Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

Alex Salmond Lecture: Photo Gallery

Posted by Admin on May 12, 2008

The First Minister and the Great Leader

We are delighted to announce the unveiling of our new Photo Gallery Pages. To view pictures of the Alex Salmond Lecture, please click here »

319 Responses to “Alex Salmond Lecture: Photo Gallery”

  1. In Shock said

    JC article this week about Board of Deputies contest to be their next President proves the world has gone completely bonkers.
    It quotes a certain Paul Edlin at odds of 25-1

    If Mr Edlin is even that close it demonstrates that Jewish community life in the UK has reached an all time low.
    He should be at 5,000,000,000,000 – 1 and that’s being generous.
    His communal record is poor and if he stands, there will I am sure be plenty of volunteers stepping forward to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

  2. Taxi Driver said

    I had that Paul Edlin in the back of my cab again and after driving him for ten minutes I reckon I know him better than most.
    Put your money on the dentist.
    Why anyone could think he’s not absolutely suitable to be President of the UK Jewish community is beyond me.
    And don’t think I am persuaded because of the very large tip.
    I am convinced he’s the main man after hearing about all his communal achievements.

  3. Community Member said

    In this week’s JC, Jonathan Freedland comments that Alan Sugar may have become the defacto representative of British Jewry and thinks this is probably a good thing.
    Wondered what others think?

  4. NLL said

    Have had my attention elsewhere for a wee while – what do people think about what Alex Salmond said? Does he have an understanding of the needs of Jewish people in Scotland, does he understand the dilemmas facing us as a Community?

    There has been some discussion on this blogg about how to regenerate ‘The Community’- however you define it. It might be interesting to look at this article from this Sunday Herald’s Mag

    It is about regeneration of various towns/villages/communities around Scotland and about things like out of date buildings and how people can come together and take control of the process – maybe there are some lessons to be learnt?

  5. Labour Supporter said

    Mr Salmond certainly gets 10 out of ten for effort. He was a star turn and far more impressive than I imagined.
    I think he understans that most people in the Jewish community are interested in the same things as people in other communities – not specific Jewish issues.
    I also thought that unlike the Labour MP – Jim Murphy – Mr Salmond told us what he wanted to tell us – not what he thought we would want to hear in order that we vote for him. He seemed to be above doing that. He came over as a class act and anyone that I spoke to thought the same.
    As a Labour supporter I am fearful how many seats we will lose to the SNP.

  6. SNP Supporter said

    Labour supporter you should more worried about how many seats you lose to the Tories. Bye Bye Gordon Bye Bye

  7. History Man said

    Am I the only one who’s been waiting for 2 weeks to find out the answer to Who is Benji?

    Nobody told ME there was a new thread of postings!

    Could we please have the blog better signposted (eg a message at the end of a discussion thread pointing us to a new thread) – and also starting with the most recent posting first. Makes it easier to check new postings quickly.

  8. Michael said

    What are you talking about History Man?
    Who or what is Benji?

  9. NLL said

    Has anyone come across the idea of ‘Positive Futures Planning’?

    It was devised in the early 1990s as a tool to assist people moving from long stay institutions to live in The Community, (see John O’Brien & Beth Mount & others – various papers on ‘Person centred planning’) It has since been developed to use with teams, organisations and communities as well as individuals.
    The basic concept is to bring together a group individuals who have a interest in the outcome and who wish to contribute to the process. The session is recorded on a roll of paper pinned round the room and needs people skilled at extracting the salient points from the discussion, noting them in colour coded word and picture form and who can keep the discussion moving (there are people trained to do this.)
    The group start by describing what they see as the current situation, which is recorded at the start of the paper, then they move on to their dream and aspirations, which are recorded at the end. The group then look at what needs to be done to reach that ideal and what compromises need to be made if there are conflicting dreams. Working from the ideal back and present forward, the facilitators record all the things that must and must not happen, along with people or organisations who will require to be consulted or brought in for each task, with timescales for each stage. What should emerge in the middle is agreement about how the group see things developing with a structured plan on how to get to an end point that meets everyone’s needs and aspirations, and even some of their dreams – maybe occasionally even some of the wildest ones!!!

    Anyone up for seeing if we could do this – it would be a big commitment, probably requiring a day to kick off and many subsequent sessions to move things along, and there would be a cost to bring in trained facilitators? We would possibly have to start by agreeing that there are certain things we don’t have control over – but I’m jumping the gun, that would be for the group to decide.

  10. History Man said


    The last question in the last sentence in the previous discussion stream was ‘Who is Benji?’. That’s not the point!!

  11. Rep Council Delegate said

    Having been sent the minutes of the rep council’s last meeting in June 2007!I see they are bringing a speaker who will talk about “drugs in the jewish community” at their annual meeting on 2nd June 2008.

    I also note from the minutes of that last meeting that the Rep Co were not too happy with this blog at their last meeting. Perhaps all blog supporters should go to the meeting on June 2nd and see what is said and what the Rep Co has done in the past 12 months.

    What do you (and Benji) think?

    I’ll be there for one.

  12. History Man said

    I can’t go to this meeting as I’m washing my hair.

  13. Benji said

    All of a sudden people seem to be interested in knowing what I have to say about things.
    Well, the Rep Council are finally bringing a speaker to talk to the community. Good. What is really quite funny though is that individuals like Karen Levy have been sending e-mails all round the community urging people to attend. This is the same Karen Levy that sits on the Rep Council executive and who has hardly been seen at any of the GJEF cpublic meetings in the last 18 months – not even meetings as far as I’m aware about Jewish education.
    Karen Levy and her cronies on the Rep Council have boycotted either officially or unofficially GJEF events – that have brought good people to talk here in Glasgow. They think that the community are unaware of their childish games. They are jokers the whole lot of them – From the President, Vice-President, Treasurer, and the exec committee.
    Now those that are interested in drugs within the Jewish community will I’m sure be there. And if you think thios subject is relevant to you – I would urge you to be there. And when you turn up, perhaps you will pass on a message to Philip, Eddie, Graham Sneader, Paul Edlin, Stephen Kliner, and Karen Levy -from Benji. ” Grow up – stop playing silly games with our community – and realise that we all know what you are up to “

  14. Rep Council Delegate said

    Is not that the point exactly, Benji

    Surely the supporters of this blog and GJEF should be out in force at the Rep Co meeting in order to prove that whilst the Rep Co might be officially or unofficially boycotting the superb speakers brought by GJEF to the WHOLE community, GJEF and its supporters are above that pettiness.

    Also it will give the community the opportunity to ask searching questions of the Management Committee of the Rep Co – our supposed leaders in communal affairs.

    Questions such as

    What exactly have you done for the WHOLE community over the last 12 months?
    Was the function for the Israeli Ambassador Kosher?
    Was the function for the Israeli Ambassador under the auspices of the Rep Council?
    Are the Rep Council Management Committee officially or unofficially boycotting GJEF events?
    Do the Rep Council think they represent the views of the WHOLE community?

    And I am sure you can think of others so why not post them here and we can all ask just one of them after the President’s address at the start of the meeting.

    I look forward to seeing you all there.

  15. Rep Council Delegate said

    Oh and History Man, washing your hair shouldn’t take that long – you should go the Rep Council meeting afterwards.

  16. A Beitz said

    You could also ask whether the President took advice or discussed matters before commenting on a meeting being held re the Naquba and stating it was happening “to antagonise the Jewish Community”. Does he not accept that in doing this he took the Rep Council very firmly into the political sphere? Did he have any basis for his apparent knowledge of the minds of the organisers? In any event was it up to him to apparently criticise other groups who have different views on Israel for holding a meeting? Was it appropriate to discuss the let with East Renfrewshire Council? Finally did he not by his comments both publicise the meeting and make it clear that the organisers had achieved what he said was their objective ie he was antagonised.

  17. Not Another Macher said

    Has the meeting with Rabbi Suffrin been organised with any reference to those that work in this field, Jewish Care, Student Chaplain, Youth groups, Social Workers etc? Have any attempts been made to set up additional meetings with any of these people/groups during his visit? Unlikely – and not much use for students & senior school pupils who are slap bang in the middle of exams.

    What a waste!

  18. Michael said

    Surely the Rep Council would have consulted with the Student Chaplain before arranging a meeting about drugs given that students are most likely to be confronted by drug issues?

    Is this another instance of Philip Mendelsohn and his colleagues thinking they know best?
    And again making an a— of it?

  19. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Rep Council Delegate, I presume you are young and impressionable. You will learn. The Council is now disregarded as a forum only for those seeking minor machorship. It is avoided by anyone with intelligence, ability and experience. I too, was young and impressionable. I too, thought of it as a forum where ideas could be floated and discussed. I learnt in the school of hard knocks. So, my dear RCD, here’s what happens.

    1) They suspect awkward questions…..Time will be pressing and you will be told to speak at some future meeting.

    2) You manage to get to your feet and then they realise that you are being awkward…..remember the old codgers who mumbled from the Muppet’s balcony? They borrow one for their meetings, disguise him as a past President and he’s programmed to call point of order and suggest business moves on.

    3) You manage to hold the floor and make your points…that means they didn’t understand one word you said!

  20. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    As some of the regulars on this blog will be aware I have been missing for a few weeks. The reason for this is that I have been trying to resolve certain issues that have concerned me about my faith and my role as a Rabbi in the United Synagogue.

    This has been a very difficult period but I believe that I am now stronger for it and I relish the opportunities ahead of me. You will no doubt realise that many of my opinions and views on events in our modern day life are not typical of a United Synagogue Rabbi – in fact I am a lonely voice – not alone – but with very little support from Rabbinical colleagues.

    A few weeks ago after discussing events concerning Jewish education I began to think that I was hitting my head against a brick wall. I, as I have said before, am very confident that my Orthodox Judaism is right for me and that my understanding of it is relevant to today’s world. But to always have to go into a room with your colleagues, as an isolated figure, became personally very waring – and eventually debilitating. It was too often for my liking Rabbi L on one side, and every other Rabbi, with one or two exceptions, on the other. I began to question whether I should remain as part of this group if I was always on the margins – and almost never in the mainstream. I needed time out to think and I decided to visit very close friends in New York and in Israel to discuss my concerns and whether it was time to have a career change.

    These visits were not easy. I have never been a quitter but what I wanted to resolve was whether staying in the Rabbinate was going to benefit me or others. I, at no time considered changing to Liberal, Masorti, or Reform because I did not believe that my approach to Judaism had changed – it was more that I believed others in the Orthodox camp had become intransigent and did not want anyone to challenge the consensus. My friends were wonderful. We started to discuss why I had become a Rabbi in the first place and they reminded me that this was a decision made through choice , not because I had no other options. My secular education would have enabled me to find employment in other areas but I chose to become a Rabbi because I wanted to have a real effect on how Jews lived their lives.

    Had this fundamentally altered? No. Had I decided that I wanted to do something else with my life ? No. Had I grown weary with the constant battles to speak up for the Orthodox Judaism that I believed in and wanted to share? Yes. Did I still feel that it was important to show people in my community that it was quite possible to be an Orthodox Rabbi with good universal human values – that respects other people’s views – both religious and secular – and to fight for what I believe in with respect to Israel and other Jewish ethical and moral values? Yes. Was this a fight that I still wanted to fight because I believe that it is a fight worth winning? Yes.

    So having made my decision to continue I am now refreshed and inspired to try and convey my Orthodox Judaism to the people around me. I do not believe I am being arrogant when I say that I think I need to continue because when I look around the Orthodox Rabbinate I think voices like mine need to be heard. So I am resolved to speak out more often, and to do so vociferously when necessary. I am going to hold study groups more often so my views are heard and I am going to contribute to blogs such as this whenever I have the time to do so and when I think something needs to be said.

    I am an Orthodox Rabbi and I am proud to be an Orthodox Rabbi. My friends and family have given me the confidence to know what I want to do. And I thank everyone of them and Hashem for their inspiration.
    Before leaving you this week I would like to briefly discuss two items in the news which happened in the last week or so. The First was on Lag Ba’omer and the celebration held by Shas in Israel that introduced a new custom – burning copies of the New Testament. Many who witnessed this in Israel were schoolchildren. Those who defended this outrage did not stop and think how we the Jewish community would have reacted if Jewish holy texts rather than Christian books had been burned in any European Country. The Rabbis, who support Shas, supported the book burning. And the coalition in Israel depends on its survival on Shas support.

    Do we as Jews need to be reminded about the Nazis incinerating Jewish works in Berlin in 1933? Do we need to be reminded about the Taliban only a few years ago? Democracies must not tolerate this kind of behaviour. I would ask everyone of you to go to your Rabbi – Orthodox, Reform, Liberal and Masorti and ask him or her to condemn this publicly this Shabbat from their pulpits. And if they don’t or won’t ask them openly why not? We cannot tolerate this kind of desecration of our humanity.

    And perhaps we should also reflect on the decision taken in Israel last week to prevent the American political scientist, Professor Norman Finkelstein , from entering Israel. Now I do not agree with a lot of what this man says and I acknowledge that at times he is a fierce critic of Israel. He was denied entry supposedly on security grounds when his plane landed on a private visit to see a personal friend of his. What has come of our democracy when we bar some people from entering Israel because we don’t like what we have to say. And how come supporters of the late Meir Kahane and other similar far-right factions seem to be allowed in. Israel should be bigger than this and if we cannot win the battle of words through persuasion we will not win by these means. Really sad.

    So chaverim, thank you for reading – if you are still with me. I would love to know what you think about what I have written.

    Have a wonderful Shabbat and let us pray that it will be peaceful

    Shabbat Shalom.

  21. Community Member said

    Welcome back Rabbi L. I agree with you that preventing Norman Finkelstein from entering Israel is not good news at all. Perhaps if he had turned up with envelopes full of dollars he might have been more acceptable to members of the current Israeli government?

  22. NLL said

    Welcome back Rabbi L. I am sorry to hear that you were experiencing a ‘crisis of faith’ but very glad that your period of reflection has brought you back to your Rabbinical position and hope that your renewed strength will enable you to continue to stand up for what you believe is right.

    I think your advocacy of a Judaism that adheres to the basics of ethical behaviour amongst Jews in their Jewish practice, in their Community life, in their business practices and in their relationships with the wider world, as opposed to a ‘fundamentalist’ Judaism that seems to place more value on the minutia of ritual and turns a blind eye to ethos should be encouraged and supported.

    Your Community is very lucky to have you as it’s spiritual leader and I look forward to your continued contributions to the various debates on this blog.

  23. A Beitz said

    Welcome back, Rabbi L. Your well written pieces are allways a joy to read.
    What you are saying about your isolation is very worrying. As you say you have not left orthodoxy. However it now seems that rabbinical proponents of a modern humanitarian orthodoxy are harder and harder to find. I am not in using the term “modern” using that as a synonym for reformist but instead referring to those who are prepared to live in and utilise the acceptable parts of the modern world. You have to stay and fight however. If you do not then the ultra right wing will have won and orthodox Judaism will be left to an extreme branch with the rest of us being disaffected and, unless attracted to one of the other branches of Judaism, disconnected.

  24. Dr said

    Can I add my name to Rabbi L’s fan base. I wish him all the best. Not many Rabbonim have his courage.

    Has anyone googled the speaker at the Rep Council AGM – Rabbi Aryeh Suffrin – Good name that one – Are you suffering. Now I know why all the Shuls in Glasgow are promoting this – would I be wrong in suggesting that that their interst in this is because it is a Lubavitch Rabbi who is speaking – not because they are that interested in the drug problem?
    Or would that be unfair? Can’t help but feel cynical as to why they are promoting this talk so much.
    What gets me though is that they think we don’t see through it.
    How refreshing that in Rabbi L we see a religious leader with morality and integrity and ethical values.

  25. Not Another Macher said

    Dr – I think you are being cynical. I don’t think that any of the shul Rabbonim in Glasgow are particularly big Lubavitch fans, in fact I know for sure that one isn’t.

    I have heard that this guy is genuinely good at what he does, although I couldn’t say if that is running Drugsline, or speaking about it. Have also heard that the son of a former Rep Council President works for the PR company that promotes this guy…………

  26. Community Member said

    So another road leads back to Stephen Kliner. When will this community learn?
    I think you are being a little naive
    NAM if you think our Rabbonim would have promoted a meeting on drugs to this extent if the speaker had not been a Rabbi. He may be good – we’ll need to find out – but the point raised by the DR if I have understood it right is that the Shuls would not have promoted this at all if the speaker was not a Rabbi – and that is to be expected but sad nevertheless.

  27. Community Member said

    And whilst we are on the subject of the son of a former Rep Council President, are you aware that this same guy’s involvement in English Friends of Peace Now has contributed to most of those who had associated with Peace Now in the past to now have nothing to do with this organisation now. And why – the continual attempts to ingratiate the organisation with the establishment – in order to court popularity – whilst forgetting the moral principles that underpinned the organisation. It seems that the son has been well taught.

  28. Armchair Analyst said

    Just one point on the subject that Rabbi L mentioned of Norman Finkelstein, who has amongst other things done a lot of good work exposing the Holocaust Industry, being refused permission to visit Israel.

    He did go privately to talk to Hezbollah very recently on an apparently ‘friendly’ basis. Wearing the other hat, could it not be reasonably argued that he was being barred for ‘consorting with the enemy’?

  29. A Beitz said

    That may have been the ostensible reason but Finkelstein is not Israeli. I think he’s a fairly loathsome individual but that’s never stopped people getting into Israel before. Carter wasn’t barred after speaking to Hamas and in any case we all know it’s a load of hypocrisy. Israel has been negotiating indirectly through the Egyptians with Hamas and negotiated with Hezbollah through other agencies.
    Unless someone is a danger that person should be allowed in.

  30. Giffnock Resident said

    What about Nuterei Karta. They don’t just visit Israel – many of them live there?

  31. Shulgoer said

    Good meeting tonight. Stephen Smith was absolutely great. He did however raise questions as to whether a Holocaust centre should be in East Renfrewshire or another part of Scotland and I do think it must be seriously looked at.
    Some criticism of Karen Levy in other posts has been a bit unfair. She was at tonight’s meeting and has been at others.
    I look forward to seeing substantially more of her colleagues at other GJEF meetings. I think they would be very welcome and the food would be kosher.

  32. Not a shulgoer said

    Great meeting tonight. Quite astonishing that Kenneth Collins, who has been credited with being the main man behind the proposal to have a Holocaust memorial in Scotland, has never been in touch with Stephen Smith about this. No, its not that astonishing – it is simply disgraceful that Dr Collins has sought to go ahead with a proposal without either consulting properly with the Jewish community to clarify what the community want and he has not consulted with the experts in this field who could advise him properly.
    The likes of Dr Collins and his colleagues make out to the community that they are acting in our best interests. This shows that they are not.

  33. A Beitz said

    Anyone on here go to the meeting at the Rep Council last night? I didn’t simply because I’m going out every night this week. I thought it was a topic worth airing but was a bit surprised that the organisers do not seem to have contacted the youth groups, students, chaplaincy and care organisations who are most likely to have people directly involved. June 2nd is also not exactly the peak date when you find students and youth available.
    Would be interested to know the cost of putting on such a meeting. Travel from London is quite expensive unless you get a cheap deal with one of the budget airlines and it is important costwise and subjectwise to involve as many as possible. Lessons could be learned by following GJEF’s example of trying to arrange for appropriate speakers to visit other organisations when in Glasgow for a short period.

  34. Very Angry Indeed said

    I have just read the comments made by No 32, and as you may have guessed by my name I am very angry indeed.
    Who gave Dr Kenneth Collins the authority to approach anyone about a proposed Holocaust memorial? He has not asked this community their opinion and it would appear that he has not discussed this with Dr Stephen Smith.
    Dr Collins may think he is acting in our interests. Personally speaking I think that the Jewish Community should not be pushing for this.
    It’s time Dr Collins that you hung up your communal boots – because you don’t understand that you have an obligation to consult properly.

  35. F R Brent said

    Who says that Kenneth Collins did the approaching? How do you know it wasn’t the Government or East Renfrewshire who came up with the idea?
    Fact – A delegation of those involved in the project, including representatives of East Renfrewshire Council, visited Stephen Smith’s Beth Shalom Centre in Nottingham and held discussions with his brother.
    This isn’t a Jewish community project and, as Dr Smith himself was keen to point out, shouldn’t be seen to be.
    I would hope that Holocaust survivors have and are being consulted, but does this need to be extended to the community at large?

  36. Not a Shulgoer said

    FR Brent you are talking nonsense. Dr Smith announced at the meeting that he has not been asked for his advice on this project.
    If you know so much about it tell us who are involved in this project. I have heard this evening from someone who should know about it that Dr Collins was the prime mover. Now Stephen Smith gave his opinion that this should not be a Jewish Community project. I agree. But then why is Dr Collins giving press releases as if it is.
    As for communal consultation why should the community not be given the opportunity to discuss this. As Dr Smith pointed out there are many different ramifications about this happening in East Renfrewshire that the community should know about. And what kind of project do the Jewish Community want to be involved with?
    As far as I am aware the only public discussion about this took place last Sunday evening at a GJEF meeting that the whole community was invited to.
    Well done to GJEF and shame on Dr Collins and his self appointed cronies who think, like you, that the ordinary people in this community, are somehow not entitled to be listened to.

  37. A Beitz said

    I’m not angry about this matter and have no wish to criticise particular individuals. At first glance a Holocaust memorial seemed a good idea in East Renfrewshire on the basis that it is important that people are educated in relation to matters and such a project would provide the means to do that.
    Following upon Dr Smith’s excellent address on the matter I now have thought about matters more deeply and consider that there is more chance of such a project reaching out to those whose knowledge is minimal were it to be located somewhere else and not to be seen as a Jewish community enterprise. Were, for example, a museum to in Stirling it would be within easy reach of most of the population of Scotland whilst not being in danger of being seen as something by the Jews for the Jews.
    I have a suspicion that at least part of the reason for the Scottish government’s support is for political reasons ie to win votes. A museum in Stirling is unlikely to get them votes in the relatively marginal seat of Eastwood. And before any Labour supporter sees that as a criticism of the SNP the idea came from the ousted Labour Executive.

  38. Davie Land said

    I’m not against the idea of a Holocaust memorial as long as it includes remembrance of other major 20th Century genocides. But I’d not be in favour of a venue like the previously touted Rouken Glen, a public park that is enjoyed by so many for serenity and recreation. Just what are the venue options, if any? A paucity of information is being provided. Why is that?

  39. Arnold said

    A paucity of information –
    Reason – Dr Kenneth Collins.

  40. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I must take issue with Davie Land. As soon as someone says “I am not against……” and then comes in with qualifications, they are actually saying “I am against…..”

    The Holocaust was a phenomena still perceived by many Jews and gentiles alike as a Jewish problem. Certainly it was a Jewish tragedy but until it recognised as a European problem devised by Austrian and German Nazis though implemented and accepted by most of Christian Europe then lessons will not be learned.

    On armistice day we mourn the losses of the two World Wars and try to seek lessons. There have been many other disastrous Wars but we do not tie ourselves in knots trying to link every disaster into the occasion.

    Sometimes we bend over backwards so far in our attempts to be equitable, we end up with a very strange view of the world.

    Having said this, I can think of reasons not to have a Holocaust Memorial, but not because it hasn’t been linked.

  41. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Oh dear, ‘phenomena’ should have been ‘phenomenon’.

  42. Davie Land said

    Nachman, In response to your comments I will now further clarify my position. I am against a Holocaust memorial in public parkland Rouken Glen, period. I am against an exclusive Jewish Holocaust memorial that only deals with one specific Holocaust.

    I support a Holocaust memorial in a neutral venue on land owned by a council, city or state or donated for the purpose. However, if that Memorial becomes so politicised that major recent genocides like Darfur are excluded for fear of offending certain groups, then I’m against a hopelessly compromised Holocaust Memorial.

    Your point about the Memorial accurately defining the Jewish Holocaust as being devised by German and Austrian Nazis though actually implemented and accepted by most of Christian Europe is well taken. Why do I suspect that there will be the usual fudging on this issue?

