Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

Antony Lerman briefs ACPOS

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2009

On Wednesday 21st January, Antony Lerman, former Executive Director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, addressed the ACPOS Religion and Faith Reference Group on the subject of antisemitism. This event was facilitated by GJEF at the request of ACPOS (Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland), and officials in the Scottish Government. Mr Lerman’s lecture was very well received and afterwards there was a lengthy discussion about this important issue. GJEF would like to thank ACPOS for their invitation and excellent hospitality.

Summary of Antony Lerman’s briefing to ACPOS:

The upsurge of antisemitic incidents since the beginning of the Israeli bombing and invasion of Gaza shows that antisemitism is alive and well. But the fact that these incidents are directly linked to the Israel-Palestine conflict shows also that antisemitism today is a complex phenomenon.

Although the word ‘antisemitism’ was coined in the late 19th century, it has come to refer to Jew-hatred going back to the birth of Christianity. Hundreds of years of persecution and discrimination culminated in the most virulent form of antisemitism—based on ‘scientific’ racism—which was adopted by the Nazis and led to the Holocaust.

After the Second World War, antisemitism did not disappear, but it became less acceptable to express antisemitic views in public. With the development of human rights legislation and laws to combat racial incitement, and the commitment of governments to protect their Jewish communities, antisemitism gradually declined. With the collapse of communism in 1989, Jews practically everywhere were free to choose to be Jewish or not for the first time and the 1990s saw a flowering of Jewish culture.

However, growing hostility to Israel after the collapse of the Oslo accords, which built on the development of anti-Zionism from the 1970s onwards, was seen by many to have an antisemitic element. With the outbreak of the second intifada, the anti-Jewish activity witnessed at the UN anti-racism conference in Durban and the 9/11 attacks, the opening of the 21st century saw a resurgence of antisemitism. Many see this as a ‘new antisemitism’—hatred of the collective Jew in the form of the state of Israel. But others deny that there is such a separate form of antisemitism and insist on keeping a distinction between anti-Zionism and antisemitism, even though they do sometimes overlap.

Combating antisemitism today requires sensitivity to, and an understanding of, the complexities of the problem. Monitoring antisemitism is extremely important, as the All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into Antisemitism, which produced a report and recommendations in 2006, stressed. However, recording antisemitic incidents, which police forces across the country are all being urged to do, is only one part of monitoring antisemitism. One of the problems facing both law enforcement agencies and researchers is that, while antisemitism is a form of racism, it’s different in some important respects. For example, anti-black racism manifests itself clearly in discrimination. Jews in the UK suffer no discrimination to speak of.

In the Jewish community, the Community Security Trust plays a very important role in monitoring antisemitism and providing security for Jewish premises and events. However, as a private organization it is not always clear whether it can strike a balance between intelligence-driven action and community accountability, between the need to ensure heightened awareness of its assessment of the threat posed by antisemitism and the need to ensure that community life can carry on as normal.

Looking ahead, it is important to remember that the current rise in antisemitic incidents as a result of the fallout from the Gaza conflict does not necessarily mean that there has been a rise in underlying hostility to Jews. Jews were once seen as ‘the canary in the coalmine’—when society’s democratic structures were collapsing, Jews would be the first in the firing line. This is no longer true. Other groups are the primary targets of most racists today. This doesn’t mean that antisemitic acts, when they occur, are any less troubling, but it does not help to combat the very real antisemitism that exists by exaggerating the threat it poses.

The recession we now face is likely to make life more difficult for some minority groups and especially for refugees and asylum-seekers. To the extent that this spills over into an increase in open expressions of racism, we will all be disadvantaged by the resulting coarsening of relationships in society.

Dealing with antisemitism requires a proportionate response. Policy-making at whatever level will not succeed if the threat is either exaggerated or underestimated. Sadly, we will never rid the world of racism and antisemitism completely, but we can do a very great deal to create the conditions which reduce hatreds to a level where they do as little harm as possible.

143 Responses to “Antony Lerman briefs ACPOS”

  1. Involved said

    I have to commend GJEF for this. Lots of the criticism aimed at them has in my opinion not been deserved.
    Only last weekend two bloggers, “What worries me” and “A Beitz, posted that they couldn’t see what GJEF have achieved. I wonder if they still don’t see what is happening.
    It is now very obvious that GJEF have an ongoing relationship with the Scottish Government that has strengthened considerably since the First Minister addressed our community.
    Invited by the Police and Government to address an influential committee on antisemitism is something worthy of recognition.
    Is there anyone out there involved in community affairs and part of the establishment who will recognise that there is something very interesting going on with GJEF and that their relationship with others is actually to the benefit of this community? I really hope that this initiative is recognised and applauded.

  2. Confused said

    Can someone please explain whether GJEF had permission from Scojec or the Rep Council to have arranged this meeting.

  3. Hamish MacShmekelstein said

    On behalf of the Executive Committee of SCOJEC, Regional Board of the Highlands and Islands, plus East Fife, I can confirm that permission was granted to GJEF to conduct certain events under our supervision, in the Gaelic language of course.

    Slainte Mheath

    HM

  4. Telegraph Reader said

    I have just read the article on the back page of this week’s Jewish Telegraph reporting on Tony Lerman’s address to senior police officers on antisemitism.
    I have now read the story on this website and I welcome Mr Lerman’s analysis of the situation and his concerns about overplaying the threat of antisemitism. He is quite right that ” policy making at whatever level will not succeed if the threat is either exaggerated or underestimated. ”
    I recall a report in last week’s paper about Scojec organising a meeting with Jim Murphy MP and the comments reported in my view over hyped the threat considerably.
    Tony Lerman’s address seems balanced and fair and this kind of approach will do the community much more good than those who take a more sensationalist approach to current events.
    I hope the CST and SCOJEC take note of the difference in style.

  5. Help said

    The letter below from a Cabinet Minister shows how hard the CST are lobbying the government.
    The impression that I get from our community is very depressing. Telegraph Reader noted the meeting last week that Scojec held which looked at the Gaza conflict from a very narrow perspective and reading the article the sense was that Jewish people are the victims.
    The editor of the JC, Stephen Pollard writes similarily as does Melanie Phillips.
    The impression I get is that these people are spinning the story that we are about to be attacked and our personal safety is endangered.
    My fellow Jews are generating a tidal wave of fear and defensiveness which is so negative and misjudged that it may well engulf all of us.

    The Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP

    Secretary of State for Communities and Local
    Government

    Department for Communities and Local
    Government

    Eland House
    Bressenden Place
    London SW1E 5DU

    Tel: 020 7944 3013
    Fax: 020 7944 4539
    E-Mail: hazel.blears@communities.gsi.gov.uk

    Dear Friend, http://www.communities.gov.uk

    I am writing to you as the Communities Secretary about community cohesion in the UK
    during the current situation in Gaza. We know and understand that this issue affects many
    in our communities.

    I am deeply concerned about the dramatic rise in anti-Semitic attacks in the UK since the
    start of the conflict in Gaza. And I wanted to draw your attention to what I said earlier this
    week following my meeting with the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Community
    Security Trust and the Jewish Leadership Council:

    “The Government strongly condemns the increase in anti-Semitic incidents and
    understands the fears and concerns of the Jewish community in Britain. British
    Jews, like all communities must be able to live their lives free from fear of verbal or
    physical attack. The Government will continue to offer whatever support we can.
    There have already been a series of meetings with Jewish community
    representatives and these will continue. We stand ready to offer our advice to all
    those committed to tackling the scourge of anti-Semitism and hate crime in all its
    forms”.

    Now more than ever before we need to redouble our efforts to manage and resolve
    tensions in our communities. The British Government is at the forefront of tackling all
    forms of hate crime and we are keen to reassure communities that we take all forms of
    hate crime seriously.

    HAZEL BLEARS

  6. NLL said

    Maybe last weeks JT article made it sound like the meeting facilitated by ScoJec with Jim Murphy
    was held to discuss the Gaza conflict and that issues relating to anti-Semitisim were being overhyped, I can’t remember the actual wording. What took place was quite different. Those who took part; a broad spectrum including representatives of shuls, care organisations, UJIA, students etc – were asked to submit questions about any issues that affected their organisation – within Jim Murphy’s remit – to the meeting. All spoke about actual situations affecting them.

    The main issues were about cross boarder charity registration & ensuring the safety of charity funds in banks given the current economic situation. In addition there was discussion about the issues faced by a number of organisations where Jewish people have been verbally & physically attacked or threatened and how the government can help keep people safe.

    I do not believe it is hype – these incidents have been particularly prevalent on campus, where the line seems more often crossed and students, along with many older people in our Community feel threatened.

    Amongst the main Universities in Scotland & NE England the numbers are small; 2 have over 50 members, 3 have around 25 and the remaining ones plus assorted colleges have 1 – 10. There will likely be many more who are not members. Students are at an age when they are examining all aspects of their identity and many are quite unsure of themselves. Very few are particularly politically aware & many feel threatened by the rhetoric and actions of the mainly left wing organisations who seem to have hi-jacked the Palestinian cause – which unfortunately, often become blatantly anti-Semitic.

    It wont surprise you that the Jewish students who do identify and put their heads above the parapet often find they have more in common with their Palestinian and other Arab classmates and are able to discuss and debate the issues reasonably. At one meeting recently the Palestinians present became exasperated with the members of the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign and reminded them they were quite able to speak for themselves and didn’t need people, who seemed to have an alternative agenda, speaking misleadingly on their behalf.

    Jewish students, like all of us, have many different views on the rights and wrongs of the conflict – yet they are, individually and as Jewish Societies being called on to defend the actions of Israel, simply because they are Jewish. There have been a number of boycott motions & 17 universities in England have had premiss ‘occupied’ in protest at the ‘occupation’ of Gaza. What might have been a peaceful demonstration in support of the plight of the people of Gaza has has become anti Zionist & in some places anti Semitic. A banner at Leeds calls for people to join the intifada.

    Students who were just starting to find a comfortable level of identity are retreating into assimilation. Why invite the hassle? It’s much easier not to join Jsoc, much easier to go clubbing on a Friday night & much easier to sit an exam on Yom Tov than be called to account for the actions of the Israeli government.

    Soon this blogg and any discussion about the future of our community will be irrelevant – the next generation will be lost. These issues are real.

