Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

An Evening with Ivan Lewis MP

Posted by Admin on August 23, 2009

On Wednesday 16th September GJEF will be holding a unique event with Ivan Lewis MP, Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Mr Lewis has agreed to take part in a dialogue with the Middle East analyst, Dr Tony Klug. They will discuss the UK Government’s policy towards Israel and the Palestinians, and the search for peace in the Middle East; there will also be an opportunity to ask questions. Jim Murphy MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, has helped facilitate this meeting and he will also speak during the evening.

We have decided that Eastwood House would be an appropriate venue for such a special evening – a real opportunity to hear a serious and important discussion about Government policy towards Israel.

If you would like to reserve a ticket for the event, please use the Contact form on the website.

147 Responses to “An Evening with Ivan Lewis MP”

  1. Arnold said

    Maybe Jim Murphy will tell us whether he would have released the Libyan prisoner, if the decision had been his?

  2. Really surprised. said

    Can someone please tell me how GJEF always manage to get these politicians to appear on their platform. We haven’t even had the meeting with Fergus Ewing and now we hear of another politician – this time a British Government Minister speaking for GJEF.
    GJEF must have the best contacts by a country mile.

  3. Arnold said

    List of people consulted about sending home the Libyan prisoner –

    1. Alex Salmond
    2. Kenny MacAskill
    3. Gordon Brown
    4. Peter Mandelson.

    Jim Murphy? Secretary of State for Scotland.

    No don’t think he was in the loop, do you?

  4. A Beitz said

    Sounds like a good meeting. Hope to be there.

  5. Community Member said

    Interesting article by Seth Freedman on a Swedish newspapers allegations against the Israeli army. Here is an extract…

    “While pro-Israel commentators routinely allege that criticism of Israel is in fact thinly disguised antisemitism, successive Israeli governments are themselves guilty of harnessing the state of Israel to the wagon of world Jewry, thanks to their public declarations and actions. By setting Israel up as the Jewish state and claiming to be acting in the name of every Jew on earth, it is little wonder that some critics believe the hype and conflate Israeli policy with Jewish mandates and teachings. There is no excuse for antisemitism, but there is likewise no excuse for stifling any criticism of Israel under a suffocating cloak of accusations of Jew-hatred.”

    The full article can be read at

  6. Arnold said

    Readers of this blog may be interested to know that there is someone posting on the Guardian blog under the pseudonym
    I wonder if by chance they are related to Mrs Joy Wolfe of Cheshire, exposed on this blog as a Friend of Sectarian bigots in Northern Ireland?

    Her comments were as follows –

    In the same way that the late Abba Eban is quoted as saying “The Arabs have never missed an opportunity” so Seth Freedman lives up to his reputation of
    never missing an opportunity to have a go at Israel.
    As for the posting “if you have read Seth’s opinions, you should know that he is a true liberal. He probably loves Israel as much as you do”
    I would like to see one positive aritcle from him that proves that.
    What makes this article fall into the antisemitic category is the unecessary link to the stories about some orthodox Jews in New York, which adds absolutely nothing to the clearly fallacious stoyr about the IDF in the Sedish press.
    And what is the worst factor of all for me is the Swedish government’s refusal to distance itself from it, defending it as free speech, while stifling free speech by demanding that the Swedish Ambassador to Israel removes her reference to her condemnation of the story and the paper which printed it.

    25 Aug 09, 10:57am (about 11 hours ago)
    orry My quote should have read “The Arabs have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportuni

  7. Arnold said

    In case anyone thinks that I might agree with “Joywo” I post the following from Haaretz…

    Swedish Jews: Israel gave IDF organ harvesting claims center stage

    By Assaf Uni, Haaretz Correspondent

    BERLIN – Lena Posner, president of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, said Sunday that Israel’s demand that Sweden officially condemn the article that accused Israel Defense Forces of harvesting Palestinian organs “had blown the issue completely out of proportion.

    “No one even noticed the article – which is, incidentally, anti-Semitic and absolutely untruthful – when it was buried in the last pages of Aftonbladet,” Posner explained. “But the Israeli response pushed the journalist who wrote it, Daniel Bostrom, to the front of the stage and into the heart of the Swedish mainstream.”

    “What’s even worse is that by making the preposterous demand for a government condemnation, the debate has changed from anti-Semitism to freedom of speech in Sweden: Instead of concentrating on debunking the story, they have made it a freedom of speech issue. The government is not going to condemn the article – freedom of speech here is sacrosanct,” added Posner, who said she could see how the Swedish mainstream media, which at first attacked the tabloid for printing the piece, were now supporting it, based on the principle of preserving the freedom of speech.

    The editorials in leading Swedish newspapers took a similar stand, rallying behind that principle and condemning the Israeli demands. “Freedom of speech is not something to apologize for,” said a Svenska Dagbladet editorial this weekend. The daily also criticized the statement issued by the Swedish ambassador to Israel, Elisabeth Borsiin Bonnier, claiming the Swedish public was “appalled” by the article.

    Sydsvenska Dagbladet also attacked the envoy, with an editorial that asked: “Since when was it the role of the government to represent, through its ambassador, the opinions of all Swedes, and to criticize the journalistic consideration of the free media?”

    The results of a poll conducted by Svenska Dagbladet showed that 66 per cent of the 1,300 respondents ruled out offering any apology to Israel, 31 percent said the Aftonbladet should apologize, and only 3 percent supported a formal apology by the Swedish government. In addition, 92 percent of the 4,500 participants in a survey taken by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper said that Israel’s demand for an apology was “unreasonable.”

  8. Community Member said

    A far from optimistic picture of prospects for Middle East Peace is presented by Jonathan Freedland in today’s Guardian

  9. Blogger said

    I see in the letter’s page of the Jewish Chronicle Mr Ephraim Borowski has written to discuss Scottish TUC’s Israel policy which he believes is unfair.
    He refers to meetings held between Scojec and the TUC and notes that some were attended by the CST.
    Perhaps Mr Borowski will tell us why he required the attendance of the CST at these meetings? What would they have added to the proceedings?
    Was it to assist him in following a flawed and misconstrued policy of somehow being able to find and discover antisemitism whenever anyone speaks out against Israeli policy?
    If it was, this is not in the best interests of the Scottish Jewish Community.

  10. CST Watcher said

    By taking the CST along to a meeting with the Scottish TUC, Borowski is in effect sending the message to this organisation that their actions constitute a threat to the safety of the Jewish community. Otherwise there would be no reason to invite them along as that is the remit of the CST.
    This is complete nonsense. Discrimination against Israel is not the same as discriminating against Jews in this country and Borowski is bright enough to know this. Why therefore, is he deliberately conflating these issues?
    I sincerely hope Mark Gardner of the CST thinks this through properly. Is it just me that gets the impression that the CST are trying to expand their influence into things that have nothing to do with their original remit?

  11. Commentator said

    Anyone remember Scottish Friends of Israel? That ghastly bunch who brought the community into disrepute by their offensive website and expression of views which were unacceptable to anyone with any intelligence or morality have decided to defend Mrs Joy Wolfe’s holiday excursion with sectarian bigots from Northern Ireland.

    The SFI website is currently running a story criticising contributors to this blog for having a go at Joy Wolfe. While anyone who knows anything about the Glasgow Jewish community appreciates that the opinions of SFI are of no relevance or consequence because the organisation has been consigned to the dustbin of history and missed by no one of any integrity, there is one comment within the article that does require attention. I quote:

    “When asked if the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council (GJRC), which speaks on behalf of the Jewish Community of Glasgow and the West of Scotland, would disavow this slur its spokesperson said; “I am reluctant to publicly disavow the GJEF or their blog as it only gives credence and publicity to what is a totally unacceptable arrangement”.

    The Rep Council claim or purport to represent the community but they have no mandate any longer to make such boasts. Again, anyone who knows anything about our community is aware that the Rep Council is in terminal decline served by an executive who are out of touch with reality and don’t understand the dynamics of our community.

    I would add something else. I was at the JCore event last night organised by GJEF and UJIA. No one was there from the Rep Council when a Scottish Government Minister addressed 60 Jewish youngsters. The Rep Council were nowhere to be seen at an event that was imaginative and successful.
    Think about it – a Government Minister spends 2 hours with our children and the Rep Council can’t even bother to turn up. Their office bearers have run out of excuses. They are inept. The “totally unacceptable arrangement” is that this organisation still thinks it can kid people on that they are our representatives.

  12. stamford hillbilly said

    Diane Woolfson was there ; is she not on the Rep Cpouncil ?If she is then they should make her life president ; she spoke well for Faith Schools in response to another valid contribution against Faith Schools.
    When they hand out awards to the real heroes of our community then people like Diane should be at the top of the list ; if UJIA are recognising GJEF why can’t the Reptile Council ? Are they scared ?

  13. Commentator said

    Diane Wolfson used to be on the Rep Council but as far as I’m aware she is not any longer.
    None of the current office holders in the Council were present and that says everything.
    The whole lot of them are exposed as being out of touch, not interested in the youth of this community, not interested genuinely in hearing others’ views and not sufficiently smart enough to think that if a Government Minister can give up two hours plus of his time on behalf of the Scottish Government maybe that is something important enough to attend.
    The fact that they couldn’t rise above their petty insular agenda exposes them for what they are and they have lost any right to claim a representative mandate on behalf of our community.

  14. Attendee said

    Whether anyone recognises or does not recognise GJEF Stamford Hillbilly
    is really not the point.
    As I see it GJEF seem to have been around for a while now. Most people thought they would disappear soon after they were formed but they are still around and organising exceptional events for this community.
    GJEF are doing a good job which is more than can be said for the Rep Council.

  15. A Beitz said

    I don’t always go in for Rep Council bashing since I think it loses something if it’s too frequent. However I do find their attitude to meetings such as Monday at best strange and at worst petty. This was an important event involving as it did kids and adults from within and outwith the community in anti racist education. In addition there was a government minister participating. Would it not have been respectful to send someone along as a representative? And I believe the Board of Deputies also have a Vice President based in Glasgow. Do the Board not see meetings with Scottish cabinet ministers as important?
    I don’t see the issue as being who is doing a good job but one whereby if our representative bodies purport to represent the community to outside bodies it is part of their function to attend at open meetings of this nature.
    And fair play to people such as Dianne Wolfson and Rabbi Rubin who were present and participated and said as much by their mere presence ans these other bodies did by their absence. Leah Granet of Scojec is also entitled to an honourable mention.

  16. PC. said

    The chairman on Monday night, Derek Livingston, said in his introductory remarks that the remit of GJEF was to engage the community in debate and make people think the unthinkable.
    Wise words indeed.
    Perhaps then we should acknowledge that the Rep Council have no role to play anymore and that supposed representative bodies are no longer required by our community. It is obvious that the likes of Cosgrove or Jewish Care don’t require the assistance of a Rep Council or Scojec when talking to local authorities about their needs and I am sure Calderwood don’t require the need of these organisations either when involved in discussions about educational policy.
    GJEF seem to be able to attract politicians from the Scottish Government and the British Government to talk to the community so the requirement of such representative bodies now seems defunct. In today’s world organisations and individuals are more than capable of representing themselves.
    I’m curious though A Beitz, why does Leah Granet of Scojec deserve an honourable mention. Simply for turning up? Is it only because the Rep Council didn’t that she looks good to you by appearing. As part of an organisation that self proclaims itself to be ” representative ” should it not be part of their remit to appear when a Government Minister comes to town?
    I think to deserve an honourable mention you need to do more than just appear but maybe my standards of good community practice are higher than yours A Beitz.

