Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

GJEF And UJIA To Work Together On An Educational Programme

Posted by Admin on May 12, 2009

Fergus Ewing 2On Monday 31st August, between 7.30 and 9.30pm, at Eastwood Park Theatre in Giffnock, Glasgow, GJEF in partnership with UJIA Community Programmes will present a unique and very special educational programme for the youth of the Glasgow Jewish community.

The Scottish Government Minister for Community Safety, Fergus Ewing MSP, will attend an interactive workshop that will allow 60 to 80 young people, aged 14 and over, to look at the different aspects of racism, bigotry, sectarianism and stereotyping that they experience in their day to day lives. Mr Ewing will observe the workshop and take part in a facilitated question and answer session with the young participants. This is a unique opportunity for young members of the Jewish community to share their experiences with a Scottish Government Minister and look at how we build safer and stronger communities for all of the people of Scotland.

By putting issues like antisemitism into a wider context, the participants will gain a better understanding of how racism and stereotyping cuts across community boundaries and impacts on the lives of many individuals in Scotland. They will also see how an appreciation of the difference between particular cultures and religions, and the problems each encounters, helps to breakdown barriers and encourage dialogue between different communities.

Mr Ewing said:

“Scotland is a modern multi-faith and multi-cultural society where all of our young people must be allowed to fulfil their potential without the fear of prejudice or discrimination. Our individual backgrounds help to make Scotland a vibrant and exciting place to live and we should embrace and celebrate that diversity as united communities who will not allow prejudice to hold us back from being the nation we aspire to be.

“I am looking forward to this unusual event and to learning about the experiences of young Jewish people in Scotland first hand.”

The workshop and discussion will be run by JCORE, the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, which was established in 1976 to combat racism and promote social justice. JCORE work with the Jewish and wider community to promote a positive multi-ethnic society. They are highly experienced in running workshops for schools, youth and community groups. Parents and the wider Jewish Community will be invited to observe the dialogue and, if time allows, there will be an opportunity for the wider audience to ask the Minister questions.

339 Responses to “GJEF And UJIA To Work Together On An Educational Programme”

  1. Borowski's beard said

    The new event looks very interesting. Was just wondering if or how any of the Youth Movements are going to be involved?

  2. UJIA Donor said

    Congratulations to UJIA and GJEF for working together on this. This is a brilliant example to our community – two different organisations with their own remit, coming together for the best interests of the youth living in Glasgow.
    As I understand it every youth organisation in the city will be involved. UJIA are very involved with the youth so they will I’m sure make sure that all organisationse represented.
    Well done.

  3. Impressed said

    I have just been told about this event and I am impressed.
    The Scottish Government are again talking to our community and it would appear that GJEF have brought this about again.
    I’m delighted UJIA are involved – its cross communal and I hope both organisations are applauded for this initiative.
    I also think that the Scottish Government deserve great credit for being prepared to send a Minister to listen and talk to our kids.

  4. Maybe I am missing something said

    GJEF have received a lot of criticism from certain sections of our community. Sometimes they deserved this, other times I don’t believe it was justified.
    I have heard from those involved with the Representative Council and the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities that the work that these organisations do is so vital to our best interests.
    I now think I am missing something. I received an email from GJEF last week informing me that the Secretary of State for Scotland, our local MP Jim Murphy, had requested that GJEF inform their mailing last that Peter Mandelson was speaking in Giffnock. I have now seen the news item about a Scottish Government Minister, Fergus Ewing MSP, and again this involves GJEF.
    It seems obvious that GJEF have influence and are in touch with both Scottish and UK Governments. Many will not like it but the community is obviously going to benefit if a Government Minister in Scotland is going to spend an evening with our children. As far as I can gather this event has nothing at all to do with either the Representative Council or the Scottish Council.
    The Representative Council and the Scottish Council claim to be our representatives with Government. We do not appear to need representatives when we have organisations like GJEF and UJIA who seem perfectly competent at liasing with Government themselves.
    Has the mould finally been cracked?

  5. Rep Council Member said

    Events such as these should ONLY be organised by the Rep Council or Scojec and no one else. We represent the community, not UJIA or GJEF.

  6. Rep Council Member said

    I should add – Did anyone in GJEF or UJIA ask permission from the Council President or Scojec’s Chairman to arrange this?

  7. Community Member said

    Why would organisations need permission Rep Council Member? Why was such an event not organised previously by the organisations that you think should organise such activities?

  8. Pondering said

    Green cheese Rep Concil Member?

  9. Rep Council Member said

    Certainly not Pondering. I think UJIA and GJEF ought to recognise that those elected to executive positions within the Rep Council and Scojec, are elected because their colleagues believe they have the judgement to make good decisions on behalf of this community. That judgement comes by and large through wide experience. Why would anyone in GJEF or UJIA be so presumptuous as to think they have the ability to handle members of the Scottish Government at a high profile event with all the ramifications involved?

  10. Pondering said

    Why would the rep council?

  11. Mearnsmouth said

    I can’t believe the attitude of Rep Council Member. Is this a wind up? Surely no one needs ‘permission’ to arrange an activity that would bring all members of our community to come together and share ideas and meet others outside our community who have a genuine interest in us. Should I ask the rep council if it’s OK to go to Shul this shabbat? Can I choose any shul? Oh dear..what are we coming to if we need permission to organise events in our community?
    Keep up the good work GJEF and UJIA. Amen.

  12. Armchair Analyst said

    Gotta be a wind-up!

  13. not quite so sure myself said

    Rep Council member is obviously a spoof, created to make GJEF look good – but I find this a bit insulting and patronising.

  14. Adam Berkley said

    I am chair of UJIA Community Programmes in Glasgow.
    I do not normally read GJEF blogs, as I regard anonymous posting as cowardly and pointless. When my attention has been drawn to any particular post, I have usually found it to be ill informed.

    With regard to the forthcoming meeting with Fergus Ewing, I was approached by Tony Tankel who told me that GJEF had been contacted by Mr Ewing’s Communities Ministry to arrange a meeting with the youth of our community. Tony regarded UJIA Community Programmes as the lead organisation in our community dealing with our youth and asked us to help to arrange it.

    We are happy to be involved in a most impressive workshop being organised for this event by JCore (Jewish Council for Racial Equality – We are simply liaising with the youth, & would equally have done so if asked by the Rep Council or Scojec.

    GJEF have no right to claim that this event gives them superiority over any other organisation in our community, if that is indeed what they are doing. I received an explicit undertaking to this effect from Tony Tankel.

    Equally, the jealousy & sour grapes from ‘Rep Council Member’ (who knows if he is indeed able to speak for the Rep Council – see my opening comments) do the Council no credit.

    UJIA is a cross communal, non political organisation. We hope to act in good faith in the best interests of the community. No one has the right to use this for their own petty ends.

    Come along to help make this event successful and one that makes us proud of our community and of our youth.

  15. David Barnett said

    I have not been on the blog for a long time but I feel I have to come on tonight and praise the excellent words of Adam Berkley who is spot on with his point above.

    Well done Adam but also well done UJIA, J Core and GJEF for organising what should be an interesting and exciting event between the youth and a representative of the Scottish Government.

    Looking forward to it already.

  16. Pondering said

    “GJEF have no right to claim that this event gives them superiority”

    Where’s that come from or am I missing something?

  17. Community Member said

    What do people think about the following photograps referring to the Pope’s visit to Israel?

  18. Voice of the Future said

    Hopefully, no one on the blog will claim that this photograph is antisemitic.

  19. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Interesting post from Adam Berkely; both he and Tony Tankel should be congratulated and supported in their forward looking and exciting venture on behalf of the Community.
    However, I trust he does not think it churlish of me to question his taking the opportunity to condemn the use of pseudonyms as cowardly. There is much on the blog that is indeed cowardly, but no more or less cowardly that much that passes unquestioned behind the closed doors of committees. Similarly, in both cases, there is much that is good.
    For my own part, Nachman Aaronovitch is my blog persona just as Community Member and A Beitz among others, are recognisable immediately to those who regularly follow the blog.
    Maybe you would be happier if I chose the name I use in the community. But that’s not my real name. I woke up one morning many years ago to find my parents had changed my name and in a way my persona. So maybe I should use my real name, the one I was born with. Just one small problem, when my grandfather’s grandfather entered the UK as an immigrant, the family name on the passport was anglicised at customs, so maybe I should use the original name on the passport. Well no, because the passport was nicked (better than 25 years in the Tsar’s army) and the family name is really Perleman or Pearlman or some say Perle. So you choose, Adam, which name would make me more or less cowardly, maybe Hershie Perleman, it has a bit of a ring to it.

  20. Armchair Analyst said

    I just looked at CM’s link to the Guardian cartoon. The unholy wall doesn’t make much sense at all. But it still makes more sense than the other one!

  21. Adam Berkley said

    I vowed not to post again, but since Nachman raises the issue that most deters me from even reading the blog, let me do so one last time.
    I received an email from Tony Tankel in response to my post last night. He asked if it was indeed I who had posted. This surely highlights the main problem. Anyone can post anything they like without responsibility, potentially causing trouble, dissent and insult. If you have something to say, that is good, but have the courage to say it in your own name.
    Most of us are not known by our family’s original name. However, the name by which your family, friends & the taxman know you will be fine, Nachman. The fact that the few regulars know who is who is irrelevant.
    Finally, if I speak in a committee meeting, everyone there knows who is speaking, and minutes are taken. There is no comparison to be made with anonymous blogging.

  22. First Time On Here. said

    Just like Adam Berkley, I have not posted before either. I look fairly often but until now have not put my thoughts down in print. Sometimes I like what I have read, sometimes I’m not that happy.
    I’m not bothered whether the comments are anonymous because I realise that the convention is often to have anonymity. I am more concerned with the actual content.
    I found out about the joint event between UJIA and GJEF by reading this blog. I think that meetings such as this one that educate our youth are valuable and necessary.
    To get a Government Minister to spend an evening with our youth at this event is something really special and is a major accomplishment. These ministerial visits do not happen by accident and Mr Ewing’s team must see value in this event, and they must trust GJEF.
    My advice to Adam is don’t be apologetic that you are part of this with GJEF.
    Instead be proud that UJIA are associated with it.

  23. Borowski's beard said

    A little bit besides the point but this video made me smile. Nice to Gorgeous George being able to take it as well as he gives it!

  24. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    That’s the problem Adam, like you I keep promising myself a future free of blogging. Usually, I last a few days; then, I notice comments or statements that are irresistible. You, however, lasted less than twelve hours! But look on the positive side of things. In those two short posts you have had your words and thoughts read and picked over in more detail and by more people than a lifetime of chairing committees. I am certain there are many out there cheering you on to give that Nachman and others like him a bloody nose. It’s a great pity, because were more like you to use the blog then its character would surely evolve.
    As for Minutes, these reflect only decisions and changes. Anything else that has been said behind closed doors can be changed, denied or forgotten but cannot be challenged. I might not know the identity of who is being rude to me on the blog, but at least I can deal with it, not so should it be done behind my back in other places. So you tell me, which is more democratic. Anything I may have posted is on record whether it be yesterday, last week or whenever. On reflection, there are some statements I regret, there are some arguments that are downright wrong but also there is much I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to get off my chest.
    As for using the name by which the taxman knows me, well again, that’s another one you would be unlikely to recognise. Before anyone out there drops a line to HMRC, they are perfectly at ease with the situation. So meantime, I’ll stick with Nachman, the name known not just to a few regulars, but to you and anyone out there with more than a passing interest.

  25. Community Member said

    Glancing at the front page of today’s Jewish Telegraph is again a warning that
    this Jewish newspaper and others should stop obsessing with the Holocaust and pondering over every word of Pope.
    There are more important issues to discuss.
    Netanyahu is off to Washington to meet Obama and this daming indictment from Yoel Marcus in today’s Haaretz is worth our attention.
    Describing Netanyahu he writes..”he is still not to be trusted. There is no connection between what he says today and what he will say or do tomorrow or the next day. Netanyahu’s thinking goes as far as the noontime news broadcast and his long-range planning goes as far as the evening news bulletin.”

    I don’t agree with much of his analysis – for example his dismissal of the King of Jordan’s comments and his optimism that the Israeli Labour Party might have a future, but it is an interesting article to read.

  26. Giffnock Shul Member said

    Today, I received as I am sure other members of Giffnock Shul did, an email from Rabbi Rubin urging us to help make up a Minyan.
    Our Friday night dinner table has been very lively this evening as we discussed Rabbi Rubin’s request.
    I think Rabbi Rubin is a good guy but I don’t agree with him when he asks us to ” respect” the decision of the Kollel to hold their own services.
    The Kollel can do what they want. Why though Rabbi Rubin should we respect them for their decision to move away and accordingly endanger the Giffnock Minyan? Have Giffnock not given them hospitality and provided them with facilities over the years? Will Giffnock still provide them with a room to hide away in a little corner pretending that they are holier than anyone else?
    I always thought that one of the principles of Judaism was to keep a community alive. The Kollel are not that daft, they know the consequences of their actions. If they do not care about others having a minyan why should we respect their decision? What values or benefits do they bring to our community that deserve our respect?
    Rabb Rubin, a Minyan matters to you. I know that. Why should I respect people who could in all probability deny your Shul that mitzvah? If they are here they have an obligation to be part of this community or why should they be supported by anyone in the community in return?
    Personally, it is not a big deal to me if there is a daily minyan or not. That is not important.
    Can anyone out there tell me why we should respect the Kollel and while you are at it perhaps you could explain any benefits they bring to our community?

  27. Community Member said

    If you are at all interested in thinking about the future of Jewish communities in Europe, or even just in Glasgow the following article from today’s Guardian is worth looking at.

    What vision of the Jewish Community in Europe will allow it to flourish – is it independent and creative, or an embattled outpost of Israel?

  28. Kollel Katie said

    And the big question tonight – will Moshe Rubin do an Adam Berkley and come on the blog and explain his position?

  29. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I’m not convinced that there is any good reason why Rabbi Rubin should be expected to open up to the greater Community what is an internal problem for the members of the Giffnock and Newlands Congregation. He is reacting to a situation not of his making; in so doing he has e-mailed his congregants, spoken with clarity to the Shabbat attendees and has arranged that all members will receive a letter explaining the position and the recommended solution.
    If anyone should be expected to address a wider audience then surely it is the Rosh Hakollel who has actively brought about the separation of minyanim. One may wonder apart from the possible kudos of being a Rosh Hakollel what he is doing being based in Glasgow? What does he gain from distancing himself and young orthodox families from the convenience of larger Jewish centres and what if anything does he bring in return?

  30. Giffnock Shul Member said

    Nachman, I’m perplexed. I am deducing from your comments that you are not a lover of the Kollel or their Rosh, Rabbi Bamberger. Either am I. But Rabbi Rubin has asked us to respect their decision. Why?
    When people do something wrong why should we show them respect?
    Respect needs to be earned, not given as a matter of right.

  31. Tim Allon said

    Community Member: “What vision of the Jewish Community in Europe will allow it to flourish – is it independent and creative, or an embattled outpost of Israel?”

    False dichotomy… more Lerman garbage. The Guardian’s court Jew debunked (again).

  32. Edlin Eye said

    Important News –
    Paul Edlin reelected today as Vice President of Board of Deputies:
    Brilliant news for Glasgow – This man is clearly not recognised in his own community for what he is. Nationally he is a star.
    Maybe the Rep Council should put a hat round at the next meeting to help pay his removal costs to London. That way they can properly show their appreciation and he couldn’t possibly then refuse to go.
    Picture the scene..Dr Edlin comes to the top table to tell the five people in the audience what a wonderful communal leader he is and as he looks up he realises that everyone is asleep….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
    Adios Dr Edlin

  33. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Giffnock Shul Member, your deductions from my post are inaccurate. I am being generous because I would hate to think you are attempting to put words in my mouth. As I do not know any of the kollel families I have neither positive nor negative feelings towards them individually or as a group. As for the decision of the Rosh Hakollel, I do not know the reasoning behind that decision. Therefore, unlike you, I am unable to condemn the decision as wrong.

  34. Jo Zinger said

    Looks good please let me know how JLGB can get involved.

  35. Dawkins said

    Giffnock Shul Member and Nachman Aaronovitch should face reality. And so should Rabbi Rubin and the Kollel. It is irrelevant who prays with whom. It is irrelevant when they pray. It dosn’t matter whether you have five, ten or twenty.
    There is no one there to pray to. God does not exist.

  36. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    The trouble is, Dawkins, you just don’t get it do you? At this point we’re not discussing theism, we’re discussing how to be a community, a concept that is possibly off your radar screen. To you it may be irrelevant but to many it is highly relevant.
    As you may have read one or more of Dawkin’s books you will be aware that he says nothing about compassion or acceptance of the right to other viewpoints. I am sure if you re-read his books you will find there are substantive arguments to back up his claims, something your post sadly lacked. On the other hand, you can read ‘The Science of God’ which gives counter arguments; then you can come back on and call yourself Schroeder.

  37. Giffnock Shul Member said

    If we are discussing how to be a community then if you will forgive me for being presumptious Nachman we are surely discussing how we can be a better community rather than just any kind of community.
    To be a better community it is necessary to point out what is good and what is wrong. Your postings remind me sir of the lyrics of the song ” Hokey Cokey ”
    In posting 29 you posed questions as to why there should be a Kollel in Glasgow. Then in 33 you say you can’t comment on their decision and you have neither negative or positive feelings towards them as a group. One minute you are in the next you are out.
    Now you don’t have opinions. Have a lie down Nachman. What’s wrong with you?

  38. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    When I ask questions, I wait for the answers before coming to conclusions. You apparently know all the answers, so instead of regressing to your infancy, how about telling us the Kollel’s reasons for taking the action they did. By this I mean their reasoning not your assumptions.
    You remind me of another regular poster who also reverts to childishness and insults when he/she is losing the argument. So if you really want to be taken seriously, grow up.

  39. Giffnock Shul Member said

    I would have thought you would know the reasons Nachman. After all you told us that the Giffnock Rabbi told his congregation the whole story on Shabbat so I guess you were there.
    Apparently, the reason is that the Kollel do not accept the times that Giffnock davens (especially Maariv) as being valid. Now Rabbi Rubin probably accepts the Kollel definition as being Halachally correct so that is why he wants us to respect their decision. I’m pretty close Nachman – I don’t think their decision deserves our respect.
    Where do you stand Sir?

  40. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Let me change style.
    “you told us that the Giffnock Rabbi told his congregation the whole story on Shabbat ”
    I didn’t say that, you’re making it up.

    “Apparently, the reason is that the Kollel do not accept the times that Giffnock davens ….”
    “Apparently” you say,….so you’re not sure.

    “Rabbi Rubin probably accepts the Kollel definition as being Halachally correct so that is why he wants us to respect their decision”
    “probably” you say, so you’re guessing.

    “I’m pretty close”…as near as you can get to admitting that havn’t a clue.

    ” Where do you stand Sir”
    On the side of truth.

  41. A Beitz said

    GSM you’re completely wrong. The Kollel have not withdrawn from weekday mincha or maariv services although they have always had an issue with the time maariv is davened in the summer The problem is they have withdrawn from weekday shacharit services.
    Rabbi Rubin did not tell us the whole story on shabbos and I’ve know idea where you got this from in Nachman’s post. Basically Rabbi Rubin was telling us to move on rather than criticise the Kollel decision and to put our energies into providing a minyan.
    I don’t see the issue as being whether you believe or don’t believe. What matters is that if you see it as in any way important that Giffnock has a regular minyan you need to attend from time to time to assist in this. By doing so you’ll be assisting those community members for whom it is important permanently, because of their beliefs, or temporarily because they want to show respect for a deceased person by saying kaddish.
    Sometimes there can be things which go in your community which don’t interest you in the slightest. It doesn’t mean that you don’t assist in these activities to ensure they can continue.
    So whether an atheist or a true believer or like many of us in between if you get a letter asking you to commit very occasionally you should do it.
    And that’s whatever you may think of the Kollel decision the reasons for which I don’t understand.

  42. Giffnock Shul Member said

    Let me change style too.

    Nachman said that Rabbi Rubin had “spoken with clarity to the Shabbat attendees and has arranged that all members will receive a letter explaining the position ”

    Beitz now says that “Rabbi Rubin did not tell us the whole story on “Shabbos” and I have no idea where you got that from in Nachman’s post.”

    So Beitz has now appointed himself as a spokesperson for Rabbi Rubin (self-appointed presumably)explaining that” he wants us to move on rather than criticise the Kollel decision.”

    Before Rabbi Rubin sacks you Beitz maybe you could tell us why ” we have to respect ” the Kollel decision.
    Nachman is a little confused. He claims that Rabbi Rubin spoke with clarity – clarity about what – we still according to Nachman don’t know why the Kollel have pulled out or why we should respect their decision.
    One final thought – in our community Shabbat has been known as Shabbat –
    Beitz and someone else recently have used the term Shabbos – strange that?
    Maybe you will also care to tell me Mr Beitz, as Rabbi Rubin’s spokesman, what I have got wrong ?

  43. A Beitz said

    Giffnock Shul Member, your style bears considerable similarities to that of Community Member. It consists of stating what is at best supposition as fact and then predicating everything else upon that. Like Nachman I will give you the benefit of the doubt considering you to be misguided rather than dishonest.

    So, yes Rabbi Rubin spoke with some clarity on shabbos and yes he did not tell us the whole story. The two are quite reconcilable. He told us we should take steps to ensure we have a daily minyan rather than spend time and energy criticising the Kollel decision. Quite clear to me but doesn’t tell the whole story. Nor does it say he told the whole story.

    So when it’s pointed out that nowhere in Nachman’s post does it say he told us the whole story (and I do it politely saying I’ve no idea where you got that from in his post)that then leads to the non sequitur that I am the (self appointed) spokesman for Rabbi Rubin.

    GSM then goes on to continue with the non sequitur by asking me why we should respect the Kollel decision. He appears to be incapable of realising that at no point have I personally agreed we should respect the Kollel decision. Indeed as I said I have no idea of the rationale behind the decision which means I don’t have sufficient information with which to respect it, agree with it or disagree with it.

    Finally for your information I was taught the Ashkenazi pronunciation of Hebrew at Cheder. That leads to the way I have transliterated the Hebrew for the seventh day. Shabbat is Sephardi. I have no difficulty with whichever and am unclear of the point of your query. If you are suggesting I may have posted something under a different name recently I certainly have not. My postings have almost invariably been under the same pseudonym. Oh that others would do the same.

  44. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    GSM, it appears we have to feed you with facts, one by one. Any more and there is a system overload and you revert to type.

    “you told us that the Giffnock Rabbi told his congregation the whole story on Shabbat ”
    I didn’t say that, you’re making it up.
    Now deal with it.
    Then go through the points one by one and deal with each in turn.

    Once you have done that I’ll return to your next hazy and again verging on the nasty posting. It is not A Beitz who is claiming to be anybody’s spokesperson, it is you who has had the arrogance to put forward the reasons for the Kollel’s actions when you haven’t a clue. You were not present to know what the Rabbi spoke about and whether it was with clarity or not. I presume you haven’t spoken to the Kollel because any presumption you made was way off target. Yet you postulate as though you actually have the information. I would stick to what you know about, and on this subject it is precious little.

  45. Community Member said

    Wrong Beitz – it’s not me. I thought you had gone for good. Didn’t take long for you to return did it? You can’t help yourself?
    The goings on in Giffnock Shul don’t concern me that much. Certainly not enough to debate this subject with you.
    Next time you try and charge others with posting as me try and get it right.

  46. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Quite right CM, keep out of it. GSM is about to disappear without trace so no use boarding a sinking ship.
    Is the rumour spreading through the community that you’re just back from a course on the art of diplomacy true?

  47. Community Member said

    Mr Aaronovitch, anyone that is encouraged by the support of Beitz on this blog should stop and think.
    I’m not getting involved in this. You keep at it though if you will – it seems to me that someone out there is rather good at winding up you and your friend.

  48. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Actually CM, your impersonator is not very good at it. Like him/her/it you get your facts so wrong.

  49. Giffnock Shul Member said

    This is unreal. You go on the blog asking a couple of questions and these guys like Aronovitch and Beitz maul you incessantly.
    They are behaving as if they are Rabbi Rubin’s Praetorian Guard.
    Nachman, Beitz said that Rabbi Rubin did not tell us the whole story. I said that you had claimed that Rabbi Rubin has spoken with clarity and had arranged that all members will receive a letter explaining the position.
    I got a letter and there is no clarity and no explanation as to why the Kollel have pulled out of attending some services. And I still have had no answer from you or A Beitz as to why Rabbi Rubin told us that this is a decision ” we have to respect. ”
    Why can’t you offer an explanation? I have told you what I think. Blogs are meant to be about opinions.
    All of a sudden two of the most opinionated bloggers on this forum don’t have an opinion. You couldn’t make it up if you tried.

  50. Atheist said

    Aside from not having to pay for a shul seat, recent postings have further confirmed why it is not advisable to be a member of any shul.

  51. Nachman Aaronovitch said


    “you told us that the Giffnock Rabbi told his congregation the whole story on Shabbat ”
    I didn’t say that, you’re making it up.
    Now deal with it.

    Every time you come on, I will ask the same question until you deal with it or apologise. Then I will go onto the next one and the one after that until you realise that your unsubstantiated postulations are what’s haunting you, not other bloggers.

    “You couldn’t make it up if you tried”
    Yes you could, you do it all the time.

  52. Giffnock Shul Member said

    Would anyone else care to comment? Nachman is rambling incherently. Pour soul.

  53. Reform Shul Member said

    Easy solution to the Giffnock Minyan Problem. Allow women to have equal participating rights at prayer meetings and the problem is solved.
    Its as easy as that.

  54. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    GSM pudding and pie
    Kissed the girls and made them cry
    When Beitz and Nachman came out to play
    GSM ran away.

  55. Ted Hughes said

    Nachman has lost the plot.

  56. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Pity your down to such banalities. There are those that think the nursery rhyme refers to the cowardly character of King G who also ducked out the way when the going got tough. Ted Hughes would certainly have understood that. His name is as near as you will get to his understanding.

  57. Community Member said

    The editorial from Haaretz entitled “Senseless in Gaza” comments as follows
    “Israel is guilty of infringing on the most basic of human rights… It is an outrageous picture of acute distress caused by Israel’s harsh measures…It is inhuman, immoral and a violation of UN agreements.”

    Thankfully Israel still has a newspaper that is acutely aware of Israel’s moral responsibilities. It is also accutely aware of the difference between right and wrong.

    If Tony Lerman had written these words all the usual suspects on this blog would have been rushing to condemn him and not deal with the arguments. They would have accused him no doubt of not realising that such comments are antisemitism.

    The fact that they are the words of an Israeli newspaper should make some of those who more often than not think that criticism of Israel is unwarranted or unacceptable (because Israel is being singled out for criticism and there are plenty of other countries in the world who also do bad things ) stop and think. Unfortunately, they won’t. It is easier to blame everything on others rather than look at how we behave.

    What is happening in Gaza is outrageous and is disgraceful.

  58. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Once again like your impersonator GSM you have decided in advance what other posters will say. Once again you have done it in a confrontational manner. To accuse others of not dealing with arguments just because they disagree with you and don’t think the sun shines out of Tony Lerman’s whatever though entirely in character, is as dishonest and hypocritical a statement as I have read.

  59. A Beitz said

    CM also appears to fail to recognise that criticism by an Israeli newspaper of Israel is very much criticism by one of its stakeholders. As such it is perfectly valid for Haaretz to criticise in much the same way as UK newspapers criticise the government here.
    However contrast that however with people who are no way have a stake in Israel/Palestine yet who seem to direct all their energies towards criticism of Israel when there are many worse situations about. When that happens we are entitled to question motives.
    The UCU are yet again determined to direct efforts towards a boycott of Israel. They’ve been given legal advice that it’s illegal. They are not suggesting boycotting anywhere else in the world. There are many problems with higher education provision at this time ranging from funding to the fact that much of it is once again becoming the sole preserve of the middle and upper classes to the fact that graduates are finding it difficult to find employment and even more difficult to obtain jobs for which they are not well over qualified.
    So what does the UCU do about all of this? Well boycott one country in the world and one which even most of its detractors wouldn’t claim is amongst the ten worst in the world.
    When that happens the motives of those who would boycott must be looked at.
    Oh and I agree with the Haaretz editorial whoever wrote it.
    It is some obsession where you post the occasional link to an article that’s not by Tony Lerman to postulate what would have been said had he written it by blog posters.