  7. Help said

    I am sure NLL that you have put forward your argument with the best of intentions but unfortunately it is deeply flawed. You have written ” about the issues faced by a number of organisations where Jewish people have been verbally and phsyically attacked or threatened ” but I think we need to define more accurately where you believe this is occuring.
    It is certainly NOT happening in Scotland because I have checked and there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate your claim.
    I appreciate that some people have hijacked the Palestinian cause and their tactics are sometimes unwelcome. I would though ask you to consider whether Scojec are the most suitable organisation to highlight any issues of antisemitism given that it is now common knowledge that they were forced into a humiliating withdrawal of accusations that they could not substantiate on this very subject.
    Whatever one feels about the war in Gaza Jews in Scotland are not the victims of it. We as a community are not under threat and we are not being attacked and there is not an underlying hostility to us as Jews.
    The threat should not be hyped up and as Mr Lerman has argued the threat should not be exaggerated or underestimated. The response should be proportionate. We are fortunate that the authorities – police and government take the issue seriously.
    I think that you should appreciate NLL that supporting the rights of Palestinians is a legitimate form of political expression and it is unhelpful to exaggerate the threat of this to Jewish students.
    In our community the dominant and prevailing culture is to argue that we are under threat. I think it is unhelpful and I also believe that it is a very negative way of looking at the world. We don’t always have to see ourselves as victims and think that everyone hates us. We should be confident of who we are and what our values are and our place in mainstream society.
    Those who perpetuate the belief that ” we are under seige ” are doing us no favours. This tidal wave of fear and defensiveness is misjudged and negative. I suggest that you would help the community by rethinking your position.

  8. NLL said

    Help – I’m not sure where you went looking for your evidence, as I said these were situations faced by individuals and organisations represented at the meeting – I can’t imagine that they are recorded anywhere.

    You said “We as a community are not under threat and we are not being attacked and there is not an underlying hostility to us as Jews.” I’m sorry that is not the case – maybe we are not under the threat of major incident eg, pogrom, bombing, arson etc, but there appears to have been a significant number of less severe incidents which have badly shaken those affected and they have been absolutely directed to them as Jews.

    63 senior school pupils in Glasgow attended an Israel Advocacy session, put on by UJIA at the request of parents & pupils. Some of these youngsters have experienced situations which they found very distressing – including a 14 yr old whose friend asked her ‘why are you Jews killing all these Palestinians.’ The sum of these relatively small incidents adds up to a much larger whole and can have a devastating effect on the individuals concerned.

    Whilst I wholeheartedly agree that ‘we should be confident of who we are and what our values are and our place in mainstream society’ – many of these youngsters and the students I described earlier don’t and you do them a terrible disservice by denying their plight. The question is how can we give then the confidence to make their way through the plethora of TV images, articles, email messages, facebook groups and public meetings to form a strong Jewish identity and take their place in both the Jewish Community and mainstream society. The fear is real, whatever it is based on. I’m amongst the first to agree that seeing anti-Semitism round every corner is counter productive, but so is arguing that the incidents that do occur are unimportant – they maybe small on a global stage , but for the individuals concerned and those around them, they can have a huge impact.

    The truth is, like many children who suffer constant criticism and who do not receive positive encouragement, these young people will bury that part of their self, invent a new persona and attempt to blend in with their peers. Eventually they will assimilate and be lost to the Jewish Community.

  9. Help said

    I cannot help but feel that you don’t understand what I am trying to tell you NLL.If the incidents are unrecorded and unreported I think it is irresponsible to hype this up. It is not my experience and because some people make comments against Israel that does not indicate growing hostility to us as Jews.
    Your comments about 63 senior pupils attending an Israel advocacy session put on by UJIA, I find even more worrying. It is not in this community’s interests to become advocates on behalf of this or indeed any other Israeli Government. Who were the speakers at this session? What were the objectives? Did the speakers acknowledge that not all Israelis thought this was a justifiable war? Perhaps I am a touch cynical but I think this kind of session is part of the problem not the solution.
    We are bringing up our youth with the same kind of mindset that encourages them to believe that they are victims in the growing hatred of Jews all over the world. We are asking them to become advocates on behalf of the Israeli Government and we are not encouraging them to think that there might be another side to the equation that requires a deeper understanding of what is going on.
    Do we ever explain to those around us in Glasgow, outwith our own community, that not everyone shares the view that Israel always acts correctly? We don’t. Instead we do what you think is good, and arrange for our youth to be spoonfed arguments that endorse the Israeli position.
    The most troubling part of your post is that you don’t even seem to see what we are doing. I don’t accept that our young people will bury their emotional attachment to Judaism or Israel or Jewish culture if we educate them properly and try and make them think that their is more to Jewish experience than being the perpetual victims.

  10. Curious said

    Anyone wanting to find out what’s going on in UJIA needs to get in touch with Inspector Derek Livingston.
    After all he was able to clear up the confusion about who speaks for UJIA on a previous occasion.
    So come on Derek, please tell us all we need to know about the Israel advocacy session. Was it an official UJIA event, who spoke, and what was the programme?

  11. Curious said

    Isn’t it odd that UJIA have now gone to ground about their Israeli advocacy session. Nothing more from NLL – nowt from Derek Livingston – not a peep from anyone about the content of this meeting which was put on by UJIA according to NLL at the ” request of parents and pupils.”
    My faith is that Debby will do what’s right – she has commented on UJIA matters previously, and with more accuracy than others it would appear, and give us the details so we can discuss this issue properly.

  12. emet said

    My daughter attended and said it was fair , balanced and helpful.End of.
    So leave it at that and please forget the attempts to single out decent punters and have a go at them-if you are going to do that do it under your own name .
    It demeans the blog and puts people off from joining in.

  13. NLL said

    sorry not to have been hanging over my computer yesterday, some of us have voluntary organisations to run on our days off.

    I spent the day with students leaders from around the country, who are dealing on a daily basis with a constant barrage of highly charged anti Israel and anti Semitic material, posters, stickers, boycott motions and emails etc. Whilst we were there a call was received from an extremely distressed student who has been sent hate mail. Do not tell me this is hype, this is very real and we have to provide these young people with the emotional and physical means to deal with this and get on with their studies.

    Meantime no new nominations for election to any of the Chaplaincy Board’s positions – so the current committee have put their hands up and agreed to stand, yet again, rather than walk away and leave students without any local support. The talk is fine, but where are the people willing to give up their free time to do the work????

  14. Help said

    I cannot but feel Emet that you may be part of the problem as well. Closing down debate about important issues has been happening for far too long. Now there is a medium where issues can be discussed without arbitrary denial of free speech – and you don’t like it. Well I’m afraid you don’t have that power.
    I have no idea which ” decent punters ” have been singled out as you describe. I have questionned the tactics of hyping antisemitism and I have also disputed the notion that we are currently a community under threat of attack.
    I think the domimant culture in our community is very negative and a far more positive approach would be welcome.
    As your daughter attended Emet and found it to be ” helpful, fair and balanced ” I would be very grateful if you could give us some further details. How old is your daughter and was there a wide range of ages involved in this Israeli advocacy session? Was the programme designed for different age groups? Who were the leaders? What was the content? If you are so sure Emet that it was so helpful then you will no doubt know exactly what went on and will have no reservations about sharing such a positive experience with all of us.

    I am sorry NLL that you couldn’t find anyone to help with Chaplaincy but that doesn’t strengthen the weakness of your arguments. We tell the outside world that it is unacceptable to make the association between Israel and Jews in the UK and then we spend our time telling our youth and students that it is their duty to stand up and defend Israel. If we do not make it clear that we are not responsible for the actions of this or any other Israeli Government and sometimes we agree and sometimes we disagree it is not surprising that those on the outside cannot see the distinction betwen us and the actions of Israel. Why are you NLL putting students into this position of being the defenders of Israel when there are many who do not think the actions of Israel in the recent war merit this support? Why are UJIA putting on seminars to tell our kids how to defend Israel and then get upset when people hold them accountable thereafter? Is your actions with the students and UJIA’s with the youth not irresponsible?
    I was brought up to believe in Israel and I was able to understand that supporting Israel does not require unconditional support for the actions of their governments. I have friends on all sides of the Israeli political spectrum. I listen to arguments and understand some of the complexities involved. By exposure to different arguments I was able to develop and work out what I agreed with and what I had trouble accepting. Debating with the other side needs an understanding of different arguments and that provides confidence.
    Let me ask those who won’t yet tell us what happened at the UJIA advocacy session if there was any attempt to show the diversity of views that can be read in Israeli newspapers? Was there any attempt to provide those that came with different Israeli viewpoints or to tell them that not all Jews in the UK could defend what was going on and that we are a pluralistic community with different views? The problem is that we a community only serve up one view.
    I await with genuine interest some answers to the questions that I have posed. This is about how we educate our youth and students and how they acquire a positive Jewish identity. Telling them that antisemitism is rampant and that everyone hates us will only mean that they will run for cover. I think your tactics NLL with the students and UJIA’s with the youth are irresponsible.

  15. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    I have some sympathy with your views,’Help’ though you put them somewhat forcefully if not confrontationally. Nevertheless, if UJIA had any understanding of those leadership qualities and the type of education needed by today’s youth to survive as Jews and Zionists in a difficult world, they would co-opt you for some of their seminars. My only experience of such education is that of my own children who grew up through Jewish Movements that in those days had the courage to make them question everything. They did not end up on the same side of the political fence but hold many diverse opinions. More importantly, they understand the history and arguments and hence do not need to hide from the real world.

    In #12 Emet gave you some good advice which I think you should take on board.

  16. Help said

    Nachman, I am disappointed in you. I would have hoped that you would have appreciated that asking questions that require to be asked is not confrontational but is necessary and important. I would have thought you would have seen through the smokescreen that allows people to cry foul and claim that it is personal, when the reality is that I have made no personal comments whatsoever.
    Yes, I admit that it is forceful. Should it not be when I question the wisdom of asking young children and students to endorse positions that support the actions of Israeli Governments regardless of whether they have the knowledge to know what it is all about? Should it not be forceful when I suggest that hyping the threat of antisemitism and teaching our children and students that we are all under threat and that we are the perpetual victims is negative, harmful, not even true and is against our best interests in forging a positive Jewish identity?

    I can well understand that there are some people who whilst sympathising with my position have become weary and are maybe tired of speaking out against the prevailing consensus and would prefer a quieter life. I really don’t have a problem with that. However, when Emet wants to stop discussion and you describe it as good advice I am genuinely disappointed. I would suggest Nachman that not only do you sympathise with my arguments on this subject, deep down you know that I am right. All I ask is that if you don’t want to speak out yourself then you refrain from encouraging those that don’t understand what it is all about and don’t also encourage those who deliberately wish to divert the debate from the real substance of the issues.

  17. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    As I was not at the meeting in question I would prefer not to take any extreme stance on what was said. You may or may not be 100% right but once you have successfully ground everyone into the dust you will have the satisfaction of appearing to always be right. That is, of course, because but for you, the room will be empty.

    Of course, credit where credit is due. There was a smokescreen. Your lengthy diatribe was there to mask the weakness of your stance.
    1) the questions at this juncture did not need to be asked. You chose to ask them so don’t confuse choice with need.
    2) by attempting to force people onto the blog you were being very personal. You may attempt to justify such action but to deny being personal is disingenuous.
    3) I don’t think you are completely right. Unless I am suffering some form of dementia I would argue that I know better what I think than you do.
    4) your final sentence is as near a cry for censorship as I have heard on this forum You are treading on very dangerous ground.