    That being said, if the real object is to educate the public at large, there is no good reason IMHO to exclusively highlight and deliberately isolate the Jewish Holocaust from other significant genocides of the last century.

  43. Benji said

    I note the article in the Jewish Telegraph on Friday about a proposed visit to Israel and the West Bank to increase ” understanding and friendship between communities in Scotland ”
    My first thoughts on reading this were that this is a good idea, but now I have some reservations. What is the itinerary? Who or what exactly is the Middle East Peace Initiative and the Jerusalem Peacemakers that have given advice? What kind of Israel will the group be shown?
    And given that Mr Borowski appears to be one of the organisers it is not too surprising who he has picked to represent ” the Jewish Communities of Scotland ” . Himself of course. I always think this guy can’t be for real but he is! I can’t think of many people in our community who are less representative than Mr Borowski but maybe I’m being a little unfair. No, I ‘m not. I hope ALL those who are going are paying for their own trip – and I mean ALL of them – Anything else would be a scandal.

  44. Curious said

    So Mr MBE amazingly is going on the trip. And for company he’s taking President Philip. And Rabbi Rubin’s going too. I just hope as Benji does, that all three are paying their own expenses. Because Mr MBE, it is not appropriate for public money ingathered by SCOJEC to be used for personal holidays. I’m sure you will agree that this should be the case so I know you will have no problem in confirming this.
    Isn’t it astonishing that Mr Borowski believes he represents the Jewish Community but is very rarely seen at community meetings. I’ve been to many GJEF events and he’s not even been at one. Not even to hear the First Minister. Not even the Education Minister – even though he took great delight in sending e-mails to say that he knew Alex Salmond would not be there. And when you look at things in a bit more detail who else is involved with SCOJEC – Dr Kenneth Collins – the guy who doesn’t consult either the Jewish Community or the national experts when thinking about Holocaust memorials.
    These guys have got away with a complete lack of scrutiny and accountability as regards their communal activities. Thank goodness for this blog – because if ever there was a justification for a community blog – this is it. It means that issues and decisions that these people are part of are now discussed in a public form. And not before time.

  45. Not Another Macher said

    On the other hand I notice that there are students going – so whilst I might agree with you about the self appointed community leaders – maybe there is some good to be gleaned from the trip and surely it is ok to use community funds to pay for them?

  46. A Beitz said

    Are you sure there is any community money going into this? From the JT article it was my understanding that the funding was coming from sources outwith the Glasgow Jewish community. Ithink it’s a good thing. There should be some bonding between the various faith members as well as perhaps an increased understanding of Israel. My only criticism is I would have quite liked to have seen more people who were ordinary members of the community representing a wider spectrum of views going ie a broad church!

  47. Noshie Parker said

    Where is the funding coming from?
    Is part of the agenda to attempt give the participants a ‘balanced’ picture of the political situation?
    What is the itinerary?
    Are any reform community members being invited to participate?
    Who are paying their own way and who if any are going at none or little travel/accomodation cost to themselves?
    What are the criteria for being eligible to go on the trip?
    How can one find out more about the trip? I could find no information on the SCOJEC website last night.

  48. Curious said

    Mr Beitz, I’m sure you are not naive.
    This trip may be a good thing, but that depends on the itinerary. If that is flawed, it may do more harm than good.
    Noshie Parker has asked some very interesting questions. If Borowski won’t answer them as the Director of Scojec, then I’m sure Rev Dr Finlay MacDonald, principal clerk of the Church of Scotland will be more obliging.

  49. Not a Shulgoer said

    I have been asking around. It would seem that Dr Collins has been approaching all kinds of people claiming that the Jewish Community wants a Holocaust Memorial.
    Not only does he have no evidence to pursue this agenda but it also makes one wonder why he believes he has a mandate to do this.
    Dr Collins has no idea what the Jewish Community want. He has never asked the community anything. Another organisation that he is chairman of – SCOJEC – claims in its blurb that it is a democratic institution – stuffed with Rep Council cronies no less.
    The only people on planet earth who believe that this is how democracy works are Collins, Borowski and no doubt a certain Mr Kliner.
    I would not let them run anything.

  50. Not a Shulgoer said

    Oh, I almost forgot. The said Mr Borowski has written countless constitutions for the Rep Council over the years. Isn’t it amazing that the recent Rep Council AGM had to be postponed because yet another redraft of the constitution wasn’t ready. How many constitutions does an organisation require?
    The three people that I have mentionned really don’t understand decent principles of how to behave properly in public life. So many fingers in so many pies – it’s pathetic!

  51. Andy Pandy said

    How can anyone attack a devoted public servant like Dr Kenneth Collins who has led this community for years with passion, intelligence and integrity.
    Who has been the best leader from
    Kenneth Collins
    Ephraim Borowski
    Stephen Kliner
    Paul Edlin
    Philip Mendelsohn
    Edward Isaacs

    Collins wins by a canter!!!!!!

  52. Fresser said

    It would not surprise me if there was some sort of move to make it into the Kenneth Collins Holocaust Memorial Museum. That would be an fitting reward after he was so shamefully overlooked for an MBE.
    I think it would also be nice to name the Rep Council premises in the JCC the Binnie Stern Room.

  53. Not a Shulgoer said

    Whilst Borowski’s gong was a joke – it would appear that Her Majesty got it right in overlooking Dr Collins when we consider his conduct over this affair.

    And perhaps the SCOJEC room in the same building could be renamed
    ” Ephraim’s holidays – how to get yourself a bargain trip to the Holy Land” ???

  54. Fresser said

    Do we know it’s a cheap trip? Does it matter anyway? The idea of getting people who are not involved supporters of Israel to go there does seem to me to be a good one. I don’t know what the various partcipants are paying but essentially I’m not sure it matters. Group leaders often get cheap or free travel. Under other circumstances they might be paid. I hope the programme is well balanced but that’s a different matter. Having said that if the impression of the participants is that they are involved in a propoganda exercise it will be counterproductive and I think this would be the first and last such trip.

  55. Not a Shulgoer said

    I’ll tell you why it matters Fresser. Those who are involved in communal life are obliged to behave properly.
    Those organisations that receive public money are or charitable trusts and those individuals who are trustees need to recognise this all the more.
    I have been involved with sport clubs for many years and served on committees for countless years. Not once, and I mean not once, did anyone think that because they were on a committee they should receive something cheaper, or frewe, or even receive a free drink when other members paid for theirs.
    That is proper and correct.

    Now I don’t know what the various participants are paying to go to Israel. But they should not be using public money to go on holiday, even if it is dressed up as an interfaith visit. That would not be a proper use of public money.

    This group does not represent our community. Mr Borowski chose the particpants personally – he did not ask members of the community to volunteer. This trip is elitist and
    public money should be better spent than funding private trips.

    As for the content one can only at this stage wonder. But given that the Israeli Ambassador this week made a real error by declaring that Britain is a hotbed of anti-Israel activity and he is one of the advisors, we can only be concerned that this is actually a propoganda exercise.

    What people like Borowski fail to understand is that if he was transparent in his activities – did not hide from being upfront and open and encouraged debate and discussion – then maybe people could take what he was up to at face value.
    But why should he change lifetime habits?
    If only he was hlaf as smart as he thinks he is..then he would be a more competent upstanding public servant. But unfortunately, I don’t believe he is even near that because he thinks he is a genius.
    And as you have probably guessed, I don’t believe he is.

  56. G. A. Niff said

    I hope President Borowski, while he is on this state visit, is not going to visit his flat in Israel using public funds. If so I am sure that he will refund to the Government an approriate sum to cover any personal use. I heard that he had been retired a year or two ago, so may be he’ll have a whip round his co-travellers.

  57. J. E. Alous said

    Sorry, Andy Pandy. None of tne gentlemen that you mention have been what a resonable person would term ‘the best leader’.
    In my view they are they only ones who have been bothered for whatever reason to seek such ‘high office’. In my experience the real people of quality in our community would not waste the time of day with these people. That is regrettable, as what is left of ‘the communty’ surely suffers.Sadly, most of those with vision have tired of living in this particular goldfish bowl and have left for London or even further afield. The others just stay at home, and grow old. Their grandchildren to if they have any sense are leaving in their droves, so in twenty years time, those that you mention and their successors will unfortunately preside over very little.I do wonder and rather suspect that the sightedness of your nominess may be a contributory factor.

  58. Andy Pandy said

    Whilst much of what you write J.E. Alous is pretty accurate I do believe that this community does have a future and although the Kliners and Collins and Borowskis have caused a lot of damage through their lack of vision and ineptitude there is still hope.
    The community may become smaller but there can still be quality. Demographics mean that small communities will become smaller but if we have leadership that leads and knows what it is doing then for those of us that remain here for whatever reason can still have a good community.
    The first stage as Not a Shulgoer suggested is to expose the nonsense that has been going on for years.
    What my friend Luby Lu said last night to me is that she can’t understand how people like Kliner and Borowski, Edlin and Borowski have such a high opinion of themselves when they have done so little over the years to justify this. I replied that we should all feel guilty at letting these people get away with it for so long. I actually wasn’t that polite about it – it’s just that she told me to watch my language and wash my mouth out with soap.
    So it’s up to all of us to get shot of them and quick!

  59. Luby Lu said

    Andy Pandy is out of order. I have not been quoted accurately. I said they were much worse than that.

  60. J. E. Alous said

    Thanks Andy Pandy and Luby Lu. Its clear that there is much in common in our approach. But that’s not good enough and we have to try to find a way forward. What is important here is the future of the community.If we are complaining about the ways of the Junta, then its no use complaining and not doing anything about it.Flood the Reptile Council meetings with your presence and make your opinions known. Flood all other meetings, where there is a Junta influence, if you don’t like the policies.Oppose them where you don’t agree. Stand against them if you want them out.Inaction will not work, and should not be an option.
    That may take a little time.However, the debate that you have so admirably started should be widened now.It would be interesting to know what contributors to this blog have to say. Lets have your views. Are you happy with the Junta or do you believe that something new would advantage the community? Tell us what you think.
    Junta – why don’t you respond also? There is every reason that you should. It’s pretty certain that you must follow these messages, as you would surely be interested in the views of your constituents. If you are not then that would surely prove a point.Come off your high mountain and let us know what you think. Convince us that that you are doing this work for the people and not merely to satisfy your egos, or your foreign travel ambitions. Convince us that we are wrong, if you can , or if you dare. We await your response.

  61. George W Bush said

    There’s no point in trying to go to ” Junta ” meetings to try and vote these people out. They have designed a constitution that perpetuates their hold over this organisation,
    As many have written before me the Organisation is finished. Everyone knows that other than the poor losers still involved.
    I agree with the previous blogger – keep highlighting what they are doing wrong and eventually they will realise that they are going to be found out and discredited.
    J.E. Alous – you are otherwise spot on. Anyone with leadership quality would not waste the tome of day with these people. I don’t blame the current executive. Mendelsohn, Isaacs and Sneader have just been over promoted because of the mess the organisation has been left in by Collins and Kliner. They think they have communal authority when no one takes them seriously. They are just sad.
    But take the Ambassador’s dinner party at Edlin’s House as an example. Who has spoken out to say that they disagreed with what happened. No one. What have you heard from Kliner? Nothing – he always pretends when there’s flak around that it has nothing to do with him – he’s a coward who so often fails to understand the difference between right and wrong.
    And Collins – nothing either. Twice he has been a Rep Council President and twice he achieved precious little, and he’s proud of it.
    And what about those that sit on the community trust – money they might have – good luck to them – but are they leaders? – no sir they are not. And I include almost every one of them almost without exception. When do you hear these guys speak up for what’s right and condemning what’s wrong. Never. They obviously enjoy having their feet under the trust table too much to make a difference.
    The trust tells everyone thsat what they do is for the benefit of our community. Sometimes. Often by accident. But nine times out of ten they fund their private wish lists. Now, I don’t have a problem with that. What I do have a problem with is that they want the community to say thank you and be in their debt.
    But don’t despair J.E. Alous – times they are a changing!
    A new generation is realising that the old guard are on their way out – no longer respected for presiding over decline and reinforcing duff values and inept leaders.
    And when you no longer have respect and are challenged then the awe will disappear fast.
    I’m off to No 10 to discuss foreign affairs now but I wish you good luck.
    I’m with you all the way.

  62. Elchanan said

    I have seldom read a blog so full of hot air. There is post after post making cheap, anonymous attacks on communal leaders, and precious few suggestions of what people would actually like to see occur in the community (see, for example, the last 7 posts). Frankly, it’s just sad, divisive and small minded.

    If you want to make the blog productive, then please get over personal differences and discuss proper ideas about the direction of the community.

    As a 22 year-old, I believe that the community’s aim for young people has to be to get them involved in Jewish youth movements and attending camps and tours OUTWITH Glasgow. From my year-group, virtually everyone who did this at ages 14 onwards ended up attending a university with a significant and active Jewish population and being actively involved in Jewish life. Sadly, the majority of those who were not involved with youth movements outwith Glasgow were not involved with Jewish life during university and seem on the road to intermarriage and ceasing to be in any way involved with Judaism.

  63. Seymour said

    Today’s Haaretz (see link below) finally has an major article on Germany mulling over whether to investigate the Holocaust Claims Commission. It seems that the idea of a group of insider Jewish people ‘earning’ salaries of up to $420,000 a year being in charge of distributing reparation payments to individual Holocaust and slave labour survivors of $85 a month is rather distasteful.

    However, all is not lost for those of us who are confused by the, delicately put, rather large disparity between HCC salaries and actual distributions to survivors from HCC. Paul Edlin is the appointed British Board of Deputies liaison to the HCC in New York, and has apparently made several official BOD visits there over the years. Given that a major scandal is possibly brewing if the Germans take the extraordinary step of actually investigating how the HCC has operated with the couple of billion dollars it has received from the German government, it is most fortunate that Paul is very well placed to report to us on the workings of the HCC and the salaries and expenses paid to its officers.

    That nasty Norman Finkelstein chap has been a severe irritant to what he calls ‘The Holocaust Industry’. Time to debunk him Paul and to tell us about the unfair denigration of the six-figured salaried people at the HCC in New York. You can also tell us just what has been achieved for British Holocaust survivors by your delegate efforts at the HCC. There is also the matter of discretionary funds being given by HCC to other organisations not actually involved with Holocaust survivors ‘For the Benefit of the Jewish People’. Paul, who are these lucky beneficiaries?

  64. A Beitz said

    Elchanan has a point about the negativity and personal attacks. One of the difficulties that Glasgow suffers from is that a lot of the most talented people leave. To my knowledge we have people from Glasgow running Bnei Akiva, FZY and Habonim activities in Israel for the whole of the UK. Chances are none of these talented people will end up living in Glasgow. As a result there are less of us left and some of those who are maybe don’t have quite the same skills as those who have left.
    What is badly needed in Glasgow is a concerted effort to keep people but I fear it is too late and the drift is irretrievable. Many are to blame for this for this, not least some of the more orthodox people in our community who take our money and then persuade anyone who is frum that they can’t live in Glasgow. As a result the community loses that element as well.
    Glasgow is a great place to live. The quality of life generally is far superior to Manchester and London and with nicer and better housing for less money and good connections to beautiful parts of the country. I think it may be too late however for it to retain a vibrant community but hope not.

  65. F R Brent said

    At last – two excellent blogs – 62 and 64.

    If the small-minded, to say nothing of cowardly people who have used the anonymity of this medium to air their petty dislikes and constantly attack others ended up in charge of this community I’d be off like a shot.

    A Beitz is right – Glasgow does have a lot to offer and we need to find positive ways of keeping it as vibrant as possible. Let’s see some suggestions as to how it can be done without the negativity that has been prevalent here.

  66. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    In answer to F R Brent, I use a pseudonym just like an actor uses a stage name. I feel more comfortable behind it and better able to express some of my feelings. That is despite the fact that most of the readers of this forum are well aware of who I am and in my arguments I make little attempt to hide my identity. That is unlike you F R Brent. In #60 and you have indulged in anonymity and cheap shots at others. You have offered nothing other than negativity and probably through ignorance been unaware of much of the positive that has come from the blog. If you are symptomatic of the majority out there, then all I can say is ‘bon voyage’.

  67. NLL said

    Elchanan – I have to agree with you about many of our young people moving away, although I think there might be signs of a slight shift with the lure of free University education in Scotland, meaning quite a few staying here to study. It will be interesting to see if that changes the demographics – or just means they are older when they move away.

    Re your comments about moving forward, that is frustrating. I do understand that people need a chance to talk and throw ideas around, but also think we should move towards some action. In post 4 & 9 above I talked about Community Regeneration and Positive Futures Planning, but no-one made any comments, so I’m left with the impression that people aren’t ready or willing to take the next steps.

  68. Committed said

    Elchanan, you are very wrong. You complain about cheap attacks on communal leaders but fail to address the issue that has been raised recently on the blog.
    There should be ethical standards of leadership in our community and public scrutiny of those that profess to be communal leaders is entirely legitimate. Communal appointments should be vetted and it is time that those who claim to be leaders stand up and fight against the alarming drop in standards.
    The existence of a communal blog allows these kind of issues to be raised in a public forum and what is wrong with that?
    I am aware – as I know some of the members of GJEF very well that this was the purpose in setting up a community blog. This organisation has in just over 1 year arranged over a dozen educational meetings for our community on a wide range of subjects.
    Rather than encouraging young people to go elsewhere there can be a good future in Glasgow. Go to Calderwood Lodge and you will see that there are still many children in our community.
    What is required is proper communal direction and a removal of poor leadership. Good leaders take risks – they try and change things for the better. They don’t sit on their hands when they know things are wrong and say nothing for a quiet life.
    So lets start by encouraging those who do things here – and GJEF – are one organisation who have actually done something recently.
    And lets try telling our children that this is a good place to live rather than telling them life will always be better elsewhere. I know of several people who have become so hacked off with communal life here that they opted out. They were involved but they could not be bothered with the amount of people who had communal power who were quite simply not up to it.
    Those that have called for proper standards of behaviour and an opening up of discussion and debate are told by people like Elchanan and FR Brent that they are divisive and negative. You are part of the problem if you think that, not the solution.

  69. A Beitz said

    I don’t know whether there might be some success were we to look at providing bursaries for some of our brighter youth leaders. These would be awarded on condition that firstly the recipients studied in the Glasgow area and secondly were communally active during their studies and perhaps for a period afterwards. Some good activists staying could make all the difference. There would not be a set number each year, it would depend upon the quality of the applicants and of course the money available.
    Any views?

  70. J. E Alous said

    Thank you to all who have responded. There are differing views and that is only right and will add to a healthy debate.Let’s keep it going in the hope that things may be improved by a regime change to people who will act for the community and not apparently in their own interest.
    Elchanan, open your eyes to the stark reality of our community. Look about and take it in. Do not allow yourself to be deceived by the seeming complaceny of ‘our leaders’. Think about it carefully and come back by all means and let us know what you feel after careful consideration.
    Junta, and members of the Community Trust. I call on you again to let us have your thoughts. You must have thick skins to read these words on this blog and not respond.Surely I must be wrong ?? Why not convince us why.

  71. Elchanan said

    Committed, I’m afraid that many of the posts criticising certain leaders have gone well beyond criticising their actions (or lack thereof) into (a) unsubstantiated rumour (some of which may be libelous) and (b) personal (for example talking about people’s children). This is not mature debate for the good of the community.

    While I am out of Glasgow for university, I have heard many good things about the speakers that GJEF has brought, and am not criticising that in any way. It seems to be an excellent forum for debate and ideas in that respect.

    In terms of trying to keep young people in Glasgow, I disagree with the above posts. While it is clearly sad that the community in Glasgow is declining, it has been doing so for at least 40 years. I agree with A Beitz that Glasgow is a lovely city to live in and in many respects better than London and Manchester. However, for someone who is committed to living a vibrant Jewish life (religious or non-religious) London and Manchester are far, far better. There is not even a kosher butcher in Glasgow any more and there is 1 part-time Lubavitch restaurant. The Jewish social circuit for young people consists of the same 20 or 30 people that you have known since you were at Calderwood. Finally, unfortunately most of the people who at present do stay in Glasgow are not very committed to taking an active part in the Jewish community. All of this leads to low rates of involvement and high rates of intermarriage.

    We have to ask what the ultimate aim of the Glasgow Jewish community should be for its younger generation. Is the aim to keep them in Glasgow with the cost of them having a less fulfilling Jewish life and a higher chance that they will be lost to Judaism entirely? Or, do we encourage them to move to stronger communities where they will be able to lead a vibrant Jewish life, at the cost of hastening the demise of the Glasgow community?

    To me, the answer is clearly the latter. Jews have always moved from place to place. While it is certainly sad that Glasgow is shrinking, it has already gone below the critical mass. The most important thing is for the young Jews of Glasgow to be Jews, and to do that they have to be exposed to the vibrancy of Jewish life in other places. That is why those who attend camps and Israel Tour are inspired to be involved in active communities and leave Glasgow for university to find a place where they can be with other Jews. Once they have tasted a vibrant community, they don’t want to return to Glasgow. It is sad for Glasgow, but it means that they go on to live life as active Jews. That should be the ultimate aim.

    Personally, I am going to be living in Hendon next year. No grant or incentive would make me come to live in Glasgow, because I want to lead an active Jewish life. That is not possible for young people in Glasgow – to pretend otherwise is to bury your head in the sand and to allow those whom you encourage to stay to drift away from Judaism.

  72. Committed said

    Elchanan – I still think you are wrong. Of course you are entitled to live wherever you want – everyone is – but the most important consideration for young Jews in Glasgow is that they are happy and healthy. Mixing with other Jews in a larger community may me an ideal but there are other things which are just as important.
    If we take your argument to its logical conclusion we might as well all go and live in New York or Israel because that’s where most Jews live.!
    I want my children to grow up knowing who they are and with decent values – values which are applicable to non Jews as well as Jews. I want them to care for people who are less fortunate than they are and to have tolerance and respect for all religions and nationalities.
    The ultimate aim of the Glasgow Jewish Community cannot be to encourage their youth that life is better elsewhere. It may be for some but it is not for everyone. The aim should be to ensure that the experience of living in Glasgow as part of a Jewish community should be as positive as possible. And because elsewhere there are more Jews does not necessarily make it a better experience.
    Also, your proposition that Glasgow has higher rates of intermarriage than say London is just nonsense. However, I don’t believe that it is up to us to judge that as failure. We live in a different world than we used to and we all have different ideas about what part of Judaism is important to us.
    I like A Beitz’s idea about bursaries to encourage the youth to remain but I believe that a prerequisite for this is, as others have said revamping communal leadership. There have been colossal errors of judgement in dealing with our youth and facilities for them over the past twenty odd years and those who currently sit in office should not be allowed to continue to sit in judgement and bestwing favours as if they are blameless of the current situation.
    Elchanan – I appreciate your honesty – but please open your eyes as J. E. Alous has pointed out. Some of the current leadership – not all – have an arrogance- that suggests they know best and they are doing what they do for the benefit of the rest of us. They are not . Some of them, not all, are determined to sweep up as much power as they can into their arms and their friends – as it somehow gives them a buzz that they think they are influencing others’ lifes.
    They are inadequate and irresponsible. And it is good now that this blog allows them to be exposed.
    This community can have a future. I feel guilty that I have not spoken out sooner about what has been going on here. But we can change it for the better.
    And I believe we will.

  73. A Beitz said

    Elchanan, I also think your position is possibly what is right for you but I don’t think it’s right for the Jewish community and I mean the UK Jewish community. It is not healthy if we end up with all the UK’s Jews in 2 main centres. Nowadays people move about a lot more and if your view prevails the committed Jew (religious or secular) will only have 2 places to live if he/she wants to live in the community. That in turn would mean that substantial numbers of Jews would be stuck where they live with little or no mobility,relatively poor housing if in London unless very affluent, and large parts of the country would be Judenrein. If someone decreed that Jews would have to live in only 2 areas if they wanted to have a community there would not surprisingly be an outcry. Yet the ultimate outcome of your position is effectively ghettoise most Jews in 2 areas. No one would have forced it on them but instead the Jews would have done it themselves.
    Elchanan, I would like to think that you would consider returning to Glasgow, perhaps after you’ve met your partner and help keep a community here as well as benefitting from the open spaces, clean air, friendly people and general high quality of life here. Alternatively you could stay in Hendon, spend a fortune on travel and housing, take ages to get into work and back and be too knackered to take part in leisure pursuits by the time you get home.