  17. stamford hillbilly said

    Rabbi Ruben also took part by contributing fom the audience with a comment-this to me was a significant event-all too often the Rabonim are to wary of breaking the party line to engage in two way debate in public-Kol Kavod I say !
    Most important analysis is that of the youth-does anyone know any of the youngsters there and what is their feedback ?

  18. PC said

    Stamford Hillbilly you are a diappointment even if you don’t surprise me. I am delighted that Rabbi Rubin came along to this event and contributed. Please don’t sterotype all Rabbis in the way that you have done. There are good ones and not so good ones. Some Rabbis have the abilty to enter into debate, others don’t.
    Can we stop this silly stuff that you and A Beitz wish to pursue in congratulating any Tom, Dick or Harry for turning up. We need higher standards than that. They should be there just like you and me and don’t need thanks or aclaim for being present at this kind of communal meeting.

  19. Community Member said

    Rabbi Jeremy Rosen has given his permission to publish this excellent tribute to Ernest Levy.

    Ernest Levy of Glasgow

    Posted: 03 Sep 2009 09:43 AM PDT

    From 1968 until 1971, I was the rabbi of the largest community in Scotland, the Giffnock and Newlands Hebrew Congregation of Glasgow in Scotland. It was my first full-time job, fresh from Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem. For those who might not realize it, Scotland and England are two very different countries! I drove up the motorway from my mother’s home in London, past Birmingham, Manchester, and Carlisle, and over the border at Gretna Green (where young couples once went to elope) in my small, secondhand white MG Midget sports car, and into the magical world of Scotland with its lowlands and highlands and islands and seascapes and landscapes and dramatic shifts in scenery (and its rainy climate).

    I was full of naïve idealism and raw enthusiasm. The community I found was overwhelmingly warm, hospitable, and welcoming. The synagogue was just about to move from a cramped wooden synagogue on May Terrace into a huge, modern complex at the Glen. My residence was a grand house on Eastwoodmains Road that was graced with a large and elegant piece of modern art on its front lawn, thanks to Mark Goldberg. And I set about shaking up, revolutionizing, and energizing my huge and expanding community. I was in heaven.

    It’s a pretty universal rule that synagogue business brings out the worst in people. Synagogue life everywhere and anywhere is a minefield of politics and vested interests. I was really fortunate to have successive presidents, Baruch Mendelson and Dr. David Granet, who were the exceptions to any negative rule about synagogue presidents! And I survived and thrived because I was also fortunate to find a guide, a chazzan in place, who was one of the nicest and wisest and kindest human beings I have ever encountered, Ernest Levy.

    Ernest had grown up in post-war Hungary with all of its traumas, as well as his own. He had no thought of being a chazzan. But the failed 1956 revolution, gave him the opportunity to escape. With an elder brother already in the business, and with a sweet, light voice (and a trace of a lisp) he became chazzan in Giffnock, instead of a motorbike-riding engineer in Budapest. Ernest was a cynic with a black sense of humor. He had experienced enough of human nature to know what deceits and subterfuges humans were capable of and yet enough love remained so that he really did devote his life to people, because he really cared. He very rarely spoke about his painful past. Much later, long after I had left Glasgow, was he able to open up and do a lot to educate people about the Holocaust.

    At the time Glasgow Jewry was torn apart by a bitter rivalry between Reverend Dr. Cosgrove of Garnethill, the old cathedral synagogue of Glasgow up by the university, was in decline because of a population shift to the southern suburbs, and Rabbi Dr. Wolf Gottlieb, scholar, polymath, rabbi of Queens Park where my father presided thirty years earlier, and Av Bet Din. Cosgrove stood for compromise and pliability, Gottlieb for the law and authority. Cosgrove was a Jewish representative to the non-Jews. Gottlieb was the Lord Protector of Judaism for the Jews. They were both significant and, in their very different ways, great men. But they demeaned each other because their ideological differences descended into petty rivalry. They would jockey for position, priority, and seniority, even to the point that they once managed to accidentally push each other into an open grave one cold, sodden autumn in Glenduffhill Cemetery. Ernest always warned me not take sides. He counseled independence at all costs.

    He was a great mimic. He could predict the content and the style of old-school rabbis from the decaying, older parts of town and the itinerant preachers and collectors who were always welcomed into Giffnock to ply their trade, and given respect, but that did not mean one could not make fun of their views, their foibles, and their illusions. Many were rigid and fundamentalist, confident in their learning, but with no idea how ineffectual their words were to the average Glaswegian. Ernest could prick the largest bubble. It only took a wink, a seemingly naive question, to demolish any pretension.

    He and I were the new team, the new world of open ideas and open minds, reaching out rather than expecting everyone else to come in. We worked together all the time, in synagogue and at the endless weddings, bar mitzvas, funerals and shivas at which we jointly officiated. We knew whom to encourage amongst the members and who needed to be put in their places. We had a similar vision of Jewish life–welcoming, light, and appealing, with humor and tolerance, rather than dark, forbidding and exclusive.

    We did not always agree. He was a professional musician and I an amateur. I loved really good choral music, but I had no patience for synagogue choirs of second-rate voices. I wanted streamlined services, but he needed to spend time justifying his cantorial role. We compromised, though once or twice I overstepped the mark. There were other characters there I loved and worked well with. But Ernest was in a class of his own.

    I left Glasgow reluctantly, only because my father’s legacy called me away. Ernest stayed, beloved and respected till the end. One man, one job, one city, one community; whereas I always moved on. But wherever I went I never forgot the wonderful times I spent in a remarkable community and with friends I have kept in touch with to this day. Ernest travelled with me, in a way, wherever I went. And whenever we met, as we did on occasion, we would both reminisce and laugh at those glory days of our youth. Ernest died last week. May his memory be a blessing.
    Please visit for more of Jeremy’s writings, audio files, and other information

  20. Golden Wonder said

    There is a new communal award being set up. The two judges will be A Beitz and Stamford Hillbilly.
    All you need to do to be able to enter is to have the ability to open a packet of crisps. Not too difficult. Very similar to being given “honourable mentions” and “Kol Kavods” and all this other complete guff spouted by these two bloggers just for turning up at an event.

  21. Northern Ireland Fan said

    I am a little concerned because me and my mates have not seen Mrs Joy Wolfe from Cheadle on our trip to play Poland. Mrs Wolfe pictured with the Red Hand of Ulster when we last played Israel seemed ever so friendly that day and we are worried that she might have got herself into trouble. If anyone knows anything that could reassure us that she is fine then that would be great. All together now, ” The Cry was NO S…….”

  22. Community Member said

    Very interesting article in today’s Guardian (Comment is Free) by Seth Freedman on the B’tselem report about casualties during last January’s war in Gaza. Well worth reading

  23. Armchair Analyst said

    Rather intriguing stuff after the arrest in New York of an ultra-orthodox leader of a ring dealing in removed human organs fro sale. The Israelis are very upset about unsubstantiated allegations in a Swedish newspaper concerning some of these organs having been removed at autopsy by the IDF from Palestinians over many years who did not die of natural causes. It seems that over a hundred Palestinian families tried without success to get information on autopsies performed by the IDF on their dead relatives. It also seems that Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict were subject to unauthorised autopsies as well. Nu?

  24. Community Member said

    Thanks Armchair – see comment 5 on this thread and article by Seth Freedman.

  25. Trade Unionist said

    Ephraim Borowski, Scojec Director, should fall on his sword and consider his position. AS Grahame Smith General Secretary of the Scottish TUC wrote in this week’s Jewish Chronicle, ” any suggestion Mr Borowski makes that the STUC is challenging the existence of the State of Israel is nonsense. The STUC has consistently supported a peaceful two state solution for Israel and Palestine.”

    Mr Borowski has got the STUC wrong and has questionned our organisation’s integrity.
    He is not an asset to the Jewish community. Its time the community gave him his P45.

  26. Borowski's fanclub. said

    This is not on. There is no finer servant of our community than Eph. He has his finger on the pulse of all matters to do with the Jewish community and rather than sniping and mocking his achievements it is about time that he got recognition on this blog for being what he is – our community’s best asset.
    I challenge anyone out there to come and tell us what is their problem. Eph has set up Scojec through his own efforts. This body represents our community where it matters and ex Representative Council Presidents clamour to get a position on Ephraim’s executive.
    I know its a bit of fun to have a go at some people on this blog and I accept that many of those who are criticised or mocked deserve it but Eph is different.

  27. Armchair Analyst said

    I have consulted with Mr. Hamish MacShmekelstein, Chairman of the Ross and Cromarty Chapter of Scojec. He wishes to make it known that almost the entire Executive Committee of the R and C chapter concur with the comments made on blog #26.

    Sadly the committee is split down the middle on this issue, with Mrs. Aobheann MacShmekelstein being the dissenter. It’s time for Scojec Czar Eph to get on a train to Thurso and sort this out before it festers through the High Holidays.

  28. A Beitz said

    Rarely have I read such a wrongheaded post as Armchair’s. If Ephraim goes to Thurso he will be in Caithness. Further what consultation has MacShmekelstein engaged in with the Reform and Liberal congregations there? is it not also the case that Mrs M is Lubavitch and believes that the Rebbe should take over?

  29. Lubavitch Watcher said

    Jesus Chri… Again Beitz you have to have a dig at Lubavitch and the Rebbe. Its just lamentable. Have you ever been to the Shul in the Park Beitz? Have you ever seeen the Lubavitch Cheder in operation? Do you know how many people will eat well at Yom Tov courtesy of L’Chaim Restaurant? We are about to enter the most holy period of the Jewish Year and a time for asking the Almighty for forgiveness. A Beitz you don’t even understand what Judaism is about – you are a shlemiel as my late auntie Betty would have said. My uncle Eddie would not have been so polite. He would have called you a meshuggener. My grandpa Isaac would have called you a Momzer. Grandpa Isaac was a man renowned for his wisdom.

  30. Mr Cohen said

    If Beitz is a momzer Lubavitch Watcher then I think you are a putz.
    A Beitz is a man of principle – his objections to the irresponsible and very often reprehensible behaviour of Lubavitch in Glasgow is consistant and well documented on this blog.
    If anyone will run Chaim Jacobs out of town eventually it will be A Beitz. The fact that he is totally obsessed with the lunacies of Lubavitch is not the point. Some times obsessions can be healthy.

  31. Community Member said

    Whilst I wouldn’t want to intrude in the latest bout of Lubavitch nonsense, I think anyone in our community who cares for Israel should read Seth Freedman’s article in today’s Guardian entitled
    ” Israeli Arabs deserve better ”
    Those that claim Israel is a democracy should read this very carefully.

  32. phil space said

    Lubavitch Watcher is obviously an apple fallen far from Grandpa Isaac’s tree. Does he believe that Chaim Jacobs does anything for altruistic reasons? So in reply to his question “Do you know how many people will eat well at Yom Tov courtesy of L’Chaim Restaurant?” I would suggest that the answer is zero. All those eating there will be paying through the nose for that privilege. If I am wrong perhaps Chaim himself will come on to the blogg to tell us how many of the less well heeled members of the community or out of town students he has invited for a yomtov meal.