  18. Nonplussed said

    Nachman, apropos your comments regarding “personal” remarks. Insofar as I understand your argument, you claim that it is not appropriate to expect those who hold communal office to account for their actions on the blog on the grounds that it is a form of coercion which is, in your opinion, “very personal”. If, indeed, that is the case, perhaps you can explain how you can reconcile your current position with the comments you posted in relation to the propriety of a dinner party hosted by the Rep Council. As you stated at the time:

    “And so it is with Mr Mendelsohn and his committee. It is irrelevant if you or I stand up and rubbish Kashrut. Let Mr Mendelson state categorically that Kashrut is nonsense, let him say that the food provided at the Friday night dinner for the Ambassador in the home of someone who once had (maybe still has) delusions of high communal office is not of community interest. Let him clarify the secular nature of his organisation and justify his failure to be all inclusive.
    Mr Mendelsohn has made it quite clear in the past that he is not answerable to this blog. That may be so but he is answerable to the questions raised on this blog and they have to be addressed. [My emphasis] They will not go away and delay will only compound the problem”.

    Needless to say, any comment would be superfluous.

  19. Help said

    I would be grateful Nachman if you could stop bluffing and prevaricating and put together a proper argument on this issue. What is extreme about asking how our children are being educated? When would be a more suitable time to ask these questions given that you think this is not currently appropriate? What do you mean that you don’t think ” I am completely right ? ” What on earth does that mean?
    My final sentence has nothing to do with censorship. It is a request that you don’t encourage those who wish to stifle debate.
    Finally to use your poor analogy, I will at least have the satisfaction of sitting in a lonely room knowing that I have done my best according to my conscience. On the other hand you will be sitting in a room full of people that you strongly disagree with and share precious little common values.

  20. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    That’s not what I said nonplussed so don’t be ridiculous.
    You quote me from past postings. I am flattered that you have the ability and concern to find it so quickly. With such talent you should be running the blog, not posting on it. But then that would involve conflict of interest, wouldn’t it?
    There was an issue which you may not have found relevant or important but which some thought needed an answer. There were elected members directly responsible for the incident.
    ‘Help is setting his own agenda and deciding who should have to answer’.

  21. A Beitz said

    And of course Nachman those of us, yourself included, who generally post under the same pseudonym are answerable for what we have said earlier. It is a pity however that the questions are posed by those who have posted under 10s, if not 100s, of pseudonyms and who thus effectively take no responsibility for their various alter egos.
    Your postings are 100% spot on and should be considered very seriously by those responsible for much of what has been on this blog recently.

  22. Help said

    Poor you Nachman. Complimented for your postings – ” 100% spot on ” by A Beitz is not a badge I would wear with pride.
    Please tell me Nachman why I should not have the same rights as anyone else to discuss whatever subjects I choose on this blog.
    Actually, don’t bother because that is just a sideshow.
    You have inferred that my arguments are “extreme”. You have stated that ” my lengthy diatribe was there to mask the weakness of my stance ” and told me that ” the questions at this juncture did not need to be asked ”
    What you won’t tell me is why I should not question how our children are being educated? I will remind you that it was NLL who told us about the Israel advocacy question organised by UJIA and I then asked what it was all about. I questionned the wisdom of this sort of activity and I am also very concerned when some people hype the threat of antisemitism. Look at what is happening in our community. How often do we hear that we are the perpetual victims, that we are under threat and that everyone hates us. I believe that this is negative and it does not encourage a positive confident Jewish identity.

    Now you tell me Nachman that I am “deciding who should have to answer” and that I have been “disingenuous”.
    I have told you exactly where I stand and what concerns me. That has always made some people targets in this community. And as I’m sure you know well the attacks that always came against those who questionned were always personal and avoided the issues.
    Please look in the mirror and realise that your stance on this issue is an image of what I have just described. That cannot be where you want to position yourself. Because I am prepared to ask the difficult questions I am the one who is guilty. The only difference now is that because of this blog the difficult questions can be asked time and time again and because it possible to use a pseudonym some of the issues can be tackled without reprecussions to families as used to happen.
    Beitz, I dismiss without any thought. We know that he thinks it is okay to berate anyone or any organisation that he has issues with but is horrified when those closer to his heart come under the microscope. His hypocracy has been unmasked months ago.
    But you Nachman? You cannot be proud of where you are positioning yourself? Think about it please.

  23. NLL said

    Just in case anyone is actually interested…. the UJIA Israel Advocacy session with secondary school pupils was split into two age groups 1/2/3 year & 4/5/6 year + some students – I attended the older group. This was a very basic starter session and was aimed at getting the youngsters to think about the issues from a number of points of view. They were provided with some historical background and encouraged to use this alongside a variety of current material from reputable newspapers and websites to form their own opinions. At no point was it suggested that they defend Israel or the Israeli Gov. the aim was to give them an age appropriate introduction to this hugely complex set of issues and allow them to begin to form responses that they feel comfortable with when they are challenged by their peers.

    Similarly on campus; non of the support provided by UJS or Chaplaincy peddles any particular line. The duty is to support students emotionally and practically to deal with situations where they are being singled out as Jews because of the situation in and around Israel. There is also a duty to the – increasing – number of Israeli students studying here. They come from right across the political spectrum and are entitled to enjoy their time in Scotland at our universities without being physically or verbally attacked.

    Wouldn’t that be ironic – never mind Jewish parents in Scotland telling their youngsters that it isn’t safe to study in Israel, we could end up with Jewish parents in Israel telling their youngsters it isn’t safe to study in Scotland. And ‘Help’ before you even contemplate putting your fingers on the keyboard, I am not scaremongering.

  24. Help said

    Thank you NLL for providing this information about the Israeli advocacy session run by UJIA. I appreciate this.
    I would be even more grateful if you could tell us who were the speakers who led the sessions for both age groups and what were their qualifications and experience to lead this educational programme. It would have been very difficult to provide an objective assessment of what happened in the recent war and a very challenging exercise for UJIA. To provide responses ” that they feel comfortable with when challenged by their peers ” would be a daunting prospect for many adults, never mind children and youth given the nature of recent events. I look forward to hearing further details from you.

    As regards the campus situation you will not be surprised to know that I disagree with you. I presume the attacks on Israeli students were not part of the usual politics that occurs on campus. If these attacks were outwith this context then I would have thought these incidents would have been reported to the police and there would be evidence of this. Why has this not happened and why have there not been prosecutions to support your claims?

    Of course no one should be subjected to physical and verbal abuse. Individual incidents are still inexcusable but that does not mean that we as a community are under threat and we are not the victims of this recent conflict. The threat is being magnified and I think it does harm to our interests. The mindset that encourages us to think of us as perpetual victims is not conducive to a positive expression of Jewish identity. There is much more to Jewish identity than seeing the world as our oppressors and us as a people threatened by rampant antisemitism.

  25. Guardian Reader said

    Thought this might interest those who have been following the discussion on this blog

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/04/gaza-jewish-community

  26. Guardian Reader said

    And this as well.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/04/israelandthepalestinians-gaza

  27. NLL said

    Indeed – and George Galloway is standing as rector of Edinburgh University. His press release says ‘I will be running my campaign unambiguously on the issue of Palestine.’ That will really catch the interest of students who are far more likely to be concerned with the cost of living and wither there will be any jobs for them when they graduate!!!

  28. Help said

    I’m still waiting and hoping NLL that you will tell us who the speakers were and who led the sessions for both age groups at the UJIA Israel advocacy meeting. Information about their qualifications and experience to lead this educational programme would also be really helpful.
    I understand that there are competitions taking place around the country for children – Israel advocacy competitions.
    I wonder NLL if you would care to tell us if you are aware of this and how this fits with ” an age appropriate introduction to a hugely complex set of issues ” that you were happy to tell us about. Thank you.

  29. emet said

    Help-no one will tell you anything because whatever you are told you will revert with hyperbole and an answer you have already scripted in your head .
    Effectively you are shutting down the blog.
    Cheerio.

  30. NLL said

    You can read the JT as easily as I can – there was an article on P2 last week which gave details of the speakers. Ben Freeman, UJIA Youth worker led the older group and Inbar Rayden UJIA shlicha led the younger group. I don’t know anything about a competition.

  31. Annoyed said

    I’m fed up with your line of argument Emet.
    Why can’t people ask questions without you wanting to close down the discussion?
    Maybe you don’t understand what a blog is about. It is to allow questions to be asked and debate to flow. All I ever seem to read from you is warnings about what is happening to the blog. Post something applicable to the discussion or go away.
    And by the way if anyone has posted comments with hyperbole, it is NLL.
    What complete and utter rubbish – Scotland not being safe for Israeli students because of a couple of incidents.

  32. is anyone else wondering if Help and Annoyed are really Community Member? said

    To be honest, I don’t really believe that posters such as Help, Annoyed and Community Member are different people. Their harassing and bitter tone and views are too similar.

    You ask why can’t people ask questions? It’s because the belligerent tone of many of these posts is too similar to the kind of thing which goes on in the Herald – too personal and too viscious. This has been pointed out many times.

    If anything, NLL’s postings are the most informative and measured on this blog. The other ‘composite’ poster tends to get paranoid and aggresive much too easily!

  33. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    Unfortunately, Annoyed,it is you that prevents the flow of debate. It is you who has usurped the blog and possibly destroyed it. I’m with Emet and will return when the administrator does his job and stops your nonsense.

    In the meantime I have received a yellow card from admin for being indiscreet in the past 72hours. Unless I guarantee not to be indiscreet again I will be thrown out. Can anyone out there tell what I have said that could possibly be classed as indiscreet? Furthermore, who do you think should have got the irate e-mail from admin? No prize for getting it in one!

  34. Help said

    I’m not annoyed but Nachman you are ridiculous.
    You infer that I have ruined the blog because I’ve asked searching questions about UJIA’s seminar on Israeli advocacy and the hyping of antisemitism.
    It is your right to choose to ignore the questions that I put to you. But in case you have just become forgetful I am going to repeat them.

    Why should I not question how our children are educated?

    When would be a more suitable time to ask these questions given that you think the time is not now appropriate?

    I have told you that I believe that hyping the threat of antisemitism is not conducive to fostering a positive Jewish identity. I don’t think it helps when we teach our children that we are all under threat and are perpetual victims.
    I also think that NLL’s comments about Israelis being afraid to send their children to Scotland is scaremongering and a distortion of reality.

    Somehow, your wires are all twisted and you have thrown so many accusations at me that I’m genuinely worried about you. Someone comments that NLL’s comments are measured – it really is measured to claim that Scotland will be unsafe for Israeli students isn’t it Nachman, and you prefer to ignore these comments and get involved in irrelevant sideshows.
    What’s wrong with you.