  60. Community Member said

    Your opinion Mr Beitz is of little or no consequence. You fabricated an allegation against Tony Lerman – it was untrue, mischievous and unfounded.
    Several times you announce to the blog that you are off because you don’t like the content but as usual you return – unfortunately the content of your postings never improves.
    Your stakeholder argument is bunkum. People are perfectly entitled to criticise what they want to without having to prove their credentials to you. Those that always seek to blame others rather than focus on what we can do to get our own house in order harm this community greatly.
    The link to the Haaretz editorial highlighted the disgraceful actions of Israel in Gaza and the abuse of human rights. Your absurd reaction is to focus on academic boycotts which is a completely different issue.
    The most appropriate response to Nachman Aaronovitch is that the very fact that his arguments now seem so close to yours Beitz is just very very sad. I still hope that with time and patience he will see things differently.

  61. A Beitz said

    Cm, what you seem determined to do is chase those bloggers away you don’t agree with through invective,arrogance, abuse and some quite misleading methods of posting.
    Rather than use ad hominems and the the like you might wish to consider that to my knowledge you have chased a number of decent posters off this blog. It is not becoming when you want to have a community forum to tell those with whom you disagree that their opinions “are of little or no consequence”
    It is really not debating simply because you shout and use terms such as “bunkum” and “very very sad”. Just possibly people such as Nachman, Tim and myself are correct but even if wrong there’s no need for the abuse. Now that is “very, very sad”.
    I will not go back over what I said re Tony Lerman other than to simply say I stand by it as being fair comment.
    I am not sure however where this blog goes from here as long as you continue to post in this manner.

  62. Community Member said

    As I have said before Beitz, you are a cynical opportunist and the very fact that you still claim your comments about Tony Lerman were fair comment is indicative of your mindset.
    You made a false and very damaging accusation – have refused to admit you were wrong and now complain that I think your views are of little or no consequence.
    Well that’s tough. You claim that its not right to describe your views as bunkum but think that it is perfectly acceptable to falsely denigrate the character of an independent journalist and to make improper suggestions regarding how he earns his living. And you remained silent when someone called this journalist a ” Court Jew ” . As I have told you before you have no claims whatsoever to the moral highground. Speculate all you like about the future of the blog but as I’m sure even you might now have deduced – its not within your control.
    You will no doubt announce your departure again – and return with more pearls of “wisdom” very soon.

  63. A Beitz said

    I am not going to get caught up in an exchange of insults. What I said about Tony Lerman represented his views. I did not from recollection say he’d said it.
    The paucity and quality of your argument can be seen by the fact you complain when I post but also complain I didn’t post when someone called your hero a “Court Jew”.
    I note the “It’s ma ba and I’ll decide attitude”.
    You keep on with the personal insults. It’s not me who’s demeaned by that but you. However to use your own term, “It’s very, very sad.”

  64. Community Member said

    Nonsense. And you know its nonsense. Your comments did not represent his views and your accusation was false and misleading and malicious.
    It is quite astonishing that you are so sensitive to criticism and complain about being insulted after your conduct.
    As I have said so many times before and on several issues you have no rights whatsoever to any moral highground.
    Now maybe we can get back to talking about Gaza.

  65. Jungle Watcher said

    Yes lets talk more about Gazza I hear he is going to be in the next series of “I am a celebrity. Get me out of here”. Can’t wait!

  66. Tim Allon said

    There was a violent attack in Buenos Aries, on Jews celebrating Israel’s 61st birthday. Attendees were attacked with clubs, chains and knives, by left-wing thugs chanting slogans like ‘death to the Zionist Jews!’

    Community Member, am I correct in thinking that you would be unable to condemn this as a specifically antisemitic attack?

    Incidentally, a rally was held outside the Israeli embassy in reaction to the attack… to demand the release of the perpetrators.

  67. Tim Allon said

    Sorry, link.

  68. Tim Allon said

    Oh, and there have been a few recent and thoughtful articles against the sort of poisonous nonsense promoted by Community Member and his mentor:

    Eve Gerrard on possible Jewish responses to the rising tide of antisemitism:

    [One] strategy is to join with the accusers to accuse. Throughout the history of Jew-hatred, there have always been some Jews who choose to ally themselves with the haters. We shouldn’t necessarily be too hard on such people. Being Jewish at a time when this is increasingly unpopular is not a comfortable business, and seeking to escape disapproval and contempt by throwing in your lot with the principal condemners is an understandable, though unlovely, response.

    Here‘s Shalom Lappin ‘on the Jewish question’, as it were, drawing comparisons between antisemitic theories of Jewish antisemite, Otto Weininger, and the current psychologizing of Jewry, espoused by Lerman, amongst others, and promulgated by our very own Community Member:

    [Such psychologizing] provides an ostensibly scientific basis for attributing negative properties to an ethnic group. Inter alia, most (but not all) Israelis, and many of their Diaspora Jewish supporters suffer from a blood lust. They are insensitive to the suffering of innocent Palestinians. They are exclusively concerned with the welfare of their own people. They engage in illicit lobbying and hysterical political campaigning to promote a narrow and destructive group agenda. They refuse to acknowledge the normal constraints of universal human rights and morality. These are, of course, versions of longstanding anti-Jewish bigotries that infect European and Middle Eastern history. They are, however, rendered opaque and acceptable through translation into the psychological symptoms of a disturbed group. The painstaking clinical studies required to support serious psychological diagnoses are singularly absent from the psychologizing discourse. It is, in fact, a vintage case of pseudo-science in the service of prejudice. It does, however, serve an important political and cultural role. It renders acceptable attitudes and assumptions that would be inadmissible if expressed in traditional terms.

    Finally, the tireless David T of Harry’s Place compares the current Jewish predicament with a hypothesis of an (unthinkable) onslaught against the black community:

    The play is called Seven Black Boys. A collection for rape victims is held after each performance.

    The playwright is accused of racism. It is pointed out that most rapes of white women are not committed by black men, that most men in the sex industry are not violent black pimps.

    Nonsense, say the play’s defenders. Black people DO rape white women, and there is nothing wrong with pointing this out. Or are you in favour of rape? In any case (a) the play stars Derek Laud and (b) it is a fantastic work of art and should be judged on that basis.

    The Guardian’s theatre critic describes the play as a ‘bold exposure of the way that black boys are bred to rut’.

    The playwright defends herself. She explains that the ‘Race Relations Industry’ is using bogus complaints of racism to distract attention from the epidemic of black rapists who even now are violating the purest of white virgins.

    So, this is where we are. It is now generally agreed, among people who describe themselves as feminists and anti-racists, that central to the problem of sexual violence, and the exploitation of women, is the need of sexually incontinent black men to turn white women into their playthings. Any black man who disagrees, is openly accused of harbouring a desire to rape, while using false claims of racism to allow him and his bretheren to continue raping.

    As Community Member would say, “worth reading”.

  69. Community Member said

    Another excellent article in today’s Guardian by yes you have guessed it – Tony Lerman.

    This time entitled – ” Diaspora Jews find their voice: If Diaspora Jews can find the course to speak critically to Israel a tipping point may finally be reached ”

    The article discusses Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama and discusses a public meeting recently held in the London Jewish Community Centre involving as panelists Jonathan Freedland and Jacqueline Rose, and their response to Diaspora criticism of Israel and what they would like to see happen.

    Good reading. Please don’t bother to thank me for posting the link to such interesting articles. Its my pleasure.

  70. A Beitz said

    “Enough is enough. The occupation must end. The Palestinians must have their independent state. If not, however much we are with you, we can no longer support you…If the tipping point comes and leads to a just peace, perhaps it will be triggered by a form of these true words spoken to Israel by an overwhelming tide of assertive diaspora Jewish opinion.”

    Exactly Mr Lerman. Not by those who have no obvious interest in the Middle East but whose contribution is to vilify one side alone. Not by having pleas in mitigation for those who actions, in effect if not intent, are anti semitic.

  71. A Beitz said

    It also seems the article gives a less than accurate version of the meeting. Here’s what Jonathan Freeland had to say

    “I’m flattered to be identified by Antony Lerman as a “key” voice at the debate he refers to – though he omits to mention the third panel member, Goldsmiths College lecturer and sometime CiF contributor, David Hirsh.

    For the record, I should also like to clarify the summary of my views he offers. It is quite true that I urged – and urge – diaspora Jews to play the constructive role leading Irish-Americans played in the northern Ireland peace process at the start of the 1990s. True, too that I look forward to the day when – behind-the-scenes if necessary – the diaspora Jewish leadership says to Israel of the occupation that began in 1967, ‘Enough is enough.’ I even believe that the diaspora has to be able to say that – if the status quo continues indefinitely – the time will come when it will be unable to continue supporting Israel financially.

    What I did not suggest is that Jews will – or should – make some kind of break from Israel altogether. On the contrary, I insisted that the power of that initial Irish-American intervention was that those leaders of the Irish diaspora always presented themselves as solid, reliable friends of Irish republicanism. As I put it on Monday night, their message to Sinn Fein was, ‘We love you, we stand with you, we’re never going to abandon you. But this has to stop.’

    That is the message I want to hear from the Jewish diaspora to Israel – not a threat to sever all ties, but the kind of firm, yet supportive, advice one family member might give another.

    This was not quite the tone Jacqueline Rose adopted or advocated on Monday. She, for example, supports an academic boycott of Israel, which I adamantly oppose. On this, and in several other areas, we took wholly different stands. ”

    David Hirsch also seems to have taken something different from the meeting.

    ” was also involved in the debate but evidently Antony Lerman considers that I was not a “key” voice on the panel.

    I also support Palestinian rights and I did so clearly on Monday. I argued that the project to settle the occupied territories was, from the beginning plain wrong, and was also wrong from the point of view of any conception of Israeli self interest. I argued that the occupation has to come to an end and I argued that the occupation requires a regime of racism and violence which is unacceptable.

    But Antony Lerman’s telling of what happened at this discussion is twisted to fit the rather eccentric ideological framework which he is trying to build.

    Lerman is trying to pretend that there are two opposing Jewish identities, an inclusive “diasporic” identity which respects human rights and an ethnic “Zionist” identity which doesn’t. If Jews adopt the former then they can undercut antisemitism and be happy in Europe. If they cling to the latter then they will be more and more marginalized by antisemites as an alien force in Europe.

    Lerman is trying to re-raise “the Jewish Question”.

    He co-opts Jonathan Freedland as a good Jew, and he pretends that Freedland was in fundamental agreement on everything important with Jacqueline Rose on Monday. He wasn’t.

    Lerman just airbrushes me out of the picture because he cannot fit me into his binary opposition.”

    I agree that diaspora Jews must and should criticise as is stated and that ultimately that may have far more effect than the one issue lefists of UCU etc and their proposed boycotts. However it would seem that the article may not from the points of view of at least two who were present represent a fair and accurate report.

  72. Caught in the Middle ( Freedland, not me) said

    I’m not sure that I agree with you 70 or 71. Lerman referred to the two key voices on the panel so I presume he doesn’t think David Hirsch is or was a key voice. I am quite familiar with David Hirsch and I do not happen to think he is that important either.
    I am not sure Jonathan Freedland is saying anything different from what Tony Lerman wrote. I can’t see where Lerman suggested that Freedland advocated that there should be a break from Israel altogether.
    Regarding Freedland’s comments, I think that he is naive if he thinks Israel will listen to supportive advice as one family member might give to another. He said we should say – ” we love you, we stand with you, we’re never going to abandon you, but this has to stop ”

    As someone commented ” come off it Jonathan, when has the State of Israel listened to any such pussy-footing ”

    The reality is that Freedland’s kind of approach has consistently failed for years. Israel does what she wants to. I suspect Freedland, who I like and admire, is more interested in putting some clear blue water between him and Jacqueline Rose, than disagreeing with Antony Lerman.

  73. Tim Allon said

    In order to support his crackpot “diasporist” / “rabid Zionist” dichotomy, Lerman has to misrepresent Freedland (“good Jew”), and pretend that Hirsh (pro-Palestinian “bad Jew”) doesn’t exist. It’s an inherent problem in promoting essentialising, one-size-fits-all theories about diverse groups of people, that they won’t fit into the boxes you want them in, and will tell you so.

    A Beitz: “I agree that diaspora Jews must and should criticise…”

    Much as I hate to disagree with you, I take exception to this. No one is under any obligation to take any particular political stance on account of their ethnic background. It may or may not be desirable for Jews to criticise Israeli policy, but if people want to criticise or support – or have no opinion whatsoever on – Israel, then that should be a personal matter.

    I note that Community Member has expressed no opinion on the violent attack on Buenos Aries’ Jews, and using his earlier logic, must assume that his silence on ‘death to Zionist Jews!’ is a tacit admission that he doesn’t judge it antisemitic. One might think that an internationally reported incident like this would merit a discussion on a Jewish blog, but I don’t suppose uncomfortable facts like these really fit Lerman’s sorry, Community Member’s analysis.

  74. A Beitz said

    Tim, I think if those of us in the diaspora want to influence policy it is important that we make it clear when we have concerns. In my opinion the siege of Gaza is wrong for so many reasons starting with moral but going on to tactical. We have managed to make a racist, anti semitic government into the good guys, killed and starved many innocents and turned many Gazans who could have lived with Israel into the enemy.

    I don’t live in Israel unlike yourself but I do visit, have friends and relatives there and do get asked regularly to give and occasionally do donate to Israeli causes. If the country which I feel is part of my being behaves in a way which I think is unacceptable I do see it as my duty to criticise. It might also take slightly more notice of its friends than its enemies.If we stay silent that can be construed as approval.

  75. Community Member said

    Tony Lerman’s response to Jonathan Freedland’s comments was placed on the Guardian website a short time ago:

    Jonathan Freedland provided a useful clarification of his comments at Monday night’s public meeting and I’m grateful to him for fundamentally confirming, in his second paragraph, my understanding of what he said.

    I think, however, that a little further clarification is necessary in case anyone gets the impression that I distorted his views. I didn’t take a verbatim note of what he said, but as far as I recall, when Jonathan said something along the lines of “Diaspora Jewry must say ‘enough is enough'”, he never used the words ‘behind-the-scenes if necessary’. Similarly, in clarifying that he believes that ‘if the status quo continues indefinitely – the time will come when it will be unable to continue supporting Israel’, he never specifically said, on Monday night, ‘financially’.

    More importantly, when he writes: ‘What I did not suggest is that Jews will – or should – make some kind of break from Israel altogether’, it should be clear that I never wrote or implied any such thing. It would, in my view, be absurd in practical terms, given the very large numbers of Jews outside Israel who have relatives and close friends in Israel. But also in terms of achieving the object of getting Israel to change its policies, because a key additional means of doing that must be to support civil society groups in Israel which are themselves working to achieve such an objective.

    I’m pretty sure, though, that on reflection, Jonathan would want to revise his italicised reference to ‘financially’, if, as I think we’re supposed to assume, that’s the main threat Diaspora Jews have at their command. He knows full well that the time when the funds given by Diaspora Jews to Israel were crucial to Israel’s survival has long gone. When Yossi Beilin was a minister in the Rabin government that concluded the 1993 Oslo Accords, he went round the world conveying precisely this message to Jewish communities, telling them they should be spending that money on themselves. So the message from Diaspora Jewry would need to be rather more robust than simply telling Israel ‘we’ll no longer be able to support you financially’.

    What I found rather disappointing in his comments was his wish to distance himself from Jacqueline Rose. I never wrote, nor assumed that anyone would think for one second, that Jonathan and Jacqueline agreed on everything during the discussion. He made that clear at the time, and she did too. But on the point of Diaspora Jewry saying ‘Enough is enough’, I still maintain that there was fundamental agreement. And to imply – as Jonathan seems to do, but he can correct me if I’m wrong – that Jacqueline’s ‘tone’ was along the lines of ‘a threat to sever all ties’, I believe that he is fundamentally mistaken.

    There are surely enough divisions among Jews for it be extremely important for us to make an effort to reach out to others, with whom we disagree on so much, but with whom we can find agreement on some fundamentals, and make common cause to achieve a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict based on justice for all and on universal human rights values.

    What is most damaging to the kind of constructive dialogue that I believe Jonathan Freedland and Jacqueline Rose were able to engage in on Monday night, despite serious differences on a number of issues, is the seemingly deliberate distortion of some people’s views, the willful misreading of what some people write, that certain rather vocal individuals indulge in. Jonathan and Jacqueline certainly cannot be accused of such dispiriting behaviour.

  76. Voice Down South said

    Jonathan Freedland cannot believe that the financial contribution of diaspora Jews to Israel gives any power to the donors whatsoever. The only financial clout is America’s.
    I am surprised.
    As an ex Glaswegian who has moved down south I applaud this website for trying to encourage discussion of important issues.

  77. Tim Allon said

    A Beitz,

    If you want to influence policy, of course you need to say something. And if you feel a personal, moral responsibility to speak on any given issue, including Israel, that’s your business. However, whenever I hear that Jews, or Muslims, or whoever, must speak out, I cringe. Jews have no special duty to attack or defend Israel, and thankfully most of them just get on with their lives.

    By the way, who has starved in Gaza? I heard the word “starvation” a lot during the Gaza war, but so far as I’m aware, there have been no documented cases.

    By the way, is ‘Caught in the Middle’ Antony Lerman? He did a stunning job of almost exactly preempting Lerman’s slightly desperate rejoinder.

  78. Armchair Analyst said

    ‘However, whenever I hear that Jews, or Muslims, or whoever, must speak out, I cringe. Jews have no special duty to attack or defend Israel, and thankfully most of them just get on with their lives.’

    Agreed Tim, although once one raises one’s head above the parapet to attack or defend, there are those among us listening who would like a better feel of the agenda. Defending Palestinians but not Darfurians allows me to get a better handle on the agenda of the person speaking out. As for Jews, defending Israel needs to be clarified if one speaks out. Defending ‘Greater Israel’ or ‘Lesser Israel’ for instance.

  79. Tim Allon said

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean, Armchair. What causes we support as individuals do not necessarily say much about our agenda, other than that we presumably support the causes that we purport to. We can’t be expected to support all good causes at one time, and therefore will often support this cause at the expense of that cause.

    Certainly, the specifics of what one supports are important, whether Fatah or Hamas, one state or two, or greater or a smaller Israel; but when someone says that Jews or Muslims, or blacks, have a duty to speak out, what they really mean is that all Jews, or Muslims, or blacks should follow the particular line of the person calling for them to speak out.

    People should follow their consciences, which are not necessarily determined by their ethnic origins. To expect people of a certain ethnicity to hold particular views, and demand that they articulate them publicly, is patronising at best, and racist at worst. There’s a particular type of (leftist) Scot who, on discovering my Jewishness, insists on testing me on my views on Israel. The conversation invariably ends with the idiot being told to f*** off. I see Jews like Lerman legitimising such tests, at the expense of the vast majority of Jews who cannot pass them.

  80. A Beitz said

    Tim, in this day and age if you’re a Jew taking part in comunal activities then almost invariably if you do or so nothing you’ll be giving support to Israel and its activities by default. Go to shul and there’s a specific prayer for the State ofIsrael which includes all the activities of the IDF. Join any youth group and there will almost inevitably be an Israeli element. As you get older most of the communal groups are implicitly supportive of Israel. That doesn’t bother me as long as Israel is worthy of our support.
    For me Israel is part of my life and always has been. However where I see things in my life which are wrong, particularly when silence constitutes acquiescence it seems to me there is a moral duty to speak out. I personally think the only way the Israeli government will realise that certain activities are unacceptable is when its supporters tell it so. It will not be moved by its enemies who it will rightly see as having their own agenda. Ultimately if enough people share a view that the siege of Gaza is wrong, that settling the West Bank is an impediment to peace and wrong, that it is ludicrous to be fund raising for medical care and school lunches when lavishing money on settlers and check points and ill thought out military invasions and say so we might just contribute to some form of a reality check.
    There is much in Israel to be proud of but that doesn’t mean we should shut up, as many communal figures would have us do, about matters are no longer simply warts but are a malignancy.

  81. Voice Down South said

    In what ways A Beitz would you suggest we speak out? Would you suggest not supporting Israel financially if we disagree with the politics of their government? Do you think our money – withheld or given – will make any difference to Israeli policy? It seems to me A Beitz that you are as close to the Independent Jewish Voices position on Israel as it is possible to be without actually signing up?
    Are you?

  82. Community Member said

    Jonathan Freedland posted a reply late last night to Tony Lerman’s comments –


    21 May 09, 12:40am (about 9 hours ago)

    Apologies if this is getting tedious, but Antony Lerman asked me for “a little further clarification” of my comments, so here goes.

    First, he suggests that I used phrases in this thread that I did not utter on Monday night. That’s because, as I hoped I had made clear, I was not seeking in my comment above to provide a transcript, but to explain my own views as they actually are – rather than let CIF readers rely on Tony Lerman’s account of them.

    So, yes, my view is that the mainstream diaspora Jewish leadership may find it more palatable to confront the Israeli government “behind the scenes if necessary.” Not the exact phrase I used on the night, but clear from the context that evening – namely, the the precedent set by the Irish-American leadership which, I had said earlier, had approached Sinn Fein-IRA behind the scenes. What was implicit in my remarks on Monday had to be made explicit here.

    The same applies to my use of the word “financially.” Here’s what happened. At Monday’s debate I said that diaspora Jewish leaders needed eventually to say “Enough is enough” about the occupation. A member of the audience later asked whether there had been an “or else” in the Irish case: had the Irish-Americans said “and if you don’t change, we’ll cut off the money?” I answered yes – adding that diaspora Jewish leaders might eventually have to say the same. Hence the word “financially.”

    In both cases, the words may have been different – and Tony Lerman admits he did not take a verbatim note – but the meaning, given the context, was exactly as I stated it above.

    Then Tony adds this:

    More importantly, when he writes: ‘What I did not suggest is that Jews will – or should – make some kind of break from Israel altogether’, it should be clear that I never wrote or implied any such thing.

    But the view Tony attributed to me was that I dreamed of the day when diaspora Jews would say, “we can no longer support you.” That sounded close enough to making a break from Israel altogether for me to want to set the record straight. Anyway, I’m glad that Tony and I agree that such a call would be, in his words, “absurd.”

    Which brings us to the heart of the matter. Tony is disappointed that I apparently “wish to distance [myself] from Jacqueline Rose.” But I don’t just wish to distance myself from Jacqueline Rose, I am distant from her, on one issue after another. That much was clear to everyone in the room on Monday, as has been set out by those who were present and who have commented on this thread. (To quote lipschitz: “I was at Monday night’s meeting and Jonathan Freedland and Jacqueline Rose were most certainly not singing from the same hymn book…as Tony Lerman claims in his article.”)

    In his original piece, Tony spoke of “remarkable unanimity” between me and Professor Rose. I’m glad he has now conceded that, in fact, we voiced “serious differences on a number of issues.” She advocated for the academic boycott of Israel and I denounced it. I said the most effective way for diaspora Jews to criticise Israel was for them first to make clear their warm support for the country; she left no doubt she could adopt no such stance. I insisted that Israel’s establishment was legitimate, given the Jewish existential need in 1948. She could not say the same.

    Our loudest dispute was over her attempt to claim that the eminent and hugely admired Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg had written something which echoed her own views. I knew the piece in question and I know him – and I insisted that nothing was further from the truth. The quotation had been crudely ripped out of context. I was infuriated by this and, to her credit, Prof Rose withdrew the remark entirely.

    She made the same move with the Israeli novelist David Grossman – as she has done before – attempting to claim him as an ally, when he is of course an avowed Zionist and Israeli patriot. On this point, Prof Rose was corrected by the chair, Ned Temko.

    I confess this habit baffles me. Why does Jacqueline Rose repeatedly attempt to co-opt as allies people who don’t agree with her at all? I responded to Tony Lerman’s piece because I suspected he was doing the same thing with me, attempting to tell Guardian readers that I now shared a “remarkable unanimity” with Jacqueline Rose. We share, along with many, many Jews, an opposition to the post-1967 occupation – but that, I am afraid, is it.

  83. Caught in the Middle (Freedland Not Me) said

    Jonathan Freedland is so preoccupied with putting clear blue water between himself and Jacqueline Rose that he has ignored the two important points of Antony Lerman’s response – which was that the financial threats to Israel from Diaspora Jews are irrelevant and would have zero impact and that finding common ground is imperative if Jews in the Diaspora can have any influence in telling Israeli Governments that something must alter.

  84. Community Member said

    Very relevant piece in today’s Haaretz by Gideon Levy discussion what is a true friend of Israel.

  85. A Beitz said

    Yes, thought it was good and less full of polemic than many of his articles.

    And to the person who asked about me being close to the IJV position it always seemed to me that IJV’s position is completely woolly being all things to all people. Effectively they say both sides have the right to live in peace but don’t say whether that should be in one state, two states or whatever.

    In any event for members of the Jewish community who want to take a stance on Israeli policies there were already Zionist groups such as Peace Now and non Zionist groups such as Jews For Justice For Palestinians. I can’t really the point of another group. One is reminded of The Peoples Front For Judea and the Judean People’s Front.

  86. Caught InThe Middle (Freedland, Not Me) said

    Jonathan Freedland’s position is explained by Jacqueline Rose on Comment is Free this afternoon. His position looks a little shaky to me…

    Since some of the discussion about Mondays evening JCC debate refers to me I think I should take this opportunity to set the record straight, not least because my position on a number of issues is being, and was on Monday night, so misrepresented.

    As I have stated several times in print, I was a reluctant supporter of the last academic boycott. I was never a proponent or organiser of it or involved in the campaign in any way. It was a counsel of despair born of the failure of the international community to exert any pressure on Israel to end the Occupation. It was legitimate in my view only if it targeted institutions and not individuals. Given the change, in many ways deterioration of the situation, the focus now – as it was in the impressive run of university occupations across the country during the Gaza offensive at the start of this year – is rightly on military disinvestment (a number of Universities have agreed to withdraw funds in companies involved in military trade with Israel). Given too the chance or perhaps I should say hopes of a real change in US policy towards Israel – I do not believe now is the time to consider an academic boycott. I have not therefore decided what position I will take should the matter arise again.

    So one of the most striking things about Mondays debate and indeed Jonathan Freedlands comments here is the attempt to make me an unequivocal adherent of the boycott policy overall. What I did in the debate was explain why it had arisen – the destruction of Palestinian academic freedom, for example, had to be raised as an issue from the floor – and why under the circumstances it had felt justified, even though imperfect and problematic in many ways. It is as I see it an honourable disagreement. I respect the arguments on both sides of this difficult debate which is more than can be said for some others in this discussion.

    On the question of expressing `warm support for Israel. I stated: ` Critique can be part of solidarity. It can be based on the belief for example, one which I hold, that for Israel to continue on its present path will be disastrous, not just for the Palestinians as a people, but also for Israel itself. All my remarks therefore are made in the context of fear for Israels future. This for me is a strongly felt expression of support. What I disagreed with was his use of the word `love. I suggested that the love of those in the Jewish diaspora should not be for Israel to the exclusion of others, but based on a more universal ethic.

    Freedland suggests that I `could not say that Israels establishment was legitimate. I have said many times that Israel was born out of the legitimate desire of a persecuted people for a homeland. My point on Monday was something quite different – that the disaster of 1948 for the Palestinian was being glossed over, and even when acknowledged by him, it was – as it felt to me – in passing.

    The most serious misrepresentation by Freedland is however in relation to Rabbi Wittenberg and David Grossman. I quoted the following passage from Wittenberg from the latest issue of Jewish Quarterly: ‘I find myself weeping many times over things especially the Gaza war. But my biggest difficulties are with the West Bank, particularly the eviction from houses. Certain anti-Zionist comments are racist, but certain actions of the State of Israel are definitely racist. I’ve heard from people and I’ve seen with my own eyes that they’re not accidental but part of a clear policy of wanting to remove non-Jewish inhabitants from certain key areas. I worry this is part of a process of long-term defeat for Israel. In the end, this is a rabbinic matter, ultimately Judaism is much greater than Israel.’ When Jonathan pointed out that Wittenbergs remarks were indeed framed in the context of stating his love for Israel, of course I accepted his point, but the point I was making still stood, that he was indicating that the question of Judaism was `greater than that of Israel, that the two cannot therefore be equated.

    In relation to Grossman, I was not citing him to support my views. I only learn from Grossman and am dismayed that this suggestion is being made again, unjustly as before and with some relish. I was referring to a discussion which I had the privilege of hearing in Seville last summer between Grossman and the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury when it seemed to me that Grossmans expression of fear on the part of Israelis and Khourys insistence on the trauma of 1948 for the Palestinians were not incompatible narratives as it first seemed but deeply related to each other. This was my thought, what I had learned from listening to these two extraordinary writers. Ned Temko misunderstood what I was saying and accepted my correction which Freedland omits to mention.

