LettersSir Nicky stamp a beautiful tribute

It was with great pleasure that we learned the news of a special stamp to honour Sir Nicholas Winton, which was recently released by the Royal Mail. We congratulate Jewish News on this beautiful initiative. Indeed, this is a well-merited tribute of one of the greatest heroes of the 20th century.

The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation is a global-reach non- governmental organisation based in New York, with representative offices in Israel, Argentina and Germany. Our main mission is to preserve and spread around the courageous legacy of Raoul Wallenberg and all his likes. Certainly, Sir Nicholas is one of the rescuers whose legacy we cherished. We have paid tribute to his feats on several occasions. On 27 June 2013, both of us had the pleasure of meeting him in London, at the private residence of the Swedish Ambassador, in a ceremony in which we honoured former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

We had a lively chat with Sir Nicholas, who at that time was 104 years old, and we admired his young spirit and wit. We found a humble man who was shy about telling the story of his heroism. Instead, he told us how worried he was about the ongoing bloody conflicts in what he referred to us a “topsy-turvy” world. Years earlier, in 2008, we commissioned a private release of commemorative stamps issued by the Israeli Postal Authority. Nowadays, our flagship project goes by the name of Houses of Life and its objective is to identify and mark with special plaques physical sites across Europe that gave shelter to the victims of the Nazi persecution and murder machine, especially children.

So far, we have located more than 300 Houses of Life in Italy, France, Hungary, Poland, Belgium and Greece, and the numbers are growing by the day. The underlying idea is to raise awareness to the spirit of solidarity displayed by the rescuers who, like Sir Nicholas, chose to fight evil and make a difference. We shall continue paying tribute to Sir Nicholas through educational and commemorative events. We owe to him our eternal gratitude and we have the obligation to instill his admirable legacy in the hearts and minds of the young generations. Eduardo Eurnekian and Baruch Tenembaum The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Wrong impression of Arab village

no defence for an anti-jewish play Your recent article highlighting the difficulties faced by the Arab village of Jisr az-Zarqa only represented half the facts – thus paints an incorrect picture (Jewish News, 25 February). The article contrasts poor Jisr az-Zarqa to rich Caesaria and hints this is the core of Israeli discrimination of Arabs.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only is Jisr az-Zarqa poor, it’s actually the poorest by the standards of Arab villages. It js dominated by two clans who constantly fight each other and the village itself has the highest number of illegal guns of any village in Israel. Recently a boy and girl fell in love from each clan and tried to flee the village, but were hunted down and the girl was murdered in a brutal manner.

The village represents a basket case owing to its violent culture and taught hatred. Instead of presenting it as a result of Israeli discrimination, it would be better to present it in its true light and seek solutions that imbue cultural and social change. Continuing a narrative of oppression and injection of money into pointless programmes only perpetuates the problem and does not help the villagers at all. Harold Miller Mill Hill

No defence for an anti-Jewish play

You published a letter from Jewish students in York claiming that the university’s Palestinian society “is committed to fighting racism and prejudice in all its guises” (Jewish News, 3 March). The fact that they recently showed the play Seven Jewish Children demonstrates their protestations to be entirely hollow. I was the first person to expose the racism in the play (in the blog Harry’s Place) after I saw it in preview in 2009. The play reeks of anti-Semitism and demonisation of Israel. It suggests that the quote: “A land without a people for a people without a land” was said by Zionists; it was not. It distorts the reasons for the Six Day War in 1967. It uses the phrase “Chosen People” in an anti-Semitic manner (implying that Jews believe they are superior to non-Jews, which is absolutely not what it means). It is unquestionably an anti-Semitic play. Anyone facilitating its production or appearing in it is guilty by association.

Jonathan Hoffman By email

Here we go again! More nonsense from a few self-described “Israelis and Jews“ and members of yet another Palestinian Solidarity Society, dedicated to the “criticism“ (denunciation) of the state of Israel. Those who first saw Caryl Churchill’s anti-Israel, anti-Semitic work, Seven Jewish Children, when it first appeared some years ago, realised it would be used for pro-Palestinian propaganda purposes. Talk of an “occupied, oppressed people” is simply absurd. Through the UN, EU and individual countries, the Palestinians have received more economic and financial aid over more than 70 years, than all other people combined. Since the founding of the independent state of Israel, millions of Palestinians have continued to live and work there. The Palestinians have rejected all offers for their own sovereign state, since the early part of the last century – and continue to do so. Every move towards a peaceful settlement for more than 50 years has been made, with nothing offered in return. There are numerous Muslim states where Muslims can live if they wish. There is just one Jewish state where Jews can live. Until the Palestinians and other Arab Muslim nations in the Middle East accept this fact, and cease to wage war against Israel, in one form or another, nothing will change. Perhaps the students at British universities should understand that. Racism, prejudice and intolerance exists in Israel as it does wherever people live – including the University of York.

Harry Levy Pinner

I’ve no appetite for hungry housewife

I’m genuinely shocked and disappointed with your new restaurant page, The Hungry Housewife.

While fully appreciating that you must cater for all your readers, how can it be right for a Jewish newspaper to promote non-kosher restaurants and boast of “feasting on tender beef rib-eye”, “seriously tasty lamb chops” and “seriously tasty chicken and chips”? That’s not even the worst bit.

To include a disclaimer that “restaurants (are) not strictly kosher unless stated” is simply dishonest. Just like one cannot be a little bit pregnant, all food is either kosher or not.

