No place for such extremism in paper
I write with regard to Rabbi Stewart Weiss’s opinion piece “In Praise of the Palestinians” published last week on the Jewish News website. We regret both the tone and the content of the article which has the effect of condemning the entire Palestinian people as terrorists. While there are Palestinians attacking Israelis with knives, and while Hamas and the Palestinian Authority have added to the incitement, we do not feel that it is right or proper to accuse all Palestinians and Muslims of complicity in these crimes. I understand that Rabbi Weiss’s son was the victim of terrorism and that this must colour his views. However, this kind of rhetoric can only inflame an already incendiary situation. Our strategy is to work with moderate Muslims towards peace and co-operation. Articles such as these are unhelpful. We rightly reject attempts to stigmatise Jews and must equally oppose views which collectively stigmatise others.
Board of Deputies
I write reeling with horror at the spate of blazing racism that Jewish News has suddenly taken to printing. First, Stuart Weiss’ online article In praise of the Palestinians demonised the Palestinian people as being collectively responsible for all global terrorism and hoped for the day when they will be “cut down”. And then Sion Labi’s letter in last week’s paper urging Jews to boycott Syrian refugees because “everyone seems to forget that they are Muslims” and thus “the enemy”. How can the Jewish community possibly hope to combat rising anti-Semitism and hatred of our own, when this is how our largest newspaper treats the other faith and ethnic groups with which we share our society and our world? How can we demand ‘Stop the Incitement’ in the Middle East when we are inciting ourselves? Prejudice against others based on race or religion is un-Jewish. Jewish News should not be giving traction to views which tarnish the reputation of our community and which, worse, make others suffer the same bigotry and degradation we Jews have suffered in the past.
Notorious decision behind the troubles
Does your correspondent Roslyn Pine really believe the Palestinians would negotiate away their land to the Israelis if they were genuinely persuaded that the Jews constitute a people as opposed to a religious community? I doubt it. In 1934, Stalin was at liberty to allocate Soviet territory as a Jewish homeland for the millions of Jews who had lived in Russia for generations. But the notorious 1917 decision by a foreign power to establish a Jewish homeland in territory where hardly any Jews lived is surely what lies at the root of the Israeli-Arab conflict. By what right did British, Russian and Polish Zionists demand sovereignty over Palestine where Jews barely numbered 10 per cent of the population? It would be like the EU issuing a Juncker Declaration promising the establishment of an Islamic state in France to provide a haven for all the world’s unwanted Muslim refugees. Jews were the newcomers to Palestine. They flooded the country and made the natives feel like foreigners in their own land. Of course the Arabs of Palestine will never acquiesce to a Jewish state on their soil. Would you?
Friendlier on other side of the pond
Widening the issue of unfriendly shul-goers in Golders Green not returning the greeting “Good yom tom” from a stranger, my experience in New York was enlightening. Crossing Brooklyn Bridge we were warmly greeted by a tzitzit-clad complete stranger, who called out ,“Hello, how are you?” When we responded we were fine, he corrected us by declaring, “No, here we say Baruch Hashem!”
Remember the 20M Russian dead too
I cannot endorse your correspondent Jenni Frazer’s criticism of the Orthodox response to the refugee crisis [Jewish News, 15 October]. One of the first people interviewed as pictures of the enormous influx of immigrants were shown on the news channels, was forer Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks. He stated that as 10,000 Jews were allowed to come to UK in 1939 at least that number of Middle East refugees from Syria should also be allowed in. It was at this juncture that the numbers game began, culminating in the ludicrous remarks by German chancellor Angela Merkel that 800,000 would be permitted to enter her country, which she has surely come to regret.
Striking a chord with horst-wessel
Benjamin Netanyahu may have exaggerated the role of Haj Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, in influencing the Nazi extermination programme. However, in view of his own anti-Jewish campaign since the early 1920s under the slogan of Idbach al-Yahud [Slaughter the Jews], he certainly approved of it. He would have heard the Horst-Wessel song, one of the anthems of Nazi Germany, during his residence in Berlin from 1941-45. Its words Wenn vom Messer spritzt das Juden Blut, dann geht’s noch mal so gut (When Jewish blood flows from the knife, then everything goes well) would, therefore, have struck a resonant chord, as they obviously do with his spiritual heirs in the “Palestinian resistance” today.
Ideology and the great British Media
Your front page of 22 October accused the British media of “false reporting and wilful distortion“. You are absolutely correct. The media, which I was proud to work in for more than 50 years, has been corrupted through political ideology. My nationality is British, my religion is Judaism. I have never been a member or supporter of any political party and definitely never been influenced by any political or religious ideology while working in a media group. As a managing director, I was careful never to allow politics or religion to have a foothold in the organisation. It’s not difficult to define editorial policy. Essentially it involves presenting the reader with informative, factual, unbiased news coverage. Comment and opinion, particularly when relating to news matters, must be presented in a fair and balanced way, in a style and of a standard determined by the editor. Nothing in newspaper, television or radio news coverage should promote any political or religious ideology unless, of course, the basic objective and/or existence of the media outlet itself is to do precisely that. As for the Israel/Palestinian conflict, any analysis demonstrates clearly the public has for some time been subjected to a distorted, biased anti-Israel campaign which is nothing less than media corruption. As individuals we, of course, form our own views as to the reasons for this.
Anniversary of al Jolson’s death
I note Barry Hyman’s letter regarding the anniversary of the death of Al Jolson (Jewish News, 15 October). I remember as a very little boy listening to him on the radio. I also note that although performing with a black face would be very politically incorrect today, Jolson in fact supported Afro-American entertainers. They felt very grateful to him as they lined the streets on the day of his funeral.