Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

Charles Kennedy to Address the Glasgow Jewish Community

Posted by Admin on December 8, 2008

charles-kennedy-5We are delighted to announce that the Rt Hon Charles Kennedy MP, will address the Glasgow Jewish Community on Sunday 8th March 2009 at Mearns Castle High School at 8.15pm.

Mr Kennedy has been MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber since 1983. Born in Inverness in 1959, he was brought up and educated in Fort William, and attended Glasgow University. Following his graduation in 1982, he worked as a journalist and broadcaster with the BBC.

In May 1983 he was elected to the House of Commons as an SDP Member of Parliament to become the youngest MP of the time. He was the first SDP MP to back the merger with the Liberals after the 1987 general election and he was elected UK Party President in 1990. In August 1999 he was elected as the leader of the Liberal Democrats and he was appointed to the Privy Council in October 1999.

He took the Liberal Democrats to their most successful election performance for some 80 years when they returned 63 MPs in May 2005. He stood down as leader of the party in January 2006.

In September 2007, he was unanimously elected President of the European Movement in Britain and he is also Rector of Glasgow University.

Charles Kennedy is one of Britain’s most recognisable politicians. A regular writer in the national press and a frequent participant in “Have I Got News For You”, this is a wonderful opportunity for the Glasgow Jewish Community.

Mr. Kennedy will address our community on the 8th March 2009 and his talk will include his impressions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, human rights issues and world affairs. He has also agreed to take questions from the floor.

The lecture will be open to all members of the community and we anticipate a very high demand for tickets. There will be a £5 donation per person, which will help recover some of our costs. We hope that you can be with us on what we are sure will be a memorable occasion. To apply for tickets for the event, please use the Contact form on the website.

Charles Kennedy 6
(All images ©2004 Alex Folkes)

367 Responses to “Charles Kennedy to Address the Glasgow Jewish Community”

  1. A Beitz said

    Congratulations on getting Charles Kennedy. However on a more immediate front I see GJEF have a meeting on Sunday headlined “Are we under threat? The politics of anti-semitism and community security.”
    I would have thought Mark Gardner or someone else from the CST should have spoken at such a meeting. Have they not been invited?

  2. Community Member said

    I understand that Mark Gardner was invited to participate but declined because he doesn’t wish to discuss the issue of community security. He obviously believes that there is only one side to the argument – his.

  3. shosh said

    Did he decline because he was feeling a little insecure?

  4. Frank said

    Why does everyone in any official capacity in the Jewish community tend to shun GJEFs advances? Are they unhappy because they feel that others are dabbling in their business?

    On a separate note, I heard that the CST are running a session entitiled “Is the GJEF blog secure?” They have invited all the machors in GJEF but I hear that they are still awaiting a reply.

  5. A Beitz said

    I find it all very strange. The CST is communally funded and that is the sole source of its income. It is fair to say it does not hide its light under a bushel. Indeed its website lets you navigate to its press office which has a dedicated email address and telephone number. So it’s quite happy to talk to the press about its work and the security threat but not to the Jewish community that funds it. Why?

  6. Community Member said

    I think you will discover the answer when you hear what Adam Sutcliffe has to say on Sunday evening. Can someone confirm the time and venue. Thank you.

  7. Captain Mannering said

    GJEF sent me an e-mail. Meeting is this Sunday evening – 14th December – Giffnock Synagigue Reception Area, 8pm.

    Dr Adam Sutcliffe – ” Are we under threat? The politics of anti-Semitism and community security.”

    Will those local members of the CST – some of whom think they are the guardians of our security and in the front line – turn up to learn something?
    I would like to think that these people who very kindly give up their time to help us, will have a desire to actually find out about why they have to stand outside in the cold.

  8. CST supporter said

    Mark Gardner was, apparently, asked to speak but was given the impression he was to be the sole speaker. CST have a policy of declining invitations to participate in debates as it is felt that there is no need for CST to justify it’s existence to it’s detractors and once the intended format of the meeting was finalised Mark declined the invitation for that reason only. I am sure an invitation to speak in Glasgow would be warmly accepted so long as the organisers are not intent on courting controversy for its own sake.

    CST is funded through a national fundraising campaign and the Glasgow group now receives all it’s funding through the Manchester (Northern Region) office except where funds have been raised locally for specific projects for Glasgow CST.

    CST Glasgow provides cover for Jewish events, wherever and whenever possible, irrespective of political affiliation or religious/secular proclivity and is run entirely by volunteers who give their time and effort unstintingly despite the very small numbers available. It should be remembered that reported anti-Semitic activity in Glasgow, in common with the rest of the UK has risen dramatically over the last few years and whilst it is fashionable in some circles to write the CST off as unnecessary or worse, it should be remembered that ‘door work’ forms a small part of CST’s operations and that a lot of effort goes into advising groups on event and building security, teaching street awareness to kids and other potentially vulnerable groups. A large proportion of the effort in securing events goes into giving directions, helping people park sensitively, and helping the less able up and down stairs etc not to mention representing a positive image of our Community to the general public.

  9. Community Member said

    I’m afraid CST supporter you are quite wrong. My understanding is that Mark Gardner was always aware that GJEF had invited Adam Sutcliffe to speak on the same platform as himself. My contacts within GJEF have told me that there is correspondence to prove this.
    I would suggest that Mark Gardner chickened out of this discussion/debate because he was scared that serious debate within the community about security might just leave his arguments exposed to scrutiny and maybe even wanting.
    The position of the CST in telling everyone that anti-semitism is increasing, and lobbying government for funding, but being unwilling to explain their position within the community that they are trying to defend, is quite simply ridiculous.
    It is a very interesting statement that you have made CST supporter – “anti semitic activity in Glasgow has risen
    dramatically over the last few years. ”
    I presume that there are crime statistics available to prove this claim? Perhaps you will share it with us or maybe you will tell us that it is a secret.
    Perhaps you will turn up and hear Adam Sutcliffe on Sunday – you might learn something. Perhaps also the CST will also be on duty – something that has happened very very rarely at the GJEF events that I have been to.

  10. A Beitz said

    If CST Supporter is representing his organisation’s position correctly then all I can say is that this is amazing arrogance by them. They are communally funded but will not take part in debates as a matter of policy! I find it amazing they want the community to fund them but are not prepared to engage in discussion but instead seem to want a monologue. I could just about understand if CST had a policy that they simply didn’t speak about their work due to it being of a sensitive nature but to be perfectly prepared to hold forth but not if someone is given a platform to take a contrary position is as I indicated arrogance. I could of course be wrong and arrogance is not the problem but a lack of confidence that they’ll be able to withstand any challenge.
    Whatever it is it doesn’t reflect well upon them and indeed makes a number of other organisations which have been criticised for lack of accountability appear models of openess in comparison.

  11. Citizen of Glasgow said

    I would urge CST supporter to obtain employment with NCP. As the CST ” helps people park sensitively ” this line of work would be a more appropriate form of passtime than trying to magnify the threat of anti-semitism. I have lived in Glasgow all my life and I think the claim that ” anti-semitism has increased dramatically ” in Glasgow in recent years is rubbish. Where is the evidence?

  12. A Beitz said

    What also irritates is that although I don’t know what Adam Sutcliffe’s views are if he is critical of all or certain aspects of the CST’s work I’d like to have heard the CST view on this. I don’t have a lot of knowledge about the subject and the CST seem determined that if I am to add their perspective to that knowledge it can only be on their terms.
    I have a lot of admiration for people who voluntarily spend evenings out in the cold and wet providing the CST’s services. Unfortunately I now have little for those who should be explaining on Sunday night why they are doing that.

  13. CST supporter said

    Hmmm, I sense a little ‘outraged of Giffnock’ in some of the replies above which mostly seem to be from the same person under different sobriquets IMO – one of both my and Beitz’s objections (and any other reasonable person’s) to this format for discussions – I’m not sure who I’m being expected to reply to!

    Let’s make a distinction between the work of National CST and the many local groups. As I can only speak personally and not representing CST’s views (as it may have seemed previously) but as an active member of many year’s standing perhaps I can first assuage CoG’s panic that perhaps CST is trying take business from the poor people of NCP. I assume you are, from your tone, a rejected job applicant? Glasgow CST does not publish any figures nor make any claims as to the increase in reported crime but my experience from talking to victims is that there has been not only a marked increase in the last 12 months but the type/style has changed as well from nuisance name calling or abusive nonsense at a distance to actual physical attacks on people and buildings. Of course an increase from 1 to 3 incidents is ‘dramatic’ statistically.

    At a local level the work we do is very much communally orientated and a lot of work is done with those who have suffered anti-semitic attacks and/or wish to be better prepared at avoiding or preventing them in the future. For obvious reasons, one cannot reasonably be expected discuss figures on a public forum but Glasgow CST is happy to talk to any Jewish organisation or individual with concerns.

    Those who, like me, are willing to commit themselves to the time, effort and potential risk of securing events do so for as many reasons as there are people. We make every attempt to cover events but as with many organisations here we simply do not have enough people. Mark Gardiner has come up to Glasgow quite recently and spoke at Giffnock Shul to some 150 people about CST and its efforts. Perhaps Community Member would be better informed had he made the effort to go that Shabbat, it was advertised in the JT after all.

    I will be at Sunday’s meeting if at all possible. I am interested to learn what parallels an expert on Jewish history from 1500-1800 might have to draw on 21st Century Jewry (assuming I’ve found the bio on the correct academic)

  14. Community Member said

    So we are talking to an active member of the CST, not simply a supporter. Well perhaps you can answer a couple of simple questions. In your initial post you told us the reasons you believed that Mark Gardner would not be speaking at Sunday night’s meeting. Are you speaking for Mark Gardner? GJEF, I believe, have correspondence to prove that Mr Gardner’s position as you stated it, is not the correct story. If you are not his official representative, then perhaps you will clarify why you tried to muddy the waters by claiming something that was not true. If you have been made Mr Gardner’s official spokesperson in Glasgow then I suggest you ask him to properly inform you regarding the facts pertaining to his invitation.
    I would also like you to tell us whether the police would confirm your statistics and whether they have proper evidence that the nature of anti-Semitic attacks has indeed changed as you claim?

  15. A Beitz said

    May I thank CST Supporter for posting. What he’s doing is engaging in discussion re community security which is exactly what Mark Gardner or his representative should have been doing on Sunday.
    The recorded levels of anti semitic activity of course depend upon a number of factors. Obviously one of these is how much of these activities are taking place. However equally the amount of reporting is something which has a bearing with some victims seeing no point in making a complaint. The police in my experience are sometimes reluctant to take a note of a crime which they consider they will be unable to successfully have prosecuted so if the person making the complaint has no idea as to the perpetrator again it may not be recorded. Equally if there is a lack of corroboration it may not be noted. There is of course the definition of anti semitic which for someone viewing himself as a victim can range from an inocuous anti Zionist comment to a physical attack. In the case of the latter it may not always be clear as to whether there was an anti semitic motive. Cat calls from some wee idiot who’s under substance influence may well be unpleasant and in some cases frightening but I suspect it’s rarely the subject of a complaint. It is also fair to say that someone who is shomer shabbat may not be in a position to make a complaint where the matter is not life threatening if the incident occurs on shabbat. As a result I suspect there is under recording although that does not mean that the number of incidents has increased.

  16. CST supporter said

    Well, Community Member, I would like you to explain how you manage to talk so authoritatively on private GJEF correspondence when you are apparently unable to confirm the date and time of the next meeting.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in awaiting, with baited breath, proof that you have access to what I would hope is confidential correspondence. If you are not a GJEF Committee member (or whatever it may be referred to) I believe GJEF has a responsibility to its subscribers and invitees to explain how confidentiality has been so casually disregarded. If you are of the GJEF inner sanctum, however, perhaps you can justify the public discussion of private correspondence using (or is that abusing) the thin cloak of anonymity of the Blog?

  17. Community Member said

    Are you representing Mark Gardner or are you not CST supporter/member.
    You have chosen to forget that only yesterday you introduced the subject of Mark Gardner’s refusal to particpate in Sunday’s meeting and you told us the reasons why. I responded by asking you how you know what Mark Gardner’s position is.
    I suspect that he might not be at all happy with you leaking information. And anyway how do you know that the correspondence between Gardner and GJEF was private?

  18. CST supporter said

    Beitz, The issue of crime reporting is a thorny one, I agree (cf rape cases). What I have is more of an impression as I am not on the CST Management Committee but I do have my ear to the ground.

    Glasgow CST has a fair number of incidents reported to us that would be under the Police’s radar and these include a Buckie ridden ned shouting Seig Heil as he ran past a Shul or a stone or similar thrown at a Rabbi’s car or house. We also get reports of supposed abuse where it is of a more anti Israel or pro Palestinian nature and these tend to be more irritating than threatening. A well know example is the painting of the word “Hizbollah” on the pavement outside Garnethill Shul. CST collates all this information but I hope would apply common sense to the results.

    I know of a ‘fair’ number of incidents in the last 8 or 9 months including verbal and physical attacks on those readily identified as Jews and religious buildings and some examples of notes and letters being put through the letter boxes of the same people and buildings.

    Again, what is interesting is not the numbers, which are significantly higher than previous years (and no, Community Member, I am NOT interested in playing silly games on semantics, I’m trying to have a reasonable discussion here) but that the directness, the brazen-ness of the incidents has increased. This could be construed as confidence in the perpetrators mind that they have a perverted idea of moral high ground, an increased alacrity to report incidents, an increase in Communal nervousness or it could just be a normal part of the sine wave of incident occurrence/reporting.

    To get back on topic, however, it is imperative that there is a Jewish organisation that is approachable, respected by Communities and Police alike to collect and collate such data and attempt to turn it into meaningful information as well having the experience and skills to minimise fear and reduce the likelihood and/or effect of future incidents. I can bore for Scotland on some of incidents I’ve been involved with over the last 18 years or so including one where we were discovered a break-in and fire at Cathcart’s Tahara House on a stormy Halloween night!

    There is a massive difference between the policy makers’ attitude to discussion of our situation and the footsloggers’. I’ll not discuss specifics but I can and will debate the reasons so long as it is not made into an adversarial contest which, I believe, is unnecessary and inappropriate to an adult discussion.

  19. CST supporter said

    Now, now CM. It was you who brought up Mark’s refusal in typically agitational style.

    Please answer the questions, or can you not without accepting that you/GJEF have broken confidentiality and that in an poorly orchestrated attempt to drum up interest in Sunday’s meeting you have inadvertently made an error worthy of the Rep Council?

    Hmmm, can it be considered ‘orchestrated’ if carried out by one person? I suppose we’ll never care.

  20. CST supporter said

    Forgot to add to line 1

    in CM’s original post, 2 above.


  21. Community Member said

    If you have anything to do with our community’s security CST member then we are in big trouble.
    You hit the key board without thinking time and time again.
    You told us why Mark Gardner would not appear – implying that you were in the know – and you now refuse to confirm whether you are speaking with his knowledge or not.
    You then attack the organisation that offered Gardner a platform by implying that GJEF were inviting controversy by wishing to have a proper discussion on the issue.
    You also refuse to answer questions as to why the CST almost never have covered GJEF meetings. I believe there have been only 2 exceptions.
    And you won’t tell us how you know that the correspondence between GJEF and Gardner was controversial.
    If your organisation was interested in a serious discussion where your claims could be discussed properly the CST would have accepted the invitation to appear with Adam Sutcliffe.
    They have missed an opportunity.

  22. A Beitz said

    Let’s leave out how CM knows about correspondence or whether that correspondence was private. Let’s equally let CST Supporter have his say without further demanding an answer as to whether or not he is Mark Gardner’s representative on earth. I think the issues (as Tony Benn might say) are important and are being discussed. We don’t need the tangents.
    I’m also interested in both the proportionality of our response and whether the CST can actually prevent anything serious.
    In the case of the former I am aware that at at least one communal building which is almost entirely used by people suffering from serious mobility problems it has been claimed the police and CST have advised there should be no dropping down or picking up by car at the front door to avoid a similar scenario as occurred at Glasgow Airport. Now frankly I think the chances of any terrorist attempting to repeat the Glasgow Airport scenario are minimal. The prospects of it happening at a care organisation on the outskirts of Glasgow are a million times less. However that seems to be the advice given. We do have to look at the risks and the inconvenience caused and stopping people being taken by car to the door when they are wheelchair bound seems too high a price to pay.
    At what level of threat do the CST consider they can provide protection? Clearly they would be powerless against an efficient well motivated terrorist but at a lesser level what can they achieve?

  23. CST supporter said

    Again you confuse yourself but I am not interested in playing sill semantic games with you. Do you want to have an adult discussion? I’ll assume that you do and ignore your deliberate obfuscation.

    I am an active CST member and have personally covered a significant number of your meetings and made valiant attempts to ensure that cover was provided when requested. We are a small group and cannot cover every event as we would like and sometimes we simply do not have the manpower. This has been explained to GJEF and others.

    I am involved with several organisations and I do not agree with everything they say or do. CST is no different. As I’ve said already I am happy to discuss issues concerning CST and our Community but will only do so in a non adversarial atmosphere. I do not need to justify or explain my involvement with CST nor do I need to discuss, in public, my correspondence with CST Head Office. Perhaps everyone watching (assuming more the 3 or 4 are) now appreciates why many Communal organisations are loathe to get involved with GJEF, it is impossible to get a fair hearing where those running the group hide behind anonymity and snipe with ridiculous leading questions but singularly fail to answer those self same questions when returned in kind.

    You accuse me of attacking GJEF. Incorrect, I have asked some simple questions that you have failed to answer so I see no reason to debate anything with you.

  24. Community Member said

    Those that wish to understand why the CST puts a gloss or particular slant on statistics concerning anti-Semitism and the reasons why they magnify the problem and refuse to debate or discuss the issue with anyone who does not agree with the stance that they take will turn up to hear Adam Sutcliffe.

  25. CST supporter said

    Beitz brings up a very tricky scenario to which there is no answer.

    There appears to be a move in the UK to try an remove any and all risk irrespective of cost or inconvenience. If we change our lives to live in a security bubble then the terrorists have won without lifting a finger.

    If we consider a communal building used almost exclusively by those with special needs as a potential target then (and I’ve got my building security advisor hat on here) we must look first at the physical risks like location, accessibility, escape routes and proximity to other buildings and then at how attractive it may be as a target. For those who look at the Glasgow Airport attack and think we’re all now targets don’t forget that had the rebuilding been done in a style akin to Ben Gurion then the risk would have been minor. Even now all it would take is 1 person and a suitcase filled with nails and semtex to pretend to check in and hundreds could be dead. There is reluctance to think pro-actively in Europe.

    Back to our building. Say it is at the end of a cul de sac or part of a complex of other buildings, how attractive is the complex, how is it used and how often. Is there monitored CCTV to watch for suspicious characters casing the joint (for burglary as much as anything worse) and is it obvious? Are physical measures going to upset visitors unjustifiably? My view, and my advice if it were sought out, would be to introduce simple security measures to make it all more visible to those who might mean harm but still unthreatening to those using the facilities who have enough on their plate. Denying vehicular access is simply ridiculous.

    Now the vexing issue of what good is CST physically. On the understanding that anyone who is prepared to lose their life in order to take our is almost impossible to guard against in the UK we must look at the lesser threats and what good we might be against them. As Douglas Adams says in HHGTTG “in a fight between us and the obsessed guys my money is on the obsessed guys every time”. In this case we are the obsessed ones as it is our family and friends inside the event we are protecting and whether it is the nice middle class Uni lecturer type who come to the Hilton every year to hurl abuse to the Craigholme educated muslim student who asks ever so politely to be allowed to demonstrate in the hall during Yom Ha’atsmaut we should be there to deal with the threat. Almost every large event attracts some hassle and perhaps it is a measure of CST’s training and effectiveness that these incidents go unnoticed by those attending.

    For the small events like Rep Council or shul meetings, or (and forgive me for a bit of honesty here) most GJEF meetings, where numbers are below 25 and are not massively promoted then CST cover is mostly not required and we would be there for window dressing only. At bigger events like KKL, Yom Ha’atsmaut/ Yom hashoah/Chas Kennedy type meetings then we are essential as much for stewarding reasons as any other. We work very closely with the Police on big events and after the last big event where every person allowed in by the Police against our recommendation caused trouble, we have earned their respect and hope one day to earn the Community’s.

    Apologies for the length, it’s been a long day!

  26. Citizen of Glasgow said

    Whilst we need to be vigilant the exaggerated pontifications about our security are not helpful.
    I attended the address by the First Minister at Mearns Castle High School. There was no CST presence. I asked a GJEF member where the CST were and I was told that the CST had been informed about the date and venue. They didn’t turn up. Now if that kind of high profile event is not worth covering then what is. I am a little cynical – no very cynical – when any organisation tells the world how good they are at their job and tells us that they protect us better than the police.
    My gut feel is that the threat is exaggerated because it suits the purpose of the CST to do so.

  27. CST supporter said

    I too am cynical, CoG, but I am cynical of those people who deliberately misquote in a vague attempt to turn a discussion into a debate.

    We are not there to protect the speakers specifically but to provide a level of cover for the Community. As I’ve said a number of times, we are volunteers with very limited numbers and resources and cannot do everything. We have to assess each event on it’s own merits and a ticket only event at a non Jewish building with an non-controversial speaker (in Jewish/Israel terms) does not always get the response from our members that the more exciting events do. IIRC that week there were a number of very large events including Yom Ha’atsmaut and we simply ran out of people.

    Now to your comment “I am a little cynical – no very cynical – when any organisation tells the world how good they are at their job and tells us that they protect us better than the police.”

    I made no claim at being better than the Police and it is disingenuous of you to suggest otherwise. At successive JNF/KKL events over many years we have spotted trouble makers that the Police have allowed through and have earned the Police’s respect for being good at our job. We are obsessive about it and we make no apology for that but what we do is very different from the Police. The Police are there to maintain public order which includes the tricky balance of the Right to demonstrate and the Right to go about ones business free from intimidation. We are there to keep the trouble makers out of the event. We know who we’re looking for and as the [temporary] Management we can exercise our right to refuse admission. We can be proactive where the Police cannot but we can only act with the permission and support of the event organisers, the building owners/tenants and the Police.

    Glasgow CST does not comment on threat level because it does not have a crystal ball. I can tell you about the past and each person can draw conclusions, as I have done, but it comes down to belief rather than proof. I believe that we do a good job, a necessary but unpopular job but one that has proven to be essential on many occasions. I suppose you can compare us to your home burglar alarm or car seat belt – you hope it’s never needed but it has to be there and be in use for it to protect you.

    I cannot explain your gut feeling CoG, but I would be fascinated for you to explain why we might feel we need to exaggerate the threat so we can spend MORE time outside events for 12 hours at a time, cold, wet and ignored, often without sustenance because the organisers forgot about us. Like any activity we do get something from it, a feeling of community, participation and involvement. It is an expression of Jewish Identity for many who are not that religious and have not found another outlet and it’s fun. For some it is an opportunity to contribute skills learned elsewhere and for others to learn new skills.

    Perhaps CoG can answer this question? Why NOT have CST?

  28. Corporal Jones said

    CST supporter is a pompous insufferable bore and I make no apology for saying so. If you had followed the thread of this discussion properly you would have realised that what was of interest to previous bloggers was what the CST leadership believe rather than the rantings of a lowly foot-soldier.

  29. CST supporter said

    And Corporal Jones/Captain Mannering(sic)/Community Member ably demonstrate why sensible discussion on this Blog is impossible.

  30. Community Member said

    This has nothing to do with me though I do happen to have some sympathy with the sentiments expressed. Why not lump in Citizen of Glasgow as well and Shosh and Frank? It’s easier and more comfortable for you to think that its the same person so why not believe it.

  31. Frank said

    Frank by name and frank by nature…. let me reply to your confused postings CST supporter with some basic questions for clarity

    1) What protection do you actually provide, and have you ever seen an incident whilst your awake or do you just dream of playing at cowboys and indians.

    May I suggest that if you want some real action… you could join the JLGB. Beitz might not approve given his past postings but it would certainly satisfy your thirst for action much better than standing outside in the wet and cold with a walk talkie.

    2) When you assess an event… do you just pick the ones that your actually interested in getting a freebie for the drinks and cakes afterwards. I bet you havent had a single piece of action to deal with at any of your events other than getting hit by a zimmer frame when you try to frisk an old lady on the way in.

    3)How did you spot the trouble makers at the JNF events that the police didn’t? Do you have a nose for these things or did those troublemakers come clean during one of your waterboarding sessions in Rouken Glen when subjected.

    4) I know what my car seat belt is for – its to save my life. I know what a burglar alarm is for – its to act as a deterrent. So can you explain how CST has ever saved my life or acts as a deterrent to the undesirables who you have been so successful in fending off in the past?

    I would be quite happy with a CST presence if I thought that if it came to a some real action that you were harder than the thugs that may want to attack me. Having seen the state of the wimps who walk about with their walkie talkies, I feel they need to get back into the gym and start training for some action. Start building some muscles CST supporter and show your as good with the punch bag as you are with the keyboard.

  32. Mark Gardner said

    Tony Tankel brought this comments thread to my attention. Nobody else on the thread has spoken on my or CST’s behalf.

    I should comment here as a representative of CST (rather than in a personal capacity) but I’m finding it hard to break through my depression at the nastiness within this comments thread. Whatever your opinion of how much security is – or is not – required, and whatever your opinion of CST nationally or locally, is so much spite really necessary? Is this really what the Glasgow community is now reduced to?

    I was phoned by Tony Tankel some months ago and was asked to debate with Adam Sutcliffe regarding security and CST. I replied that I did not know who Adam Sutcliffe was and that as I was being invited as a representative of CST, I would need to consult with colleagues, but it was unlikely that we would wish to participate in a Punch and Judy knockabout. I don’t recall Tony’s exact reply but it was along the lines of assuring me that this was intended to be a serious discussion.

    We had a number of subsequent emails in which I said that the debate’s actual focus seemed to be shifting and lacked cohesion; but that it seemed ill-intentioned towards CST. Tony patiently disagreed with my perspective and argued otherwise. For me, the correspondence confirmed my initial suspicion that I (well, really CST) was basically being unfairly and disingenously set up. The above comments thread has confirmed that for me.

    There are some over the top acusations that CST is hyping the threat. I appreciate that hatred is in the eye of the beholder and that we all have differing opinions on facts, prejudices, statistics etc and what can or should be done about it. If you want to actually take the time to see what CST says, our publications and written articles may be accessed via our website at:

    Please, read any one of the reports or articles.

    Finally, I note the comments in the thread about CST thinking its above debate.

    My colleagues and I speak all the time to communities, communal groups, communal activists, media, politicians, police, public and private conferences etc. (As has already been stated in the comments thread, I spoke not so long ago at Giffnock shul after a Shabbat service.) CST could not do its work without partnership and buy-in. To this end, we are continously discussing the threat and our response with people from within and beyond our own community. Everything that we do depends upon this dialogue, ranging from our volunteer personnel (and their families) who give up so much of their time, to answering questions from Parliamentary select committees.

    Its at best ironic that the people who accuse me and CST of being chicken, or avoiding debate, should be doing so from behind the anonymous safety of pseudonyms. Are these the same people who initiated this GJEF event? Is this whom GJEF expects to attend the event? Or are these people who have coincidentally stumbled into the GJEF blog? Unlikely, since its them who started this blog rolling. It seems likely to me that these anonymous bloggers are part of the GJEF in-crowd: which reconfirms for me that this event was never intended to be balanced; and that CST was therefore under no obligation to accept GJEF’s summons to come and defend itself.