  33. Lubavitch Watcher said

    So Phil Space is another man with CBO
    (Compulsive Behavioural Disorder)
    You are a sad man Mr Space. Actually you are worse than that. You are a loser. Chaim runs communal services and you think they should be freebies.
    Who would then fund these services?
    Is Chaim Jacobs not entitled to earn a living like anyone else?
    Let me ask you a question Mr Space. Has anyone ever been turned away by Glasgow Lubavitch if they can’t afford to pay?

  34. A Beitz said

    I’m sorry. Lubavitch Watcher is of course right. Lubavitch are a fine organisation with annual elections, open employment policies with every vacancy advertised, always ready to confirm that the Rebbe was not the moshiach and their employees taking a pittance in order that Judaism can be brought to the masses.
    And if you believe all of that maybe you should join
    for a somewhat strange take upon the Guardian Comment Is Free site.

  35. Mr Cohen said

    Its time you went to bed Beitz. Remember to say your prayers before going to sleep and no doubt you will indulge yourself with your usual playtime chanting.
    ” Moshiach, Moschiach, Moschiach”
    followed by
    ” We want Moshiach Now ”

    Sleep well Beitz.

  36. Mrs Cohen said

    I have found out what my husband suggested about the night time habits of Mr A Beitz. I am not pleased. Whatever Mr Beitz gets up to at night time is his concern and his wife’s and is certainly not worth discussing on a public forum. My husband will be admonished.

    Did anyone read a couple of weeks ago an article in the South Side News written by Chaim Jacobs about the sad passing of that wonderful man, Ernest Levy? Everything and anything that can be said to acknowledge how good a person Ernest was is very welcome, but I felt it was unbelievable that Chaim Jacobs managed to praise himself when he should have only been concerned about praising Rev Levy. It was shameless and typifies why so many don’t like Lubavitch in Glasgow.

  37. Armchair Analyst said

    Mrs. Cohen, will you reproduce here on this blog just what Chaim Jacobs allegedly said in the South Side News in praise of himself?

  38. Mrs Cohen said

    I certainly can Mr Armchair Analyst.
    In the Extra on 27th August 2009, Rabbi Chaim Jacobs wrote a eulogy

    Two or 3 paragraphs from the end…

    ” Just a week ago when I visited Ernest he said: ” It is the end of the road my friend. Thank you for all you have done for me and the community.”

    I have already given my opinion that this was in very poor taste. I wonder whether you Armchair Analyst agree with me and it would be interesting to know what Mr Beitz and Mr Space think too.

  39. A Beitz said

    Mrs Cohen it does sound as though what we got in the Extra was an obituary for Rev Levy with a eulogy for Rabbi Jacobs. It is fairly unusual for an obituary to be partly concerned with praising the writer rather than the deceased.
    At best it was tasteless.

  40. Mrs Cohen said

    And at worst Mr Beitz how would you describe Rabbi Jacobs’ behaviour?

  41. Why is it ok to constantly slag off Scojec or Rep Council types, but not fair to comment on Lubavitch in Scotland? Most Rep Council folk do or don’t do what they do voluntarily. Presumably The Lubavitch guys are paid? Lubavitch in Scotland is registered as a charity, so it’s fair for the community to comment, I think. The Scottish Charities Register shows that their income in 2007 was over £220,000. Don’t seem to have filed accounts yet for 2008.

  42. Armchair Analyst said

    Mr’s Cohen, I’ve been away from my Glasgow desk and therefore had no chance of knowing exactly what was said by Chaim Jacobs in that eminent publication, The South Side Extra. Oh how I miss it!

    My point was, if you’re going to lambast a contributor, at least be specific in order that those of us who did not get to read the original text can judge for ourselves.

    As for comment #41, is it just me, or do the clergy in general get a much softer ride in these and other blogs? There’s a body of opinion that says the clergy deserve a higher level of ‘respect’. Have I got this wrong?

  43. Armchair Analyst said

    Further to your post #34 Beitz, and the link there to CiF, here’s an update article in the New York Times today abgout the Human Rights Watch breaking story and the interesting Nazi memorabilia hobby of one of its executives who was initially defended by HRW, now ‘suspended pending further inquiries’.

    The article also mentions a pro-Israeli website I’d never heard of before which packs a few punches:

  44. Armchair Analyst said

    Hogging the blogging a bit right now, but I’ve just caught up on the recent posts.

    CM was right to post the Seth Freedman article in the Guardian. We knew that a right-wing regime that gave Lieberman a cabinet post was not good news for the increasingly nervous and sidelined Arab citizens of Israel. They will strike on the ninth anniversary that thirteen protestors were shot dead by the Israeli police. Interestingly, an undislosed financial compensation deal was eventually worked out, with the state as usual taking no responsability for the any of thirteen deaths.

    Quiz: Well over four thousand Palestinians have been killed mostly by IDF personnnel since the outbreak of the first Intifada. How many Jews, in or out of uniform, have been prosecuted for any of these deaths?

  45. Lube - ricator said

    AA – I believe respect has to be earned, even (especially?) when it comes to the clergy

  46. Mr Cohen said

    £220,000 Lubavitch raised in 2007.
    Think what could have been done for this community if that money had been spent wisely rather than wasted on Lubavitch. Anyone that gave them money should be embarassed.

  47. phil space said

    For A Beitz to use the word “tasteless” (post 36) when referring to or local restaurateur and sommelier is in itself tasteless.
    Mr Cohen seems to be behind the times. Is he not aware of the recent appeal circulated by Lubavitch advising potential donors that the Jacobs families need £6,500 per week to carry out their work. Isn’t quite amazing that some members of our community actually give money to this imposter.

  48. Lubavitch Watcher said

    Calling Rabbi Jacobs an imposter is not acceptable. Who are you Phil Space?
    My guess is that you are a loser. You are a big mouth and if you believe in Hashem you had better spend Rosh Hashanah praying for forgiveness for your personal failings.

  49. Which Way Forward said

    I have a question for Mr & Mrs Cohen,
    Mr Beitz and Phil Space and for Armchair Analyst, Lube – Ricator and anyone else who thinks Lubavitch don’t behave properly and are undeserving of communal support in Glasgow.

    What are you going to do about it?
    You have identified that there is a serious problem. Are you going to suggest a solutioon to the problem?
    Are you going to take this issue outwith this blog? Is it possible to do anything that might encourage Lubavitch in Glasgow to clean up their act? Or are we all going to have a moan and then do nothing?
    I propose that Mr Beitz is made chairman of the Clean up Glasgow Lubavitch campaign and that he calls for immediate talks with Rabbi Jacobs. Think of the headline –
    “Chaim Jacobs in urgent consultations with a beitz”

  50. Armchair Analyst said

    May I point out #49 that I personally have not made any negative comments about Chaim Jacobs or Glasgow Lubavitch on this blog.

    It’d be nice to know how that 2007 reported ‘income’ of 220 grand! was both collected disbursed though…

  51. Mrs Cohen said

    Armchair Analyst you should be ashamed of yourself. Having the nous to realise that something is badly wrong with Glasgow Lubavitch and the guts to complain about it and warn others is something that you should want to do. To boast that you have not made any negative comments about Glasgow Lubavitch on this blog is nothing to be proud of.
    Why don’t you redeem yourself and tell us what you really think this afternoon.

  52. Community Member said

    Very interesting article written by Daniel Levy about the Goldstone inquiry.
    Very appropriate title too – “Israel must now heal itself”

    Shana tova

  53. Armchair Analyst said

    Mrs. Cohen, put up or shut up. Enough of the innuendo. If you have evidence that something is badly wrong with Glasgow Lubavitch, let’s examine it right here on this blog.

  54. Mr Cohen said

    How dare you tell my wife to put up or shut up Armchair Analyst. You should behave yourself. The evidence has already been placed on this blog about Lubavitch in the last weeek but I will remind you what has been said and then I suggest you apologise to my wife –

    Phil Space no 32

    “Do you know how many people will eat well at Yom Tov courtesy of L’Chaim Restaurant?” I would suggest that the answer is zero. All those eating there will be paying through the nose for that privilege. If I am wrong perhaps Chaim himself will come on to the blogg to tell us how many of the less well heeled members of the community or out of town students he has invited for a yomtov meal

    A Beitz No 34

    I’m sorry. Lubavitch Watcher is of course right. Lubavitch are a fine organisation with annual elections, open employment policies with every vacancy advertised, always ready to confirm that the Rebbe was not the moshiach and their employees taking a pittance in order that Judaism can be brought to the masses.

    A Beitz No 39

    Mrs Cohen it does sound as though what we got in the Extra was an obituary for Rev Levy with a eulogy for Rabbi Jacobs. It is fairly unusual for an obituary to be partly concerned with praising the writer rather than the deceased.
    At best it was tasteless.

    Another Lubavitch Watcher No 41

    Lubavitch in Scotland is registered as a charity, so it’s fair for the community to comment, I think. The Scottish Charities Register shows that their income in 2007 was over £220,000. Don’t seem to have filed accounts yet for 2008.

    Phil Space no 47

    Is he not aware of the recent appeal circulated by Lubavitch advising potential donors that the Jacobs families need £6,500 per week to carry out their work. Isn’t quite amazing that some members of our community actually give money to this imposter.

    Shana Tova to you Armchair Analyst and if you grovel sufficiently I will try and persuade Mrs Cohen to accept your apology.

  55. Armchair Analyst said

    Mr and Mrs Cohen,

    Re. #32, It’s none of your business who eats at L’Chaim retaurant at Yomtov or any other time. It’s a restaurant, not a soup kitchen.

    Re. $34. If Lubavitch have breached the charities commisssion rulebook, then it’s time to wheel them in.

    Re. #39. Rabbi Jacobs may feel the need to eulogise himself under a pretext in the South Side News. Not very impressive at all, both the eulogising and the chosen media.

    Re. $41. If Lubavitch had over 220,000 pounds sterling of ‘income’ in 2007, it’s possible that someone croaked in Whitecraigs and left them 200,000 pounds in that year. I simply don’t know.

    Re. #47. If the Jacobs family claim that they need 6,500 pounds per week to carry out their ‘work’, they should give us a breakdown of how these funds are going to be disbursed.

    Shana Tova to all my readers, and a grovelling apology to the Cohens where it is in order.

  56. Shana Tova said

    I picked up in Shul today a letter from the President of the Representative Council, Philip Mendelsohn. This letter referred to the major events of the past year. One of these was the breakfast held with Jim Murphy when he met with a cross section of community representatives apparently to introduce himself as Secretary of State for Scotland.
    For goodness sake Philip, how can this be one of the highlights of the Rep Council Year? You obviously have very few achievements if an “exclusive” breakfast warrants a mention.
    My informants tell me that this event is now known in Jewish community folklore and Scottish Government circles as the ” Coco-Pop Summit ”
    What I couldn’t find out but I am sure other readers of this blog may be able to help with is what did Paul Edlin have for his breakfast when the Secretary of State came calling.
    All suggestions would be very welcome.

    Best wishes
    Shana Tova.

  57. Community Representative said

    I was at this so called “Coco-Pop”
    I’m quite surprised that the Rep Council are trying to claim ownership of this. I thought it was Scojec who had organised it.

