Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

New Meeting: Who Represents the Interests of British Jewry?

Posted by Admin on March 1, 2007

On Thursday 10th May, Dr Brian Klug, one of the founding members of Independent Jewish Voices, and Paul Edlin, Vice-President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, will debate the issue of: “Who represents the British Jewish Community in matters to do with Israel, and is it possible for any one group to represent the community?”

This is the first time that a representative of the Board of Deputies has shared a platform with a member of Independent Jewish Voices, and it promises to be a lively and thought-provoking meeting. (Venue to be confirmed)

41 Responses to “New Meeting: Who Represents the Interests of British Jewry?”

  1. Fred said

    Why give the Klugs Klowns gang any more publicity ?

    Paul Edlin should know better than that

  2. Fred said

    Why for goodness sake is Paul Edlin giving Klugs Klowns the oxygen of more publicity
    –by May the I J V campaign should have been forgotten

  3. Joy Wolfe said

    I am surprised beyond words that the board would want to give IJV credibility by allowing its senior vice president to debate a non issue with their founder Brian Klug

    The way to counter this is for more people to sign up to Community Jewish Voices which complements the Board and Rep Councils rather than denigrates and challenges them

    ! was fascinated to read this as Admin’s introduction to the founding of IJV

    “The question of “Who speaks on behalf of British Jewry” came to the fore this week when a group of prominent British Jews declared their independence from the Jewish establishment”

    Prominent British Jews?! Says who
    They may be prominent in their aritstic and other fields, and they may be Jewish, though many of them in name only, crawling out of the woodwork to indulge in their favorite topic of Israel, but “Prominent Jews” they most certainly are not.
    As for “declaring their independence from the Jewish establishment”, the only way they could do that is if they ever were part of the establishment and there is hardly more than a tiny handful of them who have any links or active role in anything Jewish.

    As for their claim they have been silenced, I would ask by whom. Many of them are well known for their negative viewpoint on Israel, often writing in the Guardian, contributing to Comment is Free, and appearing on the Radio and TV and on pro Palestinin platforms Does that constitute “silenced”

    Maybe this is the start of the so-called Glasgow Jewish Educational forum starting to show its true colours and agenda

    As for the Board of Deputies never criticisng Israel, that is demonstrably unture, but when it is done it is as a critical friend in a positive constructive manner, a route not the chosen one for IJV Jews for Justice for the Palestinians and the PeaceNowniks

  4. Nigel Allon said

    The posting by Joy Wolfe is probably as nasty a piece of comment as I would care to to see on any communal blog. I certainly have my own reservations about IJV’s position but to use pejorative phrases such as “crawling out of the woodwork” says much more about Joy Wolfe than IJV. As a member of PN for quarter of a century, I take great exception to being at the sharp end of Joy Wolfe’s spiteful and unhelpful little tongue. May I remind Ms Wolfe that PN was started by serving officers in the IDF and the forward to the PN manifesto was written by Abba Eban. You don’t have to agree with the position of PN but to use such invective shows what a misinformed and I must say stupid woman you are. As for your suggestion that this is the beginning of GJEF showing its true colours and agenda, explain exactly what you mean. In other words, put up or shut up.

  5. Elaine Closure said

    Whilst I neither agree with the whole position of the BoD and Rep Council nor do I agree at all with the IJV position, it is absolutely first class of GJEF to put both these bodies up for communal scrutiny.

    Clearly, by doing so, Joy, they are showing no particular bias
    to either side but merely providing a vehicle for any community member to make their own choice where they stand. It is up to the speakers themselves to convince the audience what their organistion stands for and debate with the other. I for one am looking forward to this meeting as much as I was the Dr Duffy one.

    Well done GJEF but could we please have more local issues debated rather than Israel all the time.

    Finally, Joy, you are in no position to determine where GJEF stand on this issue, they are just the catalysts for good honest debate.