    With sincere personal and professional regret that things have come to this, Mark Gardner.

  33. David Barnett said


    As one of the members of GJEF, I thank you for your honest and candid reply on this blog.

    I have not commented on this blog to date and do not know if any other members of GJEF have done so either.

    I do take exception to the fact that you appear to be taking offence with all 5 members of GJEF tarring us all with the same brush. I cannot talk for anybody except myself but I know that when we set this debate up we wanted to look at all angles of community security and our first port of call was CST and yourself as an ex Glasgow boy but we wanted a meeting that included at least one other speaker who may have a different perspective than that of CST because personally I feel that gives the audience a chance to determine what they think is where they stand on the issue and to question the speakers thoroughlly on what they have said.

    As far as I am concerned this meeting was NEVER set up to be imbalanced against anyone – it was merely an opportunity for CST and as it now transpires Adam Sutcliffe to put their views and experiences up for communal discussion and debate and I do take exception to your second last paragraph.

    I have never accused you or any member of CST as “chicken” and unlike some on this blog I value the work that your group does at all the events they cover. It is, as someone has said already, sometimes a thankless task but any visual deterrent is better than nothing at all.

    However it does appear to me that by declining GJEF’s invitation – not summons – to speak at our meeting that CST have maybe just maybe scored an own goal here.

    In conclusion, I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree about what you think GJEF’s motives were in inviting you but at least I have explained my reasons for wanting the meeting in the first place.

  34. Mark Gardner said

    Dear David,

    Many thanks for your considered and constructive response. I’m only sorry that we haven’t caught up with each other sooner, or in better circumstances. Anyway, I hope that you are well and I really didn’t mean to offend any particular members or supporters of GJEF. (I was not aware, for instance, that GJEF is comprised of 5 members, of whom you are one).

    I think your last sentence about agreeing to disagree is spot on. I appreciate what you have said about the efforts of my CST colleagues, and in that spirit I wish you and the GJEF all the best in your work.

    Best regards and shabbat shalom, Mark.

  35. David Barnett said


    Thank you for your kind and thoughtful response.

    I hope that you and yours are all well too and that maybe sometime in the futue you will feel able to take up GJEF’s offer of a platform.

    Shabbat Shalom to you and A Happy Hanukah when it comes.

  36. A Beitz said


    There’s still time to send someone on Sunday. I am not one of those running GJEF but would imagine you would be warmly welcomed.

    Think about it!

    Best wishes

  37. Citizen of Glasgow said

    Mr Gardner, don’t get depressed about Glasgow. We are doing fine thank you. A few people obviously took exception to one of your supporters or member’s comments and were totally frank about what they were feeling. ( if you will excuse the pun)
    You take exception to my previous comments that the CST hype the threat. I really do believe that this is the situation. Without independent statistics to confirm the claims of your organisation that anti-Semitism has increased dramatically in Glasgow in recent years then we can only be suspicious. We have had no answer about whether the police would confirm this so who else can validate your findings? You comment that you will talk at length to various groups about your work. What concerns me is that you are prepared to talk as long as you are unchallenged. That is why I suspect you won’t discuss this issue with another speaker in Glasgow.
    I remain very cynical why an organisation doesn’t have the confidence to debate in public.

  38. Armchair Analyst said

    There are several issues. I had heard that a for-profit company, either responding to or perhaps deliberately creating demand, may (also?) supply paid security personnel to Jewish organisations in London. It may well be that a higher level of security has been deemed necessary there.

    While anti-Semitism may or may not have increased dramatically in Glasgow in recent years, and i’ve seen no evidence to back this up, a strain of extreme violence aimed at causing mass casualties has been added to anti-civilian terrorist acts from which Glasgow itself has not been immune. Recent horrific events elsewhere show that there can be an anti-Semitic component to these acts, which are at least loosely connected globally to each other.

    It’s possible that the mere presence of the local volunteer CST at many events over the years has benefited the community in general, even if mainly from a psychological standpoint. Hopefully Mr. Sutcliffe will address these IMO valid concerns given recent events.

  39. Citizen of Glasgow said

    It is surely sensible Armchair Analyst to hear or see written evidence before one can deduce whether anti-Semitism has increased in Glasgow in recent years “dramatically” as CST supporter claimed.
    Check police records or crown prosecutions and you will find there is no independent evidence to support this claim.
    The assertion by Mark Gardner that Sunday’s meeting was never intended to be ” balanced ” is given the information available quite ridiculous.
    As far as we can deduce two speakers were invited to take part – Adam Sutcliffe and Mark Gardner. Both of them one can assume are coming from different sides of the equation. That to me seems balanced.
    One other observation that should also be corrected. CST supporter/member wrote in Post 8 on 10.12.08
    ” Mark Gardner was asked to speak but was given the impression he was to be the sole speaker ”
    Mark Gardner wrote in post 32 on 12.12.08
    ” I was asked to debate with Adam Sutcliffe ”

    It seems to me that CST supporter is rather muddled and confused or deliberately tries to impugn others with bad faith.
    Mark Gardner may not wish to take part – that’s up to him – but to accuse those of inviting him to be up to something just isn’t on.
    Why should we take the CST seriously – locally or nationally when they can’t even spin their side of the story consistently or accurately.

  40. Mark Gardner said

    Beitz – that’s mensch of you to offer.

    Armchair – I share your terror analysis. Mumbai showed again the global and local overlap between Jihadi terrorism and antisemitism.

    Citizen – Your spin comment isn’t necessary. I’ve already said that nobody else is speaking on my behalf & on the question of how balanced the debate was intended to be, I’d rather leave that with the positive conclusion (‘agree to disagree’) between David Barnett and myself above. My perception is sincerely held, and I am sure that David’s is also.

    Your request for statistics is necessary, which is why the Govt’s response to the 2006 Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism called upon Police forces across UK to develop the capability to record racist incidents by specific categories. (London and Manchester do it already and their trends are consistent with those of CST). Scotland is specifically mentioned as needing to get its act together. See recommendation 5, top of p.4 in the pdf, accessed via (The Inquiry findings can also be accessed here).

    The Parliamentary Inquiry was conducted by 14 MPs, none Jewish, none previously involved in the issue of antisemitism. Their assessment was consistent with that of CST and other communal representative bodies. Thats the best I can muster for independent approval of our threat analysis.

    NATO’s political wing, OSCE, reached the same conclusions re the international situation, and the EU’s anti-racism arm EUMC echoed that for Europe.

    You don’t need to agree with these studies, but please don’t make out that we’re making the threat up on the back of a fag packet.

    CST’s statistics show that antisemitic incidents UK wide are basically double what they were in the 1990s. In 2007, there were 547 (15 in Glasgow). In 2006, there were 594 (14 in Glasgow). I don’t have the other Glasgow breakdowns at hand, but other UK totals: 2005 – 455; 2004 – 532; 2003 – 375; 2002 – 350; 2001 – 310; 2000 – 405; 1999 – 270; 1998 – 236.

    CST only count as antisemitic those incidents that do indeed appear to be antisemitic (rather than crimes in which a Jew is the coincidental target). Most years we reject hundreds more incidents that fit this “criminal” category. This compares with Police, who are compelled post MacPherson Inquiry to record as racist (or antisemitic) any incident where the victim deems it to be indeed racist.

    CST submitted (I think it was in 2003) its internal incident reports to criminologists attached to Scotland Yard’s Race & Violent Crime Task Force for comparative analysis alongside those of the Met Police. The criminologists found that people were unlikely to report to both agencies and that CST’s stats were more accurate as it had more confidence from victims, and was more rigorous in its application and understanding of antisemitism. (I don’t have the pdf address at hand for the report).

    The annual or monthly total isn’t as important as the trend. Totals can be influenced by things such as ‘trigger events’ (eg Israel war against Hizbollah in 2006) or by mass phone threat campaigns, repeated street violence against an isolated target over days or weeks, etc. The UK trend is mirrored by Jewish communities around the world – post 2000, things are far worse than they were pre 2000.

    The so called 2nd Intifada was the first trigger to cause incident surges, thats been followed by 9/11; invasions of Iraq & Afghanistan; Israel war against Hizbollah. The number of triggers and surges causes the trend that we’re now caught in.

    The threat is basically three dimensional – 1. terrorism; 2. incidents; 3. rhetoric, discourse, communal morale, external perception of Jews. I’d submit that all 3 are areas are considerably worse than they were 10 years ago. Compared to 5 years ago, the UK terror threat is far worse; incidents are up, and the discourse has worsened within hostile sections of the liberal-left but I think has perhaps slightly improved elsewhere.

    All 3 aspects are covered in the CST (terrorism; incidents; and discourse) reports at:

  41. newbie said

    Citizen of Glasgow questions the rise of anti-semitism in Glasgow, strange that one of the attendees at tonights meeting commented on the increase in anti-semitic comments overheard in a local watering hole. Perhaps those people making the comments on this blog should listen to their own supporters rather than question statistics.

    AS to the arguments being bandied about in this blog by Frank and others about the need for the CST and the capabilities of its foot soldiers – if you think you can do better why not join them rather than wasting so much effort on a blog site and if their presence at an event irritates you so much that you feel the need to make these comments then please ignore them and do not ridicule or insult those people who give up their free time to help the community and who are appreciated by the majority of that community.

    Let us all hope that things never get that bad that we need to witness what CST is capable of but I would bet there are a few people in Mumbai who wished there was someone with a walkie talkie keeping an eye on them!

  42. Frank said

    Newbie, thanks for your offer to join the foot soldiers in CST. Unfortunately I don’t have the waist line for it anymore. Maybe 20years or a few stones ago I could have made a fine 1st lieutenant, but alas your offer is a little late now and I have to respectfully decline on this occasion.

    I would however like to recommend John Smeaton, (Smeato to his friends). He would be a useful signing to bolster your flabby ranks. The transfer window opens in January, so maybe you can speak to one of the local Rabbis about a quick conversion too. He has all the right credentials and an outstanding track record of sorting out any trouble in our midst. Given his day time job, he can also remove the excess baggage in the CST as well as part of the transfer deal. What a signing that would be, don’t you agree?

  43. newbie said

    So Frank it is definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle if you are as rotund as you claim. Perhaps from your age and demeanour it is a career on tv that you should consider – the program “Grumpy Old Men” springs to mind.

    As my handle suggests I am a new viewer of this forum, perhaps you could expand on the reason for your vitriol against the CST, or is it jealousy because you are too old and fat to be anything other than an armchair critic?

  44. Frank said

    Newbie, I think you misunderstand me…. I realised that if I wanted to be an effective foot soldier within the Rep Council’s Provisional Wing (aka CST) then I would need to be in peak physical condition.

    My only concern was that many of the existing CST paramilitaries are too keen on the nosh after the event and not interested in honing their physiques ready for action before it.

    I take exception to you calling me a fat armchair critic and would ask you to repectfully withdraw such a hurtful accusation. Personal abuse has no place on this blog. We really need to focus on the core issues and rise above any form of personal vitriol. Im sure you will agree.

    I was merely offering a constructive suggestion as to how you could become an even more effective force with the signing the great Smeato. What a morale boost that would be to your brigade.

    There’s gratitude for you!

  45. Citizen of Glasgow said

    I wonder how much Mark Gardner earns?
    Have a look at the CST website – They have 55 employees. This is one big industry.
    I am shocked. Yes 55 people work for this organisation. What on earth do they do? I thought Mr Gardner might have one or two fellow employees but I still can’t get over this.
    The salary bill for this organisation must be in excess of a million pounds.
    It doesn’t cost a milion pounds to produce a few reports. The guys that stand outside are volunteers.
    I think you have some explaining to do Mr Gardner. The next time the CST go looking for communal contributions think very hard – there are a lot of families depending on your donation.
    How many full time staff work in Scotland?

  46. emet said

    Citizen-you have gone too far !
    Once more a credible debate is going to be sidetracked-the earnings of one named individual are irrelevant ; will you identify yourself and please tell us what you earned last year ?
    I am beginning to think that the way forward on this blog is real names only.That would spoil the fun but it really is counter productive when it gets so personal from behind blog names . No one would have to identify their blog name in the past-just re register with GJEF with real name and evidence that they were who they said they were…

  47. Voice of Reason said

    The call for moderation grows. It is essential that we debate issues facing our Community but not in such an antagonistic atmosphere. To remain slightly on topic, the fear of personal attack is often far greater than the reality which is partly why the CST’s work is so important but what hope is there when the chance of attack is almost guaranteed?

    Every Organisation should be open to scrutiny and their aims and activities subject to discussion without worrying about being ambushed by those with some kind of agenda (even if that is simply to belittle the efforts of others or a misguided concept of “fun”). Perhaps this can a Light unto the Blogs but not without serious moderating input from the Blog owners. Collective responsibility can be a bitch!

  48. Community Member said

    Emet, why get so upset. A blogger commented that the CST have over 50 employees and asked Mark Gardner what he earned. I am sure that Mr Gardner won’t give the answer but I really can’t see why you are so upset about the question. You should be more concerned why the CST need that number of staff.
    Look at other blogs – this one is quite tame.
    Now maybe someone can tell me why the CST require to have millions of pounds worth of assets as I was told today. Who runs this organisation nationally? Who are they accountable to?

  49. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Now lets get back to matters of great moment. If you look at page 47 of this week’s JC there is a time bomb hidden in there that is going to blow Anglo-Jewry apart. For the less observant amongst you I suggest you carefully study photos 2 and 4. I wonder how many sleuths from the CST are aware of the problem.
    I must confess it was my missus wot clocked it.

  50. A Beitz said

    I actually have a lot of time for the foot soldiers of the CST. Spending your evenings outside communal buildings can’t be much fun and whatever your views on the extent of the threat and the best way to deal with it I think they show a great deal of selfless dedication. I have also alway found them to be invariably courteous.
    As I understand it however they are not paid anything for this work.
    So Mark can you tell us (no names necessary) how the 55 employees are broken down and what the organisation’s annual salary bill is?

  51. newbie said

    Frank, I apologise unreservedly for insulting you and calling you old and fat – I must have been guilty of misinterpretting your statistics and other comments…..after all you did say that you are 20 years too old and a few stone too heavy to be an officer,not even a foot soldier!!!

    A Beitz seems to echo the majority of sane thinkers though in the first part of his comment 50.

    Nachman Arronovitch should also have noticed the article in the JC about the incident in Manchester when a shul had an uninvited visitor. Were incidents like this to happen in Glasgow who would squeal the loudest that someone needs to protect the congregation?

    For all contributors who question peoples earnings do they know of anyone who works full time for no pay!

  52. JC Reader said

    The only name in both photos Nachman is Francoise Winton. So give us a clue? Who is she?

  53. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Sorry, JC Reader, wrong. You’ve only two tries left.

  54. Private James Frazer said

    CST staff costs for the year ending 2007 were over 2 million.
    Income last year was over 6 million
    They have assets over 9.5 million.
    They have 64 employees and 3000 volunteers.

    It’s no secret – the costs of running this private army are in the public domain.

    Google Charity Commission – type in CST and have a good read.

    All together now..left, right, left, right………………..

  55. Mephistopheles said

    Obviously someone apart from the 5 members of GJEF find the CST a reassuring and worthwhile organisation if they are able to collect the amount of money good old Jimmy Frazer refers to from intelligent and wealthy people within the Jewish Community, not necessarily in Glasgow.

    That there are only a handful of people in Glasgow, a minority even by the small stature of the Glasgow Jewish Community, who choose to question the existence of this organisation must show that the majority are in favour.

    Perhaps it is time that the GJEF are noble (and perhaps silent) in defeat on this one and turn their attentions to other subjects that they know something about.

  56. Fashionated said

    Sandra Sorrell and Roz Laren are wearing the same dress?
    Is it possible, Nachum, that your missus spotted it because the same thing happened to her once?
    It’s generally an indication of good taste.

  57. Fashionated said

    Sorry, slip of the name – meant to say ‘Nachman’.

  58. Calderwood Parent said

    I received notification of a children’s Chanukah party at the Reform Shul this coming Sunday. The event is sponsored by UJIA and is between 2-5pm.
    Imagine then my surprise when another flyer came home in my child’s school bag yesterday advertising a competing Chanukah Party organised by Newton Mearns Shul and the Glasgow Kollel betwween 2 and 5pm..
    We are continually told that we live in a small community and that organisations should try and help each other support events.
    Here is my challenge for the day. Perhaps Rep Council President Philip Mendelsohn will have the courage to speak out quickly and rebuke Newton Mearns for holding a spoiler event?
    I doubt that he will be up to doing what will be right. If he doesn’t UJIA should fling him off their committee because he will not even be able to support their sponsored event. And if he can’t do that what’s the point of him sitting on this UJIA committee.
    I don’t know who at Newton Mearns is behind this attempt to undermine the communal chanukah party at the Reform Shul which is clearly cross-communal. Maybe their temporary Rabbi thought in a moment of inspiration that links with the Glasgow Kollel are going to enthuse his congregation and attract children from all over the community who are afraid to set foot within a Reform Shul Hall in case something bad happens?
    I can’t answer that one. However, I can think of a solution and I’m sure someone out there will pass this on. The chairman of Newton Mearns Shul, Howard Beech, should cancel this spoiler today. He should say that this isn’t on and tell his Rabbi that Newton Mearns Shul couldn’t possibly be a party to this. And he himself should make a point of only going to the Reform Shul/ UJIA party.
    He should also wake up and realise that links with the Glasgow Kollel are not going to boost numbers or attract new enthusiasm to his Shul.
    Will he do it? Will he stand up to be counted? As others before me have asked on this blog will he understand that leadership involves stepping out and doing what is right. You never know Mr Beech you might even find that others applaud.
    I urge all parents in the community to stay away from NMHC on Sunday. They deserve to get no support whatsoever.

  59. A Beitz said

    I agree with you Calderwood Parent that the event looks suspiciously like a spoiler. Philip could intervene but I’m not sure there’s much he could do. The Kollel are not, I think, an affiliated body. Even if they are it is too late. Politics is the art of the possible and he would effectively be given a two word imperative with “off”.
    I think it important, as Emet said earlier, not to spoil good points by getting personal.
    I suspect NM and the Kollel would argue that they are not part of UJIA or GRS and were not consulted. They might not unreasonably point out that it is not entirely surprising they are having a Chanukah party on Chanukah and that the date in question is the most suitable. I think the coincidence is too much however and standing the nature of Chanukah I would have thought that this event, which I don’t think includes a service, would have easily lent itself to cross communal activity.
    I think a CST party would be best. With a 6 million income of which 2 million goes on staff costs there should be plenty of staff available to do the waiting and a large surplus to spend on the party. They could even provide some security since as far as I can see that’s the one thing they don’t spend much on.

  60. Voice of Reason said

    Calderwood Parent
    I suggest that 5, yes you read that right – 5, Chanukah events in Glasgow next Sunday shows a lack of joined up thinking, communication and cooperation between all the organisations.

    Surely a centrally operated Communal Diary would have been consulted by all concerned?

    My family will be valiantly attempting to attend every event in the spirit of ecumenical solidarity and to ascertain the quality (and quantity) of latkes on offer. Possibly the only fair way to distinguish them?

  61. nick naddell said

    Blogger number 55 the members of gjef do not and never have had the same views on anything ! What would be the point of that. As one of them I can assure you that we represent the left ,the middle and the right .
    Perhaps all we do agree upon is that it is good to talk ,to challenge and debate-after all it is part of our shared heritage to do just that .

  62. Calderwood Parent said

    Newton Mearns Shul have had the support of UJIA in recent months to run joint events.
    I don’t know what criteria UJIA will use for future funding but I would suggest that the next time Newton Mearns Shul want to get funding or support for anything they are told to get lost.
    They can’t have it both ways. If they run a kids party in opposition to the UJIA event they should be told this isn’t on.
    Sometimes leadership is about telling people things properly. And sometimes it is necessary to make a stand. It is perfectly obvious to me that this is being done because the other event is in the Reform Shul. This is the Glasgow community at its worst and its time we put an end to such spiteful bigoted nonsense.

  63. Mephistopheles said

    Yes Nick Naddell it is good to talk but even better to have some idea of what one is talking about. Seeing as this forum goes under the guise of representing “Jewish” views it would be useful to presume that the contributors had some respect of Jewish practices and standpoints, whichever stream they are affiliated to, and to respect others’ practices.

    A Beitz needs to get over the fact that large organisations, whatever their creed, have to have an income, staff and expenditure and if he is ignorant of the facts he should refrain from making assumptions. Communal organisations are for the good of the community and every community will contain people who benefit, however unwillingly or unwittingly, from that organisation. Fortunately for those individuals the organisations do not discriminate against them.

    With reference to various contributors comments about the rise of antisemitism in Glasgow, if this blog is anything to go by, then it must be rife in the greater community.

  64. newbie said

    How about a GJEF Chanukah party? Each member could light a candle in a non-denominational ceremony.

    Oh I forgot there are eight candles to light, one of the members will have to use some of his other identities so that all the candles get lit.

  65. GJEF supporter said

    I think that Nick Naddell forgot to say that apart from debating and challenging and discussing issues that are relevant to the Jewish community GJEF members also believe in several other things as well.
    As far as I am aware they believe that communal organisations should be run properly, that communal leaders should be accountable for what they do and that they should give direction and leadership. They also share a belief that this community requires a dynamic educational programme.
    They should not underestimate what they are doing currently or what they have already achieved.For those in doubt ask Alex Salmond, Charles Kennedy and David Miliband why they choose to speak on a GJEF platform rather than any other in this community.

  66. Armchair Analyst said

    As I observe this latest twist in the debate from a distance, would it be churlish to point out that there are families who strictly observe Kashrut to the level where the food on hand at the Reform Shul Chanukah event is not regarded as sufficiently kosher for some in the community?

  67. newbie said

    Well said Armchair Analyst. Apart from other reasons that might come into play with the more orthodox of the community you make a good point.

    GJEF Supporter you have the freedom of speech to debate any issues that might be relevant to the Jewish community or indeed relevant to a dynamic Jewish education of the next generation. However for that debate to be healthy the participants should be able to demonstrate some grasp of reality, be able to disregard personal bigottry and keep the standard of debate a level higher than the gutter, and particularly to respect all things Jewish.

    That the members have managed to get the speakers on the platform that they have, even though they may not have been able to attract double figures into all of the audiences, might just demonstrate that the invited speakers have not properly researched who has invited them or what their motives are. Perhaps Messrs Salmond, Kennedy and Milibrand need some explanation of who and what GJEF actually is.

    Self praise is no praise.

  68. Progressive Pete.... said

    AA-do you know what food is to be offered ? Or are you just guessing ; I know that the reform kitchen is non meat and I am pretty certain that it is in all other respects kosher…presumably the food will be from the Deli and consist of Bisli crisps ,and other Beth Din stamped stuff ?
    Interesting point though..
    However-tell me the truth how many people are so kosher that this would be an issue for them ?
    As an aside the recently departed Rabbi Hachenbroch tried to stop Doreen Cohen from catering at the Reform shul-those affected didn’t accept his ruling and took him on and won-his objection was not that the kitchen was not kosher but that somehow he would be accepting reform judaism.
    He refused Doreen Cohen the sanction to do it and effectively denied halachic jews (amongst others) a kosher lunch !!
    To be fair he relented when challenged but it certainly illustrates well the whole reform/orthodox issue !

  69. kosher boy said

    There seems to be a lot of debate going on.

    When you meet do you all mass debate together?

  70. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Well said PP and yes I do think AA (#66) is being churlish. Does he imagine that UJIA would be involved in serving non-kosher food? I think he is confusing them with the Rep Council who don’t know their latkes from their porky pies. As someone said, this is a spoiler and Newton Mearns are responsible. Furthermore, if Doreen caters at NM, will the Kollel be present and will they eat?

  71. salt beef said

    Why would the offer of food, kosher or otherwise, be the sole justification for attending a particular event? Why would another event on the same day – the first Sunday of Chanukah and the traditional (not Traditional) date for Chanukah parties be seen as a spoiler by anyone except the most biased. The community should welcome and support as many parties as organisations wish to host. It is just a pity that they only muster as big an audience as Adam Sutcliffe. Perhaps the community should try and encourage unity rather than being so divisive.

  72. Calderwood Parent said

    Any Shul that thinks attaching itself to the Kollel is going to help boost its numbers is living in a different planet.
    Of course it is a spoiler event. If they were only interested in attracting their own kids they wouldn’t have sent flyers home with Calderwood children.
    As I said before this would not have happened if the UJIA event was happening say in Giffnock Shul. It is bigoted. It is spiteful and it is narrow minded. I would have thought that Howard Beech and his committee would have been above this.
    Sadly, if they go ahead with this, they will be tainted as another group of intolerant extremists who think that their type of Judaism is better than anyone elses. The best thing that can happen to them is their Shul gets less and less people in future.

  73. GJEF supporter said

    I think Mr Salmond realised what GJEF was about when he spoke to the community at Mearns Castle. It may upset you Newbie that this event was highly successful. It may also upset you that Charles Kennedy turned down other communal organisations but chose GJEF. And it probably really grates that the Foreign Secretary David Miliband chose GJEF as well. They know exactly why they are speaking on a GJEF platform. The problem with you Newbie is you are so bitter you don’t understand what has altered in this community. And sadly you will remain bitter until you realise what is happening. Tough.

  74. A Beitz said

    Meantime, Mr Meph, of course I realise that large organisations require large budgets and staff. I have absolutely no difficulty with people being paid for working for them. Contrary to your implication I have argued long and hard that communal organisations should use paid employees to carry out substantial parts of their work not least since they bring professionalism to the job, are subject to management and discipline and know they have a job to do rather than something which is a hobby. It’s fair to say that both Cosgrove Care and Jewish Care Scotland, to give 2 examples, have come on leaps and bounds since they started employing more professionals. UJIA and Maccabi now have professionls working for them who in my view are dedicated and extremely capable providing benefit to these organisations.There are many others. So you’re preaching to the converted over people being paid for carrying out work for communal organisations.
    But what do the 50 or 60 people working for the CST do? How do they spend £4 million in addition to their £2 million staff costs? I think we should be told.

  75. Mephistopheles said

    Mr Beitz please discuss your qualifications for being able to express an expert view on any organisation’s staff. Also please discuss in which way you have been converted.

  76. Lost in Glasgow said

    Help – I am lost I was looking for the GJEF blog which I heard was quite popular but I have only found this anti-CST blog – are the two connected?

  77. In the Public Interest said

    Parental notice…………

    If your child attends the Newton Mearns Shul Chanukah Party then look around – you will be introduced to the Glasgow Kollel, be persuaded to enlist your child in the Kollel Yeshiva, and spend hours upon hours studying Talmud. Just what you have always been looking for. Please note that only male children will be of interest to the Kollel – all female children will be encouraged to stay at home and learn to cook and clean because that’s the way it is.

    All further inquiries to Chairman Beech and the Newton Mearns committee.

  78. Not Another Macher said

    Where did all this come from? I thought that Newton Mearns shul were just using the services of a very personable, and quite innovative Kollel Rabbi to bridge the gap until they made a permanent appointment? I hear Rabbi Gross has led a number of well received assemblies at Mearns Castle High and set up a Jewish Lunch club and I haven’t heard he’s used any of this to punt the Kollel – I’m impressed.