  58. Who said " Scojec " said

    Scojec are at it again. At least the Rep Council only send out 1 page of A4 notepaper to tell the whole world about
    ” The Secret Diary of President Philip, age 13 3/4 ”
    Scojec had available in my Shul 6 pages of glossy drivel celebrating their 10th anniversary.
    What is it about these people that they have to self congratulate themselves for all their achievements?
    Let me share with you the juiciest bits –

    Walter Sneader – Chair of Scojec
    ” If Scojec did not exist we would have to invent it” …” We are admired not only for the way we look after the interests of our own community, but also for assisting other ethnic minority groups ”

    Kenneth Collins Scojec chair 1999-2003 and 2007-2008

    ” Ten years…is a remarkable tribute to all those who nourished its vision from its earlier days as well as those who have helped it to develop into a major player on the Scottish civic and religious stage”

    John Cosgrove Scojec Chair 2003-2007

    ” Scojec is without doubt the most important institution in the Scottish Jewish Community”

    Its good to see that self- praise is alive and kicking within Scojec. In the world I live it is not the norm to tell the world how wonderful you are. Perhaps Mr Borowski and his Scojec chairmen can spend the 2nd 10 years of Scojec learning the meaning of the word modesty.
    M O D E S T Y

  59. Lube - ricator said

    It’s called being open & transparent, the Scottish Gov insists in it – if they didn’t publish this information, I suspect you would be banging on about how SCoJec were not being accountable and working behind close doors – you can’t have it both ways!

  60. Who said " Scojec " said

    What’s open and transparent about telling the whole world how wonderful you are?
    A Scojec publication trumpets that they are a fantastic organisation and in the words of their current chairman, Walter Sneader boast that if they “did not exist, we would have to invent it! ”
    That is for the wider public to say not an office bearer of the organisation.
    A fine example of massively inflated egos it seems to me.
    Its also rather too obvious that the Mazal Tov tributes have been sourced and probably drafted by Scojec as well. Fergus Ewing’s comments though are particularly poignant in referring to Scojec –
    ” In providing a voice for Scotland’s Jewish Community….”
    Note the Minister says ” A Voice ” not
    ” The Voice “, which means that Scojec are no more important than any other communal organisation that liases with the Scottish Government. It is obvious to anyone that has any interest in the dealings between Government and the Jewish Community that GJEF also are ” A Voice ” and so no doubt are several others.
    Scojec have no doubt their reasons to claim that they are vitally important but the evidence suggests that they are not nearly as important as they think they are.

  61. Mr Cohen said

    I have just got hold of this Scojec bulletin.
    On the Front Page Ephraim Borowski is telling everyone that he is approaching his 70th Birthday.
    Can’t quite see Lube – Ricator why Mr Borowski would want to mention this. Its not exactly interesting news is it that Ephraim Borowski is approaching his birthday. Is he looking for our congratulations or commiserations?

  62. Mrs Cohen said

    Perhaps our local Rabbonim could try very hard at Yom Kippur to consider the thoughts of Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, once Rabbi of Newton Mearns and now emeritus Rabbi of Stanmore. Discussing Jewish identity in last week’s Jewish Chronicle he said –
    ” A Jewish sage says a man is conditioned by his deeds. So, for me, the spiritual and ethical heritage of Judaism is something in which I take enormous pride and by which I am inspired. In the famous story in the Talmud of the would-be convert who came to Hillel and said: ” I want to become a Jew, teach me the Torah while I stand on one foot, ” Hillel answered:
    ” What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. The rest is commentary.
    Go and learn. ” I think it is very significant that Hillel selected an ethical maxim. He didn’t tell him :
    ” You’ve got to keep Shabbat; you’ve got to keep kasrut.” He chose an ethical maxim.
    Unfortunately, rabbinic Judaism today is so concerned with halachic matters, which however important from an Orthodox perspective they may be, without the ethics and morals are meaningless.

    Will any of our local Rabbonim or members of the clergy have it in them to say something like this during their Kol Nidrie or Yom Kippur sermons.?
    Will they be able to look beyond ritual Halacha and find an ethical or moral dimension that might just strike a chord with their congregations?

  63. Mrs Cohen said

    Perhaps our local Rabbonim could try very hard at Yom Kippur to consider the thoughts of Rabbi Jeffrey Cohen, once Rabbi of Newton Mearns and now emeritus Rabbi of Stanmore. Discussing Jewish identity in last week’s Jewish Chronicle he said –
    ” A Jewish sage says a man is conditioned by his deeds. So, for me, the spiritual and ethical heritage of Judaism is something in which I take enormous pride and by which I am inspired. In the famous story in the Talmud of the would-be convert who came to Hillel and said: ” I want to become a Jew, teach me the Torah while I stand on one foot, ” Hillel answered:
    ” What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour. The rest is commentary.
    Go and learn. ” I think it is very significant that Hillel selected an ethical maxim. He didn’t tell him :
    ” You’ve got to keep Shabbat; you’ve got to keep kasrut.” He chose an ethical maxim.
    Unfortunately, rabbinic Judaism today is so concerned with halachic matters, which however important from an Orthodox perspective they may be, without the ethics and morals are meaningless.

    Will any of our local Rabbonim or members of the clergy have it in them to say something like this during their Kol Nidrie or Yom Kippur sermons.?
    Will they be able to look beyond ritual Halacha and find an ethical or moral dimension that might just strike a chord with their congregations?

  64. Which Way Forward said

    Excellent post Mrs Cohen. Jeffrey Cohen was probably the last Orthodox Rabbi in Glasgow who could give such a meaningful perspective.

  65. Angry from Giffnock Shul said

    My child has received an invitation this afternoon to attend the
    ” Lubavitch & Giffnock Shul ” Children’s Succot Barbecue Party, in the Giffnock Shul Succah on Wed 7th October.
    The flyer states that “Children aattending Lubavitch Cheder Admission Free” – other children £5
    This is an absolute disgrace. The only people that go to Lubavitch cheder are by and large those children that don’t go to Calderwood Lodge.
    I pay my Giffnock Shul membership but that obviously isn’t as good or as valuable as going to Lubavitch. What a crazy mixed up world this community is becoming. I have no problem paying for an event but I won’t pay if Lubavitch kids go free when their parents don’t care that much about Jewish education to start with or they would be at Calderwood.
    So sort it out please Rabbi Rubin. If you want a joint event with Lubavitch then everyone pays or nobody pays. Otherwise tell Lubavitch to get lost – why are Giffnock having a joint event with Chaim Jacobs anyway?

  66. Someone else said

    You are 100% spot on Angry from Giffnock Shul.
    Can I suggest you do what I do and just stay away.

  67. Community Member said

    Whilse I would not like to interfere in the latest correspondence about Lubavitch and Giffnock Shul could I suggest that the following is worth looking at.
    Written in Haaretz by Gideon Levy the article denounces Netanyahu’s cheapening of the Holocaust

  68. Armchair Analyst said

    I’m usually getting dragged along behind Gideon Levy, reluctantly admitting that he’s got it right. But what can be realistically expected from Bibi in the face of the horrific little creep frontman from Iran?

    I just picked up a new book ‘The Devil we Know’ -Dealing with the new Iranian Superpower, by Robert Baer.

    Iran is a very complex country to understand, but Baer, a former CIA operative and now a New York Times journalist, gives us an insider’s insight into what is going on there with both the regime and the public, including the ‘opposition’. They both believe that it is now time for a Persian Shia Empire throughout the Middle East. And it is very scary indeed.

    The Ayatollahs sacraficed hundreds of thousands of young Iranians as human minesweepers during the Iraq war by giving them Chinese plastic keys round their necks as entrances to paradise. If they’re allowed to get a nuclear capability, we’re only one small step away from their brainwashed suicide bomber Lebanese Hezbollah proxies having it too. Even if neither of them use it, and you can never be sure with religious lunatics, they’ll be impossible to deal with from then onwards. If you, like me, feel that you require a more in-depth view view of today’s Iran, buy this book.

  69. Curious said

    We can return to international politics later. Isn’t it interesting that Lubavitch tormentors-in-chief have so far got hee haw to say about what is happening between Lubavitch and Giffnock Shul and the community tax on the Succot Barbecue? (supporters of Lubavitch are exempt)
    Is it because Beitz and Phil Space and the Cohens don’t want to upset Giffnock Shul and because they understand that Giffnock are willing participants in this larcency and they want to tread carefully.
    I think we should be told.

  70. You would have to have your ear VERY close to the ground to know what this one’s all about!

  71. A Beitz said

    Sorry Curious but I’ve just had a nice shabbat seeing various people in my family. In short I still have a life. I hope I’m not in future going to get into trouble for not responding within 24 hours.
    Personally I would rather see GNHC not get into bed with Lubavitch but if it does I would agree there should not be differential pricing.I’d also be interested to know where the money taken at the door is going to. If it’s going to GNHC alone then I think it’s a mistake but no worse than that. If it’s going to Lubavitch in any way when Lubavitch aren’t charging its own pupils and using the shul premises then I think that’s worse.
    However Angry From Giffnock Shul could of course raise the issue at the shul AGM, stand for election or even simply fire off an email by way of complaint to the shul. Posting on the blog is fine but it’s not a substitute for other action.

  72. Concerned Parent said

    I have just read Mark Gardner’s letter to the Jewish Chronicle explaining the CST position as regards to an antisemitic incident in East Kilbride.
    Hopefully, he might like to explain why the CST did not appear at the event at Eastwood Theatre at the end of August that was attended by a Scottish Government Minister, Fergus Ewing.
    60 young members of our community were present but the CST did not attend.
    This has happened, I am told, at several GJEF events and is therefore not a great surprise but given UJIA’s involvement and the number of young people present one might have hoped that this time it would have been different.
    Policy decision Mr Gardner, or just an oversight?

  73. Angry from Giffnock Shul said

    Lubavitch are quite clearly a money making organisation. The latest flyer that was sent to my child today advertising the joint activity between my Shul and Lubavitch now requests not only £5 but with the addition of £7 for adults. Do Lubavitch Cheder children still go free? Ask Rabbi Rubin or Rabbi Jacobs.
    Congratulations Giffnock Shul. I will never send my child to any joint event you hold with Glasgow
    Lubavitch. I want nothing to do with this organisation.
    Mr A Beitz told me last week that posting on this blog was not sufficient and that I should go to the AGM or stand for election to the Giffnock Shul committee. Certainly not.
    I will let you Mr Beitz do that if you want to. I will just stay away and think that if Giffnock and Lubavitch are as you described it, in the same bed, that’s a bed that is not for me.
    You roll about in that bed if you want to Mr Beitz, but I would rather chuck it altogether. I know Giffnock bemoan the fact that few kids ever turn up. Well they will now have one lessin Shul this Succot.

  74. Israeli faultline said

    What has happened to Israel? Renowned for bringing back her captured soldiers either dead or alive, Israel now stands accused of deserting her sons and daughters who fight for the state.

  75. Armchair Analyst said

    It seems that the detention of one soldier from the occcupying power is a national calamity, but 9000 Palestinians, of whom 400 are being held without charge, is a statistic.

  76. Community Member said

    Quite true Armchair Analyst. Why are Israel not pushing harder for Shalit’s return?

  77. Blogger said

    A good friend of mine told me on Friday night that the blog should be closed. This person is often, but not always of sound judgement. I thought about his suggestion and considered how GJEF might be persuaded if I agreed. They might tell me to get lost so any argument would need to be convincing and very persuasive.
    I have now considered the issue for 48 hours and believe that the blog MUST stay. It is good for community debate and discussion and those that attack it either don’t understand the medium or are scared that their cosy established order might be attacked.
    What convinced me? I received an email yesterday entitled ” Fencepost Tortoise “.
    What is a Fencepost tortoise I wondered.
    And you I am sure will wonder the same thing.