    Contrary to what he suggests, I do not claim Grossman as an ally, any more incidentally than I was claiming Khoury as an ally. I have also acknowledged more than once that Grossman is a committed Zionist, as Jonathan in fact knows since I said this to him in conversation after Mondays debate. It is Grossmans ability to combine that commitment with the most profound critique of his nations policies which I, like so many, admire.

    That David Hirsh should choose to caricature and simplify my views is only to be expected. I would have expected something else from Jonathan Freedland. In fact Antony Lerman is right that Jonathan and I, despite our disagreements, agreed at several points in the evening and by no means only on 1967. Why he should then wish in print so completely to disavow this reality is a question only he can answer.

    Jacqueline Rose

  87. Voice Down South said

    Forgive me A Beitz, but from what I have read today on this blog I don’t think Independent Jewish Voices could be described as ” woolly ” to a certain Mr Jonathan Freedland.
    Can I also add that it is much easier to follow the thread of this exchange between Lerman, Freedland, Rose and Hirsch on this blog than on the Guardian website.
    I am genuinely impressed, and have even suggested to friends down here that they should look in here to follow debate on some of the key issues facing anglo-Jewry. It doesn’t matter whether you come from Glasgow or live in Glasgow.
    I don’t know of any other blog like this in anglo-Jewry?

  88. Armchair Analyst said

    Jaqueline Rose is an impassioned supporter of the Palestinian cause. So far so good.

    I’ve tried to google her pronouncements on Iran and Sudan without success. I’d like to know what she has to say on the current regimes of these two countries. Should it matter? You bet it does, to me at least.

  89. Diasporist said

    Mark Gardner of the CST has entered the fray, posting his comments on the JCC debate between Jonathan Freedland, Jacqueline Rose and David Hirsh. It is significant that, rather than participating in the online forum on the Guardian’s CiF website, he chose to post his comments to the website of Engage, the organisation which campaigns against the academic boycott of Israel and antisemitism. (David Hirsh is the founding editor of Engage).

    In his reflections on the debate, Gardner identifies the central fault-line between left-wing Jews in the Diaspora; namely, the tension between the universalism of Jacqueline Rose and the particularism of Jonathan Freedland:

    Mark Gardner Says:
    May 21, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    I was at the event on Monday.

    All 3 speakers were clear in their deploring of Israel’s actions post ‘67, and in their desire for Jews to speak up.

    David Hirsh also attacked the antisemitic bias, resonance and impact of anti-Zionism & boycotts. Evidently, this thought crime is far more important to Lerman and Rose than any and all of his clear denunciations of Israeli policy; both on Monday night and umpteen times previously.

    It is ironic – and a tad concerning – that whilst Lerman and Rose expend so much effort telling Jews that they must criticise Israel for their own good, such an approach certainly doesn’t seem to have done David any good in their eyes. (Furthermore, his denunciations are significantly harsher than anything majority Jewish opinion would come out with.)

    An early contribution from Jonathan Freedland shaped much of the debate. He explained that he hoped Diaspora Jewry could learn from the example of Irish Americans who told the IRA that enough was enough, thereby bringing the IRA to make a real, and ultimately successful, peace effort.

    Jonathan insisted that a Jewish equivalent must be rooted in clearly expressed solidarity, love even, with Israel. This was taken up by Jacqueline Rose, asking along the lines of who ought we to love? appealing for universal values, and saying that Israel would need to be solved in accordance with justice.

    I took this to be a statement that Jews had to choose universalism over Zionism. I wasn’t sure if she was also meaning that Israel would have to cease to be a Jewish state, if this was what justice demanded.

    The universalism bit has stuck with me all week. I hate the notion that British Jews have to pass an anti-Zionist litmus test in order to be admitted to the protected ranks of the universalists. The ridiculing and airbrushing of David Hirsh strikes me as a good example of how high an anti-Zionist standard the universalists are setting. For some reason, Tamils don’t seem to meet it either… but then again, neither does Darfur, and nor did Rwanda or…

    David Hirsh called for a bit of perspective from both of them. People should loves their family, not Israel, which is nice place to visit on holiday and is ultimately a tiny bit of real estate with a tiny population that undergoes scrutiny out of all proportion to reality.

    For me, Rose’s univeralism appeal – and what I perceived to be very equivocal support for any Jewish state – was the foundational context of everything else that she said. It was her concern for the original sin of Israel’s perpetration of the Palestinian nakba in 1948, and the subsequent reinforcement of that post 1967, that distinguished her from Jonathan and David.

    When she quoted the magnificent Rabbi Wittenberg, it was in order to say that they shared the same view. (She was hardly going to quote it in order to do anything else!) Jonathan Freedland trashed her on that immediately, showing that it was he who shared the same view as Rabbi Wittenberg, and most certainly not her. She apologised. I think most people in the room believed she’d been trying to pull a fast one on that.

    The same thing happened a bit later when she misquoted Jonathan back to him. I forget what it was about, but Jonathan immediately put her straight and said they were not in agreement.

    Towards the end, there was the David Grossman/Elias Khoury bit. Jacqueline Rose said how they’d reached an impasse over 1948 at a meeting in Seville that she attended. She’d said something to Grossman about how to re-frame the discussion and that then saved the day. This time it was the chair, Ned Temko, who intervened to say that Grossman would never have needed her to tell him any such thing. Again, she immediately changed tack, saying that hadn’t been what she’d meant to imply. It seemed obvious that Ned had been correct in his completely unprecedented intervention.

    To conclude: maybe we need to get the organisers to give us their version of how it happened and who meant what. Failing that, perhaps Ned Temko?

  90. Community Member said

    I presume Mark Gardner had not read Jacqueline Rose’s response to Jonathan Freedland. Because if he had he would have been aware that she has given explanations about her comments re Wittenberg and Grossman.
    Otherwise it could be deduced that his comments were not based on any of the evidence available but rather as the usual attempt to discredit someone who challenges Mr Gardner’s view of the world.

  91. Borowski's beard said

    Just wondered what people’s opinions were on the story concerning the Edinburgh Film Festival being forced to return a donation by the Israeli embassy as a result of pressure by Ken Loach and the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Group?

    Personally I think this is a disgrace.I think its all very well to disagree with the actions of the Israeli Government and even to constructively protest against them. However this is just ridiculous. It may be understandable if she was in the IDF or the Government at the time; it may even be understandable if it had political or military undertones. But no, her only crime is being an Israeli.

    I’m sorry but if that is not singling someone out then I don’t know what is. To even borrow a term from the war, it could be seen as ‘collective punishment’. There are Russian and Chinese films that appear all the time; yet Ken has never threatened this over the Russians treatment of Checnya or the Chinese stance on Tibet.

    Why? Why is what Israel does worse than that? Why do you single them out?
    This director is even the f****** peace camp FFS!

  92. Voice Down Soutjh said

    Surely Armchair Analyst the query you have regarding Jacqueline Rose’s position on Sudan or Iran is equally applicable to Jonathan Freedland?
    Why single out Rose?
    I don’t recall Freedland saying much about these countries.
    Personally speaking I think your question is irrelevant to this debate but I at least think you should be even handed about it.

  93. Armchair Analyst said

    Well of course VDS, I want to know what Jonathan Freedland has to say on Iran and Sudan in order that I can try to guage his worldview better. And I already do know how he feels (or felt at the time of writing) about these two countries:

    Jaqueline Rose is an unknown to me on Iran and Sudan. It may be that she takes no strong position on these regimes, as is her right. But… If she’s going to demonise Israel to the point of becoming a ‘reluctant boycott supporter’ of Israeli academic institutions, I’m surely entitled to ask why she does not seem to be over concerned for boycotting institutions in the real slaughterhouse of Sudan, or for boycotting institutions in the genocidal sabre rattling and holocaust denying Iran.

  94. Voice Down South said

    I can’t possibly agree with your line of thought Armchair Analyst. You are advocating, if I have understood you properly, that before someone can comment on Israel they need to pass your test on Darfur or Iran. Why stop there?
    How about Zimbabwe or North Korea or the Taliban. And Rwanda?
    I am sure you cannot possibly mean this and you have only put this forward to stimulate debate.
    If we took you seriously, which I can’t then any criticism of any country could be ruled invalid if certain boxes are not ticked.
    It is I’m afraid a poor argument.

  95. Armchair Analyst said

    I’m not advocating any test for acceptability to comment on Israel based on an individual’s comments on third party countries. However the issue of criticism of Israel is a vexing one, as some of that criticism is necessary and reasonable, and some of that criticism is plain old fashioned anti-Semitism, or 0occasionally from the odd self-hating Jew.

    What I’m saying by way of stimulating debate and expressing my own parameters is that it is preferable to do reasonable due diligence on the critic of Israel vis-a-vis their attitude to other controversial regimes in order to make a subjective determination where that person is coming from.

    For instance, suppose I wrote to Jaqueline Rose and she hypothetically replied ‘I have absolutely nothing to say on the subject of Sudan or Iran’. Would that colour my impression of her comments on Gaza? In my case, you bet it would.

  96. Voice Down South said

    Well Armchair Analyst we are just going to have to disagree aren’t we. I think your criteria are selective and if I’m honest a bit obsessive.
    I would also like to say something to Borowski’s Beard ( not personally I may add because being up close and personal to that beard is not something I would wish even on my staunches detractors)
    I think you need to appreciate that there are a large amount of people who don’t like what Israel did in Gaza. In fact they were appalled and they think Israel is a rogue state that is out of control. Now you and I know that a number of Israelis also were appalled by what happenned but criticism of Israel is an inevitable consequence of what happenned.
    Most of these gestures are symbolic – some are unpleasant – but I think you would find if you asked around that not too many organisations would be comfortable receiving donations from the Israeli Embassy. In effect that is receiving a donation from the Israeli Government.
    I would suggest that you concentrate your efforts in persuading Jews to push for change in Israel – I hope you have read the exchange between Freedman, Hirsh, Rose and Lerman because it is illuminating – and forget about trying to convince others that Israel is no worse than many others. It is hardly a positive to say we have behaved as badly as some of the most ugly regimes on this planet. Israel has had this looming on the horizon for years. Her friends could have told you this – a military occupation that is repressive and brutal over another people that has lasted over 40 years is not going to make people like you. That is the reality and I suggest you get used to it.

  97. Tim Allon said

    Community Member: “I presume Mark Gardner had not read Jacqueline Rose’s response to Jonathan Freedland. Because if he had he would have been aware that she has given explanations about her comments re Wittenberg and Grossman.”

    Erm, no, he is disputing her version, as others have.

    “Otherwise it could be deduced that his comments were not based on any of the evidence available…”

    It’s you who appears not to have read Gardener, who starts by saying, “I was at the event on Monday.” This is a key point, and I’m not sure how you could have missed it.

    It’s reassuring that that they’re so short of support that they’re forced to misrepresent others in order to suggest the opposite.

  98. A Beitz said

    VDS I think you’re letting Ken Loach and the organisers of the Edinburgh Film Festival off far too lightly. Dealing with the latter they accepted a £300 grant so intially they had no difficulty with it. When Loach said the monies were unacceptable they the returned it. So much for freedom of expression.
    There’s some quite interesting views on Harry’s Place regarding this.

    I’ve looked at the list of sponsors. Do McGrigors, solicitors, know that they are only allowed to sponsor if they are deemed kosher by Ken Loach? What about the Caledonian Hilton? Does Mr Loach realise the Hilton Group have a history of support of the Israeli state? I see the US Consulate General are down the list. I seem to recall Mr Loach making a film about Nicaragua where the democratically elected government was overthrown by American backed Contras.

    Loach is one of those who criticised the invasion of Gaza (fair enough) and then said a rise in anti semitism was “not surprising” and “understandable”. Apart from the fact these comments don’t seem too far removed from an individual who has been the subject of controversy on this blog already let’s again substitute say Iran for Israel and Islamophobia for anti semitism. Not very nice is it? Or what about Zimbabwe for Israel and racism for anti semitism?

    A film or arts festival should be an opportunity for people from all backgrounds, beliefs and politics to come together and educate each other. If however we’re going to have Ken Loach decide what we should and shouldn’t be watching or who we should and shouldn’t take money from then the ethos has been lost.

  99. Borowski's beard said

    VDS, I’m not one of these people who shouts anti-semitism at the first sign of an anti-Israel sentiment, however what I won’t take is somebody singling out Israel for criticism when surrounded by others who are just as worthy (look at Beitz’s list).

    Furthermore when somebody is blankly in favour of boycotting “all things Israeli” until there is a ‘just peace for the Palestinians’ (who knows what that actually means), I doubling think we have a problem. I asked the person (who is a member of SPSC) I was discussing this with whether he would boycott Ilan Pappe. He was unable to give me a response. Draw your own conclusions.

    If they would boycott Ilan Pappe; well fine I may disagree with them but at least they are being consistent. However I’m 95% sure they wouldn’t. Therefore why don’t they just be open and admit that the boycott is based on politics rather than nationality. In which case they could perhaps choose their targets better than the director of an apolitical film who also happens to be a member of the peace camp. Or do you actually have to go the full hog and denounce the existence of the state before you pass their acceptability test?

  100. Reasonable said

    Why is an arts festival soliciting funding from foreign governments in the first place?
    I wouldn’t accept a donation from a government that had someone with the ideology of a Lieberman representing that country abroad as their Foreign Minister.
    I agree with VDS – the occupation of Palestinians is unacceptable, and is the main issue. Stop bleating about Ken Loach and start protesting to the Israeli Embassy. That way you will at least be bringing to the attention of the Israeli Government that you are not happy.
    Let me ask Borowski’s Beard and A Beitz if have they protested to the Israelis about the appointment of Lieberman as Foreign Minister – a man who has endorsed racist repugnant ideologies.
    If you haven’t, then I would be interested in you telling me why not.

  101. Borowski's Beard said

    Reasonable, as far as I am concerned Israel is a country that has full diplomatic relations with the UK – and so it should, and therefore should be singled out for special treatment.

    Lieberman wasn’t foreign minister in 2006 when a similar incident occured so therefore I don’t think we can deduce a direct nexus between the two. No Loach and his cronies would still have insisted on a boycott no matter who the Government was.

    Your point about Lieberman is completely besides the core issue. As it so happens I have made my disgust known to numerous Governmental agents; however my complaints aren’t going to get my anywhere. Israel is a democracy (although I’m sure some of you will disagree – if so I recommend reading the political theorist Arnold Lijphart), and therefore the only way to change Lieberman’s position is to convince the rest of the Israeli public how disgusting he is. And believe me, this is something I plan on devoting time to over the coming months.

  102. A Beitz said

    Whether I or BB have protested to the Israeli government about the appointment of Lieberman is immaterial and irrelevant. What I do doesn’t affect whether Loach or the EFF are right are wrong.If the EFF don’t want to accept monies from foreign governments as a matter of policy they are entitled to take that decision. However to my knowledge they have only ever refused money from one country.
    And Loach appears to excuse anti semitic acts describing them as “not surprising” and “understandable”. He also seems to have a difficulty with funding from only one country.
    The Scotsman is a sponsor of the EFF. As they have pointed out he didn’t threaten to boycott Cannes where there were 4 four Israeli films on view.

  103. Voice Down South said

    Nevertheless A Beitz Reasonable does raise an interesting point. Have you protested about Lieberman’s appointment or like the vast majority of anglo-Jewry have you sat on your
    ar– and said nothing? Why should Israel do anything different when we accept what they do almost without dissent?

  104. Another Voice From the South said

    These red-herring diversions posted on this blog by A Beitz and now by Borowski’s Beard, and cheered on by Armchair Analyst helps Israel not one little bit. Your arguments are peripheral to the main issue facing Jews and Israel today. The urgency to speak out for an equitable and just peace has never been more acute. Avi Shlaim sums it up so well

    How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe

    I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern time…

    This brief review of Israel’s record over the past four decades makes it difficult to resist the conclusion that it has become a rogue state with “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. A rogue state habitually violates international law, possesses weapons of mass destruction and practises terrorism – the use of violence against civilians for political purposes. Israel fulfils all of these three criteria; the cap fits and it must wear it. Israel’s real aim is not peaceful coexistence with its Palestinian neighbours but military domination.

  105. Borowski's Beard said

    Actually I thought this blog was about issues that affect the Glasgow Jewish community?

    Forgive me if I am wrong but doesn’t a proposed boycott of an Israeli film in Edinburgh affect Jews in Glasgow. You can agree or disagree with the course of action but surely it is still an interesting debate. We are forever complaining about the Rep Council or the Board of Deputies speaking on our behalf. Well here you go; this is a real issue that has got people talking (97 members of a facebook group in a day), and I for one am intersted as to what the Scottish Jews have to say about it in this independent forum.

    If not then please excuse me whilst I take my ramblings elsewhere, as obviously I have misunderstood the point of this blog.

  106. Mossad Head Office(Central Tel Aviv) said

    It was brought to our attention that someone on this website – going by the name of Borowski’s Beard was claiming contact with ” numerous Israeli Governmental Agents”
    We would like to clarify that none of our agents has had any contacts with someone by this name.
    The Mossad does not operate in this way and we take a very dim view of anyone claiming to be something that he isn’t.
    Borowski’s Beard is exceptionally lucky that he is not a Palestinian living in Gaza.

    Director General
    Tel Aviv.

  107. Borowski's Beard said

    Very funny Mossad but unless you are admin you have no idea who I am or who I speak to. Israeli governmental officials can extend to almost anyone (well at least that’s the thought process of the boycotters)!

  108. Armchair Analyst said

    I have to agree that with #104 that discussions about who is criticising Israel and what is their real agenda, is indeed peripheral to the core issue, which is Israel’s treatment of the sixty year-long festering Palestinian problem. I note that Avi Shlaim makes the following comment:

    “In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation”.

    Does Professor Shlaim really think that Hamas, having been democratically elected, will allow itself to be democratically voted out of office? I wouldn’t call Israel a democracy either, given the ineligability of 2.6 million inhabitants of the West Bank who don’t have the good fortune to have been born into the lucky Jewish sperm club, to vote in Israeli elections. So, there’s nothing to cheer about here, but Israel is apparently off the hook in the international arena for as long as Hamas holds sway in Gaza. Let’s face it, these people hate each other and it’s not getting any better after sixty plus years.

  109. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I think it is very important to understand the critics of Israel and where they are coming from. Avi Shlaim feels the need to make much of his loyal army service and the fact that he stands out from the crowd by not questioning the legitimacy of the establishment of the state. One almost gets the feeling that he would have us believe his future savaging of anything and everything Israeli was more in sorrow than in anger. Given his previous paragraph which I shall come to, one wonders the need for this extraordinary admission. I would suggest he may be trapped in the unfortunate situation that he cannot easily de-legitimise Israel pre 1967. He would then have to answer why Shlaim, loyal soldier, was so loyal. Why did Avi Shlaim not refuse to serve in the army of a rogue state? After all, even then there were a few prepared to refuse service for various reasons despite the fact that in the sixties it was the quick route to social and career suicide in Israel. The answer is that he didn’t have to refuse to serve because it was only later that it became a rogue State – or was it?

    Before telling us what a squeaky clean and loyal soldier he was, Avi Shlaim says
    “On 2 June 1948, Sir John Troutbeck wrote to the foreign secretary, Ernest Bevin, that the Americans were responsible for the creation of a gangster state headed by “an utterly unscrupulous set of leaders”. I used to think that this judgment was too harsh but Israel’s vicious assault on the people of Gaza, and the Bush administration’s complicity in this assault, have reopened the question.”

    So the loyal soldier who would never question Israel’s legitimacy pre 67 has now accepted that Israel 1948 may have been a gangster state. To me gangsters are illegitimate, hence the state would have been illegitimate. This appears to be Avi Shlaim’s method of having his cake and eating it. This is the legitimate state when it suits Shlaim’s actions and the illegitimate one to suit his arguments.

  110. Voice Down South said

    Shlaim is more than capable of speaking for himself but I would have thought that the reason he mentions his service in the IDF has nothing to do with the argument proposed by N Aronovitch.
    It is rather that he wishes to make it clear that he used to support Israel loyally. Presumably Shlaim would have been in his late teens in the mid sixties during army service.
    Is it not possible N. Aronovitch to change one’s views over time as one matures and grows older?
    Shlaim argues that the State changed after 1967 and he is not alone in thinking that. I think that also.
    The whole point of the Freedland, Rose, Hirsch and Lerman conversation is an acknowledgement that the occupation of another people has changed the State of Israel.
    Perhaps you N Aronovitch will answer the question posed on here yesterday. Have you protested about the appointment of Leberman to the Israeli Foreign Ministry or are you like others on here that prefer to indulge in diverting the conversation from the substantive issues by posting red herring diversions.

    Maybe you and Beitz and Borowski’s Beard and probably Armchair Analyst, even though he seems to have recanted slightly, will also suggest what would be a legitimate protest to Israel as to their latest treatment of the Settlement issue. If someone speaks out on this are you going to insist that they have to pass your loyalty tests. Maybe Israel will be singled out for criticism but there are not too many other countries building outposts in other peopl’s territories and colonialising their territory? I quote from today’s Haaretz editorial

    Why does an Israeli hero,( Defence Minister Barak ) who does not hesitate to attack crowded neighborhoods in Gaza, try to woo the invaders at the Migron outpost and teaches the settlers that the basic principle of crime and punishment does not apply to Jews over the Green Line?

    No one on here has yet suggested that Haaretz is a Jew hating newspaper in collaberation with the antisemites, but nothing would surprise me.

  111. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    If it was a diversion VDS, then it was of Shlaim’s choosing for it was he that started the article with his confusion of whether Israel was or wasn’t a rogue state in 1948. It was Shlaim that brought in his military service so I presume he didn’t think it diversionary but important in our understanding of where he was coming from.
    You say the state changed after 1967 and you are probably right. However, you still completely miss the point. It is Shlaim who is ambivalent about the status of the State in whose army he served.
    As for protesting about Lieberman, VDS, I have already received abuse on this blog for my opinions of Lieberman. So I’ll leave you to move on the world stage and satisfy your conscience with the grand gesture. I trust you have a signed receipt of your protest so you can wear it on your sleeve for all to see. Me? I’ll stick to the more mundane task of trying to influence my own community.

  112. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    What are my loyalty tests VHS? What on earth are you going on about?
    Shall I play your game and lump you in with all the bloggers that put words into others’ mouths then argue on the premise that they actually made the statement?

  113. Another Voice From the South said

    As it was me that intoduced Shlaim to this discussion I thought I would now follow this up.
    I reject your arguments Aronovitch. Shlaim talks about the effects of the occupation and what it has done to the State of Israel, yet on this you have nothing to say. Earlier today VDS reminded us that Israel lives in a different world where they think we don’t see the inconsistencies as to how Israel treats the Palestinians.
    Perhaps those on here who think they have some great responsibility and then desire to denounce possible racists who attack Israel or Jews would be prepared to examine the reality of life living as a Palestinian under military occupation today.
    Those who denounce people who think that they need to show support to Palestinians by supporting boycotts should maybe think what it is like to be a Palestinian academic.
    They have no freedom. Their teaching is restricted, their text books monitored and their classes interrupted by military curfews.
    If they show promise in their studies and and are offered places in universities abroad very often they are refused permission to return to their homes and families.
    True friends of Israel would be saying that this can’t go on. Only ostriches, and a high percentage of those who have blogged on here recently, keep their heads in the sand refusing to see what is happening around them.
    It was the same during the war in Gaza – there was a real drive by the Anglo-Jewish community to turn themselves into the victims of that war.
    The Freedland debate on the Guardian is highly significant.It was a serious debate about a very serious issue. Then there are others like Aronovitch who have a consistent desire to undemine the credibility of anyone that speaks out and then go silent when they are asked what stances they would have taken.

  114. Reasonable said

    Always good to hear about those that have protested against Leiberman’s appointment.
    Not all of us live in Glasgow so it would be really helpful Nachman Aronovitch if you could explain how you went about this and how you seek to influence your community. We could do with some advice in other Jewish communities throughout the UK.

  115. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    But you do, Reasonable so who are you kidding? Are you North or South of AVS. Read what I said.
    AVS, you are so good at asking the questions, aren’t you? You push your little sticker for protesting to the Embassy up everyone’s nose but when it comes to answering questions, where are you? I have come to the conclusion that you are not just an Israelphobe but indeed an Anglo-Jewryphobe and there is little to discuss because all you can say is “I reject your arguments”. So you stick to feeding your phobia off Shlaim et al and I’ll get on with living.
    In case you accuse me of confusing VDS with AVDS, no I haven’t. The confusion is intended and if there were any integrity in admin it would never have occurred.

  116. Community Member said

    I’ve watched your intervention from the sidelines today Nachman and again you are banging the same old drum. Isn’t it ironic that you manage to turn a discussion in the Guardian into a discussion about you.
    You should think about that.

  117. A Beitz said

    I don’t think it’s Nachman, myself or BB who have managed to turn a discussion in the Guardian into one about ourselves nor indeed has Nachman alone done it. What however has happened is that the discussion about criticism of Israel both by those who are, or purport to be part of the community and by those who have no links whatever to the community has been hijacked by questions as what “you” have done to protest about the appointment of Liebermann. As indicated previously I consider it an irrelevance whether we are making our protests and if so how.
    As usual of course most of the postings of this nature are coming from 2 people using about four or five pseudonyms over about eight posts and bringing no credit upon themselves in the process.

  118. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Which drum is that CM? Maybe the inability to answer questions. Yours have piled up over the past few weeks, but like your side kick, you dodge them or was it GSM who dodged them or maybe someone else because so many sound the same. I answered VDS or was it AVDS’s question about whether I had banged on the embassy door and that is the only one I felt need to answer. I’m still waiting to hear of the loyalty tests I’m involved in or will that be dodged by VDS/AVDS slipping in and out of names.
    If this is about me, it is because you resent your idols being criticised. Whoever crosses you suffers the fate of Beitz, that is, being scoffed at and rubbished incessantly and for absolutely no good reason other than gratuitous nastiness . Are you unable to deal with opposition? If it is just an Israel and Anglo-Jewry bashing blog you want, then say so and we’ll all know what we’re involved in. If it’s honest debate then I’m quite happy to discuss Shlaim’s article, that is after AVDS/VDS has dealt with my question and CM/GSM likewise. Oh yes, and there are others out there who have also presented you with questions based on your own pronouncements waiting for answers. So is it debate you want, or the world according to CM?

  119. Community Member said

    I have no idea what you are talking about. When terms are used like “anglo-Jewryphobe” and Israelphobe”, I know that its time to move the debate on because I’m not prepared to get involved in this kind of garbage.

  120. Voice Down South said

    Could mourning Israel’s independence become a crime?…it certainly could on here.

  121. Reasonable said

    Why is it irrelevant Beitz to know whether Jews here are protesting against Lieberman’s appointment?
    We should condemn all racists, those who attack Jews for being Jews, and those who attack Arabs for being Arabs. You have complained on this forum that in your opinion some anti Israel comments are really anti Jewish. Why then the reluctance to tell us whether you have complained to Israeli authorities about Lieberman?
    You can’t have it both ways.

  122. A Beitz said

    Reasonable, take a look at #102. I appreciate your attention span may have a problem with looking back 19 posts.
    Again we have this form of argument which is nonsense. It starts off with the implication that the justification of a position is dependent upon what the individual making a criticism has personally done. It then suggests that only way of the individual protesting is to the Israeli Embassy. That then becomes that a refusal to say whether I have been in touch with the Israeli Embassy means I am not protesting at all. It then extends to somehow suggesting that it is having it both ways if I haven’t protested.
    Meantime I still don’t understand why Ken Loach seems to want a boycott of Israeli money but no one else’s nor why there was no protest at Cannes by him when there were 4 Israeli films as well as his own. he seemed less keen on a boycott then. And whether he’s right or wrong is affected one iota by any communication I have or have not made with the Israeli Embassy.

  123. A Beitz said

    Sorry should be “not affected”

  124. Community Member said

    Every time someone complains the Cynical Opportunist that uses the name A Beitz pops up to jump on an imaginary bandwagon proposing blog change or reform.
    Yet again Beitz you speculate wildly at the number of people posting when you have no evidence whatsoever to support your claims. Once again you are wrong.
    Aronovitch seems to take comfort in your support and as I’ve said before that says everything. One day he’ll wake up and be mortified and truly embarrassed that he and you were soulmates. Accusations of “hero worshipping “, “side kick ” etc etc are just pathetic and demean you both. Now accept the reality, your views are not that important. I know you find this hard but that’s life so live with it.