  79. progressive polly said

    I imagine that the good Rabbi Gross doesn’t even know about the Reform shul ; the Kollel are of their own world -not ours .If anyone is culpable it is the organisers ie the executive of NM shul. Having said that if earlier bloggers think that even for a minute would any of the orthodox shuls give the reform a break ever then they are sadly mistaken .
    From Hackenbroch’s anti Kosher food campaign to last year’s refusal of some on the Jewish Education Board to allow flyers about last year’s communal UJIA Hanukah party at the Reform Shul to be put in schoolbags , to Calderwood visiting orthodox but not reform shuls ,to the Burial Ground debacle ,to the refusal of other shuls to attend the ballon debate because the reform were also attending etc etc I think we can safely deduce that the small minded bigots who are setting themselves up to be our guardians will not be doing a u turn.
    And do you know what-twenty years ago it may have held reform back -but not now-record membership ,50/60 on a shabbos morning , a thriving cheder and get this more orthodox , halachic jews than ever before in the membership.
    Rabbi Gross I wish a happy hanukah-you are just a pawn-to those who had anything to do with the above examples …you have already lost ….
    Glasgow reform shul are the new Macabees……
    Hag Sameach.

  80. progressive polly said

    I imagine that the good Rabbi Gross doesn’t even know about the Reform shul ; the Kollel are of their own world -not ours .If anyone is culpable it is the organisers ie the executive of NM shul. Having said that if earlier bloggers think that even for a minute would any of the orthodox shuls give the reform a break ever then they are sadly mistaken .
    From Hackenbroch’s anti Kosher food campaign to last year’s refusal of some on the Jewish Education Board to allow flyers about last year’s communal UJIA Hanukah party at the Reform Shul to be put in schoolbags , to Calderwood visiting orthodox but not reform shuls ,to the Burial Ground debacle ,to the refusal of other shuls to attend the ballon debate because the reform were also attending etc etc I think we can safely deduce that the small minded bigots who are setting themselves up to be our guardians will not be doing a u turn.
    And do you know what-twenty years ago it may have held reform back -but not now-record membership ,50/60 on a shabbos morning , a thriving cheder and get this more orthodox , halachic jews than ever before in the membership.
    Rabbi Gross I wish a happy hanukah-you are just a pawn-to those who had anything to do with the above examples …you have already lost ….
    Glasgow reform shul are the new Macabees……
    Hag Sameach.

  81. A Beitz said

    #75. It’s straightforward questions that I asked in #74. My qualifications are irrelevant as is my conversion. However I recall in last week’s Jewish press seeing an advert looking for donations to the CST. It’s reasonable to ask what it’s doing with its current income.
    I note Giffnock have a Chanukah party on Sunday (in conjunction with Lubavitch). However it is in the morning and therefore doesn’t clash with the UJIA one (or the Kollel/NM one).
    Incidentally am I correct in thinking Chanukah doesn’t start until about 3.30pm on Sunday? A case of premature Chanukation if you ask me.

  82. A Beitz said

    In fact it’s 4.41pm according to my Shabbos Observance Calendar. So are any of these activities actually going to be on Chanukah?

  83. Lost in Glasgow said

    Add to post 76 ….and populated by Reform bloggers with an inferiority complex – why PP do you think you are superior to everybody else and why are you under the impression that the Kollel are the new Moonies?

  84. A N Other Beitz said

    I am astonished at the naivety of PP in #79. Do members of the Reform Synagogue not realise that their form of “Judaism” is not the same Judaism as Orthodox. It is quite clear that the majority of Jews in Glasgow who are members of Orthodox synagogues are not orthodox in their practice but nevertheless are traditional in their celebrations of festivals and indeed of Jewish family life. Why else would we have brit, Barmitzvah, chuppa and sadly funerals & shiva according to Orthodox belief?
    Perhaps the Reform Rabbi needs to educate her flock and remind them that their religion is different and that a Chanukah service in an orthodox synagogue cannot in any way be seen as something set up in opposition to a service in the Reform Synagogue.

  85. A Beitz said

    #83 is no relation but whilst I could understand his/her argument were the function to include a service my understanding is that it is just a party. As indicated previously it’s not even Chanukah!

  86. progressive polly said

    Indeed-it is not a service just a community social event .
    I have no issue with poster 79-I agree-but does that excuse the bigotry ?

  87. progressive polly said

    Indeed-it is not a service just a community social event .
    I have no issue with poster 79-I agree-but does that excuse the bigotry ?

  88. A N Other Beitz said

    How do you know we are not related; or is it that you have no relations?
    So what’s the problem then NM is having a Chanukah Service and GRS is having a party!
    No conflict there.
    And are you such an expert on the Jewish calendar that you know for certain that Chanukah cannot be brought in early?

  89. A N Other Beitz said

    PP why would you have an issue with poster 79 – for it is you!

  90. progressive polly said

    oops i meant 83

  91. progressive polly said

    oops i meant 83

  92. A N Other Beitz said

    PP are you suggesting I am a bigot? My dictionary defines a bigot as somebody with strong opinions, especially on politics, religion, or ethnicity, who refuses to accept different views.
    I accept that you are entitled to your views on Judaism what I don’t accept is the view of some of the members of GRS, and indeed the view of the rabbi there, based on her writings in the GRS RH magazine. The words kettle & black spring to mind.

  93. Phil Space said

    All these posts about Chanukah and services and parties etc – are they just a giant smokescreen posted by Rabbi C Jacobs to divert attention from his daughter’s lavish wedding dinner in The Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor hotel.

  94. progressive polly said

    No 89 what are you on ?
    Never called you a bigot .
    If you want to read that into the post that is up to you-if the cap fits.
    I did agree with your analysis-but what you don’t get is that reform no longer gives a toss about what you or anyone elase outside thinks.
    We are getting stronger ,orthodoxy gets weaker-and its got nothing to do with us-you lot are doing a great job of ripping yourselves apart and the reform threat as propogated by your various committee members is a convenient smokescreen used to divert attention from the failings within your own community.
    What was it that Rabbi Nacy wrote that you don’t agree with ?
    Maybe we could debate it here ? I don’t agree with a lot of what she says either !

  95. progressive polly said

    No 89 what are you on ?
    Never called you a bigot .
    If you want to read that into the post that is up to you-if the cap fits.
    I did agree with your analysis-but what you don’t get is that reform no longer gives a toss about what you or anyone elase outside thinks.
    We are getting stronger ,orthodoxy gets weaker-and its got nothing to do with us-you lot are doing a great job of ripping yourselves apart and the reform threat as propogated by your various committee members is a convenient smokescreen used to divert attention from the failings within your own community.
    What was it that Rabbi Nacy wrote that you don’t agree with ?
    Maybe we could debate it here ? I don’t agree with a lot of what she says either !

  96. Calderwood Parent said

    No 89 – I think you are a bigot and not nearly as smart as you think you are. You can’t even think up your own name.
    I think we should refresh what this issue is all about.
    UJIA are holding a cross-communal Chanukah party in the Reform Shul. UJIA are cross communal and as far as I’m aware would not hold an event which barred members of the Orthodox or the Reform.
    The UJIA event has been advertised for a while.
    Then we see that Newton Mearns Shul with the Kollel have arranged a Chanukah party for children at the same time as the UJIA, Reform event.
    Now, why would they do that? Not content with just attracting their own members they decide to advertise their party and send home flyers with Calderwood children.
    What Newton Mearns are saying is that the they don’t care what party is going on elsewhere – they don’t care that it is a UJIA event that is cross communal.
    No 89 – this is not about a different religion as you put it. It is about the community holding a Chanukah party for all children irrespective whether they practise Orthodox, Reform or Liberal Judaism.
    Your attitude is what hacks off so many people from Judaism. It is narrow and unthinking. Your attitude would close down Calderwood Lodge. If we discriminated against Reform children and told them that they practised a different religion then a very high percentage of the school roll would be off and the school would be no more. Thankfully, those involved in running the school – authority, staff and parents are brighter than you are.
    The issue here is that Newton Mearns and the Kollel can’t stomach the UJIA party because it is being held in the Reform Shul Hall.
    Howard Beech and his committee have behaved disgracefully. They should have known better.
    And UJIA should ensure that Newton Mearns Synagogue are not supported by them again until the people responsible either step down from their positions or issue a public apology or cancel their party. Unless I hear a condemnation of Newton Mearns from UJIA – they won’t receive another penny of my money.
    It is time for the majority of good people in this community to say that they won’t stand for this anymore.
    I would also like to make one thing clear. I am not a member of the Reform. I am a member of the United Synagogue.

  97. Debbie said

    Calderwood Parent whilst I agree entirely with your sentiments, blackmailing UJIA into forcing a response from Newton Mearns executive is unfair. UJIA have done nothing wrong here.

  98. Elhanan said

    Calderwood Parent, while I don’t know the details of the organisation of the different events, it seems that you are making a fair point about Newton Mearns and the Kollel setting up in competition to a cross-communal event (assuming it was intended to be open to the whole community and serve as one unified event). However, I think that you saying “unless I hear a condemnation of Newton Mearns from UJIA – they won’t receive another penny of my money” is slightly strange. UJIA are the ones that are cross-communal and are holding the event in the Reform Shul hall – why should they be punished for the actions of others? Furthermore, it is clearly not in their interests to start whipping up communal politics and to alienate one group or the other. They want to provide positive Jewish experiences for as much of the community as possible – they should stick to that task, avoid politics as much as possible and be supported in their work.

    As a disclaimer: I am not involved with UJIA, though I have of course enjoyed many events sponsored by them.

  99. Calderwood Parent said

    I’m not blackmailing anyone Debbie and Elchanan. I am only stating that unless I know that UJIA formally deplore what Newton Mearns Synagogue are doing then I can give my donation elsewhere.
    This problem is not knew. It’s time that those who have had enough stood up to be counted and make it clear that those who behave like this won’t get away with it any longer.
    I’ve had enough.
    I’m listening UJIA and I am waiting Newton Mearns Shul.

  100. Calderwood Parent said

    Apologies – should ne new – not knew.

  101. A Beitz said

    Interestingly enough the NM/Kollel event is not featured in the Rep Council diary. That suggests a lack of communal discipline quite apart from whether or not you consider the clash to be deliberate.
    Incidentally well done the Rep Council. They get pelters here regularly but an online diary is useful.

  102. Community Member said

    Congratulations Scojec. Congratulations to the Director, Ephraim Borowski. Congratulations to those who supported your trip to see the Hebron settlers and David Wilder. Congratulations to the Brodies who are writing about this in the Rep Council Magazine, just out. Congratulations to all those in this community who went on this pilgrimage to Hebron. Congratulations to those bloggers like NAN, A Beitz, Stamford Hillbilly and others who defended the trip and tried to say that there was an educational benefit to being with the Hebron Settlers.

    In yesterday’s Guardian newspaper Jonathan Freedland wrote the following:
    ” Militant Jewish settlers in Hebron resisted their eviction from a disputed house by not only hurling stones and debris at Palestinians nearby – and daubing black stars of David on Muslim gravestones in what Israel’s Prime Minister called a ” pogrom ” – but also by turning their fire on the soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces. These images were a shock to the Israeli system, confirmation that a hard core of Jewish settlers now exists that has next to no loyalty to the state of Israel.”

    I have always wondered why we in Glasgow seem to have more than a proportionate share of communal ” leaders ” who live in some sort of moral vacuum. Some may think we get the leadership we deserve but I think this community deseves better.

    Those that rushed to defend Scojec’s appaling misjudgement should read what happened in Hebron. Stop and pause for reflection and if you still believe that these people warranted an audience with Scottish tourists and if you still think that there was some educational benefit that could have been derived, then I really pity you.

    As others have written re Newton Mearns Shul’s Chanukah Party , it is time that the majority of decent people who live here realised what is going on in our name and make very sure that it doesn’t happen again. Those that write that Reform is not the same religion should be ashamed. Those that think that it is reasonable to put on another Chanukah event because it is being held in a Reform Hall have lost their moral compass. The Glasgow Jewish Community deserves much better.

  103. Derek Livingston said

    I have carried out some enquiries in relation to the clash of events and as a result consider a number of bloggers have been unfair to NM Shul, the Kollel and UJIA.
    The facts are not as stated by CP in that UJIA have given a grant to GRS for their event but it is in no way a UJIA event or indeed a cross communal one. Accordingly all the shuls are perfectly entitled to run their own events and generally seem to be doing so. UJIA decided not to have a Chanukah event for the community this year.
    I am writing this in a personal capacity and have not been requested to do so by any of the organisations mentioned but considered it was important to set the record straight once I discovered the truth.

  104. Mephistopheles said

    So the UJIA event is not actually a UJIA event and is not cross-communal. Surely so many GJEF bloggers couldn’t have got their facts wrong. Does this mean that Community Member is not now amongst the majority of decent people, that Calderwood Parent will still contribute to the UJIA, Progressive Polly is not a Macabee and the last 4 days of blogs have been a complete and utter waste of time – typical of most postings on this forum.

  105. just Wondering said

    Now I accept that all shuls can have their Chanukah party/event when they want but I was just wondering whether if Giffnock Shul or Netherlee & Clarkston & Queens Park Shul had had an event on between 2 and 5pm on Sunday whether NM Shul would have had one at the exact same time?

    Just wondering though nothing else!

  106. Calderwood Parent said

    Well Mr Livingston, I am sure that you will also want to set the record straight about the following.
    My investigations tell me that you are on the UJIA Renewal Committee.
    Last year UJIA ran a cross communal Chanukah Party in the Reform Shul. I presume you agree that last year it was a UJIA cross-communal event in the Reform Shul. This year a flyer goes out advertising a Chanukah Party in the Reform Shul with a UJIA logo on it.
    Now you tell us that the only connection with UJIA this year is that UJIA sponsored it but it is in no way cross communal. And in no way is it a UJIA event. Why not? Maybe you will tell us how the public are meant to know when it is a UJIA event and when it is not a UJIA event.
    Why would UJIA give a grant to the Reform Shul for a Chanukah party that is theirs and theirs alone. I would have thought that a Shul could run their own Chanukah event without requiring a UJIA grant – unless they don’t realise at the Reform Shul that this event was not meant to be cross communal. Have UJIA sponsored all the other Chanukah parties in the city on Sunday or just this one?
    I believe that you are not the only member of UJIA Renewal to post on this subject. The other member of your committee said they agreed with what I have said – but I should not withhold donations.
    So I’m a little unclear who in UJIA is saying what and to whom?
    So many questions Mr Livingston. Some answers will I’m sure be very enlightening.

  107. Derek Livingston said

    CP,as I said I am not posting on behalf of UJIA. I suppose however it is too much to expect you to apologise. Instead you seem to be implying that UJIA are running the GRS event.
    UJIA organise events in the community where they perceive a need and have the resources. They also give grants to assist bodies to hold events without playing any other part in that event. They are cross communal and I am happy to be involved to a minor degree in what they do. If they do give a grant they ask that their largesse be acknowledged in the publicity. They provide asistance throughout the community. I have no idea whether they have donated to any other Chanukah parties or whether they were asked to do so.
    Now say you’re sorry to those involved in NM, the Kollel and UJIA. Whether or not you accept responsibility for the misunderstanding you are the one who posted on the matter and has been quite derogatory to those who you wrongly viewed as culpable. A little bit of humble pie (kosher of course) should be quite digestible.

  108. Another Calderwood Parent said

    Why don’t you apologise Mr Livingston.
    I thought like the other Calderwood parent that I was going to a communal event in the Reform Shul. I have no issue with the Reform but it would not have been my choice.
    Don’t you think your position is rather odd. You come on here lecturing to others that they should say sorry yet whether you meant to or not you have misled people into thinking that they were attending a UJIA event.
    Personally, I’m with ” Just wondering “. This would not have happened I don’t think if it had been an Orthodox Shul who were hosting a Chanukah Party on Sunday afternoon.
    Perhaps Mr Livingston you could also stop looking for apologies and tell us why UJIA are not running a Chanukah party on Sunday. You should have and this chaos would have been avoided. Unlike that sad person who posted that they were going to 5 Chanukah parties on Sunday, I have actually got a life.
    As you came on to the blog telling us how smart you are Mr Livingston, because you were apparently in the know, can you stop the rubbish that you are not speaking on behalf of UJIA. You can’t have it both ways. If you are not important enough to speak for UJIA maybe the decision makers will tell us how this mess has happened.

  109. Debbie said

    Calderwood Parent how do you know who is posting? Are you privy to information that others aren’t or are you making assumptions and making an ass out of you and me.

    Another Calderwood Parent why should UJIA run a Chanukah event – is it because you are to lazy to run one of your own?

  110. Derek Livingston said

    ACP, your argument is not assisted by hurling insults.

    Let’s deal with things one by one. Sposoring/giving a grant is not the same thing as running an event. If you don’t understand that I’m sorry.

    I haven’t seen the leaflet for Sunday’s GRS event so therefore have no idea what is on it. However the fact is that various bloggers got it wrong and criticised when that criticism was unjustified. Not unreasonable to apologise I would have thought whether or not you consider you have been misled.

    I would have thought it would be fairly obvious why UJIA are not running a Chanukah party. There are Chanukah parties galore on Sunday and to my knowledge Langside/Garnethill have moved theirs back a week because of the over provision. UJIA deal with unmet need NOT wasting money and time on creating competition.

    It is also perfectly consistent that I can know what is going on without speaking for UJIA. I made some checks after this issue was raised with the people at the top of UJIA and found out the truth. I don’t see it as smart to correct a misconception and the unwarranted criticism which followed. I just see it as right. I’m sorry that you seem to see it differently.

  111. Calderwood Parent said

    I happen to have found out who is on the UJIA committee. Its not then too difficult to try and work it out when someone posts defending UJIA and using the same name as someone who is on that committee. But it was an assumption. Perhaps it is right, perhaps it is wrong.

  112. Debbie said

    Calderwood Parent you also assume I was defending UJIA out of some loyalty. I am not. I am merely defending what I believe to be an unfair.

  113. Debbie said

    * takeout an

  114. Not a Calderwood Parent said

    Sorry Derek I’m confused now. It doesn’t seem logical to say that the reason UJIA are not having a Chanukah Party is because you knew there would be lots of them already.
    Surely the reason for UJIA to have had one is to stop this needless waste of resources which is why you ran one last year. There are only so many children in the community – spliting resources like this is a waste of money and effort. I also think that the UJIA logo on a Reform flyer that you now claim was only to indicate sponsorship without any other association is not really plausible. If you ran it last year with the Reform it is obvious that people are going to think its the same again unless you tell them this time its different.
    If we accept your explanation then not only are you allowing the community to waste money but you are creating competition – exactly the opposite of your declared objectives.
    I think like others NM wouldn’t have done this if it had not been the Reform and I agree that its not right and they should have known better.

  115. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Glad to be back Derek, been out of action for a few days. You obviously have the low down on how UJIA works and I would suggest you front a seminar in the future that the rest of us be brought up to scratch. Till then, I would be grateful if you would explain in more detail your posting #103. You say:

    “If they do give a grant they ask that their largesse be acknowledged in the publicity.”

    You then say:

    ” I have no idea whether they have donated to any other Chanukah parties”

    If your first statement is true then your second is false because as you say, their largesse would have been acknowledged in the publicity. Or maybe you are suggesting that some organisations promise one thing for UJIA support then welsh on the agreement. Whatever it is, it’s a mess.

  116. Derek Livingston said

    No Nachman, my second statement is perfectly true since believe it or not I haven’t seen most of the publicity for the various Chanukah parties. So there is nothing false about it. I didn’t know about the GRS contribution and don’t expect to be consulted on individual grants.

    I don’t really think it appropriate that you should accuse me of falsehood.

  117. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Derek, lets talk the same language. I never accused you of falsehood. Rather, I said your second statement was false which is a different proposition altogether. Furthermore, you have gone out of you way to give the impression of having the ear of the sancta sanctorum. There are obvious gaps in your knowledge so I apologise for suggesting you should front a seminar.

  118. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I have given more thought to my posting. It is possible your second premise was true, in which case maybe the first was false.

  119. Derek Livingston said

    I’ll finish here on this one. I’m sorry if you have the impression I have gone out of my way “to give the impression of having the ear of the sancta sanctorum”. I merely wanted to make the point that the information I had was reliable. I also saw this as important to correct the avalanche of criticism directed at those who were innocent parties.

  120. Major Ayeswater said

    Yeh but is it Strachan or McGeady who is the innocent party?

  121. Voice of Reason said

    I saw the advert for the GRS event in my child’s school bag and saw the UJIA logo and the legend “supported by”. I assumed that it was GRS’s event with perhaps a grant of some kind from UJIA. It seems that the negative comments posted here are yet another set of spurious attacks on charities, organisations and individuals based on deliberate misquotes, misunderstandings and misdirection.

    Perhaps CP, ACP et al should start posting using their real names when wishing to cast aspersions on others, then, perhaps, the rest of us will finally see what you measure others’ efforts against.

  122. Major Ayeswater said

    Oops sorry posted No 116 on the wrong blog. Now how do you spell the Sellik. hic….

  123. Major Ayeswater said

    Oops sorry posted #116 on the wrong blog. Now how do you spell the Sellik so ah can put ma post on the right wan..hic…

  124. Not A Calderwood Parent said

    I suggest that Mr Livingston has look at this morning’s Jewish Telegraph. UJIA’s logo is quite clearly emblazoned in the middle of the advert for the Reform Shul Chanukah Party.
    The advert must have been sent to the paper before UJIA seemingly decided that the event was now so contentious they would have to step back.
    I can’t quite work out whether Derek Livingston speaks for UJIA, or whether he doesn’t speak for UJIA, whether he knows what is happening in UJIA, or whether he doesn’t know what is happening.
    I salute the Voice of Reason’s ( 117)powers of deduction and clairvoyance. Only amazing analytical prowess could have deduced that the Party at the Reform Shul had nothing to do with UJIA and after all it was only a grant.
    This same person has already told us that they are going to five chanukah parties this weekend – someone obviously with so little to do. A more suitable name for this blogger would be
    ” Voice of Stupidity “

  125. Voice of Reason said

    Such rationality and calm prose is the hallmark of a person on the edge, “Not A Calderwood Parent”. I urge you to seek professional help.

    There seems to be a tendency here to attempt to end a discussion by hurling abuse? Different names, similar language, last resort of a lost cause.

    Your logic is flawed. UJIA “ask that their largesse be acknowledged in the publicity” but, however cannot insist. So that means that one cannot be sure that other grants have not been awarded.

    IIRC from my momentary involvement in UJIA, grants are given in response to requests, so if one does not ask then one does not get. GRS obviously asked!

    An apposite tale:
    My Grandfather bought shares in Woolworth in 1960 on the basis that the value could only go up. He sold them at a distinct loss 4 years later. This blog appears to be following the same model but over a much shorter timeframe.

    Merry Saturday, one and all!

  126. Interested said

    Major Ayeswater can you please tell me wat blog u talk about sellic? seems to be more interesting than this blog!

  127. Calderwood Parent said

    What Derek Livingston told us was that if a grant is given by UJIA then they ask that “their largesse be acknowledged in the publicity. ”
    Now Voice of Reason or as someone else posted ” voice of stupidity ” claims that this is not insisted upon. They claim involvement with UJIA – another person trying to make out that they know what’s going on when the obvious explanation is that no one in UJIA has the slightest clue what is going on.
    I would ask “Voice of Reason” to tell us why organisations wouldn’t be prepared to acknowledge UJIA assistance but I guess that any explanation offered by this blogger would be a complete and utter waste of time.
    I’d rather hear from someone who does know what’s happening rather than someone who pretends that they do. We’ve already had enough of this from Mr Livingston.

  128. Mensch said

    Calderwood parent… you have got to get yourself a life. Derek Livingston has tried to clarify your issues. So I get it that you dont agree after the first post. Can you not just let go. Wheeling in your mate Nachman, Another Calderwood Parent and others to issue a forensic analysis of the statements made by others is frankly a waste of time.

    Nobody cares but you about this Chanukah party issue… Just pick a party and go and enjoy yourself. You need to chill with a few latkas and some doughnuts! If you contiue, you are in danger of disappearing up your own backside, or even Nachman’s as you continue to lambast others.

    If I have upset you by stating the obvious, then let me issue you a pre-emptive apology on behalf of myself, all shuls, UJIA, Calderwood Lodge, Kollel, GRS, Derek and Debbie. And before you ask, yes I do speak for all in an official capacity!!

    Now just stop being a dipstick!

  129. Orchard Drive said

    VOR #121 I am sad your grandfather was such a loser. Do your postings give us a clue as to who inherited most of his genes?

  130. Curious said

    Who can Mensch be? He speaks for all Shuls, UJIA, the Kollel, Calderwood Lodge, Debbie and Derek. What a very important person. Think the clue as to the make up and identity of Mensch lies in the fact that he doesn’t include the Reform Shul with the other Shuls but mentions it separately. Well I personally think you are at it. Why should others let an issue go just because you don’t like it. Somehow in our community you would have as much chance of getting a joint statement from the Orthodox / Kollel and the Reform as you have of going to the moon.
    Think burial problems – see front page of Jewish Telegraph. The Orthodox Rabbinate can’t even behave with compassion when people are dead.

  131. Just Joking said

    Sorry Curious about the dead but Mensch speaks for them too.

  132. Curious said

    Did you say dead or brain dead?

  133. 6feetunder. said

    The Burial Ground Saga…
    Having read the Telegraph I really can’t believe the situation ; if matters have been trundling on for 20 years or more with no real hassle why on earth does the Burial society decide in its infinite wisdom to start a war ? They say it is halachic guidance-Iwonder who advised them and whether they went looking for such advice ? Maybe it was the recently departed Hachenbroch ? He was the one afterall who tried but failed to prevent kosher caterers at the Reform Shul. Maybe it wasn’t him but The Burial society should learn that Rabonnim leave a legacies that have repurcussions for years after the Rabbi leaves for pastures new.
    Whilst the Burial Society are entitled to shut up shop to Reform practice (and they couldn’t be criticised for that )going forward ,to do it in such a way that affects a group of their existing members is beyond belief……there is more than one halachic concept based on compassion ….yet those who would start this battle have been selective in ignoring that. Why don’t they simply say to current members that can continue as before and only apply the rule change to new members ? That way no one loses.
    I think the motives for this change in policy are more than likely based on spite and prejudice then a desire to uphold halachic principles .
    The Burial society have been very weak about this…and spineless-which makes then decidely unkosher in my book.

  134. Hal Acha said

    Hey 6feetunder you seem to know a lot about this. Your name suggests you have some inside knowledge. Can you let us know more.

  135. Community Member said

    Interesting book review in yesterday’s New York Times.

    ” The Holocaust is Over – We must rise from its ashes ” – By Avraham Burg

    Should we as a community move on as well and think about the future, not the past?

  136. Outraged said

    Burg wants Israel to get rid of the Yad Vashem.
    I’m appalled.
    Get this link off your blog.
    Close this GJEF blog down now.

  137. A Beitz said

    Outraged, whilst I almost entirely disagree with Burg, the article is interesting. Frankly I am much more offended about the parallels Burg now draws between some aspects of Nazi Germany and Israel than I am about his wish to close Yad Vashem. Having said that I am unclear as to why he considers having the headquarters of the International Criminal Court in Israel (fat chance) is mutually exclusive with maintaining Yad Vashem there.
    He has a perfect right to be silly.

  138. Nachman AAronovitch said

    Regrettably, my Ivrit is not as fluent as yours, Beitzie, so I have been unable to read the original Israeli edition which you must have sourced. However, I have ordered the English version and when it arrives I’ll be able to consider whether or not he has been silly.

  139. Community Member said

    Sometimes it needs people to think differently and ask awkward questions to challenge conventional thinking. Like you Nachman I will wait for my copy before coming to final conclusions. Nevertheless some interesting points have already been raised………….