  35. Armchair Analyst said

    Thanks Guardian Reader for the two links you provided. Both Jonathan Freedland and Brian Klug make good points, while coming from different perspectives.

    The ‘Liberal Left’ is either hopelessly compromised by anti-Judaism often masquerading as anti-Zionism, or too utterly intimidated to publicly criticise extremist Islam and atrocities committed by Muslims and Arabs on a truly grand scale in Darfur and elsewhere, or both. The hypocrisy of this lot is mind boggling!

    As for Galloway and Livingstone (Ken, not Derek) they’re Jew baiters and Arab lovers. And as for all too mainstream blinkered Jewish ‘Israel right or wrong’ bigots, it also shows just how far we still have to go.

  36. Admin said

    I do not propose to comment publicly on the claims made by Nachman Aaronovitch. Rather, I have decided that it would be more appropriate to publish the correspondence in full:

    From: ******************
    Sent: 04 February 2009 22:11
    To: GJEF
    Subject: Re: A Warning from Admin

    As I have no inside knowledge, I find your accusation of indiscretion a little perverse. The fact that the source of the posting was obvious , was not rocket science, merely the indiscretion of the author himself. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” In other words, take responsibility for your own mistakes.
    *****

    On 04/02/2009, GJEF wrote:

    *****,
    As I’m sure you are aware, the blog is administered with light touch on the grounds that there should, in general, be a presumption in favour of publication. I do, however, insist that one should not disclose any information which could lead to the identification of contributors. Evidently, you do not consider yourself to be bound by such a convention.
    Out of loyalty to an old friend I’m prepared, in this instance, to overlook your indiscretion, but I would like your assurance that you will refrain from such conduct in future.
    I look forward to hearing from you.
    Jeremy.

  37. Guardian Reader said

    Let’s get back to discussing the real issues please.

    Very good article by Antony Lerman in today’s Guardian about Jewish dissent

    ” The Rise of the Moderates ”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/06/jewish-opposition-gaza

  38. Human Rights Watch said

    I think all on this blog should applaud NLL’s perception about Scotland no longer being a safe place for Israelis to study. (post 23)

    Actually, it might be true! There’s a growing database of military incidents – and the soldiers involved in them – which night be categorised as potential war-crimes. Since Israel will never prosecute, human-rights lawyers in Europe are being instructed by victims’ families and rights groups in Israel and Palestine to issue writs against these people if/when they come to a European country, under the principle of universal jurisdiction. Since most Israelis study after army service, this could apply to those studying in Europe too….

    Thank you NLL for bringing this to ur attention.

  39. War Crimes said

    Chaplaincy could diversify. Friday night dinners and the identification of Israelis who have committed war crimes. Instead of asking which town in Israel they lived in the new question will have to ask which unit they served in. Maybe the committee will now get the new recruits they are looking for.

  40. is anyone else wondering if Help and Annoyed are really Community Member? said

    And I don’t reckon that Human Rights Watch at 11.27pm last night could be a different person from War Crimes, who didn’t get huge amounts of sleep and was up again posting at 8.06 this morning!

    What are the chances of 2 different people with such similar jaundiced views of Israelis in Scotland (all must be viewed as potential ‘war criminals’)posting so close together?

    I doubt it.

  41. is anyone else wondering if Help and Annoyed are really Community Member? said

    PS I think it’s too easy to fall into the trap of believing EVERYTHING that the media report about Israeli ‘war crimes’. We’ve already seen reports that some of the high profile ‘atrocities’ were not as clear cut as they seemed.

    I understand that the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency (MNA) has reported
    that Fatah has published the names of 181 Palestinians claimed killed, shot or maimed BY HAMAS in Gaza during the recent conflict. Can we subtract them from the tally which is constantly being repeated of ‘Israeli atrocities’?

    Obviously no one wants children to die – or is that really no one? What do Hamas really intend when they fire rockets into Israeli kindergartens and schools or send suicide bombers into crowded buses and shopping malls?

    Let’s not rush too soon to condemn Israel – there are plenty of people who will do that for us.

  42. Human Rights Watch said

    It would seem that chaplaincy may be reinventing itself as Israeli advocacy. I thought their remit was to provide pastoral care to Jewish students not to indulge in defending everything Israel does and exonerating potential war criminals.

  43. is anyone else wondering if Help and Annoyed are really Community Member? said

    And I don’t think there’s any point in making snide comments about Chaplaincy.If you’re that bothered what Chaplaincy does, it’s a public organisation. Are you a donor? In which case, get off your backside and attend a Chaplaincy meeting and put your point of view forward then. If you’re not a donor, go and tell other organisations you’re not connected with what to do.

    What would you suggest? would you just ignore Mid East debates around he campuses? Would you suggest we send our kids into these debates with placards around their necks saying ‘Israel was wrong. Israel shouldn’t exist. Sorry for any inconvenience.’?

    Might it be better to give our students training so that they can push for a 2-state solution and point out that horrible things have been done over the years by BOTH sides? Isn’t this Israel advocacy?

    Do you really think that the anti-Israel voices on campus will be mollified by Jewish students condemning Israeli actions?

    The next thing will be that Jewish student societies will be banned from campuses if they even talk about Israel – it’s happened before.

    I just hope you don’t have any kids studying in Scotland. If your attitude takes hold in this community, there will be no Chaplaincy organisation left to support Jewish student activities of any sort.

  44. Dr Divinity said

    Its time I entered into this discussion as a long time observer of chaplaincy and involvement previously with Jewish students.

    Chaplaincy does commendable work. The care of Jewish students always should be their sole concern and I appreciate their excellent standards of pastoral care.

    However, it is important to make a distinction between legitimate political expression, which includes criticism of Israel, and genuine incidents of anti-semitism.
    The chaplaincy organisation will be supported by all in the Jewish community for supporting the rights of Jewish students. That support does not entitle us to deny the rights’ of others who may not like what Israel does. It would be helpful if the author of the previous post could let us know whether differences of opinions regarding Israel within our own community are properly recognised.

    I would like to point out that during some of the twinning campaigns with West Bank Universities in the early 1980s many Jewish students on the ground binned the official material supplied by BIPAC and UJS and preferred their own material which was more credible.

    The main issue here is that some are arguing that chaplaincy may actually be harming the Jewish students that they wish to protect by blurring the distinction between turning these students into proxies for Israel rather than Jewish students in their own right.

    I would hope that the aggressive response by the previous blogger is not indicative of any official position within the chaplaincy board. It is entirely legitimate to ask questions and only organisations or individuals who are unsure of their position would respond in this way. Those who sit on committees of any sort should welcome criticism as well as praise. Believing that the job you do is excellent will not help you improve upon some of the really good work that you do. My advice to the previous blogger is to stop and listen, your good intentions may actually be rewarded with some substance and you might learn something.

  45. is anyone else wondering if Help and Annoyed are really Community Member? said

    Again, I assume that the very patronising Dr Divinity is the same as Human Rights Watch. It’s a joke when the previous poster, in all his many guises, complains of ‘aggressive’ postings!

    Of course Jewish students are perfectly entitled to debate the merits of Israel’s actions, but there is a place for that – NOT at anti-Zionist meetings, such as have been taking place recently on campuses in Scotland. There are enough people around , such as’Jews for a Just Peace’ without all Jewish students having to attack Israel at these meetings.

    It is legitimate for members, donors or supporters of an organisation to ask these questions. However, it is an impertinence when the questions come from people on the periphery who seem to know nothing of the close liasion between Chaplaincy and student leaders and do not give them credit for making sound decisions based on decades of cumulative experience.

    If Dr Divinity/Human Rights Watch etc etc etc is so concerned about Jewish students why is he not offering them positive and realistic strategies? All he is doing is seeking to destroy the confidence of Jewish students on campus when Israel’s existence is being questioned.

  46. NLL said

    This is getting completely ridiculous, Human Rights Watch is extrapolating things from my previous posts that I certainly did not say

    I have never said that Chaplaincy encouraged students to support Israel unquestionly – quite the opposite. I have said quite clearly that students represent the whole political spectrum – NOBODY tells them what to say. Check out One Voice, http://www.onevoicemovement.org/ the Glasgow branch is being run by some brilliant & passionate students, Israeli/Jewish and Palestinian/Arab

    UJS & Chaplaincy very carefully make sure students have access to information from wide ranging sources and stand back whilst they make up their own minds. All we can do is try to keep them safe, emotionally & physically – which is proving very hard at the moment. So as was said in post 43, if you know so much – please step forward and start taking the calls & emails from worried students, you co-ordinate the flow of information from the various sources, you help students decide if they can continue to devote so much time to these issues at the expense of their studies, and you raise the money to pay for the salaries and travel expenses.

    What would your advice have been to the only Jewish student who was willing to speak at the deabte at Dundee Uni this week where the motion was to boycott Eden Water? The audience was mainly from the Stop The War Coalition and most of the ‘facts’ supporting the motion were wrong (especially the one about following the lead of Glasgow Caledonian Uni – where in fact the contract had ended and they retendered) The discussion very quickly moved from the matter in hand to the hurling of insults accusing Israel of treating the Paestinians like the Nazis treated the Jews. The only support this student recieved was from one or two individuals who pointed out that what was being said to him was racist.

    War criminals!!!! Human Rights Watch, you are loosing the plot, you are starting to believe everything you read and see in the media without questioning the source and the truth. Yes it is possible some Israeli students studying in the UK will have served in the army, so what – so will students from Austria, Mexico, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Israel, Malaysia, the Republic of China, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland etc etc. That’s life, some countries have compusory military service, you may not approve, I may not approve – but that hardly makes them war criminals.

    Why is it no longer ok to say anything good or positive about Israel? We are entitled to comment and critisise but there are still many positives about Israel – and if you no longer believe that you may as well give up and join the opposition

    – ah, I’ve got it Human Rights watch/Community member et al – it’s not just the Glasgow community you want to run according to your own set of rules and ideas – you think you could do a better job of running Israel!! So there’s no point in suggesting you stand for Chaplaincy – your mind is on other things – you’ve got to make Aliyah and and fight an election campaign within the next few weeks. Oh well you’ll be too busy with all of that to be posting on this blog for quite a while – shame.

  47. Armchair Analyst said

    Thanks NLL. Well said.

    It’s quite obvious that the one trick ponies of the ‘Liberal Left’ have plenty of camp followers and admirers on the campuses of UK universities. The various atrocities round the world being committed in the name of Islam etc. are totally off limits to this lot.

    Israel bashing has become the cause celebre of student activists who apparently have nothing much else to shout about for some reason, unless of course peace and justice will reign globally once those ‘Zionists’ get sorted out.