  6. npn said

    Joy-we have a mutual friend in Manchester-indeed yesterday he gave me your number as someone who might help us secure Michael Gove of Conservative friends of Israel to speak for us-on his own without sharing any platform….and now I read your post and you accuse me and others of hiding our true colours etc….FOR GOODNESS SAKE YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME -ALL WE HAVE DONE IS STIMULATE DEBATE…and it is to Mr Edlin’s credit that he is prepared to take part ; Joy who is filling your head with such nonsense about GJEF ?It simply isn’t true and you do us all a dis-service to attack us like that .If you want to find out more about us ,then let me know and I’ll send you my number/I will phone you ,but don’t pontificate about the aims of GJEF on the back of what others may have maliciously said to you simply because they can’t accept that people don’t agree with all they say.

  7. Mordechai said

    Fred, I think Purim is the perfect time for Clowns(or Klowns) of all persuasions!

  8. npn said

    ….and by the way IJV are for me , an irrelevance ,and I certainly don’t support them or their claims ,nor do I think they are as important/influential as they think they are…but so what…let the debate begin..that is what GJEF has facilitated and I am immensely proud of that .

  9. David said

    Joy, As another member of the GJEF committee, I’m with NPN on this one. We are here to stimulate debate, that’s all. We all have differing political views and have some really interesting talks for the next series of meetings with some more local issues too.

  10. Joy Wolfe said

    I will be happy to engage with NPN, but let me assure you any thoughts are my own, and no-one is “filling my head”
    I do not wish to reveal my phone number on an open forum so am not sure how we can facilitate contact Suggestions?

  11. Alexander Portnoy said

    Joy, you’re not by any chance related to the Joy Wolfe of Cheadle, Cheshire who sought to exploit the tragedy of the South-East Asian tsunami by writing to the Herald in praise of Israel?

  12. Bob said

    I can’t believe the cheek of that woman Joy Wolfe. Who does she think she is? To criticise Dr Paul Edlin who we all know is an outstanding communal worker here in Glasgow and further afield – London, New York is just not on. Paul has had the intellectual honesty to agree to debate with people he might not agree with. He has led the way for his colleagues in The Board of Deputies and the Representative Council and the community should be grateful that we have amongst us a leader of vision. I can’t wait to hear him put his debating skills to the test against Brian Klug.

    P.S. The writer of this is not Paul Edlin and is not related to him either.

  13. Pat said

    I’m a taxi driver and I had that Paul Edlin in the back of my cab a few months ago. Good guy him. I agree with Bob. Wouldn’t like to have that Joy Wolfe in the cab – now that wouldn’t be very nice.

  14. Richard said

    I notice that those commenting on Joy Wolfe’s post do not actually offer anyhting apart from invective. Perhaps challenging her comments may be considered debate?

    I think your interpretation of what is going on here is wrong. Whilst one could argue that GJEF’s blog has seen an attempted hijack in order to attack 1 particular ‘right of centre’ political group here in Glasgow, to accuse GJEF as a whole of being a vehicle for Peace Now is simply impossible to sunstantiate. I am afraid you are unaware (I would use the word ignorant normally but do not wish to offend) of local, Glaswegian, issues and feribbles (sp?) and you may be better advised to debate the issues which I’m sure you have much worth hearing.

    GJEF own sub-heading of “Our Community’s Future” certainly is misleading given the subject matter of all but the first meeting, and many have commented on this so what you say is old news. Fact of the matter is these meetings are interesting enough to attract 80+ people from a variety of backgrounds and has started some form of debate in Glasgow which is something that has been lacking for several years. As far as I can see the only thing the GJEF Committe has in common is dubious choice in football team and is as good a basis for forming a committee as any other. They have put in serious time and effort and that is to be applauded and hopefully some [minor] constructive criticism will taken on board. If Joy Wolfe is the journolist of the same name then perhaps she would be a good panelist for a future meeting.

    A week is a long time in Blogitics and the last 7 days has seen some interesting and above all, polite, debate on an emotive subject and it is proof positive that with a little effort and forethought everyone can put their point across without simple gainsaying rudeness.

    Personally I think that whilst most of the signatories to IJV are British, Jewish and prominent, I do not think that all 3 words can be applied together. I believe they are wrong in their basic premise that their views are not being represented, they are but not by mainstream Jewish Organisations – but to be honest none of IJV are exactly mainstream Jews!

