Glasgow Jewish Educational Forum

Letter from London – Turbulent Times: Apocalypse Now or a New Vilna?

Posted by Admin on November 15, 2010

Antony Lerman

‘Turbulent Times’ is the title of a new and important book about the British Jewish community today. ‘Turbulent times’ might also describe the prediction for the Jewish future that most in the audience worryingly subscribed to at a debate on whether Jews are growing ashamed to be Jewish that took place on Monday 25 October. I say ‘might’ and ‘worryingly’ because the book with the TT title realistically describes an obstacle-strewn path which, over twenty years, has nonetheless been rather effectively navigated and could lead to a bright Jewish future. While the TT prediction is a rather mild characterization of the belief that we’re about to be engulfed by an anti-Jewish apocalypse of monumental proportions.

I previewed this debate, in which I was one of four speakers, a month ago and wrote about how much I was looking forward to it. I didn’t plan to return to it here, but the outcome tells us something important about the state of mind of British Jewry and perhaps also of European Jewry more widely. Only last week, the President of the European Jewish Congress, Moshe Kantor, darkly warned of ‘small communities [in Europe] . . . teetering on the brink of extinction’ because of an ‘antisemitic onslaught’. With this tone suffusing Monday’s debate, I felt rather foolish having thought that I might enjoy it.

Apocalyptic fear for the Jewish future in Europe is nothing new in recent years. This is how the 21st century began, with dire warnings about an imminent re-run of Kristalnacht and a rapidly approaching end to Jewish life across the continent, though I don’t believe it was anything like a majority view. I might be wrong, but I think that had Monday’s debate been staged eight years ago, not only would there have been great puzzlement about the subject matter, there would also have been considerable scepticism about predictions of the coming apocalypse, although a not insignificant sense of unease about the future would have been expressed.

We were discussing ‘ashamed Jews’ because the British Jewish novelist Howard Jacobson had parodied this genus in his latest work of fiction, The Finkler Question, which recently won the Man Booker prize, Britain’s most prestigious literary award. When asked what he was going to do with the £50,000 prize money, he replied: ‘Buy my wife a handbag.’ The ashamed Jews are a group of Israel-hating, Jewishness-denying media luvvies which meets at London’s Groucho Club and calls itself ‘ASHamed Jews’. The Finkler in the title is a highly successful author of popular books on philosophy, who becomes the group’s leading light.

Howard Jacobson kicked off the debate by reading key passages from his book about a meeting of the ASHamed Jews. He followed this up with dire warnings about the consequences of the perfidy of such Jews and the mounting atmosphere of insane Jew-hatred gripping the British chattering classes. He was more than just supported by Melanie Phillips, one of the country’s leading columnists who writes for the right-wing Daily Mail and also for the Jewish Chronicle. Melanie, who frequently appears on radio and television in current affairs discussions, spoke of ‘Jews demonising Israel’ as ‘uniquely diabolical’ and laid out her by now well-known thesis that a worldwide surge of left-wing, Islamist, genocidal Jew-hatred is about to engulf us all. And left-wing, Israel-hating Jews are providing support to this genocidal project.

Together with Brian Klug, an Oxford University philosopher and author of a new book, Being Jewish and Doing Justice, I disputed this scenario and argued that ‘ASHamed Jews’ are largely a figment of the imagination, a phrase used to demonise Jews whose views we disagree with. While there are serious problems of antisemitism, and some anti-Zionism is a form of it, Jews who question the path Israel is taking today are not contributing to it. Vilifying them is simply sitting in judgement on their Jewishness. Far better for Jews of different ideological persuasions to engage in debate and dialogue over real differences than to resort to name-calling and politically-motivated insults.

I have no intention of using this letter to continue the argument and prosecute my case. What I want to convey is that our respective views were so polarised, it seemed, that any observer would have recognised the absence of dialogue between the two sides. And I freely admit that the majority of the audience firmly supported the positions adopted by Howard and Melanie.

There is, however, an incongruity here that needs to be brought out. We were sitting in Hampstead Town Hall, in one of the most prosperous and liberal parts of London. The well-heeled, packed Jewish audience—there was standing room only—are unlikely to feel the pain of the drastic spending cuts and job losses now being introduced by the new government, which includes a number of Jewish ministers. An unashamedly Jewish novelist had won a prestigious prize and we were celebrating it. Only a few weeks ago a Jew, Ed Miliband, who fully acknowledges his Jewish background, was elected leader of the Labour Party. It’s a mystery to me that the majority at such a gathering of British Jews should so warmly and enthusiastically embrace an apocalyptic eschatology of a kind found almost exclusively among Christian sects like the Christadelphians. I may not be a world expert on Jewish theology, but I never thought this sort of apocalyptic thinking played any part in Jewish teaching.

These are certainly ‘Turbulent Times’, but the debate goes on as to whether it’s a creative turmoil that could well be leading to a revivified Jewishness that jostles productively and satisfyingly for its place in today’s multicultural reality, or a terminal disorder that will result in a new Holocaust. Unashamed, I know where I stand.

Turbulent Times: The British Jewish Community Today by Keith Kahn-Harris and Ben Gidley is published by Continuum Books.

257 Responses to “Letter from London – Turbulent Times: Apocalypse Now or a New Vilna?”

  1. Samson Clare said

    Anyone else see a trend here ? Of all the numerous matters pertaining to Jews throughout the world GJEF serves us another column by Antony Lerman.
    He is now on a hat-trick and that the forum has chosen this as a new topic says everything.
    It totally confirms my views expressed in the most recent thread and though I had said that I was exiting the forum, I apologise to my detractors but their bait was irresistible !

    As for the column itself…I`ll read it properly later, and maybe if I am not subjected to my usual onslaught that follows any posting, then I will give you all the pleasure of my views !

  2. Oswald said

    Jesus Christ Samson – could you not have read it before you posted? Now we will need to read what you have to say twice and in my humble opinion that is one more than is reasonable.
    Good article Mr Lerman- thought provoking. I’m on your side.

  3. Edinburgh Resident said

    Lerman writes

    “is a rather mild characterization of the belief that we’re about to be engulfed by an anti-Jewish apocalypse of monumental proportions.”

    Seems to me that this is pretty similar to how Scojec present the case about antisemitism in Scotland.

    I agree with Lerman and I know where I stand too.

  4. Samson Clare said

    Calm down Oswald old chap…all I was doing was stating that the obviously important to this forum Mr.Lerman was entitled to my full attention.
    I shall read it this very minute and will give you my awaited and anticipated verdict at first opportunity !

    Anyway two comments and both in favour…now THERE`S a shock…..

  5. Oswald said

    Samson,it is quite astonishing that you can comment on the wisdom of posting Lerman’s article without you having read it.
    I suggest you stick to other blogs where your intellectual talents will be more appreciated such as the Beano or The Night Garden.
    Discussing an article by one of Britains’s leading Jewish intellectuals, whether you agree with him or not, is clearly beyond you.

  6. Samson Clare said

    Ach ye`re aff yer heid Ossie…you are too easily offended and astonished, you take this place a bit too seriously.
    The Beano has a blog these days ? I won`t ask you how you know that.

    As for Lerman…who would have thought Israel would come into the original article…can`t you see the man`s agenda whether he speaks sense or not ? To me it looks like more of the usual utterly predictable same. My initial thoughts are that any Jew who can stand up and say he is ashamed to be Jewish or stand on the same platform as those that do so, should certainly be ashamed but for an entirely different reason.
    Are you ashamed of being Jewish because of Israel`s politics Oswald ? Incidentally I HAD read Lerman`s article briefly before I posted, I didn`t realise that I had to dissect it with great care before one could offer an opinion on here. You say you are on `his side`…talk about stating the bleeding obvious !! Nothing is acceptable in here unless we are all on one side…please deny that if you can.

    As for Howard Jacobson, he is the British Philip Roth and I love his work. His views are also well documented and I respect his right to express them. But anyone who has the chutzpah to discuss bacon with the Chief Rabbi should be treated with just a little caution…Booker winner or not.

  7. Matheikal said

    I think the world should take the answer to most religion-based problems from Jacobson’s character, Hephzibah (Juno), who advises Julian Treslove to live his religion rather than trying all the time to understand it. Finkler question’s main thrust is precisely that: very few people live their religion, most live by it!

  8. Oswald said

    I am certainly not ashamed of being Jewish Samson. I am very comfortable with my Jewish identity. I am also comfortable with my position on Israel and my liberal Western values. What are you ashamed of Samson?
    My values I think are pretty well rooted and secure. What about yours?

  9. Samson Clare said

    Oh my values don`t concern me either Oswald, and you ask what I am ashamed of, well I don`t lose any sleep over them, but Jews that crush into the Town Hall in Hampstead (they probably had to park at Golders Green and jump on the tube) and discuss such matters as shame at their religion do not impress me.
    Probably not what you want to hear Oswald but yes, better they keep their views to themselves rather than give such a boost to the anti-semitic elements. Like it or not, criticising Israel if one is Jewish is food and drink to the media and Israel`s enemies.

    That one cannot come out with a word against Israel`s policies without being labelled anti-semitic is ludicrous, but Jews going the extra mile and actually forming a meeting to discuss such hypothetical shame and then spreading the word through a timely namecheck to Jacobson`s well earned Booker prize doesn`t do it for me.

    There are many ashamed Jews throughout the world, I suggest that the percentage that are red-faced due to Israel is miniscule.
    Mr. Lerman predictably sees the numbers differently, and I consider the prominence given to him and this subject by Admin. questionable.

    Howard Jacobson has his writer`s license to introduce “ashamed Jews” into his fiction, Mr.Lerman does himself and his religion a serious disservice by taking the matter a little too seriously for my and surely many others` tastes.

  10. emet said

    Well that last article by Mr Lerman went down a storm…..not.
    Zzzzz
    Zzzzz.
    So here is a question .
    Do you sit shiva for the dead or does one sit shiva for oneself ? Can a halachic jew sit shiva for a non jewish father ? Can a non halachic jew sit shiva for a halachic deceased ? Assume allpersons are fictional and state if answering in orthodox , masorti or reform context.
    Thank you.

  11. Onlooker said

    Poor Emet is obviously too dim to understand Mr Lerman’s essay.
    In life we have a choice – we can either stretch our intellectual faculties and try to understand cogent analysis or we can resort to discussing irrelevant trivia. Emet has chosen the latter.
    What a plonker.

  12. emet said

    Looks like you ‘ll need to argue with yourself Onlooker…..zzzzz…..zzzzzz. With your lack of courtesy you’ll be used to playing with yourself.

    Oh and by the way Mr Intellectual you can not have COGENT analysis , only COGENT evidence ; it is the evidence that convinces not the analysis.

    I’d stick to being a Lerman groupie-that’s your level.He’s probably embarrassed though to have an oaf like you worship his every word. You are a classic pseudo intellectual and you lack class to boot.

    Don’t bother responding-you do not merit my attention.

  13. emet said

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    zz

    z.

  14. Wise Enough to Know Better said

    Edward Isaacs is the Jewish Community’s JFK. Well, he thinks he is.
    “Think what you can do for your community not what your community can do for you.”
    Somehow, the vision of Eddie as a dynamic national icon urging his people to do more escapes me even when my imagination is at is most vivid.
    If anyone has seen Marilyn Monroe entering Rep Council Headquarters then please let us know. That might change my opinion.
    The blogger who called him
    Edward I Sex might have been clairvoyant.

  15. Marilyn Monroe said

    Happy Birthday when it comes President Isaacs – Glasgow Jewish Community’s JFK.

  16. Samson Clare said

    As the Lerman article predictably failed to attract more than the usual handful of eccentrics (myself included)and rightly fades into cyberspace…there`s a not unexpected intervention from the blog, a personal attack on a member of the community.

    I have read Mr.Isaacs`s column online and assume that it is the complete version of what he said. Inoffensive if admittedly run of the mill I`d say…surely lacking any hint of controversy. But NO ! Out come the GJEF glitterati to extract a single line, take it out of context and we have the inevitable and ludicrous conclusion on here…Mr.Isaacs is a would be JFK and showing inflated aspirations.

    What is wrong with using JFK`s words that were inspirational then and remain relevant almost 50 years on ?
    Then to follow comes ‘Marilyn Monroe’ which was equally predictable to add his, delete…her tuppenceworth. Is this really the best level of debate we can expect ?
    Hang your heads in shame the last two `contributors`…whatever your personal agendas are against Mr.Isaacs (and I do not know him) he is entitled to respect, especially when he is doing or attempting to do some good for the community.

    I implore Mr.Isaacs to begin his next address to the faithful in the following manner….

    ” ICH BIN EIN GLASWEGIANER and I HAVE A DREAM that the infamous Glasgow blog will eventually contain a single discussion that its few readers will find relevant to our community.”

    Happy Chanukah !

  17. ML said

    Marilyn Monroe wishing Eddie Isaacs a Happy Birthday is not exactly a personal attack?
    I wish she would wish me a Happy Birthday. You obviously have no sense of humour Samson and don’t get it that some people, maybe a few or maybe many, think that Eddie Isaacs using JFK’s words is just a little bit pretentious.
    Anyone though that thinks that it would be appropriate for Mr Isaacs to begin his next address as you describe is surely ready for medical help. I suggest you visit your doctor urgently before its too late.

  18. Samson Clare said

    Well ML firstly let me address your accusation that I have no sense of humour. Is the content from the posters the sort of stuff that leaves you rolling on the floor then ? Fair enough but if that was funny then Cannon and Ball were misjudged geniuses. You know as well as any other reader that nothing there was humorous…purely sarcastic, something quite different.
    If as you suggest Mr.Isaacs is guilty of being pretentious then surely that is his problem…why should you care ? What possible difference to the gist of his words ? ( an answer would be appreciated )

    Then your usual personal jibe which seems the only responses this forum and you are capable of offering…now THAT I do find funny…are you really imagining that these playground words somehow will hit home ? Now THAT makes me laugh !

    Finally from a gentleman who is so humorous and intelligent…he ends up by suggesting he is taking my closing comments seriously or at least if he did not, he has an even stranger sense of `humour` than even I thought possible.

    Keep chortling ML…nobody else is !

  19. Marilyn Monroe said

    What is it that troubles you Samson about people having a go at the Rep Council? Anyone who knows anything at all about Jewish community affairs in Glasgow knows that this organisation is to all intents and purposes defunct – it is led by people who have no power, no community money and no influence.
    If someone wants to be sarcastic and poke some fun at Eddie why does that bother you Samson?
    Personally speaking I think it is humourous and quite cutting which is what the Rep Council deserves.

  20. Dead and Buried said

    I am sure everyone remembers the wrongful and outrageous dismissal of Warren Bader by the Hebrew Burial Society which most of us believed was because he had Masorti connections.
    Many predicted that the day of judgement would come and that Jeffrey Gladstone and Ephraim Borowski would have to defend their actions in court.
    Well my friends my information is that judgement day is getting closer.
    I wouldn’t like to give you more details yet but I think you should ask Mr Gladstone and Mr Borowski to let you know that if they lose how much your fees will have to go up.

    My information leads me to believe that Gladstone and co have lost round 1.

    The saddest part of all of this is that their bad judgement and bad management are going to cost ordinary people more money.
    They and their spiritual advisors had better start taking the tranquilisers because they will become increasingly nervous in the days to come.

    The alternative of course would be to finally do what’s right, admit their errors, apologise and pay out compensation.

  21. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    Dead and buried? That would be an accurate description of this blog.

  22. Dead and Buried said

    Hey Ramon, I think you have got your wires crossed. It is the management of the Burial Society who will metaphorically be dead and buried, not this blog.
    One of the best things this blog has done for this community was to expose what happened with the burial society and to highlight the excesses of their paymasters or spiritual mentors,the said Giffnock Taliban.
    Three cheers for free speech.