  74. not Another macher said

    This idea that you have to move away from Glasgow to live a ‘more Jewish’ life is denigrating to those who decide to stay and has become a self fulfilling prophesy.

    I fully understand that young people may want to look further than 30/40 people that they grew up with to find a partner, but you don’t always have to move away to find them – or more importantly stay away. The various youth & student movements have national and international events where young people can meet and have often met their future partners. It will only take a few to buck the trend and it could become the in thing to do. With a nucleus of young couples invigorated by incomers you have the beginnings of a peer group that looks attractive to others – if they are bold and involved they can set the standard for a vibrant Jewish life for themselves and hopefully the children that follow.

    Something or somebody needs to kick start it – Beitz’s idea of bursaries is at least proactive.

  75. Newton Mearns Shul Member said

    This guy Elchanan doesn’t see things properly.
    He comes on the blog – and complains that this blog is all hot air and that there are no constructive suggestions about how to improve the Glasgow Jewish Community.
    And then he proceeds to rubbish the community’s future. He believes there is no future in Glasgow.
    As a 22 year old he has lots to learn. He obviously has no record of being involved communally in Glasgow because no one with the community’s best interests at heart would champion its demise.
    Maybe if he had ever been involved here he would see things differently.

  76. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I spent three days during the past week considering evidence. I was asked along with two others to consider the respective claims of the three sons of the late Moshe Cohen to inherit his estate in full.
    Mr Cohen passed away two weeks ago and his will left his entite estate to whichever of his three sons was deemed to be the best Jew.

    The eldest son – Itzhak

    Itzhak was Shomer Shabbat. He was married with 4 children. He had been involved with the Shul for many years and often donated money to help fund Shul activities and had helped finance the recent building of an extended communal hall. He taught in the Cheder and learned twice a week with the Rabbi. If guests visited the Shul on Shabbat Itzhak always made sure that they were invited somewhere for Friday night dinner or he and his wife Hannah always would step in. The members of the Shul thought he was a really great guy and everyone praised his dedication to the Shul and Judaism.
    Itzhak lived very comfortably. He was a very wealthy man and had made his fortune independently from his family as a property developer. About two years before the death of his father he had become embroilled in an unpleasant local affair that had caused a lot of animosity towards the Jewish community. He had refused to sell an apartment to a local Moslem man even though he had offered the most money for it. Itzhak defended his position by asserting that it was his duty to make sure that the area should not turn into ” Londistan “. The other residents in the appartment would not have wanted a ” Moslem family to live amongst them so he would refuse to sell “.
    This affair hit the local press and Itzhak Cohen was described as a ” racist”.

    The middle son – David

    From his early youth David was a staunch supporter of Zionist causes. He had been active in Zionist youth movements and spent several years living in Jerusalem. His wife Riva was a sabra and although they currently lived in London with their three children it was their intention to return to Israel when the children were older.
    David was actively involved in Israel organisations in the community. He helped arrange community events like Yom Ha’atzmaut and frequently donated large sums to Zionist youth movements , helping to sponsor summer schemes to Israel.
    Like his elder brother he was financially secure.
    David regularly wrote letters to the national press defending actions of the Israeli Government. He believed passionately in the idea of a Greater Israel and believed that Israel should hold on to all the occupied territories. He supported the settlement movement in Israel, financially, and it was his dream to live in Judea and Samaria very soon.
    He was not particularly religious but considered himself to be a mainstream Jew.
    He had no time for those members of his local community who believed in territorial compromise and frequently questionned their motives.
    When the local Rabbi gave a Shabbat sermon appealing for compassion towards all peoples in the Middle East, David tried to get him sacked.

    The younger son – Reuven

    Reuven was married with two children. He had married out and his wife had converted to Judaism through the Liberal Synagogue.
    He did not have the same wealth as his elder brothers.
    Reuven had no time for either the Zionism of David or the Orthodoxy of Itzhak. Although he visited Israel very occasionally on holiday with his family, he was troubled by the occupation. His eldest brother did not consider his wife to be Jewish – as she was not Orthodox – and Reuven often intimated his distaste for religious intolerance.

    When Itzhak got caught up in the property scandal, Reuven publicly declared that his brother’s actions were shameful. He was also not slow to show his contempt for his other brother’s ” flag-waving simplistic nationalism.”
    Reuven was actively involved in charitable causes in the secular community, raising thousands of pounds for various cancer charities. He also helped raise money for orphanages in Romania. He found Jewish communal life ” shallow and full of people who could see no further than their own selfish interests “.
    He never denied his Judaism if asked but did not believe that he had to advertise it either. Other than lighting candles on a Friday night, his Jewish identification was minimal.

    The three sons were all asked what they would do with the money – if they were successful.
    Itzhak said he would give it to the Shul. David said he would give it to Israel. And Reuven said he would give it to several charities. The will had stipulated that no more than 10% could be kept for personal benefit.

    So who do you think deserved to inherit the money because they could be described as the ” best Jew?”
    Some of you might recognise this story from their youth movement days but I thought it was worth posing the question given the recent posts on this blog.
    I won’t go into the issue more at the moment, other than to say that I think we as a community do need to have very strict ethical guidelines regarding communal leadership. This is not just relevant to our community in the UK – just look at what is happening in Israeli public life.

    I wish you all a peaceful and wonderful Shabbat.

    Shabbat Shalom

  77. A Beitz said

    Let’s get one matter clear first. The father has done all his sons a disservice by leaving a will in those terms resulting in this inane competition. I am assuming he did not leave a wife or it would be even more bizarre. The 2 sons who lose out would be entitled to challenge both the clause regarding the money going to charity (as would the winner) as well as their exclusion. So as well as causing potential immediate problems by creating a competition between the sons the will would still be open to challenge.
    After that it all comes down to your definition of a good Jew. Marrying out breaches Jewish law but so does racism and bringing the religion into disrepute. No. 2 seems to me to have strong views, which are his entitlement however wrongheaded they may be, but seems to have no tolerance for any other views.
    No.3 is definitely a good person as is no. 1 generally with the exception of the very significant blemish which has brought himself and Jews generally into disrepute. A person I know who is shomer shabbat once expressed to me the view that there are 613 mitzvot and most of us, frum or otherwise, do between 300 and 340. That may be the point here.
    So…I’d share it and hopefully stop further schisms as well as taking the view that whilst I can judge aspects of people’s lives it is not for me to judge their whole lives.

  78. Armchair Analyst said

    The competition is indeed inane, Beitz. Even if one of the sons was deemed a ‘Better Jew’ based on the prejudices and criteria of the father, surely the principle of Shalom Bayit should prevail and the proceeds shared equally amongst the sons.

    And what if the ‘Best Jew’ happens to have the ‘Worst Wife’ who could run out on him as soon as he inherits and claim a chunk of the joint property? Other unmentioned potential factors abound. What if there is an overfondness for bevvy or geegees, or prediliction towards Spitzeresque Ugandan activities in the mix somewhere?

    If, according to the question posed,the sons were individually claiming that they should inherit the estate in full, then I think that the old man should have ordered a mandatory Polygraph Test for all of them, as it’s rather unlikely that they will be suggesting one of the others as the beneficiary.

    As for the father even coming up with such a cockamamie idea – If you want to know what HaShem thinks about money, just look at who he gave it to!

  79. Community Member said

    I think A Beitz and Armchair analyst are missing the point. I remember this theoretical exercise from my days in Habonim.
    It was then and is now a exercise that reminds people that we all have different views on what makes a good Jew. But I can’t agree with A Beitz that no 1 is ” definitely a good person ” albeit with a significant blemish. To be a racist disqualifies one from being a good person, full stop, and because one is into Shul activities doesn’t alter that at all.
    I agree with Rabbi L that we need proper ethical guidelines for leadership in our community. It seems to me that because one has money or been a Rep Council President that somehow qualifies one to be a community trust trustee – what about good judgement! That would be a better qualification.

  80. A Beitz said

    I wasn’t taking the view that no 1 was a good person merely because he was involved in his shul. However I do see being hospitable as a major plus and not only does he arrange hospitality but provides it. That is one of the major mitzvot. I don’t think you can make anyone black or white (if that term doesn’t in itself have racist connotations) but instead everyone is a shade of grey. No 1 may well be misguided or worse but I suspect none of us would have to look too far from home to find relatives whose views are abhorrent to decent people. That doesn’t make them automatically bad people albeit there is clearly a bad element to them.
    Some of the posters on this blog are too much into things being black and white. None of our communal leaders are perfect. Some are more perfect than others. None are completely beyond the pale either although some tend towards it more than others. Life is not that straightforward.

  81. Community Member said

    I’m surprised at you Mr Beitz – racism is unacceptable – it is not a shade of grey. Sometimes we should not always behave as referees but it is necessary to make a stand. The alternative is to allow decent standards to keep slipping.

  82. NLL said

    Interesting how this discussion is going – is the whole point of this scenario not to raise the question of what makes any one a better person or a better Jew than any other – and who decides?

    Yes Community Member, racism is always unacceptable – but so is unethical business practice.

    We all have good and bad traits within us and (within the bounds of the Law) I don’t think any one has the right to say one person’s transgression is worse than anyone else’s. Maybe the father should have added a clause that the money go to whichever son/sons changed and and allowed the better side of their nature to flourish.

    Which brings me to a practical manifestation of this issue that really bugs me. In Orthodox shuls it has become the practice not to call up a man who has married out, but who says his sin is worse than the man who breaks other Laws (Jewish and/or of the Land) – and who decides? I don’t want to see someone receiving honours and being held up as a pillar of the Community if they are dishonest or beat their wife – no wonder the Reuven’s of this world see are turned off by the outward trappings of Jewish communal life!!

  83. Armchair Analyst said

    Anyone know if or why a man with crushed testicles can not enter the House of the Lord, never mind not get called up?

  84. Armchair Analyst said

    Seems that I was misinformed, a man with crushed testicles can apparently not marry a Jewess. Seems a little harsh. But maybe he can enter a Shul, and maybe he can be also called up. Does anybody know the ruling on his being called up?

  85. who cares said

    and your point is!

  86. A Beitz said

    84 assuming such a rule exists/might exist how do you police it? Might give a new meaning to the greeting of “yasherkoach” after an aliyah.

  87. Armchair Analyst said

    My point is, who cares #84, if you can’t get an aliyah because you married out, how reasonable is that, and does it make you a lesser Jew? If the answer is ‘no’, what’s going on at your local Orthodox Shul?

    But the crushed nuts hypothesis was raised by me because, if you have crushed nuts, why on earth should you be penalised for that, and does it make you any lesser of a Jew? And how does your local Orthodox Shul enforce it? If the Shul never enforces it, are we dealing with a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ response to Halacha here?

  88. who cares said

    You know what AA you are talking a load of B******S

  89. Armchair Analyst said

    I’ll explain when you’re older, WC. It’s nice to see young people participating in this dialogue.

  90. A Beitz said

    I think in all seriousness AA your analogy doesn’t work. A man who marries out has a choice. He has done it through his own free will. Not so the man with the crushed bits unless he is into some very bizarre practises.
    The failure to give an aliyah to someone who has married out would be just about justifiable if the only people called up in shul were very orthodox Jewish saints. However these are few and far between and therefore why is it ok to give honours to people who have been found guilty by their own professional bodies of dishonest conduct, people who have been convicted in court for assault or dishonesty but not to the man who has intermarried? Overall since none of us are perfect, although Mrs Beitz does have illusions about me, but everyone including officebearers on the Rep Council have good points, I would call anyone up to honour their positive attributes.

  91. NLL said

    Some people might argue that a man who marries out has forfeited his right to be called up as he has turned his back on his religion – but he is of course still halachacly Jewish. Some people might argue he is not a good role model, but if you go down that road you can hardly argue that someone who openly breaks other major commandments or is convicted of a criminal offence is a better role model can you – and of course my point was, who decides – shul committees, the United Synagogue? Like Beitzy I might argue we should encourage people’s positive attributes – which is why I previously suggested the father in Rabbi L’s scenario might have thought about leaving his money to the son/sons who changed and became ‘better’.

    We should behave ethically, we should not revere people who do not behave ethically, we should not humiliate people and we should show forgiveness. Although the level of forgiveness shown by the Satmar community to the man who had several convictions for supplying drugs in last weeks TV programme opens up a whole new discussion.

  92. Armchair Analyst said

    You are right Beitz in that my analogy doesn’t work, as one married out voluntarliy and the other almost certainly did not voluntarily wind up with crushed bits. But nobody has yet answered to my mildest satisfaction why a man with crushed bits is considered ‘lesser’ from a Jewish standpoint, and nobody has explained whether a man outed as having crushed bits can be called up. If he’s ‘good enough’ be called up, but not ‘good enough’ to marry, that would be rather strange IMHO.

    Regarding NLL’s mention of the recent Satmar case, did they not abduct a child from its Israeli parents in a cause celebre ago and hide that child for years in deepest Satmar New York?

    There is also certainly a standard operating procedure in charedi circles to vigorously protect child molesters from prosecution at the terrifying expense of the victims. This is also SOP in almost all other fundamentalist and indeed some mainstream religious communities. Doesn’t say much for any of them, does it? And the authorities almost never prosecute the leaders of these communities who order concealment. Doesn’t say much for the authorities either, does it?

  93. WHATS GOING ON said

    In this world of violence in Zimbabwe resulting in political omnipotence whilst the world watches on, the further deaths of Allied forces in Afghanistan and the release from prison of an alleged terrorist in the UK to live on benefits I find it absolutely amazing that this blog is talking about men with damaged “bits”. Can we please move this on to something with a bit more interest to humanity.

  94. A Beitz said

    Sorry WGO. If I want to discuss these things I’ll do so on the Guardian’s Comment Is Free or a similar blog. Whilst the reference to the damaged bits was an analogy which the author now accepts was wrong the question of barring people from being called up is of interest as is morality generally which is what started this discussion.
    If you have something to say on a topic then say it and if it is of interest no doubt it will provoke a discussion. However do not appoint yourself as this blog’s policeman.

  95. Armchair Analyst said

    Whats Going On, you may be frustrated because the thread has gone off in a certain direction. But as long as only one thread is active at any time, then the subject at hand is the is the one which dominates until the subject at hand runs out of steam. I’ve tried to alter the direction a couple of times, but there wasn’t enough instant interest in what I’d posted. Goes with the territory.

    There’s a lot going on in the world certainly worth discussing, but I recognise that the main thrust of the blog is on local Jewish Community matters, including, what are the criteria for getting called up at a local shul? Perhaps a parallel blog can be set up on the site that will be utilised by those interested in wider ranging discussions.

  96. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    WGO, I have been quiet for some time because my thoughts have been elsewhere and also there has been nothing that I felt was of particular interest or concern to me on this particular blog. Notwithstanding that, good luck to AA and co in their discussions. It is not for any of us to act as custodians of what is or is not worthwhile. There is much out there other than damaged bits that could be discussed unless you happen to be a Zimbabwian opponent of Mugabe (E Ba Gum backwards)in which case it is most relevant.
    However, it is up to you. Discuss. Be provocative. If you have something to say even if it is not profound, you may strike a chord somewhere and start a debate that ends up who knows where. What you are not entitled to do is complain that others fail to initiate topics that are of particular interest to you. If that fails, then there are millions of blogs out there, so it is just a matter of surfing until you come across the right one.

  97. NLL said

    SO sorry to bore you WGO – I happen to think that discussing both the ethical behaviour of those that put themselves forward in public life, be it as communal leaders or within a religious context and how we respond to these issues is fundamental to how we survive and prosper as a Community. If people choose to engage with me, we will have a discussion – if they don’t I’ll shut up – that’s how bloggs work.

  98. Under seige said

    The Orthodox Mafia led by Godfather Nachman Aronovitch have been set free. One blogger casts doubt on the relevance of the discussion as to the criteria of giving someone an aliyah and the cavalry charge begins.
    Aronovitch up front, followed by Beitz, Armchair and now NLL.
    No one can dictate what can only be discussed on this blog but you lot are so out of touch with reality that you think everyone’s interested in this drivel. Most people don’t care who or what is called up because they don’t care about going there in the first place. Anyone who believes in this nonsense to start with requires a good dose of therapy. Enjoy it for social reasons if you have nowhere better to go but don’t try and convince everyone else that it has any relevance whatsoever in order to make you lot feel better about yourselves.

  99. Armchair Analyst said

    Hello US and a very fine day to you too. Actually I’m not a shulgoer, and I don’t have an imaginary friend to sway to daily, but I joined in because I’m admittedly curious as to what ‘The Rabbonim’ might say about criteria for getting called up. This blog may prompt someone to ask them. Not me, I’m done asking. The chauvinism and discrimination is truly astounding.

    As for you, poor dear, being under siege, you can simply vote with your eyeballs and go back to participating in any of the other 10 million blogs out there today.

  100. NLL said

    Of course it’s not just about what happens in shul – I only gave that example as an illustration. It’s about who puts themselves forward and who we elect as our leaders – who we (and especially our children) look up to as role models in the Jewish Community and in society as a whole – from the Rep Council to Parliament & the Knesset and across the spectrum of TV, pop & sports stars.

    I understood the discussion to be about values and morality – maybe that’s drivel, or is it just beyond your capacity ‘Under siege?’

    What would you like to talk about, the slipping standards of spelling?

  101. Whistle blower said

    Does Sharon Mail work for Scojec? For the past three or four weeks there are large articles about Borowski’s endeavours – mostly on the front page, but this week two articles appear.
    Come on Sharon, there must be more to your journalistic career than acting as a PR officer for this bunch.
    Let’s look at the content this week – SCOJEC AGM.
    Now who has been elected as the next chairman – the return of yet another failed Rep Council President – Wally Sneader. Isn’t amazing how old Rep Council Presidents turn up to chair Borowski’s latest wheeze. I’m old enough to remember how Borowski used to plot against these guys when he was ambitious for communal power, how he ridiculed them in private and in public – and he and they know it.
    And then old Wally sees a bit of supposed communal prestige or power returning and he is in there so fast that he forgets why he agreed with others to stop Borowski ever becoming Rep Council President. Old Wally was a master at closing down discussion in the Rep Council if he didn’t like what was being said – so no doubt he would close down this blog if he could.
    But he can’t!
    And who has he got for company on the next executive of Scojec – Presdident Philip Mendelsohn. Perhaps rather than following Rep Council tradition in amassing spurious titles without actually doing much, he should think that he should be spending his time doing something, anything, with the Rep Council. And Daniel Clapham – another guy who was booted from the Council to prevent him getting the top job!
    Maybe Wally will tell his son that the Sneaders are back where they belong. Maybe he will even offer him wise advice on how to further his communal career.
    And maybe Borowski will consider that his claim to have a ” superb relationship with the Scottish Government ” would have a little more credence if he or his executive could have been bothered to turn up and hear either the Government’s education Minister or even the First Minister when they addressed our community on a public platform.
    We know these people at the Rep Council and Scojec like this sort of nonsense, telling everyone just how important they are. But come on Sharon, you don’t have to be their PR officer.

  102. History Man said

    Whilst holding no brief for Mr B or Mr S, yes, it’s a fact that Sharon Mail does work for SCOJEC.

    What appears in the Telegraph, at the end of the day, is the decision of the editor. Sharon is entitled to earn her crust by writing about all this in a positive light. What else should she do?

  103. Curious said

    Does the Editor of the Jewish Telegraph know that Sharon works for Scojec?
    Is there not a potential conflict in submitting articles about an organisation that one works for, without declaring that you work for that organisation?
    There has been a continuous stream of articles about Scojec in recent weeks. From what you have told us History Man she can hardly claim to be writing independently, can she?

  104. Not Another Macher said

    My understanding is that Sharon Mail no longer works for the JT – therefore anything she submits is on a freelance basis. I don’t know what her actual job is for ScoJec – but anyone can submit articles to the JT and given they have no reporter in Glasgow at the moment they stand a chance of being published. Sharon is a good reporter and the standard of her articles is high – the JT is not going to turn away such material if it of any degree of interest.

    Other organisations need to get their act together and get their events written up and submitted – editorial whims not withstanding, I reckon almost anything will be printed.

  105. Sharon Mail said

    I’m waving the anonymity of the Blog – perhaps it’s not wise to do so, but hopefully it will provide a direct answer to those who suggest dishonesty and lack of integrity on my part.

    Of course the editor of the Jewish Telegraph has known – since I started working for them – that I do freelance work for SCoJeC and it is his absolute prerogative to decline my offer as a freelance writer to cover any event (which is agreed in advance) or publish anything I submit to him – as was the case when I was employed by the paper.

    My job and desire is to provide as much information as I can on what is happening in the community and on any community-related matters. Yes, there have been several stories relating to SCoJeC recently. There happens to have been a lot of activity in the organisation – an organisation, by the way, that I believe is doing valuable work on behalf of Scottish Jewry.

    But that was the case at times whilst I was working for the Telegraph. On that basis, I see no reason why I shouldn’t continue to provide facts – not opinions – on SCoJeC or any other organisation, including GJEF much as I disapprove of the inaccurate and possibly damaging speculation of some of the blogs – as evidenced by ‘Curious’ in #103 – that is not my way of going about things.

    There have also been several stories about Jewish Care Scotland recently, again because there has been a lot of activity by the organisation. At other times there is likely to be more information about some groups than others. It should be remembered too, that some organisations are better at others than making me or the paper aware of what they are doing – which is a shame, because the ones who don’t are missing an opportunity to make themselves better known and benefit from it.

    Perhaps it could be argued that I shouldn’t be writing for the Jewish Telegraph because I have no particular axe to grind over individuals involved in communal organisations and if I do, then I would hope that I am professional enough not to let that prevent me from informing the community of what is going on, without prejudice.

    What I will never do in whatever sphere of writing I undertake, is put people’s reputations in question through speculation and lack of knowledge of the facts.

  106. A Beitz said

    Thanks to Sharon for responding. I had concerns about a couple of these emails which seemed to me to question Sharon’s professionalism. Apart from anything else it has been refreshing over the past couple of years or so to have professional articles about Glasgow in the JT.

    One query which I do have for Sharon. Have Lubavich ceased to exist in Glasgow? Recently there’s been nothing about them in the JT. Presumably if that organisation had a lot of activities ongoing the editor would be only too happy to publish the details. Or would he?

  107. Curious said

    I asked a perfectly legitimate question whether the editor of the Jewish Telegraph knew that Sharon Mail worked for Scojec,
    Now we are told he does.
    What’s wrong with asking that question.
    I’m sorry but there has been an incredible amount of stories about Scojec recently and I think it is strange when a newspaper has a photograph of the same 3 people on two separate pages of the newspaper this week.
    I am not suggesting dishonesty or a lack of integrity on the part of Sharon but I am suggesting that it cannot be possible to write independently about the work of Scojec when one is working for that organisation. And if an editor can’t see that then he shouldn’t be an editor!
    And rather than saying you have concerns A Beitz, tell me why I’m wrong!

  108. History Man said

    Curious, you are pre-supposing that the Telegraph is a newspaper like any other newspaper! It’s a Jewish newspaper, which will always have its own share of quirkiness.

    Local Jewish papers have always carried reports on events written by the organisers of these events (as a marketing tool by the organisers). The difference in the SCOJEC articles is that Sharon is a professional reporter.

  109. Not Another Macher said

    Beitzy – Lubavitch seem have decided that the JT isn’t read by sufficient numbers of people in Glasgow any more and obviously prefer to use The Extra to reach their audience given the number of articles about Mendel and his activities that have appeared recently.