    Whatever one’s politics, it’s a lovely phrase, and I’m sure could be applied to several people — not necessarily politicians!

    While stitching up the hand of a 75 year old Devon farmer, who cut it on a gate while working cattle, the rural doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to people that are over promoted way beyond their ability.

    “Well, you know,” drawled the old farmer, “this fellow is what they call a fencepost tortoise.”

    Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a fencepost tortoise was.

    The old farmer said, “When you’re driving along a country road and you come across a fence post with a tortoise balanced on top, that’s called a fencepost tortoise.”

    The old farmer saw a puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued to explain, “You know he didn’t get up there by himself, he definitely doesn’t belong up there, he doesn’t know what to do while he is up there, and you just have to wonder what kind of idiot put him up there in the first place.”

    And then I thought of our community. Self-appointed community leaders allowed to remain in situ because others are scared to get their hands dirty or do what is really necessary. Therefore, we get too many people in communal life who are just not up to it.

    I would much rather have this GJEF blog than have to accept an increasing amount of Fencepost tortoises.

  78. Lube - ricator said

    Angry from Giffnock Shul – how will the people at Giffnock shul who arranged this know how strongly you feel and consider how they might do things differently, so as not to put people off in future, if you don’t raise it with them?

  79. Angry from Giffnock Shul. said

    Anyone that thinks that arranging a joint event with Glasgow Lubavitch is a good idea is to quote post 77 ” A Fencepost Tortoise”

  80. Extremely curious said

    Who is Blogger suggesting is a Fencepost Tortoise?
    Paul Edlin has been called many things in his life but I’m sure Tortoise isn’t one.
    I’ve just got it. It must be about Stephen Kliner. He’s on so many committees and many have wondered how the heck he got there, and what does he contribute, so he deserves the ultimate community award –

    Community Fencepost Tortoise Champion October 2009 – Stephen Kliner.

    This could be a monthly award – any other candidates?

  81. Very Happy said

    What a lovely surprise. Someone else thinks the same about Stephen kliner’s communal career as I do.
    I vote for him to be Fencepost Tortoise for October as well.

  82. Giffnock Shul Member said

    It would appear that blog pressure has forced a rethink. Giffnock Shul members will not now have to pay for the barbecue when Lubavitch children go free.
    Incidentally, has anyone noticed the picture on their flyer. One would have thought that Lubavitch and Giffnock Shul would have given careful thought to their advertising, but their promotion of cheese burgers seems a bit forward thinking for Orthodox Judaism.
    What next, McDonalds or Burger King?

  83. Blogger said

    Stop picking on Stephen Kliner. The moral of this story is what I wrote two days ago

    “you just have to wonder what kind of idiot put him up there in the first place.”

  84. Don't Vote Tory said

    If there is anyone in the Glasgow Jewish Community who is thinking about voting for the Conservative Party at the next General Election they should think again.
    The links between the Concervatives and supporters of far right organisations throughout Europe are not only barmy but they will seriously harm this country’s interests as well.

  85. Armchair Analyst said

    DVT, I’ve recently been researching early post-WW11 Poland 1945-55. There is a strong body of evidence from various sources, including of course some anti-Semitic sites, but simply too many others to ignore, that many Communists of Jewish origin who looked to Moscow for ‘instructions’ were prominent in the Polish Government and Secret Police during a period in which many thousands of Polish nationals were eliminated.

    So, DVT, what do you make of this?

    BTW, for the record, anybody who says that burning hundreds of people alive in a barn at Jedwabne is a ‘lesser crime’ than the Nazis’ is evil scum. But we apparently have our own.

  86. John Stuart Mill said

    Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative

  87. Armchair Analyst said

    John, I googled you and it seems you croaked in 1873. The likely cause of your death is well described in the thought-provoking book by the Labour-banned Michael Savage ‘Liberalism as a Mental Disorder’. While it was true that most stupid people were conservative before 1873, we know that stupid people do not practise birth control and breed more prolifically than us yins. Could this be the reason that the Conservative Party has a real chance of winning at the next General Election?

  88. A Beitz said

    And your point is AA? The Lubavitch Rebbe died some time ago. That hasn’t prevented a substantial number of his followers from asserting he is not an ex Lubavitch Rebbe but is in fact the Messiah.

  89. Armchair Analyst said

    I don’t think I have a point, Beitz. Just indulging myself in a little light relief. I also don’t see any linkage between my statement above and the ex Lubavitch Rebbe. I don’t know if he is the Messiah, but I checked and William Hill is offering 25,000 to 1.

    If you buy into the Moses on the Mountain story, then it appears logical to me that you can choose to buy into the Menachem Mendel the Mohshiach story.

  90. Therapist said

    You can’t help yourself Beitz. Every subject raised on this blog seems to be an opportunity for you to vent more ire at an organisation called Lubavitch. Everyone who is anyone appreciates that Lubavitch in Glasgow are not what they should be, don’t live up to the ideals of Chabad, and do things which imply that they are motivated by other considerations than merely the promotion of messianic Judaism.
    That is not an excuse though for your behaviour Mr Beitz. I suggest you need an intensive course of cognitive therapy to get you to realise that your obsessions are quite unhealthy. I promise you I won’t donate one penny of my considerable fees to Chaim Jacobs and I will be prepared to put that in writing. I repeat not one penny of my money would ever be given to Glasgow Lubavitch.

  91. A Beitz said

    Therapist,it’s quite straghtforward for me and not an obsession. If Lubavitch are happy to accept that the rebbe is dead and is not the Messiah then whatever my views on the Glasgow version may be I accept Chabad are one version of Judaism and an authentic one. As long however as they seem ambivalent on this then in my opinion they have as much to do with Judaism as Christianity. The problem is that there is no rebbe and the movement as a whole has failed to deal with those people who espouse the messianic view about the rebbe.
    It is also fair to say the rbbe is to a great extent to blame for this view having failed to discourage such talk during his lifetime.
    He’s not moshiach but a very naughty rebbe.

  92. John Stuart Mill said

    It’s not only many Conservatives that are stupid people. I know I am renowned as a political philosopher – please read my book on Free Will and Determinism – but I cannot see the linkage between my comments on the intellectual abilities of those that support conservatism and a discussion on the philosophy of Lubavitch.
    Let’s face it and I will put this in the crudest form.
    Chabad may be completely off the wall in thinking that The Rebbe was the moshiach. But is this any more bonkers than thinking that the Red Sea parted to save the Israelites in escaping from Egypt? Ot in the 21st century why do Chasidic Jews think it is sensible to dress as if they are living in Shtetls in Eastern Europe? Or thinking that fasting on Yom Kippur will bring you closer to absolution for all your transgressions.
    Think about it a bit more carefully Mr A Beitz – the whole idea of religion is totally barking mad. If you think otherwise, therapy may be your personal salvation.

  93. A Beitz said

    JSM you’re missing the point. You can believe in Torah min hashamyim or not. It is a tenet of the Jewish faith. You may see it as mad or not. You can believe in the Trinity or not. However belief in the Trinity is a principle of the Christian faith. Or to put it another way for the most sceptical some myths make up the Jewish religion whereas different myths are part of Christianity. Belief that the Messiah has already come is not part of the Jewish faith and for a group who hold such a belief to masquerade as Orthodox practitioners of authentic Judaism is simply wrong. It may be that the parting of the Red Sea stretches your credulity (although there is a scientific explanation for it)but that’s part of Judaism whereas a man who lived in Brooklyn and has died being the messiah is not.

  94. John Stuart Mill said

    I do not belive for one moment Mr Beitz that the Lubavitch concept of believing that the Rebbe was the moshiach is anything other than lunacy and I accept that this pagan form of worship has nothing to do with Judaism.
    However, my point is that you deliberately chose to find some form of linkage between the sanity of Conservative voters and Chabad.
    Man needs religion. It gives him comfort and for those that need or desire some sort of spiritual help I have no problem with that at all. Everyone has the right to choose what they believe in – read my comments on Liberty and you will see that I absolutely endorse the right of people to choose what they wish to believe, as long as it doesn’t harm others.
    What you Mr Beitz, do not appreciate is the difference in having the right to believe and actually trying to hold up what you believe in as having much more sense. It doesn’t. Choose what you want to believe in but accept that it isn’t any more sensible than Lubavitch thinking that the Rebbe was the moshiach.
    You make assumptions that what you think are tenets of Jewish faith are therefore logical and explainable. They are not. They are just as mad. Orthodox Judaism believes for instance that the world is only 5000 plus years old when we know scientifically this is nonsense. Chasidic Jews think that their Judaism will survive if they dress the same way as they did in Eastern Europe one hundred years ago. What is the scientific explanation for that?
    So pick and choose what bits you think make more sense to you. As I have said that doesn’t cause me a problem. But please stop kidding yourself on that the concepts, as you see them, are any more reasonable in today’s modern world.
    They are not. Religion is emotional. It is man’s need to believe in something and the hope that there is a better world to be had sometime and somehow. Choose to believe in this if you wish to but I suggest that your attempts to promote your Judaism as more authentic or indeed more rational than that of Chabad is not only unhelpful but is confusing you all the more.
    I repeat, religion is barking mad.

  95. Armchair Analyst said

    While JSM is putting the boot in Beitz, and I totally agree with him, perhaps you can also enlighten us as to the ‘scientific explanation’ for the parting of the Red Sea.

    I’d also like to know which top world scientists will back you up?

  96. A Beitz said

    Various theories AA. See for example below.
    And I’m sorry if you equate JSM’s apparent inability to understand the difference between Judaism and Messianism (even if you believe in neither) as putting the boot in.

  97. Armchair Analyst said

    The ‘speculations’ by James Cameron of how this chain of events known as The Ten Plagues and the subsequent parting of the Red or Reed Sea at just the right time to drown Pharoah’s army are very vague indeed. and contaminated food food might conceivably explain the death of first-born Egyptian males, but it is reasonable to ask how this would have missed the second and third-born Egyptian males.

    I believe JSM fully understands the difference betweeen Judaism and Messianism. Both are outgrowths of faith-based systems. Both make no sense to a rational thinker. Therefore for a proponent of one to deligitimise the other is the equivalent of a flat earther deligitimising a square earther.

  98. A Beitz said

    I’ll post on this one final time AA in the hope I can make myself clear. For Lubavitch to embrace Messianism and call themselves an Orthodox Jewish Organisation is the equivalent, to extend your analogy, and using the non belief view, of a flat earther saying the earth is square (and not flat) but that he is a flat earther.

  99. John Stuart Mill said

    You are a dreadful disappointment Mr Beitz. I thought we might have a proper debate about religious belief but your obsessive concerns about Lubavitch prevent you from debating issues properly.
    To you, Chabad is ALL bad, because they embrace Messianism. Everything else seems to be explainable and acceptable and tolerable in the modern world because by your definition that is ” proper Judaism ”
    Accordingly, you try and justify that the Red Sea really did part, you can’t answer why Orthodox Judaism believes the world is only 5000 years old, nor will you tell us why it is rational for Chassidim to dress as they did in Eastern Europe 100 years ago, but it is irrational for Lubavitch to believe in their nonsense.
    What this comes down to is that you are obsessive about one organisation. Goodness me, I hope Orthodox Judaism has better proponents than yourself or they will be out of business even sooner than I expect.
    I have said it before but I will repeat it again. Believe in the fables about the 10 plagues if you want to. If you do, I hope it offers you some comfort. Any attempt to argue that this really did happen and that all the other stories from the bible are true as well is just absurd. It is about belief not rational thinking.
    I truly worry for you Mr Beitz. I would like to hope that anyone reading this has deduced that your arguments have been well and truly demolished. No one has argued that Lubavitch ideology is anything other than crazy but your attempts to justify what YOU believe in as being sensible and explainable is not acceptable.
    I don’t know what you do for a living but arguing philosophy is obviously not your forte.