  23. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    I have no opinion on the Burial Society, and was only making an observation about the dearth of comment on the blog of late. Where did everyone go?

    Who or what is the Giffnock Taliban?

  24. Taliban Watcher said

    You are at it Ramon. If you are a regular on here as you claim to be given your knowledge of how many are posting now compared to before, then you would be well acquainted with the Giffnock Taliban.

    I will reming you though that this is a most appropriate description awarded to those who are members of Giffnock Shul and who hold fundamentalist views. Their fundamentalism shows disdain for others who do not think like them and is highly judgemental.

    The phrase “Giffnock Taliban” has become part of community folklore and some Orthodox Shuls in Glasgow can understand why it has been used to describe how many within Giffnock operate.

    If you wish to know more details contact the chairman, vice chairman or the Rabbi. I am sure they will send you a membership application to join their Synagogue.

  25. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    Taliban Watcher/Dead and Buried,

    Oh, I see. I thought you made the comparison with the Taliban because they hang homosexuals, stone adulterers and throw acid in, and otherwise mutilate the faces of girls. Taliban is clearly not an appropriate description, but a disgusting thing to call people whose views you disagree with. I would complain to the administrators of this blog, but I’m reliably informed that the really vile stuff that’s posted here is invariably authored by them.

    By using that kind of repulsive language, I think it’s clear who the extremist is, who is highly judgemental and who shows disdain for others who don’t think like them, but I wouldn’t call you a Nazi or Taliban. I pity you that you can talk like that from the safety of your keyboard, about people whom you smile at and shake hands with. Shame on you.

    This is why your blog has gone down the toilet. I don’t want to encourage you by doubling your monthly hits, but you did look like you needed the company.

  26. Taliban Watcher said

    Reliably informed by who Ramon? My informants tell me that the Giffnock hierarchy have a distinguished track record when it comes to having a go at someone on this blog. The use of the description “Taliban” to describe an attitude that prevails at Giffnock Shul strikes a chord because it conveys an attitude that shows little tolerance for those that disagree with them. I didn’t suggest that they would behave exactly as the Taliban do in Afghanistan.
    If the blog has gone down the toilet then you seem to spend a lot of time in there.
    By the way this blog has got nothing whatsoever to do with me other than I post on it from time to time. The whole point of a blog is to allow an exchange of opinion that gives the author the privilege of anonymity. If you are so brave Ramon tell us who you are.

  27. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    Taliban Watcher/Dead and Buried,

    You are a barefaced liar. Of course you’re gjef!

    You run a blog, pretend you’re several other people on it, and then have the nerve to ask me to name names and give away my anonymity. Who I am is irrelevant and none of your business.

    I accept that in writing two posts (now three), by gjef standards I do spend a lot of time here, but that doesn’t mean gjef hasn’t gone down the toilet. Before I just arrived it was 20 comments in a month. How many are by you (rhetorical question)? You obviously find some sort of paradox in someone saying gjef’s gone down the toilet, and think that the fact that they’re here telling you that, is proof that they’re wrong. If someone else was reading this I’d suggest they simply look at previous threads and compare the number of posts, but seeing as no one is, I suggest you just look up your wordpress stats.

    What we have here is yet another Lerman thread, but nothing following it but a couple of slanging matches, with gjef telling the echo chamber how important and influential they are.

    It’s very funny that you should talk about the term Taliban striking a chord and being community folklore. I’ve never heard it. It seems the only place you’ll find it is on this blog, presumably written by you. You’re a community of one, ya big freak! Don’t try and pass off your own filth as some sort of common currency.

    I never accused you of cowardice for posting anonymously. You’re a coward calling people the vilest names anonymously, but shaking their hands when you’re face to face. You don’t need to know my name to know that I won’t shake your hand if I’m offered it.

    I do feel I’ve already been here too long and am in danger of being contaminated.

  28. Taliban Watcher said

    You really are too stupid for words Ramon..
    I have nothing to do with GJEf nor am I dead and Buried.
    Your agenda is to attack GJEF- good luck to you but the discussion you entered was about the Burial Society and as far as I am aware GJEF have not commented on that.
    If you are not aware about the Giffnock Taliban then I suggest you spend less time in the loo and get out a bit more.
    Finally, you state that GJEF keep telling everyone how important they are. Why don’t you give us some evidence. Until you do, you are just another loud noise with no substance with a pathological dislike of an organisation that had the guts to speak out.
    I couldn’t care less if you believe me or not but I have nothing to do with GJEF.
    I live in Glasgow and I am 58.
    My name is ………
    You can guess…I’m not telling you.

  29. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    You are a liar. You are both Dead and Buried and Taliban Watcher, among others on this thread. You know you’ve been caught out, but on you go with the lying. I like to imagine that deep down you know that your behaviour is disgraceful and that’s why you try to distance yourself from it. Maybe there’s hope for you.

    There’s no point in hiding behind all those pseudonyms when everything you write is identifiable by the stench.

  30. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    “Three cheers for free speech.”
    “The phrase “Giffnock Taliban” has become part of community folklore.”
    “… an organisation that had the guts to speak out.”

    Three examples on this paltry thread alone, of gjef blowing its own trumpet. Now, stop lying!

  31. Kuthkar E Ramon said

    Boring Kuthkar, very Boring. I suppose I too am Dead and Buried and Taliban Watcher.
    I am not but you have put me to sleep..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    I can’t quite understand how advocating free speech is an example of GJEf blowing its own trumpet but I am either not that bright or just very bored and tired
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  32. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    You suggest that you’re not that bright, and I can confirm that it is so. Read the full “three cheers” quote above and you’ll see that it is exalting GJEF by equating this heavily-moderated blog with the principle of free speech. It would take an unusually dimwitted individual to misunderstand his own words, and on that basis I conclude that this is another of your pseudonyms.

    There are 13 different names on this thread. Clearly you are not Samson Clare, Matheikal, Emet or myself. Of the other nine names spouting vindictive bile, how many are yours and your chum’s? It’s close to nine, isn’t it?

  33. Taliban Watcher said

    Wow Ramon. You are a genius. You can count to nine. Well done. I can confirm that the only name that is mine is Taliban Watcher.
    You follow in a long line of sad misinformed people who claim to know so much about who is posting and always try and divert the argument from others’ failings to an attack on those who run this blog.
    You will fail as they have too.
    So tell us Ramon what is the real problem. Are you a member of the Giffnock executive or a leading light in the Burial Society.
    Something is bothering you.
    Tell us more

    Ps If someone comes on as Watcher Taliban that is not me. I promise

  34. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    It must be disconcerting that I know who you are but you don’t know who I am when it’s supposed to be the other way round.

    On the plus side, it looks as though in just 24 hours we might have doubled the monthly posts on this thread. You could try to act a little more grateful.

    I’ll tell you what is bothering me, though. I’m bothered by the fact that this blog is no more than a conduit for anonymous abuse targeted at private individuals whom I know. I’m bothered that you publicly insult them in the nastiest terms (“Taliban”) but like a cuckoo in the nest, smile and chat as though you are something less than utterly hateful.

    If I was posting anonymously on message boards, naming you and casually calling you a Nazi, but was friendly to your face, I would rightly be considered unhinged or a scumbag, or possibly both. You are a malicious, malevolent, hateful, dishonest, dishonourable specimen, and yet you and your cohorts try to pass off the poison that you spread as being some sort of service to the community. There’s no need to assume I have an agenda. There’s no need to go guessing what my agenda is, when that, in a nutshell, is my problem with you and your blog.

  35. Unacceptable said

    Malicious
    Malevolent
    Hateful
    Dishonest
    Dishonourable

    Correct me if I’m wrong Ramon but is it not messrs Borowski and Gladstone and co who are about to have their actions scrutined by a court, not your declared ememy – the blog / gjef.

    As far as I am aware GJEF have not caused anyone to lose their employment. They have not discriminated against anyone on religious grounds and thy have not accused others of being divisive for organising a Shul service on Shabbat.
    They have opened up this blog for people like you to have a go at them but allow it because it enables proper debate about issues. People like you would rather there was no debate and no proper scrutiny of the behaviour of those who hold office.

    Religious fundamentalism is not positive. It is often malicious, malevolent hateful, dishonest and dishonourable.

    There is something not pleasant about you Ramon. Terminology that you use in your post that describes people as scumbags or specimens gives your game away.
    Despite my distaste and dislike of the behaviour of certain individuals I could never drag myself into your gutter by describing people in the manner that you have. Shame on you Ramon

  36. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    Get off your high horse you pompous oaf. I don’t know anything about the court case you’re talking about other than what’s here. From what I can tell, they haven’t gone to court yet, but according to you lot, they’re not just guilty of (presumably) unfair dismissal, but religious fundamentalism too. Get a hold of yourself.

    If you want to talk to someone about a pending court case, do it with someone who’s interested. Apparently they don’t read this blog.

    If you’re going to get upset at my referring to someone as malicious, malevolent, hateful, dishonest and dishonourable, you would be better placed to argue that it’s untrue than to get all indignant over a few adjectives, but I appreciate that would be an impossible task as they are accurate descriptions.

    I concede that “specimen” is a value judgement, but a not unreasonable one for someone who is correctly judged as malicious, malevolent, hateful, dishonest and dishonourable. As for “scumbag”, it was presented in a hypothesis and directed at myself. Feel free to tell me why the analogy doesn’t work and by extension, why your chum isn’t a scumbag.

    You can’t honestly answer the charges I’ve made against your chum, and so you bring up a list of straw men, things that gjef as a whole hasn’t been accused of. Harold Shipman wasn’t accused of being religiously divisive either, your point being…? At the same time, you imply that the people you name are guilty of such things.

    So what’s really bothering you? It can’t be those adjectives, otherwise you’d have attempted to refute them. It can’t be because I’ve publicly insulted someone, because unlike you, I haven’t named the subject of my disdain (although with your permission I’ll do so, if gjef really has opened this blog for people like me to have a go at you). Can it really be about describing an unnamed individual as a specimen, when you’re quite happy for him to refer to named individuals as Taliban? Do you want to explain why it isn’t scummy? Of course you won’t drag yourself into the gutter. You’ve been swimming in it for years!

    I have a suggestion. Why don’t I name the person whom I’m attacking, and attempt to justify why he’s malicious, malevolent, hateful, dishonest and dishonourable and you can rebut me? If I fail, you’ll restore the honour of the said specimen, I’ll look foolish, and you’ll prove that this blog really is here for people like me to have a go at people like you. If I’m successful, your readership(!) can decide for itself whether “specimen” and “scumbag” are fair judgements.

    Otherwise, stop pretending that you give a toss about a few harsh words, when what you’re really upset about is that I’m attacking your comrade, which you correctly identify as an attack on yourself.

  37. Taliban Watcher said

    Ramon is not worth the effort. He is a figure of no consequence whatsoever.

  38. Kuthkar E Ramon said

    I have slept for hours and still Ramon Kuthkar is boring the pants of everyone.
    Must go back to sleep
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  39. Ramon E Kuthkar said

    What a cop out, but entirely predictable, and what a couple of clowns you are (Unacceptable and Taliban Watcher/KER/etc.).

    Just one more inspired rejoinder like that and you’ll have doubled your monthly comments in the space of a day. To the uninformed passer-by, this could almost pass for a real blog.

  40. Edinburgh Resident said

    Kuthkar, we live in Turbulent Times, as Lerman pointed out. Would you concede that allowing the Glasgow Jewish community to read the views of an outstanding academic is to GJEF’s credit, even if you do not always agree with everything he writes?

  41. Samson Clare said

    Well I for one have enjoyed Ramon`s efforts in exposing this sham of a forum. That he had to endure the usual schoolboy retorts as I did was entirely predictable but Ramon our work is done…EVERYONE knows that the usernames are the same person(s) and before the standard reply that I should appreciate the platform and if I don`t like it then get out of here…well all we are trying to do is alert others who may seriously believe that this is open debate as opposed to personal vendettas.

    `Edinburgh Resident` might even be another forum nom de plume in fact. He returns to Antony Lerman when it is patently obvious that nobody is reading nor interested. He then suggests we should applaud the fact that Lerman as an “outstanding academic” (ER`s words) is featured here and that we readers should be grateful for the honour of having his words and constant agenda poured down our throats. Anyone interested in Lerman`s usual outpourings can easily find them on the Guardian website….another example of patently biased reportage which is presumably why GJEF have chosen him as their hero and mouthpiece.

    I suggest that Ramon, myself and others are keen to have a Glasgow Jewish Forum that informs the community and covers a vast amount of subjects and indeed it remains a marvellous idea.

    Until one comes along, readers will have to make do with this poor imitation.

  42. ML said

    The old warrior returns. If Ramon needs to rely on you Samson then he really is in dire straights. Let me remind dear readers that you were exposed as being a bigot Samson. An endorsement by you isn’t worth a thing.

  43. Samson Clare said

    My old adversary ML bounces back as predictably as night follows day !

    ML`s definition of what he calls my ‘exposure’ was so laughable that even the numerously tagged nom-de-plume society members were embarrassed to agree with whoever it was that attacked me…hang on was it you ML ? Perhaps dig the posts out and c/p them in this thread…if we are to rely on Mr.Lerman as a hot topic then this forum is in more trouble than it thinks.

    Incidentally Ramon seems to indicate that he knows who is behind this eccentric little site…I have no such knowledge and have no desire to know. I judge the content on its merit or should I say lack of it…I would suggest that as a first step to improving the forum Admin gets contributors to post with their actual names, I would be happy to as I have nothing to hide and fear nothing more than the handbags at ten paces this forum offers to every member who does not agree with the management.

    Keep sniping ML…but more productively what would you do to improve the quality of this place and attract REAL people to the site ?
    ( Definition, people not proud to tag themselves `Taliban Watcher`and the like )

  44. Samson Clare said

    …oh and incidentally ML how are you getting on with answering my question on post 18 ?

    In your own time…it was a fair question, you surely wouldn`t disagree with that as well would you ?

  45. ML said

    I can’t say I noticed that you had asked me a specific question. Now that I have scrolled back I see you asked me several questions. Lets start with whatever one you deem the most important. Which is it?

  46. Samson Clare said

    …..happy to oblige ML,

    “If as you suggest Mr.Isaacs is guilty of being pretentious then surely that is his problem…why should you care ? What possible difference to the gist of his words ? ( an answer would be appreciated ) “

  47. ML said

    Marilyn Monroe – no relation – put it very well indeed

    “Anyone who knows anything at all about Jewish community affairs in Glasgow knows that this organisation is to all intents and purposes defunct – it is led by people who have no power, no community money and no influence.”

    Edward Isaacs has an interest in pretending to the wider world, outwith the Jewish Community, that the organisation he leads is somehow genuinely representative, when it is not and an organisation that reflects community opinion, when it makes no serious attempt to do so.

    We could all take the view that what he says is of little interest to anyone but I thought it was worthy of comment and it would seem some others agreed with me. There are still some people in the wider world who might think that when Eddie speaks he speaks for all of us. I would rather that they realised he doesn’t speak for me.

  48. Samson Clare said

    Thank you.

    I could of course come back at you by saying if he is so meaningless to the community then why does he merit the sarcasm and criticism contained in these pages and what would you and his other critics do alternatively to overhaul his organisation….

    but you know me better than that ML……

  49. Delilah said

    Why have you never joined the Rep Council Samson? Are you by any chance related to Edward Isaacs?

  50. Samson Clare said

    Well can you believe it..? there is a Delilah on this very forum…who`d have thought it ? I`d bet my hair and my strength (or what`s left of them) that you are not an alluring seductive female, but more likely a six foot kilt wearing caber tossing haggis eating lorry driver from Thornliebank Delilah. If not then I apologise..and come to think of it Delilah Clare has a rather poetic beauty about it…you play your cards right hen…. !