    Actually serious point, I am rather uneasy that the world – even just the part of it that reads the Southside Extra – might see Lubavitch as the public face of the Jewish Community in Glasgow.

  110. Benji said

    History Man must be surely be at it. What he is advocating and defending is different standards of behaviour for Jewish newspapers than exists elsewhere.
    In the planet that History Man is living its quite all right for the community to read articles written by Sharon Mail about Scojec – week in and week out – sometimes several articles in the same week like happened in the same issue -and because its the Jewish newspaper that makes it okay then. Readers of the paper have not been informed that the journalist does work for this organisation and they should now be told.
    But History Man thinks that because Jewish papers have some “quirkiness” about them everything is okay. His moral standards must be wanting if he seriously believes that this is a sensible argument.
    And more importantly Scojec and Borowski are getting let off too lightly because of Sharon Mail’s conflict of interest. Whistle Blower suggested that their new executive was not exactly overflowing with new talent – the return of ” Wally Sneader “. Now that would be worth an article Sharon – how the same old discredited people keep returning to new jobs and positions within our communal structure.

  111. History Man said

    Benji stop twisting things!

    I wasn’t ‘advocating and defending’ anything. I was merely observing when I said ‘you are pre-supposing that the Telegraph is a newspaper like any other newspaper! It’s a Jewish newspaper, which will always have its own share of quirkiness.’

    I didn’t say that I agreed with this quirkiness. I just know from long experience that what does or doesn’t appear in these papers is often down to the editor’s whim. If you don’t like it, don’t buy the paper! The paper is a commercial concern.

    And it’s public knowledge that Sharon Mail now works for SCOJEC.It was in the SCOJEC newsletter as far back as April.

  112. Benji said

    I do recall History Man that a previous blogger told you to F Off and start your own restaurant. Well can I suggest that you do the same and start your own newspaper.!
    What is your interest in this issue?
    It is quite clear to me as it seems to be to others that there is a conflict of interest in writing regularly about Scojec for a community newspaper, whilst working for that organisation, and not declaring that interest at the bottom of any articles written, so that the readers can make up their own minds about the validity of what has been written.
    It is not rocket science History Man.
    Even if it seems to go over your head!

  113. History Man said

    I see we’re back to civilised debate!

    I’m going to be busy running a newspaper and a restaurant, amn’t I!

    Although I don’t see why I should stoop so low as to respond to Benji’s patronising nonsense, I have no connection whatsoever with SCOJEC.

    Benji says ‘what is your interest in this issue?’. Am I to take it by his ‘rules’ that I have no right to make comments on the local Jewish newspaper?

    How many newspapers are known to be completely dispassionate? We are talking about a small community newspaper, for heaven’s sake. Should the Telegraph reporters be barred from writing about the Jewish community if they are a member of the community?

    Does the editor have to ask Benji if it’s OK if he has 2 articles about the one organisation one week?

  114. Benji said

    History Man, you are talking rubbish.
    Everyone knows the paper is a comic, but that doesn’t excuse Sharon Mail for not declaring a potential conflict of interest.
    You may want to have low standards and think that because it’s a community newspaper it doesn’t matter if readers are not aware that the journalists may be promoting particular organisations.
    I do not believe that is acceptable.
    And because the editor may take little interest in what happens up here is not a reason for the particular journalist, who herself has asked to be judged by professional standards, to not declare her interest in the organisation she continually promotes in the newspaper.
    The reality is that SCOJEC have been consistantly promoted in the Telegraph over the past four weeks. I’m sure they are delighted with the publicity they are receiving.
    However, I think that there should be more analysis about what they are doing, what line they are promoting, and who is on their executive, and their record of communal success.
    I also think that the organisation claims to have a mandate to speak on behalf of the community when their level of consultation with the community they represent is very poor. They claim to speak on behalf of all of us when they most certainly do not. As an example we only need to look at the Past chair of Scojec, Kenneth Collins’ behaviour regarding Holocaust memorials and his claim that he represents the Jewish Community.

    I find your answers unsatisfactory and that’s why I asked you what your interests are in this affair as I think response is instictive rather than properly thought out.

  115. History Man said

    Benji – you are entitled to your opinions. But you should not patronise other bloggers or deny them their right to write whatever comes to mind.

    There is no point in this blog if we are reduced to namecalling and telling people to F off!

    As for the JT, we currently have no choice, in that we have the JT or nothing (unless you as well as I have to start our own newspapers in order to earn the right to state our opinions).

    Sharon Mail is, in my opinion, the most knowledgeable and experienced local reporter the JT has had since it began up here in 1992. If you are going to rule her out and rubbish her professionalism, we will be back to having third class reporting.

    Is Sharon is now to be barred from reporting on SCOJEC, does that mean that they can no longer have publicity in the JT?

    I sometimes despair of the negativity on this blog (especially when it is reduced to telling people to F off). I reckon there are around 25 bloggers at most, and they are very likely only a dozen individuals. Reasoned, respectful debate is fine (rules out Benji, then), but we seem stuck in a trap of rubbishing half a dozen individuals in the community and everything they do. However, rarely do we get any suggestions about an alternative community structure or leadership.

  116. Benji said

    This is ridiculous Benji.
    Sharon Mail may be the best local reporter since the Telegraph came to Glasgow but she has nevertheless made a serious error.
    If she wants to write about Scojec she should put at the bottom of any articles that she works for them.
    You started this debate between us by arguing that it was okay to have poor standards because it is only a local community paper and I take exception to that.
    I want this community to be better and I am fed up with the same individuals always promoting themselves and telling the world how they are our representatives.
    I think this blog has a very useful purpose. It allows issues to be raised in a public forum that until it existed were covered up and there was zero public accountability.
    Until Sharon Mail was mentionned in a blog yesterday this was another issue that would have gone unanswered and undetected.
    As for new strucures of community leadership then one day you might get a surprise. You may get upset when the same individuals keep coming under public scrutiny on this blog but have you considered why these same individuals keep returning to public office in so many roles?
    That History Man is the real issue and because someone tells you that you are talking nonsense you take umbrage and obfuscate the issue.
    And before you get even more self righteous it was you and one or two others who chose to trash a communal eating place on this very forum. Now that didn’t bother you then so why now?
    Maybe you are Steven Kliner, Ephraim Borowski or more likely Kenneth Collins in disguise?

  117. Benji said

    Ist line should read – This is ridiculous History Man!

  118. Armchair Analyst said

    It would appear that the issue, without getting personal, is as follows: If a journalist is a paid member of an organisation, or even perhaps an unpaid member, should all articles written by that journalist about the said organisation have a byline that identifies the journalist to readers as ‘PR Officer’ or ‘Spokesperson’ or similar title? And if not, why not?

  119. Curious said

    Benji will think that is an excellent summary Armchair Analyst.
    It’s squeaky bum time for History Man now!

  120. History Man said

    Banji – you are twisting things again! I made an observation:

    ‘you are pre-supposing that the Telegraph is a newspaper like any other newspaper! It’s a Jewish newspaper, which will always have its own share of quirkiness.’

    I didn’t argue that it was ‘okay to have poor standards because it is only a local community paper’ – these are your words.

    And what’s the restaurant got to do with it? From memory, I was wondering, eg, whether it was true that non-Jews were not welcome there. I still can’t accept your attitude that I am not allowed to make a point without being willing to ‘F off’ and do it myself!

    Maybe I don’t have a monopoly on talking nonsense!

    So go on, I challenge you Banjo, set up your own Glasgow Jewish newspaper, with perfect standards, and see how far you get.

  121. History Man said

    sorry, when I said Banjo, I meant Bingo

  122. History Man said

    I’ve got it! Binjo is Lubavitch Watcher!

    What a good game! Lets see if we can work out which collection of bloggers are actually the same person.

  123. Benji said

    Well History Man – you have ducked the issue again and won’t answer the question posed by Armchair analyst.

    Maybe you should play hangman instead

    Fill in the missing leletters which describe you


  124. Curious said

    I think Benji has called you an arse History Man.
    Prove him wrong and answer Armchair Analyst’s question!

  125. History Man said

    Sorry – not interested in arguing with someone whose level of debate is to call me an a-se and tell me to F- oFf!

  126. A Beitz said

    I really have no idea why Benji and some others (all possibly the same person) seem unable to engage in civilised debate without getting personal. Yes, AA is probably right there should be some sort of mention that Sharon is employed by Scojec. At least that would be in a perfect world. However the twisting of words and name calling is completely unjustified and simply reduces this blog meaning that it will be shunned by some right thinking individuals as well as wrong headed ones.
    Benji you suggested HM went off (less politely) and started his own newspaper. Why don’t you do that and start your own blog instead of ruining this one with your vituperative comments. Or have you already done that?

  127. Benji said

    Very very touchy. I have twisted no words at all. And because I reminded History Man that a previous blogger got very upset with him he’s taken the hump.

    And all of a sudden A Beitz is righteous as well – another guy who has involved himself in the persecution of Lubavitch on this blog and even tried to do it again yesterday.
    So come on Beitz what words have I twisted? All I said was that Sharon Mail’s conduct was poor and that History Man should not make excuses that we should accept things like this in a Jewish community newspaper.
    And as for suggesting that History Man went off and formed his own newspaper – I was not being serious!

  128. A Beitz said

    What I have or have not said about Lubavitch is irrelevant. it does not excuse the personal tone adopted. Where for example did HM say “it’s okay to have poor standards because it is only a local community paper”?
    And frankly when you’re not being serious your sense of humour leaves much to be desired.

    Now leave the blog or behave yourself.

  129. Totally confused said

    Blog 108 – History Man in defending Sharon Mail’s conduct –
    ” It’s a Jewish newspaper which will always have its own share of quirkiness”

    Maybe I’m missing something here but is that not the same as saying that this kind of thing is acceptable in a Jewish newspaper because Jewish newspapers have different standards?

    I don’t understand your position on this A Beitz.
    And I don’t think you and History Man should pretend to be so insulted. There are worse things in the world than being told to F Off whether seriously or in jest.

  130. History Man said

    TC – you ARE missing something!

    I was observing the fact that Jewish newspapers and their editors wherever you go tend to be quirky. Where did I say this was a good thing or acceptable?

  131. Totally confused said

    But History Man your observation was made in defence of the said journalist not declaring herself as an interested party whilst writing about Scojec so in effect you were saying that in Jewish newspapers this kind of thing is okay.

  132. who cares said

    Can we go back to talking about aliyot and crushed nuts now?

  133. Whistle blower said

    Wow, look what I started. I’ve never quite understood why people take insults on a blog personally when they are not using their own name and everyone is anonymous.
    Interesting that Sharon Mail – the PR officer it would appear for SCOJEC replied – using her own name.
    Maybe Wally Sneader will now come on and tell us how he was elected – who got a vote – and what are his qualifications for the job? He might even tell us what he hopes to achieve in his new position?

  134. who cares said

    He might even tell us why the guy with damaged bits cant get an aliyah too.

  135. History Man said

    And whether someone with damaged nuts can eat at L’Chaim’s restaurant.

  136. A Beitz said

    He says in the JC he wants to get more younger people involved.
    We’ve been through some of this before but the SCOJEC AGM was well advertised and open to all. I do have some concerns if SCOJEC is going to a bit of a House Of Lords for former Rep Council presidents but the fact remains that those who don’t fancy Dr Sneader in the job could have nominated and tried to elect someone else.
    Part of the problem here is that many of us do not have the time /inclination to do these jobs whether it be on the Rep Council/SCOJEC or whatever. Indeed it is my impression that there are a very limited pool of people leading to the same old faces year after year.
    Fine if you believe The Rep Council has outlived its usefulness. Fine also if you believe SCOJEC has no point. If however you believe either or both of the organisations are worthwhile then you can’t legitimately refuse to take part in the democratic process and mump the whole time about what it produces.

  137. Whistle blower said

    I may be naive bit I don’t think the Rep Council or Scojec are good examples of democracy in action.
    Let’s look at Scojec first….
    Positions on the committee are reserved for the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council – so unless you are prepared to spend countless years ingratiating yourself with those that matter in these circles, you are unlikely to ever become the Rep Council nominee.
    In the advert placed in the Jewish Telegraph did Scojec inform the community that the position of President was going to be vacant and invite the community to think about who they want to be their ” representative”? No they didn’t!
    Your concern A Beitz about Scojec being a retirement home for ex Rep Council Presidents is exactly what it has become. That’s why Philip Mendelsohn is the new number 2 in Scojec.
    But as others have written before I do not believe that these organisations are representative anymore, if they ever were before.
    Consultation with a community on important issues can be done in several ways. These guys think that an AGM once a year gives them a mandate to sp[eak on behalf of everyone here for the following 12 months.
    How many letters, e-mails, have any of you received from Scojec or the Rep Council asking you what you think about a specific subject?
    How many meetings do they organise when they actually want to hear what the community thinks about anything?
    Do they ever as organisations try and attract anyone new? Do they ever want to include anyone who sees the world in a different way from them. The answer is sadly no, because they keep reelecting the same people.
    I do not believe these organisations are useful anymore. Most of the community do not see them as their representatives –
    They serve the interests of those that work within them more than they serve anyone else.
    And thankfully I believe our politicians are realising that the community has several voices and different opinions and do not believe that either Mr Borowski, Mr Mendelsohn, or even Dr Sneader or Dr Collins speak authoritatively on behalf of very many.
    And that is only proper and right…

  138. A Beitz said

    I think WB that you are trying to embellish a reasonable argument with rather poor points.
    I don’t know how the Scojec committee is constituted but there are clearly people on it who are not on the Rep Council both from in and out of Glasgow.
    If you didn’t realise that there was a fair chance that all of the offices might be up for grabs at the AGM then it seems to me you are missing out on an understaning of what an AGM generally is for.
    An AGM once a year does give some sort of democratic mandate and it is much more than an elected government in that it only goes to the polls once every 4-5 years. In any event the Rep Council delegates meet 6 times a year I think. There can be justified criticism of the guillotining of discussion at these meetings but it is inaccurate to suggest they don’t have meetings other their AGM at which they are accountable.
    I tend to agree that it is only people who are seen “as one of us” who are encouraged to stand but that doesn’t stop others standing and it has very occasionally happened.
    I can’t really believe that I’m defending the Rep Council but I think it is important that criticism is backed by accuracy.

  139. shlomo said

    I have to point out to fellow bloggers the double standards exhibited by one of our frequent contributors. Since its inception he has been steadfast in his criticism of Lubabitch, Rep council and anyone else with an opinion he disagrees with. The attacks have often been personal and certainly not concilliatory.

    Now the chameleon we all know and love as A Beitz, has leapt to the defense of history man and the democratic principles of Scojec within a week. Is he now going to ask forgiveness for his previous posts? Is this just a momentary lapse in the hope of being elected as the new voice of reason of this fine blog?


  140. Aaron Seasearch said

    I vote for a Blog AGM this coming Monday the 8th of July.

    I nominate A Beitz as President, who will second this nomination?

    I believe his (or her) committee should be made up of a rep from the Rep Council, one from Scojec, one from Lubavitch, a reporter from the JT or JC and at least one Glasgow Rabbi. A meal should be had at L’Chaims and the meeting could be archived at the Archive Centre at Garnethill. Security would of course be provided by the local CST (if they bother to turn up).

    Now if you think I have missed anything or anybody then please feel free to add your own contribution.

  141. A Beitz said

    Thank you for your nomination Mr Seasearch. I’m pleased to advise that Dr Paul Edlin has agreed to address the meeting. I will however give the keynote address entitled “Just Because I’m Reasonable Doesn’t Mean I’m Wrong”. A film will be shown called Friday Night With The Sterns.

  142. Shlomo's mate said

    Come on Beitz, you can do better than that. You are a chameleon. Shlomo thinks that you would be better advised to be truer to sound principles and stop trying to court popularity.

  143. History Man said

    Mr Seasearch – how do you think you’re going to get a meal at L’Chaim’s on a Monday night? (And now someone will tell me to F off and make my own tea on Monday night!)I just love this blog! Gives me a warm feeling inside.

  144. Aaron Seasearch said

    Just in case Dr P doesn’t turn up because he doesn’t like or understand the topic in question, I suggest we ask Gerry the Joiner who can advise us on ” How to win Friends and Influence People”

  145. A Beitz said

    Update. Dr Edlin has cancelled but in his place will be Rabbi mendel Jacobs and Mr Paul Harris who will each separately sing the song “The Tartan”. During these renditions there will be an opportunity for those present to yawn and make comments such as “Who gives a …”

  146. shlomo said

    It is good to see Beitzy is now back to his old self. I new it couldn’t last. Here was me hopin for a long overdue apology to the rep council, lubavitch, scojec, Paul Edlin, Ephraim Borowski, Benji and the rest when out comes some more scorn poured on two of our upstanding community members again. Guess the tablets must be working now and normal service from Beitzy has now resumed. The chameleon has turned again. It has all turned out to be a charade to lull us all into a false sense of security.

    All foes of Beitzy beware…. the beast is back!

  147. Not Shlomo said

    Exactly what are you adding to this thread Shlomo other than to castigate a fine upsatanding member of the Blog.

    A Beitz has been nominated as President at the forthcoming Blog AGM which will have to be Tuesday 8th July as Monday is the 7th not 8th as per Aaron Seasearch in #140.

    History Man (# 143) does that mean that the meal at L’Chaims will be ok now – are they open on a Tuesday and will everybody be able to get in?

  148. Benji said

    I’ve heard that the odds are not very good at the local betting shop. Apparently they believe that it is 2-1 on that History Man and Beitz will tie themselves into knots tomorrow justifying another 5 pages about Borowski, Wally Sneader, and Scojec in tomorrow’s Jewish Telegraph – If Sharon Mail tells us what Borowski has for dinner, and what Wally has for lunch, History Man will say that’s “quirky”
    whilst Beitz will I’m told compound his bad week on the blog by again not realising that the issue about Scojec and the Rep Council is not really whether they are democratic but rather that they are not in the least bit representative of the community. They represent so very few.
    The odds on Sharon Mail declaring in the paper that she works for the organisation she is writing about are very poor indeed!
    But the odds on another Scojec story are very good indeed – I’m off to speculate a fiver.

  149. A Beitz said

    I think your money’s safe Benji. Mr B received his MBE on Tuesday although no doubt someone will object if that’s reported by Sharon.
    Meantime Rabbi L’s posts have been erratic recently. What’s the odds on one tonight?

  150. A Beitz said

    Meantime in today’s JT I see JLGB slashed over it. Can anyone tell me what the ethos of that organisation is? Why do they feel the need to give each other military titles? Why do they seem to think that giving themselves some of the characteristics of an army is a healthy activity for kids? Why are the kids doing drill? Why is there no mention in their activities of Israel, Judaism or helping the community? I do find it very strange.

  151. Major General Shmekelstein said

    Watch it, Beitz.

  152. Benji said

    History Man would no doubt say that JLGB is quirky. I have sympathy for your concerns Mr Beitz but at least they don’t indoctrinate our childen as do Bnei Akivah, which ultimately encourages many of their members to live in West Bank settlements. In comparison JLGB are the less harmful.

  153. A Beitz said

    Benji many of our youth groups indoctrinate. The Zionists group do that by trying to imbue people with a love of Israel or at least the concept. From your email your concern is that Bnei Akiva’s indoctrination is of something you disagree with.Habonim, at least used to, indoctrinate people with Socialist Zionist ideals. Many people would have no problems with at least part of that indoctrination. Indeed there is a quite a thin line between education and indoctrination.
    However I do have concerns that kids are being indoctrinated by a group which borrows military terms and practises since this makes these things seem normal. Many of the JLGB leaders are great leaders and it is just a pity they use their talents to run a hierarchical militaristic group.

  154. A Beitz said

    And while I’m on since there was some discussion re the interfaith trip to Israel for those who didn’t see it here is an article by one of the participants on this trip. I also heard another speaking positively about it on Thought For The Day on Radio Scotland yesterday.
    Personally I think the idea looks brilliant both from a point of view of interfaith bonding and also in that it will enable some influential religious leaders to come back with an informed view re both the Israeli and Palestinian positions.

    [The Herald: Faiths combine to send Israel a mission of peace]

  155. Community Member said

    Sorry, A Beitz but I have to disagree. To send a group of Scots to Israel to see some religious sites will not change anything on the ground. Religious leaders don’t have that kind of influence. The obvious intention of Scojec and the Israeli Embassy who are backing this trip is to put over a superficially glossy impression of a country striving for peace.
    If you want to see the country as it is – you don’t do it by using the Israeli Embassy.
    If you also want to reflect the Scottish Jewish community properly you look for a wide range of people from different backgrounds. You don’t hand pick your mates like Scojec have done and then ask the taxpayer to fund your holiday.
    This is a waste of public money. It will not change anything on the ground and should not be funded by the Scottish Government.
    What the participants will see is what their religious leaders want them to see and what they think is acceptable. And that is not the Israel that they need to see.

  156. Armchair Analyst said

    This is a junket for marginal religious types paid for by John Q. Taxpayer. But pandering to religious groups is certainly not exclusive to the Scottish Government. These groups have no time for the others’ beliefs behind each other’s backs, but no doubt there will be a ‘brotherly love and tolerance’ attitude during this junket.

    Will they be asking questions of secular people on the ground, or will will local ‘religious’ viewpoints be on the agenda? Will they visit the territories? Will any of them change their ‘religion’ while having an epiphany in the Holy Land? So many questions…

  157. A Beitz said

    I’m not sure whether #155 and #156 have read the article properly. For example it says the group will be vising the Tomb of The Patriarchs. Since that’s in Hebron how do you get there without vising the territories? They are also meeting with Palestinian leaders. Whilst I suspect they will not be of the Hamas variety these leaders are unlikely to parrot the Embassey line.
    If these religious leaders can come back with a greater understanding of matters and some bonding then I think much will have been achieved. As for representatives from the Jewish community I don’t know how many Jews are going but Rabbi Rubin will obviously be important to inform those who are taking part of the religious significance of things as well as being a good ambassador. As for Ephraim if it is SCOJEC who are substantially involved in the arrangements it would be irresponsible for someone from there not to attend.
    I suspect this trip could do more for interfaith work and understanding of Israel than a year of interfaith meetings.
    So come on. There’s much to criticise in the community but that doesn’t mean you can’t praise an imaginative initiative.

  158. Armchair Analyst said

    Some fair comment, Beitz. I didn’t notice that the group was due to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs – not exactly a microcosm of the West Bank though. Perhaps the Israeli Governement will organise ‘discussions’ with settlers portrayed in the documentary ‘In the Land of the Settlers’. Surely we already know enough about the religious significance of ‘things’ though? The question remaining still is, why should the taxpayer underwrite this trip?

    What’s so ‘imaginative’ about putting a bunch of people together at government expense solely on the basis that they represent a handful of religions, some of these surely rather marginal in Scotland?

  159. Community Member said

    Armchair analyst is spot on. Religious leaders are not as a generalisation the most enightened figures in the world today. Let’s look at what the Chief Rabbi said last week at the rally in London.

    ” Today, because of Israel, there is at least a chance of Peace. Yet everytime Israel proposes peace, it is greeted with terror and suicide bombings, Kattushas and Kassams. Israel will continue to seek peace…. We will say to the Palestinians. All you have to do is to recognise that the Jewish people also has a right to a home. Let us live together side by side in peace.”

    Apart from being wrong, this kind of analysis is simplistic and allows people to reinforce their prejudices. It actually causes harm because rather than challenging his people to think the Chief Rabbi just promotes tired, worn out cliches. And that is not taking into account that to so identify the Jewish community with the actions of any Israeli Government he is potentially causing them harm.

    So, A Beitz, I can see no grounds for optimism in sending religious leaders to Israel on a Scojec trip. so that they all come back inspired to pursue peace and to tell the Scottish public how this will be possible.

    The sad reality is that this will make no difference whatsoever and for the taxpayer to fund this holiday is wrong.
    Maybe Scojec will take a group of Scottish golfers next to Israel so that they understand better the Middle East and then perhaps a group of fishermen. It would have as much, if not more chance, of achieving, something positive, as it will by taking religious leaders.

