Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

Breaking News

Posted by Admin on March 12, 2007

Paul Edlin, Vice-President of the Board of Deputies, has reneged on his commitment to debate with Dr Brian Klug about Independent Jewish Voices. His ostensible reason for cancellation was that the title of the meeting was not what he had agreed. GJEF disputed this, but, in an effort to facilitate the meeting, asked him to put forward his own title. He maintained his refusal.

Instead, he has suggested that he would like GJEF to give him a platform to have a discussion with the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council. Paul Edlin is the Honorary Treasurer of that organisation so the reality is that he would like to have a conversation with himself. GJEF turned this option down immediately.

We will now actively pursue a replacement speaker who is prepared to have a meaningful debate with IJV and will announce this shortly. GJEF are merely facilitating a debate to allow the community to discuss what we believe is a critical issue, and we are completely impartial on the issue of IJV.

46 Responses to “Breaking News”

  1. Anonymous said

    Why has Paul Edlin done a runner?
    Does he not believe that the Jewish Community are entitled to hear both sidesof the argument?

  2. not impressed said

    Anonymous, I beg to differ. Given Paul’s considerable bulk, it may be a little difficult for him to do a runner.

    However I do think he has perhaps realised, or been educated, that he may have had much to loose and nothing to gain by engaging in this debate.

    Perhaps his overwhelming excitement and inflated ego as a result of being asked to address a meeting of more than 10 people clouded his judgement. Guess he has now been deflated by his more cautious establishment colleagues.

  3. Ex Rep Council delegate said

    When Paul Edlin agreed to speak at this debate did he have the consent of his colleagues in the Representative Council? – he is a serving officer of the Council.

  4. A Beitz said

    He wasn’t asked to speak so much on behalf of the Rep Council as the Board of Deputies. In any event he had plenty of time to confer with his colleagues before accepting. Whether he did so is another matter. His position is untenable in that he was given the opportunity to select a title for the meeting after he indicated his change of mind was due to the fact he didn’t think the title of meeting was what he’d agreed. He simply however reiterated his now unwillingness to take part in the meeting.
    If, as I suspect, he’s been leaned on by colleagues in the BOD to withdraw then they are simply leaving the playing field to IJV. If on the other hand the BOD are prepared to speak then let them do so. Avoidance of a debate will certainly see me for one withold my Board of Deputies levy this year from my shul bill. If they can’t debate internally I don’t see how I can have any confidence in their purporting to represent the UK Jewish community.

  5. Veritas said

    I read the IJV debate on this blog with great interest and must admit that by the end of it, I was not wholly convinced by either side. However, if Paul Edlin is a typical BOD delegate, and if he has indeed done a runner,then IJV are worthy winners. I noted that Paul Edlin has become Dr edlin on the BOD headings. does anyone know where he got his doctorate and in what subject.

  6. Stan said

    If Paul Edlin really thinks that a discussion between the Board of Deputies and the Representative Council would be of any interest to people in this community he should retire from communal life and leave it to more sensible individuals.

  7. A Beitz said

    #5. He’s a dentist. I think all dentists now are (possibly honorary) doctors.

  8. Seymour X said

    I believe that GJEF are in grave error in not encouraging Paul Edlin to debate the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council.

    Paul could write both scripts and debate himself.
    I fondly remember that classic hilarious Tommy Cooper skit where he played the German officer and British POW officer at the same time. It’s on youtube BTW.

    Has Paul got the gifts of comedy writing? Or could his proposal to seriously debate the Rep. Council in front of other people finally be the cure that we insomniacs have been praying for?

  9. Pat said

    As I wrote previously I am a taxi driver and I had Paul Edlin in the back of my cab.
    I feel really supid as I told you he was a good guy. I can’t believe he’s pulled the plug on your meeting. And I can’t believe he wants to have a meeting with the Rep Council instead.
    He’s at it – he really is – he’s taking the michael out of this community.
    Hold him to account that’s what I would do if I was this committee.
    I’ll do my bit – next time he calls for a cab – I’ll tell him to walk so I will.

  10. Veritas said

    According to A Beitz, PE may be entitled to some sort honorary doctorate. Shouldn’t we refer to him from now on as Dr Paul? Who said he was an honorary whatever?It must have been the BDA. I’m a member of the BBA (British Bloggers Association). If they declare their members to have honorary doctorates may I call myself Dr Veritas?