    I support IJV right to say what they believe but equally I think they are wrong but that is just 1 person’s opinion that seems not to be very popular on this blog sometimes.

    I note that more people are using their real names and that is to be applauded but I object strenuously to “Alexander Portnoy” attempting to ‘name and shame’ without having the guts to use his/her real name. If you want to ‘out’ someone then don’t be hypocritical.

    apologies for the rambling nature of this post, I hope I’ve not bored everyone too much.

  15. A Beitz said

    Good post by Richard except I don’t think by any means all of the responses to Joy’s comments were invective. It was she who attributed false motives to the organisers and also to the critics of another Glasgow group when, as his post makes it clear, she didn’t know what she was talking about.
    BTW the organisers of GJEF are not even all interested in football let alone all supporters of the same team.
    We’re looking at a number of possibilities for future meetings both involving narrow communal issues and wider topics and if you have suggestions why not provide them.

  16. MB said

    The Americans call this a no brainer.
    Richard may think this lecture series has nothing to do with the future of this community but he is wrong.
    Let’s look at the lectures that have been advertised so far.
    1. Calderwood – not much argument there.
    2. Jim Murphy – British Government’s policy towards Israel – I think that as we live in this country that our Government’s policy towards Israel does have an effect on our future.
    3. Mona Siddiqui – Moslem view of Jewish Community’s relationship with Israel. Many of our neighbours are Moslems so this could effect our future as well.
    4.Jonathan Freedland – How can the British Community best support Israel. Many people in this community believe that Israel is crucial to their Jewish identity – so how we support Israel also effects our future identity.
    5. Rabbi Naftali on Jewish ethics – Given that we believe that there should be some ethics and morals attached to how we live our lives as Jews, then that is also part of our community’s future.
    6. Debate between Board of Deputies and IJV. This is a debate about who represents us and on what subjects. This also concerns our future.

    Hopefully, Richard will stop peddling this nonsense. For reasons he only knows he continues to push this line of argument but it is simply wrong. He fails to appreciate that the future of this community is broader than his own narrow definition.

  17. Richard said

    A Beitz
    I’ve made numerous suggestions
    1. Open debate of the future of the Communal Organisations including Care orgs, Shuls, maccabi etc
    2. An Panelist evening including perhaps Joy Wolfe, IJV, BOD, Peace Now (as examples off the top of my head only) in a ‘Question Time’ style
    3. Another panelist evening to discuss Yoof perhaps with CJE, Youth Groups, etc
    These, I should add are not unique ideas but I’m sure they have as wide appeal as the current evenings.

    Let me respond in kind as you have ignored David Link’s clear statement.

    Discussing the relationship of our Government with Israel as being directly concerned with OUR Community’s future is as relevant as discussing rising sea levels and our risk of drowning. It may materially affect our life at some point in a general way but we have little or no direct control over it. It is interesting, however, and worth discussion but anyone who thinks that it will have a direct effect on Glasgow Jewry at a basic level is simply deluding themselves or only trying it on in the hope sparking verbal fisticuffs.

    I hope MB will stop flogging his second dead horse of the last 7 days, it is as useful to this debate as it is interesting.

  18. A Beitz said

    Richard, some of the ideas you are suggesting here are already forming the basis for proposed meetings. Thank you for the ideas although I am slightly surprised at one of them since it is difficult to see what that has to do with the community using your narrow definition.
    Your analogy about rising sea levels is wholly inept. This community does not have organisations devoted to sea levels, it does not as a community raise money in relation to rising sea levels, a substantial proportion of the community do not have relatives who meantime are directly affected by these sea levels, dinner table discussion is not regularly devoted to the sea levels and whilst I would concede sea levels did play a part in the exodus I think it is fair to say that far more of the Jewish religion and culture is devoted to Israel than rising sea levels.
    “David Links clear statement”- now I know you’re at it.

  19. NLL said

    Richard I’m sure we’ve been through this before – whither we like it or not, the relationship of our Government with Israel and other political discussions are very relevant to our Community. We teach our youngsters about their history, their religion and the whole range of related moral and ethical issues – them they go out into the world of work and/or further education. They become voters and are faced with the consequences of our governments rhetoric and actions – they need to be informed and prepared to stand up and be counted as Jews in a secular world, or what is the point of it all?

