Letters to the editor: ‘Still drawing wrong conclusion on Shamima Begum’
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Letters to the editor: ‘Still drawing wrong conclusion on Shamima Begum’

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Shamima Begum
Shamima Begum

Still drawing wrong conclusion on begum

To what extent do I need to keep spelling out the ISIS problem to your letter writer Kay Bagon? While I accept Israel has no involvement in the issue of whether Britons who joined ISIS should lose their citizenship, the fact remains Israel has a very real issue with ISIS in general.

In the year Shamima Begum ran off to join ISIS, the terror group announced it would attack Israel “for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people”, and further described all Jews as “the first enemy of the Muslims”.

ISIS proudly announced it was “getting closer to Israel from all directions, from Sinai and from Damascus and more”. It released a video claiming “we will enter al-Aqsa mosque as conquerors, using our car bombs to strike the Jewish ramparts… We assure you that soon there will not be a single Jew left in Jerusalem and throughout the country. We will move to eradicate the disease of the Jewish people worldwide”. Ms Begum adopted this ideology.

With that in mind, I consider a sufficient degree of artistic interpretation was open to your cartoonist to make the observation that Ms Begum is unwelcome in any civilised country – be it the UK, Israel or elsewhere.

That was the point of the cartoon.

Simon Aaron, By email

Define the undefinable

Muslim activists say they need a definition of Islamophobia for the same reason Jews need a definition of antisemitism. But Jews do not need a definition of antisemitism. Jews have had thousands of years to learn what Jew hatred looks like. It is the rest of the world, and particularly the Labour Party, that needs to learn what antisemitism looks like today. I sympathise with Muslims in their cause but let’s not pretend antisemitism and Islamophobia are alike. They are not. One has had much longer to evolve. It looks very different as a result.

Jack Haworth, By email

Have faith in the figures

I applaud the CST for training Hindu priests (Issue 1102), but was surprised to learn that there are only seven Hindu schools in the UK, for a Hindu population of 817,000. Compare this to 49 Jewish schools in the UK for a Jewish population of 290,000.

I looked into it further and found that there are 12 Sikh schools for a Sikh population of 432,000 and 31 Muslim schools for a Muslim population of 2.6 million. This means that there are as many Jewish schools in the UK as there are Muslim, Sikh and Hindu schools combined.

So, when people talk about ‘faith schools’ in this country, we should remember: half of them are schools of our faith.

Eran Lloyd, By email

Sanctuary in a storm

We have seen and heard Labour MP Richard Burgon [pictured] making an anti- Israel speech, despite denying he made it. The list of Labour members openly making hateful statements gets longer by the day.

It now seems there is a fair chance Labour, riddled with anti-Israel feeling, will replace the Conservative party, owing to the Tories’ ineptitude. We may see a further increase in antisemitism here. Thankfully, there is one country where we are safe.

Sidney Sands, Finchley

All the left’s fault

Tomer Pines’s column (11 April) on  the tragic failure of the progressive Zionist left in the recent Israeli election is a lesson in both myopia and delusion.

His use of the word ‘progressive’ is meant to convey an enlightened way ahead, some sort of nirvana that the Right cannot possibly contemplate, but in fact masks the abject failure of the left’s years of appeasement and elitism and his conclusion that the Left’s demise is because of some right-wing trap, is symptomatic of their failure to face reality.

Rabin/Peres meant Oslo, which meant Arafat, Hamas, terror, murder, suicide bombings. Even Ariel Sharon’s Gaza evacuation sparked war, bombs and chaos.

As for the idea that only the left cares about peace, welfare and civil equality, nobody believes that any more.

The Zionist left has little to offer in the realms of Israel’s security and the safety of its citizens, falling back on the worn out, bankrupt idea that, in Tomer’s words, ‘the Israeli Arabs just want to incorporate into Israeli life’. That’s why the left was wiped out in the elections and until it can see these truisms, it will continue to be irrelevant.

Daniel Baum, Baker Street

A lack of intelligence

I read with interest your online feature on Artificial Intelligence [on page 10 of this week’s issue] and agree with your analysts, including a rabbi who say we should give robots rights if they develop consciousness. Indeed, there are many non-robotic life forms living on my street who enjoy a full suite of rights without having demonstrated the pre-condition we demand of AI.

Ian Adams, Stanmore

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