    “The Nazi slaughter of six million Jews has become the central theme of Israeli life dominating it in a way that distorts the country’s outlook ”

    In terestingly Burg also comments that ” teenagers are sent on trips to Auschwitz ” so his book has a relevance to our own community.

    ” Every enemy of Israel is viewed as the reincarnation of Hitler”

    ” he wants a new Jewish identity focussed on …foundations of optimism, faith in humans and full trust in the family of nations ”

    Sometimes ideas that are dismissed as being “silly” ignite useful discussion and actually mean others can focus properly on why even here in Glasgow we do certain things and the rationale behind it – rather than merely just doing things because it is ” obvious ” that we should and because we have always done things that way.

  140. Calderwood Parent said

    I’m sorry UJIA. You stood up to be counted this afternoon and honoured your commitment to the Reform Shul Chanukah Party.
    UJIA had a stall at the party and they had people there helping. They did the right thing. As an organisation you sent a very clear message to the community today and you showed real leadership.
    Thankfully there are people involved in UJIA who knew the right thing to do today. Thankfully Derek Livingston didn’t speak for UJIA. Mr Livingston claimed that today’s Reform Shul event had nothing to do with UJIA. Seems that he was quite wrong.
    Rather than defending the indefensible, Newton Mearns Shul should not have had their party today at the same time, Mr Livingston should tell the powers that be at Newton Mearns that Chanukah lasts for 8 days and they could have held their party on another day quite easily.

  141. NM Shul Member said

    Or even “Calderwood Parent” on the same day at a later time i.e. 5.30-7.30pm or 12 till 2pm.

    I am quietly confident that if another local ordothox shul had had the Chanukah Fair on then NM wouldn’t have had a party at the same time as them or am I just a cynic?

  142. Derek Livingston said

    CP, stop continuing to mislead. How many stalls were there at GRS? UJIA had one. What I said was that the GRS event was not a UJIA one or even a cross communal one. You got it wrong and instead of admitting that or even apologising for some of your statements about NM shul and the kollel you just try to keep on and on in the hope that if you mislead enough (where did I say that the Reform shul event had nothing to do with UJIA?) eventually you’ll wriggle out of it.
    It’s a shame. This blog could be good but you appear to be trying to ruin it with aggressive and constant postings making wild accusations or personal attacks. Give it a rest. Mensch sussed you.

  143. Community Member said

    Derek, you wrote in post 99 that the Reform Shul Chanukah event was
    ” in no way a UJIA event or indeed a cross- communal one “.
    You were wrong.
    I was there and it was obvious to everyone who attended that this event had something to do with UJIA,was not just about giving sponsorship,and was cross-communal and that is why many turned up which is exactly the point that various Calderwood parents and others have brought up on this blog.
    Incidentally, you should also be aware that some even went to prove a point to Newton Mearns Shul and the Kollel and these people were not members of the Reform Shul.
    You should also note that UJIA’s involvement in the Reform Shul party was welcomed and their visible participation was obvious to everyone. It was not just another stall.
    I have no idea why you want to play down UJIA’s involvement – but I would suggest that you would be wiser if you stopped trying to defend NM and the Kollel when most people I’ve come across know exactlt what they think about what happened.
    NM shul member is spot on (137) and everyone but you seems to realise it.

  144. Derek Livingston said

    Again you make it up as you go along. Having a stall does not contradict the fact it was not a UJIA event or indeed one organised by it. GJEF had a balloon debate. Some organisations had stalls. That didn’t mean it was their event.
    As usual you then jump from a misconceived theory to then purport to state fact. The jump from “most people I’ve come across know exactly what they think about what happened” to that immediately being “everyone but you seems to know it” with various if buts and maybes is poor even by your standards.
    I am happy for UJIA to organise things in the community along with the reform or orthodox. It is one of the few genuinely cross commmunal organisations. However don’t then equate a presence as making it the organiser or joint organiser or other organisations having things at the same time as being in conflict with UJIA’s cross communal educational efforts.

  145. Community Member said

    Keep digging Derek – you are nearly at the bottom of the hole you are digging.
    Only you understand why you are determined to play down UJIA involvement when everybody else is delighted that they were involved and actively so.
    And no playing with words can avoid that they were involved.
    I would suggest that you are once again trying to be all things to all people. Sad that. Very sad.

  146. Plain Speaker said

    Don’t be ridiculous, Mr Livingston. You may have twisted things in your own mind such that a major UJIA presence at the GRS Chanukah party does not mean they had any organisational involvement but really you’re just being a chump. I smile wryly that it is you who refers to balloons. Of course they were deeply involved and I hear, proudly so. So far you have done UJIA a major disservice and were I them I would be furious at you. I would also be furious at Newton Mearns who intentionally or unintentionally have been party to causing further polarisation within a small community.
    One must question the motivation behind NM’s action and exactly who was the driving force.

  147. Chanukah Claus said

    Here is a wonderful idea…

    Which Shul or any other organisation will arrange a special Chanukah party, family social event, for 4pm on Christmas Day? This should be open to everyone in the community and would be a wonderful opportunity to unite this community after the divisive events over this weekend.

    Everyone is off work. All children are off school. All you need are email addresses and the invitations can be sent out. Its easy. It will be packed.

    Is there someone out there, who can arrange a hall and show the initiative to get this organised?

  148. David S Links said

    For the avoidance of doubt this comment is the opinion of the writer and he does not proport to speak on any organisation’s behalf.

    Newton Mearns held a meeting prior to Chanukah to arrange their Annual Channukah Event.

    As during the period in between Rabbi Hackenbroch’s departure and Rabbi Bergson’s arrival we are being helped by the Kollel it seemed logical to combine our party with theirs.

    We did check with the other orthodox shuls what they were having and the only other party was at Giffnock and that was in the morning.(Only laterally did we discover that their combined event had a second half in the Glen carpark in late afternoon.

    We did not check with the Reform Synagogue as we would not expect their members to come to our shul on festivals as we would not expect our members to go there. Our membership criteria is laid down by the United Synagogue and the Office of the Chief Rabbi. I would hazzard a guess that the majority of members of the Glasgow Reform Synagogue and their children do not qualify to be members at Newton Mearns. That does not imply anything other than that. We would never stop a member of the Reform from coming to our shul services or to our events. However I do believe that we should not go out of our way to encourage it and vice versa. I have friends in both congregations. We live in a country where we have freedom of choice.

    Calderwood Parent who appears to have an ambition to win an Olympic Gold Medal in Axe Grinding will no doubt have something to say about the flyers in school satchels but you may believe it or not the first I heard about the Reform Party was at 4.00pm on the Sunday.

    The Reform did not communicate with us in any way and I do believe that either committee is in the slightest way upset by the turn of events.

    Now to the cemetery. An orthodox burial society is entitled to insist on orthodox only services taking place in their cemetery. That is to say that a funeral service of a member of the society whose mourners do not wish to have an orthodox Jewish service should hold such a service in any suitable venue off site and then have the internment at the orthodox cemetary.

    If a wedding party was to be held in the hall of an orthodox synagogue you would not expect the Synagogue to allow a Reform Chuppah service to be conducted either in the hall or in the shul itself.

    The person who passed away is hallachically Jewish and was a member of the Burial Society and chose that place to be buried. The relatives who are possibly reform should not change the service to Reform. I am sure if the relatives were all non Jewish as can be the case they would not wish to change the service. If the deceased had wanted a reform service they would be the option of being buried in a reform cemetery or having the service at the Reform Shul prior to going to the cemetery.

  149. Calderwood Parent said

    If your side of the story is accurate Mr Links you have a big problem. As I understand you the substance of your argument is that NM Shul did not know about the Reform Shul / UJIA Chanukah party until Sunday afternoon.

    What you are telling us is that you and your committee don’t look at the Jewish Telegraph – because if you had you would have seen a huge advert. What you are telling us is that you and your committee don’t look at the communal diary to see what’s on in our community because if you had it would have been very obvious that there was already a party on Sunday afternoon in the Reform Shul. What you are telling us is that neither you nor your committee knew that a flyer had been sent home with Calderwood children advertising the UJIA/ Reform Chanukah party well before your own Shul sent their one to all Calderwood children.

    If this is as you suggest then your problem is huge because not only do you not know what’s going on in this community but you don’t even know where to look. And in my opinion that means you should no longer be involved in running anything in this community.

    Furthermore, you don’t even understand the motivations of a good number of your own members. At the Reform/UJIA party there were quite a number of Newton Mearns Shul members.
    Why Mr Links?

    Does it occur to you that rather than entrench divisions most people in this community with young children would prefer a cross communal event where their children can enjoy a Chanukah party without your petty nitpicking about who is entitled to belong to your Shul. That discussion was not relevant on Sunday afternoon at a children’s Chanukah party.

    The facts are that your Shul did not care that there was another communal Chanukah party being held on Sunday afternoon. You have also confirmed what NM member thought. You bothered to check what Giffnock were doing and would not have gone head to head with them. The Reform/UJIA event was of no interest to you at all.

    As I have posted before, its time decent people stood up and said that we have had enough of this bigoted and selfish attitude. As I wrote previously it is attitudes like yours that hacks so many people off about Judaism in our community. It is bigoted, it is spiteful and it is narrow minded.

    The Newton Mearns congregation could start to rectify matters by getting rid of David Links from their committee. At least then they would be looking to a better future, rather than perpetuating his misplaced divisions on a Sunday afternoon when the community could have been enjoying a truly cross-communal party.

  150. Another Calderwood Parent said

    I am not Calderwood Parent – well I am actually another Calderwood parent but not the same parent as the person who posts as Calderwood Parent. I hope you can understand this. We are both parents and we speak as parents but we do not speak officially as Calderwood parents.
    Its almost as straightforward as Derek Livingstone posting as someone in the know and on a UJIA committee professing to know the official UJIA line, but he isn’t posting officially. And David Links posts as someone officially explaining the Newton Mearns Shul position – and on their committee -but posting for himself and no one else.
    Both of these individuals have made things perfectly clear and transparent.
    Aye, that’ll be right…………

  151. Debbie said

    “We did not check with the Reform Synagogue as we would not expect their members to come to our shul on festivals as we would not expect our members to go there”.

    “We did check with the other orthodox shuls what they were having”.

    Mr Links I don’t think you have done yourself or NM Shul any favours by your post. It suggests to me that you understand very little of many congregants within NM Shul.

    You state that “We live in a country where we have freedom of choice”. You removed that choice by holding your event at the same time as the Reform Shul.

  152. Hal Acha said

    Calderwood parent (post 145) are you really so naive or is your post a wind up. Will you now be arguing for a cross communal party with the congregants of St Cadoc’s or Mearns Church of Scotland.
    You are fond of hyperbole that’s for sure. In Post 92 you talk of a “high percentage of the school roll” being children of GRS members. Perhaps you can be more specific. What is the actual percentage of reform children at Calderwood.I think we are entitled to be told.

  153. NM Shul Member said

    Hal Acha

    Can I ask why you think you are entitled to know which shul (if any at all) the pupils of Calderwood attend.It is not relevant. What are you implying? We are entitled to know?

  154. Hal Acha said

    NMSM if you read Post 92 you would not be asking these questions. I could not care what synagogues the Calderwood children attend. I am simply asking CP to justify his/her post.

  155. NM Shul Member said

    Ha Acha

    Why? If you dont care then dont ask. I repeat it is NOT relevant.

  156. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    One has to question the motives of David S Links, Hal Acha, Mensch and others for what would appear to be an almost psychotic fear of the Reform. It is as though they see them as a personal threat. One post even called them a different religion, a small minded and nasty assertion, which most sensible middle of the road halachically acceptable Jews would see as outrageous. I put it to Mensch and Hal Acha that some of the right wing Jewish religious fundamentalists despise us ‘Orthodox’ Jews even more than ‘we’ do the Reform. In case they question my claim, I have been accused of “acting like a goy” at a Meir Shearim wedding by someone who did not realise that my minimal basic Yiddish was enough to get the gist of the tirade of insults. This was not a one off performance but the consequence of generally held views of disdain and contempt held within parts of the fundamentalist Haredi community.
    I think the problem with much of the ant-Reform diatribe is lack of confidence by the nominally orthodox in their own position. Instead of understanding their own (and my) inconsistencies and hypocrisies, it is easier to ring fence the club, ignore the internal problems and blame it all on those who lie out with the arbitrary parameters.

  157. David S Links said

    Calderwood Parent I suggest if you wish to get rid of me join our Shul and put forward the proposal. If it is passed I will be happy to retire from the committee and fade into obscurity. However as you are a coward hiding behind a nom de plume you cannot be taken seriously and from what you have written over a long period of time I believe that you are a bit of a joke. Perhaps you are not a joke but a joker and most of your postings are just wind ups to see what happens next.

    If any organisation is serious about not clashing with a particular organisation I am sure they would wish to contact that organisation directly. The truth is that NMHC or the Reform did not contact each other in the same way that they did not contact the local Chapels, Churches or Mosques who may have been holding events on that Sunday.

    I think it probable that the two synagogues are unlikely to discuss events in the future as they do not see each other as competition. Each go about their business with the utmost respect for the other. When matters of mutual interest do come up eg.our common dividing wall we have always got on famously and are good neighbours.

    Last Shabbat we had a visit from a Reform gentleman a member from the Ayr Rd Congregation and as he qualified for an aliyah we were delighted to call him to the Torah. I think that showed respect. Having said that we would not deliberately try to poach Reform Shul Members.

    Happy Channukah to all

  158. Calderwood Parent said

    NM Shul would be better off without you influencing policy. It is a defence of the last resort to say that if only someone was around to take your place you would be happy to go. Create a space Mr Links by going first – they will find someone much better to replace you.

    The Reform Shul/ UJIA didn’t have to contact you Mr Links because it was their event that was advertised to the community first. You didn’t look at the Telegraph, you didn’t consult the communal diary – you didn’t care. You did what you wanted to without any regard for others.

    Why did you need to advertise your event to Calderwood children? Do you not have enough members of your own that you require to boost your numbers elsewhere?

    You say that you did not contact the Reform ” in the same way as you didn’t contact local chapels, churches or mosques. ” Your provacative insinuation is that the Reform are equivalent to another religion. They may be in your insular, arrogant mindset. They are not in mine and thankfully many others.

    You ran your event in competition with the UJIA/ Reform party. Some of your own members have been on here telling you that they are very unimpressed. Attitudes like yours are spiteful, bigoted and narrow minded.

    As I have said before I am not a member of Reform and am a member of the United Synagogue. Your attitude is what hacks so many people off about Judaism. Resign Mr Links.

  159. Derek Livingston said

    Mr Links,
    You join a fairly massive list who Calderwood Parent and Community Member (could they be in any way related?) have sought to have resign or have said are not fit to hold office. If only these poster(s?)were running everything we wouldn’t need a moshiach and all would be well in our troubled world or at least better run.
    Until then we’ll just have to put up with the many who are clearly not up to it.

  160. Another Calderwood Parent said

    Well Mr Livingston, I am no relation oto either of them but I still think you are not up to it.
    You tried to pretend that you were important and tried to explain that everything was just fine. UJIA, according to you, had no involvement with the Reform Chanukah party and Newton Mearns were fine individuals and everyone should apologise for creating a fuss about nothing.
    What we then found out was that UJIA were very involved in the Reform Chanukah party – and David Links has admitted that they checked with Orthodox Shuls but not the Reform and equated the Reform with chapels, churches and mosques.
    You must be really proud to be on the same side as Mr Links in this Mr Livingston. It must make you feel really good.
    I don’t know who should be blamed more – David Links and his Newton Mearns Shul committee or people like you who always seem to find convenient reasons to let them get away with it. On balance you are probably worse – because you ought to know better – so I’ll throw my tuppence worth in as well and suggest that whatever committees you are on – and I’m told its a lot – that you should go as well.
    Happy Chanukah Derek.

  161. mensch said

    Nachman, your propensity to support anything said by community member or calderwood parent has obviously affected either your intelligence or your eyesight. Please dont accuse me of any psychotic fear of reform when I have absolutely no issues with reform.

    My issue if you re-read was actually that your mentor and policy making friends want to make a mountain out of a mole hill. This is a complete issue which has been stirred up for no possible benefit to anyone.

    In the spirit of openness can you confirm whether you are actually on community member’s payroll or has he a picture of you in a comprimising position which causes your continual indulgance in sycophancy

  162. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I’m afraid #157, like all bigots you don’t recognize yourself. It is you that talks of shuls but hives off GRS as something separate.
    Similarly, you cannot accept that there is a body of opinion that disagrees with you so you rationalise by attempting to coalesce them into one. Underlying all this is a very big issue in this city, the relationship between the Reform and the Orthodox. It has been brushed under the carpet for so long, but now it’s out in the open and its not going to easily go away. But sadly you just don’t get it, do you?

  163. Derek Livingston said

    #156 I can accept disagreement but not carelessness or dishonesty. Repeating something untrue often enough does not make it true. As I said in #138, and I await an answer, where did I say that the Reform shul event had nothing to do with UJIA? I also would like to know how many stalls were at GRS.
    You see I think there is much in the community to be criticised but that legitimate comment gets devalued when people base their invective on untruths.

    Incidentally how do you know you are not related to CM or CP? Do you know who they are? If so how?

  164. mensch said

    Nachmann, you really are a shameful individual. I actually am a member of the Reform synagogue yet you continue to call me a bigot.

    You, on the other hand, are confused and completely misguided. Again you trot out this line cooked up by community member that I have an issue with reform. Let me tell you the difference between you and a Tesco shopping trolling Nachmann….. A Tesco trolley has a mind of its own!

    Perhaps if you apologise and eat some humble pie you can restore some of your lost credibility.

  165. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    You’ll forgive me, Mensch, if I ignore you from now on, but you seem to have communication problems. I recognise you have conceded the argument and resort to the voice of the gutter. I hope you do yourself a disservice but I doubt it.

  166. Another Calderwood Parent said

    Stop trying to be smart Mr Livingston and try to concentrate on the basics.
    In post 99 you said that ” it is in no way a UJIA event or indeed a cross communal one.” You claimed the involvement of UJIA was only financial.
    Those that were there know that this is nonsense.
    There was only one organisation who had a stall at the event – UJIA.
    The rest were private businesses.
    You obviously have no knowledge about what the UJIA role actually was and even though others have told you that the UJIA involvement on the day was visible and substantial and welcomed you refuse to admit that you were wrong.
    I couldn’t care less what names people use on this blog. I only told you that I blog independently – I am not Calderwood Parent or Community Member.
    Who cares who uses what name. I am told by others that you yourself have used different names. What is important is the substance of the argument and Mr Livingston yours is not up to much.
    You have chosen to be on the side of someone who thinks Reform Jews are as Jewish as those who go to mosques, churches and chapels. David Links has told the truth about how his committee see the world.
    You should know better.

  167. Sammy said

    Perhaps the discussion could move on a little. I am quite surprised that so few comments on either side of this debate have focussed on the involvement of the Glasgow Kollel.
    Maybe Calderwood Parent, David Links, Nachman, Derek Livingston, Mensch, NM Shul member, Debbie, Another Calderwood Parent, Community Member, Curious and Voice of Reason would like to switch their focus a little. My sincere apologies to anyone else who contributed to the Chanukah debate but in my humble opinion I think we should concentrate on why Newton Mearns Shul would want to be so closely associated with the Kollel.
    I am aware that they have had a temporary Rabbi filling in after the departure of the last Rabbi and the impending arrival in January of the new Rabbi.
    I believe that our community needs to be entirely sure that any organisations who operate with charitable status are upholding all the rules and obligations incumbent upon them when accorded official recognition as a charity.
    If one looks at the register of the Scottish Charities Commission you will find that accounts have not been filed for two years and the Kollel are in breach of regulations.
    It wasn’t so long ago, I am told, that the Kollel school was closed by the authorities as well. Allegedly for not conforming with regulations laid down by law.
    We as a community should ensure that any organisations working within always behave properly. In the light of the Bernie Madoff affair we need to insist that any organisations who operate within our community are complying with legislation or they do not deserve our support.
    That my friends is the question that still remains after the Chanukah parties are long over.
    Newton Mearns Shul should be more careful and our community ought to police itself far more stringently than currently happens.

  168. Derek Livingston said

    ACP whatever argument you have is simply nullified by your method of debating. You accuse me of trying to be smart when I point out I never said what you attribute to me. You criticise for what I never said.
    As for posting under more than one name I have on this blog used 2 names my own and a pseudonym, almost throughout. I think I may have used on 3 single other occasions another pseudonym. What I have never done is change pseudonyms in the course of an argument. That has, I am sure,beeen going on here for some time.

    What is also interesting is that you claim “I am told by others that you yourself have used different names”. The only person who could know this is those who run GJEF. From what you have said and the use of the word “others” you have been given this information by 2 others and put it on this blog. That is a breach of both etiquette and data protection. You previous said you were not related to CP or CM. You seem to know far too much here unless you are either the administator of this blog or CP/CM. Now what about an explanation for this which seems fundamental.

  169. Another Calderwood Parent said

    You won’t admit that you are wrong Mr Livingston but I don’t see many rushing to your defence. I can’t recall anyone else in UJIA confirming your stance and I can’t remember anyone in UJIA other than you trying to make light of their involvement.
    Now you want to discuss which name you have used on this blog. As I told you in my last comment I couldn’t care less. I just think its a bit rich of you to try and have a go at others for using different names.
    Finally, stop being so stupid that you think only 2 people told me who you posted under on this blog. I think if you ask around our community there are lots of people who have a good idea who you might have been.
    I have told you I have no connection with Community Member or Calderwood Parent, as far as I am aware. Now you have a go at the blog administrator when I am not him either.
    Has it occurred to you that there are quite a few people out there who think your argument and position in this has been to put it politely, bollocks.
    Now try and answer properly. I told you only 1 other organisation was present – UJIA – how surprising you couldn’t come back on that one and instead think of some diversion.
    It won’t work.

  170. Armchair Analyst said

    Sammy, by invoking the name Bernie Madoff who BTW played both the Orthodox and Reform like a violin, you are making shome mishtake shurely? What percentage are donors to Kollel told they may expect to get back except a possible place in the big shtetl in the sky?

    Or have the Kollel been heavily engaged in buying up shares of RBofS or Woolies these past two years when they would’ve got much better odds at William King round the corner? Pray tell us.

  171. Amos said

    I am of the opinion that Jewish charities must be whiter than white and the Kollel situation should be dealt with harshly.I notice also that there is a question mark on-line over Lubavitch, the checking of their latest returns being delayed. I trust this is an innocent blip, but should it be of deeper significance then again we as a community will be partly responsible for turning a blind eye to morally unacceptable practices.

  172. Hershie Perleman said

    So what’s in a name? My parents presented me with several on birth, then when they tired of them, had them changed by deed poll. It’s not that I’m schizophrenic, though I may be, I just have rights to them all and so use them freely.

    “Who’s Hershie Perleman?”, I hear you say. That’s me, well it should be me. That’s what I would have been called if my light fingered great great great or is just great great grandfather had not nicked some other poor blighter’s passport and presented it at British customs.

    Are my arguments more or less valid because I give all my names an airing. Is truth not universal? Is morality, justice and human rights only the preserve of the mononymous (yes, I know there’s no such word but if it takes off I may yet get a mention in the OED).

    And all these Derek’s and David’s pretending they’re using their own names. I for one can spot a pseudonym a mile off so who’s the pseude.

  173. Gershie Perleman said

    I will not be responsable for any juvenile attempts at humour other than my own after December 25th 2008 at 8.48 pm

  174. Debbie said

    May I be so bold as to rush to Mr Livingston’s defence. Originally UJIA were only giving some financial and “backroom” support to the Chanukah Fair being held in the Reform Shul. However, due to unforseen circumstances, UJIA also stepped in with manpower to support the event when Reform Shul were let down by some of those who were unable to fulfill previously promised time and commitment.

    Perhaps that time and commitment were transferred to one of the other many Chanukah events on that day?

  175. Janus said

    Who fed you that line Debbie? Once again I smell a poor attempt at a damage limitation exercise. Anyway, Mr Livingston’s no support has become “backroom” support. Of course, you’re talking officially, or are you? Go back and get the story right because you guys are tying yourself up in knots. Check also whether Mr Livingston was kept out of the loop regarded this amazing bit of info.

  176. Blog watcher said

    Brilliant Debbie. Absolutely brilliant.
    That’s one of the funniest contributions on the blog for quite some time.
    By rushing to Mr Livingston’s defence you have dropped him even deeper in this mess.
    My sincere congratulations. Brilliant.
    I can’t wait to see what excuse he’ll come up with now.

  177. Derek Livingston said

    So do tell me. Which part of Debbie’s contribution has “dropped him even deeper in it”? What’s funny about the contribution? Are you accusing Debbie of lying? What is about some of you that you feel you have to post in an aggressive unpleasant manner about things you don’t know whilst making dogmatic statements?
    I await further invective with disinterest.

  178. UJIA Donor said

    Derek, sometimes in life it is better to accept that you have been soundly beaten. Sometimes, it is better to admit that you have lost the argument.
    There is not one part of this that you seem to have called correctly from the involvement of UJIA to the admission by David Links that Newton Mearns consulted with Orthodox Shuls but compared consultation with Reform to consulting with Chapels, Churches and Mosques.
    You have also questionned who is writing and now you claim that their mode of posting is aggressive and unpleasant. You are hitting out in all different directions, but it isn’t helping. Regretfully, you can’t see it.
    I am one of your greatest admirers but you have lost badly. Your arguments have been rebuffed and defeated and I can’t see where now you can go with this.
    Admit you have lost and retire gracefully and come back to fight some other battle.

  179. Friend of Israel said

    The news from Gaza is not good. So many civilian casualties and so many dead. The TV screens will be full of dreadful pictures. And will the rockets into Israel stop? I doubt it. So what will be gained? What will we do here? Hold another rally to support Israel? Will we all stand behind Israeli policy?

  180. Israel supporter said

    It seems nothing has been learned from the Lebanon War in 2006.

  181. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    You’re wasting your time, Foi. All those nauseating voices that appear on the blog from time to time telling us how small minded we are, how unimportant our discussions are when there are events of such great importance happening out there. Where are they now? What have they got to say? The problem is that they have little or nothing to say about anything other than to critcise those who have.

  182. Solidarity said

    Has anyone heard if there will be a communal rally held sometime soon?
    Have the Rep Council started to organise this?
    Is there antone out there who could object to us all turning up and showing solidarity with the Israeli Government as they teach Hamas a long overdue lesson?
    Would anyone have a problem with this?

  183. Herald Reader said

    The 500 who held a candlelight vigil in George Square and the 2000 who demonstrated outside the Israeli embassy in London for a start.

    Figures as per page 4 in The Herald today

  184. Armchair Analyst said

    Baskin attempts below to give a ‘balanced’ synopsis of the big picture of events leading up to Israel’s strike on Gaza. With this action, does Israel want regime change as Baskin appears to suggest, or is the object to dictate a new ceasefire on Israel’s terms, as other Israeli commentators suggest?

  185. Likudnik said

    So Israel’s patience with the terrorists has run out. Apart from a few strays on this blog no one is bothered about what is finally happening to Hamas in Gaza. Israel’s neighbours are not even particularly upset. Egypt is more concerned with keeping their border closed than jumping on the humanitarian roundabout that wants protection for murderers who fire rockets.
    Armchair Analyst wants a ” balanced ”
    critique. Fortunately he’s one of very few. We’re at war for God’s sake – get real.
    All political parties that are taken seriously by the Israeli electorate are supportive of this war to protect Israeli citizens.
    Lets get behind Israel. This is a war of necessity.