  48. Campus watch said

    It doesn’t seem to register with those who post on behalf of the campus Israeli advocacy group (aka Chaplaincy Board ) that those who speak out for a more liberal humane Israel have as much right to be heard on campus as the unthinking my country right or wrong brigade personified by blogger no 45.
    What would Chaplaincy do different on campus that would show a different approach to that of the Israeli Embassy?
    It may surprise NLL but the possibility of war crime charges against Israeli soldiers is real.
    No one suggested that there are not many positive things about Israel. It is you NLL that has lost the plot with a different story every day about how we are being threatened.
    Those who have fought for an Israel that has decent moral values do not need to take lessons from you about how to make Israel a better place.
    I suggest that rather than showering yourselves with praise about how your sound advice has benefitted everyone for decades you actually stick to your pastoral role and try and represent all Jewish students, regardless of where they stand on Israel. That is what you should be doing.

  49. is anyone else wondering if Campus Watch is really Dr Divinity is really War Crimes is really most of the bloggers? said

    You really have a poor opinion of Jewish students on campus! The student leaders are clued up on campust politics, how to network with other groups on campus and where to find the many sources of information online. They also benefit from the collected wisdom of Chaplaincy and others who have dealt with people like Pussycat Galloway before over the years and can help with strategies.

    Meanwhile I’m not aware of a single Jewish student who has complained about being force fed with lines in the way that the previous 16 posters (ie 1 person!) suggests.

  50. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    Campus Watch or whoever didn’t used to be most of the bloggers but has cleverly forced everyone out. It’s a great pity that the members of GJEF do not take action. I have no interest in who the individual participants might be, but would like to know that a line of thought belongs to one particular blogger. What is happening is dishonest and it is the height of impudence for the person involved to take any moral stance whatsoever.

  51. NLL said

    Indeed – so if any one is actually interested in what Chaplaincy does, and particularly if you’d like to contribute your time/money/expertise, feel free to contact me directly. We need you; Stop The War Coalition are making moves on St Andrews – but good news, students in Durham overturned an online boycott motion – 726 to 525

    Human Rights watch/Campus Watch/Community Member/Dr Divinity/War Crimes/Help/Annoyed etc – feel free to continue arguing amongst yourselves

  52. is anyone else wondering if Campus Watch is really Dr Divinity is really War Crimes is really most of the bloggers? said

    Shouldn’t that be:

    ‘Human Rights watch/Campus Watch/Community Member/Dr Divinity/War Crimes/Help/Annoyed etc – feel free to continue arguing amongst YOURSELF’?

  53. P. OFF said

    Nachman Aaronovitch really hacks me off. This guy has commented more than almost anyone else about communal figures and organisations – and he has the nerve to call others impudent or dishonest for using pseudonyms. If Nachman isn’t a pseudonym Aronovitch then what the heck is it? To express my thoughts clearly about his obsessions on this blog would get me banned. Let me just say if he has nothing of worth to contribute to any specific discussion then I couldn’t care less what he thinks about the morality of posting under different pseudonyms. Maybe his specialist subject wouldn’t be rocket science but has it occurred to Aaronovitch that 98% of contributions on this blog are made by people using names other than their own.
    And before he or someone else jumps in and says I am the same person as the other(s) who have written about chaplaincy, I’m not. I just have an aversion to people in life who have jumped up ideas above their station and think we should be interested in what they say or do because of who they are, not because of what they say or do in practice.
    In case you are still wondering Nachman who I am – I AM P. OFF.

  54. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    Despite myself, can’t help admiring those able to choose a pseudonym that gives a clue to the character of the poster. Don’t like my name? Neither do I but my late parents did.

  55. Dr Divinity said

    Thank you NLL for asking me to join your organisation. My interest in Jewish student affairs is longstanding. I don’t claim to be an expert but I am as qualified to discuss strategies involving Israel in student politics as much or as little as the blogger who confuses my identity with other people and who is obviously posting on behalf of chaplaincy.
    I don’t believe that it is beneficial to Jewish students and their interests to continue with the stance you seem to take re Israeli issues.
    Am I still welcome on your committee?

  56. NLL said

    I’d love to know where P. OFF bought his computer – was it in the same place as Human Rights watch/Campus Watch/Community Member/Dr Divinity/War Crimes/Help/Annoyed etc or did they all download some magic software that means they see completely different words in various of the blogg entries to those being posted by us mere mortals.

    Meantime at Glasgow University – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcmD9g_xidY&feature=channel_page
    not very pleasant?

  57. NLL said

    Dr Divinity. As I previously posted, anyone who is a donor is eligible to stand for the Chaplaincy committee. Unfortunately you have missed our AGM, but if you make yourself known to me I can put you forward for co-option.

  58. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    Meantime the exit poll results in Israel indicate that but for a Likud/Kadima coalition, a government cannot be formed without the inclusion of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party. It would be natural for him to go with Likud, but to the best of my knowledge Livni has never said she would not approach him for support.From my own standpoint it is disappointing to see Labour and Meretz gain so few seats but given their recent performance, perhaps deservedly so.

  59. Help said

    It is much easier for you to charge anyone who asks you questions about your organisation as having no individual identity. I understand that it is much more convenient for you to believe that there is only 1 person out there who has concerns about the role of chaplaincy and advocacy for Israel.
    You are misleading yourself.
    Others have told you that they applaud the role of chaplaincy in providing pastoral care but they have concerns about your role in Israel advocacy. Why don’t you take on board their concerns for just a minute, taking a rest from your role as an extra Israeli ambassador, and maybe you will consider that there might be another way of looking at this issue which is also legitimate.
    It seems to me that despite your good intentions you have become so passionate with your works that your focus has become distorted to current realities.
    Can you please translate the sound recording of your video. Thank you.

  60. is anyone else wondering if Campus Watch is really Dr Divinity is really War Crimes is really most of the bloggers? said

    ‘Help’ – outside of one (or maybe 2?) bloggers, not a single person in this community, donor, student or otherwise has, to the best of my knowledge, made a single criticism of Chaplaincy’s work in the field of opposing anti-Zionism on campus.

    On the contrary, the student leaders have complete confidence in Chaplaincy and and are in daily contact with Chaplaincy for support in the worsening anti-Israel feeling and increasingly threatening atmosphere on the campuses around the country.

    You have complete chutzpa to continue to make your silly,ignorant and destructive allegations. Jewish student leaders on the campuses will not thank you.

  61. NLL said

    They are shouting “Victory” to the “Intifada”?

  62. NLL said

    Help – I have not made any statements regarding my personal views on the way forward regarding Israel/Palestine and certainly not in the context of Chaplaincy. As you don’t know what my views are I don’t see how I can have been seen to ‘take a stance’. Nor have I ever said I do this alone. I have said a number of times that we are a conduit for resources, that is written information and a wide network of people from across the spectrum of views. To repeat; ‘we then stand back whilst students make up their own minds. All we can do is try to keep them safe, emotionally & physically’

    Dr Divinity – as I don’t know who you are I cannot judge your competence to provide support to students, so it is irrelevant. I can’t say often enough, anyone who wants to get involved in this is welcome – as long as they don’t think they can use Chaplaincy to peddle any particular political view. But it is quite pointless if you wont identify yourself, even privately.

    Students can’t wait whilst you argue about who has the right credentials to support them, this is taking up several hours a day every day, if you’ve got sufficient interest and the time & energy – please step forward?

  63. Help said

    I am not interested in your personal views NLL.
    I am interested in exploring the reasons behind chaplaincy’s Israeli advocacy programme.
    If there happened to be a student who was not a Zionist – I would imagine that even you and your assistant might just concede that this is a theoretical possibility – does your organisation’s position on Israel not disenfranchise that person?
    Your role is to represent all students, not just those that support Israel or Israeli policies.
    How can you possibly argue that ” you stand back whilst allowing students to make up their own minds ” when you are leading the anti-boycott campaigns and as your assistant declares ” Chaplaincy’s work in opposing anti Zionism on campus.”
    You have become a political organisation and you are involved in Israel advocacy. Why don’t you admit it? Then we can discuss the merits of this position properly.
    Israeli advocacy should not be your function.
    By the way someone else claimed you ” had taken a stance ” – Not me.
    One other point that you might wish to respond to is this – Why is political expression – in calling for support of the Intifada – by Palestinians or their sympathisers something that is your concern?

  64. is anyone else wondering if Campus Watch is really Dr Divinity is really War Crimes is really most of the bloggers? said

    Help –

    Chaplaincy represents all Jewish students, regardless of their political views, but you wouldn’t expect us to do much with a pro-Nazi J-Soc member, would you? It is also extremely unlikely that an anti-Zionist Jewish student would be involved in J-Soc orChaplaincy, and I’ve never heard of such a thing in the last 35 years. Even if they were Neturei Karta types, why would they be interested in J-Socs (wouldn’t be frum enough). But even IF some Jews for a Just Peace type of student wanted to join a J-Soc, it’s not for Chaplaincy to intervene in any way.

    Also, neither J-Soc nor Chaplaincy would try to force such a student to be pro-Israel. However, I can’t see it being at all likely that the majority of a J-Soc would be made up of such anti-Zionist students, so they wouldn’t get much out of their membership.

    In the real world, wherever you are in the UK, the majority of Jewish students are pro-Israel’s existence, even if they don’t support every action of every government. But let’s be honest, most of the shouters on campus are opposed to Israel’s very existence.

    Chaplaincy is not a political organisation, and only provides informal advice when requested. But Jewish students feel threatened, isolated and vulnerable on campuses at the moment, which is why they turn to Chaplaincy and others for moral/educational support. The students have many resources to utilise for information and make their own minds up about their position.

    It is nonsense to suggest that Chaplaincy is leading the anti-boycott campaigns, but would you really want such campaigns to succeed? The corollary, as we have seen in years gone by, is that the Jewish Society is not allowed to have any pro-Israel activity on campus or in its constitution and gets banned. In that sense, I suppose Chaplaincy is, of course, anti-boycotts.

    Anyway, the bottom line is that, unless you are a donor to Chaplaincy or a member, what right have you to dictate what Chaplaincy does or doesn’t do for Jewish students?

    And if Jewish students are happy with what Chaplaincy does for them, what right have you got to take issue with this.

  65. emet said

    Help….is your first name , “A cry for ..” ?

  66. Help said

    If NLL’s assistant is typical of the kind of people involved in chaplaincy then it is becoming clearer why this committee is struggling to adopt new members.

    How do you know that all students have ” complete confidence in chaplaincy. ” How do you know that sudents if shown something different may actually not want your form of Israeli advocacy?
    Maybe there are quite a number of students who don’t see these issues the same way as you do? Maybe there are quite a number who don’t think the tactics used are correct. The problem could be that those who are uncomfortable with the Israeli advocacy position pushed by yourselves won’t get that involved in Jewish student affairs. You have then by your political activity disenfranchised these Jewish students.
    Hopefully, not all Jewish students want to see the world in the way that you do. Hopefully they don’t think that every expression of support for Palestinian rights is an attack on their rights as Jews.
    I recall from my own student days that the debates on twinning were depressing. Neither side listened to the other. Each side was more interested in shouting their own rhetoric. I also recall, many of us who were involved in youth movements,
    Zionist ones no less, opted to step back from the shrill discourse because it was not where we wanted to be. We were uncomfortable with the propaganda that emanated from both sides.
    Could it just be possible that quite a number of Jewish students feel the same kind of thing nowadays and don’t identify with Jewish life because they don’t want involved in this sort of advocacy?

