LettersBeing judged by the company one keeps

Congratulations on your editorial in the edition of 20 August regarding Jeremy Corbyn. Perhaps his mother never told him as a youngster to choose his companions wisely, as one is judged by the company one keeps. He certainly joins the ranks of the many who are members of the ‘socialists international brigade’. The BDS is supported by all the extreme left-wing groups and the church. The World Council of Churches is leading this obnoxious persecution of the one tiny Jewish state, because it is a Jewish state and has nothing to do with the West Bank Arabs. As the church persecuted the Jews, now the church is being persecuted by Islam. What is its reaction? Hate for the Jews!

The original boycott of Israel had its headquarters in Damascus, Syria. Perhaps our enemies need to be questioned as to whether they are supporting the Assad regime? Martin Luther King Jr stated that to be an anti-Zionist is to be anti-Semitic. This term is too respectable and should be called for what it is, Jew-hatred. Yes, even the so- called Jew-hating Jews, who are quite prominent in the media, including Gilad Atzmon, who is a Jew-hater who denies the Holocaust. No wonder he is so popular with the extreme left.

Peter Baum, Board of Deputies delegate for Southend and Westcliff, made some very encouraging remarks regarding the need for media-savvy leaders. There are three major problems here that need to be addressed.

The first relates to the overall competence of this organisation, which traditionally waits for individuals before its acts. Then it is too little and usually too late. Is the current executive leadership following in the footsteps of its predecessors still afraid of speaking up too much for Israel and against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for fear of a backlash against the Jews in this country?

The second problem is obtaining people who are not only media savvy but also prepared to put themselves on the line publicly. The third problem is the transparent bias and open hostility towards Israel from much of the media. Who will be prepared to clash with the BBC, etc, and demand the release of the Balen Report and publicly demand honest and truthful reporting instead of acting as the voice for Palestine? A question for those Jewish socialists. What’s the difference between the German National Socialist Workers Party’s hate for the Jews and the left-wing international Socialist Workers’ Party’s hate for Israel and Zionism (read Jews)?

Martin Cohen

By email

Ahmadi Muslims are key intermediaries

It was my honour last week to be invited as a journalist to the Jalsa Salana, the annual international convention for members of the Ahmadiyya community. The Ahmadis are a peaceful and tolerant denomination within the Islamic world. They believe that their faith is compatible with the rule of law, patriotism, secular education and women’s rights and they make a pledge of allegiance to whichever country they reside in.

Not surprising, their Caliph pledges opposition to extremism and radicalisation, stressing instead ‘love for all, and hatred for none’. In the words of one activist, they are a ‘reverse ISIS’. In addition, the Ahmadis believe that Israel is compatible with their interpretation of the Koran. Rather depressingly, these people are viewed by many of their co-religionists as non-Muslims, indeed as heretics. In Pakistan, their activities are criminalised and there are many cases around the world where they have suffered the most iniquitous forms of persecution. It comes as little surprise to learn that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where this community enjoys religious freedom.

The tragedy is that the one Muslim group whose agenda is most closely aligned to the West, the one group whose voice should be used to most effectively counter radicalisation, is effectively shunned by so much of the Muslim establishment. Nonetheless, the Ahmadis are a shining example of a religious minority that warms to Western values, and not afraid to say so. They must be acknowledged as key intermediaries in the fight against radical Islam.

Jeremy Havardi

Mill Hill

There is a solution to the conflict

Your leader column two weeks ago stated: “There is no possibility of achieving an independent and viable Palestinian state alongside a Jewish state” (Jewish News, 13 August). I wish to point out that there are two states already in former Palestine, namely Israel and Jordan that coexist very well. Both are founded on mandated territory, Jordan’s population is mainly Palestinian Arabs, thus making it the Palestinian state in all but name.

My view, which coincides with analyst David Singer’s comment, is that Jordan has to take some responsibility for settling the conflict. It has been suggested that Jordan annexe the Arab areas of the West Bank and Israel the Jewish areas, thus reducing the conflict to just agreeing the borders between them. The Arabs would benefit from being ruled by a more benevolent regime and not be under the boot of terrorists as now. Israel would be more confident to trust the king of Jordan than the PLO. Providing there is goodwill on both sides this could work.

Uri Rabin

Redbridge

Why give galloway any column inches?

I assume it was a slow news week, otherwise I cannot understand why you wasted column inches on George Galloway, even if it was under the pretext of him standing in the forthcoming London Mayoral election (Jewish News, 13 August).

He has as much chance of winning that as I do and I’m not even standing. So why ask him the questions we all already know the answers to? Why give him the spotlight in any way, shape or form? You only need to watch him on Al Jazeera to form an educated opinion.

Russell Ballen

By email

May I reiterate: kippah marks you as proud!

In response to Sam Hopkins’ letter (Jewish News, 13 August), and other recent letters, the wearing of a kippah is marks you out as a proud Jew, and a starting point to being a “face of the future”. Being embarrassed by one’s Judaism certainly doesn’t qualify.

Sam says that Judaism in not a religion, which well explains his position. He also says that it makes sense not to wear a kippah if one is an agnostic, sceptical and does not pray, and this is the crux of my original point, that with such people being singled out as the future leaders of the Jewish community, ‘What hope for the future of Judaism being led by such people?’

Ann Cohen

Golders Green

The Kippah debate is not so clear-cut!

‘The Great Kippah Debate’ – to wear or not to wear? – is not as polarised as reader Sam Hopkins seems to think. It’s over-simplification to suggest that “some believe and… others don’t” and that the former “religious” group wears kippot, whereas the latter, who do not pray and are “agnostic and sceptical’’ do not. He omitted the substantial middle-ground mainstream who do believe, keep strictly kosher homes, raise their children according to those precepts and are fully committed to Judaism, but who do not wear kippot.

More than that, in criticising the kippot-wearing ‘religious Jews’ for excluding his non-wearing agnostics, he’s hoist with his own petard by lumping the non kippot-wearing observant mainstream together with his non-praying non-believers, which is entirely unacceptable.

 

Barry Borman

Setting the record straight on cruise

Having read your recent cruise travel feature on the Azura, there were many inaccuracies which would give would-be cruisers going on this ship the wrong impression.

1. There are two sittings for dinner in the regular dining room. You only get the paging system and eat what time you like if you are in freedom dining, which is only a small part of the dining room and you have to pay gratuities up front.

2. You have to pay extra for the adult pool. I have been on Azura twice – it’s gone completely downhill.

E J Moss By email