  20. Rookie said

    So as a novice at this blogging game, I don’t get this question of community representation at all. Help me understand this one please? I am sure the wise old heads here can make it all quite simple for a confused soul like me…

    On the one hand you have a crowd of pompous oafs who think they represent the Jewish establishment and call themselves the Board of Deputies who will trot out the Israeli government party line and suggest that is what British Jewry think….. But I never voted for them, so they don’t speak on my behalf.

    On the other hand you have an alternative crowd of clowns who think that because they happen to be recognized in the field of arts or science or whatever that they can become the alternative UK Jewish communities foreign office for Israeli affairs.

    Frankly I would like them both to keep their mouths firmly closed when it comes to Israeli politics. Let the Israeli Ambassador explain why the president is being investigated for sexual harassment, the prime minister for corruption and the deputy head Lieberman for questionable policies towards the arabs. I dont want anyone representing my opinion on these matters to the British press when frankly it is none of my business. The Israeli public can boot them out if they chose at the next election or live with the consequences of their misplaced votes

    As for the peace process and the treatment of Arabs again that is a matter for the Israeli government and not those UK citizen with no mandate from anyone to speak. However, as an individual I am happy to form my own opinion and discuss openly with friends, colleagues and family alike.

    Or am I missing the point here?

  21. Richard said

    Beitz and NLL
    Apologies but I was getting my posts and bits of blogs all mixed up so things didn’t make much sense!

    I’m not suggesting that ethics, morals, Israeli politics and how we are perceived etc, as being unimportant or irrelevant, quite the reverse in fact but the point I’ve been trying to make is that they are not the be all and end all of our future. In the context of the subjects of all but the first of the meetings the impression given is that all GJEF cares about is Israel politics and pays only lip service to the fundamentals of helping our kids improve and retain their Jewish Identity. It is generally accepted that those kids who go to youth groups and then get involved on campus are the most likley to marry in and encourage their kids to do the same, and the converse is also true: those who are now parents and who may or may not ahve married in but had little to do with the Movements as kids are the most unlikely to have involved kids. before I’m shouted down I realise this is a sweeping generalisation but I have yet to be shown a more compelling explanation for the lack of parental support.

    lets look at examples …… GJEF …… AFAIK every member of the Committee was involved as yoof, equally how many kids were dropped off by parents at Purim to be collected later rather than stay and join in? Plenty that I saw and that is hardly a good example.

    The rising tide analogy does have some merits though, if you believe the scare mongerers we are to be fried, frozen, flooded and starved and according to Israel is hardly affected and will become even more valuable real estate as the Jordan Valley floods. We, however, will be less fortunate as Glasgow city centre and Paisley become coastal. Facetious perhaps but just as relevant in a general interest kind of way.

  22. Queen Esther said

    Now that I’ve got Purim out of the way for another year, I can get down to blogging again.

    Richard, you make some valid points about the GJEF meetings to date and those planned for the next couple of months, but my Uncle Mordechai tells me that in the second series of lectures there should be more local communal debate starting with Paul Edlin (of the BOD and Rep Council) debating with IJV about “who speaks for British (and Glasgow) Jewry. This should make a very interesting meeting, i think, and does concern us locally and nationally.

    All I have been told so far about these meetings is Watch This Space.

  23. Deco said

    Ref Rookie #20… excellent point, you speak for the sentiments of the majority imho. The question should being asked should be… what does British Jewry need collective representation on, and who has the authority and mandate to represent us?

    In terms of Israeli politics, I am with you Rookie… we don’t need any collective representation at all. However, a good stimulating debate of interested parties with guests facilitated by the GJEF is certainly worthwhile to help us internatalise the issues and present more informed opinions as individuals

    Keep up the good work GJEF

  24. Jack said

    I don’t understand what you are on about Richard. No one as far as I have read has suggested that these meetings are the ” be all and end all of the future”. It might have been argued that they were subjects that were concerned with this community’s future, but I don’t believe anything more was claimed. You argue that your criticism of GJEF is constructive. I don’t think so. Why can’t you take each lecture on its own merits? Then comment.