    Anyway I digress. Unlike so many on here, I have no pretensions of joining the Rep Council and in all my ramblings, I have never even hinted that I could do a better or worse job than those involved. Had I had such aspirations, then I would be blowing my trumpet at the improvements that I could bring to the table.
    Let me reverse the question Delilah. Those that have a go at all and sundry on here DO insinuate that they have so much to offer, why then do they not promote their cause and come out in the open ? Is it because they know it is easier to hide behind a ridiculous username than come out and state who they are and what they stand for ? If they don`t, then they are confined to waffling on about matters that they are unable to face up to in the real life. It is no wonder that nobody attacked here seems to respond…they accept the lack of impact made by anonymous persons in front of their computers. ANYONE can do that, it takes somebody stronger to challenge in the REAL world.

    Therefore I will attest that I have zero interest in joining the Rep.Council…will never be asked…and if they come out with something that I don`t agree with will join the voices here against them. That won`t make them shake in their shoes, in fact the way the faceless few on here have exactly the same effect.

    Earlier in this discussion I stated that I don`t even know Mr.Isaacs…and your insinuation that we are related is anticipated here…you can only post if you are defending or attacking someone and have a personal agenda.

    Why Why Why Delilah….? (:-)

  51. ML said

    Samson, I wouldn’t overhaul their organisation. I would sack the lot of them for incompetence.
    You surprise me though Samson. Flirting on line with Delilah might get you off the hook with her but you would expect better from me.
    YOu don’t like Eddie Isaacs getting shot down for being pretentious. You don’t like having to read Lerman’s articles and you don’t like how this blog is run.
    Has it occurred to you that it only takes about 10 minutes to set up your own blog. Why has no other community organisation set one up that they could run according to the highest standards that you and they would think appropriate? It takes 10 minutes but this has been the only community blog in 4 years.
    I’ll tell you why Samson. It is because no community organisaion is interested in alternative opinion or views that disagree with the prevailing consensus. They could not care less what you or I think about anything. Their only wish is to be allowed to run things in the same tired way that they always were.
    Samson, with a bit of effort on your part you could make the intellectual jump and become open and reasonable. Look at Lerman as an alternative voice and enjoy reading something different from the norm in Jewish community circles.
    Lets see if you are open to persuasion. Lets start with a hot community topic. What’s your opinion aboout the Burial Society?

  52. Samson Clare said

    You know me better by now ML to fall for your bait. Does it not occur to you that some of us are not obsessed by the Rep Council and the Burial Society ? Why are these topics the only subjects the moderators are interested in ? Presumably if these two organisations` members were sacked then Glasgow would be better off ? I think not, why do you believe you could do a better job or your cronies ?
    The same applies to me or anyone else setting up a blog of their own, the indifference would likely be similar. Does it not get through that NOBODY (bar me apparently and a couple of others)in Glasgow has any real views on Lerman and these other issues and indeed this very blog ? or if they do have they will air them in more pertinent places ?
    In my short time here, I have brought up Maccabi and I was accuse of being a bigot. Howard Jacobson and his fellow ashamed Jews…not a response other than the usual invective. The Guardian and its supposed balance in its Middle East reporting…only insults and that I need my head examining. There`s a pattern here ML…and I really should have taken the hint by now, but I enjoy the idea of a Jewish Glasgow blog and I congratulate the founders for their original launch. But nobody is here anymore except the usual gang spouting the same old bile. Does that not tell you something ? Do you really think that I believe that a lady with the moniker of Delilah logged on to answer me ?

    This forum represents a missed opportunity. Discussion of interesting Jewish matters not only pertaining to Glasgow might bring a few faces in here rather than the same old dreary Lerman articles. Contributors have voted with their mice…nobody is listening out there, not even the subjects of your disgust.

    Start a new thread…I don`t know, why not on Jewish Glasgow the last 50 years and see if you get a response. If you don`t then you will realise the damage done in here is irreversible. Living in the past am I ML…? Possibly but there are many more topics that folk might discuss rather than what is going on at Glenduffhill. Maybe I am wrong though…perhaps there is little interest in ANY subjects on here or in fact anywhere online regarding Jewish Glasgow. Accept that the forum has taken a wrong turning and relaunch it…put an ad in the Jewish Telegraph and see how many hits you might get…the original idea still remains sound.

    I repeat that I am just an interested observer with no axe to grind against any person nor organisation. That is maybe unusual here and until the organisers are willing to broaden its scope the forum will eventually fade away. Not everyone wants derision when they disagree with management and that sadly is all that this place offers at present.

  53. ML said

    You are at it Samson. I have no idea how many hits there are on this blog daily and neither do you but as many others have written before the biggest communal lie in Glasgow is that .. I never read the blog.
    Loads of people read it and whether you think it is well run or not is not that relevant.
    You keep ducking the question regarding the conduct of the Burial Society. Are you sure you don’t have an involvement with that crew. At the very least you should be concerned that if they lose the court case then your contributions will probably have to go up.
    You seem sore that I called you a bigot. Too bad. I stand by that. It was quite justified and your comments were unpleasant.
    Go on try and make the intellectual effort to discuss some real issues and be more open to new ideas and reason.

    Your are so focussed on how this blog could be run better that I strongly suggest that you do have an axe to grind.
    What’s bugging you old boy?

  54. Samson Clare said

    ML EXPOSED…BREAKING NEWS, BREAKING NEWS..ML and Sporty Stan are one and the same…read all about it. GJEF proven to be a sham…BREAKING NEWS.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    It was not YOU that called me a bigot ML old chap it was ‘Sporty Stan’ !

    ” 167.Sporty Stan said
    October 20, 2010 at 10:11 pm
    Samson Clare you will be no loss to this forum. You couldn’t win an argument in a children’s nursery. You justified religious discrimination against non-Jews on the grounds that Jews are sometimes discriminated against by others and now you cry that I have suggested that you are a bigot which is exactly what you are.
    Goodbye.

    Don’t forget to tidy up your toys before you leave. ”

    Number 1 rule on this forum ML is that you should check your nom de plume before posting…come on Stan/ML/Taliban Watcher/Oswald/Burial Society Obsessive…you have now proved to me that you are all the same person as everyone in Glasgow already knows. I should really not continue squabbling with all one of you, but it is fun ! Go on deny this now if you dare…
    Your post as usual swerved all my points and we are running round in circles. But you and your alter egos are used to doing that.
    Note…seeding forums is unethical and always will be.

    I at least continue posting in one name only, so the thousands who apparently (you claim) read this blog know that I talk only for MYSELF. It seems you do too Mr.Multiple Personality…it only needed a little slip up.
    Does it matter ? Yes it does…you are misrepresenting the support for a view that is held by a TINY minority. That is a cheap shot and you should be ashamed.

    Checkmate Sir !

  55. ML said

    Are you bonkers Samson? Stop getting so excited or you will wet yourself. On one thread I used the name Sporty Stan and on this one I used the name ML. So what. You think I have something to do with GJEF. I don’t. You kid yourself on that I’m Taliban Watcher. I’m not. But who cares other than senile daft people like you.
    Oswald, who the heck is he?
    Its the argument that counts on here – not the name used despite the efforts of losers like you who always resort to the same nonsense when they have lost the argument. Samson, don’t you get it – you don’t make the rules.
    I haven’t swerved any of your points.
    You can’t answer what I asked you because it will reveal you to be even more of a bigot than you have shown already.
    What evidence do you have that my view is held by a tiny minority. Don’t bother answering that because the answer is obvious – you have hee haw evidence for anything.
    I told you that you should visit your doctor before it was too late. Did you miss your appointment?

  56. Our Very Own Santa said

    Lubavitch never miss an opportunity to make some cash at this time of year. Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way…
    This is their seasonal message to the Glasgow Jewish Community

    Now Available
    Lubavitch of Scotland
    Can now supply
    A4 size 20 year
    Yahrzeit Charts
    For Your Near
    & Dear Ones

    For a Donation of

    £25 Per Person

    To Order your charts

    Click Here

    and send back the completed form together with your donation.

    I clicked….and was met with the following

    We can arrange for Kaddish to be recited for the 11 months Mourning Period and Yahrzeit. Please enquire for fee.

    Chaim Jacobs is our very own Santa Claus with one difference. Santa gives out presents, Chaim thinks up different ways of getting your money.

  57. Early Blogger said

    Anyone looking at the Lubavitch website as I did today – Yes I’ll admit it that I am a sad pathetic sole for doing so – will realise that we have a crazy messianic cult in our midst.
    Where is Mr A Beitz when we need him?

  58. Don't Like Lubavitch said

    I am not generally a fan of this or any other blog but when it comes to exposing the money grabbing practises of Lubavitch in Glasgow I am with you all the way. How about someone compiling a list of the ten worst examples of Lubavitch taking money out of the community?

  59. Authentic Labour Supporter said

    Reading an article on the back page of the Jewish Telegraph this morning that was written by Sharon Mail has left me deeply troubled.
    Mr Ken Mackintosh, Eastwood MSP told the Jewish Telegraph…”I was concerned that the Scottish Government and the First Minister in particular was downplaying antisemitism as if in some way Scotland was immune to or above such prejudices”

    Mr Mackintosh is a politician and unfortunately this politicising of antisemitism for his own particular benefit – he obviously thinks there are votes in playing this issue from within the Jewish community -reflects very badly on him.

    There is absolutely no substance to this outrageous personal attack on the First Minister who has shown during his time in office an admirable commitment to understanding issues within this community and listening to concerns. He has addressed open meetings of the Jewish community not once but twice and took questions on any subject from any member of the audience. He has visited community organisations and one of his Ministers, Fergus Ewing, spent an entire evening with the youth of our community listening to a programme on racism, antisemitism and prejudice.

    If Ken Mackintosh was encouraged to take this stance by any party or organisation within the Jewish community he has acted with utter stupidity. If he thought accusing the elected head of the Scottish Government of downplaying antisemitism would benefit the Jewish community he is astonishingly ignorant of grass roots opinion within our community.

    Ken Mackintosh you do not deserve support for this unsubstantiated recklessness. That you do this pretending to be acting in our interests is outrageous.

    Ken Makintosh should be ashamed of his conduct and he will certainly not get my vote. I hope he won’t get yours either.

  60. lazer wolf said

    Re Post59:

    I think it is all a load of tosh what Mr Ken Mackintosh, Eastwood MSP told the Jewish Telegraph…”I was concerned that the Scottish Government and the First Minister in particular was downplaying antisemitism as if in some way Scotland was immune to or above such prejudices”

    There is more ANTI SEMITISM with the Scootish Jewish Community than outwith! hy do I say this?

    For some of these reasons but not exclusively:

    1] Reform Rabbi not permitted to perform Burial Services at Glenduffhill by the management of the Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society even though they had permitted this previously
    2] Burials Officer [alledgedly] dismissed because of involvement in setting up Masorti Scotland
    3] Neither Reform Executive & Rabbi not invited to the ‘installation’ ceremony of N/Mearns Rabbi
    4] Children of Reform coversions prohibited or not included from attending/participating at Lubavitch events
    5] Lack of concern or interest by Ephriam and the Scojec crew when vandalsim occurs at the Reform cemetery at Cardonald but running to the press when a tiny bit of graffitti occurs at Glenduffhill cemetery

    There are many other examples, and Ken , much like Ephriam and the ScoJec crew are pretending to be acting in our interests is outrageous!

  61. Fall of Giants said

    Is it possible that someone can credibly answer the following question:

    If Bader is successful in persuing Scojec Director Ephraim Borowski and others at the GHBS for Religious Discrimination through the Employment Tribunal, will Borowoski be forced to resign as a Director of ScoJec and as a key Executive Committee member of Giffnock Shul and also of the GHBS as surely his presence would lead to all sorts of questions being asked about his suitabilty to continue his leading these orgainsation?

    Does this mean that we will also be ‘deprived’ of his words of wisdom on the BBC morning religious programmes too?

    If this is so, then please where can I send a financial donation to Bader’s legal team?

  62. Politically Unaffiliated said

    Lets keep our attention on Ken Mackintosh. His behaviour in accusing Mr Salmond of downplaying antisemitism reflects dreadfully on the Labour Party and Mackintosh himself. My bet is that Mackintosh thinks that the Jewish community will thank him for this and that it will win him votes. Antisemitism thankfully is not a major problem in Scotland. The First Minister has never said that it doesn’t exist and when I sat in the audience I heard him say we need to be vigilant.
    Mackintosh is a 3rd rate politician who is being misled I would guess by members of this community.
    Memo for Mr Mackintosh – Your behaviour will cost you support because no reasonable person will think you have done this for any other reason than to try and win a few extra votes It is easy to turn up at Jewish community events like your mate Jim Murphy but acting in the best interests of this community is something different. Unfortunately, you both don’t understand that most of the community can see through your behaviour.
    For all his faults at least Salmond had the guts to come and talk to the Jewish community and answer lots of unprepared questions. I know that they were unprepared because he answered mine. He even politely answered a lamentably stupid question from Leah Granet.
    Mackintosh has got into bed with Borowski and Granet. Yuck.

  63. EX Labour said

    Makintosh has let this community down. There can be no excuse for his behaviour. It is reprehensible to abuse his position as an MSP for his own political benefit and potentially cause alarm and insecurity within the Jewish community.
    Salmond’s desire for independence may be wrong but his attitude and behaviour towards our community has been absolutely first class.
    Mackintosh has lost my vote too.

  64. Sell your Granny for a Fiver said

    Mackintosh has been taking lessons from his colleague Jim Murphy. Murphy ended up in Opposition and backed the wrong brother Miliband to become leader.
    Lo and behold our Jim is now in the Shadow Cabinet and has no doubt been a strong supporter of Ed Miliband all his life.
    Would Murphy and Mackintosh support the Jewish community if it wasn’t in their own political interests? I very much doubt it.
    They remind me of players signing for Celtic or Rangers who claim when joining the Glasgow football teams that they have been secret supporters since they were two years old. Fottball fans don’t believe this rubbish anymore and I strongly suspect members of the Jewish community don’t really believe Mackintosh or Murphy either.
    Yes I know and heard it a hundred times, they have been at Shul in the last year more often than you or me. So what. That doesn’t make any difference.
    Please remind me someone of that old story about selling your granny for a fiver.

  65. Concerned Citizen said

    What is wrong with you lot? Mackintosh is the same Ken Mackintosh that thinks it wise to cosy up to the Scottish Friends of Israel. For those in the dark that is a horrible organisation that distributed material that broke all the rules of decency. They indulged in some of the worst excesses of stereotyping minorities and became a pariah organisation within the community.
    Mackintosh had no problems associating himself with SFI so wrongfully attacking the First Minister is not going to trouble his conscience.

  66. The Secret Diary of Our Ken said

    The following is a list of Our Ken’s engagements in the past two weeks with the Jewish Community.
    Published with special permission from Ephraim Borowski.

    1. Visited Newton Mearns Shul for Friday night service.
    2. Visited Hello Deli. Bought 10 Bagels for Lunch.
    3. Visited L’Chaims. Thought it was a bit expensive. £25 for a bowl of chicken soup seemed over the top. Inflation he though must be running really high in a Tory Britain.
    4. Went on Walkabout and bumped into several members of the Jewish Community. That is networking.
    5. Went to 7 Chanukah Parties. Ate Doughnuts at every one and had a really sore tummy when he got home.
    6. Set up stall in Morrisons with Scottish Friends of Israel. When someone gave him abuse he was really upset. Didn’t realise that he was stopping some customer getting to the bananas.
    7. Met with Edward Isaacs. Promised to do everything he could. Signed secret pact with Eddie to keep Eddie in office for as long as possible. Eddie asks Ken to join the Rep Council Executive.
    8. Spent two hours with Ephraim Borowski. Ken was given his instructions for attacking the Scottish Government.