    But perhaps Mr Beitz, you will tell us given you are such an advocate of this trip, what are our community representatives paying towards their holiday and why were the community not asked if they would like to participate?
    Instead, many of those picked are Borowski’s mates. And that says it all.

  160. A Beitz said

    I’ll simply deal with the last paragraph at this stage and ask who is going and which of them are “Borowski’s mates”,Community Member? I don’t know nor particularly care what the participants are paying. When a group of MPs or trade unionists go on such a trip they don’t pay and I don’t see this trip as “a holiday”. I suspect it’s going to be hard work.
    What bothers me about a couple of the posters on this blog is that because they have past issues with certain people they seem completely unable to do anything but criticise their actions.

  161. Not Another Macher said

    Community Member – it is exactly because “Religious leaders are not as a generalisation the most enlightened figures in the world today” that it is important that they go on this trip. Like it or not they are the ones who speak at meetings and whose view are reported in the press and they might spout slightly less nonsense if they are better informed.

  162. Shlomo's mate said

    It seems to me anything remotely religious on this blog, Beitz you are for it. Maybe you would care to tell us if you agree with what has recently been written about the Chief Rabbi and his role as PR officer for Mr Olmert’s government.

  163. arnie said

    The chief rabbi in my opinion should stick to jewish matters that affect the people of this country directly and not pontificate on the rights and wrongs of the peace process in Israel. By embroiling himself in the latter he becomes more irrelevant and unrepresentative to the masses than he is already.
    Soon he will subject to the same derision on this blog as has been lavished on our own rep council for being a silly man.
    I also heard that an eminent rabbi in London advised his congregants to vote for Boris over Ken in the recent mayor election. Strikes me our rabbis are turning into Immams using the pullpits to preach politics and not religion.

  164. F R Brent said

    Re the Pilgrimage, it’s not just religious leaders who are going. There are also youth represenatives of different faiths and, I believe from our own community, members of the Reform Shul.

    And as Beitzie has said, I should imagine it will be a very busy, tiring week – hardly a ‘free holiday’ and that the people going are committed to developing peace and understanding between faiths when they return to the UK.

    The idea is that during the trip people will be able to express their thoughts about issues important to them – to get a better understanding of each others’ pov.

  165. Interested said

    Are you going on the trip FR Brent?

  166. F R Brent said

    No, but wouldn’t mind going on one in the future, depending upon the success of this one.

  167. Community Member said

    Oh really FR Brent. Perhaps you and Beitzy will tell us if you understand the political significance of a visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
    This Tomb is in Hebron. Hebron is a Palestinian town in the West Bank. Nearby Hebron is the most notorious of Jewish settlements -Kiryat Arba.
    From Kiryat Arba emanated Baruch Goldstein who perpetrated a shocking massacre of Palestinians at prayer at the Tomb. Goldstein is buried in the Meir Kahane Memorial Park in Kiryat Arba.
    Many Israelis would not visit Hebron under the protection of the IDF who are no doubt protecting the group whilst they visit the city. Do you fully realise the significance of this.?
    Thank you Beitzy for drawing attention to this. It is shocking.
    I wonder if a visit to the Jewish settlements is also part of the Scojec itinerary and perhaps tea at Kiryat Arba?
    I would also suggest that if the Scottish Government had known about this they would not have touched this trip in a million years.

  168. A Beitz said

    So do you want the group to visit the teritories or not, CM? And what is the significance of what is nearby? Dunblane is quite near Glasgow but we don’t hold Glaswegians or indeed the populace of Dunblane for Thomas Hamilton’s actions.
    I am awaiting your first constructive posting. Criticising is fair enough but it loses something if its effect when it is your only mode of comment. You have not been elected Leader of The Opposition.

  169. Community Member said

    And you have not earned the right to be Minister of all things to All People.
    I do not believe that this group should visit Hebron under Israeli jurisdiction. It sends the wrong message and I will post shortly some testimonies that hopefully make you understand why it it is unacceptable. Palestinians, who live there, suffer restrictions on their movements and curtailment of basic human rights. I do not believe that it is acceptable to be a tourist in these areas in these circumstances.
    And if you don’t understand the significance of Kiryat Arba’s proximity to Hebron then its time that you did. Your ridiculous analogy about Glasgow and Dunblane only emphasises that you don’t understand the morality of this. A number of years ago, a group of UJS students visited a settlement in the West Bank called Eilon Moreh. A very eminent Israeli professor at the Hebrew University tried very hard to stop them going. He wrote letters to the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish Echo and I remember what he wrote. How will this visit be perceived by the Arabs who live there, fenced in behind barbed wire as the settlers lord over every aspect of their lives. He used the words of Bertold Brecht to conclude – ” when evil comes like falling rain who will be brave enought to shout enough, stop.”
    Because you want to be popular doesn’t make you right. Get off the fence Beitzy. As someone else told you last week, it is about principles.
    And what is right and wrong. Visiting sites in densely populated Palestinian areas, under protection of Israeli machine guns, is not acceptable to me, even if it is to you.

  170. Armchair Analyst said

    What CM is saying in think, Beitz, is that if you want to get an objective picture of the political situation in Hebron for instance, you don’t make the Cave of the Patriarchs your star attraction. Talking to Hebron settlers along with some of the IDF soldiers propping them up, and talking to a few of the 113,000 Arab residents of Hebron would certainly seem to be a far better use of the bulk of the time there.

    If you’re besotted with your version of your religion, then visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs will take precedence over the above. The question remains – Why should the Scottish Taxpayer be involved to subsidising such a sideshow?

  171. A Beitz said

    What I am saying is that for CM and AA it seems this group is damned whatever it does. It would be criticised for not visiting the teritories, as AA did, and is criticised for doing so. I don’t believe you can go to Hebron, if you are in any way semi intelligent, and not get an idea of the problems with the occupation. I can see arguments for and against going to the West Bank but in order to get an understanding of what’s going on it is on balance better to go there. Why anyway should a group which represents a variety of religions not visti sites that are important to them whether they be in Hebron, Bethlehem or whatever?
    I am well aware of the restricitions on Palestinians throughout the West Bank but that doesn’t make it wrong for people to seeit for themsleves. And they will.
    Oh and don’t make up motives for me. If I wanted to be popular I would have nothing to do with this blog but the infantile posting under various different names criticising everything is tedious and demeans this blog. By all means criticise but just occasionally praise when someone’s doing something right.

  172. Community Member said

    If you really think that the Israeli army will permit this group see the hardships and restrictions and denial of basic human rights you are quite simply deluding yourself.
    This discussion has nothing to do with different names posting. I have no idea who armchair analyst is and I hope he has no idea who I am.
    People who go to the West Bank under Israeli military supervision do not see what is going on.
    Ask those who have fought against this kind of ” tourism ” for years and they will tell you that nothing should be done which gives legitimacy to the occupation. And this is the reality of tourist visiting there – whether they are Scottish , Japanese or French.
    Your argument about visiting the West Bank to get a better understanding of what’s going on there is absurd. Does one need to visit Zimbabwe to know that Robert Mugabe is guilty of killing people who didn’t vote for him?
    And because some people don’t agree with you that doesn’t mean that you are right. In fact you are very wrong about this. You raised the issue of visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs and I suspect you did not appreciate the moral issues that go along with visits of this kind. But these moral issues have been around a long time and many people care passionately about the sensitivities involved.
    So come on Mr Beitz, tell us how a tourist gets a better idea about the indignities of military occupation whilst visiting an area under the military supervision of that occupying power?

  173. Community Member said

    And maybe Mr Beitz you would also like to give us your reply to the folllowing report, and tell us what the Scojec trip will learn from visiting this site in Hebron.

    “B’Tselem: Ghost Town: Israel’s Separation Policy and Forced Eviction of Palestinians from the Center of Hebron”

    Summary Conclusions, p.75:

    The constant and grave harm to Palestinians living in the center of Hebron is

    one of the most extreme manifestations of human rights violations committed

    by the State of Israel. Israel’s policy of protecting the Hebron settlement and

    encouraging it is based on “the principle of separation” and includes physical and

    legal segregation between Palestinians and Israeli settlers based on nationalethnic


    This policy involves the use of harsh oppressive measures against the Palestinians in

    the city. Residents of the City Center are subjected to extremely severe restrictions

    on their movement, whether by car or on foot, to repeated assaults by violent settlers

    who attack them and their property, and to the arbitrary treatment of soldiers and

    their commanders during searches of the homes, to delays, and harassment, even

    to violent acts committed by the security forces. As explained above, these actions

    violate Israel’s obligations under international human rights law, international

    humanitarian law, and Israeli administrative and constitutional law.

    Using these measures, Israel has brought about over the years the expulsion

    of thousands of Palestinian residents and merchants from the center of the city.

    The measures have sharply embittered the lives of these Palestinians, making

    it impossible for them to continue to live and work in the area, leaving them no

    option but to get up and leave. This expulsion is unique in magnitude since the

    occupation of the West Bank in 1967 began, and is a grave breach of international

    humanitarian law. The “separation policy” constitutes, therefore, a policy of

    expulsion of Palestinians. This is the result of that policy, and as we have seen,

    the authorities had to expect it.

    The authorities’ refraining from protecting Palestinians from settler violence also

    contributes to the harsh results of this policy, and, as the testimonies have shown, is a

    significant cause, whether deliberate or not, in Palestinians leaving the City Center.

    The army acts according to similar principles throughout the West Bank, but in

    Hebron, the only Palestinian city in the West Bank with an Israeli settlement in

    the heart of it, this regime of separation-discrimination is implemented in a small

    area. As a result, the concentration, magnitude, and severity of human rights

    violations in the city are especially great.

  174. Armchair Analyst said

    Beitz, I quote from your blog #171:

    ‘Why anyway should a group which represents a variety of religions not visit sites that are important to them whether they be in Hebron, Bethlehem or whatever?’

    Why indeed not? If that’s what they want to do when they visit Hebron with their Israeli Embassy sponsored blinkers on, then fine by me! However, I repeat – Why should the Scottish Taxpayer finance this sideshow?

    BTW, I don’t think much of your ‘infantile postings’ remark.

  175. A Beitz said

    Sorry but I can’t quite work out firstly where it was ever said this trip was being run by the Israeli embassy and secondly why a visit to an are which is subject to an oppressive occupation is something that the visitiors can’t learn from. Often you read things in the newspapers but it is only seeing it with your own eyes that bring home the agony of the day to day oppression, the checkpoints etc.
    On the infantile postings AA I was not accusing you of this but I do consider that anyone who regularly posts on this blog and uses say twenty different pseudonyms at various times regularly changing identity is committing an infantile act.
    As for Scottish taxpayers funding I’m not going to have sleepless nights over that. Community relations are important and whilst |I’m a bit surprised funding was made available it is a drop in the ocean. However if you feel strongly enough about it AA why not contact Stewart Maxwell who is the communities minister as well as being a list msp for E Renfrewshire?

  176. Community Member said

    Look at the announcements made by Scojec in announcing this trip and you will note the credits given to the Israeli Embassy and the Ambassador.
    Now maybe you will tell us how it is possible to find out about the indignities of an oppressive military occupation whilst visiting an area under the supervision and control of the army of that same occupying power.
    If you know the answer to this then I suggest your talents are completely wasted.
    The reality is that it is impossible to get an objective analysis in these circumstances and that is why you are wrong about the Scojec trip. Rather than deal with this issue and respond to serious questions regarding your analysis you resort to irrelevant sideshows accusing others of infantile acts.
    It was you yourself that highlighted a trip to Hebron and when there are serious objections you resort to name calling etc.
    I have posted several times in this debate – every time as “Community Member. ”
    It would be constructive if you could answer the points put to you instead of ducking the main issues.
    I await your answer with anticipation.

  177. Armchair Analyst said

    Beitz, reference the Israeli Embassy connection, I had to go back to blog #155 by Community Member where he said:

    ‘The obvious intention of Scojec and the Israeli Embassy who are backing this trip is to put over a superficially glossy impression of a country striving for peace’.

    So Community Member, where did you get your information that the Israeli Embassy are backing this trip, which incidentally is not quite the same as actually running it?

    I would agree that anyone jumping aimlessly from pseudonym to pseudonym at the drop of a hat is not too mature, and may be masking an inability to say anything of intellect. But there’s no great harm in occasionally using more than one pseudonym in a pseudonymous forum like this where the subject matter often swings around, sometimes wildly.

    Whilst I’m against government funding for trips like this, I do agree with you Beitz that it’s comparatively a drop in the ocean, so I won’t be wasting my time entering into an obfuscatory dialogue with Communities Minister Maxwell. Slush funds abound in government budgets, allocated to pork barrel projects because someone knows someone who can.

  178. A Beitz said

    Do you mean to say CM you really believe that if accompaned by soldiers round an are where the general populace are not allowed near you you might not spot there’s a problem with an occupation?
    I have not name called. I have simply used an adjective, a different thing, to mask what I believe to be numerous posts by one person. Continue to post as CM and CM alone and I’d have no problem. However I believe you have posted under 20 or 30 pseudonyms at a conservative estimate and I regard that as wholly inappropriate.

  179. Community Member said

    Mr Beitz, are you aware that Israelis use different roads from Palestinians? These Scottish tourists will not see what the soldiers don’t want them to see.
    You have no knowledge whatsoever regarding other names that you allege have been used by me on this blog. This is a red herring and you know it.
    Now please explain how you believe it is possible to obtain an objective analysis of the hardships of occupation whilst always accompanied by Israeli soldiers. I am truly mystified and rather astonished how you can argue that this is possible. It isn’t and that is why the Scojec trip is seriously flawed and now inappropriate. I remind you that you yourself highlighted this trip to The Tomb of the Patriarchs.
    I still await your answers with interest. It may be helpful as I keep answering your questions if you could now answer mine. Thank you.
    Do you think it is appropriate for a group of Scottish tourists (religious or otherwise) to give legitimacy to a harsh military occupation?
    And I repeat my previous question so that it is hopefully clear –
    How do you believe it is possible to obtain an objective analysis of a military occupation whilst accompanied by Israeli soldiers?

  180. A Beitz said

    This absolutely typical of CM’s method of arguing eg “Do you think it is appropriate for a group of Scottish tourists (religious or otherwise) to give legitimacy to a harsh military occupation?” Now we’ll go past the minor nitpicking that they are probably not all Scottish. He then goes on to the premise that these tourists are giving legitimacy to that occupation which at very least is at best arguable since going to a country does not give legitimacy to its actions. However even were it to be arguably true CM accordingly raises a question based upon 3 premises all 3 of which are controversial.
    And where did I suggest the analysis achieved would be objective or more importantly full when accompanied by army personnel? However that doesn’t mean you can’t learn a great deal.

  181. arnie said

    Mr Beitz, Whilst I dont agree with all that community member may have to say, I do think he deserves a straight forward answer from you given your strong conviction of the merits of this trip. The fundamental question is…. should the taxpayer pay for a stage managed trip to the occupied territory when it is abundandly clear that there will be no real benefit to anyone as a result.

  182. Concerned Citizen said

    Mr Beitz, if it is the case, as you have conceded, that it is not possible to gain an objective analysis of the situation in the occupied territories when accompanied by Israeli military personnel what, then, is the purpose of the proposed visit to the Tomb of the Patriarchs?
    Surely, this is nothing more than a visit to a Potemkin Village, in which the tourists would be shielded from the reality of the Israeli military occupation of Hebron.

  183. A Beitz said

    #181 being accompanied by security does not neccessarily mean something is stage managed. Again we have the question which includes a premise which at best is controversial without so much as an “if” or any subjunctive. I’ve already commented on the funding. I’ve already explained earlier why I think this trip is worthwhile being both the bonding effect for the various religious leaders and thev opportunity for them to gain some knowledge of the Israeli Palestinian situation.
    #182 we seem to be going round in circles. The purpose of the visit to Hebron is clearly to see the Tomb of the Patriarchs which is holy to at least 3 of the religious groups attending.

  184. Armchair Analyst said

    Beitz, being accompanied by Israeli security to a religious site in will almost certainly mean that little or no time will be spent with the Hebron settlers, or Palestinian residents. Therefore one can reasonably conclude that while bonding and sightseeing may well be taking place, not much else is.

    Unless of course, there’s a miracle.

  185. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I have resisted as long as possible from this debate which is going nowhere fast. Much as I agree for the most part with CM’s position on the Israeli occupation , I think his expectations of others is unreasonable. The Israeli Embassy is not some neutral PR company any more than any other Embassy. It is a partisan organisation, seen as such and would be failing in its duty were it to act otherwise.
    Israel’s policies and actions lately have not won them many friend’s outside the US Southern religious belt and deservedly so. However, there are many interesting and positive sides to Israeli life and culture. If Scojec have arranged the funding to give balance to people who have been exposed to only negative attitudes, I don’t have a problem.
    I remember some years ago, along with two friends forming a left of centre organisation in Glasgow. At that time the Glasgow community was being flooded with right wing speakers and propaganda. We made it our brief to show that their was another voice in Israel and to expose the community to a legitimate Israeli Peace Movement. We did not give a balanced view, we gave our opinions and our platform was open only to those with whom we sympathised.
    I would suggest CM that you give others space to disagree.

  186. Concerned Citizen said

    Nachman, can you explain how a visit to a religious site which is located in the heart of the Old City in Hebron, an area which is under Israeli military control and from which Palestinians are prohibited from entering, will help to redress the balance?

  187. Community Member said

    A Beitz, they are giving legitimacy to the occupation. They are visiting another people’s territory under the protection of that occupying power. That gives that occupying power legitimacy.
    It is perfectly obvious that you will not or are not able to answer the questions. In case I have misunderstood you let me repeat the question…

    How is it possible to obtain an objective analysis of a military occupation whilst accompanied by Israeli soldiers?

    And with apologies to others who have posed this question, I will repeat it –
    please tell us all what Scojec and their fellow tourists are actually going to learn about the occupation whilst visiting Hebron, an occupied Palestinian town?

    Mr Aaronovitch, your points are totally irrelevant to the subject being debated. No one is discussing the theoretical or even practical responsibilities of the Israeli Embassy or your contribution to community peace groups some years ago.
    What we are discussing is whether there is an issue of morality concerning a visit to Hebron, under the protection of an occupying power. Perhaps you would explain where you stand on this?
    With regard to your previous activities I know where you should stand, but maybe I’m being optimistic.

  188. A Beitz said

    ~187 you don’t seem very bright tonight. You keep asking me to justify a position I’ve never taken, namely that the analysis will be objective. You can learn even when things aren’t objective.
    You also have an interesting concept re giving legitimacy. So if I visit any country under occupation with assistance from the occupying power that gives legitimacy to that occupation? If that’s me giving legitimacy it’s not going to take the occupying power very far.
    What the Scojec people wil learn about the occupation will depend upon their intelligence and what happens whilst they visit. If they are paying attention they will see that the road they go on has no or virtually no Arab plates. They will see a huge number of soldiers around. They will probably see some fairly, and rightly so, sullen Palestinians. Hebron for them may teach them something about the occupation. However I suspect their meetings with Palestinian leaders may well teach them more or place what they see in Hebron in context.
    In trying to rubbish this whole vist you have become fixated upon the visit to Hebron> if you consider they should simply boycott Israel because of all its badness maybe you should lead by example by undertaking not to visit or trade there.

  189. Concerned Citizen said

    Mr Beitz, you are quite right. It is, indeed, possible to learn things which are not objective; namely that which is false, erroneous or misleading.
    Since you evidently have a problem with the concept of objectivity, perhaps we can proceed by reframing the terms of the question.
    Do you believe that it is possible, under circumstances of military occupation, for a visitor to Hebron to gain a meaningful understanding of the nature of the occupation which corresponds with the truth?

  190. Community Member said

    I’m afraid Mr Beitz that you are in danger of losing your moral compass because your latest post does you no credit whatsoever.
    Firstly, given that you so often take offence about what is written here, do you not think you should reflect on what you have written before you start posting personal abuse. Next time someone has a go at you I hope your shoulders are broad enough to take it.
    Now on to the substance of what you have just posted. Yes, you are giving legitimacy to that occupation if you visit another territory under supervision of the Israeli army. These things do matter – it may be symbolic – it may be more important – but if the Israeli Government knew that Jews and others would not visit there then they may be more inclined to do something about it. As regards the Scojec trip, I am sure that many of the participants will not be aware that visiting Hebron is highly contentious. Would they have wanted to go there – under the supervision of the IDF – if they had discussed the issue? – I sincerely hope not.
    This is a moral issue and I regret that you can’t see it.
    Your final paragraph warrants a reply.
    I do not require to take lessons from you or indeed anyone else about my affection and continued commitment to Israel. Unlike others who have posted recently I do not need to set out my credentials to comment. I know where I stand and I think your comments are actually quite sad. I have many friends in Israel – some of whom would agree with me whilst others would not. However, my views are shared by a number of Israelis who have long distinguished records of working for and living in the State of Israel.
    I know the kind of Israel I want to see. I know what kind of values I want Israel to have and I know what kind of Israel I was taught about and what kind of Israel I want my children to appreciate.
    That is not the values of occupation. I was never taught that it is acceptable for Israel to be an occupying power and that it is acceptable to rule over another people. Israeli society is badly corrupted by this occupation and I do not want Scottish visitors to think that this kind of thing is acceptable.
    Because someone has an idea to take some Scots to Israel and does not properly think about what kind of Israel we want to show them is counter productive.
    There is no need to go to Hebron under Israeli army escort. It sends out the wrong message and is unnecessary. It also does not give the non Jewish visitors in the Scojec party a very good impression of our values in instigating this act of folly.
    We as a community here can do little to influence the actions of the Israeli Government. But we can influence what kind of community we are and what kind of values we have. We can start by not asking Scottish tourists to give a military occupation legitimacy.

  191. A Beitz said

    I think this argument is going round in circles but as I suspect Concerned Citizen is well aware if you are told a falsehood you do not learn from that unless you know it’s false. However that does not prevent people who are biased, and most history and modern studies are taught by biased people, from either providing an objective picture or at least some sort of worthwhile education. Going back to what NA said if I attended a meeting of Glasgow Friends of Peace Now it would not be objective. However that would not prevent me from learning.
    Has anyone looked at the overall Scojec programme and participants? It is on their website. Both participants and the programme look pretty broad.
    I don’t form the impression from what Naeem Raza has already posted that the particpants are going to have a wholly positive experience.
    Here’s a list of the participants
    Seems pretty broad to me within the confines of it being a faith trip.
    Also see the para which I’ve lifted, I know Scojec won’t mind, regarding some of the activities. The trip incidentally not ony has the support of the Israeli Embassy but also Alex Salmond and the British Ambassador to Israel. That doesn’t mean the participants will get unadulterated Scottish nationalism, UK policies or even Israeli propoganda.

    Quote From SCOJEC Site
    The pilgrimage has received funding from the Scottish Government, and is supported by both the Israeli Embassy in London and the British Ambassador to Israel. The programme, which has been arranged in discussion with, amongst others, the Jerusalem Peacemakers, Eliyahu Maclean
    and Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, and the Middle East Peace Initiative, includes sites of importance to the different faiths. Amongst the highlights will be a tour of the holy sites of the Old City of Jerusalem, a visit to the Baha’i world headquarters in Haifa, visits to Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Centre, and the Knesset (Israeli Parliament), prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque, a Seudah Shlishit (Sabbath afternoon meal) with Chief Rabbi David Rosen, and meetings with a number of prominent politicians

  192. arnie said

    So Beitzy, if I could summarise your positions over the last couple of weeks:-

    1) JLGB is an organisation which you “find strange.”
    I personally think their stated objectives of “training its members in loyalty, honour, discipline and self respect that they shall become worthy and useful citizens and a credit to their Country and their Community” are laudable.

    2) Scojec is an organisation that conducts democratic elections
    However you fail to concede that these elections still result in another unrepresentative organisation in our midst. Do we not have enough of them already?