  125. A Beitz said

    It’s a record breaker! Or is it? CM has a posting containing not one argument but complete abuse.
    Still as he’s told me before it’s not my blog so I can’t complain.

  126. Community Member said

    Given that his specialist subject this week is the curtailment of artistic or cultural freedom of expression, A Beitz’s silence regarding the attempt by Israeli police last night to prevent the opening night of a prominent Palestinian literary festival in Jerusalem says everything.

  127. A Beitz said

    Still at it. I don’t pretend to know about everything. I wasn’t aware of it. Do you know there were murders in Glasgow at the weekend? I suppose my silence on that will be taken by you to be approval. I also haven’t mentioned the attempt to stop Nakba commemorations so I suppose I approve of that also.
    I am delighted that you are able to tell me also I’m wrong about the number of posters behind several pseudonyms. I am glad you obviously have access to this information.
    Can I suggest you try you make your posts a little less personal? They would benefit from that.

  128. Community Member said

    Ok. Now you know what happened in Jerusalem would you like to tell us what you think about it?

  129. Voice Down South said

    In all probability Nachman Aronovitch was referring to me when he declared that I was not only an “Israelphobe” but also an “Anglo-Jewry phobe”.
    I would like to refer Mr Aronovitch to an article that properly explains the concept of Jewish Self-Hatred.
    I would hopefully anticipate that when he more properly understands and appreciates what these terms mean he will retract.

    I am certain that he is aquainted with the writer – Antony Lerman.

    I would particularly like to draw Mr Aronovitch’s attention to the final paragraph of the article:

    “Is it too much to hope that by revealing just how bankrupt a concept ‘Jewish self-hatred’ is, discourse among Jews on Israel and Zionism could become more productive, both for Jews themselves and for the sake of achieving justice in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Too much is currently invested in this demonising rhetoric. But if we could edge it closer to the rim of the dustbin of history, we’d be making a start.”

  130. A Beitz said

    But, CM at #124 you used your oft repeated mantra, “…your views are not that important.” So I don’t understand why you’re asking me. Also what’s the point of asking a “Cynical Opportunist”.
    Seriously I don’t really understand what your issue is with me, CM. However I don’t want to provoke further bile. If I post I get jumped upon by you. If I don’t post I am accused of going off in a huff.
    It might be as well if I cool it for a little while by not posting and avoid further unpleasantness.

  131. Community Member said

    I actually think you do know what the issue is Mr Beitz. Part of my concern when you post is that you always claim to be the injured party – it is only you that is insulted and only you that is jumped on. I don’t believe the evidence supports this.
    I also think that whenever anyone has an issue with what is written here on this blog you are always a willing accomplice.
    I objected strongly to what you wrote about Tony Lerman because I thought it was untrue and unfair. There is no point going over this – I accept we won’t agree on this one, but as I’m sure you recognise I think it was well out of order. As I’m sure you will recognise, like you, I am prepared to defend people that I think deserve to be defended.
    There is much more that I could add and I recognise that I am sure you will have plenty of grouses against what I have written. Some of your criticisms may even be valid. Some but not all.
    I accept that we have different views on how we see the world around us. No doubt we have some views in common.
    I am more than happy to discuss this with you – I don’t think we are giving away any secrets by acknowledging that we know where to find each other. Treat this as an olive branch. I hope you accept it and make contact – perhaps we can find some common ground over a pint.

  132. A Beitz said

    Olive branch gratefully accepted. Will be in touch privately.

  133. Community Member said

    Good article by Seth Freedman in today’s Guardian.
    Well worth reading

  134. Voice Down South said

    I note Nachman Aronovitch has gone strangely silent. Has he not read the article that I suggested would broaden his knowledge of the subject and educate him sufficiently so that he will not use phrases he dos not understand.

  135. Reasonable said

    Aronovitch on the spot. This should be interesting.

  136. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I retract nothing; in fact I’m sorry I wasn’t more strident in what I said. If you need to refer to Lerman before you can think so be it but don’t put words or concepts into my mouth. Oh, yes, while I’m here, I wasn’t going to bother, but you asked what I was doing while you were off to the pillar box to post your faceless little letter of protest to the Embassy. Remember when the Ambassador was here and you and your ilk showed the community how you felt by doing your famous disappearing act. I was there. I was the one that way laid the ambassador and face to face made it clear that not all Glasgow Jews rubber stamp the Israeli actions. When I looked over my shoulder for support, guess what, I was on my own. No support. Possibly you were on your way home from the pillar box whispering to yourself “what a good boy am I”.
    Also, what was the loyalty test I was involved in? Can’t remember which name you used for that one.
    How about answering instead of trying to be such a martyr. Then, maybe, I’ll tell you of my other confrontations.
    When you’ve done all that why don’t you ask CM if he’s protested to the Embassy. Despite our recent disagreement I have too much respect for him that he would tell anything but the truth. If he chooses not to answer as is his right,don’t keep shouting at him as is your habit. Wouldn’t it be choice if CM had to join Beitz, BB and Nachman in the sin bin.

  137. John Grisham said

    Which ambassador are you talking about? Were you at Edlin’s for dinner after all? You didn’t tell us that at the time did you.

  138. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    Another name! How pathetic and how lacking in integrity. But then nothing has changed. Just shows how lost you are when Lerman has no suitable quote.

  139. Community Member said

    As you have decided to draw me into your latest squabble I thnk I should point out that it is absolutely no badge of honour to have turned up to hear the ambassador justify Israel’s war in Lebanon in 2006. I presume that this is the meeting you are talking about. Meetings like this that were sold as solidarity with Israel were anything but – they were meetings to support Israel’s actions in going to war.
    My opinion was then and still is now that it was a very bad call to have attended such a solidarity meeting. That war was wrong from the very beginning. If you were looking over your shoulder for support then you were misguided because you knew that those who were against this war were not there because they had made it very clear to you that they were not going to have any part in this.
    I would also remind you that a community meeting was arranged with a distinguished Israeli academic by those you were looking to for support. A cross section of the community were invited to hear a cogent, reasoned analysis from Professor Itzhak Galnoor who said why the war had been a massive mistake.
    So, if we are talking about solidarity with Israel, lets at least examine which was the more appropriate response. Yours Nachman to turn up to hear the ambassador justify the war and tell us how Israel had no option but to bomb Lebanon to pulp or mine and others to invite someone who could provide an intelligent analysis that explained what was going on and why it was wrong.
    Please don’t claim the moral highground. You did what you felt was right but I did, and so did others, what our consciences told us to.

  140. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    I claim no ground, high or low. I just attempt to answer as honestly as I can the questions put before me. It would be helpful if you and your chameleon accomplice did the same. As for appropriate responses, you are entitled to choose what is best for yourself. To decide for others is nothing short of impudence.

  141. Community Member said

    I’m afraid you have tried to claim the moral highground because you claimed it was something worthwhile or good to have attended the meeting with the ambassador.
    I do recall that this meeting was addressed by David Links and praised the disreputable organisation known as the Scottish Friends of Israel.
    I think you should reread what you posted earlier. It was you that derided others for not being with you at the meeting with the ambassador in support of that war. Now you claim that is impudence to say that I am deciding for others when I say that in my opinion attending such a rally was no badge of honour. You claim you were a lonely person at that rally. Has it occurred to you why you felt that way?
    It was not as you claim a ” famous disappearing act “. It was acting according to my principles and beliefs that made me stay away. Why did you go?

  142. Voice Down South said

    I will step aside from your latest argument Mr Aronovitch. What I will tell you though is that you seem to think that I live in your community in Glasgow. I do not. I live down south. I have never questionned your identity but I think you seem to know who I am. I can assure you I do not know you other than from what I have ascertained from your postings and you certainly do not know me.
    As for the loyalty tests I referred to it was an observation that you and others castigate those who criticise Israel. Very often this involves challenging the credentials of those who have decided to speak up.

  143. Nachman Aaronovitch said

    You know, I would never abuse info my ‘friends’ have given me however tempting. My “principles and beliefs” stop me. I don’t like to betray a trust so will leave you and chameleon in each other’s arms. Its your blog and you certainly deserve each other. No reply necessary, there is nothing you can say that I would accept at face value.

  144. Community Member said

    Nachman, my children have a game that they love to play called ” Guess Who “.
    They love it. The next time they want to play we’ll invite you round and you can enjoy playing something that actually produces a winner.
    Your attempts to guess identities on the blog is fruitless.
    You had a go at my decision not to go to a meeting with the Israeli ambassador to support the war in Lebanon, almost 3 years ago.
    I have asked you to tell me why you went.
    You have accused me of impudence for replying that I don’t think it was a badge of honour, as you suggested, to attend that event.
    You have accused others of Israelphobe and Anglo-Jewryphobe.
    What next Nachman?

  145. Tim Allon said

    Let me get this straight. The only legitimate route to claim dissent from Israeli policy is to have sent a letter of protest to the embassy, but to protest in person to the ambassador is dishonourable. On the other hand, talking with Hamas is cool.

    You people are quite mad.

  146. A Candid Friend said

    I was reminded of this when I was looking at recent posts. This article seems very relevant to your current discussion and may be useful for all concerned.
    Written by Professor Brian Klug of Oxford University, and a founder member of Independent Jewish Voices it is titled – A Time to Speak Out-
    Rethinking Jewish Identity and Solidarity with Israel.

  147. Community Member said

    In yesterday’s Haaretz Gideon Levy’s article- How to talk to a right winger
    is an excellent summary about the effects of Israel continuning to rule over the Palestinians.

    His questions to right wingers are not new but increasingly relevant.

    Those that don’t believe Israel needs to take urgent steps to find a solution are playing with fire and as Levy writes, they have no answers.
    It may be hard to swallow but is there a real alternative but to start talking to Hamas now? Who can forget Rabin’s face as he shook hands with Arafat on the White House lawn? However, he realised that he had to do it.

    Levy writes that the solutions proposed by right wingers include ” voluntary transfer ” and he asks what it will look like when ” the minority rules the majority…and in the outside world such a country is called an apartheid state. In Israel they call it the one-state solution. Once it was out of bounds, only the radical left in both nations dared to suggest it. Now it is being proposed by the Israeli right.”

    The difference is that the right want one state with no vote for the majority.
    Anyone who cares about Israel should start speaking out now.

  148. Israeli said

    The Israeli people recently voted for a right wing government that cares aboput Israeli security more than Palestinian human rights. Quire right too.

  149. Armchair Analyst said

    Regarding some recent correspondence here, I side with Nachman in that it is vastly preferable to take the opportunity to attend a very distasteful meeting involving the Israeli Ambassador and be a lonely voice speaking out in protest than not to attend at all. What does the second approach gain you except an easy way out?

  150. Community Member said

    Everyone had the right to do what they wanted regarding that rally in support of the war in Lebanon.
    I didn’t go because not only did I think it was distasteful, inappropriate and morally suspect, I also thought it would send the completely wrong message back to Israel. The ambassador shows up in diaspora communities and reports back to his government in Jerusalem that there was no dissent and the audience listened to his message respectfully and were appreciate to be told the ” facts ” not the usual
    ” media spin “. That is exactly how these rallies are reported back – diaspora Jewry is right behind us.
    As I have said previously, I preferred with others to arrange for the community to hear an alternative viewpoint. Itzhak Galnoor of the Hebrew University came to Glasgow and very clearly explained why he thought this war was a mistake and was wrong.
    This meeting was organised under no banner – no peace now header whatsoever. I had resigned from the national committe of Peace Now because I thought it was wrong of the chairperson to have attended a pro war rally in London, unfurl a Peace Now banner, without consulting with his committee whether this was appropriate.
    This period was British Friends of Peace Now’s darkest hour. It split the movement and many of those who had been part of the protest movement walked away in disgust at what was happening.
    Incidentally, Glasgow was always independent and acted independently from British Peace Now.
    I remember telling their national vice chairman, who came from Glasgow, that I thought it wholly inappropriate to write letters to national newspapers in support of the war and if I recall it correctly, which I am sure I have, I was told there were beneficial consequences for the movement to have such a high profile during the war.
    I was appalled at this cynical approach.
    British Friends of Peace Now have never recovered from those days.
    So having resigned from the national executive of the British Peace Now movement I was not going to turn up and give comfort to the ambassador.
    Lets also get something clear. I would not have had the opportunity of telling him that I thought Israel was making a huge mistake. I would not have been allowed to ask a question to make my protest clear. This was a rally in support of Israel, not an opportunity to ask searching questions.
    The act of attending was not an act of protest. It may have been something else and others can explain those reasons and why they wanted to go. I don’t judge them badly for deciding to attend. That was their choice. However, I made mine and have never regretted opting out of the consensual view that somehow we were supporting Israel at war and not endorsing any political view.
    So, Armchair Analyst, you now have the background. I disagree that it was “vastly preferable ” to have been at the rally. In my view it was “vastly preferable” to have stayed away and arranged the visit of Galnoor.

  151. A Beitz said

    I can understand both positions taken here. However I tend to side with Nachman. The problem with CM’s position is that his no show would not have been noticed whilst the attendance of a few dissenters might at least have made it clear that the war was not supported by all. Silence by those opposed to the war could be consrued as consent. Having a speaker who was criticalwould probably not have impinged upon the ambassador.
    I supported the war at the time but in retrospect have far more doubts.

  152. Community Member said

    Firstly, I didn’t not show so that I would be noticed – as I have already said I thought it was distasteful, inappropriate and morally suspect and would send the completely wrong message.
    It is not correct either to say that the presence of a dissenters would have shown that the war was not supported by all. No one in Glasgow had spoken out so how would anyone have known who or were not dissenters. The ambassador was not there to take questions or listen – he was there to tell the community that the war was justified.
    Most people who went to this rally I presume went to show solidarity with Israel. Israel was represented at that meeting by their government’s representative in the UK – their ambassador.
    I also happen to think that when Lebanese children were innocent victims of war – killed and maimed by Israeli shells – it sends out the completely wrong message to the community in Scotland to say we show solidarity with Israel at this time.
    Thankfully, during the most recent war in Gaza, those who organised the first rally, did not try and organise other.
    Sometimes, it is better to say and do nothing.
    I’m sorry but I think the rally was wrong.
    I think it was conceived as they all are for the wrong reasons, and by playing on people’s emotions, they manage to get people there to supposedly say they support Israel.
    I can support Israel, and do, and will do in many ways, but I will not stand up and support actions that are morally reprehensible.

  153. Armchair Analyst said

    It seems to me that one could go to the rally for Israel and voice vocal dissent, and also organise the public talk by Galnoor too.

    It is also not clear where the bloggers involved stand on the subject of the recent ‘wars’ in Lebanon and Gaza. Do those who object to those wars actually object to the wars themselves, or to the extent of the methods used that involved such loss of civilian lives? If you object entirely to the actual war/wars, please explain your position, and what you think was a preferable way for the Israelis to deal with those situations..

    I take the position that Israeli arrogance and intransigence helped create both Hezbollah and Hamas. Could it be that Israel got what it wished for, implacable but for the present eminently defeatable enemies?

  154. Voice Down South said

    It is theoretically possible that one could go to the rally and voice dissent, but the likelihood is that if one did so they would have been ushered out of the door.
    I think Mr Aronovitch should tell us a little more. Did he really “waylaid the ambassador and face to face make it clear that not all Glasgow Jews rubber stamp Israeli actions” or does this just look good and in retrospect has he fantasised his protest and magnified his heroism out of all proportion.
    If he really did heckle the ambassador or stop him to protest on the way out there must be some witness to this. If that’s the case I will apologise and accept that Nachman Aronovitch deserves great credit. Something somewhere tells me that if this had happened we all would know about it. It would be folklore. Had anyone heard of the night Aronovitch cut down the ambassador?

  155. Nigel Allon said

    VDS, I have already been encouraged to divert my efforts to another forum where open debate is more acceptable. Before assuming my new pseudonym, a parting word. I neither deserve nor seek credit of any kind. No, I didn’t heckle. Maybe I’m not that brave as it would have been 500 – 1 against; or maybe it would have been counter productive. And yes, there was at least one witness to the conversation with the Ambassador as he was about to leave the meeting. I may be misguided; I may be weak; I may lack those high principles you all aspire to; but VDS, I am not nor ever have been accused of being a liar.

  156. Voice Down South said

    I’m assuming that Nigel Allon is Nachman Aronovitch or maybe Nachman Aronovitch is Nigel Allon.
    I didn’t accuse Nachman Aronovitch of lying – I suggested he was a fantasist.
    I think Nachman will be better off blogging in his more right wing natural home – Harry’s Place.
    His right wing polemics will be more appreciated there. Mr Aronovitch’s attempt to claim that he was the real radical – the man who stood up to the ambassador – has now been exposed just a little. One witness to his confrontation with the ambassador and the ambassador was on his way out.
    I take at vace value what I read here and your posts in recent weeks Mr Aronovitch make it quite clear to me that you are no left wing radical.
    What I don’t understand is why you wanted to try and show that you were.
    Goodbye Mr Aronovitch, or Nigel Allon, or whatever.
    I think you have been badly wounded and for attacking honourable guys like Shlaim and Lerman you have been brought down a peg or two.

  157. A Beitz said

    VDS, what is the difference between a liar and a fantasist? The latter seems to me to be a slightly more euphemistic way of describing the former. In any event which part of the postings concerned constitute either?

    Why do you get pleasure from chasing decent bloggers from this forum? Nachman and I have agreed on a number of points and disagreed on others but his posts are always worth reading and your apparent glee at his going will not I suspect be shared by many of those who read this blog.

  158. A Beitz said

    And a view from Gary Sinyor re Ken Loach’s claims.

  159. Community Member said

    Sometimes it is time to move on. As I’m sure Nachman would agree sometimes my posts are worth reading, sometimes he will think I am talking nonsense.
    No one is always right. Sometimes we get it wrong. I make mistakes sometimes, as do you Beitz and Nachman too.
    No one has the power to chase anyone else off this blog Beitz. If it were possible I’m sure me and maybe even you would have disappeared a long time ago.
    I hope Nachman returns.
    Lets move on.

  160. Community Member said

    I doubt whether Tony Blair really believes what he told the Foreign Affairs Committee at Westminster today.
    Hamas are not just going to wake up one day and say they recognise Israel. There will have to be some sort of reciprocal and simultaneous announcement whereby Israel accepts that Hamas will then be a partner in negotiations.
    Will Obama force the issue?

  161. Armchair Analyst said

    CM, the Guardian article on Tony Blair’s comments got me thinking… This reciprocal and simultaneous announcement by Israel and Hamas you mention will almost certainly only happen if the two seniour financial and military sponsors, the US and Iran, reach a prior broad agreement that involves pulling all aid from the two protagonists if they don’t play ball. What odds would William King give on that one?

  162. A Beitz said

    Both sides would have to go some. Israel should explicitly recognise the 2 state solution at least to the extent of being the basis for any peace treaty. So would Hamas. They’d also have to agree to amend their Charter within a forseeable period.
    It shouldn’t really be that hard for either party since at this stage they’d be giving nothing away but a principle. If Hamas were clever they’d do this unilaterally since it would leave Israel as a pariah if they refused to speak. Having said that Hamas itself is a bunch of disparate types much like the Irish republican movement ranging from those who’d be happy with a 2 state solution peacefully achieved to the ubers who see any form of negotiation predicated upon a Jewish presence in the ME as infidelity and a sell out.

  163. Community Member said

    So Obama has said it again the settlements are to stop. The big question is will he ensure that the Israelis do as they are told?

  164. Gary from Giffnock said

    Does nothing ever happen in this community anymore?
    Someone must know of something worth sharing?
    Any good sermons yesterday? Are any of our Rabbis the next Obama?
    Is our local MP still a Brown loyalist?
    The Government Minister that resigned, Caroline Flint, accused the Prime Minister of using women as window dressing and being patronising and not treating women equally.
    Does our community treat women properly?
    All those opinionated people on this blog must have something to say on that one.
    So I await your responses, A Beitz, Community Member, Armchair Analyst Nachman Aronovitch, Borowski’s Beard and all the others.
    Can women chair any communal organisation in the Glasgow Jewish Community?

  165. Community Member said

    I thought Jim Murphy was a Bair loyalist not a Brown loyalist.
    Many communal organisations have a very good record recently with womwn. Jeish Care has a women chair and chief executive. Cosgrove had a women chief executive. UJIA has a women in charge of communal education.
    I think the organisations most suspect are the Orthodox Shuls.
    Has there ever been a woman chair of an Orthodox Shul in Glasgow?

  166. Community Member said

    Excellent article on the settlement issue by Seth Freedman in today’s Guardian

  167. Community Member said

    It would appear that the Rep Council have got it badly wrong again. However, this time ” Enjoy ” the organisation of Orthodox Shuls have messed up badly as well.
    An email was sent out at lunchtime today by the Rep Council Office advertising an event being organised by the Glasgow Zionist Federation with Enjoy and the Israel Information Office.
    Alan Dershowitz’s right wing polemical film – ” The Case for Israel ” will be shown followed by a Q & A on Hasbara with the Scottish Friends of Israel.

    Obviously, the Rep Council believes such an event is worthy of support by advertising the meeting to their database. Have the current executive of the Rep Council forgotten the embarassment caused to this community by SFI’s distribution of material that could have been construed as inciting racism not that long ago? Or is SFI now Kosher again? An organisation that brought great shame to this community is obviously supported again by the Council but it really does warrant serious and searching questions to examine how this group could ever be involved in Hasbara given their record.
    It is not the Representative Council’s remit to get involved in pro Israel advocacy and Enjoy have surely strayed well beyond their remit by being involved and sponsoring this as well.
    This event is not worthy of support.
    SFI do not deserve to be supported – they were and should continue to be a pariah organisation.
    What is happening to this community when mainstream organisations like the Rep Council and Enjoy can support this nonsense? Isn’t it ironic that when a Scottish Government Minister is coming to an event with our youth to talk about racism and stereotyping that an organisation such as SFI is now deemed to be Kosher again?
    Mr Ewing ought to be talking to the adult community as well because it seems organisations like the Rep Council have learned nothing about unacceptable views within.

  168. Armchair Analyst said

    I’m delighted to hear that there will be a Q&A session following Sunday night’s film. This is after all the explanation of the position of the brilliant Alan Dershowitz.

    However, in his very next book entitled “The Case for Peace” Dershowitz starts out using a biblical passage in the introduction (something he didn’t do in his prior book “The Case for Israel”) which demonstrates Dershowitz willingness as a moderate to “reason out” God’s divine plan for Israel. In his book “The Case for Peace” he gives his reasons for a Palestinian state, a divided Jerusalem, a Jew-free West Bank , a Jew-free Gaza, and the right-of-return of some Palestinians into the Jewish state of Israel instead of a new state of Palestine.

    It’ll certainly liven up the previously rather predicatable proceedings if someone in attendance brings this up and asks that each of the organisers state whether they concur with Alan, and if not, pray why are they showing his film?

  169. A Beitz said

    I haven’t seen either film nor are they in my 1000 things to do before I die list. However whilst I have no difficulty with Jewish communal organisations maintaining a broadly supportive stance on the concept of Israel it seems to me it is not the job of the shuls or the Rep Council to get involved in propoganda which is what this film is.

    I would however exonerate the Rep Council with one caveat. It is my understanding they simply forwarded on the information about this film and in the email they do tell people to contact the organisers for further details. I trust if GJEF or any other communal body make a similar request for information about an event to be comunicated to the GJRC mailing list they will do that. That seems to me to be perfectly acceptable. If however it is only what might be termed approved events that are the subject of mailings then this one should be regarded as partisan and inappropriate.

    ENJOY are different. Why are they getting involved in this? The Orthodox shuls have a membership ranging from right wing Zionists to anti Zionists. Religious organisations should not be involving themselves in political propoganda. That should be left to the ZF and to the various other organisations whose raison d’etre is to support Israel. ENJOY would serve us much better by looking at streamlining the number of shuls and minyanim in Glasgow so that in the 21st century we at long last have a proactive rather than reactive response to dwindling numbers.

  170. Giffnock Shul Member said

    I agree with you Mr Beitz. Why should a synagogue be associated with Scottish Friends of Israel?
    That organisation were bad apples and I do not want to have any links to them whatsoever.

  171. Armchair Analyst said

    Here’s another (much needed) slant on the recent Cairo Obamafest:

  172. Onlooker said

    I think it is safe to assume that the Rep Council will distribute material that they like from organisations that they approve of.
    Organisations that they don’t like or don’t approve of will not get their material distributed other than by using the communal diary.
    There is nothing wrong with this at all. Is there anyone out there that still believed the Rep Council is a representative body rather than just another partisan organisation promoting their own view of the world.
    By distributing material through their office they are sending a clear message that in their opinion the Scottish Friends of Israel are Kosher. They are also associating themselves with right wing propaganda.
    Godd luck to you Mr Mendelson, Mr Isaacs and Mr Sneader. I never thought you were anything different.
    The best thing about this is that no one gives a second thought to what you guys say about anything anymore .

  173. Community Member said

    Seth Freedman must have been thinking about Glasgow when he wrote his latest piece for the Guardian explaining the difference between evil nationalists in the UK and Israel.
    I would urge those involved in the planning of next Thursday’s “Hasbara” event to think again. Why Enjoy and the Rep Council want to be tainted with the Scottish Friends of Israel only they know but anyone else should stay away.
    As Freedman says, in the UK, extreme nationalism is a threat, in Israel it is in power.
    Maybe Mr Memdelson and the Orthodox Rabbis behind Enjoy will answer this question as they are so concerned with Hasbara – what is the bigger threat to our values and our children – the awful fact that the BNP has won a couple of seats or the fact that our Jewish State has a foreign minister who is a fascist?

    That won’t concern the Scottish Friends of Israel and their supporters one bit, but why taint Enjoy and the Rep Council by promoting the same event with that shameful lot?

  174. Caught in the Middle(Freedland , Not ME) said

    Oh Jonathan why don’t you just admit that Netanyahu is at it. I accept that you acknowledge that he uttered the words ” Palestinian State, like a rotten tooth pulled without anaesthesia ” but something holds you back from declaring that the Israelis are trying to kid everyone on that they are interested in a peace deal.

  175. Armchair Analyst said

    Of course Netanyahu is at it. I’m really surprised at the naivete of Jonathan Freedland.

    Israel has no interest in a peace deal that involves for starters the dismantling of the vast network of Apartheid style settlements in the West Bank. Therefore it’s utter nonsense to conclude that Netanyahu is not at it.

  176. Jews against racism said

    I wouldn’t go to the Case for Israel event in Clarkston Shul. It would be a waste of a good egg to use it on the Scottish Friends of Israel.

  177. Community Member said

    Excellent article by Tony Lerman in today’s Guardian, Comment is Free.
    The image of Miliband cosying up to Lieberman is not pleasant.

  178. Voice Down South said

    Compare Lerman’s article to Jonathan Freedland’s. Freedland sits on the fence while Lerman is quite clear where he stands.
    Is Judaism more important than Israel or without Israel would Judaism be finished?

  179. Joy said

    Fortunately Scottish Friends of Israel is highly respected and valued throughout the Hasbara world, both in the UK and internationally, so they do not need to take heed of the vicious campaign and snide remarks that have been directed at them by a group of people mysteriously renaming themselves the Glasgow Educational Forum.
    Not much education in some of the unfounded and totally inaccurate and ignorant attacks on SFI. I am proud to have played a part in their foundation and to continue to support them in any way possible.

  180. Wolfie Gross Mann said

    Shome mishtake shurely, Joy?

  181. Jews Against Racism said

    The Glasgow Jewish Community ought to think of the Scottish Friends of Israel in the same way as good British citizens show their contempt for the BNP.
    They, SFI, were an embarassment and it is only the misgiuded attempt by Kenny Davidson of the Glasgow ZF and the Orthodox Shuls group, Enjoy, to rehabilitate this discredited, defunct group of losers that has given them notoriety yet again.
    Davidson should know better than to be part of the same gang,but obviously he doesn’t.
    The Glasgow Jewish Community has nothing to learn whatsoever from these people and it is an appalling lack of judgement that will allow them to be given a platform again.
    We know the Rep Council should have had nothing to do with this either but by sending out emails promoting it Philip Mendelson, Edward Isaacs and Graham Sneader have reminded us why their judgement is so bad and why the Rep Council are not taken seriously anymore.
    Boycott the event please – don’t be associated with this bunch.

  182. SFI supporter said

    Well said Joy. SFI have been doing their best to promote Israel in Scotland and stand up to all the lies,, half truths, anti-zionist attacks and anti-semitic innuendos in our country. It is unbelievable that in trying to put forward a strong counter argument to our enemies and win over more friends in the general population that they suffer continual abuse from within our own population.

