Zero tolerance to anti-Semitism
I write concerning reader Stanley Fox’s shock (Jewish News, 9 April) at the anti-Semitic placards displayed in your recent Community Security Trust supplement.
Those photographs were taken during last summer’s Gaza war. It was partly as a result of last summer’s virulent anti-Semitism portrayed by Islamists in demonstrations such as this and against individuals and Jewish property that a very effective counter-demonstration rally was organised by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism. Questions were asked in Parliament the next day, which resulted in the prime minister and home secretary, backed by all sides of the House of Commons, announcing zero-tolerance of anti-Semitism and stating that the perpetrators of future incidents will be arrested and prosecuted.
The CST has also been and, continues to be, most effective behind the scenes in lobbying government ministers and the prime minister – who have been most receptive – and this is producing positive results.
The police forces around the country have been instructed to put the ‘zero tolerance’ policy into effect and so, hopefully, no explicitly anti-Semitic placards will be seen at any future demonstrations.
Facts about the anti-Eruv group
Following your recent coverage of the eruv in Bushey, which has gained approval from Hertsmere Borough Council, Harrow Borough Council and Hertfordshire County Council, I would mention that we invited local councillors, clergymen and the wider community to a meeting in Bushey Synagogue on 8 May.
A number of people who had concerns about the eruv accepted our invitation and were given every opportunity to discuss with us, both at the meeting and over refreshments afterwards.
Those who declined the invitation remained opposed to our plans, and it was interesting to read in last week’s Jewish News that one of them has said he is not against the eruv, but wanted more consultation. He may wish to review his email correspondence of 17 April 2014 to note the discrepancy between his words then and what he said on BBC Three Counties Radio on 11 April.
Our opponents have alleged that the eruv would disturb the existing harmony within the area. The contrary is true. It is through our meeting on 8 May last year and through Bushey interfaith meetings that our connection with the wider community thrives. Recently, I spoke to a local church group at their Bible Study Group.
Rabbi Meir Salasnik
Bushey United Synagogue
The leader of the petition against the Bushey eruv expresses concern that an eruv identifies Bushey, like Golders Green, as a Jewish area and will therefore alter the character of Bushey.
This is inaccurate for several reasons. The Charedi community in Golders Green dates back to the 1930s with the influx of Jews from the Continent, while the north-west London eruv, which covers Golders Green, Hendon, Finchley and other areas, is only quite recent and, more to the point none of the Charedi synagogues in Golders Green uses it!
The main purpose of an eruv is to make it easier to use a wheelchair or a pram in the public domain on the Sabbath. Even without an eruv, however, there is an alternative way of using a wheelchair, according to some opinions. That means the eruv may make life in Bushey slightly easier for Jewish families who need to push a pram on the Sabbath.
The main attraction of Golders Green and Hendon for Jewish families is the top-rate Jewish schools, just as it was long before there was an eruv. The eruv is not worth getting offended about.
Team Cameron has proved its worth
In the letter from some Labour councillors (Jewish News, 23 April) they stated that Mike Freer was trying to compare himself to his Jewish opponent in Finchley and Golders Green. I am sure he was not, as he has already won the majority of the Jewish voters in his constituency by his actions and support of our community over the past five years.
There is a point to be made that sometimes people of a different faith can be more supportive than some of our own community. An example would be Ed Miliband, who put a three-line whip on the pro-Palestinian State motion his party proposed. Also, the main thrust of his campaign is to instil envy into the electorate, which is a very dangerous thing to do as this eventually breeds racism.
I did not see any of the signatories to the letter together with the other Labour candidates in this borough making their point in the open, not just in the Jewish press on the Palestine vote.
The last Labour government refused to give the necessary funds to provide security at our schools and, to their credit, Conservatives such as Mike Freer, Matthew Offord and Bob Blackman all helped to make this a reality. Recently the funds were enhanced, something Labour would never have done.
Ed Miliband has failed the community and if he were elected as prime minister, he would need to build bridges with the community and we would judge him again in five years. For this election Team Cameron has proved it is a good friend and deserves our support.