    3) The trip to Hebron is a worthwhile interfaith exercise.
    I would think that it is an opportunity for a good summer holiday. Is there anything else that you would really expect to come out of it other than tokenism in the name of middle east peace. I think not. All your musings to the contrary seem to reinforce the fact that it is pretty tough to come up with anything positive about such a trip. Perhaps the protaganists can explain the benefit on their return from the state funded jolly and prove you point.

    Overall, your judgement on these three points seems to be questionable. Would you not think it is time to reconsider your position?

  193. A Beitz said

    Are Arnie and CM related? I think we should be told.

  194. Community Member said

    I am not related to Arnie in any way. Seems someone else finds your positions ridiculous. I will respond later to your post 191.

  195. Concerned Citizen said

    Mr Beitz, thank you for drawing my attention to the online diaries posted by the interfaith pilgrims. I was most intrigued, in particular, by Na’eem Raza’s reference to their forthcoming trip, in which they would be meeting “Israeli and Palestinian settlers [sic] on the West Bank”.
    Perhaps you would like to comment on this statement.

  196. A Beitz said

    Sorry CM if you’re not related to Arnie but as you well know you have form. I see his use of the word “questionable” is a synonym to you for the word “ridiculous”.
    I am certainly not going to justify every statement by every participant on this trip.
    Frankly I think I have given my view that this trip is a worthwhile exercise whilst you disagree. Maybe we should move on. It seems unlikely we will reach a consensus.

  197. Armchair Analyst said

    Na’eem Raza’s comment highlights the need of elementary education on the subject for at least one of the participants!

    I’ve thought about your suggestion that malcontents like me might like to contact Stewart Maxwell the communities minister rather than shouting from the sidelines. Given that the Scottish Parliament bulding was a 450 million pound boondoggle that ended up later with NOBODY’S HEAD ROLLING! – Do you seriously think that Mr. Maxwell the ‘communities minister’, who will have his own discretionary budget no doubt, is going to admit for a second that the even a smidgeon of the monies allocated to this junket are a waste of time?

    I agree to disagree with you on this subject Beitz and also sign off, but that depends on the pearls of wisdom yet to appear on the Scojec website from the junket participants.

  198. A Beitz said

    Is English his native language since his comment doesn’t really make sense? Is it simply a slip of the computer key or cursor and the word “settlers” should have come immediately after “Jewish”? I have never heard West Bank Palestinians referred to as “settlers” and can’t imagine, given his affiliations that that could possibly be his view. This is a guy who has raised money for the people of Gaza, and is active in various Islamic groups.

  199. Community Member said

    So how did this discussion begin. Ah yes, no 154, Mr Beitz posted to inform us about the Scojec pilgrimage to Israel.
    When some of us discovered that this trip included a trip to the Tomb of the Patriarchs we stated our concerns and suggested that this was a serious error of judgement. I believed that this trip was now flawed.
    I have had to ignore several personal attacks from Mr Beitz, various attempts to divert the discussion by suggesting that I was posting in this discussion under several names – a charge repeated again today without any evidence at all, and even allegations that I am anti-Israel.
    Not one word of apology. But so be it.
    What has upset Mr Beitz so much? The fact that I claim that the visit to Hebron under supervision of the IDF gives legitimacy to the occupation?
    The idea that I think that we as a community in Scotland should not send Scottish tourists to Israel giving them the impression that we think it is acceptable to visit Hebron, under occupation, and that this visit will be controlled by the occupying power, because I believe it sends out the wrong message about our values?
    We can only wonder about what has caused Mr Beitz to defend the indefensible. We can only speculate what has happened that has turned A Beitz into the new PR officer for Scojec, a job it would now seem he shares with Sharon Mail.
    I happened this afternoon to speak to a good friend who lives in England. We got round to discussing the Scojec trip to Israel and I would like to share with you what I was told and I sincerely hope that it makes Mr Beitz and indeed Nachman Aronovitch look at what they have written about this subject. Rather than attacking those who have very grave concerns about this visit to Hebron by Scottish tourists, I really hope that what follows makes them think.
    My friend was recently in Israel and he took a trip to Hebron. He told me that this was more enlightening than any amount of reading about the situation there. However his trip was organised by the Israeli Human Rights Organisation – B’Tselem, not by or with the backing of the Israeli Embassy. He could not perceive how he would have visited Hebron in those circumstances. B’Tselem offered to take him on the trip and they can arrange similar trips on a regular basis for Israelis and for foreigners.
    So Mr Beitz, it is possible my friend said, to learn something whilst in the area but it very much depends on who is doing the teaching and for what purpose.
    They travelled to Hebron in a car with an Israeli number plate and accordingly could travel on an Israeli road. His party consisted of my friend, his wife, two Jewish Israelis and two Arab Israelis.
    To gain access to Hebron they had to travel through Kiryat Arba and had to clear various security checkpoints – frequently being asked why they wished to visit Hebron. When they arrived in the centre of Hebron the two non Jews in the party were not allowed to enter. My friend was horrified at this and said in those circumstances he would not go either as it was unacceptable to deny access because of one’s religion etc.
    The non Jews urged them to go on because they wanted them to see with their own eyes what was happening in Hebron. The centre of the city was deserted – a ghost town. There is a Jewish settlement right in the heart of the city and there are countless restrictions on the Palestinians living there in order ” to protect ” the settlers. The Palestinans were not permitted to go out of their own homes through the doors. They had to climb out of the roofs on their homes.
    My friend was stopped at almost every street corner.
    They were told by the army that they should leave because they did not want trouble and they were very quickly escorted out of the city.
    He also visited the Cave of Machpelah. He told me that this is not a united shrine shared by three faiths. He had the clear impression that Jews have access to one half – which looked like an East European shtiebl on the inside – and the Muslims to the other half. He thought, but cannot be absolutely certain, that the Christians can enter one or other part of the shrine but their ” share ” in its heritage did not appear to be acknowledged.

    I now ask you Mr Beitz another question. Do you honestly believe that the Scojec tourists will see what my friend saw in Hebron? Do you really think that the Israeli army will allow these visitors to witness what he saw?
    This issue is beyond politics. It is about morality. And if you think the answer is no or even just maybe then I think you should admit that with hindsight Scojec should not have taken their travel companions to this place.

  200. A Beitz said

    CM, again you seem to choose to rewrite history. I’m not as indicated, going to discuss whether or not this trip is a good thing or whether those participating should visit Hebron. However a cursory look through this blog shows that this trip was the subject of discussion as far back as #43. And frankly I don’t believe you didn’t post under different pseudonyms on the subject between then and now. I accept your word that you have only posted as CM since #154. It is clear also that the reservations re the trip were being expressed by you long before I pointed out that the group were going to Hebron.
    I have no problem in discussing things when I know it is one person per pseudonym but have difficulty when the same person uses several different pseudonyms meaning you don’t know if you are having a discussion with one person or ten.
    However I think enough is enough on the merits of the trip at this time.

  201. Community Member said

    Come on Mr Beitz. Please stop setting your stall out as if you are the moral conscience of this blog. You aren’t.
    Please don’t avoid these most recent questions and then hopefully you will give us a direct answer and then we can move on –

    Do you honestly believe that the Scojec tourists will see what my friend saw in Hebron?

    Do you really think that the Israeli army will allow these visitors to witness what he saw?

  202. Armchair Analyst said

    I don’t understand Beitz what your problem is dealing with people who may or may not have used more than one pseudonym. I’ve occasionally used other titles myself on occasion, for instance I admit that I’ve posted as Major General Shmekelstein. But you must concede that it’s possible, although admittedly unlikely, that my real name is Major General Shmekelstein. I’m personally not going to comment on the Hebron subject again as I consider that you have retired, defeated.

    Or you could give a straight answer to CM’s last two questions.

  203. Concerned Citizen said

    With all due respect, Mr Beitz, you know perfectly well that the identity of the person in question is not the point at issue. Those of us who have expressed concerns about visiting Hebron under the protection of the IDF are not motivated by personal animus towards certain individuals associated with SCoJec, as your comments would seem to imply. Rather, it is an issue of morality; namely, whether the Jewish people should be complicit with the occupation.
    The question is, Mr Beitz, where do you stand on this issue?

  204. Community Member said

    I’m afraid it gets worse. More information on the Scojec trip is available today. Take a look

    I cannot believe that a meeting has been organised with David Wilder, the spokesman for the Hebron Settler Movement. The Hebron Settlers are known to be the most fanatical of all the settlers. Why are they being given an opportunity by Scojec to address their group of tourists? Who thought it would be beneficial to give Wilder a platform to talk to people from Scotland in order to spread his poison.
    This is just shameful.
    I wonder if the Scottish Government are aware that their funding is being used for this purpose. I very much doubt it but I’m sure they will find out.

    Google David Wilder and you will discover exactly who and what he is.

    And maybe someone else can give their interpretation about the photograph that appeared on the Scojec site yesterday. There is something not quite right about Na’eem Raza, one of the participants on the trip, wanting to have his photograph taken with a large group of IDF soldiers. Why would he want to do this?
    Very strange? What do others think?

  205. Concerned Citizen said

    I agree wholeheartedly with Community Member; the leader of the settlement movement in Hebron should not be given the presumption of legitimacy.
    Lest there be any doubt as to the nature of his views, I reproduce below an excerpt from an article entitled “It really is time to wake up” written by David Wilder, which was published on the website of the Jewish Community in Hebron:

    Many years ago, Rabbi Meir Kahane hy”d suggested transfer of Israel’s Arab population from the State. He was called a racist, imprisoned and forbidden from running for Knesset. Another Jew, Rehavam Ze’evi, (Gandhi) hy”d, also suggested ‘transfer’ as a solution to the Arab-Israel conflict. He too was called a racist. The Arabs took both men seriously. Both were assassinated.

    For those not familiar with Hebrew, hy”d is an abbreviation of Hashem yikom damo (May God avenge his blood), the traditional honorific reserved for martyred Jews.

    Thus, our interfaith pilgrims are meeting with a man who believes that Meir Kahane was a martyr whose death should be avenged by God.

    (For more information on the racist ideology of Meir Kahane, please see Professor Ehud Sprinzak’s monograph, Kach and Meir Kahane: The Emergence of Jewish Quasi-Fascism, originally published by The American Jewish Committee.)

  206. Armchair Analyst said

    Anyone with a social conscience who saw the the Israeli documentary ‘Land of the Settlers’ which a couple of years ago enjoyed the largest TV audience ever in the history of Israel, would probably agree that various groups attempting to understand the situation in Hebron should have the opportunity to hear and internalise the bigoted religious supremacist bile being spewed by the likes of David Wilder. Where the picture involving the present group is almost certainly terribly skewed is that there is no mention of whether they were also invited to interview long-term Arab residents of Hebron including refugees from 1948 and 1967. Why do I think that there’s not a snowball’s chance that this was on offer to the junketeeers?

    As for Na’eem Raza posing with IDF soldiers, he’s apparently not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, so let’s not dwell too much on that.

  207. Community Member said

    Would it be too much to expect that the PR officer for Scojec consults with the Director, Mr Borowski, and the chairman, Walter Sneader, and issues a public apology to the Jewish Community this evening for the embarassment caused regarding their itinerary for the trip to Israel.
    I’m sure the Scottish Government will in turn want an explanation with regard to their £10,000 put towards this outrage.
    And they won’t be the only ones. The other faiths involved will need to justify to their constituents how this could have possibly happened.
    Scojec have shamed our community.

  208. Community Member said

    I note in today’s Jewish Telegraph that The First Minister apparently gave his support to the inter faith trip to Israel.
    I doubt if Scojec told the Scottish Government that the tourists would be visiting an occupied Palestinian town, Hebron, under the supervision of the occupying Israeli authorities. And I really can’t believe that Mr Salmond would have been told about the meeting that took place between David Wilder, the spokesman for the Hebron Settlement Movement, and the tourists, because if he had it is inconceivable that he would have endorsed this.
    So maybe Scojec’s PR team could fill us in about what they actually did tell the First Minister.
    Incidentally, given yet another Scojec story in today’s Telegraph, I would like to bring an article that appeared in Monday’s Guardian by Siobhain Butterworth, to the attention of Scojec’s PR team lead by Sharon Mail.
    I quote – ” The Guardian’s editorial code requires journalists to declare an interest when they are writing about something with which they have a “significant” connection. The guidelines exist to increase readers’ trust in the paper’s journalism and to protect the integrity of the editorial content…….journalists should declare when they have a significant connection with an issue they are writing about because if they don’t, readers are entitled to assume that none exist.”

  209. Peace Now Supporter said

    I have been following this debate with great interest. Can anyone tell me what has happened to the idealistic young man formerly known as Nachman Aaronovitch, a man with a long and honourable record of supporting the peace movement in Israel. Perhaps he would like to tell us where he stands on this issue.

  210. Community Member said

    I just had a quick look at the Pilgrim’s diary and there is a section on the website about who’s who in Scojec.
    I was very surprised to see that there was no mention of the locum PR officer – Mr A Beitz.
    4 days have gone by and not one word of condemnation by A Beitz about the meeting with David Wilder. Not something to be proud of sir.

  211. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Peace Now Supporter #209 asks what happened to the young activist, Nachman. Quite simply, he grew older and tired and resigned to an Israel that was slowly edging towards ‘that bourn from which no traveller returns’. Perhaps it is time for younger people to pick up the baton. Regrettably many of the most promising Blu Tak a kippa to their left cheek and Easyjet it down to Hendon. Despite that, there is still much in Israel that is positive to impress a group such as Scojec’s present tour party.

    I was never conceited enough to think that my past efforts would have even minimal effect on Israeli policy. I did care for the moral values endorsed by my community and that in which my children were growing up. I did care for the values or lack of them espoused by the community leaders, secular and religious. Therefore, my and our battle, just as today, was for the heart and soul of the Glasgow Jewish Community.

    To me it seems only yesterday, but already it is a generation since the community was polarised and almost torn apart over Kahanism and Jewish racism. We knew the battle was never won but thought that the cancer was under control and would not be openly accepted in or by our community.

    Community Member has pointed out the regrettable and shameful fact that Scojec has taken an interfaith party to Hebron and given a platform to David Wilder, a latter day Meir Kahane. This man is the mouthpiece for the settlers and those who favour Arab transfer. In my eyes they are carpetbaggers and racists and represent all that is evil and shameful among us.

    I note those members of our community involved and accept that they are not all bright enough to understand the enormity of what they have done. I even note one or two who used to whisper their support for our stance. They then claimed to be working quietly from the inside so astonishingly they must assume that a quiet word from one or two Glasgow machers in the ear of David Wilder will help the cause of peace. I trust the Scottish Executive will think it is money well spent.

  212. Community Member said

    Superbly summarised Nachman. I am truly gratified that you have added your voice and as usual on this issue of morality you have got it spot on.
    I know some of us are tired but I also know that as we continue to live here and to bring up children in this city we have a responsibility to fight for the community’s conscience and morality.
    Some will hope that this issue on the blog will soon blow away. But I can assure you that those who have disgraced our community will not be allowed to pretend that this was not important or that it was a conspiracy to discredit Scojec.
    There has to be communal responsibility for what Scojec have allowed to happen in our name and I hope that enough people will have a conscience to ensure that justice is done.

  213. Armchair Analyst said

    My partial apologies to A. Beitz. It seems that the recent pilgrimage to assess the situation in the Holy Land was indeed a drop in the Scottish Government funding bucket. Here’s notice of a serious chunk of John Q. Taxpayer’s change further wisely spent.

    BTW, is this the same Osama Saeed who formerly ran for politcal office in a national election a few years back, and at a meeting during the campaign may or may not have made an Ahmadinejadesque comment at a meeting with a certain voter grouping concerning the obliteration of Israel?

    He’s never been photographed with Alex Salmond apparently. As pointed out by an observer – It’s not as if Osama’s views on the restoration of the Islamic Caliphate or on Sharia law are out of line with SNP policy, surely?

  214. Armchair Analyst said

    I see in the JT yesterday that we received a report on our pilgrims’ progress in the Holy Land from Sharon Mail, currently reporting on behalf of Scojec.

    Surprisingly no mention of what David Wilder of the Ethnic Cleansing Settler Party had to say, in contrast to that abrasive Palestinian spokesperson. Well Sharon, how about a follow-up on this? After all you don’t want to even give the appearance of a whitewash, do you?

  215. Community Member said

    Didn’t see the Jewish Telegraph this week. Did Sharon tell readers that sahe was writing on behalf of Scojec or did she keep that to herself again?
    Incidentally, I hear that Rabbi Rubin was speaking to his congregants on his return from the Scojec tourist trip about his vsit to the West Bank. Did anyone hear what he had to say about David Wilder?
    Wonder if A Beitz was there?
    Did anyone have the courage to speak out and tell Rabbi Rubin that he should not have gone to Hebron as previously discussed and certainly not to give a platform to David Wilder.
    Maybe Rabbi Rubin will come on to this blog – I know he reads it – and tell us why he went there and what he thought about David Wilder?

  216. Armchair Analyst said

    The Telegraph carried a byline under Sharon’s article last week stating that she was currently involved in work on behalf of Scojec.

    I would have thought that the visit to IDF supported David Wilder under Israeli Army escort was a key material part of the visit. I was certainly interested in what the both the young IDF soldier escorts and Wilder himself had to say to a Scottish Government funded delegation. Could it be that we the little people were deemed by Sharon and/or the Scojec Executive as being not sufficiently cognizant of the big picture to be graced with a short report on Wilder?

  217. Community Member said

    Interesting to read the reflections of some of the Pilgrims about their holiday.
    As far as I have read only Howard Brodie, of the Jewish participants has condemned David Wilder without qualifications.
    We can’t really expect more from Philip Mendelsohn – he’s the President of the Rep Council and obviously is not going to make any point of substance regarding this – he’ll be too afraid to make a real stand about anything – but I would have hoped that Rabbi Rubin would have come out and said much much more.

  218. Paul said

    Your blog comes up trumps again. I see that Sharon Mail took advice from the bloggers and notes her interest in Scojec whilst writing about that organisation in the Jewish Telegraph.
    Well done!

  219. Another Community Member said

    Could I suggest that an interesting follow on would be for new Scojec chair, Walter Sneader,to arrange a public meeting that would allow his director, Ephraim Borowski, to explain to the Jewish Community, how this programme to Israel was devised, who was consulted about the itinerary, and what was the purpose of visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs and why an audience was given to David Wilder.
    I am sure Mr Borowski must have had his reasons and a public meeting would also allow the Jewish pilgrims to give us their impressions and thoughts on the controversial aspects that have arisen.
    What harm could there be in arranging this Dr Sneader?

  220. Excited said

    The news in town is that with the departure soon of one Lubavitch chaplain from Glasgow – Dovid Cohen – the most suitable replacement will be to appoint Chaim Jacobs – another Lubavitcher – to the position.
    With his years of experience of working with the youngsters and students the Chaplaincy Board need look no further than Chaim.

  221. Lubavitch Watcher said

    If Rabbi Jacobs is appointed that would be an excellent choice.
    No doubt we will now get the usual claptrap from History Man and A Beitz. But what would they know about the qualifications required of a student chaplain?

  222. History Man said

    But there’s really no need for Rabbi Jacobs to apply for student chaplain! Lubavitch Scotland’s website states that the [late] Rebbe is the Moshiach, and that he will be revealed this year.

  223. Bernard said

    Quite revealing that History Man spends his time reading the Lubavitch website. Can’t think too many would want to put that on their CV.

  224. History Man said

    Yes it’s revealing – reveals the dangerous direction Lubavitch is taking.

  225. Community Member said

    Where have you been History Man? Lubavitch have been spouting this nonsense for years. At least if Chaim becomes chaplain then students won’t go hungry as I’m sure L’Chaims will be available for Friday night dinners!

  226. History Man said

    Since when have students in Glasgow gone hungry? And the logic of Bernard and yourself seems to be 1 that I’m at fault for reading the Lubie website and 2 that because the Moshiach stuff is ‘nonsense’ and has been said for a while, that makes it OK.

  227. Lubavitch Watcher said

    You have started your vendetta again History Man. So far your partner in crime – Beitz – has realised his previous follies and remained silent.
    Why does the Moshiach stuff trouble you History Man? Do you believe that we will go to another world when we pass from this one?
    Surely, to appoint someone like Rabbi Jacobs to the post of chaplain, would mean that students would have as their religious mentor someone with a love of Judaism and an understanding of what motivates the youth today.

  228. History Man said

    Obviously people are free to believe whatever they want. However that doesn’t mean that we would wish to inflict this on Jewish students, many of whom are still forming their standpoint on Judaism.

    The belief in Moshiach is fundamental to Judaism. What is dangerous is the elevation of a particular religious leader, now deceased, to the status of Moshiach in waiting. Great damage has been done in the past to the Jewish community by the activities of false messiahs and their supporters.

    Now why does my description above remind me of a particular chap from Galilee?

    And how do we KNOW that Jesus was Jewish? He lived at home until he was 30, he went into his father’s business, and his mother thought he was God! (In another version, of course, ‘he’s not the messiah, he’s just a very naughty boy!).

  229. Not Another Macher said

    Never mind silly these fantasies – Lubavitch Watcher – you can’t be watching very closely, I hear Lubavitch are currently recruiting a new ‘Campus Rabbi’ who they are planning to place in Scotland, possibly Edinburgh. This is an expansion of their stable of such positions – set up in direct competition to University Jewish Chaplaincy round the country, including in Manchester when that city is already served by the charismatic Rabbi YY Rubinstein.

    Had to have a wee look at their website, – strange, they list Dovid Cohen in this position – how can that be when I always thought he was employed by the Chapliancy Board?

    Some might argue, competition is healthy, but these guys have huge expense accounts and make themselves popular by offering cheap/free food & entertainment – they are not recognised by the University Courts, there is no code of conduct or regulation of their involvement and no professional supervision. – which to me, seems highly irresponsible when dealing with students who may be vulnerable.

  230. Bernard said

    Could you explain which silly fantasies you are talking about Not Another Macher. I am very very intrigued!

  231. Lydia said

    Must be me but can’t see any mention of Dovid Cohen in the link posted by no 229.

  232. Not Another Macher said

    Bernard – The idea that Chiam Jacobs would be considered to fill the NR Chaplaincy post. Apart from the fact that he’s hardly young & with it, who would run the restaurant when he travelled to Aberdeen, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Durham etc?

    Lydia – curiouser & curiouser – it appears to have been removed. I suppose he’s moving down South – or maybe someone realised he shouldn’t have been listed there in the first place……….

  233. Bernard said

    If your only objection to Chaim is that he’s ” not young and with it ” and your concern for the running of the restaurant then the ideal solution would be to appoint Mendel instead. Mendel could do the running about and Chaim could give the directions!
    Do you think Dovid Cohen’s name was removed this afternoon after your post on the blog?

  234. History Man said

    Mendel as student chaplain? Now we’re just being SILLY!

    Anyway, when the vacancy is advertised, they can all APPLY.

  235. Lydia said

    What are the qualifications required to be a student chaplain? Do the students really require a chaplain?

  236. History Man said

    Try: for an explanation of what student chaplaincy is all about.

  237. Community Member said

    This week’s Jewish Telegraph has yet another article describing the most recent activities of Scojec.
    Again the writer of that article – Sharon Mail – does not tell readers that she works for Scojec.
    It really isn’t good enough Sharon. It isn’t good journalism and reflects badly on yourself, the Jewish Telegraph and Scojec.

  238. NLL said

    My newsagent STILL hasn’t got the JT in – so can’t comment on that, or any other article. What is so difficult about distributing a paper in this day and age???

  239. Schneerson said

    Where is Beitz?

  240. History Man said

    Aha! Schneerson is back – revealed as the Moshiach on this blog! Chaim was right all along!

  241. Schneerson said

    Maybe Beitz is the messiah. Last night I had a dream that the messiah would make it clear who he was this weekend. Tell us Beitz, are you the messiah or have you just been a very naughty boy.