  11. Dr Veritas said

    Just wanted to see how it looked in print.

  12. Rep Council Supporter said

    I am very unhappy that Mr Edlin – has managed to implicate the Representative Council and the Board of Deputies in this affair.
    The only issue as far as I can see that IJV would want to debate is representation about Israel so why bother to dispute the title of the meeting. To accept this invitation he must surely have known what IJV is all about or did he not have any idea but just wanted a platform.
    I think he needs to explain himself and fast before there is any further damage to the credibility of the organisations that he represents.

  13. Ex Delegate said

    I am not too surprised that Paul Edlin has denied this community the opportunity to hear this debate – and furthermore I am not surprised that he has got himself into big trouble over it either.
    Perhaps we will now learn what happened several months ago regarding an invite to Rabbi Michael Melchior – at that time a deputy minister in the Israeli Government.
    My understanding was that there was going to be a joint meeting between the Rep Council and the local Peace Now group who had secured the speaker. I can’t quite recall the exact details but I do remember that Paul Edlin got involved and the whole thing fell apart. And there were resignations from the the executive committee of the Rep Council.
    Perhaps Dr Collins will now tell us exactly what happened – or even Paul Edlin himself.
    Or is there anyone out there who will now tell the community what actually happened?

  14. Matzo Balls said

    Comment removed by Admin on grounds of inappropriate content.

  15. A Beitz said

    I would disagree with you Mr (Ms?) Balls relative to virtually everything in your post but I think you’re overlooking the fact that Paul Edlin did not purportedly withdaw from the debate because he objected to Brian Klug’s views. He claims to have withdrawn because he didn’t like the title of the meeting. He was then offered the chance to substitute his own title but didn’t do so. You may be correct that that is the reason for his withdrawal but it is certainly not his stated one.

  16. Dr Veritas said

    M Balls #14 brings to mind a recent unfortunate experience. I was attending a shabat service in a shul North of the Clyde. It should have been a happy occasion, but unfortunately the minister in charge used the opportunity of his sermon for an outrageous diatribe. According to him the whole world bar non is anti semitic and furthermore the Arabs have killed so many of each other over the years, that is quite out of order to complain when the Israelis have a pot shot at one or two. When I asked a congregant why they suffer such garbage, he said that fortunately for half the congregation, they were stone deaf and the other five sat as far away from the pulpit as possible. I would tell MB not to bring the almighty into this. If there is such an entity, which I doubt very much, he(or she) is quite capable of making his feelings known and you certainly are not his intermediary.

  17. Memory Man said

    Ex Delegate #13 I vaguely remember some loose talk at the time.
    I think Edlin and Melchior were on the same Holocaust committee in the US. They were supposed to have had a conversation about the Rabbi’s forthcoming visit to Glasgow.What exactly was said, only two people will ever know, but what is for sure is that from that moment the visit was off. It further appears that on his return Edlin was name dropping at the Rep Council Executive meeting and let slip the gist of the conversation. By the next meeting , by which time it was realised that Edlin may have been up to mischief and he was challenged, he changed his tune, denied what he had said and came up with another version. Now let me say this is all alleged and until the recent story broke I thought it was all loshen hora. On reading this week’s JC and JT an unfortunate pattern is emerging.

  18. Joker said

    Matzo Balls should be honoured to receive only the second post removal on the Blog. Shame though, I would have enjoyed his ongoing crucifixion at the hands of Gerry the Joiner who is clearly far too Left Wing for the rest of us!

    To the point.

    In my personal experience of Mr (Dr?)Edlin, he may be boorish and somewhat awkward at the personal level but I think he was right to withdraw from the meetings as I am certain he would have been far from entertaining. Personally I feel GJEF should be looking at making their point through humour and I would heartily recommend the Palestinian and Haredi Rabbi duo who are currently on the Stand Up circuit. I’ve seen a small amount of their material and it is stunningly funny and amazingly thought provoking.

    NB This suggestion is NOT a joke!