    This character is not real and is ficticious and any similarities between our Ken and anyone else should not be taken seriously. Anyone that thinks that Eddie or Ephraim are serious characters and not works of fiction needs their heads examined.

  67. Samson Clare said

    ….9 Caught the attention of GJEF`s always alert roving reporter.
    ….10 Suffered the inevitable fate of everyone mentioned in this forum by being used to display the blog`s obsessive dislike of gents Borowski, Isaacs, Jacobs et al.

    Next week….Don`t miss another GJEF scoop.

    ANTONY LERMAN MEETS KEN MACKINTOSH, the shocking revelations.

  68. ML said

    Brilliant Samson. Absolutely Brilliant. Yet again you contribute nothing to the discussion other than having a go at GJEF.
    You have nothing to say about the issue at all. Nothing to say about Mackintosh’s behaviour.
    You are just an old bore that is rooted in the establishment of this community. Last week you wet yourself with excitement about nothing.
    I think Mackintosh’s accusation is pathetic. It does nothing at all to help the Jewish community and shows Makintosh up for playing politics.
    What about you Samson. What do you think? Do you have a view on anything other than how this blog runs?

  69. Not Labour. said

    Mackintosh has been an MSP since 1999.
    His record as a Parliamentarian is particularly undistinguished. Google Ken for yourself – it won’t take long to bring yourself up to date.

  70. Samson Clare said

    ” You are just an old bore that is rooted in the establishment of this community.”

    Then why do you insist on responding to every single post I offer ML ? Is it because you realise that whatever old Samson posts in here is better than the prospect of an empty forum ? I would expect to be ignored if I was that irrelevant. I am not seeking response though in an active forum that would be expected. How can that happen when there is only you and your gang of Walter Mittys around ?

    The post I followed was fairly amusing actually until the agenda kicks in on nos. 7 & 8 and out pours the usual rhetoric. Why not ask the secret diarist of Ken why he introduced Mr.Isaacs and Mr. Borowski into a discussion about Mackintosh ?…or is that answer too obvious even to you ?

    ML…answer these points if you will rather than waste your time trying to offend me. Why am I the soul recipient of your disgust, surely you have better things to do than sit there waiting and licking your lips when I appear…or maybe not ?

  71. ML said

    Everyone else but me ignores you Samson. I just find your posts generally objectionable because you only seek to attack the medium that gives you a platform to have your say on whatever.
    It is not for me to state why the secret diarist of Ken introduced points 7 or 8 about Isaacs and Borowski but I would offer an educated guess that Ken Mackintosh has been the unlucky recipient of some pretty bad advice from that pair which has resulted in his offensive comments about the First Minister.
    Refrain pleae from suggesting that I was the author because as you rightly said it was much too humourous for me to have written.
    I was fortunate to hear the First Minister when he spoke at Mearns Castle and he outlined his Government’s position on antisemitism very clearly. Were you there Samson?
    If my memory is correct both Isaacs and Borowski were nowhere to be seen on that night, no doubt indulging in petty games because Mr Salmond chose to address the Jewish community on another organisation’s platform.
    Such a fine example of community leaderships – NOT.
    Maybe you will surprise me Samson. Give us your views on Mackintosh and his comments and this time try and avoid having a go at this blog or me. I suppose your pavlovian defence of others is too ingrained to expect improvement there. Please tell me do you think it is in the best interests of our community to attack the First Minister personally for “downplaying antisemitism”

  72. Samson Clare said

    One of your more constructive responses ML and the lack of childish insults is welcome. I `attack` the medium because I consider it untrustworthy. There is a bias and campaign in here against certain individuals and I think it ruins what I have already stated was a wonderful idea originally. Now why the blog has taken this course I have no idea. Like readers being forcefed Mr.Lerman`s views, that too is wrong. An open forum should be just that and readers should be able to start their own topics, it is after all called the Glasgow Jewish EDUCATIONAL Forum…what is educational and informative about this forum ? I persist because I would like to read something that is relevant and interesting to the readership. The fact that there is little (make that zero) response to me AND the agenda of the administration underlines the vapid state of the blog and the fact that there are probably less than half a dozen contributors. It needs something to stir it to life and quite simply The Burial Society, Rep.Council or whatever (and in no way am I undermining these very necessary and noble organisations) is clearly not exactly what folk on here wish to read about. You`ve all made your points, they remain unanswered…move on already !

    I am away at present and have not read the Mackintosh article in question, if it could be c/pd here I will certainly offer my views…unwelcome and unread as I accept them to be.
    My attendance or absence at Mearns Castle is irrelevant. Does it not occur to you that I and the thousands of others who did not turn up just didn`t want to be there ? Not everyone is interested in hearing politicians spout their usual voter friendly cliched gibberish. The subject may have been important but its coverage was not. The matter was also discussed in Lerman`s last thread in here and yes…I offered my tuppenceworth, I may be wrong ML but it may indeed be the one post that you didn`t criticise of mine ! If you wish I will dig it out and my ramblings can be reproduced for the pleasure of the few reading. So if it is going over the same ground, Mackintosh`s views will only get the same response from me.
    But sadly the forum has an enthusiasm for rehashed and repeated views, so maybe they will be welcomed….!

    This is why the readership continues to ignore GJEF. I may criticise this place and the subjects raised constantly but at least I don`t ignore it.

  73. ML said

    You are a one trick pony Samson and as I said before you are a bore. It seems nothing interests you at all. You are as far as I recall not interested in visiting Israel, you are not interested in hearing the elected Head of the Scottish Government discuss Jewish issues with your own community and you don’t like reading alternative voices like Lerman. You suggest again that there are only a few people who read what is on here but I suspect you know that is rubbish because you wouldn’t spend so much time telling us what you think about nothing.
    Others told you what Mackintosh said so you don’t need to see the full article to comment.
    What are you interested in Samson? I stillthink you are at it because yet again 50% of your post is about the same old claptrap that no one can prove.
    You have no opinions on communal life.
    It could be argued that you Samson epitomise much that is wrong with community life in Glasgow. Otherwise you are on Isaacs or Borowski’s payroll? Which is it?

  74. Politically Cynical said

    Kenneth Mackintosh presumably believes he is acting in the best interests of the Jewish community when he chooses to attack the Scottish Government and First Minister. It would be interesting to discover how widely he consulted on these issues and whether he had made it known to the wider Jewish community as opposed to its representatives that he thought this planned course of action was the right and correct way to operate in the best interests of Jewish people he no doubt claims to represent. Otherwise, it could be deduced that Mackintosh was acting for his own personal interests.
    Is it any wonder that the public don’t trust politicians?

  75. Samson Clare said

    Back to usual ML…it didn`t take you long did it ?
    I am certainly not boring YOU am I ML ? Scroll up this thread and there is not a SINGLE post of yours on anything to do with the thread other than your responses to my good self.. why is that ? Your input is as limited if not more so than even mine !!! What does that say of you ?

    I am not on anyone`s payroll unlike yourself who apparently sees kudos in the title of
    ‘ Official defender of all that appears in GJEF ‘ You are a waste of time and will receive no more wisdom from me sir. If the forum is tiring of me…then why don`t you ban me or block my posts ?
    I irritate you because this forum cannot face the truth and that means my work is proving successful here…ignore me as you keep on telling others to do if you have the capability.

    I certainly will no longer respond to the moniker `ML` but the task of attacking me will no doubt be assigned to some other Walter Mitty.
    Let`s see if you can speak on something other than your obsession with myself…I challenge you but we already know the outcome.

  76. ML said

    You are an ignorant fool Samson. I have told you that Ken Mackintosh’s comments about the First Minister were offensive (71) and that his remarks do nothing to help the Jewish Community (68) yet you continue to delude yourself that my input is as limited as yours. That wouldn’t be possible because your input to constructive discussion about anything that appears on this blog is nil.
    Do everyone a favour Samson and go away. Why don’t you read the Jewish Telegraph or the JC – they will give you the usual communal recipe. At least on here there is an attempt to offer an alternative.

  77. Samson Clare said

    “Let`s see if you can speak on something other than your obsession with myself…I challenge you but we already know the outcome.”

    Appreciate the early confirmation…case closed.

  78. Politically Cynical said

    Thank goodness he’s off. Can we please now return to discussing Ken Mackintosh. That is much more interesting and important than ML insulting Samson, even though I have to say he deserved most of the stick. Having a go at senile old codgers though ML is not politically correct. I think you deserve a yellow card. Once more and you will be sent off too. If Samson comes back leave it to me to deal with him please.

  79. Samson Clare said

    “I certainly will no longer respond to the moniker `ML` but the task of attacking me will no doubt be assigned to some other Walter Mitty.”
    ———————————————————————
    “If Samson comes back leave it to me to deal with him please.”

    Appreciate the early confirmation …case closed.

  80. Politically Cynical said

    Yawn Yawn Samson.
    Now lets discuss Ken Mackintosh.

  81. Samson Clare said

    Have I exhausted all your nom de plumes PC ?
    Not exactly a glut of comments following your call to arms is there ? !

    The thousands of readers (allegedly) have spoken with their mice and have as much interest in Mackintosh as they had in Lerman…. which don`t forget is the subject SUPPOSEDLY being discussed here at present.

    You couldn`t make this place up. You lot can`t even run a PRETEND forum, and I tell you another thing if it wasn`t for me you wouldn`t even have anyone to rant at !!
    I`m beginning to think that Ramon might have been one of your creations as well, that`s how utterly ridiculous this “blog” has become !

    Happy Chratsmach,

    Samson

  82. Not Labour said

    Merry Christmas to you too Samson. I would like to discuss Ken Mackintosh. I noticed that he is rather preoccupied in the last few days with plans to build one of the biggest wastage recycling plants in Europe within his constituency, just north of Newton Mearns. The copious amounts of garbage spouted by you sir, Samson Claire, would need a wastage plant all on its own.
    We get the picture you don’t like the blog. So don’t come back.
    Now back to Mackintosh. He has been an MSP since 1999. Can anyone tell me what he has achieved, and I mean real noteable achievements, since being elected?

  83. The alternative Voice said

    None of us would be unaware when reading this blog that it tends to offer an alternative voice. I trust this might be of interest then: Richard Dawkins reply to Pope Benedict’s Thought for the Day on Radio 4 this morning,

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/dec/24/pope-benedict-thought-for-the-day

    Happy holidays

  84. The alternative Voice said

    As I trawl through the days papers more food for thought from our local MSP…..From the Jewish Chronicle

    Scotland: we must fight hate too Share1
    By Stephanie Brickman, December 23, 2010
    Ken Macintosh, Labour MSP for Eastwood, a constituency in Glasgow with a sizeable Jewish community, has criticised the Scottish Parliament for taking a passive stance on antisemitism.

    In particular, Mr Macintosh said he was concerned that there was no Scottish representation on the cross-government working group on antisemitism.

    He said: “I would like to see us represented on the group, or at the very least to comment on its findings. It’s a national initiative, so why don’t we participate?”

    Danny Stone, secretary to the all-party parliamentary group against antisemitism, said: “The Scottish government has not been deliberately excluded and I am sure any interest would be welcomed.”

    But a spokesperson for the Scottish government said: “Unfortunately, we do not have a locus to participate in Westminster parliamentary working groups.”

    Mr Macintosh added: “For some reason this has broken down at the devolved barrier. For example, they’ve just announced increased funding for security at Jewish schools, but this will not be going to Calderwood Lodge Jewish Primary School.”

  85. Ex Labour said

    Is Ken Mackintosh not very bright? As an MSP I would have thought and hoped that he would understand the basic concepts of devolution. It is not the purpose of the Scottish Parliament to merely replicate Westminster and the fact is that antisemitism in Scotland is not the same as it is in England. Mackintosh is clearly not doing any of this in the best interests of his constituents. I find it astonishing that he is prepared to talk about security issues to a newspaper and it is time that he shut up before he could actually harm the interests of the Jewish community.
    Mackintosh’s ill conceived campaign to use the Jewish community in order to attack the Scottish Government is not acceptable. Politicians like Ken should be shown the exit door.

  86. ML said

    If Ken Mackintosh is such an expert on antisemitism maybe he would debate the issue on a public platform with someone like Antony Lerman? There’s a meeting for your GJEF. Invite the bold MSP to stand up and publicly discuss the issue within a debate format.

    I’m sure I am not the only one that will be thinking that the local MSP would be way out of his depth.

  87. Herald Reader said

    From today’s Herald – Page 9 -Jewish burial officer to fight Orthodox bosses over sacking

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/jewish-burial-officer-to-fight-orthodox-bosses-over-sacking-1.1079086

    Warren Bader claims he was sacked after he became involved with the Masorti organisation.
    EXCLUSIVE Brian Donnelly

    11 Jan 2011

    A Jewish burial officer who helped set up a progressive group in the largely Orthodox Scottish community has been told he can take his dismissal claim against his employers to a tribunal.

    Warren Bader claims he was sacked by the Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society after he became involved with the Masorti Hebrew organisation, a group that favours involving females in religious ceremonies.

    An initial hearing into Mr Bader’s discrimination claim decided the case should now be heard at a full employment tribunal. It is understood to be the first case of a Jewish individual claiming discrimination against a Jewish organisation in Scotland.

    Mr Bader claims he was dismissed because of his part in bringing together the Masorti. The 49-year-old lost his job within weeks of setting up Masorti Scotland and he says the organisation’s perceived liberality was the reason.

    The creation of Scotland’s first Masorti group last year was criticised by the rabbi at Glasgow’s biggest shul, or congregation.

    Rabbi Moshe Rubin of the 850-member Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue was quoted in the Jewish Chronicle as saying: “With the size of the community, it’s just not desirable to create yet another division.”

    At the time Mr Bader said: “If anything, we may be in a better position to get people back into shuls. Masorti Scotland offers an alternative choice of worship and synagogue experience to Glasgow Jewry, which we believe is long overdue.”

    The Jewish Chronicle said there was speculation in the community that Mr Bader, who “had a reputation as an exemplary burial officer”, was sacked because of his involvement with the Masorti Scotland movement launched one month before.

    The case, brought under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2004, is said to be broadly comparable to a sectarian claim within Christianity. Although sectarianism in Scotland is usually considered to relate to Christianity, the definition includes bigotry in partitions of any religious body.

    Mr Bader’s lawyer, Stephen Connolly of Miller Samuel in Glasgow said: “We can move forward to a full hearing on the merits and the Employment Tribunal will reach a decision about the complaint.

    “This legislation is in its infancy and I’m not aware of cases being brought within the Jewish community before. We will have to prove that there’s a distinct strand of faith that Mr Bader has and that is why he was subjected to these events.”

    Burial preparations are critical for Jews. The important role of the burial officer is to co-ordinate all the arrangements for funerals, including the tahara – or washing and wrapping of the body – the rabbi, the burial plot and the gravediggers and has to liaise closely with the bereaved family throughout.

    The complaint is being brought against four members of the Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society management committee – Ephraim Borowski, Barry Cooper, Jeffrey Gladstone and David Jackson. Acting chairman Barry Cooper said it disputed claims of discrimination.

    One senior figure in the Scottish Jewish community told The Herald: “These are prominent people and it will be interesting to see what the fall out will be if they are found guilty of discrimination, particularly Ephraim Borowski, who is director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.”

    There are about 9000 people recorded as being of Jewish origin in Scotland, although this census figure is considered by some in the Hebrew community to be an undercount because of the format of the questions.

    About half live in the Glasgow suburb of East Renfrewshire where they made up 3.5% of the population. A further 1119 Jews are in Glasgow City (17% of the Scottish total), and 790 in the City of Edinburgh (12%).

  88. Giffnock Shul Pub Darts Team said

    I bet this article must have made Jeffrey ‘7 Bellies’ and Ephriam Borowski choke on their Bacon sarnies this morning!

    The arrogance of these two numpties knows no bounds.