Individual levels of observance are of course of no interest to anyone but the person concerned. Yet I cannot understand how a newspaper which talks to and represents the Jewish community in the UK can so blatantly and publicly undermine one of the fundamental tenets of Jewish life. And before someone argues that Jewish News has many readers who do not keep kosher, this argument has nothing to with religious observance, and everything to do with Judaism.

If you don’t stand for basic Jewish values and beliefs, then what on earth do you stand for? Can I please ask you to reconsider the publication of this page.

Michael Rosen By email

America’s failure to do the right thing

While reading anything about the Holocaust, I have not seen anything about America’s contribution to the destruction of our people. Until 1941 at the Evian conference, Nazi policy was to encourage Jews to leave Germany, Austria and, later, Czechoslavakia.

That America’s Jews were ineffectual in changing the quota system was a mixture of US government’s insistence on maintaining quotas and America’s Jews agreeing with the government of Roosevelt. The key to the failures of American’s Jews is that they, like British Jews, looked to Europeans as foreigners; German Jews also thought of themselves as Germans with the misfortune to be Jewish.

That German Jews fought for the fatherland in the Second World War certainly proves this point. Are we to learn any lessons from the worst destruction of the Jewish people since Roman times? Sadly I say no. Norman Bright Stamford Hill

Palestinian state and an absurd proposal

The two-state solution has been the phrase frequently used to tackle the Israel/ Palestinian conflict. Given that there is no religious, legal, historical, economical nor moral justification for a Palestinian state, why do pro-Israel supporters not challenge the pseudo intellectual political elite?

Space will not permit me to elaborate on the factual data sources to validate the statements above. However, anyone with the most basic knowledge of the Koran and Bible will understand the truth of the religious aspect.

Regarding the legality of a Palestinian state – again anyone with any knowledge of the San Remo Treaty will, understand my comments. Historically, when have the Palestinians demanded their own state – neither under Ottoman nor British rule! If my analysis is correct (which it is), how can one therefore justify the creation of a state under purely economical or moral grounds? It’s an absurd philosophy. Peter Baum Westcliff-on-Sea Essex

Cameron reached wrong conclusion

David Cameron is undoubtedly a friend of Israel, yet the prime minister states he was “shocked” at what he saw in East Jerusalem on his last visit – seven years ago. If this is how an Israeli supporter sees things, it is no wonder we are losing the battle for hearts and minds regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. We are not getting our narrative across well enough.

I am sure that if Mr Cameron was told that East Jerusalem was as much as part of Israel as Western Jerusalem because, in fact, it was captured in 1948 when Jordan invaded and captured Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank.) General Glubb, a British officer, commanded the Arab legion and they ethnically cleansed East Jerusalem of Jews and he got knighted for his trouble.

Was Mr Cameron told that the whole territory from the sea up to Iraq was to be for a Jewish homeland according to the terms of the Mandate. Was he told that the East Bank (aka Jordan) was taken by the Hashemites illegally? I doubt he was told these important facts. If he had, he may have viewed East Jerusalem and the West Bank in a different light.

As long as we do not tell our story, we will be regarded as grabbing Arab land when in fact the reverse is true. If we are to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, and others, we need to get our act together. It is up to us to do this; if we don’t, who will? And if not now, then when? Uri Rabin Redbridge

Don’t give climate-denying rabbi space

Your columnist Rabbi Menachem Lester, in an article half-devoted to climate change (Jewish News, 25 February), quoted the eminent Albert Einstein’s remark that the world is a dangerous place not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about evil.

He himself then proceeds to advocate doing nothing about climate change, partly because of other countries currently proceeding in the wrong direction. He also dismisses man’s contribution to climate change as “insignificant compared to solar activity and sunspot variation”. Why do you give a platform to such a discredited claim? You would not, for example, tolerate a columnist claiming that smoking or sunbathing aren’t dangerous, rabbi or not.

What’s the difference? Lester was right to say that subsidising renewable energy won’t be enough. Last year, the Catholic Church implicitly recognised this too, in calling for a radical overhaul to the world’s economic system to bring about emissions cuts fairly.

Last year, also, there were calls for action on climate change from the Church of England, a symposium of world Islamic authorities and in a joint declaration by 300 rabbis of different denominations. Within the UK, the Board of Deputies is now supporting meat reduction, as well as cutting car use, and dressing more warmly to save heating (‘A Light Challenge’, Jewish News, 3 December). More voices still need to be heard on this issue and given more airtime.

James Levy Golders Green

Help AJEX give hero fitting resting place

I hope Jewish News readers might be able to assist the Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women in its current search. We are looking for surviving families named Solomon(s) and Morris/Moranski, who lived in North Kensington (Brewster Gardens) before and after the Second World War and lost a son/nephew called Wilbur Solomon, aka William Sullivan, aged 17 years.

He was killed on HMS Quorn in August 1944 and buried at Ranville. Wilbur was born in Islington in 1926. The father of Wilbur (S. Solomon) moved to New York, USA, after the war as shown on Wilbur’s Royal Navy records, which I have obtained, and was still a resident there in 1957. If any readers can shed light on this piece of history, or have any useful related information, please contact me via – martin.sugarman@yahoo.co.uk – so I can proceed with this case and have Wilbur properly and correctly remembered at his place of rest with a Star of David. Martin Sugarman AJEX archivist