  19. ex delegate said

    Memory Man, are you really suggesting that Paul Edlin interfered in the arrangement to bring Rabbi Melchior to Glasgow? Melchior at some stage in his career was a minister responsible for diaspora affairs and would have been quite a coup for the Glasgow Community.
    I presume that Peace Now’s involvement was because they had secured the speaker? If Edlin did do something to stop this meeting going ahead surely his colleagues within the Council would have been upset about this. The President after all had told the delegate meeting that Melchior was coming and it would be a joint meeting with Peace Now.
    I remember that the President had to fight his corner to get this through.
    He must have been livid at Edlin’s interference.
    It really is incredible that an executive officer of the Council would have tried to interfere to discourage Melchior from coming to Glasgow?
    You are right Memory Man – there is a very worrying trend that has emerged with Paul Edlin.

  20. npn said

    It is all quite bizarre-IJV self procliam themselves to the world at large ,through massive media adverts ,as an alternative viewpoint ,without first engaging with the jewish rank and file community that they say are not properly represented by ,inter alia , the BOD ; BOD dispute that they don’t represent the punters and then Edlin throws away the chance to represent the community he claims to represent by not debating with the people who claim that BOD are not representing the community !(confused?) ; if the community at large find IJV out on a limb ,then why won’t the BOD stand up for the community it represents and accept the debate !It seems to me that BOD and IJV are both marginal/useless when it comes to representing mainstream jewish opinion.

  21. Dr Veritas said

    Just wondered, does anyone know who Edlin represents on tne BOD? It may be Garnethill Shul. Does he report back to anyone on a regular basis? If the BOD is representative, how does one make one’s voice heard? I am a member of a shul and have never been notified of my BOD representative or received a report. I dont know whose interests they represent but its not mine because nobody wants to know what i think. Who pays their travel expenses? Is it out of the levy I pay through the shul? This seems like taxation without representation. Maybe someone in the know should post the names of all the local BOD representatives, who they represent and how they justify their position.

  22. Penguin said

    “It seems to me that BOD and IJV are both marginal/useless when it comes to representing mainstream jewish opinion.”

    Being useless is not an exclusive club and who the hell is “mainstream” anyway? You Npn, me, the men in black hats? If mainstream is the majority then Jews are best represented by D&G, FCUK etc and our Parliament is Braehead or Princes Square.

    Waaaak Wak wak wak wak wak!

  23. Interested said

    NPN should realise that IJV are not claiming to represent the mainstream.
    What they are claiming is that the Board of Deputies don’t represent them. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.
    And when one examines the recent conduct of their vice-President – Paul Edlin – in pulling out of a debate that he had agreed to take part in – is it any wonder that the Board are becoming more and more irrelevant.
    Think about it everyone – one day Paul Edlin could be President of the Board of Deputies and the President of the Reprresentative Council.
    Is that not scary or is it simply too daft to contemplate?

  24. Dr Veritas said

    Edlin for President – that must be the doomsday scenario. He is already vice-president of the BOD. He must be there with the approval of at least half the BOD. What kind of people are they. Are they all brain dead or does he have hidden depths that have never surfaced in Glasgow. Are there any members of Garnethill out there able and willing to find out if he is their representative? Wouldn’t that be choice. The Anglo-Jewish equivalent of the old rotten borough scandals. Who elects over there. The Saturday congregation who all travel to Shul in the one mini?

  25. Ex Delegate said

    Witnessing people like Mr Edlin at delegate meetings of the Representative Council did it for me. I could take no more and I told my organisation that I wasn’t prepared to be their delegate any longer.
    The prospect – and it is a real one of Mr Edlin reaching even higher office is not something that should please the community. He has been grossly over promoted. It has been obvious for years that ability is not a requirement for reaching executive office within the Council.
    Very few attend delegate meetings any more and very few organisations in the community take the Rep council seriously.
    It has had its day and outlived its usefulness.
    I won’t be back and my organisation couldn’t find anyone else who was interested in going.

  26. florence said

    I also was asked to join the rep council. I went to one meeting and was so disgusted by the behaviour of some that I decided not to join. I made my reasons well known to those present. It does not represent me, the manner in which they conduct their business is frankly embaressing and it appears to be that he or she who shouts loudest gets heard. How does the rep council change it’s image and attract younger, fresher bodies to bring it up to date and truly representative?

  27. Avi said

    The Rep Council has outlived any useful purpose Florence.
    It is an organisation that has had its day and is no longer relevant.

  28. Zebedee said

    Florence, are you old enough to remember Monty Python. If uou are you will remember this.