    I would request that the GHBS settle this out of court now, because it seems to me that the GHBS have lost this case already.Best to avoid -the -egg -on- the- face from the fry up that they were eating while reading the Herald.

    Aside from the cost implications, which would be considerable. The costs would in turn be borne by the members of the GHBS, certainly the costs would not be met by Gladstone , Cooper, Jackson, Levy & Berowoski

    The Employment Tribunal have signalled that this case merits a FULL hearing, therefore the judge believes that these assertions by Bader are correct & that makes me to believe that there is a 90% chance of Bader winning before he even walks into the next part of the Tribunal.

    It is my opinion that Employment Tribunals are pre-disposed to the rights of the Employee ahead of the Employer

    But I am no lawyer, so wouldnt know a thing about this.

  89. Badder Supporter said

    When Borowski is found guilty of religious discrimination – not if but when – which community organisation to which he is affiliated in some leadership capacity – will fire him first?

    That will be the real test of community leadership. Which community leader will have the moral fibre to tell Borowski that his number is up and he is an embarassment? Don’t hold your breath cause there aren’t too many real leaders about.

  90. Elephant In The Room said

    Brian Donnelly’s article concerning Mr Bader and his dismissal from the Glasgow Hebrew Burial Society (GHBC) appears to have drawn quite a bit of attention not least because of the very distinct references to one of the West Of Scotland’s favourite hobbies – sectarianism.

    Whilst the Jewish community may have experienced a more accepting history in the West of Scotland than elsewhere, it appears the community has not remained totally isolated from Scottish influence and this has now even reached proportions to grace the pages of The Herald.

    However, Mr Bader appears to have omitted from his story the fact he was a member of the Reform Shul at the time he was initially employed, one which was much more accepting of women than even the Masorti stream he introduced to Glasgow. This is surely a hole below the waterline in his case as it totally disproves any sectarian motive in his employment.

    Shortly after starting at the GHBC, the notable event was the banning of the female Reform rabbi from conducting funerals – something which the Orthodox leaders had previously permitted for many years without incident until Mr Bader’s arrival. Feel free to search the archives here for lots of references to that.

    Perhaps, the root of the dispute is not sectarianism but something much older but equally unpleasant – misogyny – which the GHBC may have been trying to distance itself from ?

  91. Elephant Deflated in the Room said

    Hi Elephant – the – Room.

    For the life of me I do believe your comments are completely ill informed.

    It is quite well known fact that Jeffrey Gladstone & Dr Barry Cooper, called the Chairman of the Reform Synagogue, Giles Woolfson into a meeting and informed him that GHBS COMMITTE had taken the collective action of suspending Rabbi Nancy’s officiating at Glenduffhill.

    I doubt even Bader’s influence is that great that he could bring this action to bear. Gladstone/ Berowoski/Levy/Cooper/Jackson & Rabbi Rubin were the architects.

    This issue was/has been raised at the GHB societies AGM for the past three years at least

    I am positive copies of the AGM minutes can be obtained from the offices of the GHBS.

    There is also a record of Aaron Soudry letter of condemnation on archives at the Jewish Telegraph the references if you can be bothered.

  92. The Eye of The Storm said

    Bravo to the Herald journalist who got it spot on and drew the link to Rabbi Rubin.
    All those protests that it had nothing to do with him. It will be interesting when he has to give evidence under oath.
    Will Borowski lose his MBE if found guilty? I hope so.

  93. All Rise said

    Will Sheriff Livingston preside?

  94. Deputy Dog said

    If it is him then Gladstone will be facing a long custodial sentence.
    Whoopee

  95. Giffnock Shul Pub Landlord said

    Will all regulars at the Giffnock Shul Pub please note that all prices have been trebled tomorrow to help pay Gladstone and Borowski’s legal expenses. We are sure that all regulars will be happy to pay because everyone is united in our resolve to win this battle against religious pluralism. Orthodox we remain, yesterday, today and certainly tomorrow.
    Any journalists seen in the vicinity of the pub will be given a good kicking.

    Signed.
    The Landlord

  96. Elephant Reinflated said

    Hi Elephant Deflated,

    You’ve gone for the classic :

    1 Steal Underpants
    2 ???
    3 Profit !

    Approach to your argument – step 2 being the complicated bit which makes it all fall into place but which no-one quite knows what it actually is.

    To clear that up for you, before the meeting with the GRS chairman which you refer to, a bereaved family was told by a GHBS burial officer that they could not have their rabbi and that a new, but unpublished and unannounced, rule had been made that only an orthodox rabbi would be permitted so their choice of rabbi was not allowed.

    Only after the distraught family questioned what was going on did GHBC executive and GRS executive make contact – NOT before.

    A quite different story from what you are suggesting.

    However, the main point I was making remains unchallenged by you or anyone else – that the claimed discrimination is quite specious if you consider that the saintly burial officer was well known to be a member of the much more egalitarian and progressive reform movement at the time he was employed – to then claim association with masorti, with it’s much more orthodox like practices, led to his dismissal because it was too progressive or because it was not orthodox enough is laughable.

    There must be another explanation but, like step 2, all we know just now is that that is ???

    Who knows, perhaps a nice public tribunal with all the underpants being aired in public will clear everything up nicely for us ? I look forward to waving my trunk at you across the room !

  97. Religiously Neutral said

    The Burial Society go public. The previous poster has inside knowledge of the affairs of that organisation but in his crude attempt to attack the good character of others he only compounds the offence that the guys running that organisation today are a bunch of crude bigots that hide behind discrimination and intolerance by getting a camouflage from their principal religious advisor.
    Everyone knows that the Burial Society behaved extremely badly in removing Warren Bader. Leaving aside about 25 diehards who represent religious extremism the rest of this community will be delighted to see Bader win this case. The stench of extremism needs a good spray of air freshner.

  98. St. Warren Of Bader Supporter said

    Warren crush the GHBC at the tribunal – luckily elephant meat is traif otherwise it sounds like he would have been able to serve a nice side-dish of elephant trunk at the next salt-beef kiddush !
    Remember, by winning the right to take the case for religious discrimination, he has also set up the test case criteria for GHBC members to start legal action against GHBC for religious discrimination under the Equality and Human Rights Act for anyone who has been denied their choice of Rabbi at a funeral or stone setting.
    The GHBC had better be considering setting aside money to not only pay Warren handsomely throught their trunks but also everyone else who’s also suffered sectarian bias at their hands.

  99. Trustee said

    My decision to break ranks will not force me to give up my anonymity, yet. I am heavily involved in a variety of community organisations. I have watched the Burial Society dispute grow week by week with continuous press coverage in the Jewish Chronicle and Telegraph and last week’s article in the Herald.
    Many community figures had an obligation to sort this out and the fact that they have not spoken out means they are culpable as well.
    The following questions are pertinent.
    1.The President of the Representative Council and his predecessor had an obligation to mediate in this dispute and if necessary they should have made their position quite clear to the community.

    2. The Community Trust were also absent and the trustees who claim a leadership mandate have been found wanting when circumstances demanded action.

    3. The lay leadership of Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue should have censured their Rabbi for castigating members of this community because he did not agree with what others were doing.
    If they had made their displeasure common knowledge it would have protected their Rabbi from the likely scenario of having to stand up at a public tribunal and explain why he denounced other Jews for practising their faith in their own way. The public credibility of our religious leadership is likely to became a major issue.

    We have seen in Glasgow a vacuum and failure of leadership.
    Is there any public figure or leader in the Glasgow Jewish community who still has the integrity and morality to ensure that a loyal public servant is paid proper compensation for his efforts and receives an apology.

  100. Bader bing. said

    The apology is vital and a public acknowledgement of regret. When is the next AGM -surely there are enough good people who are not prepared to sit in silence whilst the bigots roam free ?

  101. Edlin For President said

    Paul Edlin is far more talented than any current senior figure within the Representative Council or Scottish Council of Jewish Communities.
    I say this for 2 reasons:
    1. Edlin has made it on a national stage. I may think the Board of Deputies is an anchronism but nevertheless it is a national body and as such is much more important than its local equivalents and has far more gravitas.
    2. Edlin has got the antisemitism issue right unlike his local contemporaries. Quoted in today’s Jewish Telegraph Paul Edlin is quoted – “there were no significant antisemitism problems in Scotland”. Edlin has been around long enough to understand when we have real problems and when we don’t has is the first senior public official involved in the Jewish community in Scotland to tell the truth about antisemitism and the facts about it in Scotland.

    Well done Paul Edlin.

  102. Edlin Reinvented said

    I’ve had my differences with Edlin over the years but the last poster has called it correctly. Edlin is streets ahead of Isaacs and Borowski and Philip Mendelsohn as a community leader. One of the hallmarks of good leadership is having the courage to set an example and to shape opinion rather than just following and always playing it safe.
    Paul Edlin has publicly associated himself with Masorti and endorsed religious pluralism and I endorse his comments about antisemitism.
    No one else communally has done any of these things and that tells heck of a lot about Edlin’s stature compared to the rest of them.

  103. Edward said

    Did Edlin write this?

  104. Good God said

    Edlin and GJEF soulmates. Who would have believed it?

  105. Meet the Rebbe said

    Was it standing room only when Rabbi Rubin hosted in Glasgow today another Rebbe?.. (editor – not the Lubavitch Rebbe because he is now the messiah)

    “On Tuesday, 1 February, the community will be host to a visit from one of the leading Chassidic leaders of America. Rabbi Moshe Taub of Kaliv who together with his late father survived the holocaust and came to America with the mission of rebuilding the Kaliv chassidic community. The last few years the Rabbi who is in his late 70’s has made it his mission to go visit
    Jewish communities around the world, mostly small provincial communities
    like ours. He has visited Peru, Venezuela, Hong Kong and many others all at his own expense and he has no interest in making charity appeals. His comesonly to meet people, encourage its leaders and inspire through his blessings.”

    Is this not another form of idolatory believing that some bloke from Brooklyn can inspire us through blessings?

  106. Giffnock Congregant said

    Dear Congregant

    The following press release is being issued to The Jewish Telegraph and The Jewish Chronicle for publication this week. I wanted you as congregants to have advance notice of this. As detailed in the press release the discussions are at a very early stage and I will keep you advised of progress over the coming months as appropriate.

    Regards

    Raymond Strang

    Chairman

    Newton Mearns Hebrew Congregation and Giffnock and Newlands Hebrew congregation in Glasgow have released the following press release.

    Giffnock and Newton Mearns synagogues have set up a joint Steering Group to explore closer cooperation and perhaps eventually merger between the shuls.

    Discussions are still at a very early stage, and further announcements will be made in due course.

    Brian Fox, Chairman of NMHC said, “Glasgow faces the challenges of many provincial communities and we think it’s appropriate and responsible to address these with an eye for the long-term future. We are delighted to be working closely and harmoniously with our friends at Giffnock on this important project”.

    Nigel Allon, Vice-Chairman of GNHC added “It is important that along with our sister community in Newton Mearns, we take appropriate steps to ensure the healthy future of our congregations. There are many areas of convergence and a mutual respect and willingness to use these as the basis for a permanent arrangement.”

  107. Planet Earth said

    Newton Mearns and Giffnock are “sisters”
    Are Reform and Masorti cousins then Nigel?

  108. Bader bing. said

    If they merge then if you rule out Langside and Shul in the Park as irrelevant (because they are either dead on their feet or incapable of futher growth)then it would mean two Progressive shuls versus one Orthodox . Interesting dynamic. Isn’t about time all the small minded guardians of orthodoxy woke up ? I’m glad there is , according to NA , “mutual respect ” betwen Mearns and Giffnock but I’d be a lot happier if there was a modicum of respect shown to the other shuls. It might just save the community from implosion.

  109. Planet Earth said

    A better approach would be to close both Shuls and the small numbers who attend could take up some other leisure pursuit on a Saturday morning such as walking in Rouken Glen and not praying to a non existent God who if he did exist would have a lot to answer for. Turn on your TV and watch the news from New Zealand and tell me why anyone would believe that there is an all powerful God who could allow such attrocities. Not only would current congregants be healthier if they did something else on a Saturday morning their mental health would improve instantly.

  110. Guilty as Charged said

    On Monday 14th March the following organisations are sponsoring an event to promote Israeli advocacy.

    Newton Mearns Shul
    JNF
    Representative Counci
    Reform Synagogue
    ZF
    Chaplaincy
    Wizo
    Giffnock Shul
    UJIA

    I have no problem with the explicitly Zionsist organisations getting involved with this even though it is I believe misguided and foolish.

    However the others should not be involved in the promotion of such an event.
    It is irresponsible to attach their organisation to an event that seeks to defend the actions of this or any other Israeli Government. That is not their function. Chaplaincy in Scotland for years has not cared that they put Jewish students in the front line to defend Israeli policies whether those students are politically interested or not. Now the Synagogues are making the same gross error of judgement.

    Israel is big enough to defend her own actions and has diplomats who are paid to defend her Government.
    The Representative Council and Synagogues ought to behave more more responsibly. It is not their remit to be involved in Israeli political advocacy.

    They are guilty as charged.

  111. Samson Clare said

    Breathtaking arrogance by ‘Guilty As Charged’

    Does he believe that the named organisations care a jot what he states from behind the cover of his keyboard ?
    If shuls and other bodies wish to(unsurprisingly)support Israel that is their right, just as it is his right not to.

    Guilty as charged..? I don`t think so.

  112. Planet Earth said

    I’m a member of Giffnock Synagogue and today they sent me an email forwarded by one David Links. Yes the same David Links that has been a stalwart right wing Zionist for years and a well renowned member of Scottish Friends of Israel.
    David’s involvement with this speaker tells us everything we need to know. Rather than dressing this up with some sort of objective neutrality why don’t they admit what it is really all about.
    I am with Guilty as Charged.

  113. Samson Clare said

    Planet Earth queries Mr.Links`s motives and demands objective neutrality from him for having the (not unusual) position of a Jew supporting Israel.

    This is presumably the same Planet Earth declaring himself himself a member of Giffnock Shul, who only three posts earlier asserted that there is no God.
    Surely a man with such strong convictions would not wish to belong to an organisation with beliefs so abhorrent to his own ?
    Stand up and be counted as an atheist sir…otherwise respect others` rights to do and say exactly as they please whether it meets with your approval or not.

    At least Mr.Links is consistent.

  114. Highly suspicious said

    Samson you forgot to tell everyone that you previously posted that you had no inclination to visit Israel.

    If you don’t care about Israel then why do you bother defending David Links organising a right wing speaker coming to Glasgow and then trying to pretend that we should think this is somehow in all our interests?

  115. Samson Clare said

    I hardly think that my Israel experiences or lack of them have much interest to readers HS so my travel plans past and present are an irrelevance.
    But kindly do not convert ‘inclination’ into ‘care’ to enhance your minor point as you have mischieviously done.
    I certainly care about Israel, though to you that will no doubt mean that I endorse each and every one of her policies.

    My point as you are no doubt aware is to do with the one-sided slant so prevalent in this forum.

  116. Be Careful said

    Has anyone considered that for religious organisations like the Synagogues and probably chaplaincy and even the Representative Council to openly endorse and sponsor and participate in a meeting promoting political advocacy is in all probability a clear breach of charitable regulations?

  117. Samson Clare said

    no

  118. Be Careful said

    Should they not do so?

  119. Bob said

    Is Samson Clare David Links?

  120. Winson's Lost it said

    JEWS are on the “edge of a precipice”, Lord Winston said at the annual UJIA gala dinner.

    He told the 250 guests at Giffnock Synagogue that “UJIA was more important now than ever before because the threat to us as Jews and to the stability in the Middle East is very serious.

    “We are on the edge of a precipice and it’s completely uncertain what will happen.”

    “Jews are reviled and not understood. No one is arguing that the State of Israel is perfectly governed, but we have to recognise that it is in a very unstable environment.