  186. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    You say this war is to protect Israeli citizens. Explain how. Killing a few hundred or thousand Palestinians may give satisfaction to the Israeli electorate, may even be justified (or not) but how does the radicalisation of another generation of Palestinians give Israelis long term security and peace?

  187. hard to say from where I'm sitting said

    Nachman – what do you mean by ‘may even be justified or not’? – I’m a bit perplexed here.

    Do you think that if Israel did nothing after the collapse of the ceasefire and Hamas’ announcement that it didn’t want a new truce, ‘another generation’ of Palestinians would NOT be radicalised? Could they be any LESS radicalised?

    The Egyptians hate Hamas,Fatah in the West Bank hates them, the British Foreign Sec calls them ‘a terrorist organisation’ (see today’s BBC news).
    Do we just say that Arafat was also labelled a terrorist and we have to talk with them? Is there any suggestion that there is someone in Hamas to talk to?

    So what can Israel do? Ignore the end of the truce, let Hamas think it is weak and let the rockets (6,000 of which have been launched since 2,000 – now reaching Beersheba)continue unchecked.

    Should Israel, with nothing in return, open all the Gaza borders and let weapons flood in and suicide bombers come out? Do you think that Hamas would then say, OK Israel, we accept you as a neighbour?

    What exactly should Israel do? Withdraw to the exact 1949 ceasefire lines? Would this bring peace and acceptance? Or would they then ask for Nazareth and Jaffa etc? Allow Palestinian refugees to go back to their former homes in pre-1967 Israel? Or should Israel just dismantle the state?

    What should Israel do that will put it in the right?

  188. Community Member said

    The current operation in Gaza will certainly not put anything right. Its quite astonishing that Israel still believes that it can settle this conflict with military force. It doesn’t work. It didn’t work in Lebanon either and it won’t work this time either.
    If Gaza is decimated, as it is being, a new intifada will erupt on the West Bank. And if this is controlled by military might then East Jerusalem will be the next battleground.
    There is no substitute for negotiations.
    Neither side wanted a continuation of the ceasefire so the previous comment is incorrect.
    The only way to top the missiles falling on Israeli towns is an immediate ceasefire – not more air strikes.
    And one final point – if huge airforce firepower is used on a civilian area – like Gaza city – there is no other outcome than huge numbers of civilian casualties. That may not have been the intention but it is a direct consequence of bombing civilian populated areas.
    This operation is not justified. It is excessive and disproportionate.

  189. A Beitz said

    I’m agnostic in the literal sense. According to the UN around 60 civilians have been killed here. No doubt however numerous others have been injured, had property destroyed, or are emotionally affected in a number of other ways. Were this operation to stand a reasonable chance of stopping the rockets then that short term benefit might make this worthwhile but that must be offset by the further radicalisation of the local populace.
    CM’s idea of talking to Hamas seems to me unlikely to succeed simply because Hamas seem to have almost no element of pragmatism which would allow peaceful coexistence.
    I believe however the siege policy is morally reprehensible and more importantly counterproductive. Israel should allow everything in and out of the Strip with the exception obviously of weapons, drugs and the like. That at least would be doing what is right.

    After that as I indicated at the start of this post I am agnostic. I simply don’t know what should be done if the rockets keep coming into Sederot. It is clearly impossible in a densely populated area such as Gaza to simply pinpoint individuals yet something needs to be done re the rockets if they keep coming.

    What a mess! And I haven’t even dealt with the morality of killing large numbers of people.

  190. Upset said

    This should be read by everyone….
    Gideon Levy in Haaretz

  191. A Beitz said

    What Gideon Levy writes about are the effects of war. No more, no less. It’s not pretty but unless you accept all wars are wrong I don’t think he is really adding to the debate about whether or not Israel should be doing what it’s doing. I often do think that many who are bullish about going to war might well change if they saw the mangled bodies, smelt the smells, felt the terror, had to treat the injured and comfort the bereaved but that’s no different in Gaza to anywhere else. If you are of the view that there can be a just war then what Gideon Levy writes about follows.

  192. Let's quote accurately said

    I’m sure it was not his intention but the statistics A Beitz gave as to the civilian casualties in Gaza was misleading.
    John Holmes, the Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief ( UNRWA ) confirmed that the 62 civilian deaths only accounts for women and children – no males are included.

  193. A Beitz said

    I didn’t realise that, LQA. Slightly strange way of dealing with stats. Is that coming from Gaza? Not all men are combatants. Equally I would have thought that not all women are civilians.

  194. A Beitz said

    Although Robert Fisk is not exactly my favourite journo I think what he has to say about the self delusion of both sides is very true.

  195. Herald Reader said

    Happy New Year to all my fellow bloggers even those i disagree with 🙂

  196. Observer said

    A Soudry probably thought that I had disappeared. I wish I could and further comment was unnecessary.
    Alas, I’m still required.
    Did anyone notice “his” letter in yesterday’s Herald? Apart from the prose and style being hugely different from his contributions to this blog – did you really write it Aron? _ the content was the usual unhelpful stuff that blames everything on the other side. The Herald’s correspondents never listen or learn anything but use the letters column merely as an opportunity to put forward their own propaganda. Both sides are as bad as each other – the supporters and opponents of Israeli policy.
    My concern is to make our support of Israel more reasoned and acceptable and not the usual knee jerk – my country right or wrong -argument.
    Mr Soudry did not show any regret for civilian casualties – its all the fault of Hamas. Of course the humanitaian blockade of Gaza for months is not even worth mentionning.
    His line of reasoning actually harms the sensible Israeli case that can be put forward.( although in this particular episode I’m struggling to find justification for air raids which kill hundreds of people)
    What’s really peculiar is that Aron does not want to be described as a supporter of Likud? Maybe I was being a little generous and his sympathies lie even a little to the right of Netanyahu? I think we should be told.

  197. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I have just got computor access down South so will deal with #183 ‘hard to say from where I’m sitting.’ You ask questions, but no answers; and there are no answers because it is a mess.
    First of all, the Israelis should never have been in Gaza at all. This is not a statement made retrospectively, but one I have made over many years. In 1948 the Golani Brigade had Gaza at its mercy and Ben Gurion refused to allow them to take it. After the war he dealt with the troops disappointment and anger stating that another host of Arabs (100,000 at that time?) under Israeli hegemony would only add to the State’s problems of controlling an antagonistic minority population. Nothing has changed since then except that the population of Gaza has increased exponentially and when Israel captured Gaza from Egyptian control in 1967, the Egyptian killed themselves laughing.
    You ask what I mean by “may even be justified (or not)”. I may have been unclear but was saying that justification was not relevant in this case. I will concede justification to whosoever needs it. What is more important is the effects , short term and long term, of the Israeli response. They may be as forceful (brutal, depending on one’s viewpoint) as they will, without retaking Gaza and policing it on a long term basis, and without a political solution, the rockets will keep coming.
    As far as talking to Hamas goes, of course they should talk. This they have been doing for some time, through intermediaries you may argue, but where on earth do you think the failed ceasefire came from? It is not a solution, as I said, it is a mess and the Israelis who under Shamir actively encouraged and to some extent funded Hamas as a counter to Arafat, have much to regret. This is why I say, justification is not necessarily the most important criterion.

  198. Community Member said

    Some of our communal organisations will get a phone call from the Israeli Embassy today and told to arrange solidarity rallies in support of this war.
    Will there be one communal leader in Glasgow who is asked to do this who will have the moral courage to tell the Embassy to get stuffed?
    Will there be one person who will speak out and say that it would be quite wrong for our community to turn up and support this nightmare whilst hundreds of people are being killed?
    I really do hope so.

  199. Armchair Analyst said

    Given that we know that Israel created this mess by populating Gaza with hundreds of thousands indigenous refugees fleeing from the new Israel, then retaking Gaza from the eternally grateful Egyptians, then attempting to seed the Gaza cauldron with religious fundamentalists and highly subsidised opportunists, and then creating Hamas as as function of the divide and rule colonial tactic.

    Yes, given all that Community Member, What in your opinion should have been done differently now to bring Hamas to heel with the rockets?

  200. Community Member said

    The ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in the past six months stopped the rockets. Hamas would not resign an agreement unless the blockades of Gaza were lifted.
    A new agreement will have this incorporated –
    So please tell me, Armchair, what will have been achieved by this war?

  201. Armchair Analyst said

    CM, the devil is in the details. And a seemingly classic chicken and egg situation.

    Were Hamas just using the ‘ceasefire’ to rearm through tunnels as Israel claimed. or was Israel just using the ‘ceasefire’ to blockade supplies from the the people of Gaza, as Hamas claimed?

    It seems far fetched to me that Egypt the mediator would have refused to support and promote your ‘new agreement’if that is all there is to it.

    In my opinion, neither party is interested in the status quo ante, both parties want regime and society change of the other. Hamas have no chance of making that happen any time soon, and Israel probably knows it can’t topple Hamas without paying an unacceptable price militarily and politically. As Nachman says, it’s a mess.

    As for attending ‘solidarity rallies’ in support of Israel, I’ll leave that to the bitter and twisted victimology crowd. But on the other hand, I’m not off to any pro-Hamas rallies either.

  202. Community Member said

    I agree its a mess. Perhaps I’m a little bit cynical but Shimon Peres embarked upon a military adventure prior to losing to Netanyahu after the assasination of Rabin. Now we see Livni and Barak trying to show their security defence credentials prior to another election in Israel.
    Hamas have showed no consideration for the lives of their own people but that doesn’t excuse Israeli actions that have harmed innocent civilians.
    Neither party emerges with any credit.

  203. Likudnik said

    Are you really suggesting Community Member that this war may be a cynical electoral ploy designed to bost the chances of Livni in the forthcoming elections?
    Are you really suggesting that Israel may have other considerations than just protecting her citizens against rocket attacks?
    If you are I believe you should come clean now.

  204. emet said

    For those who despair that the media is more against thasn for Israel , at around 7.35 today on Talksport (!) there was a three minute exchange between ex footballer Alan Brazil and Journalist Mike Parry-I have never heard such a pro Israel statement on uk radio in my life-well worth listening to if it can be found online-maybe in the Talksport archive ?
    Regardless of the the fact that it is a sports show this was a fair a nd reasoned debate that lacked the spin of the official spokespersons so often trotted out.
    Kol kavod Talksport !

  205. Daft as a Brush said

    If Emet takes consolation from Talksport for a pro Israel comment then I really pity him. I have never heard of anyone taking anything they hear on Talksport seriously.
    Maybe Emet should try looking for a more serious news programme before forming his analysis of the day’s news.
    On the other hand, now that we know where he gets his information from – and his informed opinions – we can treat his future posts like this one – and press the spam button.

  206. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Dont be so patronizing, DAAB. All opinions are of value and should be considered before being rejected, even yours.

  207. emet said

    daftie-don’t judge until you have heard it-the fact that you can discard something without hearing it is very sad-how intransigent you must be-are you community member in disguise ?
    you will have seen my “!” in my text-I too was suprised to hear such comment from such a source but I am not so closed to other’s points of view as to discard it out of hand..

  208. Daft as a Brush said

    Who is Community Member? I can’t take seriously anyone who believes that Talk Sport is a sensible medium to discuss current events regarding Israel.
    Alan Brazil will know hee haw about Israel. Actually, he probably knows more than you Emet.
    Nachman Aronovitch ‘s contribution is just as pitiful. All opinions are not of the same value.
    Maybe in your world, Nachman and Emet, you are influenced by discussion on Talk Sport or perhaps even the equivalent daily newspapers, the Sun and the Daily Sport.
    I prefer to look for more serious commentators than that

  209. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Good for you Basil. You obviously have little to offer. After all you are more concerned in judging the messenger, not the message.

  210. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Also, Basil, who said all opinions are of the same value? If you are unable to understand a two sentence posting, what on earth are you doing attempting to read quality newspapers, never mind any newspapers?

  211. Major Ayeswater said

    daft as a brush – exactly I don’t need to say anymore !

  212. Not in my Name said

    Nachman, I do not accept your contention that “All opinions are of value”. Some opinions are worthless, and they should not be accorded the presumption of legitimacy. What you are advocating is a form of epistemological relativism, in which there is no longer any distinction between truth and falsehoood. If one were to accept the premise of your argument, there would be no grounds for distinguishing between views such as Creationism or Holocaust denial, for which there is no scientific or veridical warrant, and the truth. Perhaps you ought to consider the implications of your arguments more carefully.

  213. Not another Macher said

    Daft as a Brush et al – how snobbish can you get??

    Talksport may not be where one normally goes to get the latest academic political analysis, but it is a station that lots of people listen to and one of the places where many people freely express their opinion on a whole range of topics.

    Given that it is such people that most of us interact with, it is really important to know what is being said. If that is a more balanced contribution, then maybe our work colleagues and friends will get access to information previously denied them via the more conventional channels and they may even start to look at the situation in a new way.

  214. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    NIMN, congratulations on winning the blog Smart Alec competition. Pity you have managed to concoct a bit of meaningless drivel. There is absolutely no logic whatsoever in your contention, but congrats for learning a few big words.

  215. emet said

    …anyway basil brush aside , does any smart alec know if it is possible to listen to an archive of the programme ?

  216. Community Member said

    Emet, lets leave your choice of Radio Programmes to one side and return to more important issues.
    Perhaps you can explain what aspect of the media coverage is anti-Israel at present. Is it the fact that they are reporting the deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza that makes them in your eyes anti-Israel? What pro-Israel statement about this particular war would be acceptable?
    The reality is that Israel invested much more efforts in coordinating their media propaganda campaign this time than ever before. Is it the PR or the difficulty in what they are trying to sell that in your eyes is coming up short?
    I would also be enlightened if ” Not Another Macher ” could explain what they mean by a ” more balanced contribution. ” Is it seeing things in a way that fits with a more pro Israel perspective? Is that balanced?
    I know that is a lot of questions but maybe you will both be good enough to explain where you are coming from and then I will respond.

  217. Not in my Name said

    Nachman, there’s no need to be so touchy, old chap. If you really don’t understand the implications of your own words, then there’s no point in discussing this matter any further. Perhaps we should concentrate on more pressing issues such as the war in Gaza.

  218. Not in my Name said

    Prophetic Israeli voices – Gideon Levy in Ha’aretz:

    As Israel has been preoccupied with Gaza throughout the entire week, nobody has asked whose blood is being spilled and why. Everything is permitted, legitimate and just. The moral voice of restraint, if it ever existed, has been left behind. Even if Israel wiped Gaza off the face of the earth, killing tens of thousands in the process, as a Chechnyan laborer working in Sderot proposed to me, one can assume that there would be no protest.

    They liquidated Nizar Ghayan? Nobody counts the 20 women and children who lost their lives in the same attack. There was a massacre of dozens of officers during their graduation ceremony from the police academy? Acceptable. Five little sisters? Allowed. Palestinians are dying in hospitals that lack medical equipment? Peanuts. Whatever happened to the not-so-good old days of Salah Shahadeh? When we liquidated him in July 2002, we also killed 15 women and children. At least back then, moral qualms were raised for a moment.

    Here lie their bodies, row upon row, some of them tiny. Our hearts have turned hard and our eyes have become dull. All of Israel has worn military fatigues, uniforms that are opaque and stained with blood and which enable us to carry out any crime. Even our leading intellectuals fail to speak out on what havoc we have wreaked. Amos Oz urges: “Cease-fire now.” David Grossman writes: “Hold your fire. Stop.” Meir Shalev wants “a punitive operation.” And not one word about our moral image, which has been horribly distorted.

  219. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I thought it had been agreed not to reprint articles or comments from elsewhere, no matter how relevant, but to provide links?

  220. Daft as a Brush said

    Agreed with who Aaronovitch?

  221. Armchair Analyst said

    NIMN, the Gideon Levy Ha’aretz article makes uncomfortable reading. Perhaps a link to the article would be preferable in future though.

    I’m therefore asking again, what would you have Israel do instead that would give a better chance of bringing ‘calm’ to the South.

  222. Community Member said

    OK Armchair I will reply what Israel should do to bring a calmer situation to the South. Its unfortunate that Emet and Not Another Macher have not responded to the question about what constitutes balance and what would be fair coverage of events in their eyes. I suspect, but I apologise if I’m wrong, Emet and NAM only want the media to comment if they like what the media has got to say. Psychologically they find it difficult to accept that Israel can get things very badly wrong. And they are getting it badly wrong.

    I think there should be an immediate ceasefire. That will bring about a better situation than the current disaster.
    The recent ceasefire kept things relatively quiet and until a negotiated settlement is worked out is probably as good as it is going to get. Israel blames Hamas for firing rockets but doesn’t seem to understand that the situation created in Gaza with economic blockades and restriction of movement and the prevention of proper humanitarian help is intolerable.

    We could debate endlessly that the problems today have been caused by previous decisions and circumstances and we could no doubt disagree about the percentages that each party is to blame.

    I do not like what Hamas stands for and I have no wish to live in a fundamentalist theocracy. In my opinion it would have been better to have done a deal with Arafat many years ago but that is now history. The Palestinians were told to have elections and Hamas won. Those that claim that Hamas is just a terrorist army are wrong. It is a political movement and has been responsible for many years for providing basic support to Palestinians that enabled them to survive the occupation. That is why they won the election and why they were popular.

    If Israel proceeds to destroy the entire infrastructure of Hamas rule in Gaza we will see even more chaos. Remember how Sharon destroyed Arafat and Fatah and told the world that once they had been removed things would improve. It didn’t quite work out like that. Remove the current government in Gaza and there will be no one in control to enforce any possible future ceasefire.

    Putting a proxy Palestinian Government in power to replace Hamas will also not work because they will be seen as only fit for collaberation. The ony alternative would be to reoccupy Gaza and Israel doesn’t want to that and assume resonsibility for ruling over the inhabitants.

    Israel now has a huge problem – How do they try and make this war successful and convince the Israeli people that it was a worthwhile exercise? Total victory over Hamas will not solve the problem of the Palestinians. It may stop the rockets for a few days but then there will be another intifada in the West Bank and we are likely to see the return of suicide bombers in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

    It is not possible to sort the political landscape through military might even if one tries to ignore the atrocities of war.

    So a ceasefire is the best option available. And then all parties should be brought to the negotiating table. It won’t happen because there is not enough will to find peace but that doesn’t mean it is wrong.

    The current anger on the Palestinian street will not evaporate quickly. The death count continues to rise. The casualties likewise.

    What will Israel gain from all of this? Let me ask you, Armchair, what you think should happen now? What will Israel achieve? If one rocket comes over the border after a cessation of hostilities, the reality is that Israel will have lost.

    A good friend gives candid advice and tells it straight. Even if that message is uncomfortable. We all know that a massive humanitarian disaster is more and more likely if this war continues. Israel will be seen as the aggressor and indifferent to civilian casualties. Is that what we want? And for what?

  223. Armchair Analyst said

    CM, you think there should be an immediate ceasefire. Well, is that not what Israel wanted before this action started, and didn’t get?

    You say it may stop the rockets for a few days, but the Lebanon war, hailed as a victory by Hezbollah, has resulted in calm on the Northern border, even during this flashpoint period so far.

    The Lebanon war finally showed that Israel’s vaunted forces do not fight better than the natives, when the natives are highly indoctrinated with a sense of mission. That war proved however that only technology and air power now keeps Israel ahead of the game.

    Let’s see what happens after the next ceasefire. The landscape has certainly been altered. Israel has been suitably vague as to its goals. A compliant Hamas, or a defeated Hamas? I find it hard to beleive that Israel thinks it can install a collaborationist government in Gaza. However chaos and instability there may be Israel’s goal, and Hamas will have helped them achieve it.

    But one thing I do know. Hamas were democratically elected by a majority of the voters, even if there is nothing remotely democratic about them. Can you provide any instances since that election and the constant rocket firings when the loyal opposition in Gaza demanded through due political process that Hamas stop this potentially disastrous behaviour? There is no loyal opposition, they’re all dead or exiled to Ramallah since the Palestinian civil war in Gaza. Can you provide any instance of a demonstration against the rockets in Gaza? If you can’t, it would appear that Gaza is now a totalitarian Muslim theocracy ruled entirely by people who want their onfidel neighbour destroyed.

    I don’t have answers CM, but maybe this will end with the rockets stopped, a UN style buffer force in place, and more mutual simmering hatred all round. Oh yes, and Livni in place instead of Bibi.

  224. Community Member said

    I disagree with several points you make.

    1. Israel didn’t just want a ceasefire. They wanted to continue with the blockades and controls of Gaza. They were not prepared to concede anything. Therefore there wasn’t a huge incentive for Hamas to continue with the existing arrangement.

    2. The Lebanon situation is not the same. Control Gaza and the problems will start in the West Bank. Control the West Bank and then watch for East Jerusalem. Military force cannot win when there is no meaningful political process to bring improvement.

    3. Your argument that chaos and instability may be Israel’s goal is just astonishing. Look at Iraq as your example.If you really are suggesting that this would be in Israel’s interest to have such a scenario next door then I think we have a vastly different idea about what constitues ” Israel’s best interests”.

    4. The last Palestinian Government – was systematically deconstructed and destroyed by Sharon. Think of the images from Arafat’s compound in Ramallah.

    You still haven’t told me what Israel will achieve by this war that will improve anything. ButI’m patient Armchair, so I will wait for your answer.

  225. Not in my Name said

    Words fail me:

    The civilian death toll in Gaza increased dramatically today, with reports of more than 40 Palestinians killed after missiles exploded outside a UN school where hundreds of people were sheltering from the continuing Israeli offensive.
    Two Israeli tank shells struck the school in Jabaliya refugee camp, spraying shrapnel on people inside and outside the building, according to news agency reports.
    The medical director of the hospital in Jabaliya told the Guardian 41 bodies had been brought in so far and more could be on the way. Reuters journalists filmed bodies scattered on the ground amid pools of blood and torn shoes and clothes.
    In addition to the dead, several dozen people were wounded, hospital officials said. The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports.
    “I saw a lot of women and children wheeled in,” Fares Ghanem, a hospital official told the Associated Press. “A lot of the wounded were missing limbs and a lot of the dead were in pieces.”
    Majed Hamdan, an AP photographer, who rushed to the scene shortly after the attacks, said many children were among the dead. “I saw women and men parents slapping their faces in grief, screaming, some of them collapsed to the floor. They knew their children were dead,” he said.
    “In the morgue, most of the killed appeared to be children. In the hospital, there wasn’t enough space for the wounded.”
    Elsewehere, at least 12 members of an extended family, including seven young children, were killed in an air strike on their house in Gaza City. The bodies of the Daya family were pulled from the rubble of a house in Gaza city’s Zeitoun district after it was hit by two Israeli missiles. The dead included seven children aged from one to 12 years, three women and two men. Nine other people were believed to be trapped in the rubble.
    Hours earlier, three young men – all cousins – died when the Israelis bombed another UN school, the Asma primary school in Gaza City. They were among about 400 people who sought shelter there after fleeing their homes in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.
    The UN, which said the school in Jabaliya was clearly marked, said it was “strongly protesting these killings to the Israeli authorities and is calling for an immediate and impartial investigation”.
    “Where it is found that international humanitarian law has been violated, those responsible must be held to account. Under international law, installations such as schools, health centres and UN facilities should be protected from attack. Well before the current fighting, the UN had given to the Israeli authorities the GPS co-ordinates of all its installations in Gaza, including Asma elementary school.”
    The killings take the total toll in Palestinian lives since the Israelis launched their assault on the Gaza Strip 11 days ago to above 600. Doctors at Gaza hospitals say that at least one-fifth of the victims are children and a large number of women are among the dead

  226. Armchair Analyst said

    I don’t know myself what israel will achieve CM. My responses to you are:

    1. The leaders of the so-called Left Wing in Israel also supported this action intitially, and are only now calling for a cease-fire. So the ‘Left’ in general had no better answers when the present actions started..

    It is possible that a cease-fire ‘agreement’ brokered by third parties will result in Hamas being boxed in and effectively stopped from resuming the rockets. This may involve a ‘peacekeeping’ buffer force being employed.The Israelis will continue to control traffic in and out of Gaza, but there would be no need for ‘blockades’unless there was a resumption of hostilities by Hamas. I suspect we both don’t want Israel to control Gaza, and we both don’t want Hamas to rule Gaza. So neither of us is going to get what we want any time soon.

    The Israeli position is to have nothing to do with aiding and abetting Hamas to govern Gaza. Based on this ongoing policy, the events have played out as we have seen. So Israel can continue with this policy, or decide to try to ‘talk’ to Hamas. I don’t think the present policy will change.

    The question is, does the previous ignored offer by Hamas of a multi-year’Hudna’or period of calm, mean anything except to give Hamas an opportunity to rearm and prepare for further battles?

    2.We agree.

    3. The rocket launches had to be ended, period. So it’s just possible that Israel would privately prefer chaos and instability to the rockets. I agree with you that it would be in Israel’s ‘best interests’ to have calm and stability in Gaza. But that ‘best interests’option may not be available to Israel.

    4. We agree. Sharon deliberately fomented Intifada 2 with his Temple Mount provocation. Arafat fell for the gambit. Sharon then as you say ‘systematically deconstructed and destroyed’the PA regime at that time. However it may well have also been true that Arafat was not ready to sign a peace agreement based on what was on the table at Taba during his lifetime.

    Finally, what do I think Israel will achieve by this war, you ask? – A change in the status quo, and a whole new can of worms. But the status quo absolutely had to go, and it will now be gone.

  227. A Beitz said

    AA, I always find your posts thoughtful and informative as well as having the benefit of being unpredictable. I agree also with much of what you say but consider it is simplistic to sugggest that Arafar fell for Sharon’s gambit when Sharon visited the Temple Mount. That may have been the straw which broke the camel’s back but I think it is fair to say the camel in question must have been bent double prior to that. The Palestinians had clearly been arming themselves for sometime relative to this and like many other world events the incident simply provided the final push or excuse. The first invasion of Lebanon following the attempted assasination of the UK Israeli ambassador, the second invasion following upon the capture of the soldiers and even the current invasion of Gaza were all clearly some time in the planning even if the execution was less than perfect. The view of history whereby one event causes a conflict is rarely correct. The assasination of Archduke Ferdinand which was immediately followed by the outbreak of WW1 is perhaps the most famous example of that.

  228. Community Member said

    You think Israel has achieved a change in the status quo Armchair – ” it had absolutely to go and it will now be gone.”
    The major fault in your argument is that the situation will now be improved. It won’t. Furthermore Israel’s reputation is in the gutter.
    Eventually international diplomatic pressure will force Israel to stop this madness.
    The pictures on our TV screens showing what has happened in recent days should cause us all to have nightmares. It is completely unacceptable to fire at a UN school. The provocation doesn’t alter this. If Israel doesn’t realise that maiming and killing children hiding in a UN school is inexcusable then it is time that Jews abroad told them very bluntly that their behaviour is disgraceful.
    I understand that Israel is a sovereign state that can make its own decisions. And they will stand or fall by these decisions. The damage done to our morality as Jews living here is also of huge concern.
    It is frightening that far too many will find caveats and qualifications and excuses when discussing what Israel has done but will freely condemn excesses of anyone and everyone else.

  229. Armchair Analyst said

    Thanks Beitz, it’s true that the second Intifada was cooking for a long time and ready to blow.

    CM, I stand by my point that the status quo had to go, and now it is gone. I did not say it would necessarily be improved.