  100. Therapist said

    Ouch. JSM has really gone for you Mr Beitz. Armchair Analyst called it correctly when he described it as putting the boot in to Beitz. I can feel Beitz’s discomfort from here. He’s squealing.
    Mr Beitz, my offer still stands…intensive course of cognitive therapy with the promise that not one penny will ever be given by me to Glasgow Lubavitch, nor even Lubavitch anywhere. I am also proud to record that I have never ever given one penny to Glasgow Lubavitch previously, ever.
    I hope that convinces you to take up my offer.

  101. John Stuart Mill said

    An article in today’s Observer highlighting the cover up of the far right past of Tory ally, Michal Kaminski ought to be read very carefully by anyone in the Glasgow Jewish Community who might have thought of voting for the Tories at the next election.
    My advice is simple – don’t.
    Please see below

    House of Commons computer used to hide past of Tory ally KaminskiFar-right history of man leading Conservatives in Europe deleted using Parliament internet connection
    Toby Helm and Rajeev Syal The Observer, Sunday 18 October 2009

    The Tories were last night accused of a “systematic cover-up” when it emerged that someone at the House of Commons had deleted internet details about a key European ally with a far-right past.

    Politically embarrassing information about Michal Kaminski, a Polish politician who now leads the Tories in the European parliament, was removed from Wikipedia by someone in the Commons three days after the alliance was formed.

    Chris Bryant, the government’s new minister for Europe, called on the Conservatives to “come clean” after the Observer discovered that details of Kaminski’s previous membership of the far-right National Revival of Poland party had been mysteriously removed.

    The information was deleted on 25 June by someone using a computer connection directly traceable to the House of Commons. The European Conservatives and Reformists Group, which Kaminski leads and in which the Tories are founder members, was formed on 22 June.

    Also on 25 June, alterations were made to the Wikipedia page on Edward McMillan-Scott, the Tory MEP who raised concerns about Kaminski, and was then expelled from the party. The changes – designed to portray McMillan-Scott as a europhile – were made from a computer with an internet IP address named “Strasburg”.

    On the morning the change was made, McMillan-Scott had voiced concerns for the first time in a newspaper interview about the Tories’ European partners, saying that he was unhappy with their extremist links.

    Last night Bryant said suspicions would be raised that the Tories were “rewriting history” and attempting to cover up the far-right links of the man who now leads them in the European parliament.

    “Obviously, no Labour or Lib Dem working in parliament would want to airbrush out inconvenient truths about Michal Kaminski, especially just after the creation of the new Tory grouping,” he said. “The Conservative party should investigate whether they can say the same, and William Hague and Mark Francois should come clean over whether they or any of their staff altered Michal Kaminski’s past.”

    McMillan-Scott said: “It is shocking to discover that, after my explicit warning at the new group’s inaugural meeting [on 24 June] about extremist links, Michal Kaminski’s membership of the vile fascist National Revival of Poland group was removed from his Wikipedia page.

    “My record was also changed to paint me as a Euro-fanatic. More seriously, there has been a systematic cover-up by the Conservative party of Kaminski’s unpleasant political past.”

    Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: “The Conservative party should come clean. If this is the Tory party trying to airbrush the embarrassing past of their new friend in Europe from the record, they should have the courage to say so.

    “However much they try, the Conservatives will never be able to hide the fact that they have jumped into bed with extremists.”

    Since Kaminski’s appointment as leader of the parliamentary group, he has been accused of having had antisemitic and homophobic leanings in his past. He is now a member of the ruling Polish Law and Justice party (PiS) and insists that he left the National Revival of Poland party in 1989, before it became a fascist organisation – although others challenge that claim.

    The dispute is beginning to have serious international repercussions for the Tories, with senior US officials linked to the White House said to have expressed deep concern that the party likely to form the next British government should have such links.

  102. Lube - ricator said

    JSM – Each person’s relationship with Judaism is personal, but Judaism is a religion as well as a social/cultural/ethnic group.

    If GJEF & this blog are about revitalising/strengthening/perpetuating the Glasgow Jewish Community then surely there has to be some place for discussions on religious matters and some recognition given to those people who believe – even if you don’t share that belief? After all who are we without them?

  103. Community Member said

    Lube-Ricator, GJEF have held several meetings on religious belief so why attack the organisation because Mr A Beitz once again gets himself into a great deal of trouble for attacking Lubavitch.
    Incidentally, I think you have not understood JSM’s postings. It seems to me that he has claimed that all religious belief is irrational so why single out one organisation,
    as Mr Beitz continually does, for ridicule and scorn.

  104. Non Believer said

    Lube-Ricator, why do you think that there is no recognition given to those who do believe?
    The opposite is true. If you don’t believe or think that religious practise is not for you, you are looked upon in Glasgow as a 2nd or 3rd class member of this community.
    In Israel a large percentage of the population go to the beach on Yom Kippur.
    Would such behaviour be tolerated in Glasgow if people said they wanted to go to Rouken Glen on a Jewish holiday rather than Shul.
    We all know that it would be condemned and denounced.
    It is us non believers who are not recognised, not those who do.

  105. GJEF Supporter said

    Why is it when some people lose the argument on this blog that they think it proper to question the purpose of this medium and the objectives of GJEF as an organisation?
    Lube-Ricator, perhaps you will answer this question.
    Where else in the Glasgow Jewish Community, other than on this blog, could there exist a discussion about religious belief as has been happening recently?
    The answer is quite easy – nowhere. It’s about time GJEF were congratulated by people like you who can use this medium as and when they want. Even those who wish to continually pop at Chaim Jacobs of Lubavitch and his indiscretions can’t complain that they now don’t have a public platform to do so.
    Where could A Beitz have ranted and raved before there was a blog?
    This blog is effective. Only two weeks ago Giffnock Shul and Lubavitch had to change their policy on admission charges to a barbecue because of complaints made here.
    GJEF don’t look for praise or thanks but its time they got it nevertheless.
    This ccommunity has got its hypocrites. Hands up all those people who tell their friends they never look at the blog, that its horrible, not their kind of thing, and so on, but have an amazing indepth knowledge of all that’s written here.
    Grow up and start posting. Beitz is saving himself a fortune because blogging is cheaper than therapy.

  106. Community Member said

    Read Goldstone’s own words from today’s Guardian

  107. Is Support for Israel Crucial? said

    Anyone interested in how we should identify or support Israel ought to buy this book.
    Laying Claim to Judaism

    “On 11 January 2009 a rally in support of Israel, organized jointly by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, was held in London’s Trafalgar Square. A number of us, under the auspices of Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), gathered on the fringe of the square for a counter rally. To get to our site outside Canada House we had to run a gauntlet of jeers. ‘Traitors’, ‘cowards’, ‘scum’ and other epithets were hurled in our direction. When the rally was over, some of us were spat at and called ‘kapos’ (a derisory term for certain Jewish inmates of Nazi concentration camps who were seen as collaborators). The contempt and hatred for us, as Jews, was palpable. But it did not come from fanatical Jihadists or fascists in the British National Party. It came from fellow Jews. A ritual was being enacted in which we were being symbolically ‘othered’.

    In a way, I am glad of it. Being othered reminds me that I am a Jew, especially when I consider what provoked this behaviour: the expression of open dissent about the State of Israel. For what does this mean? What does it mean when you are expected to stand solidly with a state? When you must declare that you love it before you may question it? When criticism must always be balanced with praise? When all the fears and hopes of a people are placed in its hands? When to distance yourself from it is to invite contempt, and to approach it is to ascend, as if it were resting on a pedestal? What does this mean? It amounts to this: Israel is not a normal – ordinary – state in the minds and hearts of many Jews. It means the state has been made into a statue. You can call it a cause or ideal. But it is an idol by any other name.

    Which is no idle thing. In fact nothing is weightier in the Hebrew scripture than the matter of idolatry. What, in heaven’s name, does it mean to be Jewish if not to knock statues off their pedestals? If, whatever our political opinions, we cannot rise above the State of Israel and put it in its place; if we do not reduce its status to that of a mere thing among things; then we are not Jews, or we are Jews in name only. But things can be criticized, challenged, opposed, rejected, replaced: there is not a line that you may not cross when approaching a thing – not in the iconoclastic Judaism to which I lay claim.

    But fellow human beings are another matter. They are fellow members of the largest Jewish family in the world: the human family, sharing the same bubbe and zeyda, grandma Eve and grandpa Adam, through whom (in the Genesis story) they inherit the image of God. From which the Talmud derives the principle of kevod habriyos, literally ‘honour of the created’, in idiomatic English ‘human dignity’. ‘The dignity of every person is sacred’, writes Rabbi Chaim Shmulevitz, who for fifteen years was Rosh (head) of the famous Mirrer Yeshiva in Jerusalem. The concept, he says, has ‘overriding importance’:

    ‘Rabbinic enactments and various scriptural prohibitions are set aside when they conflict with human respect and dignity … The concept of [human dignity] does not, however, stop at refraining from insulting or degrading one’s fellow human being. One is also obligated to enhance and magnify the prestige and honor of one’s fellow’ (Reb Chaim’s Discourses).

    So, you cross any line in order to speak out about the degradation of others: this is a rule in the Judaism to which I lay claim. You do not infringe this rule to support a state, whatever your attachment to that state. If there is anything that Jews should always support it is justice, not a state; especially not a state that sports the name ‘Israel’, not if ‘Israel’ stands for the toppling of idols (or their moral equivalent) and the pursuit of justice. ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue’ (Deut. 16:20): this is the directive that Moses gives the people of Israel in the wilderness, the direction that he points out. And, starting with the Hebrew prophets, there is a long straggling line of Judeans and Jews, of ancient Israelites and modern Israelis, of rabbis and writers and activists, who have followed suit. Some call themselves secular, others religious, others just plain Jewish.

    Between them, these two principles, the one positive (respect for human dignity), the other negative (rejection of idolatry), lay the substantive basis for a Jewish case for outspokenness. On the one hand, they motivate, on the other hand they limit, free expression of opinion about anything whatsoever. To which we can add a third – essentially procedural – principle: commitment to argument.

    ‘Argument for the sake of heaven’: this is how the Mishna puts it when argument is conducted not for its own sake or for the sake of winning but with a view to a higher purpose, such as truth, justice or peace. Even God enters the argument when, for example, Abraham engages him in moral reasoning over the fate of Sodom (Gen. 18). And not even God can settle the argument, according to a remarkable tale in the Talmud. Once (goes the story) there was a dispute between two rabbis, Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Joshua, when a heavenly voice intervened to say that Rabbi Eliezer was right. To which Rabbi Joshua retorted, in effect, that God has no standing. ‘For the Torah has already been given from Mount Sinai and we pay no attention to a heavenly voice’. God ‘smiled in that hour’ and said, ‘My children have defeated me. My children have defeated me’ (Bava Metzia 59b). After quoting this passage, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik comments: ‘[I]t is as if the Creator of the World Himself abides by man’s decisions and instruction’ (Hlakhic Man). Earth looks to heaven for guidance but heaven, in this story, looks back to earth. ‘You decide. Argue it out’: argument for the sake of the world. (Argument for the sake of the world is argument for the sake of heaven: this, in a way, sums up Judaism for me.)”