    It may not always be agreeable to everyone but surely there is merit in solidatory. Unfortunately there are a small minority who seem to frequent this blog that chose to be antagonistic, abusive and down right rude to others on a regular basis. This is neither helpful or educational for our community and really is more a reflection on the intolerance of the individual perpertrators than a slight on the great work SFI have been trying to do. In spite of this it is wonderful to see the success that SFI has achieved in promoting its goals consructively.

    Finally, for “Jews against Racism” to promote a boycott of a Jewish communal events sounds like democracy and freedom of speech have become blighted within Glasgow Jewry. Whilst I know we will not always agree with each other all the time, I am ashamed that some think that attacking the rights of others to promote their views is reprehensible. If you personally don’t want to attend then thats your choice. To advocate others do the same smacks is beyond reproach. If you are also part of the GJEF organisation committee posting as an individual then you bring shame on yourself as well as your organisation.

    Whoever you are, you should reconsider and retract immediately and admit your error to restore any credibility you may once have had.

  183. Joy said

    Why are the worst enemies of the Jews other Jews.
    What an outrageous thing to talk about comparing SFI having contempt for the SFI in the same way as we view the BNP
    I notice all these venomous beings on this site hide behind pseudonyms, and they rightly should be ashamed to identify themselves with such bigotted and contemptible views.
    Bravo to those in the Rep Council who can see who the reliable and true friends of the community are.
    I sincerely hope the community leadership will sideline those who seek to divide the community in this way, and who malign consicentious and sincere people who are doing a great job for Israel. So called Jews against Racism should rename themselves Jews against israel as that is what they clearly are.

  184. Jews Against Racism said

    SFI are a dangerous organisation that causes Israel’s image great harm.
    As has been said before, friends like these Israel can well do without.
    There is no merit whatsoever in our community showing solidarity with people whose views are repugnant.
    Some views are simply unacceptable and it is irrelevant whether those holding these views are Jewish, Christian or Moslem. People like Joy who think that the SFI are commendable must have a truly warped and distorted moral code.
    I stand by my call that decent people should have stayed away and yes I think we should show as little tolerance for SFI as we should for the BNP. I retract nothing.

  185. SFI Supporter said

    Using emotive terms like dangerous and repugant, warped and distorted is language which helps you not one bit JAR.

    Answer the question raised… what right have you got to call for a boycott of another Jewish organisation whose views you disagree with.

    You are small minded and utterly confused. Only a fool would not see that. If you chose to retract nothing I fear you have more problems than at first thought.

    Can I respectfully suggest that you need some therapy JAR. I am sure many in the community can offer you professional assistance at a good rate. It would be worth sorting out your warped sense of perspective as soon as possible before you do irrepairable harm

  186. Jews against racism said

    I have every right to ask others to boycott SFI. The fact that SFI is a Jewish organisation does not protect them from the same scrutiny as any other organisation in the wider world. If Jewish people want to criticise, and hold to account, organisations outside our community that have repugnant views then we must show the same disdain and abhorence for organisations within our community that have a clear record of behaving in a menner that brought our community into disrepute. Attempts to rehabilitate that image need to be countered.
    It is essential that Jews show no tolerance towards racism. Its not me SFI spporter that needs therapy – it is you and your fellow SFI travellers who serve Israel badly and do not even appreciate why your behaviour was reprehensible.

  187. Armchair Analyst said

    SFI Supporter, you make a point about what you consider to be unacceptable emotive terms used by JAR. And that is your inalienable democratic right.

    You may have inadvertantly skipped over post #183, which contained the language “Venomous beings with bigoted and contemptible views” in describing participants on this site that Joy seemingly does not share her ideology with.

    I’m sure that you’ll do the right thing in now reviewing post #183 and concur on the record here with my assessment that JAR is not the only candidate for “small minded and utterly confused person who should seek professional assistance.”

  188. SFI Supporter said

    AA, yes I fully agree post #183 uses language which does nobody any favours either. However, I do also recognize the venomous nature of JAR’s attacks. Whether the views of JAR are bigotted is questionable, however I firmly believe that his all for a boycott is both anti democratic and reprehensible. Do you not concur?

    On the subsequent response from JAR to continue to justify his position I think he continues to miss the point. Open debate, scrutiny, accountability and criticism are all well and good. Calling for a boycott and using emotive references to far right extremist parties is completely beyond the pail.

    I thought professional assistance may have helped but it is no patently obvious that therapy alone might not work. Any further suggestions as to how to support JAR’s rehabilitation back into our community are welcome!

  189. Jews Against Racism said

    Anyone who witnessed the diatribe spouted by a leading member of SFI at a debate in Glasgow a few years ago would be quite comfortable with my suggestion that SFI should be treated with the same contempt as the BNP.
    Being Jewish, SFI supporter, doesn’t give you legitimacy if the views spouted are poisonous.
    The facts are quite clear – the language and tone used by SFI to describe Palestinians is not that different to how the BNP describes non whites in Britain.
    This is not a debate about political allegiances – it is a debate about moral values and human decency.

  190. SFI Supporter said

    JAR you continue to spout the same nonsense. You really are a very sad character who seems to lack the capacity to read and understand a simple point. In a democracy it is reasonable to chose to have differing views.

    You however choose to misrepresent other people’s views. You also choose to put words into other people’s mouths and continue to denegrate a truly honorable group with outrageous comparison to extremist anti semitic organizations.

    Seems like you are exhibiting all the same traits and using similar rhetoric that a group masquerading as GZO used a couple of years ago. Thankfully that organisation is now defunct after being broadly shunned by the community and rejected as a bunch of leftie extremists. Seems like you would have fitted in well with that bunch of no-hopers.

    SFI on the other hand continues to grow stronger within the community, whilst building support and positively promoting Israel during very difficult times. They are definately to be applauded for continued good work and resillience in the face of the poisonous attacks from yourself and other minorities within our community.

  191. Observer said

    Interesting post SFI supporter. Could you please explain how SFI is growing stronger in this community. How do you measure this?

  192. sfi supporter said

    Observer, I think the great work that SFI does speaks for itself, don’t you? It needs no help from me to quantify their success.

  193. Observer said

    I think you should explain how you measure your growing strength. You talk about ” great work ” but I have no idea who SFI are or what you are about.
    How about an explanation please?

  194. Armchair Analyst said

    SFI, your post #188 posits that JAR was calling for a ‘boycott’ of an SFI sponsored event. The word boycott implies a high level of planning and organisation by fair numbers of people to implement such a fatwa. I doubt that JAR was doing anything more than suggesting at a personal level that people ‘vote with their feet’ and simply not show up at the SFI/Dershowitz event.

    Your post #190 is mystifying. JAR $ Co. are labeled as ‘minorities’ in the community, implying that SFI is representative of the ‘majority’? They are now a laughing stock in many quarters, especially amongst those who actually started out ‘supporting’ them. And they did it to themselves.

    I join Observer in asking you once again how you justify your statement that SFI ‘continues to grow stronger within the community’.

    Your post #192 is ridiculous to the point of being satirical. If this is not the case, lean on just a few from all those in the community who admire SFI’s ‘great work’ to place their posts on this blog telling us specifically what they most admire about SFI. This should be good…

  195. Active Analyst said

    I think SFI supporter is spot on. GZO were discredited 2 years ago. SFI continues to flourish. Armchair Analyst, Observer and Jews against Racism are just in denial and unable to recognise the merits of SFI. They seem to think that abuse wins over substance. Great pity.

  196. Observer said

    Come on, answer the question. How do you know your strenth in the community? GZO have been out of communal life for about 15 years so stop diverting the issues SFI supporters and explain the rationale behind your organisation and how you measure your support. Otherwise you are just hot air and the charge of being similar to the BNP will need to be looked at in more detail.
    Now answer the question – you told us you were growing in strength SFI supporter.
    How do you know that?

  197. A Beitz said

    I don’t recall GZO being discredited 2 years ago. Come to that I don’t remember any activity from them for several years.

    I did however recall that SFI did make what could at its kindest be described as “errors” some years ago. I was told however that the organisation had accepted it had made mistakes and went to have a look at its website.

    It is always a bad idea when much of your front page is negative, contentious and years out of date.

    So in red capital letters we have “Anti Zionism= Anti Semitism” Really? That might depend at very least upon your definition of Zionism but it is extremely questionable as well as being negative.

    We have it being asked on the same page if the Scottish TUC is institutionally racist. That is followed up by 2 links to articles about anti semitism followed by a link to an article about Islam asking if it is part of the problem or solution and referring to “Moslem violence”. Would it be acceptable if a Palestinian site referred to Jewish violence?

    We then have a reference to a visit by Jose Mourinho as a peace envoy. It is probably the one positive article on the page. Unfortunately it refers to “This week Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho”. Now pardon me for being picky Chelsea are now 3 coaches past Mourinho.

    SFI are clearly now of little present relevance. Their website is unpleasant, negative and out of date.

    Joy may be proud of them but whether on the left or right this is pretty poor quality stuff.

  198. SFI supporter said

    Observer, no diversion intended. Just an observation that JAR seems to be trotting out the same rhetoric as the GZO leftie hacks who are now defunct. Furthermore you suggest I am a member of SFI when that is not the case. I happen to agree with their views and support their right to stand up for what they believe in without constant barracking from the likes of JAR.

    Mr Beitz, your memory is obviously short. I remember GZO very well and they appeared to be a group of self opinionated lefie hacks that couldn’t cut it pedalling their peace now nonsense so they reformed as GZO. A cynical move to try and fool the community but it fooled no one. The reality is they had zero support and disappeared into oblivion where they belonged. A name change made no difference for these losers and thankfully we hear little of them any more. Thank G-d.

    Now your analysis of the SFI website highlights some inconsistenices. But when you start being chirlish about Jose Morinho’s position it is clear you are no longer being objective and continue to have an axe to grind. Disappointing that you choose to lambast an organisation that continues to stand up for the Zionist ideal in the face of extreme provocation from all sides… and most of all from within our midst…very sad

  199. shul man said

    re #194 Armchair Analyst.

    I too am proud to consider myself an SFI supporter. They are not ashamed to defend Israel in the face of mounting world criticism. They promote a fair and lasting peace not just words and spin. I applaud that.

  200. Joy said

    The more I read of these bitter and often totally ill-informed postings I can’t help wondering how this can call itself the Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum
    There isn’t much sign of being educated in some of the rantings and ill conceived criticism of SFI who do a great job speaking up for Israel and keeping people informed
    As I said in my first posting SFI commands international respect and is recognised as being at the forefront in the fight against anti Israel bias and misinformation, something those who are their critics are experts at disseminating. SFI are linked to most of the top organisations who recognise their value and the sterling work they do.
    Isn’t it time the Rep Council stopped the ridicule that this site and the organisation’s name brings on the whole community?
    These are the Peace Now-nicks who tried unsuccessfully to blackball SFI before and they now hide behind a total misnomer. Having failed once they try to hide behind a respectable name which bears no relationship to the lack of educated information they seek to spread
    As far as I have seen they have nothing positive to bring to the table, just virtually libellous and biased criticism of others, particularly SFI
    When will those who are posting here reveal their true identities so we can know who those are who are trying to divide the community and sow hatred and unfounded allegations of racism.

  201. Armchair Analyst said

    Sadly I have to agree with Joy that SFI commands ‘international respect’. With Netanyahu in power and Lieberman with a cabinet post, there are a large number of racist Jews and loony evangelicals who do admire this ideology. So while Joy is right, those around the globe who admire the likes of SFI do not themeselves command ‘international respect’ outside their own groupings.

    Joy likes to see her name in print in the national media. She has put her foot in her mouth on many occasions. She and SFI have a mutual admiration society with a claque of hangers-on and camp followers, none of whom are ever going to be accused of being the sharpest knives in the box. Israel has not in recent memory had top drawer spokespersons, certainly not since Abba Eban, who in my humble opinion would be horrified to observe what is being said and done in Israel’s name these days.

    I salute those on this forum, you know who you sre, who have shown admirable restraint over the past several years by usually not responding to the regular distasteful rantings of Joy/SFI in the letters pages of the national press. The little Napoleons of SFI and Joy hate the blog because they don’t have it all their own way any more, either as self-appointed or the increasingly irrelevant Rep. Council appointed ‘spokespersons’ of the community.

    let those who

  202. Joy said

    Armchair Analyst really has come out of the closet.
    Insulting rants about me personally really do not belong on an “educational forum”
    Fortunately my recent recognition has resulted in a heartwarming outpouring of affection that has been truly overwhelming, so the barbs of one “humble” anonymous bigot really do not bother me.
    I’m amused about “regular rantings” in the national press!!
    I should be so lucky.
    I don’t hate the blog – It is not worthy of such strong emotion – I simply despair that there are people like Armchair Analyst who hide behind some ridiculous pseudonyms to protect themselves from public derision, who want to insult individuals and damage the community.
    Of course those of you “who know who you” know each other because you came en bloc from the original sad grouping of Peace Now when you did reveal your identities and were actually the Scottish Anti Israel Solidarity Campaign.
    Please be assured that your personal insults have no impact and simply show you up for what you are.
    As far as I am concerned this pointless exchange is now over. Feel free to continue to insult me without having to concern yourselves with any response as I have wasted enough time on worthless discussion.

  203. Roy said

    Excellent post Joy. You have caputured the essence of our communal problem. The loony lefties in our midst are like a bad apple in the barrel rotting our communal fabric to the core.

    Peasce now did the same before.They strangely morphed into GZO. I think there were only about three people involved in each. They were all talk and no trousers. Now GJEF through the medium of this blog is adopting the same extremist, intolerant views. The same lefie lunatics are running this asylum. We all know a leopard never changes its spots.

    I too call on the rep council to get involved. Thy should assess whether GJEF brings any credit to our community. They should censure those involved and issue sanctions if agreed. I would recommend GJEF get kicked off the communal diary for a year unless they change their ways.

  204. Community Member said

    Those that call for the Rep Council to take action against GJEF don’t understand that the Rep Council have no power to do anything at all. They are led by people who have no clout whatsoever and are not taken seriously by anyone other than themselves ( and possibly SFI) which just about sums it up.
    Those that claim that GJEF is some sort of spin off from Peace Now or GZO are simply wrong. This argument has been peddled before but some of the members and founders of GJEF have never been members of either of these groups and have never supported that ideology. So, I suggest SFI try again and find a more sophisticated argument to justify why people across the political spectrum, yes across the political spectrum, had no time for their views or methodology or tactics.
    Maybe also, Joy will confirm if she is related to the Joy who wrote that shockingly distasteful letter to the Herald in the middle of the Tsunami horror trying to score some minor point about Israeli humanitarian aid. Thankfully that Joy doesn’t live here because that was possibly the lowest and most inept attempt at Hasbara by SFI and their friends and sympathisers.
    Maybe the community should be reminded why SFI are not good friends of Israel but rather a stain on this community’s good name.
    Can anyone find Ruth Wishat’s article in the Herald about SFI?

  205. Neutral said

    As someone who has no interest in SFI and find their views generally repugnant

    I do take issue with Community Member’s attempt to distance himself from GZO and Peace Now. It maybe convenient for him to suggest that some of his new found cohorts didn’t subscribe to the doctronies of the old organisations. It maybe convenient to suggest that there are no simiarlities between GZO, Peace Now and GJEF.

    It is clear to all who once knew and disliked these organisation what the similaries appear to be. The evidence of the discussion being pedalled here and supported by continual postings by Tony Lerman, and links to the Guardian coupled with the constant lampooning of the Rep Council, Sir Ephraim, Mark Gardner, SFI, CST and Paul Edlin inidicates a style and approach we are all too familar with.

    GJEF is a busted flush CM. Just look to see if the spots of this GJEF leopard are any diffent from those on the carcases of GZO and Peace Now. You will not be surprised at the result.

  206. Jews Against Racism said

    Very pleased that ” neutral ” finds the views of SFI generally repugnant.
    Could you please be more specific so that I can see where we hold common ground.

  207. Neutral said

    JAR, I dont think that SFI are worth really engaging in dialogue over. I see them as a small group of hacks who continue to believe that Israel should be defended at all costs and trotting out the tired concept of antizionism = antisemitism and the paranoia associated with that.

    However, I am much more concerned about the GJEF faction who ridicule all who disagree with their views on this blog and continue to lambast the establishment at every opportunity. This appears cowardly and unnecessary and should be called to account as a sickness in our midst.

    So hopefully JAR we can both recognise wrong on both side. Community member is a great example of a contributor who consistently oversteps the mark. Can we both accept that as common ground?

  208. Jews Against Racism said

    No I’m afraid we can’t. There is no comparison whatsoever between those who have indulged in spreading poison like SFI and Community Member who is one of several contributors to this blog who have highlighted communal issues that deserve to be debated and discussed.
    The establishment gave SFI a platform last week and they deserve to be held to account over this just as they were a few years ago when a group called Concerned Citizens brought to the community’s attention the material that was being distributed by SFI.
    SFI should be treated as a pariah organisation. If you agree with that Neutral then we might be able to begin a dialogue.
    Some like GJEF, others don’t. That is normal. GJEF are not the issue this time. Its that horrible organisation known as Scottish Friends of Israel.

  209. A Beitz said

    #198 SFIS, I think the web page and the stuff about Mourinho is an excellent example of why, whatever you think of some of the views expressed by SFI, they are amateurish and ineffective. For a start unless you are going to update your front page at least weekly it is unwise to refer to something as having happened this week. To have stuff on your front page which bears to represent the present when it is several years out of date is again poor. And before you look for similar examples on this blog it is not here for hasbarah purposes.
    I agree with Neutral that CM does go over the top at times and I have made it clear on this blog. However CM does not claim to represent the community which unfortunately is not the impression given of SFI by them and some of their supporters.

  210. Community Member said

    Mr Beitz,I’m afraid we might have to disagree again. A discussion about the Scottish Friends of Israel has evolved into a discussion on my blog behaviour. For the record, I don’t believe I have very often gone over the top. I am not perfect, have made mistakes, like I am sure you have too. However, on balance I believe I have commented about communal affairs fairly.
    Anyone can disagree with my opinions, like I can disagree with yours, that’s what it is all about.
    Neutral is not neutral. Scottish Friends of Israel are not only not good at what they do ,like you have highlighted, they act and think in a manner that if others commented about Jews, we would be all be up in arms.It doesn’t matter whether they claim to represent themselves or this community – they should be exposed for what they are. The fact that other communal organisations think SFI are worthy of being promoted, is the more serious issue. Do these organisations think the same or do they not think?

  211. Neutral said

    Mr Beitz, I agree with your assessment of SFI. They are a pretty shoddy lot. Not sure they claim to represent the community though.

    CM, your blog behaviour is fair game for discussion. You are as much an extremist on the left as SFI are on the right of the political divide. That we can live with. Your constant snide remarks and spiteful attacks on a vast array of characters trying to serve our community with distinction are wholly unfair and unworthy of someone with your obvious talents.

    Can you please be more specific about your mistakes or where you have “gone over the top” so I can see where we hold common ground?

  212. Armchair Analyst said

    Neutral and CM, I’ll be watching this poker hand you’re both playing with interest…

    How’s Bibi doing this time around? See what Uri Avneri has to say…

  213. Community Member said

    OK neutral tell us the vast array of characters that are serving this community with distinction that have been unfairly treated on this blog and we’ll look at them one by one. Because someone holds office or has a title doesn’t merit respect – it has to be earned.

    Now tell me Neutral – what a misleading name that is – why am I a left wing extremist? What views have I posted that are extreme? I don’t think I am even that left wing but compared to some in this community I accept the complement.

  214. neutral said

    CM, that is a pretty pointless suggestion. You know as well as I do, that on past form you will want to villify and castigate any member serving the community that I care to mention. That is precisely your issue. You want me to suggest so you can issue some derisory and unedifying comments in response. The only thing that surprises me is that you need me to mention their names first. Usually you just stick the boot in without any provocation.

    Let me ask you to do something much more constructive. Can you name five people in our representative organisations that you would hold up as positive role models as community representatives in the last five years?

    Your politics are pretty transparent. I wouldn’t have thought Netanyahu was on your XMAS card list. You read the guardian more thoroughly than is probably healthy and you are a deciple of Tony Lerman. Fairly conclusive evidence if you ask me.

    Now instead of shying away from the orginal question – “what mistakes you have made” and “when have you gone over the top”, could you provide a response?

  215. Tim Allon said


    Good luck to you on getting a straight answer from C. Member. My recent experience here is that he considers it a clever debating technique to ignore questions directed at him, and to deflect them with more questions. It’s hard to know exactly what he thinks about any specific issue, other than what can be extrapolated generally by his incessant and vacuous endorsements of Tony Lerman, Gidon Levy and Seth Freedman.

    Community Member doesn’t consider himself “that left wing”, and in that he’s surely correct. I think his endorsement of Lerman in underplaying antisemitism and blaming other Jews for antisemitism would rightly be considered reactionary, although depressingly, these positions are now the norm from the liberal left to the far left. However, Community Member does employ “right wing” as a self-explanatory denunciation of anything he disagrees with, and I think you’d be hard pushed to find him critical of anyone he might consider to his left.

    “Those that claim that GJEF is some sort of spin off from Peace Now or GZO are simply wrong. This argument has been peddled before but some of the members and founders of GJEF have never been members of either of these groups and have never supported that ideology.”

    Really? Well, of this broad base of founders, who are the prime movers setting the agenda and making the principal contribution to this blog? One interpretation could be that the other founders are foolishly allowing themselves to be used as fig leaves for an alliance between Lermanists(!) and anti-Zionists. It’s rather hard to tell, as contributing GJEF members don’t have the courage of their convictions to identify themselves.

    I was of the understanding that at least one founding member was hounded out, for having the temerity to express views that disagreed with some members of this supposedly broad-based group. Again, we don’t really know, because the active members prefer the safety of anonymity.

    I think it perfectly reasonable that bloggers choose anonymity, but no one should take seriously any defence of GJEF as some sort of broad-based group, when its members are not identifiable on its own blog. You can’t have it both ways, pointing to the publicly-named members as evidence that GJEF is broad-based, when GJEF’s most visible contribution to the community’s politics is largely anonymous.

    Until GJEF decides that its named members, instead of using multiple pseudonyms, be accountable for what they write on GJEF’s own blog, then anonymous claims that GJEF is broad-based should be received with extreme scepticism. I speculate that such accountability would be unacceptable to the more active members, because it would give the lie to the claim that GJEF really is broad-based, and this claim is central to GJEF’s credibility, and therefore, to the credibility of the members who are actually running it.

    Perhaps a GJEF member would like to state, for the record, who is running what, how editorial decisions are made at the blog, and who is going to ensure that GJEF members are not using multiple pseudonyms that would undermine the credibility of everyone involved at GJEF.

  216. neutral said

    Appreciate your comments on CM debating style. However, you tend to lose the plot as you ramble on about GJEF and its inner workings.

    A few points to think about:-

    1) Anonymous postings are part and parcel of most blogs. | haven’t seen one “official blog post” by GJEF other than a very few by Admin when it appears merited. They post as individuals like everyone else I assume.

    2) GJEF and editorial control?? Do me a favour. I think you have been watching too much big brother. People can post what they like. I enjoy that and so should you.

    3) GJEF can run their business as they see fit. Why should they have to disclose to you who is doing what. Frankly its none of your business.

    4)As to why members leave and why others join GJEF that is not for you or I to comment. You seem to have the inside track on this but whether you are correct or not is of absolutely no consequence to anyone outside of the affected parties. I can only assume you enjoy engaging in idle gossip and rumour mongering. However, it serves no purpose for me.

    5) You either like the blog or you don’t. I think its great and promotes open and honest debate. However, whilst I am calling CM to account on his style, I think you need to look at yours too and assess where your undoubted resentment has stemmed from.

    As to whether it is broad based, that is an open question, but not sure it is terribly relevant. They are not trying to represent anyone elses views. So whats the problem if they are all lefties or not.

    I am just happy to hold Community Member to account for his postings and style. All your other nonsense relating to GJEF is an irrelvance. Whether CM and GJEF are related one can only speculate.

    On the broader question of what has GJEF done, I certainly have enjoyed many of their meetings. I firmly believe they have acheived a level of debate and engagement of the community which is to be applauded. May they live long and prosper.

  217. Community Member said

    What a lot of nonsense from start to finish Tim Allon. I really can’t be bothered answering unsubstantiated allegations that would provide you with some credibility for asking the questions in the first place.
    Notwithstanding that I am not prepared to debate with you point by point it is a fact as far as I am aware that 3 of the 5 members of GJEF have never been members of Peace Now or GZO. No decisions are taken without full consultation between all members and opinions or posts on the blog are not official pronouncements on behalf of GJEF.
    No founder member of GJEF was hounded out – he chose to leave. That is his business and GJEF’s, but organisations evolve over time and pursue different directions. However, once again, you can speculate all you like but it is nothing to do with you or this discussion.
    If you don’t think that is an adequate explanation, then too bad, its all you are going to get.
    The blog is only one part of GJEF’s activities. Communal education through meetings is another. Perhaps Mr Allon you will quickly tell us any other communal organisation that has organised 17 public meetings on a variety of subjects in the past 30 months.
    It is ridiculous when looking at the content of GJEF since it was founded to claim there is a link to Peace Now or GZO. Very few of the meetins have even been about Israel.
    So a little bit of advice for you Mr Allon. Do your homework properly and get over the fact that some people may wish to read Tony Lerman’s views on this blog. If you don’t then don’t read them but stop castigating others because it actually stimulates debate and that is the purpose of this blog.

    In reply to ” Neutral ” I think that to ask for five people in our representative organisations – I presume you are implying that the Rep Council or Scojec are representative ( I don’t believe they are ) is stretching things way to far. No I don’t think that I could come up with anything like that number, so come on neutral tell us who you think are or were good role models in these organisations and we’ll debate it further.

  218. UP Front said

    Delighted that you have put Tim Allon firmly in his place Neutral. Long overdue that one.
    I think though you are it and the biggest mistake Community Member has made on this blog is to take you seriously. You don’t seem to like anything. SFI are hopeless, so is Tony Lerman.Now you like the blog. My guess is that you are not too far away from someone who posted under the name reasonable a few weeks ago and used football analogies to give marks out of ten.
    Can you contribute something of substance Neutral instead of trying to find good in anonymous communal leaders. I don’t think you could come up with two names either so Community Member is right to challenge you to deliver the goods on that one.
    Lets have a serious discussion – the election of a first Jewish speaker to the House of Commons kind of dampens down the claims of those who claim that antisemitism is raging throughout the UK. Community Member got a lot of criticism for saying that he thought the threats were exaggerated but he might even be right there as well.

  219. neutral said

    Up Front, I certainly don’t know of any contribution by reasonable as you suggest.
    The only football analogy to paraphrase that well known terracing chant… “Are you Community Member in disguise?!”

    So lets assume until proved wrong that you are one and the same. I will therefore give one response to 217/218 and save my keyboard.

    My nominations for the community awards for excellence are:-

    Kenneth Collins – services to Jewish Acadamia in Glasgow and rep council
    Walter Sneader – services to interfaith relations and involvement in rep council
    Dianna Wolfson – services to education, interfaith relations and rep council
    Malcom Livingstone – services in support of community trust
    Burial Society People – anyone who is involved with that organisation deserves utmost credit
    Adam Berkley – services to UJIA and continuing to support those less fortunate in Israel and around the world
    Albert Tankel – services to Jewish Care and the elderly in our community
    Rabbi Rubin – continued inspiration to all in our community who seek religious and spiritual uplift.
    Rabbi Bamberger – services to nervous parents of 7 day old baby boys like myself

    I am sure there are plenty others of note that deserve a mention. I have provided you with a good starter for 10ish.

    So, I accepted your challenge CM/Up Front. Over to you.

  220. Tim Allon said


    1. As I’ve already stated, I have no problem with blog anonymity per se. However, there’s an obvious contradiction between GJEF, the publicly visible organisation, which relies on its members broad base for its credibility, and this blog, the tone of which is set by a couple of regular commenters, who represent one extreme of our community, and whose views are generally articulated through personal and anonymous attacks. I think it matters whether those attacks are being made by the blog’s proprieters, or by the blog’s administrators, or whether these are just the views of unrelated individuals. That information would tell you something important about the nature and purpose of GJEF and of the blog.