    There’s no doubt that Israel has suffered a PR disaster with the shelling of the UN school and the huge loss of innocent children’s lives. Israel also shelled premesis housing members of its Golani brigade resulting in loss of lives and many injuries. How each of these disasters for the IDF came about is not something I’m qualified to comment on. I’m equally confident that the disinformation machine will be cranking up and I’ll probably never know.

    Israel bombed Beirut in 1982 when there was no threat at all to the state, and thousands died. Nahum Goldmann,President of the WJC at the time called this a chillul hashem, but few took any notice. I was one of those few. This time the spotlight on Israel is far more intense. The ‘caveats, qualifications and excuses’ will be out in force for sure. Perhaps in this case it is simply inexcusable.

  230. Community Member said

    It is inexcusable and serves Israel badly. I would advise you to read the article by Avi Shlaim in today’s Guardian. He is Oxford Professor of International Relations, served in the Israeli army and has never questionned the state’s legitimacy. Israel’s assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions.

    For anyone with any attachment to Israel whatsoever this is very powerful.

    Shlaim concludes by stating that ” Israel is a rogue state with an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders ”
    I think that’s how Israel describes Hamas.

  231. Armchair Analyst said

    Avi Shlaim’s book ‘The Iron Wall’is an intersesting insight into Israeli cabinet and political machinations from the 40’s onwards.

    I don’t think he is being too harsh on Israel, a rather nasty colonial military occupier, but I do think he is being way too easy on Hamas.

  232. Community Member said

    This morning’s news is further evidence that Israel’s onslaught of Gaza is a dreadful mistake. Now the Northern border with Lebanon has flared up.

  233. Likudnik said

    Armchair Analyst has confirmed that he accepts the argument that Israel is a rogue state with an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders “.
    You are nothing more than an apologist for Hamas.
    Beitz thinks that the sun shines out of your backside (223 ) and his as well. No one else does.
    Shame on you.

  234. emet said

    More pro Israel banter on Talksport this morning…after congratulating Derby fpr their fine win over Man Utd ,Ally Brazil launched into a scathing attack on “the palestinians” for their stupidity in having a go in the North when A)they had hitherto won a sympathy vote which they were now going to lose ,and B) for rejecting the notion of a truce /temporary ceasefire and deciding on opening up in the north instead ; simplistic yes but no less welcome in my opinion :also can anyone post a link to yesterday’s Times-there was a very ggod article on why Israel couldn’t care /shouldn’t care about world opinion anyway-I thought it dwelt too much though on victimhood but nevertheless a well written article and plenty of food for thought.The author was Daniel Finklestein and it appeared yesterday.
    I have read Shlaim’s book (one of the bloggers here gave it to me ) and also heard him on Radio 4 once-it is clear that he nailed his Shalom Achshav credentials to the mast a long time ago and as such whilst he has a legitimate right to voice an opinion he is not saying anything new in the Guardian article and furthermore what he does say is predictable and he was just as likely to say it before recent events.
    For those who question Israel’s behaviour Iwould remind them that just a few weeks ago six jews were sought out and slaughtered just for being jewish-it could have happened in Glasgow -and it is an unfortunate reminder that textbook morality is no use when it is not peace that Hamas seek but destruction of Judaism .

  235. Community Member said

    The Talksport pundit – Emet – returns. Your analysis is weak and unfortunately I don’t think you have properly read or understood Shlaim’s argument.
    Maybe you will explain to us how you think this war is going to help Israel. Let’s ignore public opinion for just a minute – you are so very determined that Israel’s case is seen positively ( even if her actions don’t warrant it) and hopefully you will explain to us how Israel will come out of this affair not weakened by her actions.
    Think for yourself Emet – Ally Brazil can’t help you until tomorrow morning.

  236. emet said

    CM-whenever you don’t like what you read or whenever someone disagrees with you you have a standard response-you belittle the intellect and ability of the other person -you are incapable of re-acting in any other way.
    Maybe you believe you are more gifted than I , and indeed maybe you are -who knows….but your response betrays far more about your conceit than it does about my understanding of the Middle East .
    Unlike you I don’t have a crystal ball so I am in no position to second guess whether Israel will be better off after this war or not , but as I subscribe to the view that it was an inevitable necessity to take such action with only the timing of it to discuss , your question is of no consequence.

  237. Community Member said

    I have not belittled your intellect or ability. The question is of the utmost relevance and you are choosing to duck it because it is uncomfortable. If Israel won’t come out of this strengthened and actually weakened then it is a mistake. The humanitarian disaster in Gaza is shameful and we should not hide behind
    phrases like ” inevitable necessity ” without explaining how the situation will now be improved.
    I thought ” my country right or wrong ” was not as prevalent as it once was. Obviously if you are typical I’m wrong.

  238. A Beitz said

    And CM, the presenter on Talksport is Alan Brazil. Ally Brazil is a former Hibs player who wisnae very good. Get the important facts right at least, CM.

    Meantime I see the Board of Deputies has organised a rally for Sunday. That does seem to me to be dubious. Whilst I would say that almost 100% of UK Jews condemn the firing of rockets I think views are much more mixed on the invasion of Gaza ranging from the “It’s not right morally” view to the “It is possibly justified but self defeating” to “It is a necessary evil” to “Get intae them”. Whilst I would have absolutely no issue with any of the Zionist or Israeli organisations organising this I do wonder if it is appropriate for a body which, as I understand it, purports to represent the Jewish community doing this.

    The poster advertising this says “End Hamas Terror. Peace For The People of Israel and Gaza” The condemnation therefore does seem rather one sided.

  239. Community Member said

    I only took Emet at his word – he called him Ally Brazil(230.
    I plead guilty that unlike Emet I try and look a little bit further than Talk Sport for Middle East analysis.
    Will the Rep Council follow the party line and organise a local rally in support of the war like happened in Lebanon?
    So appropriate – a rally to support a war that has claimed so many innocent civilians. Shameful.

  240. Melech Billy said

    The Vatican sees fit to compare Gaza to a concentration camp….how would they know , last time round they didn’t bother to pay any attention to concentration camps .

  241. Daft as a Brush said

    I’m looking forward to today’s analysis of Israeli news from Talk Sport as described by our correspondent Emet.
    What did Alan Brazil have to say about The Red Cross and the discovery of young children being so weak that they could not stand?

  242. Armchair Analyst said


    Fair to add they go to great lengths protect those who abuse their own, so it’s not just anti-semitism at work here!

    And they got thousands of the concentration camp industry executives off to South America after the war, laden with suit cases full of the loot from Christkiller victims. For divvying up with Juan and Eva Peron. Nice bunch.

  243. Brian Klug said

    Not in my Name

    In the midst of the carnage in Gaza, it defies belief that my synagogue has asked me to march in solid support of Israel

    Brian Klug

    In any conflict between peoples, there is a time for balancing the books, for placing facts neatly in the debit and credit columns, for issuing measured statements about the rights and wrongs on both sides. But not in the midst of one-sided carnage. The only decent thing to feel at the present time is outrage. The only thing for decent people to do right now is to condemn, without reserve or qualification, the brutal campaign that the Israeli military is waging against the population of Gaza. Every if and but derogates from decency.

    Earlier this week, my synagogue sent its members an email containing details of two rallies in support of Israel “which we would urge you to support”. No ifs and buts here, just solid support for the perpetrator in the midst of the horror it is perpetrating. Is it possible to go further in the opposite direction to decency?

    Attached was a flyer for a “Mass Rally in Support of Israel” organised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, with “the support of the major organisations of UK Jewry”, to be held in London this weekend. The flyer proclaims: “End Hamas terror!” No ifs and buts here either. No hint at the unspeakable state terror being unleashed, day after day, by the Israeli military. It defies belief.

    So, let me place on record the following fact: the board does not speak for all British Jews and certainly not for this one. Nor does the so-called Leadership Council, nor any of the organisations associated with this misbegotten event. None of them represents me or the Judaism that I cherish and which leads me to say as follows: I condemn utterly the military offensive by the government of Israel against the people of Gaza. The loss of any human life, on whatever side of this conflict, is a terrible thing. At this juncture, though, my heart is with the Palestinians on the ground in the midst of their misery. And I extend my hand to those Israelis who are speaking out against their own government.

    For alternative views among Britain’s Jews, see the website of Independent Jewish Voices

  244. Community Member said

    Well said Brian. I applaud your courage and integrity in speaking out
    against the rally. The contrast between your statement and the ones I have read in the Jewish Telegraph, from Rep Council President Philip Mendelsohn and Scojec Director Ephraim Borowski is very stark. Their contributions are full of caveats and qualifications. You have said what needed to be said.

  245. Ex Glaswegian said

    I do not live in Glasgow anymore but enjoy having a glance at the blog. I have never particularly identified myself with Independent Jewish Voices but having just read Brian Klug’s contribution I agree with him.
    There is a time for speaking out. As he said, what is going on ” defies belief “

  246. ok we made a mistake said

    OK, so we should have stayed with a ‘proportionate response’.

    When the govt of Gaza – whether or not ‘democratically elected’ (like the Nazis) – allowed indiscriminate rockets to shell Israeli schools, kindergartens, synagogues and (in the north) old folks homes, Israel should have sent rockets back to similar institutions in Gaza, with no regard to any fine-tuning. Other than that, what else? What else would have been ‘proportionate’.

    Hamas – agreed to be terrorists by the USA, UK, Egypt etc, and with an openly anti-semitic agenda (quoting, for God’s sake, from the notorious ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion’ to show that Jews want to rule the world) and with the desire to dismantle the state of Israel – were told: if you send rockets, we will blockade Gaza, if you end the ‘ceasefire’, we will bomb you, if you send rockets, we will bomb you, if you send rockets, we will invade Gaza…

    So it’s only Israel’s fault. Nothing else in history really happened.

    If the IRA in the 1970s had said that in return for the UK’s bad dealings with Ireland over the centuries, the UK has to cease to exist, and throughout history, British people had an evil conspiracy to rule the world…

    If the IRA in the 1970s had lobbed thousands of missiles across the border to Northern Ireland, regardless of whether they might hit innocent civilians…

    What might the UK govt have done?

    Might they have said, ‘sorry, we didn’t mean to set up our own country’ – ‘in fact, we TRUST you to set up a state of the Irish and the BRitish, and we don’t really believe you when you say that the British are really evil ..

    Or might they have fought back?

    But hey, Hamas can threaten to target ‘Jewish children around the world’ – but that’s not ‘racist’. So if Israel threatened Moslem children around the world, there would be no protests – all’s fair…

    And Hamas have the moral highground – THEY would never target innocent civilians (and suicide bombings never happened).

    And the Vatican have the moral highground. They know what a concentration camp looks like when they say Gaza is one. Of course, they didn’t know when Pope Pius lost his voice.

  247. Israel supporter said

    I am a supporter of Israel and I am very uneasy about what is going on. I know that there are rights and wrongs on both sides but the over reaction by Israel really does worry me. I have just read post no 242 and it makes me think that Klug has a point. That kind of attitude causes Israel great harm.

  248. ok we made a mistake said

    so what kind of attitude, sitting in Scotland, would you condone?

    pull out of Gaza, lift the blockade, allow rockets to continue into Israel , leave the west bank, allow Hamas to grow in influence and hope that that will do for now and lead to ‘peace’?

  249. Peacenik said

    I would also like to add my voice to those who have written in praise of Brian Klug’s comments. Dr Klug expresses with great eloquence the sentiments many us have felt as we have watched the scenes of utter horror from Gaza. He follows in the tradition of prophetic Jewish voices who believe that justice and morality should not be subordinated to the interests of the state.

    It would, indeed, be a travesty of everything Judaism represents for Anglo-Jewry to support this unjust war.

  250. Israelite said

    I also am not happy with what’s going on. I would not attend this rally under any circumstances and I really hope that no such event takes place in Glasgow.
    I support Israel. I love going to Israel. I have friends and family there.
    Nevertheless this war is out of control. It is very wrong. I cannot defend it anymore.

  251. Upset said

    40 further air attacks on Gaza over night. This war is now into its 3rd week. Hundreds of civilians dead.
    Their is no justification for this.
    Israel should stop now.

  252. Cry for Help said

    I would be really grateful if those attending Shul this morning could have a little word in the Rabbi’s ear. Please ask him if he could change the words in the prayer for the IDF. Instead of just asking the Almighty to protect the soldiers the prayer could ask that He forgives them for their actions in Gaza. All innocent victims of the conflict should be remembered, Israeli and Palestinian. Hopefully the Rabbis will be able to say so and clearly enough so that their flock understands and comprehends.

  253. BOD Deputy said

    I’ve just received the following email from the Board of Deputies:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Board of Deputies of British Jews Cancels Sunday’s Solidarity Rally.

    The Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council, in consultation with a coalition of prominent organisations in the Anglo-Jewish community, have decided to cancel the planned Israel Solidarity Rally, due to occur on Sunday 11th of January.

    This decision has been taken after intense discussions within the community, due to a feeling that such a demonstration would not be in accordance with the Board’s wish to bring the conflict to an immediate conclusion. It was thought that the demonstration might be perceived as the community taking one side in the tragic war in Gaza and Israel, and might be seen as supporting Israel’s military campaign.

    The Board calls for an immediate ceasefire, immediate negotiations between Israel and Hamas, and for lifting the economic blockade of Gaza, in order to allow the Gazan and Israeli people to live together in peace. There is no military solution, only a political one.

    The Jewish community does not wish to be seen as a participant in the conflict, and in taking this stand we hope to be a part of the solution. The Board stands in solidarity with the besieged and injured people of Gaza, as well as the victims of terrorism in Israel, and we oppose all violence as contrary to the tenets of the Jewish religion. We would like to reach out to the British Muslim community, as well as those of no religion who have demonstrated against Israel’s military campaign. We share your anguish at the destruction and loss of life caused, and hope that our action in calling off our demonstration will be a small step towards peace.

    Board of Deputies of British Jews and The Jewish Leadership Council.

    For all enquiries contact:

    The Board of Deputies of British Jews
    6 Bloomsbury Square
    London WC1A 2LP
    Tel: +44 (0)20 7543 5400
    Fax: +44 (0)20 7543 0010

    If you have been reading thus far, you will, presumably, have surmised that the text above is a hoax. Regrettably, the organisations which purport to represent the interests of Anglo-Jewry will be standing in solidarity with a rogue state, which is prosecuting a war of aggression against the civilian populace of Gaza. This shameful act should be condemned unreservedly.

  254. Cry for Help said

    I understand that the Giffnock Rabbi spoke about the war in Gaza this morning when giving his sermon. I have only heard this 3rd hand but as I have been told he said that an attack on Israel is an attack on Jews. If the Rabbi did not say this then I apologise to him. If he did then he should apologise to us. When will our community understand that it is not in our interests to identify ourselves with the actions of the Israeli Government. Actually it is more than that. It is against our best interests to do so.

  255. A Beitz said

    I wasn’t in shul today. However whether you agree or disagree with the Israeli action in Gaza I’d have thought if the rabbi said that he is right as far as it goes. An attack on Israel is an attack on Jews in that Israel consists of Jews and various others. In any case that statement at most amounts to a condemnation of those who fire rockets, go ahead with suicide attacks or the like. It does not condone (or condemn) what is going on in Gaza.
    I am not interested to use your language as to whether it is “not in our interests to identify ourselves with the actions of the Israeli Government.” The important matter is to do what we think is right.

  256. Cry for Help said

    Your explanation A Beitz is probably the most lamentable excuse I have ever read on this blog.
    Morality and condemnation of the killing of civilians cannot be completely selective. Our casualties in Sderot etc are awful, so are the deaths of children in Gaza. It is simply inadequate to ignore Gaza and hide behind ” it does not condemn or condone what is happening (there) “.
    Religious leaders have as much responsibility as other decent people to condemn ALL killing – not just what is happening to us.
    These are sad days, dreadful days and you are wrong. We have to look as a community what is in our interests. That is doing what is right for us. We are not the Israeli Government and are not responsible for every policy that they pursue. That needs to be said. Otherwise, you might as well fly an Israeli flag from all our communal buildings.

  257. Peacenik said

    Mr Beitz, I note that you believe that the “important matter is to do what we think is right”. In light of this, I would like to ask you a couple of elementary questions in relation to your statement:

    (i) Given the scale of killing in Gaza, do you think that it is right to maintain a position of agnosticism, in which one studiously avoids the obligation to make any moral judgments regarding the nature of the conflict?

    (ii) Do you think it is right that our morality should be applied only to the suffering of our own people, or do you think that there is a moral imperative to acknowledge the loss of lives on both sides, and an obligation to condemn the indiscriminate killing of civilians, without reservation or equivocation?

  258. A Beitz said

    Cry For Help appears to move off the morality of the matter by suggesting we should what “is in our interests”. I have never subscribed to this view and note as usual we get phrases like “the most lamentable excuse”. However doing what “is in our interests” takes me back to the days of Thatcher and all the voters from the Home Counties who were interviewed and said they were voting Tory “because it’s in my interests”. Sorry but that’s not a basis for acting.
    If you consider the invasion of Gaza is morally wrong, which I do, then say so for that reason. Equally if you agree with it then I disagree with you butyou’re entitled to your opinion. Don’t simply do what’s in your interests.
    And I don’t know what the Giffnock rabbi said but if he stated that rocket attacks on Israel are attacks on Jewish people then I think that’s self evident. If he chose not to condemn or condone the invasion of Gaza that’s his prerogative. I have heard him previously say that he wept for the Palestinians who were going to be the victims of Israeli retaliation.
    On this blog the problem is we have fundamentalists who seem to think there are 2 views, their’s and the wrong one. As I’ve said previously life’s not that black and white. Get over it and show some respect for those who might think differently rather than behaving in a way which might completely alienate more sensitive posters who have better things to do with their time than posting to be lambasted by a blog fundamentalist.

  259. Reflective said

    Why should a Jewish community not act, like any other community, to protect its own interests?
    Beitz, you more than anyone else continually try and fudge the issues. You commented on a posting about the Giffnock Rabbi’s sermon, try and deflect possible criticism, and then tell us you don’t even know what was said.
    I have sympathy for the Israeli position but I am concerned they have gone far too far.
    Beitz, you ask for respect. Try earning it rather than demanding others bow to you and you might find it comes to you more easily.

  260. Community Member said

    I think that Reflective is out of order. Beitz has acted consistently over several months. His postings regarding the Giffnock Rabbi and Israel are true to form. Don’t fall into the trap as I have before, of allowing him to blur issues where some people want to take a stand and believe that principles are important.
    My advice is concentrate on the important issue which is the war in Gaza and don’t be diverted into irrelevant arguments with a certain Mr A Beitz.

  261. Not another Macher said

    The BBC seems to be doing a bit better at giving a more even handed view on the situation in Israel/Gaza. I thought these articles were particularly interesting:

  262. Rally Watcher said

    Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and President of the Board of Deputies Henry Grunwald did the British Jewish Community great harm today. Both of them speaking at the pro Israel rally in London said that the Jewish Community supported Israel. I am a member of the Jewish Community and I don’t support what is going on.
    I have just looked at the report on the BBC website and I felt very uneasy. The report talks about a ” festival atmosphere “. Hope that makes any readers of this squirm as much as me.

  263. A Beitz said

    I see Haaretz at editorial level is saying “Enough”.

  264. Peacenik said

    Mr Beitz, whilst I have your attention, may I remind you that you have not yet answered the questions that were put to you at 11:51 am today. I look forward to hearing from you.

  265. Community Member said

    I would suggest that the following article from Haaretz this morning be read by everyone.
    Israeli journalists have a superb record of ensuring that decent standards of behaviour and conduct are adhered to by Israeli politicians and soldiers. Who can forget Zeev Schiff ‘s expose of the Lebanon War in 1982?
    Gideon Levy’s piece today needs to be read.

  266. Get Real UJIA said

    I am sure there are many who received the UJIA circular today about the Save the Children adverts highlighting the children suffering in Gaza.
    I know that Israeli children in Sderot and Beersheva also have suffered and I know that children in Israel have been murdered and traumatised by suicide bombings. I also know that Hamas are a brutal organisation that do not protect their own children by accepting the terms of the recently proposed ceasefire.
    But it is self evident that currently the children of Gaza ARE suffering and ARE being killed and that is the issue at the moment.
    UJIA disappoint me. They would be better off arranging a meeting so that people could talk about their feelings rather than trying to play down the harsh reality of the war in Gaza.
    Are UJIA brave enough and confident enough of their role in education to distribute the article by Gideon Levy in Haaertz which was drawn to our attention by a previous blogger?
    That would be much better than being involved in a campaign that tries to influence people that it is all exaggerated and sensationalised and if only people knew the truth they would understand that the Israeli army are only trying to help.
    It doesn’t help.
    Surely UJIA can get real and even if some things are exaggerated we still need to wake up to the reality of what has been going on and what Israel are responsible for. That won’t undermine people’s loyalties to Israel. On the contrary by treating people as adults they will encourage more involvement.

  267. Peacenik said

    More to the point, why is UJIA circulating a letter written by Robert Stoutzker, a private individual who is the owner of Hocroft Landscape Company?
    Mr Stoutzker is entitled to his views about Save the Children, but in giving their imprimatur to his letter, UJIA are enaging in political advocacy, an act which, potentially, could be in breach of their charitable objects.

  268. emet said

    I am amazed at the small core group of malcontents who can say no good about Israel /our community and current events ; to them Israel is wrong ,UJIA is wrong , the Orthodox Chief Rabbi is wrong ,and Beitzy is always wrong.
    No doubt I will be castigated by the morally outraged few for this unfashionable post ;anyway please see the following text which was part of a speech by Ambassador Shalev to the UN Security Council:

    “Mr. President, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Ministers,

    Eight years. For eight years the citizens of southern Israel have suffered the trauma of almost daily missile attacks from Gaza. For eight years more than 8,000 rockets and mortar shells have targeted Israeli towns and villages. For eight years the residents of these towns have had a bare 15 seconds to hurry, with their children and their elderly, to find cover before rockets and missiles land on their houses and schools.
    15 seconds, Mr. President, would not give the members of this Council time to leave this room. No State would permit such attacks on its citizens. Nor should it.
    But Israel sought every way to avoid the current conflict. In 2005 Israel removed from Gaza every one of its soldiers, and every one of its eight thousand civilians, along with their homes and schools, their synagogues and cemeteries. We did this to try to create an opening for peace and for Palestinians to build a prosperous society.
    But the Hamas regime that brutally seized control of Gaza, murdering scores of fellow Palestinians, has no interest in peace and prosperity. It is vehemently opposed to negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. It rejects the Annapolis process which was commended by this Council last month in Resolution 1850.
    Hamas has no interest in making peace with the enemy; for Hamas peace is the enemy. Its only interest is in establishing a regime of tyranny for Gazans and of terror for Israelis.”

    A powerful speech which no doubt will be met with contempt and righteous indignation by the aforementioned malcontents but which I think will strike a chord with the vast majority.

    [Comment edited by Admin. The full text of of Ambassador Shalev’s statement to the Security Council can be read on the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Can I appeal to contributors to follow our guidelines on the use of material posted the internet.]

  269. Community Member said

    Very grateful to you Emet. Interesting speech but does not say how Israel’s position will be improved by this war.
    Maybe, unlike A Beitz, you will answer the questions that have been put to you recently.
    As I am no doubt one of your malcontents, I have to say, given what I see in Anglo Jewry , I wear the badge with pride. I would rather think about what is in Israel’s best interests rather than accepting blindly as you do.
    I asked you on this blog several days ago to read Avi Schlaim’s article ( post 226) I suggested you read Gideon Levy in yesterday’s Haaretz (261).
    Its rather obvious that you have no interest in reading what might contradict your pavlovian responses to Israel going into battle – even if the results may not justify their actions.
    One of the differences between us is that I have read your article – the UN speech – and of course much of it is sensible and obvious. Hamas is a very unpleasant organisation. But it doesn’t mention the economic blockades of Gaza which Israel perpetuated despite the reports of growning hardship to the civilan Palestinians.
    And it is part of the George Bush mantra of world affairs – it is them against us. Fortunately, this discredited way of looking at world affairs has got only 9 days to go. It also doesn’t say how civilian casualties were going to be avoided if you bomb from the air one of the most populated places on earth. And, I repeat, it doesn’t say how Israel will be better off at the end of this calamity.
    Now Emet, are you up to the intellectual challenge of reading two articles and commenting about them. Or are you so engrossed by your predetermined position that events won’t alter your opinion one bit. I don’t expect to hear from you but I will be pleasantly surprised if I do.

  270. emet said

    I have read your articles and more , and books and essays and speeches and more books by all sorts from all angles ;you have a bee in your yamulka about how Israel’s position will not necessarliy be better after the current incursion but that is not the point.
    Let me try to give you a simple illustration.
    My windows are leaking-water is coming in-if I do nothing the carpet will be ruined then the wallpaper then the frames then rot will set in and undermine the walls etc. To do something will cost me a few bob which I can ill afford plus I will need days off work to help the tradesmaen etc. At the end I will have lost earnings and be much poorer-I really didn’t want to spend that money etc-plus all I will have in return are windows that don’t leak which is what I am entitled to anyway .
    But-I need to act because in simple tems I cannot live in the conditions I find myself in. The situation does not allow for your clinical ,purist approach which betrays you as a dreamer ,and I respect you for that-we need people like you……just not in this type of situation. You are doing a good job re the Rep Coucil though…….
    And btw don’t give me your blockade nonsense-the Egyptian controlled Rafah crossing is good enough to bring arms through so why not humanitarian aid ? Answer because the victim mentality of those who would destroy Israel cannot do a single thing to help themselves for fear that they actually improve their lot and then they would have no reason to hate the jews….how would Hamas hold on to power then!!
    You need to face facts -the reason you hold a very minority view is not because you hold some moral high ground attainable only by those gifted with your great capacity for analysis…it is far simpler than that……………..YOU ARE WRONG , YOU ARE MIS-GUIDED AND YOU HAVE BEEN CONNED BY THOSE WHO SEEK TO DESTROY YOUR OWN FLESH AND BLOOD.
    Have a nice day .

  271. Community Member said

    Whilst it is tempting to ignore your rantings, I won’t. My guess is that even Melanie Phillips wouldn’t stoop so low but you never can be sure.
    The Egyptian position is interesting. I think that the reason Egypt cannot get involved is that it would absolve Israel of its responsibilities as the occupier to provide humanitarian assistance to the population under its military jurisdiction. Egypt does not want to take this on. It does not wish the responsibility for over a million Palestinians and it does not wish to integrate these people into Egypt.
    I come to the rather sad conclusion that you are either immoral or amoral.
    You can choose.
    Whatever the reasons, whatever the provocations, most decent people find it very disturbing when a civilian population is torn to pieces by a highly efficient ruthless modern army.
    When that army is the Israeli one, I and many other malcontents find it especially horrifying. Your lust for attemting to solve a political problem with unchecked military force and absolving Israel from all international humanitarian obligations and their duty to respect international agreements on human rights and the conduct of war demeans you.

  272. A Proud Malcontent said

    Emet, your refusal to acknowledge the consequences of Israel’s assault on the civilian populace of Gaza is deeply troubling. Moreover, there is prima facie evidence, adduced by the UN and Human Rights agencies, that Israel has committed grave breaches of International Humanitarian Law. In particular, I would draw your attention to this letter written by a group of distinguished legal scholars, which was published in The Sunday Times:

    “Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary. Israel could have agreed to renew the truce with Hamas. Instead it killed 225 Palestinians on the first day of its attack. As things stand, its invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.”