  67. emet said

    Or is it …”No” ?

  68. is anyone else wondering if Campus Watch is really Dr Divinity is really War Crimes is really most of the bloggers? said

    OK – here’s the deal. We’re in constant touch with the Jewish student leaders and they know the situation on the ground – who is involved and who is not interested. They would know if there was a groundswell against the advice Chaplaincy folk are giving them and they would tell us.

    No point in continuing this argument. It’s a waste of effort. You are speculating endlessly without knowing the situation on the ground, but you are assuming that you are better informed about campus affairs than we are.

    This blog is now a complete waste of time and effort, with maybe 4 people in total blogging (sometimes 5). Go and do something useful in the community with your time and make a difference. Otherwise keep your bigotted and patronising opinions to yourself. No one is interested any more in what you think.

    Good night and bye bye blog.

  69. Is this blog past its sell-by date? said

    Anyone fancy discussing the price of fish in Israel?

  70. Help said

    So now the rules are clearer. Chaplaincy give the advice to students about Israel advocacy on campus and they wait to see if there is
    ” a groundswell against the advice chaplaincy folk are giving them ”

    I don’t think I’m better informed than you are about campus affairs. I just happen to think you are doing things under chaplaincy which you should not be doing. You think you are doing all of this to help Jewish students but I think you are wrong.

    With people like you still interfering in student affairs after 35 years it is time you fought your own battles rather than using Jewish students as proxies in your battles to promote Israel.

    No doubt if Leiberman ends up in the Israeli cabinet you will expect Jewish students to excuse that as well and will find some justification.

    Your position has been very enlightening. You have told us exactly what has been going on, and its not right. If you want to indulge in Israel advocacy on campus, do it in your own name, not the way you are doing it. Of course you will justify anything as you cater for the ” physical and emotional wellbeing of Jewish students.”

    And you are quite right to ask about the price of Israeli fish – that could be your specialised subject. You will certainly get more marks for that than you will achieve when under examination for tactics about Israel advocacy.

  71. Bored Out My Brain said

    Dear Help

    You wrote in post number 66

    “How do you know that all students have ” complete confidence in chaplaincy. ” How do you know that sudents if shown something different may actually not want your form of Israeli advocacy?
    Maybe there are quite a number of students who don’t see these issues the same way as you do?”

    How do you know they dont?

    Who decided your view was/is the correct one?

    Who appointed you as moral high commissioner for a)chaplaincy b)the students c)this blog d)this community?

    Do you not think that the students themselves, who are after all clever enough to get to University/College in the 1st place are clever enough to decide where they stand on issues concerning Israel/The Global Economy/Unemployment et al.

    The question is :- Do they neeed your input as well and if so I suggest you get yourself visiting all the campuses in the Northern Region (as a start) and put your views to the relevant J Socs and see what response you get.

    If you cant manage then that will be a real shame – won’t it?

  72. Jewish student said

    I am a Jewish student, studying in Glasgow. I have never been consulted on how my Jewish society responds to criticism of Israel. I am in my 2nd year and I have never been asked whether I am comfortable with the official policy.

  73. Help said

    Well, well NLL. Given that you are in constant touch with Jewish students how do you explain that one rogue element is off message and has slipped through the net? ( see no 72 )
    Perhaps your assistant who obviously has problems and who is no doubt “bored out of his brain ” will be foaming at the mouth at this treachery.

  74. Telegraph Reader said

    Has anyone noticed in the Jewish Telegraph that the Rep Council are holding a meeting to tell us how threats against Jews in the UK
    are being tackled.
    And who has agreed to come up for this?
    Mark Gardner of the CST. Quite remarkable how Mark has suddenly found the confidence to appear on a public platform in Glasgow. Maybe I am cynical but could it be because there will be no one on the top table who might view things differently from him and challenge his perspective?

  75. Bored Out My Brain said

    Help

    How do you know that post number 72 is really a student. For all I know it could you be you!

  76. Unruffled said

    Or annoyed or Community Member or Dr Divinity or Campus Watch or any other vast array of pseudonyms.

    Sorry Help but until people use their real names (incl me) I don’t believe a word of it.

  77. Telegraph Reader said

    Don’t be so rude. We’re not all sad anoraks like you, Mr Chaplain. Why don’t you use the name Charlie.?
    I have moved the discussion on to Mark Gardner as I think Chaplaincy has had enough air time. You are not that important.
    Did anyone hear Gardner on Radio 4 this morning on the Today programme?
    I’m sure Emet didn’t ….he’s still keeping himself informed on topical matters on Talk Sport.

  78. Charity said

    I have an involvement with a Jewish charity within our community. There are many very deserving charities. Perhaps just for today and maybe even tommorrow everyone on the blog could suggest a charity that needs our support and tell us briefly the reasons why.

    The charity that I would urge everyone to support is Jewish Care. They look after those in our community who cannot always look after themselves. They look after those who are vulnerable and need help.

    As I said, lets use this weekend to tell everyone who is reading this blog about deserving charitable causes within the Glasgow Jewish Community.

    Thank you.

  79. Jewish Care Supporter said

    The Kandu club at Jewish Care is a wonderful example of how we should look after those who are in need of special care.

  80. Community Member said

    There are excellent charities providing valuable support for the elderly in this community.
    Whilst a cny community, large or small, is judged on how they look after their old and sick, we need to now look as well as to how we look after the young.

  81. Mensch said

    Whats so abhorrent about Lieberman??

    His stated policy is to cede Israeli sovereign territory to the Palestinian Authority that presently contains solely Arab residents in exchange for Israeli sovereignty over West Bank land that presently contains solely Jewish residents has come in for a fair amount of unjustified criticism.

    Seems like a reasonable comprimise. So why all the fuss by those in UK jewry.

    Much more practical than any of the old Peace Now nonsense we used to if you ask me.

  82. Armchair Analyst said

    Stensch #81,

    If your whole identity is wrapped up in being ‘Jewish’ and you like Moldovan rabblerousers who have a solid following of half and quarter Zhids previously from a totalitarian brainwashed background, then you’ll like Lieberman.

    Nick Griffin and the BNP can also be worshipped right here.

    Then come the great day of Lieberman’s inauguration, Zhidland can soon join shining examples like Saudi Arabia as the most religiously ‘pure’ on the planet.

  83. Observer from London said

    Yesterday’s Observer noted that the Scottish Government is to provide over £400,000 in emergency humanitarian aid to help the people of Gaza.
    Well done Mr Salmond.

  84. Israeli Peacenik said

    Mensch asks whats abhorrent about Lieberman and why all the fuss by UK Jewry.
    He shouldn’t fret too much. Does he think for one second that those in positions of communal influence won’t get over their reservations when Mr Lieberman visits the UK as a Cabinet Minister?
    Even Armchair Analyst has forgotten that until a year or so ago Lieberman was a Minister in the Israeli Government.
    Does UK Jewry care that Lieberman is a ghastly man with shocking values. No they don’t.

  85. Mensch said

    Armchair analyst….. you miss the point unfortunately. It is easy to claim the lieberman is all bad just like you do. Your comments are more likely to provoke interest in your local tabloid but they make no sense.

    The simple question is… Lieberman like Obama and Kadima want a two state solution. He has a pragmatic principle for getting there. So what is the problem?

  86. Armchair Analyst said

    My definition of ‘all bad’ is not Lieberman. He doesn’t say ‘Palestine must be wiped off the face of the earth’. And why should my comments provoke interest in my local tabloid, which, being over thirteen, I never read anyway? They may indeed make no sense to you, but that says more about you than about me, imho.

    Lieberman’s ‘answer’ to achieving a two-state solution is based on removing a sizeable segment of the native population of a supposedly democratic country by force and against the will of that fully qualified voting segment. Compounding the problem is that his core support comes from deeply bigoted and mostly recent artificially imported people who are in no way Westernised. If he was to achieve his goals, democracy would end and infighting for control of what’s left would ensue between the secular totalitarians and the fanatical fundamentalists. A pox on both these houses.

    To #84, we know that all sorts of rabblerousers and comic singers often get a ‘cabinet post’ in successive Israeli governments for the sole purpose of shoring up shaky coalitions. So being a former ‘Minister in the Israeli Government’ aint quite so grand as it sounds.

  87. Mensch said

    So Armchair Analyst… you continue to make no sense to anyone other than yourself. If you read the latest list of demands he has placed on Livni and Netanyahu then tell me what seems to be unreasonable amongst them….

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/129976

    Its time you dealt with the facts. Spouting about the end of democracy is all nonsense not worthy of comment

  88. Israeli Peacenik said

    Am I correct in assuming Mensch that you are untroubled by Lieberman’s demand
    ” that citizenship is dependent on loyalty to the country” ?
    Does this ring any bells that it may be a play on words to discriminate against Arabs?

  89. Armchair Analyst said

    #87,

    I agree that his other demands as shown in the list published in the Arutz Sheva mouthpiece for the Greater Israel nationalists seem to be mostly in line with what Kadima might do if it had the guts.

    Would you Mensch swear loyalty to the UK if its official policy was the forced removal of religious or ethnic minorities, or people who simply don’t ‘fit’ from the country?

    And do you really intend to stick to the fiction that Israel would remain a ‘democracy’ in any shape or form once Lieberman’s ethnic cleansing had been carried out?

  90. Guardian Reader said

    Sorry to intrude but just in case anyone is interested have a look at this article by Antony Lerman on the Guardian – Comment is Free section.
    Its not only the Secretary of State for Scotland that seems to require perspective on this issue..what about our own community?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/13/israelandthepalestinians

  91. Mensch said

    AA, people looking to become new citizens to the UK have to swear an oath of allegience. So that is no big deal to me. Forced removal is not something I would advocate but a land swap with safeguards for those that wanted to remain under Israeli citizenship may not be so outrageous.

    I still don’t see how this necessarily changes the democracy per sais

  92. Armchair Analyst said

    So Mensch, you say ‘forced removal is not something I’d advocate’.

    So, if Giffnock and the Mearns go to Israel, who by the way didn’t ask for them, in a ‘land swap’ because the future elected UK government won on this precise platform, that’s all right then?

  93. Mensch said

    AA, Should that be the case… I will buy a house in Whitecraigs. You think I want to live in a country that has Lieberman in the cabinet??? LOL

  94. Someone New said

    Does LOL stand for Lots of Love or your initials?

  95. Armchair Analyst said

    Neither, SN. It stands for Lingams Orbiting Lieberman

  96. Someone Else said

    Are you pissed Armchair Analyst?