    “We had a kind of certainty that things would be alright after 1967 and the Yom Kippur War. But, we are seeing Israel surrounded by states that might become completely fanatical.

    “When tyrants are overthrown, situations can become much worse.”

    What a lot of nonsense. Winston is very good at making TV programmmes and is an expert in some things. International politics is obviously not his specialised subject. Is this an argument for keeping tyrranical dictators in place? Or is it simply an argument to make people worried and encourage them to give money to UJIA?

  121. Student Speaks Out said

    I have taken the following quotation from yesterday’s Jewish Telegraph and applaud the wisdom of the young adult who has publicly said what many of us have thought for years

    A 17 year-old pupil, who didn’t wish to be named, said: “He’s assuming that we are all pro-Israel because we are Jewish. I don’t think that you should be preaching to schoolchildren to support everything Israel does.

    For more years than I can remember the Chaplaincy Board and UJS have been sending young students on to campus to fight Israel’s PR battles. When some have raised the question whether it is right to ask our young to get involved in political advocacy for Israel the more recent response has been to “educate” students so that they know the real facts about Israel to eqip them properly for the battles on campus.

    When others do it we cry foul and claim political indoctrination.
    Now that this youngster has spoken out please tell us the difference Mrs Livingston?

  122. Samson Clare said

    You really have to laugh at the lame efforts by the management on here to convince the few remaining readers of their wisdom.

    “A 17 year-old pupil, who didn’t wish to be named…” …..Not much conviction there from our anonymous bearer of astonishing foresight for most readers, but enough to impress our contributor that he changes his username to credit said `student` presumably as a mark of respect.

    But hang on !

    More quotes from the article…(selective as this forum admires)

    “It’s not rocket science to be pro-Israel. You should aim to score rhetorical victories frequently and consistently.” (from the speaker David Olesker)

    “He’s right, though…”

    (from the SAME 17 year old whose few words the contributor found so inspiring and memorable)

    Not quite the emphasis you have uncovered now is there ‘SSO’ ?

    Keep trying.

  123. Delilah said

    Samson Clare could be Nicola Livingstone? He is certainly more literate than David Links but probably not more intelligent. He is a defender of every sad position in the Glasgow Jewish community and despite claiming previously to be uninterested in having much to do with Israel he now defends Jewish students being indoctrinated by Mrs Livingstone’s organisation to fight political battles on campus.

    Its time this blog stopped giving a platform to uneducated bigots whose only purpose in contributing is to have a go at the people who run it.

    Are you bright enough Samson to fill in the missing letters

    P— O–

  124. Samson Clare said

    119.Bob said
    March 11, 2011 at 2:56 pm
    Is Samson Clare David Links?
    ———————————
    123.Delilah said
    March 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm
    Samson Clare could be Nicola Livingstone?
    ——————————————-

    And you have the AUDACITY to attack MY posts on here…? you`re having a laugh if you consider your response on a higher plane. Why don`t you respond to my comments instead of trying to insult me ? Because you are intellectually incapable..that`s why and well you know it.

    “Its time this blog stopped giving a platform to uneducated bigots …”

    Another intellectual giant from GJEF makes a suggestion that his OPEN forum should ban anyone opposing the views expressed…breathtaking that you could even type that and submit it. Censorship being called for here….nice.

    The people who run this are unknown to me believe it or not, and I am not having a `go` at them personally…purely at the hypocrisy and bias and anti this and anti that which constitutes the blog`s total content.

    A further example of the staggering display of schoolboy debate on here is offered by the following conundrum offered by the miserable Delilah..
    P….O…. ( now what could that stand for boys and girls ? )

    What a dreadfully low level your ‘intellect’ reaches… is that genuinely the best you can do ? you can`t even give yourself a male nom de plume yet you attack ME as uneducated ?

    Anyway I have worked out what your ‘sign off ‘ means and it perfectly fits the management here……

    PATHETIC OBSESSIVES

    Now either get me banned or accept that while this place continues to post drivel people like myself have the right to disagree…and if you had any courage you`d name yourselves and challenge those individuals whose opinions differ from yours face to face. Or would that be too embarrassing for the delilahs of this place ?

    No wonder Mr.Links and Mrs.Livingstone (and everyone else you attack) continue to ignore you…your gibberish deserves no better.

  125. Delilah said

    Relax Samson. You have lost the plot.
    Why don’t you name yourself if you are so confident of your position?
    You don’t get it Sammy. You always make connections and think that 2+2=5.
    As Dean Freidman once sang – you are not half as smart as you’d like to think you are.
    I suggest a new blog game. Links won clot of the year. This time lets see if we can guess who old Sammy really is?
    Is he Linksy or Mrs Livingston? Do I really care? Nope.

  126. Samson Clare said

    See there`s the crux of the matter Delilah…you can`t even work out who I am. Those that know me worked that out after one or two postings in here. I may not be famous in Glasgow and indeed there are many who will cross the road to avoid me and (as you would agree…)who could blame them ?
    BUT and it is an important but..I speak for myself on here and you and the other dreamers cannot contend with someone who doesn`t agree with what you say. That is ridiculous. My identity you seek but it is a smokescreen for you having not a single leg to stand on. This is not about WHOM is talking but about WHAT they are saying….and is the reason I am continually insulted, but my views remain untouched because you have not the guile to reply to them.

    As for quoting Dean FRIEDMAN (note correct spelling of your hero…) not too much street cred there. His impact over the years has been about as impressive as GJEF`s.

  127. Delilah said

    I don’t really care who you are. I’m just winding you up. You are quite correct in stating that its much more important to look at the content of your posts and again you don’t get pass marks.
    Look at the picture closely in the Jewish Telegraph. Mrs Livingstone, the Queen of Chaplaincy, it appears to me is sitting in the back row drinking coffee while her students are being indoctrinated with political advocacy and trained for campus wars on behalf of Israel. If it isn’t her then I need a good optician or she has a look a like.

    I urge you to stop waffling Samson and if you want to contribute to a proper debate tell us why you believe this kind of advocacy is either sensible or legitimate.

  128. Samson Clare said

    You couldn`t wind me up and nor are you attempting to …that`s your way of avoiding the issue that I raised to try and turn it to the issue YOU raised.
    Why would I wish to debate with someone that is incapable of anything better than telling someone to piss off ?
    I have no wish to play Spot The Ball with you either, even if I had the picture you speak of in front of me.You need to learn that trying to identify people in photographs and what they are drinking is no way to understand the issues being discussed. Perhaps you are the 17 year old who was quoted ?

    I remain a thorn in your side which is why you can`t ignore me. I don`t mind being ignored…after all even if there is a single soul out there that agrees with me and what I post, they can`t be bothered saying so and who can blame them ? ! You will suggest that this is because I am wrong…the reality is of course that nobody is even reading this mock forum any longer.
    THAT is what is shtoching you all there and why you NEVER get opposed in your views…they`ve all left the building !

    You should be grateful to old Samson filling your space really…but no need to thank me.

    SC

    PS Isn`t it about time that this Lerman subject was changed…? I do believe I remain the only person to have commented on it !

  129. Carol said

    Samson you are a bore. I actually like reading Lerman’s stuff. It is refreshing to read views that are different from the establishment.
    The link up with Lerman is the best thing GJEF have done, apart from setting up the blog.
    Please don’t respond by shouting that I am Delilah. I am no more her than you are Tom Jones.

  130. Samson Clare said

    As Delilah retires hurt, humiliated and exposed, along comes ‘Carol’ fully 5 MONTHS after the sensational Lerman topic impacted on all who read it, to enter the fray. But instead of discussing Mr.Lerman`s article she instead chooses to have a go at yours truly ! Where have you been Carol ? Anyone else see a pattern here ? duh !
    ” The link up with Lerman is the best thing GJEF have done ” ‘she’ asserts…then why am I the only person that has actually discussed the article ?

    Really I need to get out more, I can`t believe I am still arguing here with a multi-tagged Walter Mitty…whose supreme talent amounts to no more than choosing usernames.
    Now listen here Delilah, Carol, Guardian Reader, Oswald, ML (retired on full pension aka ‘Sporty Stan’) or whatever you decide to call yourself…I recommend that you have one last go at getting this blog back on track…supposedly Jewish Glasgow. Give up with the anti establishment as nobody is interested in your views let alone discussing them here.

    The blog remains a solid idea and could have been a real success, credit to you for launching it, but it has failed…move on.
    I await the next thread with trepidation…you surely wouldn`t use old Lerman again….

    would you ?

  131. Delilah said

    Samson.You have put me to sleep zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  132. Samson Clare said

    Assuming Antony Lerman and his Jewish friends who feted Howard Jacobson after he fictionalised (or did he ?) the ashamed Jews of this world read this column, a comforting intervention from the odious Gerald Kaufman whose family and relatives will surely be mortified by his recent behaviour in the Commons.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————-
    MP apologises for ‘here we are, the Jews again’ remark
    Sir Gerald Kaufman, a Labour MP, has apologised after exclaiming ”here we are, the Jews again” when a fellow Labour MP stood up in the House of Commons.
    ——————————————-(Daily Telegraph)————————————————

    No further comment is necessary from me…and the only shock is that a known ashamed Jew like Kaufman should apologise when he meant every word.

  133. Samson Clare said

    Well who would have thought it possible ? A post by old Samson that didn`t attract a single abusive retort from the usual suspects !

    I guess it`s because Kaufman didn`t say something REALLY outrageous… like praising the Rep.Council or the Burial Society members.

  134. Gerald said

    One may not like Kaufman but have you heard about free speech Mr Clare?

  135. Samson Clare said

    …and your point is…?

  136. Gerald said

    I have little time for people like you who call individuals odious because they express views which you or I may not like. Kaufman doesn’t care any more. I wouldn’t vote for him. He isn’t a friend of Israel and his remarks were in all probability aimed at those MPs in Parliament who defend the indefensible.

  137. Samson Clare said

    Absolute classic claptrap from Gerald which surely underlines the dangers and delusions of this forum.

    Kaufman did NOT express a view. He made a snide comment to a colleague which he thought was private but was overheard whereby he called a Jewish lady a `Jew`. Is that bad ? Yes and well you know its true intention, and had the ignoramus not been Jewish himself he would no doubt have been thrown out of the Commons until he apologised. This had nothing to do with his views on Israel…he is a self hating Jew who is a disgrace to his religion. That he opposes Israel is fine by me….brave in its own way, but that remark was anti-semitic no matter who it came from and only you in your naivety could defend this as `free speech`.

    You may be interested in Kaufman`s own views on ‘free speech’ incidentally…but I doubt it.
    ————————————————–
    September 29, 2010

    Sir Gerald Kaufman has claimed he was verbally attacked at St John’s Wood Synagogue on Yom Kippur over his political views.

    He made the allegations at a Middle East Monitor and Labour Friends of Palestine fringe meeting at the Labour Conference in Manchester on Sunday.

    The Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, who regularly criticises Israel, described himself as a “Zionist” and “bad Orthodox Jew” and said he had been a member of the shul for 49 years.

    He claimed he had called the police when two members verbally assaulted him after he attended a service on Yom Kippur. “The Nazis didn’t scare the Jews from the synagogue, so the Jews certainly can’t scare me,” he said.

    ————————————————————

    Odious indeed.

  138. Q & A said

    Why do you describe Kaufman as a self-hating Jew? He turns up by your own admission at an Orthodox Shul from time to time?
    Is it because you don’t like his views on Israel?
    What makes a Jew a disgrace to his religion?
    Why do Gerald’s views ( previous poster presumably not Gerald Kaufman)underline the dangers and delusions of this forum?

    Please answer these questions Samson Clare. you have elected to put yourself up on your soapbox so lets have some clarity.

  139. Lu ye Hi said

    Have you watched this Samson?

    Mr Kaufman at his best

  140. Samson Clare said

    I shall refrain from commenting on this carefully prepared Commons speech (it would have been more heartfelt and meaningful if notes weren`t required)simply because the abuse I would receive will never replace proper debate.

    This blog`s position is perfectly clear to any reader who cares to drop in. The opposition here is non existent. I have still yet to witness a single post agreeing with me on ANY subject though Lu Ye Hi could do above ( or perhaps he is the usual suspect throwing some bait ! ). I am not trying to gain kudos nor convince anyone that I know better than the faceless usernames that surely we all accept now are the work of the same person. I try to provide a balance, nothing more, while exposing at the same time the numerous flaws that accompany almost every post by the blog creator is a welcome side attraction !
    Q & A in challenging me rather than commenting on Kaufman mentions that ‘Gerald’ is “presumably not Gerald Kaufman” as if I needed to be told that ! His lack of imagination reveals that ‘Gerald’ is the best he could come up with for a topic about another Gerald ! Part of the fun here is seeing the pathetic names that appear to attack anyone challenging the propaganda.eg a quick scroll reveals ‘Winson’s Lost it said ‘
    In his rush to post he couldn`t even get the spelling correct for his tag !

    It is this dishonesty that is wrong and bothers me. The blog is totally seeded as if to appear that debate is taking place. Some readers may even be fooled. Better a dead blog than a scripted one.

    ‘Q & A’ (another ridiculous effort) asks the following..
    “Please answer these questions Samson Clare. you have elected to put yourself up on your soapbox so lets have some clarity.”

    I have NOT elected to put myself on a soapbox sir…this IS a BLOODY soapbox (apologies to sensitive readers)that is what a blog is you know ? The creator of the blog writes a column ( or in your case you swipe something from the revered Antony Lerman) and then readers comment on what is there. That is all I do…I don`t need to account for myself or my views. However I am happy to do so if challenged providing the points I make are seriously considered. Not here alas…all that appears is personal. My support for Maccabi was interpreted as me being a bigot for goodness sake….!

    Not a single comment on my assertion that Kaufman`s calling a fellow Jewish MP a “Jew” was anti-semitic, only the usual `who are you to suggest` etc

    I should give up with this forum (and that`s not the first time I`ve said that !) most people have….that is solely the result of the manner it is run and its content. Or will this be denied and my response will be that I have it completely wrong…the blog continues to flourish ?
    Go on…would you dare to ?

  141. Q & A said

    So many words Samson but not one answer to the questions put to you.
    Stop waffling man.
    I repeat…..
    Why do you describe Kaufman as a self-hating Jew? He turns up by your own admission at an Orthodox Shul from time to time?
    Is it because you don’t like his views on Israel?
    What makes a Jew a disgrace to his religion?

    I couldn’t care less about your views on the blog or how it is run. It is obvious that you are obsessive about this.
    You introduced Kaufman as a subject. Well done – its worth debating. Now lets have some clarity about your real views about Kaufman.

  142. Lu Ye Hi said

    Kaufman should have said here comes the Israeli supporters – the my country right or wrong brigade – but that would have been too clumsy and would have missed the point.
    Was it antisemitic? No. Was it unpleasant? Yes. Is it worth you wetting your pants Samson? No.

  143. Samson Clare said

    Nope I won`t bite Q & A….you keep churning out what you want to get across and I will keep criticising…I have no need to elaborate on the points I have already raised and while the only ‘debate’ this blog seems capable of is accusing me of `waffling` and `wetting my pants` I am not prepared to comment further. Most Jews…Israel supporters or not are disgusted by Kaufman…deny it if you like, nobody is listening.

    Incidentally you seem strangely silent over the recent Burial Society settlement.
    Have you become a little coy or is the subject of no interest to your reader(s) anymore?

    GJEF…where you get `educated` about Jewish life in Glasgow….

    (When it suits the management.)

  144. Q & A said

    You have been found out Samson? You won’t answer the questions because it will reveal the truth.

    You call someone a self hating Jew but don’t have the courage to tell us why. You won’t admit that it is his views on Israel that concern you and you know that you have dug yourself a great big hole. You are a fraud. You come on here as some sort of paragon of virtue and you couldn’t help yourself by letting your so called independent mask slip to reveal your politics and now that you are pressurised for some reasons as to why Kaufman bothers you so much you have run away.
    Kaufman goes to an Orthodox Shul and identifies as a Jew, yet you suggest he is self hating but are unprepared to justify your allegation.
    Pathetic.

