly give up their time, travelling the length and breadth of the country to speak in schools. They do not do this for recognition or to be noted, but because of a profound sense of duty and courage to ensure future generations know of the horror they went through and for it to never happen again to anyone, anywhere.

We value this all year round, but as we approach Holocaust Memorial Day this year, it is a chance for us all to reflect on the incredible efforts that Holocaust survivors make to educate the next generation, but also, to remember what they endured. While we can nominate individuals for an honour, we never know the result of our efforts until they are made public. Not one survivor is overlooked by the Holocaust Educational Trust and while we wish those who receive honours a hearty mazeltov, we know you all deserve it and we will continue to put forward the case for all of the survivors to be recognised for what they do, and of course hope that members of the public will support us in this endeavour. You, the survivors are our inspiration – the reason we do what we do. We cannot thank you enough. You are our heroes and we salute you!

Karen Pollock Chief executive, HET unlike Galloway, trump could win Why all this fuss about Donald Trump’s ‘anti-Muslim’ statements? It’s just typical of the sort of idiotic, meaningless ranting one has come to expect from loony-tunes completely out of touch with reality. One is reminded of that ‘Israeli free Bradford’ statement from Planet Galloway! If a couple of my Israeli friends boarded a train from London to Bradford, would they have been met at the station by Galloway’s security services?

They wouldn’t have been carrying passports so will the men be ordered to drop their trousers and pants and examined for signs of Judaism? And at New York immigration, will everyone be ordered to prove they are not Muslim? How? Will they be required to recite the Lords Prayer, or the Shema? Galloway will never be British prime minister (actually, he probably thinks he is!), but Trump could possibly be the next president of The United States. Oy vey!

Jeff Best N1

Shocked by janner funeral reporting

I was very shocked at the inaccurate report on page two of your paper relating to the late Lord Greville Janner (Jewish News, 24 December). I was the only standard-bearer at Lord Janner’s funeral representing the Monash branch of the Royal British Legion. There were no AJEX standards – let alone two – because the AJEX standard-bearer’s were instructed not to attend.

Harold Newman Chairman and standard-bearer of the Monash branch of the Royal British Legion

Islam should not be taught in school

While I am sure the Chief Rabbi is well-meaning in recommending that Islam be taught as a second religion in Jewish schools, I cannot see that a religion or ideology that commands the killing of apostates or members who leave the religion; which compares Jews as descendants of pigs and apes; which treats women like chattels; which throws homosexuals off of high buildings; advocates beheadings and is committed to the destruction of Israel, is a religion that should be taught to our children. This religion must never be given equal treatment and respect alongside Biblical-based faiths. I can think of at least five alternative religions that could be taught – Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism and Sikkhism. One only has to look at the history of the Middle East to see what a failure Islam is.

Judith Roth By email

Herod’s reign was unlike isis threat

I was watching the news during the festive break when I heard the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his Christmas message, refer to the annihilation of Christians in the Middle East as comparable to the reign of Herod. I think this was extremely anti-Semitic and could spark off a lot of trouble for British Jews, particularly among those who blame us for everything. I think we should refute this as what these Muslim terrorists do can in no way compare with the reign of King Herod.

Leonora Czarny By email

Board’s APPG plays a key & active role

Chloe Lieberman (Letters, 7 January) says she wishes to learn more about the work of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on British Jews which was launched by the Board of Deputies in 2013 to “broaden and deepen connections between the Jewish community and Parliament” and wonders whether we have been sufficiently active in this area. The answer is a resounding “yes”.

The launch and subsequent development of this APPG has greatly enhanced the community’s Parliamentary engagement. The group does not work on Antisemitism or Israel, as these are covered by other APPGs, but rather on subjects including religious freedom, education, culture, Holocaust restitution and international issues beyond Israel. In the past year alone, The Board has met 10 ministers – including secretaries of state – and more than 30 Parliamentarians. Just this week, along with communal colleagues we met the Prime Minister, and next month we will meet Jeremy Corbyn.

In 2015 we launched our Jewish Manifesto for the General Election, which was sent to over 2,500 prospective parliamentary candidates. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with all the main party leaders filming messages of support for our 10 Commitments. Indeed, other faith groups used it as a model for their own manifestos. We have held a wide range of events which include events addressed by Home Secretary Theresa May, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson and the Westminster leaders of the SNP and Liberal Democrats.

There were also events and meetings attended by senior politicians, including our Chanukah reception a few weeks ago, attended by more than 80 Parliamentarians. In short, the Board is hugely respected in Parliament and our influence grows with each passing year. The APPG group is an important element in this work and we are grateful to parliamentarians on all sides of the House.

Simon Round Board of Deputies

Unwelcome news of boycott policy

In reporting the central government move to prevent local authorities divesting from organisations or foreign countries of their own choice, you used the strapline ‘Government acts over council boycott policies’ (Jewish News, 31 December).

Would you have reported it thus if it had happened at the height of the anti-apartheid divestment movement? I don’t think so.

 This is dark news for democracy in this country, and hardly chimes with the commandment: “You shall not stand idly by when the blood of your brother is being shed.” James Levy Golders Green