  97. Armchair Analyst said

    No SE, sober as a judge

  98. Someone Else said

    Most officers of courts that I have come across – I will say no more – have been known to enjoy the pleasures of alcohol – some of them more than others.
    Is it possible Armchair Analyst that you could be pissed? If you are sober then will you qualify what you were thinking about when you wrote “Lingams Orbiting Lieberman”

  99. Armchair Analyst said

    I’d be a bit of a Yoni if I did that son.

  100. Community Member said

    I have posted below a link to today’s Haaretz editorial which is emphatic in the dangers posed to Israel by allowing a confirmed supporter of Kahane to join the incoming Israeli Government.

    This subject is very relevant to our own community as well. On the 8th March Scojec are holding a question time with a well known Scottish broadcaster to highlight their pilgrimage to Israel last summer. I’m sure regular readers of this blog will remember the debate that took place here concerning the disgraceful decision by the organisers of this pilgrimage to grant an audience to another Kahane supporter – spokesperson for the extreme Hebron settlers, David Wilder.

    Haaretz have expressed the dangers of tolerating racists. It is probably too much to ask that the Director and Officers of Scojec will apologise to our community for their lack of judgement in thinking their meeting with a follower of Kahane was in any way appropriate.

    It wasn’t appropriate then and it is not any more appropriate now. 8th March should be an interesting afternoon.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1065369.html

  101. Pilgrim said

    I would be grateful if someone could tell me why it was controversial to visit Mr Wilder in Hebron.
    Thank you.

  102. Involved said

    Presumably because one should not give racists a platform, and Scojec did this and have subsequently not apologised.

  103. anrmchair analyst said

    The Scottish Government should never have underwritten any of the cost of this ‘pilgrimage’ of wallnodders, crossmumblers and meteorite daveners in the first place.

  104. Another Member of this Community said

    I think this might be helpful for those that have just joined the blog and weren’t involved the last time this was discussed…..
    Concerned Citizen wrote on July 9th
    (no 205)

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

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

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

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

    If you want to read about this again,
    go to the home page of the blog – go to the section on Alex Salmond and from comment 200 approx you can see it all again.

  105. Curious said

    Do you think Leslie Riddoch knows about the visit to Wilder?
    I think she should be told.
    http://www.lesleyriddoch.com

  106. Jewish Telegraph Reader said

    In Friday’s paper there is an article about this.
    If you want to ask a question you have to email Fiona
    fiona@scojec.com
    Doesn’t say whether they need to know what your actual question will be.
    I thought the BBC had to watch what they were doing nowadays with public broadcasts. I hope they are on top of all of this.

  107. Someone Else said

    If Scojec have been entrused by the BBC to censor questions about the pilgrimage maybe the Director General of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, Ephraim Borowski, will become an advisor to the Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, and will be able to enlighten him about how to close down discussion that is unwanted and to appoint pliable cronies to positions within your own organisation to ensure that you are never challenged.
    Thompson will do well to listen because Borowski has years of experience.
    My guess is that because no one of any independence has ever been allowed to influence Scojec that is why no one had the foresight to see another Borowski cock up in the making.
    What do others think?

  108. Confused said

    What’s this all about? Borowski and cock ups? I don’t get it.

  109. Amused said

    Has it occurred to the greater public and GJEF that the meeting with Lesley Riddoch has deliberately (?) been planned to coincide with GJEF bringing Charles Kennedy to speak to the community at Calderwood Lodge even though it has been in the communal diary for months and been highly publicised.

    I am thinking that not only will the numbers at both events suffer in an already small community but also that searching questions might not be asked of the Scojec backed pilgrimage and its choice of venues and people visited because the enlightened will be at the Charles Kennedy lecture.

    Comments?

  110. Armchair Analyst said

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Amused.

    Has anyone yet informed Leslie Riddoch in writing of the alleged behind-the-scenes manipulative date-conflicting politics designed to stifle communal public debate that is in play here, on a matter that can severely embarrass both Scojec and the Scottish ‘Communities Minister’?

  111. Not surprised said

    I don’t think Scojec would have deliberately planned their meeting on the same day as Charles Kennedy was talking to our community. But they just don’t think and they could not care less what events they clash with. The joke is that Scojec tell us that they exist to serve the community.
    Now ask yourself a question. If you could only go to 1 event which would you choose? Would you rather hear Borowski and his pilgrims or would you rather have the opportunity to listen to Charles Kennedy.
    I know which one I will choose. Mr Kennedy wins by a country mile.

  112. Community Member said

    Don’t worry amused – searching questions will be asked about this pilgrimage.
    If the intention was to avoid proper scrutiny it will not work.

  113. Help said

    I broke a promise that I had made to myself a few years ago, and last night attended a Representative Council Meeting even though I promised that I would not suffer this again.
    In fairness to the current President, Philip Mendelson, the old habit of allowing guest speakers to wait whilst the council talked forever about their own business was dispensed with. He chaired the meeting competently.
    Apart from Mark Gardner of the CST the two other guest speakers were two police officers – one with responsibilities in East Renfrewshire and the other in counter terrorism.
    There was a marked difference in tone between Gardner and the other two. Mark Gardner described his organisation as the dustmen of the Jewish community and whilst he acknowledged that positive things do happen in the community he claimed it was his responsibility to deal with the trash. His talk was a summary of the highlights of anti-semitic incidents that have happened in the UK in recent months and of course it was pretty unpleasant stuff. Whilst acknowledging that the situation in Scotland wasn’t the same as elsewhere he suggested that Glasgow got its fair proportion of attacks in line with the percentage of Jewish population that lives here.
    The East Renfreshire Police Officer was much more positive and gave a factual account explaining levels of crime. There is no doubt that the police take anti-semitism very seriously and they pointed out that reported incidents are extremely low. They appealed to those who have suffered to report the incident.
    It seems astonishing that there is a well known local Rabbi who will not report incidents when he has been personally abused. Why not?
    The counter terrorism police officer gave a balanced presentation and did not over state his case.
    The questions that followed indicated the difference between the approach of the police and the CST. Mr Gardner, in my opinion, again exaggerated the situation but of course we have discussed before that the CST has a vested interest in telling everyone how bleak the situation is at present. His appeal for manpower etc to join up demonstated this.
    I came away thinking that the police analysis is much closer to the reality of the situation than that of the CST.

    Before the meeting concluded Eddie Isaacs spoke about the reorganisation of the Council – again they are reorganising – and he announced that two ex Council Presidents had been brought on to assist the Management Committee – Stephen Kliner and Walter Sneader. Two delegates were elected to reprecent the Council at the Board of Deputies – Eddie Isaacs and Paul Edlin (remember him )
    Isn’t it odd that a council trying to renew its appeal and invent a modern image thinks that the way forward is to bring back ex Presidents.?
    The same guys cling on to power and influence thinking that they have something to offer. The sad reality is that they actually believe that they are the future. The absense of anyone under 45 (with the exception of the Treasurer of the Council) would indicate that they are the past not even the present, never mind the future.

  114. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,
    Its good to be back on the blog. Since I last posted Barak Obama was elected to be President of the United States. His election sent out a message of hope to the world that we can change things for the better and each and every one of us must pray and hope that he succeeds in turning round the American economy, which will help bring prosperity elsewhere. With the election of President Obama we will hopefully see a reduction in some of the worst tensions around the world – between Islam and the West. This man has such a massive responsibility resting on his shoulders that from a personal point of view I hope that G-d brings to him much wisdom and good fortune because chaverim he will need every bit he can get hold of.
    Now I know that many of you reading this will no doubt question my statement that President Obama’s success depends on G-d. For me this is a personal belief that G-d does influence what happens around us. I am not naïve and I recognise that not all of you will share this view. It reminds me of that philosophical question that asks whether right is right because G-d commands it or does G-d command what is right because it is right. Essentially, we are asking whether right and wrong are independent of G-d. We can return to this subject in weeks to come but there is a question that I would like to discuss this week.
    What does it mean to each and every one of us to be Jewish? Do some of us identify with our community because we believe in G-d? Do some of us identify with other Jews because of our love for Israel? Do some of us identify because we feel we are part of a social community and we share a common culture, heritage, history and so forth? Do some of us identify just because we were born Jewish and remain proud to continue our traditions? Do some of us identify because we believe that the Jewish people share important values in the world today? Do some of us identify because we enjoy being part of a community that shares something special?
    Whatever does it for you, try and step up your commitment to Judaism or the Jewish people. Without commitment – and I do not think that some are more important than others – we will lose something. If your commitment is helping a Jewish charity, or running a Jewish youth club, or being active in J Soc, or in attending a Jewish Book Club, or attending synagogue, or going to Israel on holiday,or something that I have not thought of , all I suggest is that you try and do a little extra – and we as a community, as a people will benefit.
    Have a wonderful and peaceful Shabbat and I will hopefully be back next week with some more rambling thoughts.
    Shabbat Shalom

  115. Telegraph Reader said

    Sharon Mail wrote the Jewish Telegraph article about the Rep Council meeting the other night and she should be congratulated.
    Most of the space was given to what the police told us and about 3 lines only to Mark Gardner of the CST. Sharon got it bang on.

  116. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    I am curious as to Rabbi L’s use of G-d for God. I can think of many names for God which we designate by the use of capital first letter but we don’t hyphenate, eg Almighty, so why G-d?

  117. Armchair Analyst said

    I was thinking the same thing concerning common literary usage of the word Fink. The double asterisk does not appear to be in widespread use elsewhere, as in ‘Who do think you are, you little F**k?

  118. Does it matter said

    Who cares whether God is spelt GOD or G-d or Almighty or Our Father or whatever?
    Is it not a delusion?

  119. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    When an orthodox Rabbi takes a word of Teutonic or maybe even Sanskrit origin, possibly even of pagan derivation and gives it mystical powers, then I am curious as to the logic behind it.If Rabbi L or someone else is able to answer my question then I have many more for the interesting but confused gentleman of the cloth.
    A delusion it may be, but it is a widely held delusion that impinges directly or indirectly on all our lives.

  120. Does it matter said

    Everyone and anybody knows why Rabbi L didn’t spell God the way you and I would but instead replaced the middle O with -.
    I understand that he believed that it was a mark of respect. Knock it by all means Nachman but if we won’t say the word Hashem in vein or the word Jehovah then what is the big deal about missing an O out of God? Why does it trouble you?

  121. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    Why does it trouble me? It doesn’t. Why do you have to be confrontational over an issue of discussion? Only rabbi L can tell us what he believes. Are you saying that’s what you believe? Nothing to do with respect. There is a concept in Judaism that a name is not just letters but contains the essence and nature of that designated. I was asking Rabbi L why he considered a word of pagan origin should be so regarded .

