Letters to the editor: ‘JLC scored communal own goal’

Letters to the editor: ‘JLC scored communal own goal’

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JLC CEO Simon Johnson and head of the Campaign Against Antisemitism
JLC CEO Simon Johnson and head of the Campaign Against Antisemitism

JLC scored communal own goal

Last week the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council attacked an informative new study by Campaign Against Antisemitism as “scaremongering” and “attention-seeking” – going as far as to chide those in the community who told CAA that they feel afraid or unwelcome here in Great Britain.

Nobody delighted in the JLC’s attack more than various anti-Semites awaiting trial – some due to the excellent work of CAA under Gideon Falter [pictured]. They were jubilant on social media. Instead of looking sheepish in court, they can now claim that CAA is a scare operation because the Jewish Leadership Council said so.

CAA’s volunteers work without pay, presumably because they want to see anti-Semites punished and deterred.

They do serious work and do it well. I’m not sure exactly what the JLC does, but now I know. It scores own goals to even the playing field for anti-Semites in court.

Will their chief executive now apologise for the damage he has done to his own community, or at the very least be honest and pledge to join the other side?

Linda Bloom, Golders Green

Thank organisations like CAA and Shomrim

Last week you disputed the CAA’s research into anti-Semitism on the basis that Levi Shapiro, of the Jewish Community Council, said Charedim do not have a problem with anti-Semitism and the authorities do a good job. 

The next day Rabbi Gluck, president of Stamford Hill Shomrim, criticised the police for not doing enough to protect Charedim as anti-Semitic crime increases.

The JLC issues statements and claims the honours, while CAA does the thankless hard work of fighting anti-Semitism. In the same way in the Charedi community, the Jewish Community Council issues statements and Shomrim actually deals with anti-Semites in the streets. 

Dov Freeman, N16

Rabbi Jordan wide of the mark on brexit

Liberal Judaism’s student chaplain Rabbi Leah Jordan [24 August] is wide of the mark when she refers to the “Islamophobic rhetoric of the pro-Brexit camp”.

She holds views that are out of touch with reality. I’m glad she is not the student chaplain to any of my grandchildren currently at university.

Michael Zaidner, Bushey Heath

An unwelcome visitor

Regarding this week’s reported visit of Sheikh Ekrima Sabri to meet MPs, the media has been strangely silent.

One wonders if this could be part of the anti-Jewish bias so often witnessed? Second, I have to wonder what would happen if one of the Muslim-hating Christian evangelical zealots from the USA planned a similar visit – would he be assured of a friendly welcome by MPs? I think not. Third, it seems that while it is politically incorrect to question any aspect of Islam or Muslim culture, Jews are always fair game. An elderly Jewish veteran of the Second World War recently asked me: “Why do people hate us so much?” This man had fought for his country and would in all probability have been murdered had the Nazis captured him. Yet had been insulted and jeered at for being a Jew – by the very people he had fought for.  Am I paranoid? I think not. I’m not even Jewish.

Mark Perry Nash, West Sussex

It’s no to anonymity

Regarding the “anonymous” gentleman who reported being the victim of anti-Semitic abuse on the Tube [17 August] – this sort of defensive reaction is typical of modern Anglo-Jewry.

The UK Jewish community of the 1930s did not stay shtum when Mosley and his fascists tried to march through the East End. They rose up as one and fearlessly faced these loathsome bigots.

I suggest Mr Anonymous grows a pair.

Anne W. Kaye, N16

No place for rabbi Baginsky’s cheap playground jibes

Rabbi Charley Baginsky [August 17], refers to a public pronouncement by a group of distinguished Torah scholars against JW3’s GayJ3 event “an obvious cheap crack at publicity”. 

None of the rabbis had any need for publicity, so a phrase like this sounds more like playground jibes rather than a communication between religious leaders – whether liberal or traditional.

No one is “encouraging prejudice and bigotry against the LGBTQ and its allies”.

We accept people as they are and don’t need to make a spectacle of their non-observance, or indeed create a fake Judaism where everything is permitted.

Joseph Feld, By email

Dweck made us all engage

Brian Gordon [31 August] is at it again. Does he really believe Rabbi Dweck’s “impassioned published statement” was his words alone?

Having been reprimanded by “recognised halachic experts” who “were not going to compromise proper judgement for political expediency”, and told in no uncertain terms that anything he said in future had to be publicly vetted, I am sure there would have been at least some outside input into that public statement. He seems to think that people like me – who feel Rabbi Dweck was hung out to dry – are leftists and reformists. Well, some of us just feel that a public hanging is wrong. Whether I agree with Rabbi Dweck is irrelevant. He brought an important issue into the spotlight.

Mike Hinden, By email

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