    The Rep Council has ceased to be…it is not is dead..completely and utterly dead”

  29. Delegate to Rep Council said

    I note that Paul Edlin has made his position clear as reported in an article about the Board of Deputies meeting in the Jewish Chronicle.
    At the end of the article readers are directed to the letters’page – but there are no letters. Why?
    Did IJV or GJEF respond but not get their letters printed?
    I would like to know what is going on?
    Can anyone tell us the truth about this affair

  30. Communally Minded said

    Did Paul Edlin sit on someone to stop letters to the Jewish Chronicle?

  31. Dr Veritas said

    Doubt it, Communally Minded, he has an enormous ego, but lacks charisma, influence and connections big time. As some one said in an earlier posting, he’s just a jumped up Johnny-come-lately to community politics. However, there is no doubt that more than one, possibly several, letters were pulled and I would suggest someone much more influential than the honourable Dr Paul has had a hand in it.

  32. Seymour X said

    From far away across the sea I saw a report in the JT that Paul Edlin, as UK appointed delegate, spoke last week on the workings of the Holocaust Claims Conference.

    Did anybody here attend this event, and did someone ask him why he bothers to sit down with a number of really selfless people there who are making do with ‘salaries’ ranging from $100,000 to $420,000 per year and who are dispensing payments of $85 per month to individuals or $180 per month to couples who survived years in slave labour and death camps?

    Did the question come up of the recent demand by the Israeli delegation to the Conference that 60% of the remaining funds be transferred to the control of Israel, as that is where 60% of survivors are? And would this transfer of financial power have made any difference at the $85 per month survivor level, or would it simply create some new ‘administrators’ in Israel with presumably additional six figure annual salaries?

    Did someone ask about the distribution to West Bank ‘Institutions’ of a portion of the Holocaust settlement funds that Israel Singer surprisingly claimed in a Channel Four documentary were to be set aside ‘For the benefit of the Jewish people’ at the insistance of the Germans(Can you just imagine the Germans thumping the table and demanding that these funds must NOT go to Holocaust survivors)! The documentary went on to show that institutions set up in the West Bank then received some of these funds. Perhaps someone asked if Paul had a list available of which West Bank institutions received these ‘For the benefit of the Jewish People’ funds, and why?

  33. Ex Delegate said

    I went to last night’s meeting with Siddiqui and was given a piece of paper with GJEF’s explanation of the withdrawal of Paul Edlin from the IJV debate.
    I think Mr Edlin needs to now answer some questions about this – and the sooner the better.
    Hopefully he won’t because then the next delegate meeting of the Council should be fun.
    They won’t need a speaker on that evening – they could just publicise it as “The public trial of our esteemed treasurer, Vice President of the Board of Deputies”
    Should be interesting to see how Mr Edlin will handle this. Slightly more difficult and taxing than his usual responsibility of counting the Council’s coppers.

  34. Rep Council Delegate said

    I have just read the letter by the Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum in this week’s Jewish Telegraph.
    Mr Edlin owes the Council an explanation for his behaviour. If this letter is correct – and I will call on the President to clarify this at the next delegate meeting – then Mr Edlin should consider his position.
    He has become the issue and that is the moment for someone in public life to go.
    If he has another version then let’s hear it now. And this blog would be a good place for him to start.

  35. Man in the Know said

    The letter is incorrect

  36. Perplexed said

    Since you claim to be “in the know”, perhaps you would care to elaborate on your statement.

  37. ember of the Flat Earth Society said

    Man in the Know has my support. I’m often made to face similar daft demands for proof of the obvious.

  38. Member of the Flat Earth Society said

    I’m a Member, not a burnt out ember

  39. Rep Council Supporter said

    Paul Edlin obviously agreed to take part in a debate without consulting his colleagues. They then told him he should not do this.
    He should apologise to everyone and then resign.
    The Council will be much better off without him.

  40. A Beitz said

    Still waiting for Man In The Know’s response. Give us a clue. Which part of the letter was “incorrect”?

  41. Fandango said

    Oh please please tell us Man In the Know. What is incorrect in the letter you read.

  42. A Beitz said

    Man In The Know he know nothing.