    In many respects, your position is analogous to that of members of the Communist party in West who continued to deny the existence of the Soviet Gulag, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I say this more in sorrow than anger, but it appears that you are a fellow traveller in this long and ignoble tradition.

  273. A Proud Malcontent said

    Emet, while you are catching up on your reading, can I also draw your attention to this article, which was published in The Observer. It undermines your claim that those who are opposed to the war in Gaza are out of step with mainstream Jewish opinion.

    Under the heading Leading British Jews call on Israel to halt ‘horror’ of Gaza, the article notes:

    “A group of Britain’s most prominent Jews has called on Israel to cease its military operations in Gaza immediately, warning that its actions, far from improving the country’s security, will “strengthen extremism, destabilise the region, and exacerbate tensions inside Israel”.
    Describing themselves, as “profound and passionate supporters” of Israel – and supporting its right to defend itself against the “war crime” of Hamas rocket attacks – they added that the current tactics threatened to undermine international support for Israel.
    The intervention, in a letter published in today’s Observer . . .
    [ . . .] Although individual Jewish writers and religious figures have expressed their opposition to the conduct of Operation Cast Lead, the letter represents the most significant break with Israel’s tactics from a group of UK Jews. [My emphasis]
    Prominent rabbis, academics and political figures are among the signatories, including Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, head of the Movement for Reform Judaism; [My emphasis] . . . Baroness Julia Neuberger; Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism; Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein, principal of Leo Baeck rabbinical training college; and lawyer Michael Mitzman, who set up Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for the Home Office.”

    The full text of the letter can be read here.

  274. Another Malcontent said

    Israel’s parliament yesterday banned Arab political parties from running in next month’s general elections.
    Would you care to comment Emet or am I even more of a divisive malcontent because I have raised the issue?

  275. A Malcontent said

    5 Rockets into Northern Israel this morning. Please give us your analysis Emet but this time spare us the loopy analysis about leaking windows.

  276. Intrigued said

    To date, I have not entered the debate about the war in Gaza but have been intrigued by the arguments and counter arguments by those on either side of the debate and indeed educated as well.

    I thought therefore, you might be interested in an e mail sent to me today by someone who lives in Israel, of which I make no comment but will let you decide what (if anything) you agree or disagree with.

    “Gaza deals blow to Palestinian myths

    If Israel is the occupier of Gaza (as so many angry readers have told me following my recent columns in support of Israel’s attacks), how come it has no troops or military posts in Gaza and has not had since 2005?

    How come Israel spent the summer and early fall of 2005 forcibly evicting 7,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip if it is an occupier? Israeli society – including the army – was deeply divided over the removal of the settlers.

    Many soldiers refused to take part in the uprooting of families, some of whom had lived in Gaza for three generations. Most settlers under 40 knew no other home and almost all resisted the expulsion with civil disobedience.

    But still Israel carried it out because the Palestinians insisted the presence of the settlers was their prime irritant and obstacle to peace.

    It cost Israel more than half a billion dollars to relocate the settlers. More than 1,000 acres (3.5 million square metres) of greenhouses were abandoned and 15% of Israel’s agricultural exports were lost due to the evacuation.

    Approximately 5,000 Palestinians lost their jobs processing the crops Israelis grew on the Strip.

    Palestinians and their supporters often complain that Israeli settlers take the best land. If only they would give it back, the Palestinians themselves would work that land and become self-sufficient.

    But in Gaza, all the occupied land has been given back, along with extensive cultivation and irrigation infrastructure and now – just three years later – the land is largely barren, the greenhouses and irrigation works are largely in ruins and there are almost no exports, meaning there are no export-based jobs for Palestinians and no foreign-currency income for Gazans from international produce buyers.

    Also in 2005, Israel removed all its soldiers from Gaza, as the Palestinians had demanded. Now it has only border patrols and checkpoints along its boundary with the Palestinian enclave.
    Admittedly, Israel controls sea and air access to Gaza, and much of the ground access, but it does not control all of the ground access.

    I have been told time and again by Palestinian-friendly readers that because of Israel’s “occupation,” Gazans have been forced to dig tunnels between the Strip and Egypt just to get food and water. But Egypt, not Israel, controls its frontiers with Gaza. So how do Israel’s restrictions make Gaza-Egypt tunnels necessary? If Egypt were not just as determined to keep Gaza sealed off, the tunnels would be unnecessary no matter what Israel was doing.

    About one-sixth of Gaza borders Egypt. Indeed, you may recall that in early 2008, Gazans breached their border with Egypt. Hundreds of thousands poured through in search of supplies and consumer goods.

    Yet, as soon as it was able, Egypt resealed the border. They re-erected the concrete and barbed wire barriers that have kept Gazans out of Egypt for nearly 40 years.

    And why, when Egypt controlled Gaza from 1948 to 1967, did it not allow the Palestinians to relocate freely? Why did it keep in them in their refugee camps?

    Doesn’t all of this make Egypt a co-occupier?

    Over and over, too, I have been told the existing troubles stem from the way Israel forced hundreds of thousands of Palestinians out of their homes between 1947 and 1949 to make way for a Jewish state.

    But while it is true 650,000 Arabs and Palestinians were displaced by the founding of Israel, often overlooked are more than 800,000 Jews who were expelled from Arab states at the same time and told to go to Israel. Most often, they were forced to leave without their belongings and without compensation for their confiscated property.”

    as this was sent to me by e mail and is clearly taken from a report by someone else I cannot attribute it to anybody in particular.

  277. Community Member said

    The email sent to you by a friend in Israel is indicative of a mindset that believes the problems in the Middle East are the responsibilty of everyone else but Israel.
    If only that were the case.
    The reason Israel is still judged as the occupier is because they still militarily control the territory through land, sea and air. A unilateral withdrawal without any settlement when Sharon withdrew from Gaza couldn’t work. As I wrote yesterday the reason behind Egypt’s lack of involvement is that it would absolve Israel of its responsibilities as the occupying power and it is not in Egypt’s interests to take on that responsibility.
    Egypt is not a co-occupier. I would surmise that Egypt would have had little problem in allowing the Palestinians to have a fully independent State. And it is not their troops that have occupied the West Bank for over 40 years. The Egyptians don’t want Gaza back but they do not believe that they should bring trouble on themselves to extricate Israel from the current mess. My guess is that they wanted Israel to do a deal with Fatah and they believe that if Israel had tried a bit harder they would have got it. They would rather not have an Islamic Theocracy on their doorstep and that is why they keep the border tightly shut. As I said before The Egyptians think Israel got themselves into this mess and Egypt are not going to take on the problems.

    Your email has come from someone who wants to blame everyone else for what is going on.
    This line of argument doesn’t really work anymore – very few are convinced. Maybe your correspondent and Emet should team up.

  278. Forecaster said

    Congratulations Bibi Netanyahu. The election is in the bag. Why would anyone in the centre or the right vote for Barak or Livni when they can get the real deal by voting for Bibi? Those on the left of centre who have problems with this should ask themselves one question. If Barak or Livni can fight this war in the manner that they have done then why would Bibi be any worse?
    Its all over bar the shouting – Bibi’s back!

  279. emet said

    I hope not- was he not implicated in some scandal that questioned his integrity ? He is not the real deal he is an ego tripper who has failed before. Livni deserves a go. I hope amd believe that she will get it.
    The economic issues will be forgotten and this election will be run on the basis of security and the path to peace.
    Community Member-who would you be voting for and why ?

  280. Community Member said

    I wouldn’t vote for any of them. Perhaps Emet you will care to comment on the Israeli shelling of the UN compound in Gaza today, using allegedly white phosphorous shells.
    And hopefully you will tell us what you think of Gideon Levy’s latest article in Haaaretz today entitled
    ” The IDF has no mercy for the children in Gaza Nursery Schools. ”
    The very notion that such a title may even be remotely applicable is shameful.

  281. Malcontent said

    Emet worries me. Post 275 – ” this election…..will be run on the basis of security and the path to peace. ”
    The path to peace – Emet you have become delusional.

  282. A Beitz said

    An alternative view from the left to Gideon Levy.

  283. Malcontent said

    Beiz obviously takes some sort of consolation from putting forward AB Yehosha as “an alternative view of the left ” but I don’t really think you could describe this article as having any genuine leftish credentials whatsoever.

    Ehud Barak could also be described as a voice of the left given he is the leader of the Israeli Labour Party but as you know he is running this wretched war.

    The Israeli Labour Party thinks that it is left wing but that is only relative to other parties in Israel not because of their policies. Lets face it the Israeli Labour Party have consistently supported the building of settlements.

    So offer the article as an alternative viewpoint by all means Beitz but don’t pretend that it is something that it is not.

    Can we assume that A Beitz is now a supporter of the war as he encourages us to read articles which justify it?
    I’m sure he will remain silent as that is easier than speaking out

  284. Dr Magnes said

    It was a dispiriting experience to read A B Yehoshua’s “Open Letter to Gideon Levy”. Yehoshua’s sanctimonious moralising underlines the fact the the Zionist “left” in Israel have foresaken the prophet tradition and its commitment to universal justice and morality. Rather, they are nothing more than servants of power, who have become complicit in the crimes of the state.

  285. Dr Magnes said

    For those looking for a principled voice on the left, I would recommend Jonathan Freedland’s column in today’s edition of The Jewish Chronicle. Freedland is a rare voice of sanity in these dark times. His admonition that world Jewry is in danger of losing its moral compass is very much to the point:

    We can keep telling ourselves that the Gazan dead are dead not because Israel killed them, but because Hamas “hide” among civilians, and because Hamas goaded Israel into action. But this is to run from our responsibilities.
    We have to own up to what is ours. And that means accepting that those dead children were killed not by Hamas but Israel. Wrapping ourselves in the cosy cloak of victimhood is beneath us — and it denies the reality of what Israel is doing.
    Yes, I know the speakers at Sunday’s rally insisted their hearts went out to both Israelis and Gazans. But we should ask ourselves how deep that sentiment runs, or whether it is in fact lip service.
    I have heard too many Israelis and British Jews argue that, in effect, the Palestinians brought this on themselves when they voted for Hamas in 2006.
    What, even the traffic cop who simply needed a job and now lies dead? Even the children?
    Yes, Jews have the right to defend themselves. But there is something else at stake here, too: it is a community, perhaps even a people, in danger of losing its moral compass

  286. Dr Who said

    What have A Beitz and A B Yehoshua got in common.
    Answer: They have both been charged with sanctimonious moralising on this blog.

  287. A Beitz said

    #279 I don’t agree with the war. I do however agree with the principles of GJEF as I understood them which are to make people think. So I thought a change from some of the Pravdaesque postings here might be nice. Sorry that some only want to read their point of view. I’ll try to avoid exposing you to something different again since you clearly have difficulty with it.

  288. Malcontent said

    As far as I’m aware what people post on this blog is not the editorial line of GJEF.
    Post what you like Beitz but don’t describe things as left wing when they are not.
    Delighted though that you have now come out against the war. Previously I think you said you were agnostic about it. What was your tipping point?

  289. A Beitz said

    I said it was wrong at #254 but so what? And AB Yehoshua has long had leftist credentials whether or not you agree with what he says. As recently as November 2008 he was involved in the formation of an new left wing paty/caucus in Israel.

  290. Malcontent said

    Beitz, I have no idea whether you are for the war or whether you are against it. Yes in 254 you said the invasion was morally wrong but that might have been your opposition to the use of ground troops not that you were against air strikes. A little earlier you claimed in 185 to be agnostic. I asked you what changed your opinion about the war. Simple question Beitz. Did you change your mind because you sensed that popular support for it within Israel was slipping?
    As to Yehoshua’s leftish credentials I think thats been dealt with.

  291. A Beitz said

    Malcontent if you don’t understand my previous post then I’m sorry. You do seem rather anxious for my views I remain agnostic in the sense I don’t know what to do re the rockets. I consider however an invasion whether by air, land or any other means to be wrong when it leads to huge civilian casualties and must inevitably do so.
    In my opinion a fair bit of this sorry problem comes about from the misconceived siege.
    I consider Hamas however to be a bunch of anti semitic fundamentalists who have contributed largely to this situation. The Israeli response is morally wrong and just as importantly counterproductive.
    So what is a reasonable proportionate response which will unltimately improve the safety of those in the south? Do we put our trust in Hamas and that they will adhere to any truce? Will the Israelis? Could a multi national force be trusted even if there is room?
    Unlike some other posters I’m afraid I don’t have the wisdom to give the answers.

  292. Community Member said

    Whatever Israel’s leaders believe they are achieving by the war on Gaza their image has been badly damaged and a long term solution of Israel’s security problems will be much more difficult now to achieve.
    When the guns stop, if Israel wants to move any peace process forward they will have to talk to Hamas because as we have seen before it is rather pointless talking to the representatives of your enemy who agree with you and do not represent the majority.
    Whether through quiet diplomacy or in time full recognition Obama will start talking to Hamas. And political pressure on Israel to do likewise will intensify.
    We waited years before Israel accepted that the PLO could be a partner in negotiations and hopefully this time Israel will engage in talks with their enemy much more quickly.
    I note that on the front page of the Jewish Telegraph, CST Communications Director, Mark Gardner, is blaming increased anti-Semitic incidents on the British media and TV. Of course it hasn’t occurred to Mr Gardner and the CST that actually Israel’s actions in bombing Gaza over the past 3 weeks and killing so many innocent civilians might have more to do with this. Gardner argues that we are seeing the impact of ” many years of anti-Israel hysteria in addition to outrage generated by TV and newspapers.”
    When will this community realise that blaming everyone but Israel is not only absurd, but it is also counterproductive because when we do have legitimate concerns they will not be taken seriously.

  293. Armchair Analyst said

    CM, you ask whether “Quiet diplomacy and in time full recognition” will result in Obama talking to Hamas. Perhaps you can clarify. Hamas will not be “fully recognising” Israel during the possible next eight years of Obama’s maximum two-term presidency. Obama will not be fully recognising Hamas unless Hamas has already fully recognised Israel.

    Yes, I hear you say, the PA renounced its charter and fully recognised Israel, but the PA is a secular movement. To expect Hamas, a religious supremacist movement to fully recognise Israel, is to expect the Greater Israel religious settler movement to fully recognise a state of Palestine. Anything is possible, but you’ll either be shown to be a great visionary or the patron saint of longest of long shots.

  294. Community Member said

    I’m surprised Armchair that you are surprised. A new American President may at first move slowly but there is going to be a shift in Washington. This administration will engage and will attempt to start a process which will one day look like a peace process.

    It is all too obvious that whoever speaks for the Palestinians will need to speak for the majority. My guess is that Abbas and Fatah no longer will have any mandate to represent the majority and will be seen by the Palestinians in Gaza as at best defunct and at worst collaborators with Israel in the assault against Gaza Palestinians.

    Any meaningful talks will therefore have to take place with Hamas. Some of the Hamas leaders have indicated previously that in the right circumstances they could accept a 2 state solution on the basis of the pre-67 borders. Hamas covers a variety of views, some of them appaling, hostile and extremely violent.
    But there is another side that recognises the need to take part in a political process and would want a settlement with Israel. I think Obama will with time acknowledge that Hamas need to be brought to the table.

    In return for a place at the negotiating table you may be surprised that those in Hamas who are prepared to be part of a political process will win the argument in Palestinian circles.

    The situation in Israel will also have to change. Will a Government come to power that truly recognises that the Occupation has to come to an end and that military force will not produce a peaceful settlement with the Palestinians? Will a politician emerge in Israel who will explain that the Settlement Movement has to come to an end if they want peace with the Palestinians?

    I do not think I’m being naive in suggesting that Obama will in time make it clear to both peoples what is expected. As I said, it may take time, but the days of George W Bush are over.

    Unfortunately, despite this I’m not that positive about the outcome. I don’t believe enough people are prepared to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve peace. They still cling to ideas that peace will be solely on their terms. Its not going to happen like that.

  295. Armchair Analyst said

    CM, you’re more than a bit of an optimist. I concur with your last paragraph.

    I’d say the chances of an Israeli governement doing anything except under the most extreme duress that would force a military confrontation with the settler movement are close to nil. And the chances of Hamas fully recognising Israel any time soon are also close to nil. Therefore the odds of a peace agreement within the timeframe of Obama’s presidency are as I said, close to nil.

  296. Community Member said

    That is not what I suggested my dear friend. What I said was that Hamas would receive recognition from Obama and I think that will happen and quite soon.
    And I also believe that he will tell the Israelis in pretty blunt terms to stop building or expanding settlements. They will play about and I think ” their punishment ” will be recognition of Hamas. As I said, the rules are going to change.

  297. Armchair Analyst said

    Let’s wait and see. Hamas receive recognition from Obama? Not with recognising Israel first. And that’s not the same as a long-term Hudna, which avoids all recognition of Israel as a legitimate state. Just why you think Obama will cut loose quickly from the entrenched US positions of the past to court Hamas is beyong my ken.

  298. Community Member said

    Because the only way that there can be any breakthrough is the main protagonists are forced to confront reality.
    When the pictures emerge showing the extent of the devastation and carnage in Gaza all associates of Israel are going to be grossly embarassed that they allowed Israel to do this.
    THe Americans will be forced to give the appearance that there are going to be changes.

  299. Malcontent said

    I think the conversation today between AA and Community Member has been very interesting. So much for Beitz’s usual nonsense that good discussion isn’t possible on this blog. Has it occurred to A Beitz that it is possible when participants speak freely, and are not trying to keep their feet in every camp to enjoy the cut and thrusr of good debate. There is nothing wrong with being forthright in expressing one’s views. We don’t have to sit on the fence – some things in life are black or white.

  300. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I heard an interesting story last night and before I’m accused of loshon hora, let me say, I don’t believe a word of it.
    It appears some community alta kaka celebrating still breathing invited the p’nai and not so p’nai to join in the
    celebration of this remarkable phenomenon. Now I ask you all out there, in the winter of their lives, what on earth was the major topic of small talk amongst the great and the good. Is there a heaven, you might hazard a guess; Is there life after death, you may suggest; Will I be rewarded by the almighty for the exemplary life I have led?

    Not at all, Mr Livingstone, despite time being at a premium, it was you, yes you Mr L, who was centre stage. It appears you were the subject of much pity for having been criticised and pilloried on this very blog. On the face of it this was not a remarkable topic of discussion, except that your supporters would claim never to read the blog , possibly even, never to have heard of it. Meantime, in the corner of that room
    the unnotable exception was rending his garments because he and five friends had been ignominiously insulted by being blocked from the blog. (now let me at this juncture confess that Mrs Nachman has, to no avail, attempted to have me barred from the blog, so not all consider being blocked ignominious) If my suspicion is in any way accurate this may be that same blogger who claimed there were only six people posting at any given time. If he was right, then you and I don’t exist, Mr L. On the other hand maybe he and his five friends share a common disorder or do I mean a disorder in common.
    So Mr L, do you remember Nachman’s Law? Of course you do, it’s now basic to our understanding of the workings of Anglo-Jewry. Remember how it goes: ‘No matter how bad the Rep Council President may be, and by the very nature of the office, he or she will be bad, the next will be worse’. Of course, I hold my hands up and admit it was a generality. One president was so bad that no matter how hard his or her successors tried, and believe me they all tried so hard, in that one case, they failed to be worse.
    And guess who it was that supported you, Mr L? Guess who pitied you Mr L? Oh dear, there is no justice in this world.

  301. Derek Livingston said

    It’s good to hear Nachman how the blog gets to people by osmosis in that people who never read it know about every posting. It is always worrying to have the support of certain people but on the other hand even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

  302. Eye in the Sky said

    This President of the Rep Council who according to Nachman was the worst of the lot is if I have guessed his identity correctly a coward.
    He complains regularly about the workings of the blog to any poor person who happens to be near. But I am led to believe that he has never asked for a meeting with the people who run this website to put over his concerns.
    Wouldn’t that be the honourable option if he really had legitimate concerns.
    The best thing about the blog is that people like this Past President have been exposed by this blog. As many have said before, community matters could be discussed between the appointed great and good and decisions filtered down to the proletariat as and when decided. No discussion was allowed and apparently it was all done for the greater good and we should be eternally grateful for those who had sacrificed their valuable time to control the rest of us.
    Then along came the blog and the party was over. Now they could be criticised when necessary and held accountable and mocked if they made a mess of it or got too big for their boots.
    The President, that I believe you are talking about Nachman, was no longer beyond discussion or scrutiny.
    Instead of having the courage to come on and defend his communal record, he bleats whenever he can and I am sure has never requested any meeting with the organisation that runs this blog. That wouldn’t be his style because it is a little more difficult to impose importance and respect when others have the right to ask questions or even answer back.
    Poor Mr Livingston. With friends like this guy speaking up for you your communal reputation will become like his. What has happened to you Derek?

  303. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Actually you may be wrong, Derek. Recently time had to be corrected by one second so any clock that had stopped on the same moment as that allotted for correction would only have been correct once on that particular day.

  304. Alec Smart said

    Nachman, you are correct in surmising that if a clock had stopped at midnight on the 31st December 2008, then it would not have displayed the correct time, at the moment it stopped, as GMT would have been out of sync with atomic time by precisely one second. Paradoxically, one second later, the stopped clock would, of course, display the correct time.

  305. Yehudit said

    If you don’t believe a word of your own story Nachman then why bother sharing it with us?
    How do we know that you have not fabricated the whole thing? Give us some evidence and then we can take it more seriously.
    I’ve already been called twice this morning asking if I know the identity of who you are getting at.

  306. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Its all a bit confusing,Alec. Let us suppose the clock stopped at exactly one second after midnight. Now, let us further suppose that midnight on the 31st Dec 2008 was the allotted time for correction. One second after midnight the correct time would jump a second and go directly to two seconds past midnight. Therefore, the stopped clock at one second past midnight would not be in sync and the next opportunity to be in sync would be one second after noon.

  307. Alec Smart said

    It is, indeed, terribly confusing Nachman. Assuming the clock in your hypothetical example had not been corrected, relative to atomic time, before it stopped at one second past midnight, then it is true that it would not have displayed the correct time at the moment it stopped. If, however, the clock had been a caesium atomic clock, then, regardless of when it stopped, it would have displayed the correct time on two occasions on the day in question.

  308. Armchair Analyst said

    Interesting comment on hysterical Gaza protests and demonstrations by Robert Fisk in yesterday’s Independent:>

  309. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Even with caesium clocks there is a minor problem. The latest versions lose one second every 2 million years. I trust that gives Derek enough time to fix his faulty clock.

  310. Tabloid Reader said

    Interesting articles in various papers (Daily Record, The Sun, The Jewish Telegraph- can these all be put down as tabloids?)last week regarding the Muslim Assembly at Hutchesons Grammar School.

    I always thought that Morning Assemblies were about peace, love, brother(and sister) hood, and praying for each other not to discuss whether pupils “hate Jews” or “hate the Israeli army”. Surely these assemblies are NOT about politics but praying that bloodshed on whatever side stops.

    What do you think?

  311. Eye In The Sky said

    Quite correct Tabloid Reader. The person who took the assembly screwed this up big time and it is great that he has confirmed that foreign conflicts should not be allowed to create hatred between local communities.
    The school are desperate to cover this up quickly. It is inexcusable that someone taking any assembly should invite such a question. Unless he was qualified in putting forward a programme on stereotyping or was discussing with adults the problems of racism it is simply unacceptable to raise this issue in this way.
    I can understand that the school are involved in damage limitation and if they can get away with playing it down then that’s what they will try and do.
    But the role of our Representative Council and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities is somewhat more perplexing. Why are they so desperate to exonerate the guy who took the assembly and effectively put forward the same argument as the school?
    I believe that the Director of Scojec – Ephraim Borowski – was a Governor of Hutchesonians – and in all probability still is. I think that tells you everything you need to know. Another conflict of communal interest – and the Rep Council are too stupid to know why Mr Borowski is so determined to spin this storyline.
    When will they ever learn that they can’t get away with it anymore?

  312. Yehudit said

    If I have understood you correctly Nachman, are you saying that the President of the Rep Council that you are alluding to, was the worst of the lot?
    That is some honour.
    Maybe you could put up a Communal Prize and there could be some sort of ceremony for the winner. As your declared winner was at a birthday party he is presumably still alive and not dead.
    Can I suggest that you ask Derek Livingston to present the prize to the winner.
    On the trophy a suitable inscription could read –
    ” Presented to….you deserve the gratitude of the Glasgow Jewish Community for no longer being in office. You were the worst of the lot. “

  313. Eye In The Sky said

    There are so many outstanding candidates for this award.
    Nachman you have made your choice. Could you tell us the criteria used and how your winner stood out from the rest of the field.

  314. Malcontent said

    I suggest that A Beitz reads the following article very carefully. It is Gideon Levy’s reply to AB Yehoshua and it doesn’t miss the points regarding the carnage inflicted by Israel on Gaza.
    Those like you Sir, who sat on the fence and declared yourself to be ” agnostic ” at first ” have been complacent in the fraud that the occupation of Gaza is over.

    Those that have made excuses like Emet have in Gideon Levy’s words, ” fallen prey to the wretched wave that has inundated, stupefied, blinded and brainwashed us. ”

    Those like Armchair Analyst should understand “the history of national uprisings – They cannot be put down forcibly. The occupation of Gaza has simply taken on a new form. A fence instead of settlements. The jailors stand guard on the outside instead of the inside.”

    I genuinely wish you all well. I hope this article profoundly awakens your moral sensitivities.

  315. emet said


  316. Another Malcontent said

    And what evidence do you have Emet for thinking your view is the majority one?

  317. Daft as a Brush said

    He found out on Talk Sport.

  318. Someone Else said

    Emet, capital letters are bad form. It suggests you are angry or perhaps you need to learn joined up writing.

  319. Armchair Analyst said

    Malcy, not all ‘national liberation’ movements succeed, and not all of these movements are equal in the justice of their cause. The Palestinians are deeply divided as a very significant percentages of them do not want to live under the replacement tyranny of a Muslim theocracy.

    Also, how many Israeli Arabs do you think want Hamas to take the whole place over, come the revolution? What about the Palestinian Christians?

    Therefore what we have is, as Nachamn so succinctly put it, ‘a mess’. Israel needs to stamp on its extreme settler wing once and for all and embrace a two state solution, and the Palestinians need to find a way to soften up Hamas for compromise once and for all. ‘Aint gonna happen voluntarily. Maybe, just maybe, Obama will have the Albert Halls.

  320. Community Member said

    I’m delighted we seem to be in agreement AA. Lets hope that Obama has the resolve to do what needs to be done and if necessary drag Israel and Hamas to the negotiating table and make it perfectly clear what he expects when they are there.

  321. Tabloid Reader said

    And so say all of us. Amen

  322. Beyond Decency said

    The following letter sent to supporters of UJIA around the UK by Geoffrey Ognall is disgraceful.

    Whatever your opinions – left or right – the complete lack of sensitivity is offensive.

    If this is indicative of UJIA’s judgement then I regret to say that it is time that the community withheld their support for this organisation. Decency implies some sort of recognition for the victims of any conflict and that is not dependent on whether you stand in support or against the war. It is about compassion and empathy for what has happened.

    If Geoffrey Ognall speaks for UJIA, which he almost certainly does, then the community would be better off without UJIA. The photo gallery shows a smirking, smiling Mr Ognall thinking he is showing solidarity with Israel. Well I can assure you that if I receive a phone call on Sunday asking for money from UJIA I will tell them where to go. I hope everyone of you does so too.

    Mr Ognall’s letter….