    2. As for editorial control, I was referring to the posts, and not the comments. For example, “Must Jews Always See Themselves as Victims?” is what I would consider a loaded and disgusting question. You may or may not agree, but neither I, nor presumably you, have the administrative privilege to start such a “debate”. You will not find a headline article by Melanie Phillips here. Fine, but the reason is because of the blog’s de facto editorial policy.

    3. Of course GJEF can run itself as it sees fit, but you’re confusing that right with legitimate criticism of how it is run. If GJEF members are using the blog to indulge their own vendettas, then this goes against the organisation’s aims. If GJEF members are using multiple pseudonyms to make their points, it seriously detracts from the “honest debate” that you say you appreciate, and that the blog is supposedly here to serve. That this is happening undermines the credibility of GJEF and its members through their acceptance of such dishonest practice.

    4. It is entirely apt, when discussing the political make up GJEF, to talk about members being forced out, when anonymous commenters – who may or may not be GJEF members – are making statements about the supposed inclusiveness of GJEF. Again, it would be highly relevant to know whether or not the commenters here are neutral observers, or those accused defending themselves.

    5. I have to disagree strongly with you regarding your assessment of this blog. Whilst I wholeheartedly endorse the stated aims of the blog, I think the reality of the blog as a whole is well characterised by the criticisms you’ve levelled at Community Member specifically. I find the blog, generally speaking, to be nasty, personal and divisive, and the general level of debate is laughably poor. Whilst I disagree with you, I would commend this blog if considered remarks such as yours were not the rare exception, notwithstanding your comment about my “undoubted resentment”, which can be explained adequately for the reasons stated above.

    I’ve not had the fortune to attend a GJEF event as I’ve not been based in Glasgow for a few years. I have no criticism of that aspect of GJEF.

    My concern is that GJEF’s members, having eschewed accountability for the blog as a whole, or for what individual GJEF members promulgate here, are allowing GJEF to evolve in one particular direction that they may not necessarily agree with, whilst providing credibility for those pushing their own particular agenda. This is of particular importance if GJEF grows as an alternative communalist power base, and is perceived by government as being a representative Jewish body. And that’s another reason why who is setting GJEF’s agenda is something that should rightly concern everyone in the community.

  221. neutral said


    1)Personally, I don’t care who posts as long as it is fair, reasonable and constructive. If you accept that individuals post and not groups, then their affiation is irrelevent. Only point of interest is the content

    2)The titles of the blog postings are irrelevant. As there is often no discussion about the topic that is raised. What you are probably asking for and would prefer is a forum / community for people to create topics and others responding. This is actually not really a traditional blog and has evolved into a single discussion forum. Maybe the admin should look at this one and chose a more appropriate vehicle. Alternatively you / other body in community can create their own. It continues to surprise me that noone else has had the foresight to do this.

    3,4) Disagree, and think politics and internal makeup of GJEF is irrelevant and dull

    5) Obviously your entitled to you own view. Agree there are some posters who tend to go over the top however, I tend to like the blog and feel it is a worthwhile addition to our community

    Whilst I agree GJEF clearly run and manage the blog, the blog is a vehicle for anyone who may choose to post. So if you dont like the discussion topic, you can always begin others or choose not to read. If you dont like the format/ structure – start your own. It takes about 10mins to setup and get running.

  222. Community Member said

    So neutral, you have come up with names but have changed the competition from 5 people in our representative organisations who are positive role models, to community awards of excellence, which is something entirely different. You have broadened it to include any communal organisation – you obviously got stuck when trying to find 5 names involved in the Rep Council or Scojec. There are many people who do great work in this community. Many of them do so without needing publicity and your stamp of approval. However, to produce a list such as this is totally pointless. Some of the people on your list do good work, others are over rated and have actually done harm.

    And no I’m not Up Front so you have got another assumption wrong.

    Finally, Tim Allon really should find something else to worry about. His incessant nitpicking about minute details regarding the policies and make up of GJEF and are of little interest. I really find Mr Allon’s obsessions quite funny. He thinks the level of debate on this blog is ” nasty, personal and divisive and the general level of debate is laughably poor. ” He also confirms that he has not been to a GJEF event and has not lived in Glasgow for years. Why then bother coming on so often? If you don’t like it go away and blog elsewhere where you might enjoy it better. You don’t have to come on here Mr Allon. Its optional.

    It is rather interesting when both Neutral and Tim Allon call for constructive debate on the blog that they choose to ignore the most topical point made on here in the last few days of relevance to many more than the stuff recently posted. That is the election of a Jewish speaker to the House of Commons – (Up Front 218)
    Nothing about that from either of you. Your definition of constructive is a discussion about what you want with opinions that you like. Anything else is unacceptable.
    Lets get back to talking about real issues – not silly popularity contests or award ceremonies. I think Up Front is correct in pointing out that the election of Bercow is something significant and that those that claim Jews are under massive threat of attack should take note that this is the first time the House of Commons has elected someone of the Jewish faith to that position.
    At the very least we should acknowledge that this is something very positive.

  223. neutral said

    CM, again you choose to manipulate words when you are stuffed. The competition was.. .name 5 people who have served our community with distiction. I did and you decide to change the rules.

    You are upfront…and no amount of protesting will serve to change my opinion. It is completely transparent to anyone with half a brain.

    A jewish man being elected as speaker. Completely irrelevant. He never stood on a Jewish mandate so why would we care that the boy did well. Maybe his mother will kwell but no reason for anyone else to get excited.

    You are obviously feeling the heat CM and just want a diversion. Nice try,… try again 🙂

  224. Joy said

    Could we stop feeding the myth that the newly elected Speaker is Jewish
    His father was Jewish and his mother not so he is NOT JEWISH, and has made it very clear that he has no interest in having any Jewish link
    We have enough real problems without inventing some

  225. Tim Allon said

    You think John Bercow’s Jewishness is significant because you hold the fatuous view that it somehow counts against the case for antisemitism increasingly becoming a problem in the UK; as though Jewish social advance is the only measure. Do you know nothing about Jewish history?

    If you don’t like it go away and blog elsewhere where you might enjoy it better. You don’t have to come on here Mr Allon.

    There are a few answers that come to mind, but the most germane one is that you personally solicited my contribution.

  226. Armchair Analyst said

    Seems that Joy is right on this one. Even before this revelation regarding his parentage, I seriously doubted that his appointment as speaker was even remotely relevant the subject of anti-Semitism in the UK.

  227. Community Member said

    Come on Joy tell us if you are related to the Joy who wrote that letter to the Herald in the middle of the Tsunami horror, praising Israel for giving humanitarian aid. I suspect you are and like the Scottish Friends of Israel, friends like you Israel could do better without.
    David Cameron acknowledged that John Bercow was the first person of the Jewish Faith to be elected as speaker of the House of Commons. John Bercow did not correct him but accepted the complement.
    Of course its relevant – Jewish people have never had it so good within the UK. I remember growing up as a child and several golf clubs and tennis clubs were not options because they would not accept Jews as members. This is no longer acceptable. We will never eradicate antisemitism – there will always be people who don’t like Jews – but we should acknowledge that now it is completely unacceptable to discriminate against Jews openly.
    Welcome the change and wake up to the fact that Jews can reach any position that they aspire to. Thats exactly as it should be. We have enemies, but there are very many good people out there who don’t care whether someone is Jewish, Christian, Hindu or Moslem.

  228. Tim Allon said

    When you ignore or explain away all the evidence for antisemitism, and only consider the evidence for their not being evidence, then, yes, things look rosy.

    You forgot to mention Avram Grant’s tenure as Chelsea manager, and Israel’s Eurovision victories in 1978, 1979 and 1998 in the case for the prosecution.

    Some might argue that a more reliable metric would be antisemitic attacks, which are at record levels since the CST began recording them in 1984. Personally, I think that those are misleading, because you’re far more likely to be attacked if you’re identifiably Jewish, and the vast majority of Jews in the UK are not.

    It’s not just about law, or simple metrics. You will find antisemitism in people’s words and in their attitudes. You’ll find it in descriptions of “Zionists” that are indistinguishable from classical antisemitism.

    It’s nebulous stuff, and you’ll be hard pushed to find any two people who can completely agree on a definition of antisemitism. Nobody is claiming that Jews are discriminated against legally or prevented from advancing materially or socially, and we’ve already had an openly Jewish Tory leader. However, I note that you’ve been completely silent about the fact that the UCU has been trying desperately to find ways around the Race Relations Act that has frustrated its antisemitic activities.

    Even if you happened to be right, and antisemitism is on the wane, what is clear is that by suggesting the election of a Jewish Speaker, who practically no one knew was Jewish, is evidence that antisemitism is not really a problem, then you place yourself in the camp of those with an ideological predisposition to denying antisemitism. That’s more than complacency, and you can only be an obstacle in the fight against antisemitism.

  229. Tim Allon said

    Ouch! That first sentence got a bit garbled!

    “When you ignore or explain away all the evidence for antisemitism, and only consider the evidence for their not being antisemititm, then, yes, things look rosy.

  230. Joy said

    If Community Member wants to call John Bercow Jewish when he is not it is just another manifestation of his delusions
    David Camneron was wrong in attributing Jewish ness to him In case community member is not aware of the facts anyone not born of a Jewish mother is not Jewish and I am quite certain John Bercow did not perceive being called Jewish as a compliment (note correct spelling) particularly as he has absolutely no links to anything within the Jewish community.

    I haven’t noticed anyone owning up to the lies told about Scottish Friends of Israel that resulted in an unequivocal apology in the Jewish Telegraph. But then bending the truth has never been a problem for people with extremist and bigotted views.

  231. Concerned Citizen said

    The editor of the Jewish Telegraph panicked and made a clot of himself by apologising to Scottish Friends of Israel. Anyone with half a brain understood that what had been written did not merit an apology. SFI are and were a horrible organisation that embarassed the Glasgow Jewish Community – as you did too in the Herald.

  232. Buckingham Palace said

    Isn’t it fantastic that it is possible in Britain today to receive an honour from HER Majesty for services rendered to the Israeli Government. Tell us more Joy.

  233. A Beitz said

    Go on Joy put up the article from the JT and then tell us where the “lies” are. My recollection was anyone who read and understood the article would be quite clear that it was not being suggested that SFI were anti semitic but that if the word “Palestinians” was to be substituted by “Jews” in their literature there would be howls about stereotying and antisemitism.
    I take it therefore you don’t associate yourself with the admission by some in SFI that some of their stuff was a mistake and you also don’t consider that the criticisms of SFI made by the then President of the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council were justified? Or do you, to use your choice phrase, consider him to be a person with “extremist and bigotted views”?

  234. Come Clean said

    Could you elaborate Mr A Beitz who told you that some in SFI admitted that some of their stuff was a mistake. Was this said to you in a private capacity or was it a public admission of contrition?

  235. Community Member said

    So Joy, according to today’s JC, John Bercow had a Bar Mitzvah. Would you like to reconsider your statement that he is not Jewish?

  236. Joy said

    I am happy to retract my statement, although I was told his mother was not Jewish and that he resists any contact with anything Jewish now.
    Unlike some people who post here I am happy to admit it if I have made a wrong claim and we will wait to see if any of his future actions give us a clue to how Jewish he is or wants to be.

    With regard to some recent postings by A Beitz ( how apt the name is since that is exactly what he or she is), I had vowed I would not respond any more to the rantings and false allegations on this unfortunate blog
    But the personal attacks on me are something that need an answer
    How snide to make the comment about my MBE which I was so proud and pleased to receive for my “serivces to the Greater Manchester Community”
    A Beitz knows absolutely nothing about me for him to make the objectional comment that I was honoured by the Queen “for services to Israel”
    I hope even those who post on this blog who clearly are highly critical of me, and who have every right to hold whatever opinion about me they like, will dissociate themselves from this unforgivable and despicable insult
    Perhaps 24 years as a magistrate, 49 years working for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, 37 years working with the Combined Charity Card shops and selling MS Christmas cards, being chairman of governors of a special needs college, being a governor of a local primary school for nearly 24 years, raising funds for Victims of Terror, being a former Trustee of Manchester Jewish Museum, and
    serving on the Liaison Group of the Centre for Jewish Studies at Manchester University, might be just some of the reasons why so many people have greeted my award with such enthusiasm.
    A Beitz really sinks to the lowest of the low with his or her snide posting, but what else would you expect.
    I will be posting the apology that the JT published when I can access it and I would also challenge other remarks on the blog which claim the SFI “admitted they were wrong” a total figment of the poster’s imagination.

    A Beitz claims “I was told however that the organisation had accepted it had made mistakes and went to have a look at its website”. # 197). I would clarify that SFI did not accept it had made mistakes on its website – but did have a look at the allegations – and made it perfectly clear it found them to be false and malicious.

    As to the allegation of “So in red capital letters we have “Anti Zionism= Anti Semitism”. # 197. There is no such headline on the SFI website front page – but there is a heading “Anti-Zionism = Racism”, an entirely different statement!

    Once again A Beitz makes false unsubstantiated claims which can be easlily knocked down by the true facts
    But true facts seem to be something that many bloggers on this site show no regard for.

    I am sure A Beitz will not have the guts to apologise to me for the outrageous slur on me, not that I would have been ashamed to have received the award for my services to the Jewish community in general and to Israel in particular,
    but fortunately I have the goodwill messages of literally hundreds of peoplewho are clearly pleased for me, which make any barb from someone like him or her totally meaningless.
    In future I will try to keep to my resolution not to sink to the level of answering people who I would wish to have no contact with.

  237. Joy said

    Apologies to A Beitz
    It was someone idiotically calling themself Buckingham Palace who made the remark about my MBE
    My other comments remain valid and I do not accept there was any admission by SFI that any of their material was a “mistake” as alleged by A Beitz
    As far as criticism of the SFI by a former president of the Rep Council that was cleverly orchestrated and fanned by the then PeaceNowniks who were so intent on damning Israel and the SFI and many of whom have now reappeared with hidden identities on this blog

    Knowing him as I do, there is no way the editor of the JT “panics” nor did he have any reason to, He was just setting the record straight and recording that he had been mislead by false and malicious misinformation.
    To Community Member, it is friends like you that Israel can do without, not me.
    And as for your view that Jewish people have never had it so good, how does that line up with the huge increase of antisemitic incidents in the UK or are you on another planet
    The only thing I dissociate myself from is the nonsensical and unfounded criticism of SFI, an organisation which I have already said is widely respected not just in the UK by in many places around the world.

  238. Joy said

    As promised, here is the quote from the Jewish Telegraph
    It is an une

  239. Joy said

    As promised, here is the quote from the Jewish Telegraph
    It is an uneqivocal apology to SFI and a detailed comment on how Concernred Citizens misquoted SFI to continue their unjustified pillorying of them at the time.
    I wonder if A Beitz ever goes to the websites of MPACUK or the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and sees what outpourings of hate they contain.
    SFI are exactly what their name tells us, FRIENDS OF ISRAEL, so not surprisingly their excellent website their informative and much accessed website carries out that role extremely well without resorting to the type of tactics the other two sites I mention above.

    On February 25, 2005, we published an article by four “Concerned Citizens” entitled “SFI driving community down dangerous road”. The article contained the following statements: “No Arab should feel comfortable living with Jews”, “the Jews are a manufactured people” and “it is the duty of Jews to kill Palestinians”, which were ascribed to the website of the Scottish Friends of Israel.
    The Jewish Telegraph accepts that the statements, as they appear on the SFI website, are quotations originating from Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian spokespersons. Those statements were misquoted by the authors of the article, with the term ‘Jew’ replaced by ‘Arabs’ or ‘Palestinians’ and vice versa, and were inaccurately represented in our article as the views of the SFI.
    We regret that we, and consequently our readers, were misled and apologise for embarrassment caused to members of the SFI”.

    Taking things out of context and then compounding it by trying to credit derogatory remarks to the wrong source is a despicable tactic, which fortunately, in this case, was easily and comprehensibvely exposed. At the tiem it had the fortunate outcome of opening pmany people’s eyes to the agenda of the so-called “Concerned Citizens”

    Don’t we have enough problems in our communities, not to waste time and energy on publicly vilifying our bona fide organisations?

    Other than to respond to further personal insults, I look forward to keeping off this site as I would prefer to spend my time in positive action for Israel and the many other causes I support. And I can hear A Beitz, Buckingham Palace, Concerned Citizen and Community Member among others saying “Thank goodness for that” so I’ll say it for them to avoid the need of them having to post it!!

  240. Buckingham Palace said

    Have I touched a raw nerve Joy? A bit of humility my dear lady would be welcome. Experience, Her Majesty, would tell us, would indicate that those who do excellent voluntary work often keep it quiet and do not need to tell the world what wonderful work they do.
    I hope that the well known SFI supporter, David Links, see letters page of recent edition of the Jewish Chronicle, will not protest about Joy’s award as well.
    Her Majesty really can’t be bothered with this nonsense. She couldn’t really care less who gets what.
    Mr David Links will NOT be taken on as an advisor to the Palace.

  241. Tim Allon said

    I’ve no stake in this argument about SFI, but they have been called pariahs and likened to the BNP, which are serious charges that need substantiating. Community Member implied that the charges were correct, and suggested he might provide illumination, but so far, nothing.

    “Buckingham Palace” (yet another pseudonym for this site’s admin?) made some snide comments about “services for Israel”, prompting Joy to detail her various contributions to society at large. His rejoinder is to attack her for blowing her own trumpet. It takes a special kind of idiot not to realise how transparently spiteful and unfair that is.

    I suspect I’ve little in common, politically, with SFI, and for all I know it could be a far right hate group, but so far no one has backed up any claim with an argument that hasn’t been refuted, and no one has apologised to Joy. This being just another day at the GJEF forum, I don’t anticipate either eventuality, but I’ll be pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong.

  242. A Beitz said

    Joy, so few postings so many inaccuracies. Between suggesting I had criticised your award (I tend to go along with mix of Napoleon’s, “Men are led by toys” and Michael Winner’s comments about MBE’s) to your dogmatic assertion re John Bercow I trust when you engage in hasbara you take a little more care. I also asked you to put up the JT article. You in fact put up the apology.

    The article and the apology itself simply show that when the terminology used by SFI is conflated it is offensive and conflation shouldn’t be required on this.

    The former President of the Glasgow Jewish representative Council stated the organisation admitted mistakes had been made. Or perhaps you think it was fair comment when a prominent member of SFI referred to their Jewish critics as Kapos and from recollection posted this on their website?

    Finally Joy I do from time to time visit the websites and other of the organisations mentioned. Like you I find them offensive and repulsive. However it is no defence to our hasbara organisations going over the top to say that the other side are worse. One problem SFI and one or two other organisations appear to have is that they simply do not see there can be any legitimate criticism of Israel. I on the other hand go with the opinion that honest friends are better.

  243. Community Historian said

    I archived some of the following material which I hope will be helpful

    Examples of material published on the SFI website(2004)

    ” No other people in the history of mankind has sacrificed/ murdered their children, as the Palestinians have ”

    ” It is normal animal behaviour to protect ones offspring against the dangers of the world and teach them not how to run headlong to a heinous death ”

    ” The Arabs profess to be descendants of Abraham. They should have learnt the lesson by now – The Almighty, no longer needs human sacrifice, especially that of your children – the ultimate abuse.”

    Dr Kenneth Collins’ President Statement to the Rep Council on Monday 20th September 2004 –
    extracted statements include –

    ” these things included such things as unattributed statements on the website which could be construed as racial stereotyping. removal of all the unattributed statements about Palestinians which are damaging from at least two aspects. Firstly, they are at best inaccurate and at worst racist and secondly they risk damaging not just the community but the potential for any good work ”

    Extracted from SFI website on 10.11.04

    ” The apparent duty of Palestinians is to kill Jews and annihilate Israel ”

    “No Jew should feel comfortable living with Arabs ”

    ” In short, the so called Arab “Palestinians” are a manufactured people who were created to continue the struggle to destroy the Jewish State of Israel”

    ” The Palestinians; refugees rejected by their Arab brethren; inculcated from birth with hatred, murder and suicide ”

    A public announcement appeared in the Jewish Telegraph on 12.11.04 signed by a group calling itself Concerned Citizens. Extracts of their statement….

    ” On 20.9.04, the Rep Council dissociated itself from statements made by SFI which were racist, offensive or simply inaccurate and demanded such material on their website or on any other of their material be removed. This was followed on 18.10.04 with a press release on behalf of the Council that emphasised that SFI was now totally independent from the Council, and that the Council no longer endorsed them. It made clear that SFI is no longer the Council’s media group. The Council has also confirmed that the SFI banner advert has been removed from the Council website and that the home address of the SFI website will cease to be that of the Council.
    Despite the Council’s efforts to prevent our community being brought further into grave disrepute, racist material is still present on the SFI website. We urge the community to be aware of this and to speak out loudly and clearly condemning racist sentiments of any kind and from any source, and to declare that the behaviour of SFI is totally unacceptable.”

  244. David S Links said

    If Buckingham Palace would send me an e-mail I would be able to fill him in on why S winters should not get any award from anyone.
    This is similar to the scenario if Harold Shipman had been proposed 18 months before he was found to be a murderer his doting patients would have subscribed to him being awarded a knighthood no doubt. The people who check obviously did not check the up to date form of Winters. As for Joy Wolfe, she deserves the highest award as I am her No1 fan

  245. Buckingham Palace said

    Her Majesty isn’t pleased at all. To compare the Chief Executive of a Charity to a multiple murderer is well beyond reason.
    Her Majesty has asked me to convey her displeasure and suggests that as David Links is a well known supporter of the Scottish Friends of Israel ( more fool him I heard her mutter over lunch) it is not that surprising that he thinks Joy is something out of the ordinary.
    She actually said something much less polite about both of them.

  246. Diasporist said

    In a letter published in The Herald on May 11th, 2006, Mickey Green, one of SFI’s leading figures, defended the racist proposals of Yisrael Beiteinu to transfer the Arab Israeli citizens of Umm al-Fahm and the villages in the Arab triangle to a Palestinian state:

    “Overlooked or ignored by Mr Morrison is the fact that Beteinu has proposed a plan to solve the crisis: the new Israel border should be moved westwards in order to place the Arab villages in the new Palestine, thus achieving the wish of the inhabitants of these villages. As for his suggestion of ethnic cleansing, it is a complete invention”.

  247. Tim Allon said

    Community Member,

    Thank you for your responses, although your employing multiple aliases doesn’t facilitate the meaningful debate that is GJEF’s putative remit. The examples you have given are certainly reprehensible. However, as half of those quotations are, according to Joy, attributable to Palestinian spokespersons and do not reflect the views of SFI, you fail to show that SFI is comparable to the BNP. To wilfully ignore this is a deliberate misrepresentation of important facts. I will have to assume that the rest of the quotations, disgusting as they are, are also misrepresentations, unless the case is made convincingly by another, more intellectually honest commenter. (And no, Community Member, I do not mean another of your sock puppets!)

    Also, there is certainly an important distinction between the BNP’s policy of “repatriation” and Yisrael Beteinu’s proposals to redraw borders, but it is my judgement that both parties can properly be considered fascist. However, you do not state whether Mickey Green’s comments were made in a personal capacity, or whether they represent SFI policy. Personally, I think it says a lot about an organisation, the type of people that its “leading lights” comprise, and I would have nothing to do with SFI if this is considered acceptable discourse.

    On the other hand, that GJEF founding members include over anti-Zionists and those who minimise antisemitism and blame the Jewish community for antisemitism, is completely irrelevant to the nature and purpose of GJEF; and you, no doubt, are about to explain why.

  248. Community Historian said

    I am sorry Tim Allon that you believe I am Community Member. I can assure you that I am not. Perhaps you should talk to your father about SFI because he was one of the Concerned Citizens that was so outraged by SFI.
    Unless he has metamorphised into you then he will not be impressed with your line of argument.

  249. Tim Allon said

    I haven’t spoken to my father and I have no idea if he will be impressed by my line of argument, but I am not my father, and anyway, I’ve written nothing that could be reasonably construed as supportive of SFI. In fact, all I know of SFI is what I’ve gleaned from this thread. If SFI is comparable to the BNP, as has been suggested here, then that case is undermined by misrepresenting it, as you yourself have done.

    I’m not impressed by those who argue that the Palestinians are not a people, as they patently are now. However, if SFI is using quotations that are apparently from Palestinian leaders, it will not do to misrepresent them as originating from SFI. If the additional quotations represent SFI’s views, misleading people about other things SFI has published only undermines the case against it.

    I note that yours is the first comment on this blog by “Community Historian”. Given your insight into the minutiae of Glasgow Jewish politics, I think it fair to assume that this is not your first contribution to the GJEF blog, and that you are one of those guilty of using multiple aliases that only confuse and frustrate coherent debate.

    Unless you are a member of the GJEF board, you are not wholly to blame for this confusion, as it is GJEF policy to allow commenters to use multiple aliases. Worse still, it is clear that GJEF members are among the worst offenders, and it has been suggested to me by a GJEF member that some of them might be using single aliases for multiple real world individuals!

    Even given the convention of blog anonymity, it is clear that the ordinary concepts of the individual and accountability for one’s comments do not apply at the GJEF blog, and so I have concluded that the type of arguments and style of a commenter are likely a more reliable guide to attribution than that commenter’s current moniker. I will make mistakes from time to time, of course, but that’s obviously not particularly important here.

  250. Community Historian said

    I understand perfectly well now why other people who have posted here have no time for you.
    How have I misrepresented the case against SFI as you have just claimed? I merely gave you and others the facts regarding SFI. I made no comments on what had been written.
    Whether I have posted on here before is irrelevant as is my identity which you think you know but I assure you that you do not.
    I do have a fair knowledge of communal affairs and I cannot recall your name being that prominent even when you were here.
    You have made an absurd and very dangerous charge against GJEF – that they blame the Jewish Community for antisemitism.
    You will not have any evidence for such an allegation other than your own distortions.
    I am not a member of GJEF but if I were I would remove your posting rights immediately. I do though support much of what they do.
    Perhaps you will be inclined to tell us your personal record in fighting antisemitism. What have you done other than contribute to blogs or websites to defend the Jewish people or promote Jewish rights?
    Don’t bother answering Tim – because as is obvious to all – you have done nowt.
    That ladies and gentlemen says everything.

  251. A Beitz said

    CH, I don’t have any great problems with your original contributions. The problem was that SFI were using these unattributed quotes to sugggest there was a stereotypical Palestinian/Arab mindset.

    I think you are being more than a little disingenuous in your responses to Tim. I know that you are not CM but equally I am positive that whether you consider yourself a member of GJEF or not you are very involved there.

    Tim does not need me to answer for himself but he did not say that GJEF blame the Jewish community for antisemitism. What he said was that GJEF’s founding members include such people which you may or may not agree with but it is different to suggesting it is the organisation’s collective viewpoint.

    What Tim’s fathers views are is really a ludicrous point. How many of the regular posters on here have views which replicate those of their parents? Do you CH? Or does CM?

    Equally we can do without the personal stuff as to what Tim done for the community. I don’t know him particularly or what activities he’s taken part in but whether people have been involved or not does not mean their views should be ignored. Or is it only communal worthies who you think should be listened to. Indeed it might argued that by living in Israel he’s moreactive than any of us in the UK or US.

  252. Community Member said

    I know of no one Mr Beitz within GJEF who blames the Jewish Community for antisemitism. It is a very unpleasant allegation and I can understand why it would upset people.
    If such an allegation was made against other Jewish organisations in our city there would be an outcry.
    Because it is made against GJEF does not make it any more acceptable. From a personal point of view I can’t and won’t take someone seriously when they are prepared to imput such motives to people who I know would not believe that kind of rubbish for one moment.

  253. A Beitz said

    CM, I simply made the point that whether you agreed or disagreed with Tim he did not say what was attributed to him. The post was therefore quite misleading.

    I also note there is at very least an implication in your post. Presumably people shoud not be upset unless they are accused. Why should Community Histrian feel accused when he has told us he is “not a member 0f GJEF”?

  254. Community Member said

    To accuse a Member of GJEF of blaming the Jewish Community for antisemitism is a very unpleasant charge and without any substance. Community Historian can answer for himself or herself but because that person is not a member of GJEF does not mean that they cannot be upset by this charge.
    As I have already said I can’t and won’t take someone seriously when they are prepared to imput such motives to people who I know won’t believe this kind of rubbish for one moment.

  255. Jacko-R.I.P said

    Community Member is the injured party now! Well thats a first. You have promoted bile, barbs and bullshit for so long. Now you think it is time to cry foul. You reap what you sow and your crop is a poisonous one.