  242. Bernard said

    History Man, asking the Chief Rabbi to endorse the idea of student chaplains is like asking the Pope to promote confession.
    Can you offer another more independent endorsement of chaplaincy.
    Also I was told today that Dovid’s house has been put up for sale. If you have still to advertise the position why is the house being sold now? – the new chaplain might have a large family as well.
    Maybe Chaim is after all the new chaplain.

  243. Southside Newsagent said

    NLL #238 My humble apologies,NLL, but if you’d pay your paper bill occasionally I wouldn’t cut you off.

  244. History Man said

    Personally, I was cut off at an early age, and it didn’t do ME any harm.

  245. Not Another Macher said

    Bernard – presumably it’s up to whoever owns the Chaplain’s house to decide if it should be put up for sale. If you are so interested in the details of recruiting a new Chaplain, why not make yourself known to those involved – these committees are crying out for new blood.

  246. Bernard said

    I only suggested that if the house is up for sale then it would appear that you know already that the next chaplain doesn’t have a large family. Otherwise, it would make sense given the current property market to hold on to it.
    I can’t understand why Lubavitch should have had access to our students for so many years. I don’t know who is on the Chaplaincy committee – other than it would appear from your postings that History Man and Not Another Macher claim to know a lot about it – but I would like to know why it was considered suitable to have our students subjected to Lubavitch philosophy for so many years. Dovid may be a nice guy but he is Lubavitch through and through.
    Would you appoint another Lubavitch chaplain to the post and if not, why not?

  247. Bernard said

    Sorry, as I think about this a bit more – History Man is a complete hypocrite. He obviously knows a great deal about chaplaincy but he has posted on this blog continuously having a pop at Lubavitch. How can you employ a Lubavitch chaplain to look after our students whilst ridiculing the philosophy of the movement he represents?

  248. Enigma said

    It is time for an open debate about how best to represent Zionism in the diaspora.

    Firstly, I must say that I have always been a strong Zionist and felt great pride throughout the years of what Israel has achieved. I still see myself as a strong supporter of the ideal and fundamentally believe in the right of the jewish homeland.

    I used to support everything the government did in the name of solidatory and abhor the attempts of other diaspora jews to criticise openly in the UK.

    My opinion has now started to change for a couple of reasons :-

    1) As a Jew, I am seen by non- jews often as a surrogate Israeli regardless of the place of my birth

    2) As I look at the corruption in Israeli society which manifests itself in government is fundamentally at odds with my Jewish principles of ethics and fair play

    3) The illegal expansion of settlements in the west bank continues to be an obstacle to peace

    4) The occupation continues to be a festering sore where the human rights of individuals is comprimised continually

    As a light unto the nations, the bulb is very dim indeed.

    So I believe it is right an appropriate to demand of the Israeli government an explanation of how we can communicate a position to the wider world that allows Jews in the diaspora to feel comfortable that the country has a future in the image it was created and not as a pariah state.

    I believe our representative councils and Scojec and whoever else choses to represent us should help us get that position established. If they cannot do it… they should step aside and let someone else engage the Israeli representative bodies and UK based representative bodies.

    Failure to do so will leave a number of people like myself disillusioned that the Israeli dream will turn into a nightmare and our children will not have a desire to be either supportive or involved.

    Can we continue to ignore the obvious deterioriation in moral fabric any more?

  249. Community Member said

    Very interesting Enigma. Have you just arrived at these conclusions or have you been thinking like this for some time?
    Has something in particular prompted you to speak out now?
    Much of what you write I agree with.

  250. Armchair Analyst said

    I’ve been thinking… Is there necessarily a verifiable connection between the corruption in Israeli public life and the ongoing occupation? They can easily function individually. But have they fed off each other?

  251. enigma said

    CM I have been thinking like this for some time. The reason for speaking out now is that this blog is a perfect medium for discussing the real issues faced by Jewish Zionists in the diaspora.

    My own conclusion is that there are a number of choices for the community to represent Israel in the face of the issues raised:-

    The options appear to be:-

    1) Tell the world that the facts are actually distorted by a pro-Arab media and the reality is completely different

    2) Tell the world that there are things that happen which must be seen in the context of a nation under threat from millions of Arabs many of whom are Islamic fundamentalists and often are terrorists

    3) Tell the world nothing

    4) Engage in a dialog with Israeli people and government officials and develop an understanding of what is defensible and what is not. Accept that it is impossible to defend the indefensible and focus on the positives

    I personally prefer the 4th option… am happy that the other 3 are views other may hold but would like the representatives of our community to think about how we can best represent ourselves.

    On the other hand… I have some hope that the GJEF forum could be the catalyst to make this happen and stimulate the dialogue on the way forward

  252. frank said

    Enigma, you make some excellent points and I agree with what you say. Would be good to have people like you on the rep council to articulate them as well as you do here.

  253. Community Member said

    Thank you for explaining your position in more detail Enigma. I agree with you that the GJEF blog is an appropriate forum to discuss these issues. Unfortunately, other community forums do not want to have a discussion about the best way to present Israel and are afraid of genuine debate and discussion

    You may be interested to learn that I believe GJEF are arranging a public meeting on Sunday 16th November. Apparently the speaker is a guy called Jonathan Boyd and he is going to be talking about the changing relationship between Israel and Jewish Communities and examining whether Israel is still as an important influence in diaspora communities.

    I am intrigued about your point no four. By stating that there are some things which are not defensible we would be in effect putting down in black and white our own red lines. I think this is long overdue and very necessary. There may come a time if it has not already been reached where our interests are not identical to those put forward by this or indeed any Israeli Government.

  254. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I trust you are all well, enjoying the summer and hopefully you have managed to enjoy some rest and relaxation which apart from being good for us all physically is also good for the soul.

    Those of you who are regular watchers or participants in this blog will be aware that I’ve not been around for a while. I’m not making excuses but I have had a great deal going on in recent weeks that I will explain in due course, and I have been enjoying an extended holiday.

    So much has been happening in the Jewish world recently. The announcement last week that Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, will be leaving office in a couple of months, because of the corruption investigations, is something which could impact on all of us. Wherever one stands on the political situation in Israel in relation to the Palestinians, the reality is that nothing much will happen with the Peace Process in the coming months. No one can be happy about this that cares for Israel.

    In our own British community there was the decision of the court to find in favour of JFS against a parent whose child had been refused a place because the mother was not considered Jewish enough by the Chief Rabbi’s office. What a very sad spectacle that was that did not reflect well on the parties involved.
    As I have said previously the sooner we have the cross communal Jewish school in place the better it will be for our community.

    I would like to put some questions to you which I hope you will answer and we can then have a discussion about it.
    If you could change one thing about communal life in your community that would benefit the majority of our community, what would you do?

    What virtues should we expect from our community leaders – secular and religious? Are our communal leaders out of touch and part of the problem rather than part of the solution?

    I have posted one day earlier than usual as I have an important commitment tomorrow night.

    I will be back very soon as I would like to discuss these questions with you.

    Shabbat Shalom

  255. Actually affected said

    I’m a student from Glasgow currently at an English University. I think the conversation on here by members of the community about Lubavitch and the Jacobs family is pathetic. I enjoy being involved in the youth Jewish community at university, however, in Glasgow that is slightly more difficult given that one hardly exists. The only events I have actually come accross or attended have been hosted by Mendel or Dovid. At least they and Lubavitch are actually making an effort to provide some sort of Jewish life for young Jews in Glasgow. Especially as the majority have been either leaving or marrying out.

    People like to have a bash at Lubavitch and I can to an extent see where they come from with certain views they may hold. However, student chaplins are not just responsible for Jewish education. That is a choice that a student would make to involve themselves in. They are there primarily for the welfare of jewish students, and mainly to ensure there is a Jewish social scene. Lets face it, students, especially native Glaswegians aren’t really catered for in Glasgow by our community. One only has to look at the complete farce of an after fast which is basically a alcoholic binge fest for 14 year olds. I would love to bring my friends from down south up to Glasgow for the weekend for an event during the summer. Shame it won’t happen.

  256. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    “Actually affected” must give hope to so many young Scots who consider university entry closed to them them due to a lack of even Standard Grade English.

    He/she posts of the dire scene in Glasgow and may well be right. However, for many years there has been a Student Chaplain (only a Charlie spells it Chaplin) in residence in the city and it is he who must shoulder much of the responsibility if the allegations are in any way true. We are told the Chaplain has among his responsibilities the welfare of the Jewish students and the establishment of a Jewish social scene. It would appear, according to “Actually affected” that he has failed miserably on both counts.

    If mistakes have been made in the past, then one must hope that the Northern Region Jewish Chaplaincy Board will give due regard to them when considering future appointments.

  257. Mr Accurate said

    Many have written before about the conduct of Scojec and Sharon Mail in placing stories in the Jewish Telegraph without revealing that Sharon is a paid employee of Scojec.
    Today’s Telegraph has a front page story which must surely be nonsense. Apparently Scojec have received a £100K grant from the Scottish Government for 4 projects, one of which is supporting the thread of the recent pilgrimage to Israel.
    I cannot believe that this is true. Somehow I cannot see Alex Salmond supporting trips to Hebron Settlers and I think in the absense of any confirmation of this from government sources we should dismiss yet another Scojec news item.
    I don’t believe I am alone but what is it about the Scojec people that they seem to float stories every week to tell everyone how important and useful they are. Are Borowski and Sneader that insecure? It seems that they must be.

  258. Armchair Analyst said

    Believe it Mr. Accurate, it’s almost certainly true. Not quite as munificent an amount as Osama Saeed’s beacon of interfaith understanding received from J. Arthur MacNumpty, but a tidy sum none the less. The story just gets Wilder.

  259. Community Member said

    You got there first Mr Accurate. Every week the community is fed another story about Scojec by Sharon Mail telling us how wonderful Scojec are and how important Mr Borowski is to our survival as a Jewish Community.
    Mr Borowski probably believes this guff – so intoxicated he is by his own ego.
    But considereing people like Kenneth Collins and Walter Sneader knew for years that Borowski was someone who could lead the community down the wrong road they really must be so infatuated by a return to communal prestige as they see it, that they have chosen to forget what they thought about him for so many years.
    These people -Collins, Sneader, Borowski et al are a danger to our community. They act rashly, overstate their case, increasingly boast about imaginary achievements, and enough is enough.

  260. Not Always Negative... said

    Presumably ScoJec have employed Sharon to do just that CM – she’s on the ball & articulate never mind that the JT doesn’t have a Glasgow reporter so are likely to publish almost everything that’s sent to them. More fool other organisations for not doing the same.

    Earlier in this blogg people criticised the established organisations for being moribund, but Ephriam saw a gap and set up something new, just like people were suggesting – they are probably doing many of the things that the Rep Council would have been expected to do – only better.

    There’s not much point in having a go at ScoJec for this and actually they have achieved a number of very positive things – work in the outlying communities and on gettim and shechita for example. Whatever else people think, Ephriam is good at what he does and everything will be fine until he gets into self destruct mode, goes too far and alienates his new best friends. He may well be completely off the wall, but he’s been clever enough to create a niche for himself after falling out with all the established organisations. Meantime he must be having a laugh as the old guard jump ship and join his new boat.

  261. Mr Accurate said

    I can’t remain silent when ” Not Always Negative ” is so so wrong.
    We’ve been here before and my definition of a fool is someone that doesn’t learn from their mistakes. Sharon Mail writes often about Scojec without revealing her interest as an employee of the organisation she is writing about. This is clearly wrong and an ” on the ball ” journalist would
    stop this. With one exception Sharon Mail has refused to do this.
    I don’t believe Ephraim is good at what he does. I actually believe he causes our community much harm and from talking to others I know that they share similar views.
    Scojec are an organisation that seems to be out of control. The constant need for publicity about what they do and the dishonest approach that plants articles that give the impression they are independently written when they are anything but, is by any reasonable standards clearly wrong.
    Anyway, I a agree with Community Member that enough is enough. I am writing to my MSP and to the Scottish Government to state my displeasure. Scojec and Ephraim Borowski claim that they represent this community. They don’t represent me. They have never asked my opinion about anything. They have never sought a mandate on any topic to speak for our community.
    Those of us who know Mr Borowski from old are not that surprised about what has been going on. Those that refuse to listen to what is going on because either they want to think they are important or they have something somewhere to gain from an association with Scojec are contributing to this dire state of affairs. It is time that others spoke out.
    As the old saying goes you can fool some of the people all of the time or even all of the people some of the time.
    What you can’t do is fool all of the people all of the time.
    And I’m heartened that more people seem to be getting wise to Borowski and Sneader and Collins and their friends.

  262. History Man said

    Mr Accurate – get real! The Scottish Government and your MSP aren’t realistically going to lose much sleep because of your letter about Scojec. They are hardly going to seek a new partner in the Jewish community all of a sudden!

    Whatever you think of Scojec is your prerogative. However you can’t expect them to constantly ask the community’s opinion on what they are doing about shechita or gittin or outreach work. They advertised an AGM back in June in the JT. THAT was YOUR chance to go and complain about what they are doing.

  263. ST said

    Mr Accurate is right History Man. I don’t believe that the Scottish Government will be unaware of what Scojec are up to. Do you really think they will be quite happy to have helped fund trips to meet David Wilder?
    Do you really think that Alex Salmond will have said that he’s quite happy to have helped promote that trip.
    Your notion of communal accountability is rather peculiar. Scojec do not only not consult with the community on communal affairs constantly – they NEVER consult with the community on any specific issue. They have never sought the community’s opinion by letter, by e-mail and have never organised a public meeting to discuss any specific issue and to ak for the community’s permission to follow a particular course of action. Look at Kenneth Collins’ Holocaust proposal to build a memorial in Rouken Glen Park – which he claimed was wanted by our community. He had no mandate to do this whatsoever and he misrepresented the position totally and did not even consult with experts.
    An AGM does not give an organisation a mandate to misrepresent the community, nor does it give that organisation the right to claim that they represent our interests to Scottish Government when they have never asked for that privilege. Their ony attempt at legitimacy is to claim that the Rep Council is affiliated to them so that makes everything above board.
    Well I agree with Mr Accurate it isn’t on anymore. You were the guy that claimed that it was okay for Sharon Mail to write articles to the Telegraph without telling the readers that she was on the Scojec payroll because quirky things happen in our community.
    Well it isn’t quirky. It is wrong. And
    you should know better.
    Why would I want Ephraim Borowski to be my representative or for that matter the current chairman Dr Sneader?
    What is it about their communal careers that gives them that opportunity?

  264. History Man said

    Of course not everything these organisations or individuals do is right. What annoys me is that you trash communal organisations and individuals without accepting that some of their work is good.

    You either have to join these organisations and try to effect change from within, or set up new organisations which may meet your criteria and standards. And then see how many people in the community think the same way as you.

    The way to do this is not through this blog (although it can help), but in full public view of the community.

    But let’s just imagine for a minute that you have set up the ST Glasgow Jewish Rep Council or ST Scojec. What do you expect the Scottish Government to do? Ditch the other Scojec? Ask for a ballot of Jews in Scotland?

    I can’t imagine that the First Minister is much interested in the relatively few Jews in Scotland, except at election time.

  265. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    So History Man, Scojec are blazing a trail with their work on gittim and Shechita. Maybe you should get real. The community is dying on its feet. There are fewer and fewer Jewish marriages. Didn’t you clock a recent posting from a Lubavitchophile noting that half the youngsters are marrying out and the rest are leaving. Let us sort out the marriage problem before worrying about divorce. Scojec are doing such wonderful work on shechita yet most of the youngsters left are voting with their taste buds. No Mr History Man, Borowski is fiddling while the community is burning to death.

    Ah yes, I remember him well. Twenty Five years ago he stood at a Rep Council EGM and supported a movement to force the Council to unreservedly condemn Meir Kahane and his racist views.
    This is the same person who has recently led a multi faith party to Hebron to sit in supplication at the feet of Kahane’s successor, David Wilder.

    As far as representing the community is concerned,they represent themselves. As to leadership, they are a sad lot.

  266. Ex Rep Council Delegate. said

    As far as I recall Nachman, Borowski was strangely silent at that meeting about Kahane in 1984. When it actually came to the point of standing up and being seen to adopt a position on a point of principle and morality he was silent. He disappeared. He kept his options open.

  267. Not Always Negative... said

    Mr Accurate – I suspect the decision about how Sharon Mail’s articles are attributed lies with the editor of the JT, not Sharon or ScoJec. I can only conclude his decision not signify she is now working for ScoJec, is for some reason, deliberate.

  268. History Man said

    So what do you suggest? Disbanding Scojoc? (how?) Deciding (unilaterally?) we don’t need such an organisation? Setting up a new organisation? Or getting involved in community organisations from within and trying to effect change that way?

    And meantime, what do you suggest telling the Scottish Government? Don’t deal with anyone in the Jewish community until your new body is ready?

  269. Mr Accurate said

    Scojec do not need to be disbanded. They just need to be judged more accurately. They are entitled to their views – they can peddle them wherever and to whoever wants to listen. But and this is a very important BUT – they will be seen as a small group of people who have their own agenda – but who represent themselves and no one else.
    They will not be seen as the representatives of this community – I’ll bet that the Scottish Government given the pilgrims visit to Israel won’t be too displeased about that.
    Borowski and Sneader and Collins can do what they want but the community will be represented by different groups about different issues.
    I know you are trapped in the past History Man and obviously have a great deal of respect for institutionalised bodies but the notion we need one group to represent our interests as if many of us are incapable of letting our own voices be heard is a relic from a previous age.
    Think about it – Salmond in effect recognised the owners of this blog by agreeing to speak on their platform to address a public meeting of this community. And I don’t think he would have asked Borowski’s permission to do so either.
    As for your friend – ” Not Always Negative ” – it’s time to accept that individuals need to take responsibility for their own actions.
    Sharon Mail is the writer of articles about Scojec – she is their employee.
    Scojec seem to want to put articles in the paper boasting about their work and their supposed influence. Sneader thinks this is the envy of world Jewry.
    But the whole thing is dishonest. Sharon Mail’s name does not appear and the readers of the paper could believe that the article has been written by an independent source.
    It is wrong. Full stop.
    What worries me is that some people seem to want to defend the indefensible and I genuinely worry what their agenda is in doing so.

  270. History Man said

    Believe me, the Scottish Government will not be to keen on having to deal with more than one body in the Jewish community. It just makes things more difficult, as they will not know who to believe.

    Alex Salmond’s speaking to a particular group is in no way an endorsement of that group’s pre-eminence in its community.

    I still need convincing that there is anything better out there. GJEF is fine as a discussion forum, but it has no mandate more convincing than any other group to speak for the community. It also is not an organisation equipped to actually carry out any changes in the community.

  271. Community Member said

    Wrong again History Man. No one as far as I can see has talked about pre-eminence. Why are you so concerned with some sort of power structure in our community?
    You really don’t understand the issues, do you? The community does not need one group to speak for it. Several groups can be consulted on areas that concern them.
    And I think the Scottish Government will have no problem with this at all.
    Is it because you have so many links with the establishment that you find it so difficult to accept that organisations like Scojec have failed, are now fundamentally dishonest in their approach, and are more than likely going to become an even greater embarassment.?

  272. Armchair Analyst said

    I don’t think that copping £100,000 of slush fund money can be termed ‘failed’, at least in Government access and grant raising terms. Mr. Borowski has worked the system successfully. So in fairness has Mr. Saeed.

    Maybe their friend Mr. MacNumpty the ‘Communities Minister’ can shed some light on the rationale behind these endowments?

  273. History Man said

    Community Member – how exactly is the Scottish Government going to know who to consult on issues, and what is going to make them stop consulting Scojec?

  274. ST said

    Why do you think they got £100,000?
    I very much doubt that they have.
    Why should we believe Scojec’s version of events?

  275. Community Member said

    They will be mortified that Borowski spent Scottish Government money to fund trips to David Wilder in Hebron.
    That’s one of the reasons that they will be wary of Borowski in future.
    And History Man, I am sure the Scottish Government have different contacts within our community. Why do you think these people have no idea what goes on? They do.

  276. History Man said

    ST – I can’t imagine Scojec going public with a grant of £100,000 from the Scottish Government if it isn’t true. That’s just paranoia. Why would they lie in print and jeapordise any future dealings with SG?

    Community Member – you are exaggerating. As far as I know, the Wilder encounter was one short bit of a wide-ranging tour. So SG are NOT funding ‘trips to Wilder’. I’m sure that no one in SG has lost any sleep about this matter, even if they’ve noticed!

    They may well know about the ways of Mr Borowski, but I’m sure it won’t make a bit of difference in their future dealings. And I didn’t say these people have no idea what goes on in the Jewish community. I just think they are much happier dealing with an umbrella body with which they’ve been dealing for years, rather than having to find individuals who may represent very narrow interests.

    Would you have them start negotiating with Chaim on behalf of the Jewish community!

  277. Mr Accurate said

    You just don’t understand the issues History Man and you are symtomatic of the problem.
    Because Scojec say they have been given £100,000 you automatically believe it.
    Scojec got a grant from the Scottish Government for the trip to Israel and arranged as part of their itinerary a meeting with Wilder.
    The Scottish Government therefore have funded this meeting.
    And unlike you, I have more faith in Mr Salmond to care about this than you do. I don’t believe they will like it. In fact I am sure that they will be appalled that they were asked to fund things like this. And I cannot believe they will fund it again.
    And they will know that if they ever did this would make the front page of the Herald.
    You may think that ” this was one short bit ” of a tour but it is quite shocking that it happened.
    I find your position quite sad. Maybe you have an involvement with Scojec in some way and that is why you hope that they won’t go away.

  278. History Man said

    I have no connection whatsoever to Scojec!

    What I meant was that I can’t believe that an organisation would go public on the front of the Telegraph with a grant of 100k from the SG if they didn’t get this grant. How could they then look SG in the face?

    And personally I don’t believe that Alex Salmond gives a toss about the Wilder meeting – he has other things to worry about.

  279. Not Always Negative... said

    I have heard that some of the people on the ScoJec trip who met Wilder, were not impressed with him & what he stands for. The itinerary covered a wide and varied selection of views – whilst I find his views a complete anathema – he has a very strong following. It was an excellent opportunity for those who attended to hear just how rancid the views of this man are. The point is they were able to listen to him and draw their own conclusions – they might have just dismissed it as propaganda if they had only been told about him. They certainly wont go back thinking the Settlers are ‘cuddly’ It is education in itself, realising that such people exist and helps explain why achieving peace is so difficult

  280. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I find it very interesting, History Man, that with your “believe me” prefix to comments you effectively attempt to claim some inside knowledge as to the thinking of the SG. Is this so or are you not to be believed? Your argument suggests that it is better for SG to talk to one group no matter how incompetent and unrepresentative it is than to make choices. Why are you so sure that no-one in SG has lost sleep over the Wilder affair? Do you have inside knowledge or are you just spouting nonsense? Having watched the present administration’s rise to power and its successful use of that power despite massive odds, I would credit them with a lot more insight than you do. I would suggest that an incompetent Scojec is, in the long term, a community liability rather than an asset.

    Well History Man, you asked me what I’d do. We have a group, GJEF, excellent and seasoned at organising open community meetings on many subjects. We also have a group that to many of us appears to be self elected or elected by a small cabal of cognscenti. Perhaps they could ask GJEF for a platform to explain to the Scottish Community why they consider themselves to be representative and to subject themselves for the first time to community questions. It would be an opportunity for openness, essential for any representative body

  281. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I have just read your posting #279 and find it quite disturbing. You claim that the views of Wilder are a complete anathema to you and then you bend over backwards in a miserable attempt to justify the trip to Wilder. You don’t even understand yourself because if you really found this man’s views anathema, there would be no excuse for
    giving him a platform. So NAN, make up your mind. Do you have principles or is everything to be compromised on the altar of compromise?

  282. History Man said

    Nachman – I DO have inside knowledge of the workings of the SG.

  283. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Really! That just compounds your problem.