  122. Does it matter said

    Confrontational, I think not? Can we not just enjoy what Rabbi L writes without picking him up for every vowel included or ommitted?
    No, I don’t really believe at all. I’m with Christopher Hitchens actually –
    ” We do not hold our convictions dogmatically. We believe with certainty that an ethical life can be lived without religion. And we know for a fact that the corollary holds true – that religion has caused innumerable people not just to conduct themselves no better than others, but to award themselves permission to behave in ways that would make a brothel-keeper or an ethnic cleanser raise an eyebrow”

    Would you agree with this?

    If your interpretation of Judaism is that words mean more more than just letters, then why do so many religious scholars put so much emphasis on the meaning of different letters, numbers etc in the Torah?

  123. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    I regret you don’t understand one word I said. You’re like an actor who is brilliant on stage repeating the lines of other people but lacking in any personal input. Sorry for coming back in and disturbing your peace.

  124. Does it Matter said

    The name I chose to use when debating this subject with you dear Nachman is more than adequate. Does it matter? I think not. As I have said if Rabbi L wishes to spell God like he has or if he wishes to change it because of your persuasive powers then that’s up to him, but until he either ignores or comments we’ll just need to wait and see.
    You asked me what I believed and I told you, I’m with Hitchins. What do you belive Nachman? Are you God fearing or
    G-d fearing or are you like me a non believer?

  125. Rabbi L said

    Shalom Chaverim,

    I hope you have all had a good week and as Shabbat approaches are looking forward to the day of rest.

    I have followed the debate on the blog and will say this.

    There is no prohibition in Jewish law from writing “God” in any language other than Hebrew. In fact, there is an often repeated story about Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, z”l, one of the foremost authorities of Modern Orthodoxy, who intentionally would write and erase the word “God” (in English) on the blackboard in front of his students at Yeshiva University in order to emphasize the fact this is not prohibited by Jewish law.
    However, it would be inappropriate and opposed to Jewish values to correct or shame a person for keeping this practice if it is done out of respect and reverence for G-d. That is why I spell it the way that I do and I was taught to do so from early childhood.

    I am sure that many of you will have followed the news this week that saw the winners of University Challenge – Corpus Christi stripped of their champions title when it emerged that one of their team was no longer a student when the final was filmed. Now it seems to me that the BBC has been over cautious and has invoked the letter of the law over what appears to be little more than an administrative error.

    Surely, it is not beyond the organisers to make the rules clearer? Why would it be difficult to state clearly that those taking part must be students when the team enters? It is obvious that some students may move on and will have graduated or accepted employment months after the early rounds.

    Nevertheless it does make me think that in the modern age all our actions are open to scrutiny and nothing is hidden from public view.

    As some of you will have heard from me before I think that standards of behaviour from anyone in the Jewish community who holds any kind of public office require to be whiter than white.
    All too often I hear that when someone in our community has behaved badly excuses are found. People that are cheats and who are dishonest in their secular way of life are not good Jews. I don’t accept that because someone prays 3 times a day that makes what they get up to during the other 22 hours or so acceptable. It doesn’t.

    I also don’t accept that the argument that if we are good to our fellow Jews then it is tolerable to behave badly to those that are not Jewish. It isn’t.

    Those that are in positions of leadership in our community must behave properly. It does not matter whether we are speaking of student leaders, treasurers, Presidents or chair people the obligation should be that we only should have leaders who behave well and know how to behave well.

    Knowing how to behave is applicable outside the Shul as well as inside it.

    Hopefully some of you might find some comfort or relaxation from going to Shul this Shabbat. If it is not your
    “thing” then try and do something that makes Shabbat something special and different from the rest of the week.

    Take care and Shabbat Shalom.

  126. Glasgow Shul Goer said

    Thanks Rabbi L. Why can’t we hear this kind of stuff in our own Shuls on Shabbat? If we could there would be more people there.

  127. Another Shul Goer said

    I came on to the blog this evening hoping to read Rabbi L. This guy is good.
    I have googled Rabbi Soloveitchik and I am happy to see that Rabbi L obviously knows what he is talking about. My friend asked me last week how did I know if this Rabbi was the real thing. Instinct was my reply.

    Joseph Ber (Yosef Dov, Yoshe Ber) Soloveitchik (Hebrew: יוסף דב הלוי סולובייצ’יק‎) w (1903-1993) was an American Orthodox rabbi, Talmudist and modern Jewish philosopher. He was a descendant of the Lithuanian Jewish Soloveitchik rabbinic dynasty.

    As Rosh Yeshiva of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University in New York City, The Rav, as he came to be known (his illustrious uncle Rabbi Yitzchok Zev Soloveitchik, the Brisker Rov, was universally known as “The Rov”), ordained close to 2,000 rabbis over the course of almost half a century. He advocated a synthesis between Torah scholarship and Western, secular scholarship as well as positive involvement with the broader community.

    He served as an advisor, guide, mentor, and role-model for tens of thousands of Jews, both as a Talmudic scholar and as a religious leader. He is regarded as a seminal figure by Modern Orthodox Judaism.

  128. Orthodox Jew said

    Rabbi L is as much an Orthodox Rabbi as
    Mickey Mouse. This guy is much more likely to be a Reform Rabbi – mixed up and do it yourself Judaism.
    I will bet that no one can think of any Orthodox Rabbi anywhere that thinks like Rabbi L. Actually, I can’t think of one Orthodox Jew who thinks like him.

  129. Armchair Analyst said

    I don’t know Rabbi L. from a bar of soap, and I’m certainly not Orthodox. But whilst apparently positions himself to us liquorice allsorts bloggers as being under the Orthodox umbrella, he certainly doesn’t identify with the mainstream blackhat mindset, and that is rather refreshing.

    So, if his ritual practices are strictly Orthodox and he attends Orthodox services, then I’d call him Orthodox. Can you both be Orthodox and not completely under some form of straitjacket mind control, I ask myself? Why in Jesus’s name not?

  130. Joe Soap said

    No relation to Armchair Analys’s bar of soap.
    I received two emails in the last couple of days. One from GJEF telling me there are still tickets for Charles Kennedy and the other from Scojec inviting me to participate in a Radio Scotland programme about the pilgrimage last summer.
    I have given this careful thought for at least 10 seconds and as they say in the States it is a no brainer. Like most people I am only up for one communal event tomorrow.
    Would I prefer to listen to Ephraim Borowski telling me what a wonderful guy he is fot taking people on a holiday to Israel or would I prefer to have an opportunity to listen to someone who has something worthwhile to contribute to political discussion in the UK and beyond.
    I know where I’m going and Im sure you do to.
    Put it another way – is listening to Charles Kennedy MP a more enjoyable way of spending a Sunday than listening to Ephraim Borowski?

  131. Tom Sponge said

    Oh I’m not so sure. 2 hours of listening to Ephraim Borowski talking about his pilgrims would put me into a deep sleep. What could be better than that?

  132. Community Member said

    Brilliant article bt Tony Lerman in today’s Independent newspaper. His analysis is well argued and very convincing.
    I suggest that we can all learn something by reading this especially given recent debates on the blog – the Chaplaincy Board!

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/must-jews-always-see-themselves-as-victims-1639277.html

  133. Sunday Herald Reader said

    From today’s Sunday Herald…..

    http://www.sundayherald.com/oped/opinion/display.var.2494059.0.protesting_against_israel_doesnt_make_you_racist.php

  134. Crikey said

    The chaplaincy committee will have so much reading to do today with all these articles that they won’t have time to do anything else.

  135. Armchair Analyst said

    I’ve just read the Herald article. There’s no harm in lawful protest in pursuit of what one perceives as a just cause.

    Criticism of Israel can certainly be separated from anti-Semitism depending on the context. The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign actually has a small number of Jewish members and fellow-travellers.

    But where are these voices in support of the underdog when it comes to mass slaughter, rape, torching and plunder when these atrocities are perpetrated by Arabs backed by Muslims in Darfur? When people are thrown off roofs in Gaza? When people are blown up by the dozens at Iraqi bus stops? When Bah’ai are massacred in Iranian cities?

    If you’re a Palestinian protestor I understand you being focused on the legitimate Palestinian struggle. If you’re not, I ask myself why you have personally decided to be a one trick pony, so totally anal about Gaza while ignoring everything else going on in that part of the world?

  136. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    I’m not quite sure what to make of last night’s meeting with Charles Kennedy. But for the Chairman holding his nerve when the speaker sat down after 10 minutes the meeting would have been a disaster. However, one must grudgingly admire the speaker for his honesty. Not for him the ruse of answering at length questions that were never asked. Not for him the ploy of showing interest in the subject at hand. Mr Kennedy proved expert at dealing with a wide and diverse selection of difficult questions by saying….nothing. Given that for a brief period he was a very successful politician he has confirmed what we all suspected, most politicians know nothing.

  137. Liberal said

    I think Mr Aaronovitch is being unfair. Charles Kennedy drove up from Harrogate on Sunday afternoon on route to Fort William. He stopped off in Glasgow to fulfil a commitment to speak for GJEF to the Jewish Community. Is a politician not allowed to be tired?

  138. Community Member said

    We hear so much from the CST about how they endeavour to protect our community. I know for a fact that they were notified about Sunday’s meeting with Charles Kennedy. I know for a fact that they didn’t turn up. They also did not cover the GJEF meeting with Alex Salmond.
    Are the CST just incompetent or do they choose which events to cover in accordance with their political leanings? They will probably come up with the usual excuses but it seems to me that there is something not right here.

  139. Nachman Aaronovitch. said

    In reply to #137, no. That’s the prerogative of ex-politicians and one of the stepping stones on the journey to retirement. He has no more right to display tiredness on duty than a surgeon or an airline pilot. Most run of the mill politicians would have been able to handle a meeting like that in their sleep, and often do. This one couldn’t.

  140. emet said

    He was not up to scratch.He nearly ruined the evening-he did the liberals no good at all.
    The local provost himself a liberal must have been fuming.

  141. Liberal said

    Emet, you obviously were not at the same meeting as me, or for that matter Sharon Mail of the Jewish Telegraph.
    Those that claimed that Charles Kennedy had nothing to say are missing something.
    As Sharon wrote in today’s paper, Kennedy said that Israel must speak to Hamas because you have to speak to your enemies. He also told the meeting that he had sacked a front bench colleague for saying it was OK to be a suicide bomber. He also told the meeting that he was a candid friend of Israel and that this kind of friend is better than one that only tells you what you want to hear.
    That’s not bad for one lecture Emet is it?
    Were you there or are you just having a go at Charles for the sake of it?

  142. Onlooker said

    Whether Kennedy was good or whether he wasn’t so good, he achieved a notable accomplishment to the benefit of our community.
    He relegated the report on the question time concerning Ephraim Borowski’s holiday last summer, with some pilgrimage pals, to an insignificant inside page slot in the Jewish Telegraph.
    Well done Charlie Boy, and thank you.

  143. Admin said

    Comments are now closed. Please see the latest essay on the main page, in which Antony Lerman considers the question of Jewish victimhood.

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