    In the argument over Israel, there are no ‘no go’ areas except as determined by the first two principles, applied via the third. Anything goes, even discussion of the most sensitive issues, even its existence as ‘the Jewish state’. And if this causes offence, tough: no political entity, no state, no object: nothing is above and beyond the reach of argument in the interests of peace, justice and truth. These are the commitments that I recognize as staple in the Judaism to which I lay claim.

    [Adapted from the final section of part III of Offence: The Jewish Case, by Brian Klug (London: Seagull Books, 2009, ISBN-13 978 1 90649 739 2). Distributed by University of Chicago Press or available from Amazon.]

  108. Community Member said

    Brilliantly argued and reasoned by Brian Klug.
    Those who spoke out in Glasgow were subjected to vilification for years.
    It is rather interesting that Brian Klug uses Rabbinical sources to support his argument.
    When historians look back on the last twenty years they will hardly be able to name a mainstream United Synagogue Orthodox Rabbi in the UK who was not part of the national camp more or less advocating ” my country right or wrong “.
    Rather sad that our supposed “moral guardians ” have behaved in this way.

  109. Armchair Analyst said

    Well said CM. The mainstream Orthodox Rabbis have almost to a man either supported Israel unconditionally, or buried their heads in the sand when Israeli behaviour was indefensable.

    One can not be too surprised that the people of Gaza elected a Hamas government after 57 years of either degradation or arrogant occupation, plus endemic corruption in their own leadership. Now we have an impossible situation. Israel has prevented the formation of a Palestinian state with facts on the ground, see map below, and the Palestinians of Gaza have made their bed with Hamas, dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Hamas have been given further comfort by the spoiler Iran. Obama won’t be earning his peace prize any time soon in this neck of the woods. But interesting times are ahead…

  110. Community Member said

    Interesting map AA. I have thought for some time that the chances of peace are now so remote that is verging on the fanciful.
    As I see it not enough people on either side who could do something about it are prepared to make the necessary concessions to kick start the process. The status quo suits the current Israeli government much better than any concessions.
    All we can do is make it clear to Israel what we think.
    The most frightening news at present is the attempt by Israel and a huge chunk of world Jewry to turn Goldstone into a pariah, a supposed ” antisemite, self hating Jew.” And why? Because he has told the truth.

  111. Buycott Israel said

    A Board of Deputies Campaign letter was sent to me today by the Representative Council.

    For a week from the 7th of November, the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is targeting Waitrose and
    Morrisons as part of their supermarket boycott campaign. They are asking their supporters to send emails and
    letters to Waitrose and Morrisons, to hold demonstrations outside local stores, and they plan to inundate their
    Head Offices with phone calls.
    The PSC’s goal is for these supermarkets to boycott Israeli goods. They are focusing on goods from Israeli
    settlements in the West Bank and Golan Heights, but are also campaigning for a total boycott of Israel.
    Boycotts are not an effective way of moving forward or achieving peace. They target all Israelis (Jews and
    Arabs), but impact on the Palestinian economy as well as Israel’s, because the two markets and societies are so
    deeply entwined.
    In response to this, we are calling for a of Israeli goods in these shops. Starting from Saturday
    night on the 7th of November, we call on all friends of Israel to:
    Go to Waitrose or Morrisons that week and buy goods from Israel
    Look out especially for fresh fruit and vegetables and for Israeli wine. If you need
    help finding them, ask the supermarket staff and explain why you are buying
    Israeli goods.
    Write to your local store manager
    Thank them for stocking Israeli goods and explain that boycotts have no positive
    outcomes and impact adversely on all of the inhabitants of the region. You might
    suggest additional products for them to stock.
    Write a letter or email to the Head Offices of these supermarkets
    Explain that boycotting Israeli goods will do NOTHING to further the peace
    process and will damage the livelihoods of local farmers and workers.
    Waitrose Customer Service Department
    Waitrose Limited
    Doncastle Road
    RG12 8YA
    Customer Service Department
    Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC
    Hilmore House
    Gain Lane
    BD3 7DL
    For more information please see
    Israeli goods at Waitrose and Morrisons!
    7th—14th November

  112. Philip's Done it Again. said

    Poor Philip Mendelsohn. He’s blundered again. Along with his colleagues – Eddie Isaacs, Graham Sneader and no doubt with input from Paul Edlin of the Board of Deputies and Stephen Kliner they now have the responsibility of conflating the interests of the State of Israel with those of Jewish people living here.
    The Board of Deputies may act rashly and without proper consideration of what’s in our best interests but that is no excuse for Philip and his chums to do likewise.
    The Jewish community always complain bitterly when those that attack Israel, hold us responsible and protest loudly if anyone writes or says that Jews are culpable.
    Why then Philip do you place our community in the firing line by protesting against those that call for boycotts against goods produced in Israeli settlements? Why don’t you and Eddie, and Graham think before you act.
    We are not footsoldiers for the Israeli embassy. We are not here to be used in this way.
    Incidentally, I do not think boycotts really work but accept that people have a right to protest in this way.
    I wouldn’t buy goods if I knew they had been made in the Jewish quarter in Hebron. I suppose that you wouldn’t understand that though given you visited there last year.
    It is not your remit to tell people in our community that they should buy products made in illegal settlements.

  113. Borowski's just as guilty said

    Ephraim Borowski has a added another silly title to his collection. I’m sure he has been boasting yet again to anyone that is stupid enough to be impressed that he holds some meaningless functionary position to do with regional responsibility for the Board of Deputies.
    Does that not mean that he probably advised Philip Mendelsohn to send this out?
    We know Borowski has no problem visiting illegal settlements. He even thought up some pilgrimage camouflage to do so. I don’t think therefore that it would be a great surprise if he wanted to legitimise products that are made there.

  114. Armchair Analyst said

    There are still people who won’t buy a German car. There are many more who would not have bought a German car in decades past but now have no problem buying one. With 150,000 German War Criminals still loose, I’d like to hear their rationale.

    To engage in a boycott of goods made in Israeli settlements is to join the slippery slope. Boycott if you will, but don’t forget to boycott Lebanon (Hezbollah takeover of Christian lands), Syria (massacre of the Muslim Brotherhood in Qom), Iraq (slaughter of the Shia by Sunni and disposession of the Kurds from Kirkuk), oh and maybe dozens of other UN member ‘states’ who have clearly violated minority rights.

  115. Edlin Eye said

    Some of what you write Armchair Analyst maybe true, but irrelevant. You need to concentrate. The substantive issue is not whether you or I agree with boycotts but whether it is sensible to conflate the interests of the Israeli Government with the interests of Jews living in Glasgow.
    It can’t be sensible to do this.

    I note that Paul Edlin’s name was on the original Board of Deputies letter that was sent to me. Why would anyone in their right mind think that following Paul Edlin’s advice would be something worth doing?

  116. Armchair Analyst said

    Sorry EE, I was making different point. This is, whether there is something going on in relation to Israel that does not apply to other human rights abusers. There is an increasing number of people, students, Muslims etc. in Glasgow who are fixated on Israeli misdeeds. Nothing wrong with that in itself, except that there is no balanced global viewpoint on human rights abuse taken by these students and Muslims etc. whatever. The dormant for now issue of the Jews who came from the Arab lands is buried.

    So while it is important to educate people not to conflate the interests of the Israeli Government with the interests of Jews living in Glasgow, it is also important to counter the brainwashing that is taking place in Glasgow and elsewhere on Israeli misdeeds to the exclusion of just about everything else nasty that is going on around the world. Sudan is a statistic. The Board of Deputies are the other side of the coin. They have defended the indefensable for decades.

    A thought just struck me. What if Paul Edlin was their best and brightest?

  117. Edlin Eye said

    If Edlin is their best and brightest then how proud that must make Borowski?
    Imagine being beneath Paul Edlin?
    Please be ssured that I am referring absolutely to Mr , sorry Dr, Edlin’s position on the Board of Deputies, and I cannot be accused of referring to any personal characteristic whatsoever.
    Anyone thinking otherwise, or indulging their imagination, should be thoroughly ashamed.

    Dr/Mr Paul Edlin is a vice President of the Board of Deputies and is obviously a very important man in British Jewry. His esteemed judgement and qualities are recognised throughout the land and I think it is only fit and proper to recognise his immense and growing contribution on this blog.

    As for Ephraim Borowski or Stephen Kliner, well ???

  118. Edlin Eye said

    Sorry please forgive me. If Edlin is at the top of the pile with Borowski and Kliner floundering underneath where does that leave President Phil, Vice President Eddie or Treasurer Graham – the superstars of the Representative Council?
    Surely the pecking error needs to be turned upside down?

  119. Armchair Analyst said

    Dr. Edlin has risen through the ranks of the Board of Deputies to the position of Vice President. He is literally a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Sit back and try to imagine the national press coming to him for a ‘statement’ on important affairs.

    EE, I don’t rate the provincials you mention against this major London and New York player. Give credit where it is due, Ephraim has higher visibility than Dr. Paul in Stornoway though.

  120. Eddie Edlin said

    Oh come on. My cousin Paul showed genuine leadership when he supported the Board President in questionning The Conservative Party’s unpalatable colleagues in Europe.
    With Paul around why would we need to worry.

  121. Philip's Done It Again said

    Philip Mendelsohn – please lets remember it was his organisation that distributed this Board of Deputies letter throughout our community – is telling us that that there is no distinction between settlements in the occupied territories and the rest of Israel.
    This is garbage.
    According to Philip & co no one can boycott the settlements without harming Israel. The settlers would love this argument.
    Congratulations to the Glasgow Rep Council – you are now speaking on behalf of the settlers as well as yourselves – and bad luck on the rest of us that we have such inept foolish people trying to claim they represent us.
    They certainly don’t represent me.

  122. Ellie Edlin said

    Please don’t think cousin Paul thought this up. He doesn’t understand Israeli politics at all.
    Before you start blaming Paul ask him when you bump into him – what’s the difference between Kadima and Likud and he will huff and puff but he wouldn’t have a scoobie do.
    So start asking Borowski and Mendelsohn or Kliner and you might get a better answer.

  123. Community Member said

    Those who run the Representative Council or the Board of Deputies might learn something if they read Seth Freedman’s latest article about Jewish settlers in today’s Guardian.
    Maybe then they will refrain from acts that could cause huge harm to our community’s reputation.
    I challenge any one of those involved in deciding to send out the Board’s letter to justify their reasons for doing so. You represent no one in this community but yourselves.

  124. Community Member said

    Sorry, link posted to the Freedman article below

  125. Newton Mearns Resident said

    What we need is a debate. How about an event in Eastwood Theatre to discuss this very issue.
    We could have someone from the left, someone from the Right and someone claiming to be in the middle representing our best interests (somebody like Ephraim Borowski or Philip Mendelsohn)
    Who will organise this?