  284. Not Always Negative... said

    It’s a well known fact that people learn better from doing and seeing rather than just reading about something – presumably why the ScoJec trip was arranged, rather than just giving people books & articles to study. So who are you NM to decide that the group should have met only selected ‘moderates’ – if this had happened you would be bleating on that they trip was sanitised. It looks like the meeting with Wilder was more of a wake up call than any literature or lecture would have been!!

  285. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Absolutely right, NAN, who am I. So next time the community has a Holocaust lecture or series of lectures I shall leave it to you to invite David Irving rather than hearing only selected ‘moderates’.
    That will be the mother of all wake up calls.

  286. ST said

    It is always important to try and be positive but I have just read one of the most depressing comments that we have seen on this blog.
    ” Not Always Negative ” you should be ashamed of your comments. I have no idea if you hold any communal positions but if you do I think you should reflect on your position, consider the implications of your statement and then resign. Because you are not fit to hold public office any longer.
    If you do not hold a communal position that is good because hopefully you will not get one.
    In your statement you advocate the benefits of listening to racism , think it is appropriate for ” educational purposes to give racists a platform and think because they have a ” strong following ” that somehow accords them legitimacy, and warrants them an audience of Scottish pilgrims.
    You claim you dislike such views, and that is heartening but do not understand the dangers of according legitimacy to viewpoints which by any reasonable standards and morality are unacceptable.
    I hope you have the decency to apologise. And I would suggest that you need to sit down and think very carefully about the implications of your comments.They are shameful.

  287. Mr Accurate said

    I would suggest that the real problem
    indicated by NAN is their own lack of understanding and education about what David Wilder and the Jewish Settlers of Hebron actually believe in. Rather than advocating education for others it would help NAN to wise up and a crash course would be particularly helpful.
    Isn’t it amusing how History Man now claims to have inside knowledge of the workings of the Scottish Government. Don’t think so. You certainly have no idea about how politics work and your are naive as to how government will view Borowski’s deceptions. Borowski must think you are fantastic. He must laugh himself to sleep about how he has duped you lot into joining his PR team.
    As you are entitled History Man perhaps you could let us know what you know about Borowski’s departure from another communal organisation – the Chaplaincy Board – and the reasons for that.

  288. Armchair Analyst said

    While I’m one of those who considers the views of Mr. Wilder to be anathema, I don’t see the problem in being exposed to his viewpoint – only as part of a reasonably preplanned objective educational exercise.

    On the subject of objectivity, Jews comprise about 1% of the Scottish population. The percentage of Jews on the the Government funded pilgrimage seemed to be closer to 50%. This imbalance leads me to suggest that the delegation was padded with more than few who were chosen under the Old Pals Act. Why then were other, just as legitimate ‘religions’ like Mormons or Pagans etc. etc., not offered a paid place in this unique interfaith project?

    The official advance involvement of both the Israeli government and occupation forces would also suggest a startling lack of objectivity. As part of the planning, one would expect that the PA in Ramallah, and Hamas for that matter, were contacted in advance to have an opportunity to provide the pilgrims with a more rounded objective counter viewpoint during their visit.

    What is now frightening is the award of £100,000 of taxpayer money to a group headed by Mr. Borowski and Dr Sneader. Or is the search for objectivity simply not on the agenda of the SG? Why are fringe people with wildly at odds and controversial ideas about Caliphate Restoration and Greater Israel projects respectively, being awarded six figure sums from the citizens exchequer, given their track records?

  289. Concerned Citizen said

    I would concur with the judgment of ST; those who espouse the politics of hatred and violence should not, under any circumstances, be accorded the presumption of political legitimacy. We have nothing to learn from Kahanists such as David Wilder.
    As the great French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet argued in relation to those who deny the Holocaust:

    A dialogue between two parties, even if they are adversaries, presupposes a common ground, a common respect – in this case for the truth. But with the “revisionists” such ground does not exist . . .
    I have thus imposed on myself the following rule: one can and should enter into discussion concerning the “revisionists”; one can and should analyze their texts as one might analyze the anatomy of a lie; one can and should analyze their specific place in the configuration of ideologies, raise the question of why and in what manner they surfaced. But one should not enter into debate with the “revisionists.” . . . I have nothing to reply to them and will not do so. Such is the price to be paid for intellectual coherence.

    Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of the Holocaust (Columbia University Press: New York, 1992), pp. xxiv-xxv

  290. Observer from London said

    Isn’t it interesting that NAN and History Man have disappeared when questions have been asked that they should answer after their recent postings.

  291. History Man said

    isn’t it interesting that people have OTHER things to do rather than go round in circles on this blog!

    isn’t it interesting that Observer from London automatically thinks the best of people, and assumes that absence of an immediate reply to these blogs automatically signifies something!

    now HERE’S a good game! lets guess how many individual bloggers there actually are, how many people are forming this groundswell of righteous indignation in our community – is it 5 or 10 – or is it many more?

  292. Mr Accurate said

    I would have thought that as you are so acquainted with inside knowledge of the Scottish Government – your words not mine – you would have answered the questions put to you on this blog in the last few days.
    You may call it ” righteous indignation “.
    Others would describe it as knowing how to behave properly, knowing the difference between right and wrong, and thinking that issues of morality matter.
    Or is this “quirky” as well?
    So come on History Man tell us where you stand on the issues recently discussed.
    Do you agree with Nan’s shameful comments?

  293. stamford hillbilly said

    I’m with NAN on this one-you cannot defeat your enemy unless you know him ,and you can’t get peace until you you eradicate the enemies of peace-Wilder is just that , but he is not way out on the margins-indeed there are many in our community who consider him perfectly legitimate….the only way to redress that is to expose him for what he is-then by all means ex-communicate him-but to do so whilst a sizeable support exists for him will achieve nothing.I
    For that reason the trip was a sound and defensible one.
    Ihave spoken to two participants and it sounded very good ; the scojec website has the trip blog on ot-worth A read before further comments from ST…

  294. ST said

    I have read it Stamford. You don’t understand the issues.
    Why don’t you read ” Concerned Citizen” – no 289 and then come back and tell us why you agree with giving racists a platform. And why don’t you invite the BNP to tell our community what they believe in also?
    Speak to as many of the participants as you want to – it doesn’t alter the fact that they gave legitimacy to people who do not deserve a platform. But maybe your issue is that you have no ideological problem with this – or maybe you are just being contoversial – or maybe you just don’t know what you are talking about. And I’m being charitable!

  295. A Turing said

    I was intrigued to read History Man’s posting #291 and have carefully analysed the last 30 postings under the pseudonym ‘History Man’. My conclusion is that there are three different contributors using the same name. The first contributor is interesting and knowledgeable but unfortunately contributes only on rare occasions. The second appears slightly more often but with forgettable contributions. The third is quite prolific but regrettably spouts complete nonsense. So my answer to the third History Man’s question is that there may be far more contributors than he imagines.

  296. Not Always Negative... said

    I’m just cheesed off with the lack of real dialogue and having shameful shouted as soon as someone puts a different point of view. Also like HM, I have other things to do, including a place of work to attend. I have been reading this blogg on and off for a while. I thought the whole reason for the formation of GJEF was to let some real debate take place? Instead it seems that some people – difficult to tell how many there really are – are determined that only one set of views can be ‘right’

    Shame – what started out as a really good forum is imploding.

  297. Ex Glaswegian said

    How embarassing for the Glasgow Jewish Community that Ephraim Borowski thought it prudent to take some people to visit one of the most extreme settlers during their recent trip to Israel.
    As I look at what’s happening in my old community the following comes to mind.
    At least in Glasgow there are still some people prepared to speak out when things are wrong and seek a better community for their children.
    I hope they keep speaking out because without their voices the morality of the community would be dire.
    The converse is that there are people who would rather defend the indefensible and for reasons I find very peculiar somehow want to justify taking Scottish pilgrims to visit racists.
    If the purpose of Borowski’s trip was to show Israel in good light why would anyone want to have a meeting with David Wilder?
    I really hope that NAN, History Man and their most recent compatriot Stamford Hillbilly think again because they are tarnishing further the reputation of the Glasgow Jewish Community which has been dragged into the gutter by Scojec.
    I only wish the community well. Thank you.

  298. Community Member said

    Because you don’t like the way a discussion on the blog is progressing NAN and because you take exception to others commenting that your comments are ” shameful” does not mean that the discussion is not valid.
    GJEF do not control what is discussed on this blog as far as I am aware. NAN, you are responsible for what you posted. Don’t blame the messenger when you get yourself into hot water.

  299. Pilgrimage Watcher said

    New on the Scojec site is the main man’s thoughts – Mr Ephraim Borowski.
    Nothing very illuminating I am sorry to say.
    Don’t think Mr Salmond will be that thrilled to know that Borowski continues to publicise the First Minister’s initial support of the trip. I am sure that the Scottish Government will not be very impressed
    with the itinerary of this trip which has been thought out by people who at best don’t know what they were doing and at worst are apologists for aggressive racists.
    We are told by Mr Borowski that we have an obligation to ” pursue peace ” and “promote the possibility of peaceful coexistence”
    But no explanation how a meeting with David Wilder of the Hebron settlers fits in with this objective.

    Those who have posted that this is all some sort of educational programme and is necessary to truly understand our opponents to combat their ideology are I believe trying to pretend that nothing too serious occurred.
    It did. There can be no justification for giving Wilder a platform and arranging for an interfaith pilgrimage to hear him.
    Borowski made a massive error of judgement and those that defend him and his awful decision look very foolish indeed.
    Nan worries me greatly. Asked to explain their comments, the only retort is to blame the message board that gave this blogger a platform in the first place.
    And finally – Stamford Hillbilly – how sad.
    This blogger seems to take pride in the fact that there are some people in Glasgow who support racist ideology. And his cure – give racism a platform. Don’t give up whatever you do Stamford, because a political scientist or deep thinker, you ain’t!

  300. stamford hillbilly said

    I must say that the attempts by some here to ban discussion ,veto interfaith group visits and generally to clamp down on anything they don’t like is pretty pathetic-……
    On the subject of Wilder no one here seems to disagree that he is the lowest of the low-the arguement revolves around how we treat such a person.
    To my mind , to stand up and acknowledge that we have such a cancer in our midst and by having the balls to expose the non jewish pilgrims to him ,was a brave yet necessary act-no one can accuse us of hiding the problem nor can we be accused of hypocritically ignoring him in our search for peace.To bare one’s sole ,warts and all is an honest and effective way to gain the trust of those we seek to enter into dialogue with-to deny that Wilder merits examination is to deny the importance of deafeating him and his ilk.
    Fact….he enjoys sizable support.
    Fact….he is financially sound as long as his USA supporters choose to send money.
    Fact …he is secure as long as public opinion in Israel doesn’t change and the IDF cover his every move.
    To those who say ignore him , don’t expose the pilgrims to him I ask what will that achieve ?
    If we seek to engage with him he can discredit himself to such an extent that his hithertoe sacred position becomes distinctly wobbly.

    For years the French media refused to give Jean Marie Le Pen a platform ,yet slowly his underground movement gained momentum until he almost won the election ! Those who denied him an opportunity to speak helped create the myth , and the man in the street bought into the myth and voted for him. It is interesting to note that now he is a spent force ,financially bankrupt and considered to be very marginal.The reason is simple -after his electoral success he was never out of the papers or off television and slowly the penny dropped-those who had voted for him saw him for what he was-they were embarrased to have embraced him and next time around he weas slaughtered at the polls. The same logic must apply here-to defeat Wilder he has to be publically humiliated and marginalised-it won’t happen if outsiders are not allowed the opportunity to see it at first hand.

    The trip should be applauded.

    Does GJEF have the desire to host an evening with Scojec and the Pilgrims to discuss their thoughts-especially the non jewish ones ?

    In finishing I understand that Wilder was not the only one to express worrying views to the pilgrims and that others they met ,including Palestinians (not all) ,were also expressing fairly entrenched and extreme viewpoints ; the fact is if any of this means that the pilgrims returned with renewed desire for peace and dialogue then the trip can be judged as an unqualified success.

  301. Armchair Analyst said

    I’m with you Stamford up to a point on this one. How any group of foreigners can go to this part of the world truly seeking a deeper understanding of the entrenched positions on both sides and not also speak to the ‘extremists’ on both sides, is beyond me.

    Might it not be a better idea to send a group of secular humanists and atheists out there on John Q. Taxpayer’s dime? At least the SH brigade have put all that divisive religious mumbo jumbo behind them. And they can tell Wilder and Co. to his face what they really think about him, instead of nodding politely and turning the other cheek.

    Or does the Scottish Government actually believe that those who defer unconditionally to a very old book of one kind or another are more suitable analysts of the ME problem, plus more worthy recipients of the people’s money? If that is the case, we’re all in trouble.

  302. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Of course you are correct Stamford Hillbilly when you support the right to free speech. However, nobody has banned discussion nor attempted to ban discussion because nobody can. The purpose of the pilgrimage, to my mind, was to expose an interfaith group to the positive side of Israel rather than the incessant bombardment of negativity. If you think a lecture from Wilder fulfills that purpose then so be it. You are now in the camp of NAN, covering yourself by pleading anathema but then claiming some positive virtue from exposing the pilgrims to the worst form of Jewish racism. So you answer the question that NAN studiously ignored vis-a vis David Irving.
    The argument does not nor ever has revolved round how we treat Wilder, far from it. The argument revolves round how we treat a group of interfaith pilgrims. Unless I have woken up in some Kafkaesque world, the pilgrims were not some tool bank rolled by the SG in an attempt to discredit Wilder so the analogy with Jean Marie Le Pen is at best fatuous.
    Even were the visit to Hebron to have had some merit and it did not, it would always have been a contentious part of the trip and as such should not have been included. If the organisers did not realise that it would be contentious then they had no right to be in control.
    Meantime, Hillbilly, you get on with baring your soul and when you are ready for a dialogue on how to eradicate racists and racism, I am ready but please, don’t confuse the issues.

  303. stamford hillbilly said

    Irving is so far out on the margins-he makes Le Pen appear mainstream ! As such he doesn’t need too much attention.Wilder on the other hand may be offensive to you and I but he enjoys state backing and military protection and can rely on multi million dollar sponsorship-to that end he merits attention-the analogy with Irving is misplaced , they represent different threats and if you feel that you’d rather take what you perceive as the moral highground and play ostrich then good luck to you-at least you’ll have someone to protest about for years to come , especially when Wilder becomes an MK.
    I’d rather not run that risk.
    Hebron is the issue-so why not take them there-will it not at least trigger debate about the rights and wrongs of Israel’s position ?
    Would you rather they had spent their time only visitng spas ,beaches and safe sites ?
    You have only criticised-you have offered no credible alternative other than a censored , sanitised trip .You have also accused me of being confused and fatuous…….you need to learn to be humble , to listen and to compromise…you and Mr Wilder.
    How ludicrous of you to say that because Hebron would be a contentious part of the trip that it shouldn’t have been allowed…I’ll tell you what next time they should all just go to Bournemouth…..oh no wait a minute Rabbi Jesner is there and didn’t he once support Kahane , ok lets just stay at home for the next fact finding , interfaith trip , that way we’ll not give them anything to complain about.
    Wake up Nachman you armchair pontification is so last century.

  304. ST said

    S Hillbilly really does not understand what this is all about. Very verbose but not much understanding.
    Hillbilly are you that naive? Do you really think these pilgrims were taken to meet Wilder so that Scojec ” could acknowledge that we have a cancer in our midst?”
    Do you honestly think that this was about ” having the balls to expose the non-Jewish pilgrims to him?”
    Do you truly believe that this was Scojec’s way of ” bearing one’s soul, warts and all?”
    Of course you know it wasn’t. If this had been the remotest intention of Mr Borowski would he not have announced it prior to beginning his pilgrimage? Would he not have returned declaring his outrage at what Wilder had told him?
    You state that Wilder needs to be publically humiliated and marginalised. How is that achieved by Scots visiting him in his enclave in Hebron?
    How does that contribute to his demise? No doubt you sincerely hope that Wilder would be widely and publically condemned by all the pilgrims. But not much evidence of this in their statements on the Scojec website – so your hopes have floundered?
    The occupation has corrupted the morality of Israeli society. Some things which not too long ago would have been widely unacceptable have now because of the occupation gained a legitimacy.
    The saddest aspect of the debate on this blog is that it is now evident that the occupation has corrupted the values of many within our community in Glasgow. And those that think somehow that there is an educational purpose in meeting people like Wilder and somehow believe that offering him a platform to vent his poison is commendable and justifiable make me really worry about the future here.
    S Hillbilly if this is acceptable and to be “applauded” in Glasgow, I really do fear for our future and our children’s. If our morality and ethics sink so low then what is the point of us being a Jewish community?

  305. Onlooker said

    Stamford,there are Israeli MKs that have similar views to Wilder. Does that make you feel better about the Hebron settlers or worse? Wilder does have Israeli army protection. Do you think this is right or wrong?
    Without an explicit comdemnation of Wilder how do you believe that Scottish society will know that the Jewish Community does not support his views?

  306. stamford hillbilly said

    Seems to me that you , NA and others don’t really care that much about the Wilder thing-you are just using it as an excuse to pursue your personal , parochial vendettas…..sad really that you will forego healthy debate -easier to tell me I misunderstand…wish I had your great intellect.
    Mendel sorted , Mendelsohn sorted ,EB sorted…who’s next on your list ?
    Do tell me.
    Your sanctimonious claptrap is not helpful. You do this wondeful blog idea a diservice.

  307. stamford hillbilly said

    Onlooker my last post was not a response to you-it was to ST. To answer your point the condemnation one would hope would follow the visit.Prior to the visit I don’t recall a debate about Wilder far less an objection.Now we are debating him and rejecting him……..can you see the link. Even Nachman must see that..if not he should consult Black and Lizars…I hear they are good opticians and can deal with myopia.

  308. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Get your facts right, Hillbilly. I supported the visit and it was only when they crossed the green line, I took exception. So there was no campaign against individuals. I would direct you to the relevant posting but its time for you to educate yourself before attempting to educate others. Scroll back, you’ll find it. I am delighted that you find Irving beyond the pale. It means that there are lines that cannot be crossed. The only argument is where we set them. You have set yours. Please allow me the privilege of setting mine. As for the personal allusions, you do yourself a disservice.

  309. ST said

    I will ignore your posuring and gymnastics that you hope will get you out of the mess you are now in.
    I think it would be useful and constructive if you answered some of the points I put to you about this trip.
    I will repeat them so that hopefully this time we will get a proper answer from you.
    “You state that Wilder needs to be publically humiliated and marginalised. How is that to be achieved by Scots visiting him in his enclave in Hebron?”
    “How does that contribute to his demise?”

    Now Stamford, are you prepared to enlighten us all.

  310. stamford hillbilly said

    My line is drawn according to the need to re-act-yours is drawn according to your view of the other’s politics-my line moves yours does not.My fluidity allows me to attack what I don’t like -your intransigence leads you to attack those who have broadly similar views to your own but forbids you from attacking those you abhor…….what’s the good in that ?
    Come on Nachman-you are a good man , a clever man…be receptive to new ideas and tactics. What is more important-some clever banter to put me down or taking on the enemies of peace ?

  311. Mr Accurate said

    How can one possibly believe Hillbilly that you are taking on the enemies of peace by meeting Wilder in Hebron?
    Your banter is not remotely clever. Your argument is not only flawed, it is jumbled and confused.

  312. Another Onlooker said

    Perhaps it would be helpful if we reminded ourselves what this is all about. Scojec organised a trip for Scottish pilgrims to visit Israel and the West Bank
    Some people have posted that it was unacceptable to visit Hebron under the supervision of the Israeli army and if the desire was really to see what was going on then a much wiser alternative would have been to go there with B’Tselem – The Israeli Human Rights Organisation.
    It then became apparent that not only did the pilgrims visit Hebron, they also were spoken to by David Wilder, spokesmen for the Hebron Settler Movement, possibly the most extreme of all the settlers.
    We now have the most recent claim by Stamford and NAN that this had some educational benefit and the real purpose was to show Israel in good light. History Man also seems to believe that there is a benefit in arranging such trips. Previously A Beitz told us that he supported going to Hebron but thankfully he has now taken a long overdue vow of silence.
    My question to all of them, and in particular to Stamford Hillbilly is this.
    Why do you continue to defend meetings with people like Wilder when you claim that his views are abhorrent? Why do you defend Scojec when it is obvious that the implications of these meetings were not properly thought out? Why do you defend an organisation that has misrepresented the position to the Scottish Government?
    Why does Wilder deserve an audience to explain his ideology?
    As I look at this debate – I have come to the conclusion that you must have an alternative agenda for defending all of this?
    What do you hope to achieve?

  313. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    You’re absolutely right, SH. My line is fixed. There are places so evil you don’t go there. Nor do I envy you the fluidity to alter and compromise your principles when it suits. Nature’s answer has been the chameleon whose colour is a reaction to its background. Similarly, you do not set your own lines, others decide for you, you react.
    PS Don’t be too nice to me, it makes me suspicious!

  314. Blog Supporter said

    Looks like this blog has notched up another significant victory. For the first time in weeks the Jewish Telegraph has no story about Scojec and Borowski and Sneader and Collins.
    Nothing at all. And thankfully no photos either. No grinning, smirking Mr Borowski to spoil my chicken soup this week.
    Keep up the good work bloggers. You have finally given us a Scojec free week. Hopefully Sharon Mail has now realised that the readers are not interested in continuous press releases from this organisation – most of which appear to be fantasy and drivel.
    So it’s goodbye from me and hopefully goodbye to them.
    Shabbat Shalom

  315. Telegraph Reader said

    I’m actually hoping that they do come roaring back soon in the hallowed pages of the JT. For instance:

    Dr. Sneader can inform us of his personal position on David Wilder’s movement.

    Mr. Borowski can relay keynote excerpts from his successful £100,000 grant thesis submitted to Mr. MacNumpty the Communities Minister.

    Ken Collins can update us on the wildly popular Rouken Glen Holocaust Memorial project.

  316. ST said

    It has been more than obvious in recent days that NAN and Stamford Hillbilly have been floundering all over the place in attempting to justify the Scojec trip to Wilder in Hebron. The silliest reason they could find was that this trip was of educational merit and to know Wilder one had to meet him and listen to his vitriol.
    They forgot that good education depends very much on who is doing the educating.
    I therefore would like to draw their attention to page 6 of this week’s JC.
    They should read an article about a fact-finding visit last week by British diplomats to Hebron, during which their car was attacked by settlers and their trip decscribed by these same settlers as anti-semitic.
    Now apart from the very strong probability that it was these same settlers who were chosen by Borowski to address the Scojec trip, there was one crucial most important difference in the diplomats visit from that of the Scottish pilgrims.
    The diplomats were on a tour organised by human rights group – Breaking the Silence. Breaking the Silence is led by former Israeli soldiers who have served in Hebron. The settlers think that these ex soldiers are anti Israel and anti-Jewish.
    Now maybe NAN and Stamford, not forgetting your associates History Man and Beitz will finally realise that visiting the settlers in Hebron under proection of the IDF will only give the visitors a picture that the Israelis want them to see. The alternative of going there with Breaking the Silence or Btselem is substantially different. Then they might have learned something.
    So come on Stamford et al, admit that you are wrong.

  317. shul seeker said

    does anyone know a website showing shuls in different places-GRAN CANARIA to be specific…?
    Thanks in advance.

  318. Missing Person - AWOL said

    Does anyone know what has happened to Mr A Beitz. He used this blog to pontificate daily about communal and other concerns. And now nothing.
    Perhaps Lubavitch have put a spell on him that has made him disappear?
    Or maybe he has joined the Rep Council to become a member of the defunct establishment? Or maybe he has joined Scojec and has decided that after all Ephraim Borowski is a good guy? I wonder if he is on their payroll as well?
    Or maybe A Beitz is simply no more?
    Any help in finding this missing person would be most welcome.

  319. Admin said

    Comments are now closed. Please see the latest post on the subject of the proposed Holocaust memorial in East Renfrewshire.

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