So, which leader has the ‘X’ Factor?
There can hardly be anyone in the country who agrees whole heartedly with 100 percent of any one political party’s policies. Most would see a mix as the best option. Thus, one needs to look beyond the parties to the characters of the candidates.
My experience as a long-time political observer is that we should look for an MP to exhibit intelligent judgement, an ability to serve different interests, a willingness to rebel against party lines in favour of matters of principle and an understanding of local issues – all supported by integrity and openness.
In Hampstead and Kilburn there is such a candidate; Tulip Siddiq who, in the years she has served a diverse community, has demonstrated these values in an exemplary manner.
Her understanding of, and work with, the Jewish community and its special needs is outstanding and she has gained the support of many of the Jewish leadership there.
She deserves to be elected.
I attended a hustings meeting at JW3 fronted by a panel from four political parties. The proceedings in the main were mundane and soporific, the “contestants” taking any and all opportunity to ignore the questions whenever possible and cavort to their party line.
In one case, the answer by the Labour candidate to a landlord-and-tenant question displayed an abysmal ignorance about the legislation which I found mind-boggling.
That is until the last question on whether the participants agreed with the motion to boycott cultural organisations etc in Israel. This was vehemently approved by the Green party candidate – which brought protests and catcalls from the audience – and objected to by the other candidates, making the usual facile remarks about a two-state solution living in peace and harmony.
They were all in unison that Bibi’s remarks recently were, and I quote “repugnant” and would do nothing to help the ‘peace process’. I do not feel they have any right to voice objections to the prime minister of Israel who was elected by a majority in a democratic process to lead his people. He has a deep knowledge of the challenges facing Israel and is perfectly entitled to voice them especially when he feels the security of his country is threatened. The criticism is wholly misplaced.
Apart from the Liberal Democrat candidate who came across as being lucid and competent, I fear for the electorate in Hampstead with such a dismal bunch to choose from.
SNP means a bleak outlook for Jews
The leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party, Nicola Sturgeon, has put out the party’s manifesto and list of demands in a most worrying manner for Jews in the UK. She wants to recognise an independent Palestinian state – the SNP flew the Palestinian flag over Glasgow and Edinburgh town halls much to the concern of Scottish Jews. By definition, most ultra-nationalistic movements are anti-Semitic. What will this ruthlessly ambitious and vindictive woman cast her beady eye on next? I am sure it will be shechita and possibly brit milah. If she and her party hold the balance of power in the next parliament, the outlook for our people will look bleak.
Should any readers be contemplating voting for the Green Party, I suggest they listen to the YouTube hate rant of its deputy leader, Shahrar Ali, at an anti-Israel rally. He proclaims: “Just because you observe the niceties of Holocaust Memorial Day does not mean you have learned the lessons of history.”
Natalie Bennett the Australian-born leader, recently said she supports a boycott of Israeli artists, musicians and academics. A suspension of the EU-Israel Trade agreement is incorporated into the Greens’ manifesto. This has nothing to do with environmental issues. People need to be aware there are also other agendas at play.
Do we engage of leave the field free?
Your gossip columnist Jenni Frazer is over-selective in quoting from my article of 30 April 2010 in The Guardian.
I distinguished between what I consider legitimate and illegitimate freedom of expression in an academic setting. I drew a line at incitement to violence. I did indeed say that “to argue that the state of Israel should be destroyed seems, to me, to amount to an incitement to genocide”. But I also said that “to argue that the re-establishment of the Jewish state in 1948 was a mistake seems to me to fall on the right side of the line I am attempting to draw”.
The paper I intended to present at the now-cancelled University of Southampton conference puts valid if challenging arguments supporting Jewish settlement both within and beyond the 1949 “Green Line”.
Either we engage with our opponents in this discussion or leave the field free for them to roam unhindered. Which is it to be?
Professor Geoffrey Alderman
Brendan: Publish elsewhere too
I have only one reservation regarding Brendan O’Neill’s excellent piece on Yarmouk (Jewish News, 16 April). It would have been much more appropriate had it appeared in The Guardian or Independent, whose readers need to be made aware of the hypocrisy of the pro-Palestinian camp who protest only when Israel is involved and ignore real massacres and other atrocities when perpetrated by their Arab friends.
Martin D Stern
Torah forbids an LGBT relationship
You reported that Reform Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner announced Reform Judaism’s intention to launch a LGBT site to play shidduch (sic) (Jewish News, 16 April). She is quoted as saying that they want to help LGBT Jews, who are interested in living a Jewish life, to meet. Since the Torah forbids LGBT relationships, this wish is unachievable. She goes on to say that gay relationships can have kedusha. I would be interested to hear her definition of kedusha.
Why no mention of Stephen Melzack?
You reported on the Holocaust Memorial ceremony in Hendon attended by 5,000 people and mentioned the choir of 160 children performing Never Again. Why was there no mention of the composer, Stephen Melzack, who wrote the song?
Mrs P Spencer
An ode to poor Jonathan Pollard
This is my latest poetic take on the continuing saga of Jonathan Pollard.
While Pollard rots in an American can,
For passing US intel of an attack by Iran,
Three decades plus locked up, and no chance of appeal,
a culture of silence with unseemly zeal.
Obama by contrast reveals Zion’s securities,
Her nuclear deterrent to all of her enemies,
Pollard punished for helping a friend,
Successive presidents maintained that trend,
But no other broke the Holy Land bond,
Of her leader, Obama isn’t particularly fond,
Trading Israeli lives for Iranian lies,
He should give back that Nobel Peace Prize,
Given for what, a peaceful golf round?
A more pointless award will never be found,
Pollard’s actions saved lives while he risked all,
Obama’s could turn Israel into a molten glass pool.
There’s no better time to unseal Pollard’s fate,
As posthumous pardons are rather too late.