O Box 34296, London NW5 1YW • firstname.lastname@example.org
Do nothing – and make a big mistake
Regarding the planned neo-Nazi rally in Golders Green on 4 July, I am sure there are many who will urge the community to ignore this event and do nothing. That would be a big mistake. People who love democracy and freedom should respond to this outrageous gathering to promote and spread anti-Semitism. We are all aware who the main promoters of this are – who, I have no doubt, received a great deal of funding to make this rally take place. To ignore this is to invite further nasty outbreaks of this kind. We must show that we are not going to simply let this happen without expressing our disgust and despair at authorities permitting this to take place. So this is my advice: block all roads leading to Golders Green Road. That will cause one hell of a traffic jam, and prevent the event from taking place. Surely the Community Security Trust could organise this? This would be a peaceful protest and it should not tar its image of being other than just a watch and report organisation. Issy Rondel By email Dear Sir As an ex-serviceman who served this country, I deplore this proposed anti- Jewish rally set for Golders Green on 4 July. Hopefully common sense will prevail to ban this proposed event, held by morons to incite hatred.
HRA repeal will have consequences
We would like to echo Stephen Oryszckuk’s wake-up call (Opinion, Jewish News, 28 May) to British Jews on the issue of what he calls the “slow dissolution of liberties”. Britain is justly proud of the Magna Carta. It is the foundation stone upon which the essential features of the modern state – democracy and the rule of law – have been built. And, from the American revolution to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it has inspired those who have fought to defend human dignity in the face of tyranny. But as we celebrated Magna Carta’s 800th anniversary on Monday, we should remember a simple truth: liberty is hard-won and easily squandered. How ironic it is that, even as it basks in the reflected glow of the esteem in which Magna Carta is held, the government is proposing to start dismantling the international human rights framework that is a direct legacy of that iconic document. Once again, Britain’s actions are being watched. Just as the Magna Carta lit the light of liberty across the globe, now tyrants and dictators will be encouraged by a beacon nation backtracking on its international obligations. The ramifications of the repeal of the Human Rights Act and a weakened commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights would be felt well beyond these shores. We are sleepwalking into allowing the destruction or dilution of our precious freedoms. It is, indeed, time for us to wake up.
Mia Hasenson-Gross and Sam Grant
There are two states already
I would like to add to the excellent letter from Martin Stern regarding the legal status of Judea and Samaria, aka the West Bank and the territory east of the river Jordan (Jewish News, 4 June). He is correct that Article 25 of the terms of the Mandate mentions the area east of the River Jordan, but it does not mention any of the area west of the river, therefore it does not apply to Judea and Samaria. If I may add to his comments that Article 5 states: “The Mandatory shall be responsible for seeing that no Palestinian territory shall be ceded or leased to or in any way placed under the control of the Government of any foreign power”. This clearly did not happen as Eastern Palestine, aka Jordan, was illegally detached from the territory designated for a Jewish homeland. I believe that this is very important as it shows that there are already two states in Palestine with the Arabs taking the lion’s share and leaving Jews with less than one quarter. In my opinion, the propaganda war being waged against Israel on the false premise that Palestinian Arabs do not have a state can easily be shown that this is not correct and those willing to listen may take a different view. How it is that Israel neglects to point this out is beyond me; no wonder we are losing the hearts and minds of so many former allies. If we are not prepared to show that there are two states already and the falsehood of Arab claims, then we deserve to be misunderstood.