    You apologise for getting things mixed up and that your posts did not make sense. Could I suggest that if you calmed down a lttle bit and paused for reflection and re-read what you had just written your posts would be a tiny wee bit wiser.

    Anyway, my main point is this. You have generalised about who marries in and who marries out. You accept that you have done so but in my opinion your statement on this is complete and total rubbish. Where is your proof and where is your research to back this up. If you don’t have any why pontificate about something you appear to know nothing about?

    Also, not everyone is interested in Purim. And certainly it would appear not as interested as you. If my kids wanted to go, then fine, but it is not something that I would positively encourage. I am quite happy with what we get at Calderwood and do not see any reason to supplement this.

    Who are you to suggest that parents are setting a bad example when dropping off their kids? You are, it would seem, now an expert on this as well. And I don’t believe it is for you or anyone to judge others about how we express our Jewish identity. You might be wrong? You are entitled to your opinion but have you considered that not everyone wants to know what you think about all these subjects.

  25. NLL said

    Jack – Its a shame if parents don’t want to attend Pruim, or other services, but as you say that is their choice. However criticism about dropping kids off without making arrangements for them to be looked after by an adult is another matter. It’s very selfish – what would happen if no adults came, or if those that did were not used or interested in dealing with children or maybe came only to participate in the service? In the case of Purim, what if they imbibe a little too much and became incapable of dealing with a child who was hurt or unwell? These are not supervised events – currently the shuls do not employ people or arrange for volunteers specifically to do this. If they were that would take things to a different level with required ratios for the number of responsible adults who would then all have to be Disclosure checked etc, That would all detract from the family atmosphere and would add considerably to the costs.

  26. Jack said

    Then the Shuls should clearly stipulate that parents need to stay with their children. Then parents will know that your child can only attend if you stay with them. Then everyone can make their choice what to do.

  27. Eggbert said

    Jack I am not sure whether you just want to have a go at Richard because it is Richard or whether you are trying to make a valid argument because the way you attack what he says suggests you just want to have a go at him for the sake of it.

    Either way, some of your comments are incredulous. Purim is a family festival and shuls are not babysitters for those parents who want to go out on a Saturday night (as per this year’s Purim

  28. Eggbert said

    Oops a bit was missed

    Jack, you are absolutely right that no one is duty bound to go to shul but what a e=real shame it is if parents would rather go out than share with their children the fun time that Purim undoubtably is.

    Now, like Richard I am no expert on Jewish demography, but I don’t think it was unreasonable of him to suggest that by being involved in a Jewish Youth Group and/or a Jewish Student Society you are more likely to marry “in” than “out” purely on the basis that you are interacting with Jewish people of the opposite sex with a similar disposition to be involved. You make no counter argument to suggest this is untrue except to slag Richard off – hardly a worthwhile debating point. Indeed all your points are just negative ones -you make no positive points at all – not really debating , is it?

  29. Eggbert said

    And one final thing Jack, have you considered that not everyone wants to know what you think either!

  30. Smurf said

    And by the by Eggbert is not Richard.

    “If my kids wanted to go, then fine, but it is not something that I would positively encourage. I am quite happy with what we get at Calderwood and do not see any reason to supplement this”. ONE SIMPLE QUESTION WHY BOTHER SENDING THEM TO CALDERWOOD?