  43. Reality Check said

    Reality Check Says:
    April 4th, 2007 at 7:15 pm
    I have just spent the last two evenings enjoying Seder nights with my family.
    I have looked at this blog from time to time – never feeling the need to comment myself until now.
    What has prompted my change of mind is this. At the Seder the conversation got round to the recent lecture held with Mona Siddiqui and Tony Klug.
    We have a large family and two or three of us were at this meeting. It was an exceptionally interesting event and very thought provoking.
    During our conversation someone asked who had organised the meeting in question and when told that it was a new group within the community – GJEF – they commented that they had heard from people who know what is going on that this is a cover group for another organisation and that they will cause trouble. When I asked who had told them this I was told that it had come from sources close to the Rep Council and others very involved in communal work.
    Our conversation developed and I replied like this. Hopefully I was able to persuade others that this is complete nonsense.
    As far as I have been able to work out this new group have held 3 meetings so far and have another 3 in the near future. I have attended all 3 so far.
    The first one was about Calderwood Lodge. It was a large meeting and the speaker Jim Duffy, the headteacher. The school received more profile as a result of this event and no one I spoke to had anything to say that wasn’t positive.

    I’m sorry but I can’t work it out. How can a meeting about our Jewish primary school be part of a Peace Now? No other organisation in our city thought of organising this event so why don’t those who criticise think why they didn’t do it themselves.

    The next meeting was an opportunity for the MP Jim Murphy to explain British Government policy towards Israel. The content of Mr Murphy’s address has already been discussed on this blog but it’s worth repeating. This could never have been a Peace Now meeting. And yet again I raise the same question – If you don’t approve of GJEF why did they have to arrange this event? No one else bothered to.

    And then the 3rd meeting with Mona Siddiqui and Tony Klug. This was a discussion concerning local Moslem attitudes towards Israel and their relationship with the Jewish Community. This was a very significant educational meeting – tell me the last time a communal organisation asked a member of the Moslem community to address our community.

    According to their publicity GJEF’s next speakers are Jonathan Freedland and an Orthodox Rabbi from Jerusalem.
    No doubt there are some sad characters out there who will tell you that this is the Peace Now agenda emerging. This is crazy. Apart from the fact that he is one of Britain’s foremost journalists this guy actually spoke at a Rep Council meeting a few years ago. So if he was Kosher then – I would love to know what’s changed. And the Rabbi is not exactly revolutionary stuff either.

    And then we here criticism of this blog. Of course there has been a lot of nonsense posted in this forum. And of course some people don’t like what they read. Is that not what blogs are all about. And before some blogger expert jumps in to tell me that it should be done this way or that way let me reply that no other group has ever started a blog for our community before so give GJEF credit for starting something new and innovative. I’m sure the guys behind this will listen to constructive comment and hopefully in time more people will enjoy using it to express their views. But just like me until now many people have read it with interest – some no doubt have been outraged and some embarrassed – but at least there can be some discussion.

    To those people who have carped about GJEF not really being about the Community’s Future, my response is quite clear. Tell me another organisation in our community that will have arranged up to 6 public meetings with interesting speakers in 5 months. In case you are not sure – the answer is no one else has done this for years. Is this not the future of this community?

    And to those in the Rep Council or any other members of the communal establishment who don’t like what is going on I would like to say this. Why don’t you thank these guys for putting on meetings that you have either been too lazy to do yourself or did not have the imagination or foresight to think of. They at least are doing something – the sniping that is heard – the snide comments that GJEF are up to something – does you no credit at all. If you don’t like what’s going on what are you doing to offer the community an alternative?

    So please let’s stop the stories about plots and fronts for other organisations.
    It is completely without foundation and it is not credible. I’m going to post this comment on all the discussion forums on this blog because I have no idea which people read most.
    And I am not one of the organisers of GJEF, nor am I a relative or being paid a fee for this. I just want them to continue with what they are trying to do with a lot more communal support.
    Thank you for your patience.

  44. Ex Delegate said

    So no response from Mr Edlin in today’s Jewish Telegraph.
    Seems to me he got himself into one big mess and didn’t have the integrity or courage to say that his colleagues didn’t think he was up for it.
    He should resign.

  45. Bobby said

    Did anyone read that nonsense in the JC written today be Melanie Phillips in response to Jonathan Freedland’s article last week.
    The woman has lost the plot completely – her article is full of exaggeration and her sole intention is to whip up fear and panic.
    Looking forward to hearing a brilliant speaker when Freedland visits Glasgow soon.

  46. Methinks said

    I have come to this blog to read the debates, and follow the issues.
    All I see is a barrage of personal attacks. As Jews you should know what Lishon Hora is. For those of you who don’t here’s link to start you off.

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