    I have just returned from leading an extremely moving UJIA Solidarity Mission to Israel. I have been proudly involved with UJIA for over 35 years, that said I am still appreciating the real impact we are having, by our well planned strategic interventions.

    Here is a snapshot of our mission and of some of the great work UJIA is doing , thanks to your continuing support, for the benefit of the people of Israel.

    Warm regards,

    Geoffrey Ognall

    Vice Chairman

    “We arrive at 5am and travel south accompanied by UJIA Director for Israel, Natie Shevel who provided an up to the minute briefing as we make our way to Barzilai hospital. The corridors are empty and quiet – normal activity has halted. This has led to major disruption for a population vulnerable to rocket attack. The basement of the hospital is now a crisis area with staff on standby for major emergency events.

    Stepping back on the bus we learn that the maximum time from a rocket being fired to hitting is 15 – 45 seconds! A shocking statistic.

    Now we enter Sderot, a city whose population has halved since 2001, and meet with city social and youth workers — remarkable heroes! There, and with whoever we met, there was no hatred of their neighbours in Gaza, only a heartfelt wish to live in peace and a powerful empathy towards the current suffering of the population of Gaza. Many of the progammes that are being delivered to the youth of Sderot are being financed by UJIA.

    We were then taken to a lookout hilltop and shown a panoramic view of Gaza and it was frightening seeing how close Sderot is to Gaza City

    Today has been a whirlwind, what I have spoken of is only a quarter of what we packed into one day – I can’t believe what we have done in just a few hours since landing!

    The next morning, 5am and we are on the move again, this time up north to UJIA partnership region, the Galil — and alarmingly the rockets followed us.

    In Karmiel we participated in the formal opening at the UJIA funded Irisim school. Present was the Minister of Education Yuli Tamir, our good friend Zev Bielski, Chairman of the Jewish Agency, and Nochi Dankner, the Israeli Industrialist and as well as the Mayor and other dignitaries.

    Back on the bus and to Maalot, where we visited the Kochav Centre (another UJIA project) which is a “state of the art” centre for both Jewish and Arab residents with severe learning difficulties. It is a rewarding visit, knowing we are truly making a difference.

    That evening we meet with Tom Philips, UK Ambassador to Israel. Tom is a fantastic friend of UJIA and our community, and he spoke frankly and constructively about the diplomatic situation.

    Throughout the trip we were warmly welcomed by all we met. I feel privileged to be involved in UJIA, and come back with energy and commitment to ensure as many people as possible in our community support what we do – it is truly making a difference.”

    36 hours of deep emotion and renewal
    Am Israel Chai!

    View photographs from the mission by clicking here
    To find out more about UJIA please visit
    or to contribute to our campaign please visit

    UJIA The heart of Jewishlife

  323. A Beitz said

    I know I’m going to regret asking this but what is “disgraceful” about this? So UJIA help people in Sedrot and the Galil. What’s your problem? I don’t see any glorifying in the war more a wish to help the Israeli victims in Sedrot.Or is it “disgraceful” to prvide assistance to Arab and Jewish children with learning difficulties?
    ” Whatever your opinions – left or right” explain the problem and try to avoid words like “disgraceful” but leave those reading to make up their minds.

  324. Beyond Decency said

    I will not hide and refrain from stating that this is disgraceful because it is. When Israel is involved in the killing of hundreds of civilians and thousands of casualties we, as Jews, have a responsibility to acknowledge the suffering of others. That is not a political statement – it is a moral one. It is neither a defence of the war nor a declaration of support. It is unacceptable to behave as if there is no suffering on the other side. It isn’t even important whether you believe that Israel was in the right or in the wrong. It is a question of human decency and being able to empathise with the suffering of others. If UJIA cannot see that then their time has gone.

  325. JoJoJoJo said

    I’m with Beitzi on this one!

  326. Hershie Pearlman said

    I am a modest supporter of UJIA. I also received this e-mail, and despite having children settled in Israel, I am ashamed that these sentiments emanated from someone born and bred in Glasgow. You ask what is ‘disgraceful,A Beitz? Two hundred and fifty Gazan children died in the recent conflict, a small number compared to those maimed and wounded. How many Israeli children died? Not one! The letter gives the impression that Israelis were the victims of the recent conflict. Certainly Hamas are not nice people, certainly if a rocket lands on your head in Sderot, that is 100% of your life gone. However, Hamas never threatened the viability of the existence of Israel. Browse through Mr Ognall’s holiday snaps. Look at the images of him smiling and laughing and looking very important . How do you like the one of him surveying the scene as he watches Gaza being pulverised? Read his letter carefully as he implies that Hamas chased G Ognall personally with their rockets as he sped North. This is a Walter Mitty chronicle of the importance of G.O. and I too think it’s disgraceful.

  327. Hershie Pearlman said

    This is the direct link to the photos

  328. Al Chet said

    G.O., you call him, Hershie. He will never forgive you. You missed the last letter from His Name.

  329. Armchair Analyst said

    Geoffrey Ognall states that in Sderot he found ‘A powerful empathy towards the suffering in Gaza’. That may well also be the case for him personally.

    People change, and maybe Geoffrey has too. For he apparently didn’t give a tuppeny stamp for the suffering of the people of Gaza during the decades of Israeli iron fisted military occupation that was continually in place long before Hamas rose to power.

  330. A Beitz said

    I can’t be bothered to look at photos but if GO has smiled for some of them big deal. He went to Israel and wrote in the terms he did. Had he gone to Gaza he would no doubt have written in different terms. His letter is about what UJIA are doing in certain areas of Israel not about what he thinks about the plight of those in Gaza. Depending upon your view as to whether he should have referred to Gaza in depth you can hold an opinion that the letter is less than balanced. It doesn’t make it “disgraceful”.
    AA, I don’t know GO and have no idea what his views about the suffering of the people were or are. However I don’t think anyone could feel anything less than a strong empathy for the ordinary people of Gaza. It doesn’t make it wrong however to write about Sederot and the Galil from the point of view of a visit to Israel.

  331. Beyond Decency said

    It is wrong. No doubt Mr Beitz you also believe that the advert on Page 2 of today’s Jewish Telegraph is also acceptable. The advert placed by the ZF is asking for ” Care Packages for our soldiers – as they have been fighting relentlessly to ensure the safety and continuity of the Israeli way of life….”
    The ZF and Geoffrey Ognall and UJIA are trying to make out that Israel are the victims. There is no compassion for those who have suffered on the other side, no expressions of sympathy for those who have been killed or injured. It is a distortion of reality and it is both unacceptable and disgraceful.
    Even locally we are witnessing this war being turned into an introspective analysis of antisemitism. At a meeting this week organised by Scojec for a cross section of community representatives and addressed by MP Jim Murphy the only reported comments are about antisemitism and that we Jews in Scotland are threatened and in fear of our safety.
    Thankfully this is exaggereted and there is no reliable evidence to indicate that there is a problem. Mr Murphy should realise that not everyone in this community is obsessed with our own image and if the community representative bodies actually tried to reflect different viewpoints that exist within the community then how others see us might be different. Instead he has contributed to the establishment view that we are victims, that poor Israel had no option and all the usual spin.

  332. Citizen of Glasgow said

    I have read and reread the UJIA letter sent to me and whilst I can understand where “Beyond Decency” and “Hershie Pearlman” are coming from I believe they are reading far too much into a simple letter about a visit to Israel and where the funds raised in the UK are going to and what they are supporting.

    I to do not believe that the onslaught inflicted by Israel on Gaza was a proportionate response to the evil Hamas rocket launches but as I dont live in the undoubted terror that the citizens of Sderot and more recently Askelon do it is difficult for me to comment on what they feel toward those on the other side of the fence.

    Both HP and BD are entitled to their view of GO’s letter but I suspect they are really attacking the Gaza invasion and the politics behind it rather than how UJIA are spending monies donated to further projects for “all” in Israel.

  333. emet said

    Nothing disgraceful about that letter. It reflects the sentiments of UJIA and their supporters.
    More whinging from the enemy within….blah blah blah how boring……so we have had a go at Lubavitch , rabbonim , rep council , SFI , UJIA ,Israel , the IDF ,Murphy MP , David Links , Beitzy , Ognall etc etc…anyone left to attack ?
    I take my hat off to the proud Malcontents-they certainly don’t give up.Can’t help wondering though if they are anti semitic……….
    Still at least they were right about Edlin.

  334. what worries me is said

    If you don’t like what UJIA is saying – tell them and stop giving – it’s simple.

    And I agree that ANY civilian deaths are tragic.

    That said, we hear so much about how many casualties there were on the Palestinian side. Should we be apologetic and defensive that thankfully there weren’t many many more casualties on the Israeli side? Rockets in the last few weeks alone hit a kindergarten, a school, an old folks centre, a shul etc in Israel. Should we apologise that thankfully none of these buildings was full of people at the time, as well they might have been? Did the Hamas etc rocket launchers phone ahead to enquire when would be the best time to hit these buildings to minimise casualties?

    Few reporters are imagining what the casualty rate in Israel might have been like if the rockets had hit populated targets. To me, that is a factor to be balanced against the tragic deaths in Gaza.

    And few reporters, in this macabre ‘balance sheet’ that we keep seeing are factoring in the number of Israeli children killed in senseless suicide bombings over the years, or mentioning the Hamas threat to target Jewish children worldwide.

    As usual, the truth is rarely plain and never simple.

  335. Malcontent said

    No surprise Emet that your morality is wanting. You really don’t get it do you?
    You don’t even understand the issues. Keep to Talk Sport, that’s your level, and leave grown up discussion to those that can cope with the arguments.
    What really grates about people like you is that you winge and bleat about how everyone is out to get the Jews but you don’t understand that there is nothing remotely moral about your position.

  336. Beyond Decency said

    I would like to explain something to Citizen Of Glasgow – no 328.
    It does not matter whether you were for or against the war. What matters is basic decency. Why complain about Israeli victims if we have no empathy for those who suffer on the other side?
    UJIa are the most recent in a long line of Jewish Community Organisations that are morally blind to what is happening out there. Read the reports coming out about what actually happened in Gaza. What is happening to us as a people?
    My comments are applicable to all who can’t see this moral issue but specifically to A Beitz. Bertold Brecht wrote –
    ” When evil comes like falling rain, who will be brave enough to shout Stop, Enough.”
    We cannot always behave as referees as A Beitz does. Sometimes in life it is necessary to make a stand.

  337. JoJoJoJo said

    Who says that Bietzi or anyone else doesn’t have empathy for the other side???

    Thank goodness we have you Beyond Decency to keep us right.

  338. Citizen of Glasgow said

    And where were you “Beyond Decency” when the suicide bombers inflicted their particularly evil mode of destruction in Israel deliberately aiming themselves at cafes, bus stations, restaurants and crowded malls so as to inflict the maximium amount of casualties on innocent civilians.

    If there had been a blog then would you have posted or is it just the unjust actions of the Israeli’s you target.

    Your view of GO’s letter to his donors is not how I read it and oh and by the way I didnt support the war in Gaza.

  339. Beyond Decency said

    I’ll tell you where I was Citizen of Glasgow when suicide bombers were killing people in Israel. I was visiting Israel regularly. Now tell me where you were. And yes I would have posted on this blog if it had existed.
    Its now much clearer where you stand. Geoffrey Ognall looking through his binoculars as he surveys the killing and maiming of young children in Gaza is not something that troubles you or your companion A Beitz. Admitting that he’s too lazy to look at the photographs doesn’t prevent him from pronouncing that in his opinion no one should speak out about anything. In his strange moral universe it is unacceptable to declare that this is disgraceful because Beitz doesn’t happen to agree.
    Well it won’t work.
    Mr Ognall and UJIA say nothing in this letter that demonstrates an understanding of what has happened recently.
    And I am not going to support UJIA with any donation. I have had enough.
    I urge others to do the same.

  340. Community Member said

    Geoffrey Ognall has previous experience of writing letters from war zones.
    I recall in 1982 receiving a letter from him after I wrote a letter to the Jewish Echo commenting that I was gravely concerned about the aims of the war unfolding in Lebanon.
    Mr Ognall wrote to me to tell me that he was off to visit Israel and Lebanon as part of a UJIA fact finding mission to find out what was really happening. He assured me that the facts as given to him would show clearly why Israel was fighting this war. My reply then was that I didn’t think it was acceptable at that time to visit Lebanon as a tourist and that I would not keep quiet as he urged me to do. He assured me if I only knew what Israel was experiencing I would see it the same way as him.
    A few weeks after he wrote to me events deteriorated and culminated in the massacre of Palestinians at Sabra and Shatila.
    Almost 27 years have passed and it seems Mr Ognall and UJIA are still trying to do the same things.

  341. A Beitz said

    Here we go again. Another jump from the fact that some of us have no problem with the UJIA letter to suggesting we think you should never speak out about anything. Although you are right that I have no difficulty with GO looking through binoculars. I would have if he were not troubled by what has happened in Gaza but that is a different matter and unlike the impression given by your posting I certainly don’t think there’s any evidence of that.
    I feel sure your concern at GO’s letter will be understood by the Arab and Jewish children in the Galil who will no longer be the recipients of your largesse.
    You see you really have to come to terms with the fact that even where you disagree with people that does not prevent them from being essentially decent rather than “disgraceful” or other terms used by you and your alter egos.It doesn’t have to be so personal.
    I repeat, and it is up to those who are responsible for this board, the jump down the throat of those you disagree with type of posting simply puts people off posting making this blog the preserve of those who are prepared to be insulted. People I know who are naturally sympathetic to GJEF and its aims object to the vitriolic nature of some of the postings on this blog which they see as gratuitously unpleasant. There is a difference betweeen trying to bring about change and alienating all but a very few.

  342. Not in My Name said

    Unlike A Beitz, I am deeply troubled by images of British Jews observing the bombardment of Gaza, as they represent the pornography of war. With regard to Geoffrey Ognall, I do not accept your contention that he was sincere in his professed concern for the “current suffering of the population of Gaza”. The sincerity of that statement has to balanced against his moral blindness to what he was witnessing. As he states in his letter, it was “frightening seeing how close Sderot is to Gaza City”; that is to say, he was more concerned about the proximity of Gaza City to Sderot than he was about the suffering of civilians in Gaza as he observed them being killed indiscriminately.
    With regard to your comments about “personal” abuse, there are circumstances where the language of moral opprobrium is justified and it is legitimate to hold people to account for their moral failings.

  343. Orchard Parker said

    It would appear that our old friend Emet has just experienced another of his periodic fits of denunciatory hysteria.
    Fortunately, these outbursts are a temporary aberration which can be cured by reading the collected works of Edward Said, Noam Chomsky et al.
    Joking apart, Emet, I note that in your list of those who have been subjected to the ire of the “malcontents” you have included Lubavitch. Evidentally, you were not aware that the principal scourge of Lubavitch is none other than A. Beitz esq. It is common knowledge that Mr Beitz is a pillar of the establishment, and a man of the utmost rectitude and integrity. I have no doubt that he would be utterly mortified to be implicated by association with that frightful shower of “malcontents”.
    I trust that you will apologise unreservedly for this unforgiveable lapse.

  344. Community Member said

    There are several problems with what you write Mr Beitz.
    Firstly, you do not properly understand what GJEF is about and your knowledge of the organisation is certainly outdated. Has it occurred to you that you no longer know as much about what GJEf are doing as you think? Every time you disagree with posts on this blog you seem to think that the organisation has a specific responsibility to comment or to intervene.
    GJEF are not responsible to you. The people involved can work out for themselves I’m sure what their organisation is about and your advice is unnecessary.
    There are some people who believe that change is necessary. Yes they may make mistakes and are not immune from errors of judgement. Comment all you like about GJEF but deflate your ego and accept that your opinions may not be taken very seriously.
    Others like you, Mr Beitz, may take comfort from thinking that you are a pillar of the establishment. Whatever turns you on, good luck to you. The fact that others believe that some issues are important enough to discuss and are prepared to comment freely and as others have said use the ” language of moral opprobrium ” when they believe it is justified is their call. You have the right to answer back and give your opinion.
    Nevertheless the sympathisers of GJEF that I know are more than happy with what the organisation are doing.
    GJEF don’t really need lessons from you on how to bring about change. I think they have sufficient experience to work that out for themselves.

  345. A Beitz said

    CM, I have suspicions that most of the vitriolic posts come from people on GJEF. I do think, if I am correct about that, they should exercise some self restraint.
    As for my ego that is once again a personal comment and whether justified or not it is unfortunate that you continue in engage in this sort of personal abuse. Equally about being a pillar of the establishment.
    The constant abuse of posters and non posters with whom you disagree is tiresome and demeaning. Maybe you know different supporters of GJEF to myself but there are a fair number of people who cannot be regarded as you would put it “as pillars of the establishment” and who consider that various Glasgow communal institutions should be revamped or abolished. They don’t however like the constant abuse of so many individuals and organisations.
    Now what has been achieved? Meetings with speakers who might not regarded as a top draw have seen their numbers halved. Some friendships have been ended or badly affected. In return for what?

  346. Community Member said

    You have set yourself up as the judge and jury of an organisation that has had an impact on Jewish communal life in Glasgow since it was formed.
    As I said you are entitled to your opinions but I like you am also entitled to mine and I don’t believe you understand what GJEF is trying to do, what it has achieved, and what its role should be.
    As for your comments about postings. You are as guilty as anyone. And probably more than most.
    It is not abuse to tell someone that they are wrong and to challenge either the veracity or independence of their comments. The aim of GJEF is not to revamp or abolish any communal organisations as far as I know. That may be your aim, but as far as I can see you have then failed miserably. The aims of GJEF, as far as I’m aware, are very different.
    It is rather pathetic that you have joined the tiny club of vitriolic critics of GJEF. As someone told me only the other day, if GJEF were popular, they wouldn’t be doing what needs to be done. Those on the organisation can take criticism and you are entitled to give it. But it demeans you to be a member of this sad club of vitriolic irritants that think they are so important.
    I also suspect that you know the blog is not the official mouthpiece of the organisation but you like those previously mentionned deliberately confuse the two.

  347. A Beitz said

    CM, I think you have me wrong. As you yourself know criticism can come from friends of an organisation as well as enemies. I also think my previous posting made it quite clear what the link between some abusive postings and GJEF is and don’t intend repeating myself.
    I don’t think I am a vitriolic critic nor that my postings have been abusive but in the case of the latter if it has happened I would accept it shouldn’t.
    I don’t however have the desire to keep posting in this way. I’ve given my views. It’s entirely up to those who run GJEF whether they consider they have merit or otherwise. And again you have to get in the abuse referring to critics “who think they are so important”.
    I’ll not return to this subject in the near future if at all.

  348. Community Member said

    It is neither abusive or unfair to describe the small group that you have aligned yourself in the way that I have.
    Now maybe you will allow the discussion to return to discussing UJIA and Geoffrey Ognall’s war diary without this unnecessary diversion.

  349. Martyn said

    Did anyone receive a letter from UJIA or Geoffrey Ognall during the last Lebanon War in 2006? If you did can you share it with us. Maybe Geoffrey Ognall should not have the title of campaign manager or whatever he is called now but should be known from now on as the UJIA War Correspondent.

  350. Citizen of Glasgow said

    Community Member. How come you know so much about what GJEF thinks?

    Orchard Parker. How come you know A Beitz is a pillar of the establishment?

  351. what worries me is said

    CM – the vast majority of this community do not participate in or care about this blog, so we are not talking about a growing mass movement for change.

    I also listen to what people around the community are saying about the blog and it’s almost always negative, because of the constant vicious personal attacks and snide comments.

    It’s an old argument. Most people who do work for the community are not paid and do so in their own time. Of course they make mistakes sometimes, but it’s not because they are horrible people, as much of this blog would infer. It’s open to others to take over if they feel they can do the job better. At any rate, there’s a better way of debating the issues.

    You say that GJEF is not the same as the bloggers. However I presume that some GJEF members are the worst offenders in terms of personal abuse on this blog.

    What concrete changes in the community has GJEF achieved?

  352. Friend of GJEF said

    It might upset Community Member that I am returning the conversation to GJEF and A Beitz but I have a point to make.
    I live in London, am a Glaswegian by birth, and visit my home city regularly.
    Beitz asks what GJEF has achieved. Well since they were established a good deal more than most as I see it.
    Long overdue public meeting about Calderwood Lodge, public address by Scotland’s First Minister, forthcoming lecture by Foreign Secretary David Miliband and more educational meetings than any other communal organisation, probably more than every other communal organisation put together. Beitz says that numbers have halved at meetings that are not being addressed by top drawer attractions. To most people that is even more commendable that GJEF think it is still important to hold them. I think GJEF’s record is great.
    Now lets move on to the blog. I don’t agree with lots thats written on here. Sometimes I think that Community Member is wrong and I don’t always agree with negative comments about Israel. Sometimes I do.
    I sometimes think that Emet is being ridiculous and more often than not I think that Nachman Aronovitch is pompous beyond belief. However, that’s the fun of it. What I can’t be bothered with is the complete hypocracy and double standards that you are trying to spout.
    You were responsible more than anyone for continually sniping at Lubavitch. Good luck to you but I happen to like Chaim. Then you had a go at JLGB. My children have gone there so I disagreed.
    Again that was your right. I remember you and Nachman ranting and raving because the Rep Council used a caterer that wasn’t acceptable, according to you for a communal function with the Israeli ambassador. I thought you were both plonkers and were making far too much out of it and there were more important things to worry about than that but again that was your choice.
    The difference is that when UJIA are attacked, or Newton Mearns Shul or Scojec, you think its all personal and out of order because these causes are close to your heart.
    Then you attack the organisation – GJEF – that runs the blog, because you don’t want your ideas challenged or people you may admire held to account.
    Beitz, its nonsense. If you don’t agree, respond or keep quiet like I have done but stop complaining that its out of order when it is no more so than all the examples when you have done the same.
    To be blunt you are making an arse of yourself.

  353. what worries me is said

    Actually, I think it was I who asked what GJEF has achieved! (post 347)

    Anyway, how do we measure achievement? Various organisations bring speakers to the community, which is great.

    But what concrete changes has GJEF brought about? Has Calderwood improved (I’ve no idea). Did the meeting with Wee Eck aka FM make any odds?

    I’m not saying that these meetings aren’t worthwhile or interesting, it’s just that for change to happen in the community, there has to be action, which usually involves people giving of their time and skills to actually do things.

  354. NLL said

    NR Jewish Chaplaincy is holding it’s AGM next Sunday,at 2pm in Edinburgh Shul. Most of the current office bearers have been involved for 30+ years and have held senior positions for more than half of that time.

    We would love to take a back seat and encourage new people to take the helm. This is an exciting and challenging time for anyone interested in the education and support of Jewish Students across Scotland & NE England. The committee will require to work closely with students to recruit a new Chaplaincy Couple and serious fundraising is needed to shore up funds decimated by long term donors who have had to pull out or drastically reduce their donations due to the economic downturn.

    Students on campus require constant help and support to be safe and preserve their religious and cultural identity particularly just now, in the face of quite hostile campaigns attacking both Israel & them as Jews as a backlash to the recent fighting in Gaza. There have been motions to boycott Israel goods, ‘alternative’ Holocaust Memorial events, offensive graffiti, and an event arranged by a group promoting peace led by young Israelis & Palestinians was hijacked and turned into an anti-Israel rally.

    We are looking for recent graduates, parents of current & upcoming students and anyone interested in the future of the Community. To qualify all that is required is that you are a member of the organisation (ie; a donor) and that you are committed to the principals of joint working with students to provide a modern, professional service to Jewish students of all backgrounds. If you can’t manage to attend the AGM – being held in Edinburgh on the day following the student Burns Supper to enable as many students as possible to be present – please make your interest known and you can be put forward for co-option at a subsequent meeting.

  355. Armchair Analyst said

    I think Thomas Friedman in today’s New York Times sums it up rather well…

  356. Community Member said

    As Israeli elections get nearer Gideon Levy in Haaretz has once again written an article which is worth reading…3 right wing extremist parties have candidates for Prime Minister. So depressing.

  357. Armchair Analyst said

    It’ll be interesting to read the feedback here from those of you who will now decide to watch the video segment on the West Bank aired this evening on US Primetime Documentary CBS ’60 Minutes’ last night, Sunday January 25th:

  358. Not in My Name said

    For those who believe that UJIA has forfeited its moral authority by engaging in war propaganda, I would suggest that a more worthy recipient of charitable donations would be the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza.

    Full details of the DEC Gaza Crisis Appeal can be found here.

    To make a donation, please click here.

  359. emet said

    Dear Armchair-I will look at the Thomas Freidman article with interest.
    His book- “From Beirut to Jerusalem” is for me the best work on the Middle East in recent times.

  360. Citizen of Glasgow said

    I am a supporter of UJIA locally as I can see that they are doing a fantastic job encouraging both the youth and the community at large to attend the events (both educational and fun) they either host or help sponsor.

    I feel it is a great shame that “Not In My Name” and others appear to be trying to demean the work UJIA do by implying that UJIA are “engaging in war propoganda” – utter nonsense – how you read Geoffrey Ognall’s letter and how I read it appear to be somewhat different.

    So please don’t tar UJIA locally with what 1 person in London has written in an open letter that you happen not to agree with.

    Like you I also think that a donation to the DEC appeal is a good idea and hope that more like minded people also donate.

  361. Clear As Can Be. said

    If Citizen of Glasgow would care to look up an English dictionary he will find that the definition of “propaganda ” is as follows:

    the systematic, widespread promotion of a certain set of ideas, doctrines, etc, esp. to further one’s own cause.

    If one re reads Mr Ognall’s letter it seems very obvious that his letter can quite clearly be described as ” war propaganda “.

    I would be interested to know why Citizen of Glasgow believes this is
    ” utter nonsense ”

    It could be argued that UJIA are entitled to distribute war propaganda and it is part of their remit.Others will believe that this is not their function. But propaganda it most certainly is.

  362. Herald Reader said

    I’m with citizen of glasgow on this one clear as can be and not in my name.

    Remember one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist.

    What you consider war propoganda I might consider something completely different.

  363. Clear As Can Be. said

    You might, but please explain why. I have given you the dictionary definition of propaganda. Do you not accept that meaning?

  364. Herald Reader said

    Yes I accept the definition but do not accept that the letter from GO is “war propoganda”.

    That my learned friend is where we differ.

    Do you accept that we have a difference of opinion on said letter?

    If so then maybe we can move on to another topic like whether you agree that the BBC and Sky should not broadcast the appeal by the DEC on behalf of the population of Gaza.

    There se how nice and respectful a blog can be.

  365. emet said

    Armchair-that was indeed a wonderful article by Freidman-I urge all bloggers to follow the link and read. He writes well and manages to avoid hyperbole.

    Now-the banning of resident Israeli Arabs from voting-who can enlighten me ? If indeed it is true there goes Israel’s claim to be a democracy ; and I suspect such a move will alienate a lot of those who tolerated the Gaza incursion but would view this as a step too far.

  366. Clear As Can Be said

    I am delighted that you accept the definition of propaganda and that we disagree whether Geoffrey Ognall’s letter is war propaganda. By raising again the issue of BBC and SKY refusing to broadcast the appeal by the DEC you have my gratitude.
    I think they should broadcast it. What do you think? If you don’t I will accept that we disagree again and we can move on to find another topic that we might agree on. Won’t that be lovely?

  367. Admin said

    Comments are now closed. Please see the latest news item regarding Tony Lerman’s address to the ACPOS Religion and Faith Reference Group on the subject of antisemitism.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.