  31. Jack said

    Eggbert you are unbelievably arrogant.
    It is time you woke up to the reality around you. Most people in this community do not want to go to Shul, judging by the numbers that regularly turn up. It does nothing for them – they probably don’t believe in it – but are prepared to turn up twice a year because it is like being a member of a sports club – you turn up for the AGM.
    If the Shuls don’t want parents to leave their kids behind, that’s fine. Just make it clear that this is the rule and then people can decide what to do – turn up with their kids or don’t go. You think it is a shame – I don’t.
    And then you say that I have had a go at Richard. I suggested that he has no evidence for his theories on marrying out. Because you happen to agree with this line of thinking does not make it right. Show us some hard facts or evidence please.
    I also suggested that he judges each lecture by GJEF on its own merit. What is negative about that?
    I also suggested that there are many ways of expressing one’s Jewish identity. You too Egbert do not have the right to claim your identity – by turning up at Shul is better than mine.
    Why do you think you have the right to try and make others feel guilty because they don’t share your religious beliefs or think Shul activities are as important as you do?
    Anyway – the subject of this blog – was ” who represents the interests of British Jewry”
    So if you want to continue on this thread go to Jewish education. I am happy to debate this issue.
    I only got involved in this discussion because I was fed up listening to Richard pontificate on subjects that frankly he knows very little about.
    Want something positive Eggbert?
    I think it is a great idea that IJV will debate with the Board of Deputies in Glasgow. I actually think that IJV have raised some interesting issues. I support much of what they have said. Tell us what you think Eggbert.

  32. Jack said

    Eggbert I would rather debate the issue of the IJV debate with the Board of Deputies.
    Richard is an irrelevance.
    I think IJV have raised some very important issues. I support much of what they have written. Do you?

  33. Eggbert said

    Jack, only in your mind is Richard an irrelevance. Whilst I don’t agree with all his points, at least he is trying to engender debate, whereas you arte just stifling it with your anti-Richard bias as proved yet again in your last post.

    With regards to IJV, I am waiting to the deabte between Brian Klug and Paul Edlin before I make my mind up.

  34. NLL said

    Jack – the shuls shouldn’t need to say anything about leaving unaccompanied children at a service, it isn’t a children’s party. It is parents responsibility to ensure their offspring are properly looked after and I would presume they don’t let them go other places – say into town shopping below a certain age – thinking there are appropriate adults around who will assume responsibility for them?

  35. NLL said

    Actually going into town is not a good example – the Law wouldn’t presume the adults present had any more than a ‘Good Samaratin’ responsibility for other people’s children in that setting – but presumably you get my point?

  36. jezabel said

    Jack,If you don’t want to read other peoples opinions don’t read the blogs at all.Jewish studies are taught at calderwood so the children can practice their religion!With your attitude i’m not surprised your children didn’t want to go to shul.

  37. Richard said

    Whilst I take your points on board, I am gratified that you consider my opinions to be worthy of such scrutiny and comment but I would respectfully suggest that taking a little more time over reading EVERYONE’S posts before posting would make yours a little wiser as well.

    One of the problems with a blog is how easily the various threads get mixed up and my post would have been more relevant under the Jewish Education section. If you want to discuss IJV and related issues then why attack others personally?

    To keep to the point, however, it is clear that IJV have made their statement as innocuous and inoffensive as possible and there is little to object to. I believe them to be fundamentally incorrect in their basic premise, however Kol Hakovod for having the backbone to stand up and be counted without the protection of anonymity.

  38. Eggbert said


    I stopped reading your post after the first line because you claeraly are the arrogant one here.

  39. Jack said

    Eggbert you are a chump.
    Hopefully you were meaning Richard.
    I have not said anything since you last posted but you are so blinkered that you think I have.

  40. Eggbert said

    No I was responding to post #31 which I have only just caught up on,

    At no point have I said that I was a regular only that I went at Purim because my children enjoy it.

    At no point have I ever claimed that my brand of Jewish identity is better than yours or indeed any one else’s.

    At no point have I ever tried to make anyone feel guilty about how they express their Jewish identity.

    Yet on all these points you seem to thinl I have asserted an opinion.

    I think it is a shame that a small number of parents treated the Purim party as a place to leave their children in the care of others. You don’t so end of debate. We agree to differ.

    I have yet to fully analyse the IJV statement so I am waiting for the forthcoming meeting to decide what I think on BOD v IJV.

    I am quite prepared to take each GJEF meeting on its own merit. The first with Dr Duffy was interesting well attended and very positive about Calderwood Lodge and its forseeable future. The second meeting with Jim Murphy was both poor of content and had a lot less people attending so, so far GJEF have had 1 very good report and 1 poor report but fair play of them for trying to be just that little bit different tnan what’s been on offer in Glasgow in the past.

  41. Eggbert said

    2nd line should say “shul attender”

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