    You’re latest post replying to Tim is your lowest shot yet. I think you should be banned from this site for discrediting GJEF. I call on the owners of this blog to publicly disassociate themselves from your despicable posts and confirm that you are not one of them. That is the only way for GJEF to retain some level of credibility

  256. Cheers said

    Keep up the good work Community Member. Post 255 is all the encouragement you ever need. Why do people come on hear and publicly inform us that they require professional psychiatric help?

  257. Tim Allon said

    “Community Historian”,

    #239: “The Jewish Telegraph accepts that the statements, as they appear on the SFI website, are quotations originating from Yasser Arafat and other Palestinian spokespersons.”

    In comment #243 you repeat those statements and attribute them to SFI without reference to this. Unless I’m missing some other “facts”, that is a clear case of misattribution, and therefore misrepresentation.

    As A Beitz has demonstrated, you have also misrepresented me. The evidence I have of GJEF members blaming the Jewish community for antisemitism is from personal conversations with one GJEF member, and there would be plenty more on this blog if GJEF members’ comments were attributed. When someone says that the CST or the Board of Deputies causes antisemitism, I consider that to be blaming the community for antisemitism. Do you dispute that there are GJEF members who think that the CST or the Board of Deputies cause antisemitism, or do you dispute that this constitutes blaming the community?

    I don’t think I know who you are, and your identity is irrelevant to me, but mine, obviously, forms an important part of your argument. Of course that you use multiple identities is relevant, as it means that even your virtual identities are not accountable for anything they’ve written. When you slip away from “Community Historian” and start misrepresenting other people under a new pseudonym, no one can turn round and say, “Oh, there goes Community Historian, misrepresentin’ again!”

    As you demonstrate, it is quite useful to be able to connect people’s words to a single identity, in my case, a real one, and arguments can be built on or refuted with facts. As it happens, I was involved in Jewish communal activity in Glasgow for much of the time I lived there, but so what? As for the fight against antisemitism, sadly, my contribution has been limited to keyboard activity, pointing out, where I can, the double standards many supposed anti-racists hold for Jews; highlighting the distinction between legitimate (and even unfair) criticism of Israel, and antisemitism; and challenging those who seek to minimise or excuse antisemitism, or to blame Jews for it. In practice, this means blogging, mostly, although I have made other minor contributions.

    Perhaps you’d like to explain what any of your attempt to discredit me has to do with what I’ve written, or is it just another example of the personal attacks that characterise this blog, that the more naive GJEF members have confused with “community debate”?

    The resurgence of British antisemitism is is mainly restricted to the written word, and forms part of the intellectual climate in parts of the left and liberal left, and so for now should be combated with words, primarily. My contribution to that fight may be small and inadequate, but it is sincere, well-aimed, and has taken up more of my time than I’d like.

    Tell me, what do you think I should be doing in the fight against antisemitism, or was it a trick question?

  258. Tim Allon said

    They seek him here, they seek him there. Welcome back, “Community Member”!

    I see you haven’t responded to my challenge to explain why SFI “leading light” Mickey Green’s remarks reflect on SFI as a whole, whereas GJEF members’ views – either public, or protected by GJEF’s policy of allowing its members to use multiple pseudonyms – tell us nothing of the nature and purpose of that organisation. The very fact that these abuses are tolerated tells us that GJEF’s stated aims are at odds with its policy.

    If I were a part of GJEF, and believed in its apparent remit of encouraging debate within the community, at the very least I would insist that multiple aliases were not tolerated on this board, least of all by GJEF members. The extensive use of multiple pseudonyms makes a mockery of honest debate. I would also demand that GJEF members defending GJEF here, did so in their own names, or declared an interest. To not do so demonstrates a lack of integrity, and I would be embarrassed to be implicated in condoning these offences.

    You are right that accusing anyone of blaming the Jewish community for antisemitism is unpleasant, but I do so advisedly. To that end, my questions to “Community Historian” apply equally to you: “Do you dispute that there are GJEF members who think that the CST or the Board of Deputies cause antisemitism, or do you dispute that this constitutes blaming the community?”

    And once again, are you going to retract your position that the social and material advancement of Jews is evidence of a lack of antisemitism, or do you need a lesson in Jewish history? Or are you just going to change your name again?

  259. Community Member said

    Very good article by Seth Freedman on Comment is Free.

  260. Armchair Analyst said


    Of course Mickey Green’s remarks reflect on SFI as a whole. While there may be nuanced differences of style and opinion amongst the small cadre that is the SFI amateur press advisory corps, anything one of them says in print concerning Israel is surely expected to be perceived as being the ‘thinking in general’ of the others.

    GJEF by its own stated admission has people on board who can and do have more than minor diffferences in ideology concerning Israel at least. GJEF do not claim to represent the supporters club of any country with letter writing campaigns to national press.

    The GJEF blog permits the use of pseudonyms. Live with it, Tim

  261. Tim Allon said

    My point isn’t that the political activity of an individual member of SFI does not reflect on the group as a whole – quite the opposite. The diverse make up of GJEF is no indication of who is doing most of the work, and why. The purpose of this inclusivity has always been to give certain founding members the credibility in the community that they have been denied when they have pursued their political agenda more openly.

    As for GJEF members using multiple pseudonyms on this forum, that is entirely a matter for GJEF. However, it is at odds with GJEF’s stated goal of promoting debate within the community. This apparent contradiction is explained when you understand that GJEF exists to bring mainstream acceptability to views that most in the Jewish community find unpalatable.

    Using multiple pseudonyms – whether to make your views look more popular than they are, or to hide from answering difficult questions and avoid self-contradiction – is slippery and discreditable behaviour in any context. It is not normal practice at any blog I’ve ever visited, and certainly goes against the apparently lofty aims of GJEF. It’s an embarrassment to the GJEF members who do this, and to GJEF as an organisation, so of course I’m going to continue pointing this out.

  262. A Beitz said

    AA, I’ll ignore the childish stuff between 263 and 267 and deal with fact that I don’t see you and Tim as necessarily in disagreement. Pseudonyms are fine. I’m on a number of blogs and that’s the way things operate. However invariably on these there’s a registration scheme which at very least discourages multiple pseudonyms in that you can only have one name per email address. Also the admin people are listed and only post under their admin pseudonyms.
    If Tim or yourself or I say something we can be criticised and answer and things we’ve previously posted can also be raised at any time. However those who post under multiple pseudonyms effectively take no responsibility for earlier posts. I think this diminishes the blog.
    I appreciate a registration system may not be easy to police but that and some restraint by those who should know better would improve the credibility of the blog.

  263. Tim Allon said

    This morning, to make a point, I posted under multiple deliberately transparent aliases, but they have all been deleted. It appears that you’re only allowed multiple identities if the purpose is to deceive, and you are a member or ally of GJEF.

    I note that Community Member has bestowed on me this blog’s highest praise by ignoring my difficult questions. He asserts that it unpleasant and without substance to accuse GJEF members of blaming the Jewish community for antisemitism. Assert is all he can do.

    Can we stop pretending that this blog serves debate?

  264. Tim Allon said

    A Beitz, I’m sorry you found those posts childish. They were a clear parody of what happens here whenever a GJEF member defends his own organisation, but presents himself as an objective bystander. It’s why you could be forgiven for thinking that Tweedledum and Tweedledee’s perspective is more popular here than it really is. It’s why a couple of individuals without integrity can set the tone of this forum and make it a deeply unpleasant environment in which to have a conversation.

    Armchair Analyst told me to live with GJEF’s rules, but there seem to be two sets of rules.

  265. Armchair Analyst said

    Fair comment Beitz and Tim on the ‘rules of engagement’. Only Admin knows if there is a double standard regarding multiple pseudonyms at play here. So, from now on if I decide to post, I’ll post as AA, and only AA.

    I suggest that Admin clarifies the rules of engagement to all of us, as the blog appears to be descending into farce or at the very least losing credibility lately.

  266. A Beitz said

    Didn’t realise it was you Tim who’d done the posting. However presumably admin knew. So why delete them? In addition doing this in the way it was done means I’m now criticising posts to come. It may well be that #267 is a classic and is spoken of with reverence by all for years to come. Or possibly it is even better than that coming from one Tony Lerman. And I’ve referred to it as childish!

  267. Community Member said

    More than happy then to fulfil your expectations Mr Beitz. Unfortunately, you will have to make do with another Seth Freedman article and will have to wait for the next Tony Lerman one.

    Just to whet your appetite the closing paragraph…..

    The irony of the situation is laughable: settlers accusing others of racism while dealing with their non-Jewish peers with all the “love thy neighbour” righteousness of Belfast fascists hounding Romanian immigrants out of town. The difference, sadly, is that at least in Northern Ireland the authorities come down on the side of good rather than providing tacit support for evil to forever rule the roost.

  268. A Beitz said

    Seth Freedman is worth reading but it strikes me his analogy is a very poor one.

    First of all let me make it clear I’ve no time for the settlers. They should not be there. However I don’t think in Belfast any person could reasonably consider himself or herself in danger from the Romanians. The Romanians do not want to throw anyone else out of Belfast.

    Now it seems to me that the West bank Palestinians quite justifiably see the settlers as colonialist invaders and want them out. Many of them are prepared to use violence to achieve this objective. Again I can see justification for them taking this position. However ultimately it means that the settlers have a justified fear that they might get what they deserve. No such fear exists amongst the Northern Irish involved in the Belfast situation.

    And in NI the authorities come down on the side of the good? Try telling that to those who have found various parts of their city no go areas over the years run by gangsters and terrorists with the authorites doing nothing.

    Finally Seth why not come back to London if you now consider your aliyah to have been such a disaster?

  269. Armchair Analyst said

    Maybe someone who knows about this, or Paul Edlin, a leading expert on the subject and UK Board of Deputies appointed delegate to the Holocaust Claims Committee, will rebut the following potentially libelous article, the subject of which has strangely not appeared in the Jerusalem Post.

  270. Armchair Analyst said

    Oops! Apologies –

    The following article on the above subject did appear in the Jerusalem Post on June 25, 2009

    Paul – over to you…

  271. Harold said

    Thank you Armchair Analyst. Very interesting. I’m with you all the way. Do you have cpnfidence that Dr Edlin will resolve this to your satisfaction? I’m not too sure.

  272. Community Member said

    Delighted to tell you Mr Beitz about Tony Lerman’s latest article in the Guardian on the decision of the Appeal Court to rule against JFS admission policy.
    This decision if it is not overturned in the House of Lords is very important as it could bring about the end of Orthodox Jewry’s monopoly to decide who is and who is not a Jew.

  273. A Beitz said

    Nonsense CM. What a secular court decides does not overcome such a monopoly if indeed one exists. I have to say that my initial impression is that the judgement may well be overturned. I have considerable difficulty in seeing it as a racial issue. The question as to who is or is not a Jew is not simply dependent on race if at all. There are black, white and yellow Jews. People with substantial amounts of Jewish ancestors aree not necessarily Jewish if the maternal link at some point has been broken. On the other hand those with no Jewish ancestors at all can be accepted provided they have undergone an acceptable conversion. The school were successful at first instance and the matter then went to the Appeal Court. It could easily be overturned but whether it is or not will not suddenly mean that the Orthodox establishment will accept people as Jewish who it previously did not.
    It may bring about the end of the Orthodox establishment’s right to define eligibility criteria for certain schools but whether you think that right or not it will still be the case that if you want to be married, barmitzvahed or buried under orthodox auspices tit will be the Orthodox bodies who will decide your eligibility.

  274. Community Member said

    I was referring to Orthodox Jewry’s ability to determine who or who is not eligible to go to a State school.
    I think that would be a positive outcome even if you don’t.
    Do you think that the Orthodox should be able to decide that?
    I have no problem with them deciding who to marry, bury or Bat Mitzvah. Ultimately more and more people will vote with their feet on these issues but determining eligibilty for a school that is funded by the State is something entirely different.

  275. A Beitz said

    My view on that is it would on balance be a positive thing. However the school, like a number of others, is publicly funded. Presumably it would be open to the local authority to make it a condition of funding that people were to be admitted whatever sect of Judaism they belonged to so long as, within the school, they adhered to a fairly high common denominator. In other words for example the food on site would have to be kosher. I can foresee difficulties however. Do you let everyone in who claims to be Jewish? Or only those acceptable to Orthodox, Reform or Liberal? What about Jews For Jesus? What about someone who just likes Jewish things?
    Tony Lerman in his article gives the impression that only the children of Jewish mothers can be admitted to JFS. That is palpably untrue in that any child who has converted could get there. I know of some children in Glasgow who converted although their natural mothers were not Jewish.

    Meantime has Tim Allon been banned from this site? If so why and without warning? He tells me he has been trying to post all day not least to disagree with me and his posts bounce.

  276. A Beitz said

    For those who find my reference to 264 as opposed to a name peculiar I posted something with his name which bounced. I may try posting one of his posts which has been bouncing. If Admin messes around with posts again the gentleman in question is Greg and Olga and Robbie’s brother and Nigel’s son even if I can’t mention him by name. His forename however might give the impression he could be a Celtic supporter whilst his surname is like but not identical to Lily’s.

  277. Armchair Analyst said

    Thanks for your support, Harold. Whilst I’m fairly certain that William King would willingly give very long odds indeed that Paul Edlin will reply on this blog, Paul has been known to previously give us his expert and insightful analysis of the subject in the letters page to the Jewish Chronicle.

    We the little people look forward to any scrap of information on Bank Leumi stiffing Holocaust survivors that Paul can provide to us. He certainly at one point had the close ear of Rabbi Michael Melchior, Israeli ‘delegate’ to the Holocaust Claims Committee. But it may be that, to paraphrase, ‘What happens in the Board of Deputies/Holocaust Claims Committee Boardrooms stays in these boardrooms’.

    Can’t you just feel the mounting schadenfreude in Germany and Switzerland, my friends?

  278. Community Member said

    Today’s Haaretz emphatically stated that Israeli Foreign Minister, Lieberman should be forced to leave office because he is considered a racist by the international community.
    Agreeing with French President Sarkozy that Lieberman should go now Haaretz should be applauded for recognising that Lieberman is unsuited to be the Israeli Foreign Minister.
    Our own community should think more carefully before allowing SFI to present a Hasbara session again – when one of their leading lights defended Lieberman’s racist policies in a public letter to the Herald. (Diasporist 246 )
    It is totaaly unacceptable that The Rep Council, Enjoy and Glasgow Zionist Federation do not seem to properly understand the implications of their actions in endorsing an event with the Scottish Friends of Israel.

  279. Community Member said

    Very interesting article about justice in today’s Guardian by Seth Freedman. Well worth reading.

  280. Armchair Analyst said

    I read the article. Of course Seth is ‘right’ – In the utopian world of an impartial mature justice system. If you were one of those Palestinians who caught the Jewish terrorist, would you be even thinking of handing him over to Israeli ‘justice’ given that almost no Jews in or out of uniform have ever done jail time for killing unarmed Palestinians?

    On the other hand, would the Jewish terrorist get justice if handed over to the Palestinian Authority police? I suggest the police station (there are no proper PA jails in the west bank, are there?) where he would be held would be stormed very quickly, the police would capitulate before opening fire on their own people, and he would be lynched.

    If the terrorist was Arab, and in the unlikely event that he wasn’t shot on the spot, he would probably get his day in court and sentenced to hard time in an Israeli jail.

    So, although the theory of lawful justice is there, the facts based of recent history on the ground do not suggest that justice is blind in that part of the woods.

  281. Community Member said

    I don’t disagee with your analysis Armchair.

  282. A Beitz said

    Meantime I found this article, although containing nothing which surprised me, seriously worrying.Do the Haredi community not realise the damage they are doing and condoning? Even from a pragmatic point of view does it not occur that at least some people will take the view that they simply cannot trust Haredim, not because they are a bunch of abusers-they have their rotten apples-but because they will not take the appropriate steps against the rotten apples leaving them to fester whilst demonising the victims.

    See the article at the top.

  283. Armchair Analyst said

    Jeremy Rosen is too much of an intellectual for an Orthodox Rabbi to be a team player, as those of us who subscribe to his thought provoking blog know well. As a lone maverick he says what he thinks. However, in relation to the Haredi community surely it is fair to pose the following questions:

    What are all those past and present centuries of collective and individual Torah study doing for you if this is the way you conduct yourselves, siding with the perpetrators and leaving the victims, your own people, demonised and shunned?

    Is there something in the Torah itself that leads the Haredi to believe that they are doing the right thing? Maybe someone who is conversant with this book and its commentaries will enlighten us.

    Or is Jeremy Rosen the problem?

  284. A Beitz said

    It’s very quiet. I came across an article about child abuse on the Chabad website. No it’s a long story why I was there. However fair play to them. I think there’s a lot of reasonable points made in it.

  285. Community Member said

    Another very interesting article by Seth Freedman which is really worth reading about the contoversial separation wall.

  286. A.N. Other said

    Why not tell us Community Member about the decision of the Israeli Government to abandon 21settlements today as an indication of Netanyahu’s intent to bring peace?

  287. Community Member said

    Maybe A.N.Other would be better advised reading Seth Freedman’s latest article on the wall than attempting to divert attention from Israel’s settlement expansion.

  288. Lowest of the Low said

    How bad can it possibly get?

    1948 no catastrophe says Israel, as term nakba banned from Arab children’s textbooks

    Israel’s education ministry has ordered the removal of the word nakba – Arabic for the “catastrophe” of the 1948 war – from a school textbook for young Arab children, it has been announced.

    The decision – which will alter books aimed at eight- and nine-year-old Arab pupils – will be seen as a blunt assertion by Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud-led government of Israel’s historical narrative over the Palestinian one.

    The term nakba has a similar resonance for Palestinians as the Hebrew word shoah – normally used to describe the Nazi Holocaust – does for Israelis and Jews.

    Will one communal figure of stature, religious or secular, condemn this ?

  289. Armchair Analyst said

    I’d like to know what the Arabs of Israel or the Ocuppied Territories are supposed to do on the Anniversaries of ‘Independence Day’?

    I say, in future let’s have an even liar textbook playing field. If there is to be no Naqba, there should be no Shoa.

  290. Newcomer said

    I was told about this blog last night whilst out for dinner with friends.
    I thought I would come on.
    I am in agreement with Armchair Analyst but I would like to look at what is happening with our own community in Glasgow.
    Is there not too much focus on the Holocaust here? We used to have one Holocaust commemoration event – Yom Hashoah -now we have two, albeit one is organised by the local authority.
    We now send our youth to Auschwitz every year and from what I can see a lot of time is spent on youth activities on the Holocaust.
    I do not believe that Jewish experience should focus on the most negative part of our history. Instead we should look at the positive aspects of our identity and enjoy our culture and heritage.
    In my opinion its time for a rethink.
    Please do not misunderstand me – I do think it is important that we educate about the Holocaust – I just think there is now too much of it and the result is that other positive aspects are being ignored and forgotten.

  291. Community Member said

    Newcomer I am sure you will appreciate Tony Lerman’s latest article about whether analogies to Nazism should be banned.
    There is a local dimension as our MP Jim Murphy is taken to task for describing “antisemitism as a hate that has outlived all others”

  292. Joy Wolfe said

    I challenge anyone to find a hate that has outlived antisemitism

  293. Community Member said

    Did anyone see Mark Gardner of the CST commenting in the Guardian yester day and reported also in the JC about ” the rising tide of British anti-semitism?
    The article seems to be to be a little confused. It may have come as a surprise to Mr Gardner but it isn’t exactly rocket science to deduce that when Israel is seen on TV screens bombing Palestinian civilians that some people in this country will get very upset. Some peoplle in the community have been saying this for a very long time.
    What Mr Gardner fails to address is this.
    If most antisemitism in the UK is prompted by Israel’s behaviour then what does he feel about the community’s relationship with Israel and the attitude of the establishment – Board of Deputies, Chief Rabbi et al never to criticise any actions of any Israeli Government. Does he not believe that such attitudes are not in the best interests of Jews living here?
    Of course antisemitism is never justified and should always be condemned.

  294. Armchair Analyst said

    Joy is right again. There may well not be a hate that has outlasted antisemitism. It could be that tribes in the jungles of Asia and South America have ‘hated’ each other for even longer, but antisemitism wins easily on the international stage.

    So, I concede to Joy that even if Israel is wiped off the map, antisemitism will march on. It’s true that antisemitism has been given a contemporary boost by those who have seized on Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians as a cover for antisemitism.

    So what should Israel do, Joy?

    Keep trotting out accepted statistics that there is no hate that has outlived antisemitism?

    Use the example of close ally Apartheid South Africa to justify its own actions?

    Increasingly tell the rest of us that an old book apparantly not written by mere mortals has stories in it which ‘give’ the land of Palestine to the Jews?

  295. Community Member said

    I’m afraid Joy has yet again got it completely wrong. I decided that I would ask Tony Lerman for an explanation and this is his reply:

    “The whole notion of one form of hatred outliving another is absurd.

    First, since anti-Black racism, for example, still exists and shows no signs of going away, how can you say that antisemitism has outlived it?

    Second, who is to say that hatred of Blacks didn’t pre-date hatred of Jews? I believe some experts say it can be found in ancient antiquity. Also, slavery, which, as we know, dates back thousands of years, can be seen as a form if hate.

    Third, such a statement as Murphy makes conflates various different forms of hostility to Jews. That which developed in the immediate Diaspora period was very different from the religious anti-Judaism which developed after Christianity got going, and racial antisemitism–which is usually what we’re referring to today when we talk of current antisemitism–only dates from the 19th century. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a very long history of hostility to Jews but that bundling it all together as if it were one and the same thing that ‘outlived’ every other hate is just meaningless.

    Finally, the whole idea of discussing ‘hatreds’ as if we can make a hierarchy of them, imply that one is so much worse than another because it’s alleged that it has persisted for so long, is unhelpful and invidious.

    The only ‘hatreds’ you could even begin to talk of as having died out or been ‘outlived’ are those where a people has been completely wiped out. But is even this true? We know from antisemitism that it can exist in places where there are no Jews. The same can apply to other forms of hate. I bet ‘scares’ about roma pop up all the time when they’re aren’t any around.

    Let Jim Murphy live another 1,000 years and make his judgement and we can all discuss this again. I’d take a bet that racism against Jews, Blacks, Roma, Muslims, Asians etc. will sadly still all be around”.

    Poor Joy really does make a habit of getting things wrong, doesn’t she.

  296. Community Member said

    Tony Lerman’s comments finished with the word ” around ” in the 2nd last paragraph. The final sentence about Joy Wolfe was mine.

  297. Hopeful said

    Will Mark Gardner be brave enough to come on the blog and defend his position or will he take the usual CST stance of only participating in a one sided debate where no one can ask them serious questions?

  298. Joy Wolfe said

    Hopeful can surely not be serious in suggesting that this blog can be taken seriously and used for asking serious questions. It is more used to attacking personalities, organisations and Israel Why would Mark Garnder give it any credibility in public debate?

    There I have broken my resolution yet again. I wish these messages would stop popping up in my email inbox

  299. Hopeful said

    You really are a coward Joy. You have been given the response to your statement from Tony Lerman but not surprisingly you have ducked out of trying to formulate a response.
    Its a tough old world Mrs Wolfe. You just don’t like the fact that medium exist such as this blog that allows alternative expression from the cosy rosy world you are part of. Thats your problem not ours.
    Now stop being a coward and answer Mr Lerman. Thank you.

  300. Joy Wolfe said

    I wasn’t aware that Tony Lerman had afforded me recognition by asking me a question
    Actually he didn’t and it was just another added offensive comment about me by Community Member at the bottom of his response. I am flattered by the notoriety you seem to have heaped on me
    One thing I am not is a coward but I can’t be accused of not answering questions that haven’t been asked, and on both sides there is no dialogue between TL and me and apparently no common ground
    So Hopeful please get your facts straight before levelling accusations against me.
    As for what Israel should do, it was not Israel but a British MP who made the statement about antisemitism, so the question is irrelevant.
    Now I really am going to make a concerted effort to return to my resolution not to rise to the constant barrage of abuse on “Poor Joy”

  301. Community Member said

    Joy, it was you who challenged anyone to find a hate that outlived antisemitism. I then asked Mr Lerman, as you were referring to his article in the Guardian and the statement by Jim Murphy MP.
    I posted Mr Lerman’s response and as “Hopeful” has pointed out you have failed to respond.
    You made the challenge Joy – I delivered an answer, so what’s up?
    It seems clear to me that you won’t reply because you can’t. Also, stop this nonsense about offensive comments being made by me to you. All I said was that you have a habit of getting things wrong. Your response this morning is yet another example.

  302. Garry the Gardener said

    This is astounding Mrs Wolfe. Can you please tell me how you receive a message in your inbox when someone posts something about you on this blog?
    You might be on the point of revealing something exceptional. Or you might be on the verge of going bonkers.
    Unless of course Mark Gardner of the CST and you are in this together. Are the two of you by any chance related?

  303. Mark Gardner said

    Not sure why Community Member failed to post the link to my article on Comment is Free. It is here:

    Community Member states:
    “The article seems to be to be a little confused. It may have come as a surprise to Mr Gardner but it isn’t exactly rocket science to deduce that when Israel is seen on TV screens bombing Palestinian civilians that some people in this country will get very upset.”

    It was CiF that chose the title: “the rising tide of British anti-semitism?”

    My article begins with this:
    “Figures released today by CST show that January’s Israel-Hamas conflict continued the pattern whereby Middle East events trigger outbreaks of antisemitism against British Jews.”

    GJEF readers can decide for themselves if “continued the pattern” merits CM’s “it may come as a surprise to Mr Gardner”.

    No, CM, it most certainly didn’t come as a surprise. The only thing that would surprise me in all of this is if you were to apologise for your assertion.

    As for debating the enduring nature of antisemitism relative to other racisms, it is not at all unusual for antisemitism to be referred to as “the longest hatred”. Edward Flannery (1965) and Robert Wistrich (1991) are just two of the leading writers to have done so.

    It isn’t just about hating someone because they are black, or because they worship the sun instead of the moon. Rather, its about the elaborate ideology that’s built up, primarily the conspiratorial aspect. Protocols of the Learned Elders of Africa? The Eternal Muslim? The International Amazonian?

    Brian Klug: “The Jew belongs to a sinister people set apart from all others…it is the Jews – coehsive, powerful, clever and stubborn – who inevitably pull the strings”

    Steve Cohen: “It provides its adherents with a universal and generalised interpretation of the world…an ideology which has influenced millions of people precisely because it presents an explanation of the world by attributing such extreme powers to its motive force – the Jews”.

    Walter Lacquer: “however defined or categorised, antisemitism, Judeophobia, or the hatred and suspicion of Jews has appeared throughout history and in many parts of the world…motivations, character, and mainfestation of antisemitism have changed over the ages…the need for a scapegoat may be apart of the human condition, but it does not explain why the Jews have been consistently cast in this role.”

    There is of course considerable debate as to the extent to which most contemporary antisemitism is or isn’t linked to older manifestations. Writers such as Wistrich and Klug make strong arguments for both sides of it. I don’t think, however, that they lower themselves to ridiculing and insulting each other.

  304. Community Member said

    It would be much preferable Mr Gardner if we concentrate on the real issues here and I am sorry but I think you have got it quite wrong.
    As far as I can see no one on this forum has questioned whether antisemitism entails an ideology. It is in my opinion and I am sure yours too.
    The issue is whether it is appropriate to say that antisemitism is the oldest hatred and as Jim Murphy described it as “a hate that has outlived all others.”
    You comment that writers such as Klug have discussed whether contemporary antisemitism is or isn’t linked to older manifestations which makes me wonder then why you quoted one sentence from his writings that would give the impression that Klug believes that it is, and always is. Brian Klug is more than capable of answering for himself but my impression is that you have confused the issues and I think from what I have read of Brian Klug is that he would not agree that all current antisemitism is linked to older manifestations.
    Can I also suggest that you need to understand that “outlived” and “longest” mean two different things. You refer to Wistrich referring to antisemitism as the “longest hatred”. It could be but how would we ever know? If antisemitism has ” outlived all other hatreds” then that means the other hatreds have disappeared.
    I will post below Tony Lerman’s comments about this notion of a hatred that has outlived all others. Perhaps you would tell us whether you agree or disagree with what he has said and we can try and have a sensible and intelligent discussion,

    “The whole notion of one form of hatred outliving another is absurd.

    First, since anti-Black racism, for example, still exists and shows no signs of going away, how can you say that antisemitism has outlived it?

    Second, who is to say that hatred of Blacks didn’t pre-date hatred of Jews? I believe some experts say it can be found in ancient antiquity. Also, slavery, which, as we know, dates back thousands of years, can be seen as a form if hate.