  145. Samson Clare said

    For someone who has been `found out` so many times on here…you seem more than a little wound up by my presence and my responses (or lack of them.)

    Two can play that game….where`s the response to my gentle inquiry about the Burial Society settlement ?

    And don`t insult me by saying content has nothing to do with you or your aliases.

  146. Q & A said

    I am actually uninterested in the affairs of the Burial Society in Glasgow. I am interested in the right of free speech.
    You brought to our attention the Kaufman issue – you made very serious remarks about an MP and now that you have been taken to task and are under pressure to justify your comments you want to talk about the Burial Society. Others I’m sure will bring that up in due course but I am actually more interested in forcing you to either justify your comments or being forced to admit that you were wrong.
    Your current stance is pathetic.

  147. Samson Clare said

    Not as pathetic as an MP who calls Israelis `Nazis`….not as pathetic as an MP who can dish it out but when a couple of his fellow Shul constituents have a go at him he calls the police (on Yom Kippur as well ! ) Not as pathetic as an MP who has to refer to his `blue box` to announce publically he gave to charity…not as pathetic as an MP who KNOWS he is hurting most decent minded non political or otherwise Jewish people throughout the world, yet ignores this when he attacks Israel even unbelievably quoting names of Israelis and Jews he used to shmooze…a touch of the `some of my best friends etc ` about that…..not as pathetic as an MP who calls a LADY a `Jew` when as was posted above he should have said `Israeli supporters`…not as pathetic as an MP who `apologised` once he realised he was overheard and not because he regretted saying the word…In that video he HAS to announce he is Jewish in case anyone was unaware of the fact hoping to convince viewers that his views are from the heart and worth more than a non Jew.

    Need I go on you innocent naive individual who is in denial ? Kaufman is a Jew who is prepared to use this fact and cheapen it further to give his words emphasis. He is a disgrace because he supports Israel`s enemies who have vowed to sweep Israel (and Kaufman`s friends who live there) into the sea. He has the absolute gall to quote his friendship with Arafat as if this gives him even more right to make an utter idiot of himself.

    You may defend him and his type, but you are misguided. Sometimes the alternative view is welcome, but it needs class and intellect to get people to listen….you and he lack that.

    As usual last words to you….you really don`t like the truth do you ? Now don`t waste any more of my time…nor your own.

  148. Q & A said

    Why does all of that justify you describing him as a “self hating Jew”?
    For someone who declared himself to have little interest in Israel you seem to have discovered a partisan political position to the right of centre within Israeli politics.
    How about a little honesty Samson.
    What are you really about?

  149. Manchester Jew said

    I wasn’t the least bit offended by Gerald’s comments. He is a great MP.
    Actually, I can’t stand Louise Ellman.
    That’s nothing to do with her religion just her politics.

  150. In support of Samson said

    Here We Are, Gerald Kaufman Again
    March 31st, 2011 by Mark Gardner
    Imagine the outcry if Diane Abott MP got up to speak in the House of Commons, and behind her, on the backbenches, a fellow MP was overheard muttering

    Here we are, the blacks again

    Imagine the bemused confusion that would follow when it emerged that the MP who had made the racist remark was himself black. Say, for instance, it had been made by David Lammy MP.

    Except, of course, it is well nigh impossible to imagine such a thing happening.

    Nevertheless, (the Jewish) Gerald Kaufman MP said exactly this on 30 March 2011 about (the Jewish) Louise Ellman MP – but about “the Jews” rather than “the blacks”.

    Here we are, the Jews again

    The remark can be clearly heard here at Parliament TV. It occurs when Louise Ellman MP begins to speak at 06:50:01 on the time frame. It is is said in a bored ‘here we go again’ manner. Less audible, at 06:50:17 you can hear Kaufman mutter something about “antisemitism”. (It is the only word that is really distinct.)

    Mathew Offord MP is to complain about this use of “unparliamentary language” and Kaufman has issued the bog standard statement

    I regret if any remarks I made in the chamber caused offence. If they did, I apologise.

    Kaufman’s excuse of an apology includes the word “if” twice. It is as if he is actually questioning whether or not his remarks really did cause offence; or as if he is questioning whether or not his remarks ought to have caused offence.

    You could say that somebody this stupid has no place being an MP. That, however, is to put the cart before the horse: because first of all, somebody who makes such offensive remarks has no place being an MP. Had Nick Griffin been elected to Parliament and made such a remark – about “the Jews”, “the blacks”, “the homosexuals” or whomever – then one hopes that parliamentary justice would have been swift.

    To be sure, Gerald Kaufman is no Nick Griffin: but words have impacts, and surely the words of a Jewish Labour MP would have a greater impact in normalising antisemitic attitudes, than would similar outbursts from a usual suspect like Griffin.

    There will, of course, be those who say that Kaufman’s own Jewish identity means that he cannot be antisemitic. This is an understandable response, but it confuses antisemitic motivation with antisemitic action and antisemitic impact; and is premised upon an initial definition of antisemitism that is so diminished as to be inadequate for purpose in this particular case.

    Furthermore, merely citing Kaufman’s Jewishness as proof that he is not (or cannot) be antisemitic, is to ignore the many examples of Jews, past and present, who have – for whatever their egotistical and political reasons – chosen to make accommodation with antisemitism (or more accurately, with their chosen aspects of antisemitism) as either practitioners, facilitating allies or meaningfully silent bystanders.

    This phenomenon of Jews acquiescing with certain aspects of antisemitism is not merely a matter of historical and contemporary fact. It is also something that is discussed within Jewish tradition, and is especially poignant right now as we approach the festival of Pesach (Passover), when Jewish families will read, in their Haggadot, the story of the Jewish exodus from Egypt.

    One of the best known passages in the Haggadah concerns The Four Sons: one of whom is wise, one of whom is wicked, one of whom is simple and one of whom does not know how to ask. It concerns how these different types of Jewish people relate to the story of Passover, but is really a parable about how different types of Jewish people relate to Judaism, Jews and Jewishness.

    Not unusually, it is the Wicked Son who has attracted the most attention over the centuries (including in this searing polemic by David Mamet). The fundamental difference between the Wicked Son and the other sons, is that he deliberately places himself apart from his brothers by using the word “you”, rather than “we” or “us”. Provocatively, the Wicked Son asks

    What is this [Passover] service to you?

    In this, there are striking parallels with Kaufman’s remark

    Here we are, the Jews again

    It is those Jews; those Other Jews; who are the objectified targets of Gerald Kaufman’s outburst. It is the Jewishness of those Other Jews that he wants to fling against them – and that he therefore incites others to fling also.

    If others followed Kaufman’s example, then we would end up in a far more antisemitic society, whereby Jewishness became the deciding factor in someone’s suitability for making public comment. (For comparison, see Richard Ingrams, here.)

    The situation is made even more ridiculous by the extraordinary fact that Kaufman, when he is not fingering Jews, has himself complained that his Liberal Democrat opponent at the last General Election in 2010 had toured mosques telling Muslims not to vote for a Jew.

    So, Kaufman understands what it is like when people play “Spot the Jew” in public; and he is happy to call such behaviour “antisemitic” when it suits him.

    Why, therefore, should the rest of us not apply similar criteria to Kaufman? After all, he has previous in this regard, having said at the time of the (very same) General Election

    Just as Lord Ashcroft owns most of the Conservative Party, right-wing Jewish millionaires own the rest

    Then, there was his telling the House of Commons that an Israeli Army Major could be compared to the Nazis who had murdered his own (ie Kaufman’s) grandmother.

    It is now up to the Labour Party to decide what to do with Gerald Kaufman. He seems to have had enough of Jews; and most Jews have doubtless had enough of him. It is, in one sense, a devilishly difficult decision. Kaufman, if called to defend himself, will likely claim that it is not he who is the Wicked Son – rather, it is he who is the Good Son. It is he who cannot stand seeing the Star of David tarnished by its association with Israeli actions (for example, see him saying as much, here).

    Nevertheless, the essence of contemporary antisemitism is how it utilises Israel in resurrecting deeply held notions of Jewish conspiracy, Jewish wickedness and Jewish otherness. Sadly for Kaufman, and all the other Jews, his six word, two and a half second outburst “Here we are. The Jews again” resonates on every one of those antisemitic markers.

  151. In support of Samson said

    Apologies, the above was taken from the CST website

  152. Samson Clare said

    Yes ‘Manchester Jew’…a great MP indeed…..
    ———————————————————-
    A Labour MP yesterday blamed his ‘obsessive compulsive disorder’ for claiming £220 on expenses for a pair of
    Waterford crystal bowls.

    Sir Gerald Kaufman, 79, said his condition – which is self-diagnosed – meant that when a cleaner broke a grapefruit bowl, he had to get two more exactly the same – one for him and one for ‘any guests’.

    Sir Gerald accepted his claim was ‘bizarre’ and would not go down well with his constituents in Gorton, Manchester.

    But he explained he had to make it because of his condition.

    He said: ‘Because I’ve got this self-diagnosed OCD, I do things according to rules that I’ve created. I freely acknowledge it was daft and the Commons were quite right to say, “No, you can’t have that on public money.”

    ‘I’m sure that people in Gorton would raise their eyebrows about a thing like that.’

    Explaining why he needed two Waterford bowls, Sir Gerald said: ‘As part of my OCD, I have the same breakfast when I’m at home both in London and Manchester every day,’ he said.

  153. Samson Clare said

    ‘ In Support of Samson ‘ lol…a username 99 out of 100 people never thought they`d read in here.

    Absolutely spot on about the reaction had the word not been Jews but `blacks`.
    I strongly suggest that any MP saying that would have resigned by now after the anticipated media backlash. But Kaufman being a Jew gets away with his dreadful behaviour.

    Good article by Mark Gardner…another name that I believe is not too welcome in these columns.
    Perhaps GJEF will get us a comment from Mr.Lerman ?

  154. Samson Clare said

    I should clarify that “not too welcome in these columns” certainly does not represent my views, but those of the usual suspects.

  155. Beachgrove Gardner said

    Crikey Samson – extolling the virtues of Mark Gardner are not likely to get you pass marks. He is a 3rd rate polemicist who was discredited by the said Mr Lerman on this blog before we had the pleasure of your company.

    Maybe we should move on to discuss the absurd reaction to Goldstone’s article in the Washington Post claiming that he had retracted from the conclusions of his report when he actually has not.

    Would you care to tell us your view Samson, now that you are discussing real issues rather than the usual trivia. Interesting that you take Kaufman to task for his OCD when you have a similar condition – how you view this blog.

  156. Q & A said

    I think it would be better if we knew what we were talking about –

    This is Goldstone’s article from the Washington Post

    Reconsidering the Goldstone Report on Israel and war crimes

    By Richard Goldstone, Friday, April 1, 8:42 PM
    We know a lot more today about what happened in the Gaza war of 2008-09 than we did when I chaired the fact-finding mission appointed by the U.N. Human Rights Council that produced what has come to be known as the Goldstone Report. If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

    556

    The final report by the U.N. committee of independent experts — chaired by former New York judge Mary McGowan Davis — that followed up on the recommendations of the Goldstone Report has found that “Israel has dedicated significant resources to investigate over 400 allegations of operational misconduct in Gaza” while “the de facto authorities (i.e., Hamas) have not conducted any investigations into the launching of rocket and mortar attacks against Israel.”

    Our report found evidence of potential war crimes and “possibly crimes against humanity” by both Israel and Hamas. That the crimes allegedly committed by Hamas were intentional goes without saying — its rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets.

    The allegations of intentionality by Israel were based on the deaths of and injuries to civilians in situations where our fact-finding mission had no evidence on which to draw any other reasonable conclusion. While the investigations published by the Israeli military and recognized in the U.N. committee’s report have established the validity of some incidents that we investigated in cases involving individual soldiers, they also indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

    For example, the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly. The purpose of these investigations, as I have always said, is to ensure accountability for improper actions, not to second-guess, with the benefit of hindsight, commanders making difficult battlefield decisions.

    While I welcome Israel’s investigations into allegations, I share the concerns reflected in the McGowan Davis report that few of Israel’s inquiries have been concluded and believe that the proceedings should have been held in a public forum. Although the Israeli evidence that has emerged since publication of our report doesn’t negate the tragic loss of civilian life, I regret that our fact-finding mission did not have such evidence explaining the circumstances in which we said civilians in Gaza were targeted, because it probably would have influenced our findings about intentionality and war crimes.

    Israel’s lack of cooperation with our investigation meant that we were not able to corroborate how many Gazans killed were civilians and how many were combatants. The Israeli military’s numbers have turned out to be similar to those recently furnished by Hamas (although Hamas may have reason to inflate the number of its combatants).

    As I indicated from the very beginning, I would have welcomed Israel’s cooperation. The purpose of the Goldstone Report was never to prove a foregone conclusion against Israel. I insisted on changing the original mandate adopted by the Human Rights Council, which was skewed against Israel. I have always been clear that Israel, like any other sovereign nation, has the right and obligation to defend itself and its citizens against attacks from abroad and within. Something that has not been recognized often enough is the fact that our report marked the first time illegal acts of terrorism from Hamas were being investigated and condemned by the United Nations. I had hoped that our inquiry into all aspects of the Gaza conflict would begin a new era of evenhandedness at the U.N. Human Rights Council, whose history of bias against Israel cannot be doubted.

    Some have charged that the process we followed did not live up to judicial standards. To be clear: Our mission was in no way a judicial or even quasi-judicial proceeding. We did not investigate criminal conduct on the part of any individual in Israel, Gaza or the West Bank. We made our recommendations based on the record before us, which unfortunately did not include any evidence provided by the Israeli government. Indeed, our main recommendation was for each party to investigate, transparently and in good faith, the incidents referred to in our report. McGowan Davis has found that Israel has done this to a significant degree; Hamas has done nothing.

    Some have suggested that it was absurd to expect Hamas, an organization that has a policy to destroy the state of Israel, to investigate what we said were serious war crimes. It was my hope, even if unrealistic, that Hamas would do so, especially if Israel conducted its own investigations. At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel. That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms.

    In the end, asking Hamas to investigate may have been a mistaken enterprise. So, too, the Human Rights Council should condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds.

    I continue to believe in the cause of establishing and applying international law to protracted and deadly conflicts. Our report has led to numerous “lessons learned” and policy changes, including the adoption of new Israel Defense Forces procedures for protecting civilians in cases of urban warfare and limiting the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas. The Palestinian Authority established an independent inquiry into our allegations of human rights abuses — assassinations, torture and illegal detentions — perpetrated by Fatah in the West Bank, especially against members of Hamas. Most of those allegations were confirmed by this inquiry. Regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

    Simply put, the laws of armed conflict apply no less to non-state actors such as Hamas than they do to national armies. Ensuring that non-state actors respect these principles, and are investigated when they fail to do so, is one of the most significant challenges facing the law of armed conflict. Only if all parties to armed conflicts are held to these standards will we be able to protect civilians who, through no choice of their own, are caught up in war.

    The writer, a retired justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa and former chief prosecutor of the U.N. International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, chaired the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict.

  157. Samson Clare said

    Come on now Q & A…excuse me Beachgrove Gardner…you surely don`t reckon I`m going to fall for that sleekit sidestep. Firstly you confirm without delay my suspicion that Mr.Gardner is as welcome in here as I am…then you ask me to comment on a completely different matter which (would you believe it) has to do with Israel and alleged ‘war crimes’…Me discussing real issues eh ? Kaufman`s disgrace issue disappeared like food at a simcha…how convenient for you.