  126. Armchair Analyst said

    Coco the Clown

  127. Is Joy Wolfe causing harm? said

    Please have a look at an article on page 6 of this week’s JC entitled ” Zionists stop medical talk after campaign ”

    Two lectures by Israeli based charity Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)
    were cancelled after a Zionist organisation told hospitals holding the talks they were ” anti-Israel”

    Miri Weingarten from PHR-I was due to give a lecture, entitled ” the Right to Health in a Conflict Zone ” to three hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool and Bury last week. Manchester and Liverpool cancelled at the last minute.

    Karen Solomon, director of the Manchester Zionist Central Council sent more than 200 emails to members urging them to contact the hospitals. She said according to the JC that the group is blatantly anti Israel.

    Ms Weingarten of PHR-I denied that the group was anti Israel and anti-Zionist.
    She said :
    ” My organisation finds it shocking that communities that are so outspoken against the growing calls for a boycott of Israeli bodies could use the same tactics themselves in order to stifle debate. ”

    Now that we know the story, I think Joy Wolfe will have something to say. She came from and I am sure is still heavily involved in Manchester Zionist Council. Is there is no limit to the harm that can be caused by the stupidity of groups like the Manchester Zionist Council?

    It is outrageous that a group of doctors, comprising of mainly Jewish Israelis, can be the victims of a campaign by a Manchester Zionist Organisation because they are brave enough and have a desire to speak out about the morality of what is happening to people caught up in a conflict zone.

    So please Mrs Wolfe of Cheadle tells us where you stand on this? Perhaps you will also ask your colleagues in Glasgow involved in campaigning to urge Jews to buy Israeli groups to tell us what they think about the Manchester Zionists.

    Specifically lets hear from the Rep Council Officers
    Philip Mendelsohn
    Eddie Isaacs
    Graham Sneader
    Board of Deputies representatives living in Glasgow

    Paul Edlin
    Ephraim Borowski

    Come on gentlemen do you agree with the actions of the Manchester Zionist Central Council or do you believe like I do that it was outrageous?

  128. Beachgrove Gardner said

    Maybe while considering the wisdom of the actions by the Manchester ZCC, Mrs Wolfe could ask her friend and colleague Mark Gardner to explain the CST’s silence regarding the Tory party links to far right antisemites in Europe.
    Funny how Mr Gardner hasn’t anything to say about this when every other act or word about the subject initiates an instant response.
    What’s up Mark? Please tell us more.

  129. Community Member said

    Mrs Wolfe almost certainly agrees with Melanie Phillips about Israel, antisemitism etc. Maybe Mark Gardner does as well.
    They might therefore find this article about Melanie Phillips very interesting.

  130. CST Supporter said

    Kaminsky is a friend of Israel so the CST won’t have a problem with him.
    I’m sure that’s why Mark Gardner has said nothing. There couldn’t be any other explanation.

  131. Armchair Analyst said

    How interesting that Kaminski is pro-Israel. Could it be that he is the latest of a long line of a political class of anti-Semites that goes back to Arthur Balfour? These people are the NIMBYS who are quite comfortable having the bulk or all of the Jews living in Israel. Some of their best freinds will be Jews too.

  132. Armchair Analyst said

    The times they are a’changing – ever so slowly. J Street is making headway in countering AIPAC in the US.

  133. Voice Down South said

    Thanks for the details on Jstreet. Lets hope they do break Aipac’s influence.
    Could Mark Gardner and the CST’s silence on Kaminsky have more to do with not wanting to alienate themselves from a potential new Conservative Government and that they share the world view of the Jewish Leadership Council. ( they were raging at the Board of Deputies for speaking out)
    And before anyone suggests otherwise who said that organisations like the CST were principled?

  134. Horticulturist said

    Maybe Mr Gardner is still on his summer holidays. Last time he came on here he told us he was going away and he’s never come back.

  135. Jardinier said

    He’s back so he can’t use that as an excuse.

  136. Beachgrove Gardner said

    Google the CST blog – type in Kaminsky
    and surprise, surprise the following message appears

    ” sorry but you are looking for something that isn’t there”

    Lets get real here – Kaminsky is the subject of the biggest news item on antisemitism in the UK in years – and the CST have nothing to say.

  137. Gardner's Question Time said

    Come on Mark, please answer the question about Kaminsky and the CST so we can move on.
    I am sure there might be a very sound reason for your policy but if you don’t tell us this story will ony continue to develop.

  138. Der Garten said

    What’s going on here. Asking the CST to explain their policy is a bit “Rich”, don’t you think? Sorry Dave, no pun intended.

  139. Jardinier said

    A fine article in today’s edition of The Times, in which David Aaronovitch sets out the case against the Conservative Party’s alliance with fascist and antisemitic parties in the European Parliament. Aaronovitch’s moral clarity on this issue stands in marked contrast to that of the CST:

    “In 2001 it was finally acknowledged what many people had known all along. The murderers hadn’t been Germans, but local Poles, . . . Alexander Kwasniewski, then the Polish President, apologised to the dead Jews and their survivors at a ceremony in Jedwabne “in my own name, and in the name of those Poles whose conscience is shattered by that crime”.

    History matters. Few believe that as much as the Law and Justice party of Michal Kaminski, who leads the Tory-backed group in the European Parliament. The party’s leaders have demanded apologies from the Russians for the massacre of 21,000 Polish officers at Katyn in 1940 and their references to terrible Polish historical suffering have constituted a big part of their political appeal.

    But despite his historical sensitivity Mr Kaminski, the MEP for the Jedwabne area, did not support the 2001 apology. He opposed it vigorously, associating himself with the “Committee to Defend the Good Name of Jedwabne”. Among its leading members were the local priest, Edward Orlowski, who — asked by journalists whether he would be attending the ceremony at which the President apologised — said: “These are all lies. It is not my business. Germans are responsible, so why should we apologise?”

    Mr Kaminski developed a slightly different rationale. As he told an interviewer for a far-right newspaper, Our Poland, the murders — which he abhorred — were the work of a few outcasts, and that he would only apologise if someone “from the Jewish side” apologised for how “the Jews” behaved during the Soviet occupation from 1939 to 1941. Last month Mr Kaminski (who had denied giving the interview) confirmed this position. “If you are asking the Polish nation to apologise for the crime made in Jedwabne,” he said, “you would require the whole Jewish nation to apologise for what some Jewish communists did in Eastern Poland.”

    It is this argument that so incenses me, as it would anyone, I think, who had sat through Our Class. The idea of collective Jewish Bolshevism was a major anti-Semitic trope before the war; it was a major element of self-justification after it.

    Mr Kaminski denied the apology, denied the need for it, equated the massacre to “Jewish actions” and allied himself with those who denied the massacre altogether, fulfilling the historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet’s observation about patterns of massacre denial: “It never happened, it happened but was justified, they did it to themselves, they did it to us.” Mr Kaminski’s view was described as disgraceful by Mr Miliband. Having read an enormous amount on Jedwabne in the last few weeks, I think Mr Miliband is completely right — it is disgraceful. And as he might well demand of Mr Cameron: “I should apologise?”

    But more than that, I find myself amazed by how Mr Cameron ever came to be in the position of demanding that a foreign secretary, descended from Polish Jews, should apologise for possibly offending the sensibilities of a foreign politician who vehemently opposed there being an apology for the massacre of Polish Jews. I think of all the things that Mr Cameron has got right in his leadership of the Conservatve Party and my mental jaw drops at the sheer wrongness of it.

    Now Tory columnists, bloggers and activists are devoting their time to nitpicking sophistry about the nature of collective guilt, and to attacking non-existent “smears” that they say have been attached to the unlovely person of Mr Kaminski. Why?”

  140. Voice Down South said

    Thank you for posting this Jardinier.
    The CST have a moral obligation to tell us why they have remained silent about Kaminsky. If they don’t their credibility to speak out about antisemitism is severely impaired.

    As a Voice Down South I applaud this forum for allowing this issue to be discussed and highlighted.
    I raise my hat to the GJEF blog – there are not too many forums in Anglo-Jewry that would have facilitated this.

  141. Giardino said

    Very worrying. I doubt if Mark Gardner is formulating this policy regarding the CST and their silence on Kaminsky.
    The policy must have come from the top.
    Maybe Gerald Ronson will come on the blog to tell us their reasons as Mr Gardner won’t.

  142. Armchair Analyst said

    Poland. It’s a great place to be from.

    I wonder why Russia has never apologised for the Katyn Forest massacre. It does also appear according to contemporay historians that the Red Army was initially wildly welcomed by many of the Jews of Southeastern Poland. Polish nationalists like Kaminski do not remember the collaborators fondly. But should the Polish nation have to apologise for what happened in Jedwabne? And if so, should Israel have to apologise for what happened at Qibya, Deir Yassin, Sabra and Shatilla etc.?

  143. Beachgrove Gardner said

    If the Jews of Poland welcomed the Red Army could it be Armchair Analyst that this was because anyone replacing the Germans would have been an improvement?

  144. Armchair Analyst said

    The Soviets invaded Eastern Poland on September 17 1939 according to Wikipedia.The Germans had invaded from the west. It doesn’t say specifically whether the Jews enthusiastically received the Red Army because they were terrified of the Germans who had not yet got there to the east and therefore were not being ‘replaced’ or because they were admirers of the Soviet Union.

    Kaminski and friends allege that the Polish ‘Jews’ collaborated with the advancing Soviets against the Poles. Polish nationalists also allege that many Jews by birth were prominent in the highest echelons of the communist secret police who ruled Poland from 1945-55. These ‘Jews’ would have been Jews in name only, being communists who would have no connection to the practice of Judaism.

    Communists of Jewish origin would have been hated by Polish Catholic Nationalists. Practising Jews would probably have been hated by many of them too. Kaminski obviously likes to play down the communal Polish nature of the atrocity against the Jews of Jedwabne, being a Polish Nationalist.

    My question is – should ‘The Jews’ apologise for the Jewish communists who were involved in the liqidation of thousands of Poles after WW11? And should Israel apologise for Qibya, Deir Yassin etc? And if the answer to both is ‘no’, then why should Kaminski be expected to apologise for Jedwabne?

  145. Voice Down South said

    You don’t understand what this argument is all about AA. Kaminsky’s refusal to apologise for what happened to the Jews in Poland is unacceptable. Whether some Jews supported the Soviets after the end of the war is not relevant to how the Jews were treated before then.
    However, the fact that the Conservatives believe that it is okay to have alliances with far right groups in Europe – some even glorify the SS – is deeply worrying, as David Miliband has exposed.
    It is even more worrying for the Jewish community that the CST have lost their voice. It is quite astonishing that an organisation that monitors antisemitism and is highly vocal in the fight to combat antisemitism where and when it occurs has nothing to say on the Kaminsky affair. Others on this blog have speculated as to the reasons for this but the bottom line is that the CST silence is shameful.

  146. Armchair Analyst said

    I do understand what the argument is all about, VDS. I was simply making a point about Kaminski’s refusal to formally apologise, because, as he sees it, nobody’s asking ‘The Jews’ to apologise for anything, anywhere, even though War Crimes and human rights violations have been carried out by both Jews and Israel.

    ‘Some Jews’ did not just ‘support’ the Soviets after the war, they ran the Soviet controlled security apparatus in Poland that murdered and disappeared thousands of Poles. Admittedly they were godless communists, but they were Jewish as defined by Judaism.

    I agree with you on the nasty isssue of the Conservatives having alliances with far-right politicians like Kaminski.

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