    Third, such a statement as Murphy makes conflates various different forms of hostility to Jews. That which developed in the immediate Diaspora period was very different from the religious anti-Judaism which developed after Christianity got going, and racial antisemitism–which is usually what we’re referring to today when we talk of current antisemitism–only dates from the 19th century. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a very long history of hostility to Jews but that bundling it all together as if it were one and the same thing that ‘outlived’ every other hate is just meaningless.

    Finally, the whole idea of discussing ‘hatreds’ as if we can make a hierarchy of them, imply that one is so much worse than another because it’s alleged that it has persisted for so long, is unhelpful and invidious.

    The only ‘hatreds’ you could even begin to talk of as having died out or been ‘outlived’ are those where a people has been completely wiped out. But is even this true? We know from antisemitism that it can exist in places where there are no Jews. The same can apply to other forms of hate. I bet ’scares’ about roma pop up all the time when they’re aren’t any around.

    Let Jim Murphy live another 1,000 years and make his judgement and we can all discuss this again. I’d take a bet that racism against Jews, Blacks, Roma, Muslims, Asians etc. will sadly still all be around”.

  305. Mark Gardner said

    Community Member wrongly claimed (post 293) that the wave of antisemitism during Israel’s Jan 09 war with Hamas came as a “surprise” to me.

    He based this upon an article that I wrote in Comment is Free, that he referred to: but never linked to.

    In post 303 I provided the link, and posted the opening paragraph from my article. This stated “January’s Israel-Hamas conflict continued the pattern whereby Middle East events trigger outbreaks of antisemitism against British Jews.”

    I said to Community the only thing that would surprise me would be if he apologised for having said I was taken by surprise.

    I remain unsurprised, as he never apologised. Indeed, he didn’t even refer to it in his reply to me.

    Instead, Community says at the start of his reply, post 304, “It would be much preferable Mr Gardner if we concentrate on the real issues here”.

    Ok Community, I’ve dealt with my “real issue” about your silly little slander of me being surprised by the Jan 09 wave of antisemitism, now lets move onto your “real issue”.

    You say “The issue is whether it is appropriate to say that antisemitism is the oldest hatred and as Jim Murphy described it as “a hate that has outlived all others.””

    I had answered that point in my post 303 by stressing that its the ideological aspect of antisemitism that makes it unique.

    You replied at post 304:

    “As far as I can see no one on this forum has questioned whether antisemitism entails an ideology. It is in my opinion and I am sure yours too.”

    You then again post Tony Lerman’s riposte about hate being hate, and how absurd it is to say that one hate is older than another hate.

    My reply:

    Jim Murphy’s actual speech doesn’t even seem to contain the quote that you and Tony Lerman are going nuts over. Maybe it was in promotional material or something like that, but its not in the transcript; and the transcript itself is called “Countering antisemitism”.

    The entire speech is here:

    Please read it. If you do so, then I cannot believe that even you would fail to appreciate that Murphy was 100% talking about antisemitism as an ideological hatred, and about the Jew of the antisemite’s imagination. To save time, you could even skip straight to the section of the speech that is sub-headed, “An age-old, adaptable and utilitarian hatred”.

    The first paragraph of that section includes the bit that Tony Lerman also quoted (and criticised) in his CiF article, namely, “what is different about antisemitism is that it has both predated and outlived many, if not all, other reactionary instincts”.

    Except that the transcript I’ve linked to doesn’t exactly match Lerman’s above quote. The transcript says:

    “In addressing you my contention is not that Jews alone have been singled out in history for discrimination. What distinguishes antisemitism from other group hatreds is that it both predates and has outlived many – if not all – reactionary instincts”.

    I don’t know if the transcript is indeed the true transcrpit of what he said. Perhaps Tony Lerman has a tape recording or contemporaneous notes, I don’t know. But what I do know is that the transcript I have linked to is the same transcript that Lerman links to in his CiF article.

    Whatever Murphy said, he very clearly meant it in the context of antisemitism as an ideology. Or, as Chaim Bermant brilliantly put it, “Anti-Semitism is like other hatreds, only more so”.

    Finally, if you want to read two excellent yet contrasting analyses of contemporary antisemitism, anti-Israel hate, and historical antisemitism (conducted in a decent, rational manner), try this one where Brian Klug and Robert Wistrich debate the issues:

  306. Community Member said

    You haven’t been slandered Mr Gardner and you are not due any apology.
    What I said was that it ” may have come as a surprise ” to you that antisemitic attacks had increased during the war in Gaza, I did not say that it had come as a surprise to you. I suggested that given the content of your article, which I thought was confused, it might have been the case. If you can’t see the difference between the two, then that is your problem, not mine.

    I chose not to post a link to your article because I didn’t think it was necessary or beneficial. I told anyone reading where they could find what you had written if they were interested and if anyone had not been able to do this if they had asked me I would then have posted the link.

    I will deal with the further content of your post when I have more time.
    However, perhaps you would care to reflect on this –

    Links to the orignal version of the transcript of Jim Murphy’s lecture:

    Foreign Office:


    As regards the statement attributed to Murphy, the transcript states: “But what is different about anti-Semitism is that is has both predated and outlived many, if not all, other reactionary instincts.”

    Contrary to your claim this is identical to the quote cited by Tony Lerman in his CIF article.

  307. Mark Gardner said

    Community Member – yes, those links you’ve given provide the Murphy quote as stated by Tony Lerman. Fair enough, but as I said, the link he provided in his CiF article gave a slightly different quote, namely the one that I showed. Thank you for showing where the other version has appeared. At least we both seem able to agree that both quotes are so similar, it doesn’t meaningfully alter anything.

    (Its worth stating that its very possible that CiF editors inserted the hyperlink, but I think its more likely that Tony Lerman did. If I’m wrong about that, then fair enough, as I know from personal experience that CiF editors often include hyperlinks that the author does not originally insert.)

    Still, you say of the quotes that you link to that they show “Contrary to your claim this is identical to the quote cited by Tony Lerman in his CIF article”. Well, Tony Lerman’s article carried a hyperlink to the source that I quoted so I reckon your refutation of my point isn’t exactly quite as strong as you seem to think.

    Of course, there isn’t any meaningful difference between the two quotes, which I was I tried to deal with the essence of the claim that you and Tony Lerman appeared to be making. To be honest, I wouldn’t have bothered if you and others hadn’t been so vitriolic towards Joy Wolfe for what seemed to me to be very little reason indeed.

    This business about ‘hate being hate so how can you say one is more than the other’ reduces a very interesting speech by Murphy on the ideology of antisemitism to the point of absurdity. A straw man argument has been constructed in which Murphy is accused of saying (or perhaps more accurately, of meaning) one thing, when in context he has very clearly said something else altogether, something that is far more complex than one would think from your portrayal.

    Furthermore, how does this justify the tone and accusations made against Joy Wolfe by you and others.

    Talking of vitriol arising from very little reasons brings me to this from your last posting:

    “You haven’t been slandered Mr Gardner and you are not due any apology.
    What I said was that it ” may have come as a surprise ” to you that antisemitic attacks had increased during the war in Gaza, I did not say that it had come as a surprise to you. I suggested that given the content of your article, which I thought was confused, it might have been the case. If you can’t see the difference between the two, then that is your problem, not mine.”

    Your original posting, however, went a bit further: “It may have come as a surprise to Mr Gardner but it isn’t exactly rocket science to deduce that when Israel is seen on TV screens bombing Palestinian civilians that some people in this country will get very upset.”

    As my opening paragraph stated (and as I cut & pasted above): “January’s Israel-Hamas conflict continued the pattern whereby Middle East events trigger outbreaks of antisemitism against British Jews.”

    So, I’m still confused as to why you said that I “may” have been surprised, and I’m still annoyed that you portrayed my possible surprise in such a vitriolic manner. Its not about slander, its about decency.

    I note the reason you give for not linking to my CiF article. Thanks, at least it gave me something to smile about in all of this.

    Anyway, I’m off on holiday now for a couple of weeks.

  308. Community Member said

    I hope you have a good holiday Mr Gardner.
    I would like to recommend some useful holiday reading that I think would be of use to you

    This is Jim Murphy’s own website and what is of interest to this discussion is the title he gives his own lecture –

    ” Antisemitism – a Hate that outlives all others ”

    The EISCA published version is entitled “Countering Antisemitism” but I presume that Mr Murphy is happy with his original title since it remains on his website accessible to everyone.

    The point you raise about antisemitism as an ideology is not being disputed but it is not relevant to this part of our discussion. Mr Murphy was clearly making a point about antisemitism ” predating ” and ” outliving ” other ” Hates ”

    The point at issue here is that a Government Minister who helped launch EISCA used exaggerated language and an absurd idea about antisemitism in an important speech. Mr Murphy’s intentions were undoubtedly sincere and he would strive always to help those fighting antisemitism but what he said – is I believe unhelpful.

    I think it is important to note that you were an advisor to EISCA, and I presume you still are.

    The point which we need to address is that too many loose, unsubstantiated assertions about antisemitism, are not helpful when it comes to a deeper understanding of the problem that is required for policy making and action to combat it when necessary. Although some views may be popular in certain circles that does not make them right.

    This is not as you suggest a ” strawman argument “. It is about being sensible and keeping a proper perspective and making sure that what we say is proportionate and has validity because exaggeration and hyperbole will be counter productive.

    Your intervention into this debate has been welcome and interesting. The notion that you only did so to defend Joy Wolfe puts a rather different slant on it because aligning yourself with her critique ( I am being very generous in describing it as that) is not a recipe which I think you would be advised to follow for all the obvious reasons.

    Happy holiday reading and I trust you will find some time whilst on the beach to explain your position to us further.

  309. Community Member said

    Mark Gardner won’t have to worry about what to read during his holiday.
    Seth Freedman has written a very good analysis on Comment is Free in the Guardian and has pointed out the mistakes made by the CST.
    I also recall that there was quite a lengthy debate on this blog regarding Israeli advocacy sessions and Freedman comments on these ill judged propaganda sessions. The following is an extract….

    “The latest figures on antisemitic hate crimes are indisputably unpalatable, yet those releasing the statistics play their own part in ensuring that the Venn diagrams of anti-Israeli and antisemitic sentiment overlap again and again, thanks to their own interlinking of Jewish and Israeli interests.

    The CST thought nothing about protecting one of the most insensitively timed and insensitively inspired communal gatherings of recent years, in which the Board of Deputies of British Jews held a mass solidarity rally for Israel right in the midst of the Gaza onslaught. CST acknowledges that the upswing in antisemitic incidents this year is linked to Operation Cast Lead, yet point-blank refuses to see that British Jewry’s harnessing itself to the Israel-right-or-wrong bandwagon in the heat of battle gives a green light to any racist looking to label all Jews as supporters of Israeli brutality.

    Jewish schools offer classes in “Israel advocacy” to their students, as though it were the most natural thing in the world for British Jewish pupils to be armed with facts and figures to defend the reputation of a state hundreds of miles away and with a vastly different constitution and a set of policies to the country in which they were born, raised and now live. That the Israeli government intends to pay young Israelis to become internet hasbara warriors is bad enough, but for impressionable British teens to be roped into the cause without any recourse to alternative political thinking in the classroom is beyond the pale – and demonstrates the smothering attitude of educators when it comes to dealing honestly with Israeli affairs.”

    The full article can be seen here –
    If you read everything that is recommended to you Mr Gardner your holiday will be of great benefit.

  310. Interested in Israel said

    I’ve beaten Community Member this time by posting a link to Antony Lerman’s latest article about Lieberman. I have to say that I think this is an excellent article and well worth reading.

  311. Community Member said

    I agree, a very good article. Here’s another one from Seth Freedman about the different treatment shown by Israel to refugees depending on whether they are Jewish.

  312. Jardinier said

    There is one notable omission from the gravamen of the indictment against Mark Gardner; namely, his misuse of sources.

    In his initial rejoinder to Community Member, Mr Gardner cites a quote from an article written by the philosopher Brian Klug, thereby implying that Dr Klug concurs with the CST’s analysis of antisemitism. However, if one reads the article in its original context, it is quite clear that Mr Gardner has, by omission, misrepresented the views of Dr Klug.

    The following excerpts from Dr Klug’s article, published in the online journal Catalyst, underline the extent to which his analysis of antisemitism is fundamentally at variance with the position of the CST:

    “Because it incorporates a set of ideas (or structure of beliefs), anti-Semitism is often called an ideology. And provided we keep this ideology in mind, it is convenient to fall back on a commonly accepted working definition: ‘hostility to Jews as Jews’. This definition, however, turns out to be a recipe for confusion, for today there is a new kind of hostility to Jews as Jews, one that is based on conflict in the Middle East rather than on ancient (or medieval) European ideas about Jews. On the one hand, Israel proclaims itself the state of ‘the Jewish people’. On the other hand, many Jews outside Israel, precisely as Jews, align themselves publicly with Israel. From the combination of these facts there arises, in certain circles that are hostile to Israel or Zionism on moral and political grounds, hostility towards all Jews as Jews. This is an unwarranted generalisation; as such, it is a prejudice. But this prejudice is not rooted in the ideology of ‘the Jew’. It is, therefore, a totally different phenomenon from what hitherto has been called ‘anti-Semitism’.

    Many commentators, nonetheless, see it as an expression of a ‘new’ anti-Semitism. Their way of speaking only compounds the confusion, for the same people invariably describe this new hostility as the return, in a different form, of the old. A familiar metaphor calls anti-Semitism a ‘virus’ that ‘mutates’. There is (pardon the pun) a germ of truth in this metaphor; but ultimately it is misleading. Thus, in the late nineteenth century, as we have noted, anti-Semitism did ‘mutate’ from a religious to a racial doctrine about Jews: the racial anti-Semitism of Marr and (subsequently) the Nazis was a variation on a pre-existing theme. The new hostility to Jews, insofar as it is rooted in the controversial nature of the State of Israel and its policies, is not. Its origins are entirely different; so is its content. It has not come about by modifying the anti-Semitic figure of ‘the Jew’. It is not a mutation of an existing ‘virus’, but a brand new ‘bug’”.

    Given that Mr Gardner was, at the time of writing, aware of Dr Klug’s stated views, it is difficult to accept that Mr Gardner’s distortions could be attributable to error or inadvertence on his part.

  313. Horticulturist said

    I look forward to Mr Gardner’s return from his holidays. He has got a bit of explaining to do.

  314. Beachgrove Garden said

    Lets hope Mr Gardner manages to dig himself out of the very large hole he has dug for himself.

  315. To the Point said

    Can I congratulate those that run this blog – the discussions are now serious and interesting and have improved significantly. Contributors like Nachman Aronovitch, A Beitz, and all others who regularly complained about the postings of others should have the good grace to admit that this blog is worth reading – and I don’t even live in Glasgow. Keep it up.

  316. NLL said

    Thought people might be interested in some extracts from an article by Rabbi YY Rubenstien about a talk he gave to a conference in Manchester last year. The theme was conflict resolution on campus and Chaplains from all over the country of several faiths were invited to attend.

    “The New Anti Semitism is in reality the old anti Semitism. When I walk in the street or Campus and someone shouts “Jew” or “Palestine” at me, they have not asked me whether or not I am an Israeli or a Zionist, they simply see a Jew and one Jew is guilty of the crimes or perceived crimes of all the Jews… In medieval Europe I killed Jesus. In the New Anti Semitism, I am guilty of every alleged crime of Israel, although I have never oppressed a Palestinian or a Muslim in my life… and that is Anti Semitism.”

    “But let me here be frank. Since the founding of the State in 1948 it has created untold suffering. It has been responsible for a massive transfer of population and a huge refugee problem. It was carved out of an existing State and was set up specifically to be the home of one religious group. It is Nuclear armed and has been the cause of several wars with its neighbours, any one of which could have escalated and dragged the world into a third world war. Its politicians and government are generally believed to be corrupt… But personally… I wish Pakistan and its people well.”

    “Now if you thought I was taking about Israel, that’s because you suffer from Anti Semitism. To single out one person for criticism and disapproval while ignoring the exact same faults in others is bigotry and prejudice. Against Jews it has historically been called Anti Semitism and that is exactly what it is today.”

    To single out one person for criticism and disapproval while ignoring the exact same faults in others in bigotry and prejudice. Against Jews it has historically been called Anti Semitism and that is exactly what it is today. To single out one State for criticism and disapproval while ignoring the exact same faults in others is bigotry and prejudice. Against Jews it has historically been called Anti Semitism and against the Jewish State, that is exactly what it is too.

  317. Armchair Analyst said

    More than 150,000 people were slaughtered when the Punjabis would not let the Bengalis secede peacefully during the creation of Bangladesh. What gets up my nose is those of Punjabi origin who are very upset about the Palestinian cause but not apparently bothered by this colossal recent killing.

    This is the conundrum for some of us who would like to protest on behalf of various aspects of the Palestinian cause. I’ve no interest in marching beside these flaming hypocrites, and there’s plenty of them out there…

  318. Israeli Advocate (QC) said

    Thank you NLL. I found the extracts you posted from Rabbi YY Rubinstein’s article interesting. I thought I recognised your name from some previous postings you made last January in defending chaplaincy’s involvement in Israeli advocacy.
    Perhaps you would care to comment on Seth Freedman’s recent comments about those who are involved in this kind of activity. This was posted on this blog – see no 309 –

    Jewish schools offer classes in “Israel advocacy” to their students, as though it were the most natural thing in the world for British Jewish pupils to be armed with facts and figures to defend the reputation of a state hundreds of miles away and with a vastly different constitution and a set of policies to the country in which they were born, raised and now live. That the Israeli government intends to pay young Israelis to become internet hasbara warriors is bad enough, but for impressionable British teens to be roped into the cause without any recourse to alternative political thinking in the classroom is beyond the pale – and demonstrates the smothering attitude of educators when it comes to dealing honestly with Israeli affairs.”

  319. Community Member said

    The Chief Rabbi discusses the concept of ” new antisemitism ” but as Tony Lerman argues in his review of Jonathan Sack’s new book his argument seems somewhat confused.

    “He wants space for dissident voices, yet repeatedly gives credence to the notion of Jewish self-hatred, a bogus concept that serves no other purpose than to demonise Jewish dissent. He calls on Jews not to see all criticism of Israel as antisemitism, but he endorses wholesale the idea of the “new antisemitism” – basically, that Israel is the Jew among the nations – which licenses Jews to do precisely what he says they shouldn’t.”

  320. Garry Adems said

    Will someone please tell Mrs Joy Wolfe to stop embarassing the Jewish Community.
    Mrs Wolfe is on page 6 of the Jewish Telegraph pictured alongside some loyalists holding a flag with the Red Hand of Ulster.
    Does Mrs Wolfe not understand that bigots such as these are no friends of Jews or Israel?
    This women is so distanced from reality that she doesn’t realise that because some ignorant people might wish to include a Star of David on their flag, which has on it a visible symbol of sectarianism and bigotry, doesn’t make them either likeable or friends of our people.
    Northern Ireland has moved on greatly from this kind of nonsense. Its just a shame that Joy Wolfe doesn’t understand the implications of what she does.
    Can someone please tell her – she is an embarassment to the State of Israel.

  321. Billy Hamelech said

    Shalom Shalom we are the yideshie boys

  322. Joy Wolfe said

    Apologies if I offended anyone
    Perhaps it would have been better if the JT had chosen to use the picture of my with my Free Gilad Shalit T shirt and Israeli flag.
    I’ll happily send it to Gerry Adems but of course that won’t be possible as that would mean revealing his true identity and that would never do on this blog

  323. Robert Sands said

    Miss Wolfe
    I am utterly astonished at your insensitivity ; these right wing thugs once they deal with the Catholics will then seek the Jews then the gays and then the Muslims . You have been completely set up and our community is now a laughing stock. You have given ammunition to everyone who might declare that Israel is a racist , bigoted and sectarian state.Just look at the photo , head of the Zionist Federation pictured with Nazis ; and if you know your history its enough to make your heart go oh oh oh no .
    I hope you enjoyed your chicken supper tonight.

  324. Michael O'Flaherty said

    I was advised to look at this discussion by a Jewish friend. I am Irish by birth, and culture and heritage. Whilst the stupidity of Mrs Joy Wolfe defies belief – ignorance is certainly not an adequate defence, I find the remarks made by Robert Sands also inappropriate. Glorifying Irish revolutionaries may cause amusement to Scottish football supporters but I think the author of such a comment should think more carefully and engage their intellectual faculties before hitting the keyboard.
    Joy Wolfe’s defence was utterly inept. She offered no apology for being photographed with bigots. Ireland has learned – and thankfully most people now realise this – that bigots and intolerance have no place in a decent society. In Ireland we will be okay – we are moving on from those dark dark days, but I do think that if people like Joy Wolfe still have any influence within the Jewish community in your search for peace with the Palestinians then you are in deep trouble.
    I suspect that she doesn’t even understand the implications of her actions and that is even more worrying. If she lets me know on this blog then I will be happy to educate her.
    Good morning.

  325. Community Member said

    I wonder if Mrs Wolfe would tell us whether she thinks Her Majesty’s Government would have still given her an honour if they had known that she was so well associated with extreme right wing religious bigots?
    Personally speaking I doubt it.

  326. Joy Wolfe said

    Sorry but I can’t as I am being censored by the moderator.
    My response to Michael O’Flaherty predate’s Community Member’s further ludicrous comment by four hours.
    Joy Wolfe to
    show details 10:18 (4 hours ago)

  327. prelberema said

    Lay off Joy you ignorant goons

  328. Armchair Analyst said

    Well moderator, is Joy being censored by you without our knowledge?

  329. Michael O'Flaherty said

    I think we can ignore Mrs Wolfe’s protests about being censored. Unless she is trying to post some propoganda on behalf of the Red Hand of Ulster Groups I wouldn’t have thought she is important enough to have her views moderated.

  330. Joy Wolfe said

    I am happy to take up the offer to be better informed, and I did in fact apologise that the photo caused offence to some people. In fact I suspect those who wrote in welcomed another opportunity to have a go at me, but I can accept that. No doubt this is not the end of the matter, and those who choose to seek publicity about the fact that I was unaware of the implication will be the ones responsible for bad publicity for Israel as they put it, not me, but I am confident that will not stop them.
    I accept the charge of ignorance in this issue and as far as I was concerned was just enjoying a friendly football match with people who chose to be friendly. I do not believe I was “set up” as those who we enjoyed the friendly exchange with had no idea who we were other than Israel football supporters, or that the photo would be used to make political points!!
    It has nothing to do with my views on peace with the Palestinians which is something I support as much as anyone.
    One thing anyone who knows me will not call me is “racist”, and I am glad to say those who attack me on this blog are not among those who can claim to know me.
    I have to confess to returning home with a very depressed view of the reality in Belfast and a new awareness of how far apart people are, and this thread in the blog has reinforced that view. I find the comment that “bigots and intolerance have no place in a decent society” made by Mr O’Flaherty, while being a concept I totally subscribe to, to be rather hollow after visiting the so-called peace wall, and becoming aware of the hatred and intolerance that still clearly exists between the factions in Northern Ireland, to the extent they cannot even share the same football terraces. Again I accept the charge of ignorance until I saw the evidence with my own eyes. Despite the fact that things in Belfast have moved on from the darkest days, there is clearly a very long way to go and the facts bely the claim that everything will be alright. If that were the case there would be no need for all this fuss over the offence unwittingly caused by a flag, nor would there have been sectarian shootings in the week before the game.
    I do confess to being unaware until I came that such division is as prevalent as ever, but do not believe unawareness of the agenda of a flag that was clearly being used as a national flag at a football game is a crime or “stupid”.
    Unlike those who judge me on this blog, I have never been able to judge what a person’s politics are just by seeing them and was surprised to know of the facts surrounding who attends national football games, something that should not cause any pride in those who are criticising me for not knowing it.
    As I said I travelled to Belfast to support the Israeli team in a friendly game (Something not all that many people did) and this exchange has turned what was an amazing day, during which I was interviewed on NI BBC radio in answer to the bigots who chose to try to seek the cancellation of the game, and attended a friendly game at Bangor FC between an NI team and a Friends of Northern Ireland team, into a less pleasant memory, and the attacks on the blog when people are enjoying attacking me has taken a lot of the friendliness out of it.
    If Michael O’Flaherty wishes to give me a history lesson on the blog I would welcome it
    although I suspect more accusations and insults, to which I will not make any further response, are more likely.
    Whatever else is levelled against me I do not intend to respond further, so attack and insult away, but I will look out for Mr O’Flaherty’s history lesson if it is given in good faith and not in further anger and judgement.

  331. Joy Wolfe said

    Resending the reply
    Clearly it didn’t go through before
    I hope to hear from Mr O’Flaherty

  332. Michael O'Flaherty said

    Where do we start Mrs Wolfe?
    I will offer you my first hand impressions of Northern Ireland society which are much more positive than your one day pleasure excursion to my country.
    I would be interested to know under whose auspices you visited because this will explain who you met and where you went.
    Maybe I am doing you a misjustice but can I please explain the difference between football and rugby in a Northern Ireland context. In Rugby there is one national team representing the whole of Ireland, North and South, and it is supported by everyone. With football, there is a Northern Ireland team representing the North and a Ireland team representing the South. Traditionally, large parts of the Catholic community in Northern Ireland have not supported the Northern Ireland team. Sometimes football reflects divisions in society.

    You claim to have returned home disressed at what you saw in Belfast. I don’t know what you thought you would see but I can promise you that there have been massive improvements in recent years with the peace process.
    For instance Catholics and Protestants now work side by side, in many places they live side by side, albeit not everywhere. Most people in Northern Ireland want the same as people anywhere else. They want a good standard of living, good schools, good health care and so on.
    Only three years ago the ” marching season ” caused mayhem and distress. Now the effect is little and insignificant and has been reduced to being called the ” silly season ”
    If you had been before Mrs Wolfe, you would have witnessed the difference economically. Did your tour guides show you the new Titanic Quarter? Did they show you the massive investment around Belfast? Did they explain to you the large number of cruise ships that now come to Belfast?
    Did they explain to you that a few years ago there were checkpoints in Belfast City Centre streets that today are non existant?
    Our country is not perfect, far from it. But to deny that we have made massive, yes massive progress in a few years is a sign of ignorance.
    Sectarianism needs to be fought against. Today, tomorrow and the day after. What we don’t need in our fight against intolerance and bigotry is ignorant people coming over for a football game and being photographed with bigots who would return Northern Ireland to dreadful conflict.
    Please don’t underestimate Mrs Wolfe the stupidity of your actions. If I came over to your city and posed with sympathisers of the British National Party outside a football match I would be condemned.
    You made a serious mistake and think that in your support of the Israeli football team you are excused from acknowledging local sensitivities.
    Mrs Wolfe, Israel playing Northern Ireland is a football match. Nothing more. I don’t need to have visitors like you giving legitimacy to bigots because of that.
    Yours sincerely
    Michael O’Flaherty

  333. Robert Sands , MK said

    I accept Miss Wolfe’s apology ; the whole issue raises an interesting debating point-is my enemy’s enemy my friend ?
    Anyway must dash now -off to the FC Zenith Supporter’s club AGM .

  334. Not impressed said

    Sometimes one is disappointed when you expect more.
    I fully agree that the actions of Mrs Wolfe were very stupid indeed. However, attempts to glorify IRA prisoners responsible for carnage and death don’t do it for me.
    Whoever is posting under the name Robert Sands should acquaint him or herself with history and realise that your behaviour is not acceptable.
    Adding the initials MK only compound your stupidity. Mrs Wolfe obviously has some fellow travellers in this regard.
    I post a link for you to find out what you are glorifying.

  335. Garry the Gardener said

    I don’t think that even Mark Gardner would have a go at defending Joy Wolfe over her most recent activities.
    Will he be courageous enough though to try and defend himself – presumably he is back from his holidays now?

  336. Community Member said

    Very interesting article in yesterday’s Guardian by Tony Lerman on the proposition that being pro-Israel inoculates you against being antisemitic.
    His destruction of Stephen Pollard’s credentials to claim that he he is an expert on antisemitism should make the JC Trust think why they ever appointed Pollard in the first place. The JC is certainly not the paper it was – a steady decline has now turned into rapid decline.

  337. A Beitz said

    Unfortunately there is some sad news today in the Glasgow Jewish Community. I quote from Rabbi Rubin’s posting on Facebook.

    “Sadly Rev Ernest Levy passed away, funeral is on Monday. It will commence with a service in Shul at 11 am and will continue at Glendufhil at 12.30 pm. Sorry for using this medium for such sad news.”

    Long life to the family of a man who was a credit to his his family, his religion and to humanity.

  338. BlueNoseJew said

    very sad…a lovely man

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