Let Belz community live and let live
It was a pleasure to read Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet’s comment on the Belz ban on mothers driving their children to school (Jewish News, 4 June). He wrote that “as much as I might personally disagree with them… this edict from the Belz community was, as reported, a reiteration of some old edict that has long been in place in its community”. This contrasts the comment by Dina Brawer of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance that “it is no different from the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia”. As Ahron Klein of the Belz Boys’ School said: “We do not impose these guidelines on anyone who has not chosen to adhere to the mores of our community of his or her own free will,” so her comparison is totally unjustified. In any case, exceptions are made if a mother has no other choice, such as a medical problem. While I find some of the Chasidic attitudes to modesty rather over the top, this is primarily a reaction to the permissiveness in general society. That a certain Jewish paper gave undue prominence to something that merited, at most, a passing mention in its inner pages is just another example of the intolerance in the secular world of those who do not subscribe to its Weltanschauung [world view], and led to uninformed comments in the non-Jewish media. Belz Chasidim don’t intimidate those who do not follow their lifestyle, so why not simply live and let live?
Martin D. Stern
No proud jews among the Forty under 40?
The pictures of Forty Under 40 stars on your front page (Jewish News, 4 June) described as “the faces of the future” show there is hardly a single man prepared to be recognised as a proud Jew by wearing a kippa, even in a Jewish environment. What hope for the future of Judaism being led by such people?
Lisa’s son now has a choice to make
I write in response to Lisa Sanders’ latest column in the newspaper (Opinion, Jewish News, 11 June) about her son joining the IDF. As one super-anxious Jewish mother to another, now is the time that, however hard it is, you need to let your son decide what kind of army service he wants to do. After all, it will be HIS service and not yours. Your job now is to guide, encourage and praise him in everything that he does – whether it is what you would want or not. Yes, you can try to guide him to what your preference would be, but at the end of the day, it has to be his decision (and, ultimately, what the IDF choose him for). The 17 years that you have given him count for a lot – after all, you have shaped him and given him a foundation on which to build the rest of his life.
Now you have to let him fly with the wings that you have cradled, created and nurtured over those years. He will go forward to make his mark in this world based on all that you have done and shown him and I’m sure he will bring you much joy and nachat in all he does and proves that choices you made in the past were right. You decided, when you made aliyah, that his future life would be in Israel, with all that that entails, knowing that this day would eventually come. If all of us anxious Jewish mothers had our ways, none of our boys would be in Kravi (fighting units) but, unfortunately, Israel is not in the same position that Britain is, which could afford to have a voluntary army and, without conscription. Where would Israel be? In Israel, you do not have to look to the army to find ways to instill national pride, as the pride is usually already there. I look forward to hearing where your son will eventually serve and feel sure you will then be able to write an article on how proud of him you are.
You schlep trollies …not nachas!
As a regular reader, a correction has to be made regarding your front page of 4 June, in which you wrote: “As your community newspaper, we schlepped nachas showcasing the vibrant pool of talent that exists among us.” One schleps a shopping trolley, but one sheps naches when a family member achieves success. Check with Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill Synagogue. He often mentions this error.
Israeli film essential to shared culture
I have not read the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement letter in the Guardian [which asks cinemas to boycott SERET, the London Israeli film festival] but learning of it in Jewish News (11 June), I disagree with the move against the modern day equivalent of the Hebrew Bible. I supported Israeli film from the beginning. In my student years, I saw Turn Left At The End Of The World, a film with the Union of Jewish studies about a family of Indian immigrants to Israel. On my last trip to Israel, I discovered the subsidised film industry that made Fla’ot, a film about gangsters who kidnap a rabbi they believe to have magical powers. Students at Sussex continue to celebrate the feminist film focusing around a bizarre check-point mix up, Israel’s answer to Hollywood’s Trading Places. Other anti-cuts activists make it impossible for many young people to have a proud Jewish left-wing identity. I have not read [film-maker] Ken Loach’s letter to the Guardian, but I saw his film, The Spirit of ‘45 which, of course, ignores the pioneering work of socialists in Israel-Palestine under the British Mandate. If it were not for subsidies from the state of Israel to Hebrew film, it would be as dead as Elstree’s film industry. I am not a big film buff, but I hope any upcoming London politicians will keep their promise to oppose divisive boycotts and recognise how essential SERET film festival is to our culture.