    Kaufman`s OCD amounts to a lot more than cheating the taxpayer out of two grapefruit dishes. His real problem is with a country called Israel and his shame at being a Jew dealing with that particular obsession.

    Reminds me of a certain blog in fact….

  158. Samson Clare said

    Q & A said
    April 6, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    I think it would be better if we knew what we were talking about –
    ———————————————————————–

    Never a truer word spoken.

  159. New Israel Fund Supporter said

    This is what NIF thinks about Goldstone –

    NIF Statement on Goldstone
    Since its establishment, the New Israel Fund has striven to strengthen both Israel and its democratic character. Following “Operation Cast Lead,” the human rights organizations supported by NIF called for the Israeli government to set up an independent commission of inquiry. Had the government agreed, this would have prevented the establishment of the Goldstone Commission.

    When the Goldstone Commission began its work, the organizations then called on the government to cooperate with the Commission, out of belief in the importance of transparency, and out of concern for Israel’s international image. The government’s refusal to set up a commission of inquiry, and then its refusal to cooperate with the Goldstone Commission, altered the findings of the Goldstone Report, with negative results.

    The comprehensive work of Israel’s human rights organizations provided information for dozens of subsequent investigations by the IDF. Those investigations, in turn, led the IDF to improve its operational procedures and also enabled Judge Goldstone to revise his conclusions in his article last week. In the article, Goldstone welcomes the internal investigations carried out by Israel. It was these investigations that led him to the conclusion that Israel did not employ a deliberate policy of attacking civilians. The article emphasized that the Israeli government’s non-cooperation with the Goldstone Commission meant that Goldstone himself did not have the facts, or the IDF narrative, to contextualize the original report.

    A real-time response to NIF and the human rights organizations’ demands by the Israeli government would have prevented political damage to Israel. A democracy that examines itself and is transparent and accountable to both its citizens and critics, and that abides by the norms of liberal democracy, will best be able to protect its values and its standing in the world.

  160. Voice Down South said

    No, Goldstone has not ‘retracted’. This is the line being out out by people who always opposed the Goldstone Report and are gleefully interpreting Goldstone’s change of view about a crucial aspect of the original report, expressed in an op-ed for the Washington Post on 1 April, as if he has now dissociated himself from the entire document.

    More thoughtful commentators are pointing out that what Goldstone is saying is the blindingly obvious: had Israel co-operated with his inquiry, his report would have been different. Instead it has put itself in the position of being forced to deny, prevaricate and obfuscate (usual tactics, sadly) before being forced into acknowledging some 400 cases requiring investigation – though most have not been completed – and tacit acknowledgement that many of the rules of engagement employed in Gaza, vis-a-vis civilian lives, are unacceptable by civilised standards.

    What is staggering is Israel’s continued denial of the damage the war, rather than Goldstone, has done to its interests. It has not removed the threat of rocket attack; indeed Hamas is reported to have 4 times the weaponry it had before the assault. It totally failed to bring down Hamas, and achieved nothing that had not already been achieved by the 6 months tahadiyeh. It has increased its isolation even amongst Jews, especially the younger generation. And, of course, it has fanned the flames of hatred and desire for revenge by its wanton destruction of civilian lives and infrastructure.

    The attention being paid to his article has resulted in a renewed focus on the original allegations and some of the atrocious things that the Israelis did.

  161. Guardian Reader said

    This is a rather good summary from the Guardian

    Gaza: the stain remains on Israel’s war record Richard Goldstone’s partial retraction of his own report doesn’t excuse the conduct of Israel’s war in Gaza

    Kenneth Roth The Guardian, Tuesday 5 April 2011

    The Netanyahu government is doing everything it can to interpret a recent Washington Post op-ed article by Justice Richard Goldstone as vindication of Israel’s conduct in the 2008-09 Gaza conflict. It is nothing of the sort. Israel’s reluctance to confront that reality finds a parallel in its refusal to date to conduct credible investigations into the serious violations of the laws of war that it committed in Gaza. The Goldstone article does not relieve it of the obligation to pursue those investigations.

    As is well known, Goldstone led a UN commission that issued a detailed and damning report on the Gaza war, finding that both Israeli and Hamas forces committed war crimes. In his article, Goldstone backed away from a particularly controversial charge in the report – the allegation that Israel had an apparent high-level policy to target civilians. He now says that information from Israeli investigations indicates “that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy”.

    Goldstone was right to make that amendment. Human Rights Watch also investigated some of the cases in which Israeli troops fired at and killed Palestinian civilians. In seven cases, for example, Israeli troops killed a total of 11 Palestinian civilians who had been waving white flags to signal their civilian status. In six other cases, Israeli drone operators fired on and killed a total of 29 Palestinian civilians, including five children, even though drone technology offers the capacity and time to determine whether the targets were combatants. Deeply troubling as these cases were, they were too isolated for us to conclude that the misconduct of individual soldiers reflected a wider policy decision to target civilians.

    But Goldstone has not retreated from the report’s allegation that Israel engaged in large-scale attacks in violation of the laws of war. These attacks included Israel’s indiscriminate use of heavy artillery and white phosphorus in densely populated areas, and its massive and deliberate destruction of civilian buildings and infrastructure without a lawful military reason. This misconduct was so widespread and systematic that it clearly reflected Israeli policy.

    What has Israel done to redress these violations? Mainly, it has investigated the common soldier while leaving the top brass and policymakers untouched. Israel’s investigations look good only by comparison with Hamas, which has done nothing at all to investigate its war crimes. The Hamas justice minister responded to the Goldstone article by attempting to justify deliberate rocket attacks on populated areas of Israel as part of the “right of self-defence of the Palestinian people” – a position wholly at odds with the laws of war.

    As for Israel, a recent UN report mentioned in Goldstone’s article found that the Israeli military has examined the conduct of individual soldiers in about 400 cases of alleged operational misconduct in Gaza. But the report raised serious questions about the thoroughness of these investigations. When Human Rights Watch scrutinised Israel’s investigative response, we found that military prosecutors had closed some cases in which the evidence strongly suggested violations of the laws of war.

    To date, Israeli military prosecutors have indicted only four soldiers and convicted three. Only one soldier has served jail time – seven and a half months for stealing a credit card.

    Most important, Israel has failed to investigate adequately the policy-level decisions that apparently lie behind the large-scale indiscriminate and unlawful attacks in Gaza. Those decisions are obviously the most sensitive because they involve senior officials, not just troops on the ground.

    Part of the problem is that the military has been asked to investigate itself – never an ideal way to arrive at the truth. Moreover, the person leading the military investigations – Israel’s military advocate general – probably took part in the policy decisions that should be investigated. That’s why a genuinely independent investigation is needed, as Israeli human rights groups have requested.

    The Netanyahu government’s eagerness to bury the Goldstone report is understandable, but the report will live on. Even after Goldstone’s article, the report still represents a serious indictment of the way Israel and Hamas chose to fight the war in Gaza. The open question is whether the two sides will live up to their duty to investigate these charges credibly and to bring violators to justice. We all know that Hamas hasn’t done what is needed. The theatrics in Jerusalem cannot hide the fact that so far Israel hasn’t either.

    guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

  162. Nigel said

    I know that this blog has been criticised by many. However, where else in the community would it be possible to get involved in discussion or read articles about Kaufman and Goldstone.
    In the last day or two on this blog I have listened to Kaufman at the House of Commons, read Mark Gardner’s response to Kaufman’s recent comment, read Goldstone’s article in the Washington Post and also read New Israel Fund’s official statement along with other good articles.

    Congratulations GJEF. You deserve praise for providing this community with this excellent service.

  163. David Mercaza said

    Thank goodness. Somebody of real stature, a true leader, has made a positive contribution. Well done Nigel.

  164. Memo from Tel Aviv to Glasgow said

    Please allow the Glasgow Jewish Community to read this article printed in this morning’s Haaretz newspapers.

    Israel wouldn’t need propaganda if it changed its policies
    dawn to dusk. But how many times have you seen a foreign diplomat in Israel explaining how right his country is? Who would listen to him?
    By Gideon Levy

    What do Israel and Syria have in common? Not much, but both have ministries of hasbara. No such thing exists in the West. No such thing exists in democracies. But in Israel, we have falafel and a minister of hasbara, who is known as the minister of public diplomacy and diaspora affairs. The Israeli president, prime minister, cabinet members and MKs fly all over the world on useless hasbara missions. Israeli diplomats deal with hasbara from dawn to dusk.

    But how many times have you seen a foreign diplomat in Israel explaining how right his country is? Who would listen to him? How many times have other countries’ ministers been guests here on hasbara missions? What would come out of them? As for us, Richard Goldstone has changed direction, so we’ll leverage it using Israel’s embassies: The Palestinians are firing Qassams at the south. We’ll use the Qassams for hasbara. And yet, how amazing: Never has Israel’s image been at such a low point.

    The enlightened world doesn’t need propaganda, which we call hasbara in Israel. Elsewhere it’s understood that policy is the best and worst hasbara. A country’s image is determined by the media, which conveys reports, pictures and information, not propaganda, which has no buyers in the modern world. It’s crazy and primitive to believe that if only we have hasbara, if the people who explain Israel are good at their jobs, canny propagandists and seasoned PR people, look how our position would change, how the world would stand and cheer us. It’s a waste of time and money. The day Israel changes its policy it won’t need hasbara anymore; until then, it’s useless anyway.

    It was the late Ambassador Yohanan Meroz who coined the word “hasbarable.” Some things, he said, were not hasbarable. Israel’s current policy, for example. The world has seen the Qassams landing in Israel over the past few days, and perhaps it condemns the Palestinians. Then it sees Israel’s harsh response, including many dead and wounded in Gaza, is infuriated and its heart goes out to Gaza. No hasbara will change that.

    The world knows that this is a battle between the Israeli Goliath and the Palestinian David, and its heart is with the underdog. The world heard Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speak of a two-state solution and was filled with hope. But after two years of total deadlock, hollow talk, illusions, Israel’s unreasonable setting of conditions and the construction of more and more settlements, the world has condemned Israel. No hasbara can change that.

    Hasbara will not overcome the unequivocal fact that Israel has been an occupying power for more than four decades. No propaganda can persuade people of good conscience that we’re right as long as millions of Palestinians are living without rights.

    Even Israel’s impressive wins at tennis and basketball and its home-grown supermodels will not change that. President Shimon Peres can circumnavigate the globe a thousand times and nothing will change. Statesmen and journalists may be amazed by his energy and charm, but they will not change their opinion about Israel because of him. “Mr. Hasbara,” Netanyahu, with his polished American English, is now one of the most excoriated statesmen in the world. If only he would change direction, he wouldn’t need his television tricks. In contrast, Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, a colorless man with broken English, garners much more sympathy; his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, was an icon.

    That’s how it is in the land of the brainwashed. We believe in hasbara because it works for us. With most of the media pro-government, hasbara has a proven track record in Israel. The campaigns dehumanizing and demonizing the Palestinians have sown fear and hatred no less than that sown by Palestinian terror. The fanning of nationalist and false patriotic flames have sown an evil wind and reaped a whirlwind.

    But media outlets elsewhere have no intention of taking part in a hasbara campaign. There, they know the basic facts: Occupation is illegal, immoral and unjust. It produces violent opposition that in the end will be accepted with understanding and perhaps even with sympathy. So let’s say: Enough hasbara, let’s have policies that are just.

  165. Lesson for Scojec, CST and all others who define the Jewish experience according to antisemitism said

    Apologies for the length of the following article. For those that genuinely want to read something interesting this is good….
    written by Avrum Burg in Haaretz.

    When the walls come tumbling down
    Is Israel confusing legitimate criticism of its policies with anti-Semitism to avoid having to make difficult existential decisions? The questions are tough – the answers even more so
    By Avraham Burg

    The month between Purim of wicked Haman and Pesach of Pharaoh is the right time to contemplate the relationship between Jews and anti-Semitism. It is a delicate, complex package, crammed with clichés and unrelenting cries of panic, but surprisingly meager in insights. Two writers, Jean-Paul Sartre and A.B. Yehoshua, were among the few who have dared to touch the boiling core of the issue. Sartre dealt with the subject in “Anti-Semite and Jew” (1946 ); but despite his diligent struggle against anti-Semitism, he saw the Jews as no more than a product of the anti-Semitic gaze. Largely unfamiliar with what is positive about the Jews, he maintained a trenchant existential observation that it is actually the anti-Semite who determines who is a Jew.

    Years later, in “Homeland Grasp” (2008 ), A.B. Yehoshua wrote: “In a certain tragic sense, anti-Semitism has become the most important and most natural component in crystallizing Jewish identity, so much so that for many Jews the absence of anti-Semitism … appears suspicious and unnatural.”

    Jewish cemetery in Herrlisheim, eastern France, April 2004.

    Photo by: AP
    The time has come to take the next step and ask whether we can in fact exist at all without an external enemy, without anti-Semitism. Do we have the courage to take issue against the embarrassing, absurd conclusion of both these writers, which holds that we need anti-Semitism in order to define ourselves?

    It is impossible to embark on a path like this without assuming that anti-Semitism does in fact exist. There is Jew-hatred of a very complex order. In part, it is historical and entails the innocent belief in the Jews being responsible for the murder of Jesus. Some anti-Semites hate Jews in the abstract, as some of us hate the Amalekites in the abstract. That is part of the religious DNA that is perpetuated time and again in rituals and ceremonies of all religions (including ours ). This primal existential hatred interconnects with current events through the spreading tension and hostility that spring from and seethe in the Middle East.

    Many of those who link criticism of Israel for its misguided policy to hostility against Jews for being Jews, are actually “corresponding” with official Israel, which has claimed since its inception that it is the heir to and speaker for the historic Jewish people. If there is no difference between Jewish history and Israeli history in the perception of the government of Israel, why should the anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli fomenters of evil draw that distinction?

    • • •

    Fortunately, today’s anti-Semitism is very feeble in comparison with its former potency and possibly with its future potential. A few years ago, large headlines proclaimed “Rise of 300 percent in manifestations of anti-Semitism” – and it turned out that this referred to an increase from 19 to 59 events of Jew-hatred in a specific European country that year. A scanty harvest when compared to the manifestations of racist, nationalist hatred between settlers and Arabs in Kiryat Arba or Yitzhar, which are everyday occurrences here; a negligible number compared to what the Haredim write about secular Jews, and vice versa; and, in general, a meager lot compared to the expressions of loathing and racism that all of us hurl at one another here. Having noted the self-evident, we can now move farther afield.

    It has always been so; this accounting – Zionism in return for anti-Semitism – is not new. The greater part of the Zionist idea is based on Herzl’s experience in the face of the Dreyfus trial. Desiring to resolve the Jewish question and rid Europe of its Jews, Herzl conceived the Zionist idea. Ahad Ha’am (Asher Ginsberg ) immediately retorted: “Antisemitismus [anti-Semitism] begat Herzl, Herzl begat the Jewish state and Zionismus, and Zionismus begat the [Zionist] Congress. Antisemitismus is therefore the cause of causes in this whole movement.” But no one would listen to him then. Ahad Ha’am became one more gridlocked street in Tel Aviv and anti-Semitism was consolidated as one of the components of modern Jewish identity. I heard the joy of a potential increase in aliyah expressed in so many Zionist back rooms whenever the level of anti-Semitism rose. A modicum of anti-Semitism in the West is always sufficient proof of the rightness of the Zionist path as seen through the prism of “catastrophic Zionism” at its finest.

    In recent years the situation has become far more acute. Israel sweeps all the criticism against it, both justified and unjustified, under the same anti-Semitic rug. It is actually we who are repeatedly mixing up proper criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism. The reason is to avoid at any price having to confront the situation and make tough existential decisions: the occupation, the injustices, the discrimination, the persecution of the non-Jewish minority in our midst. As long as “they” are anti-Semites, we feel pure and justified in our own eyes.

    So far this has been enough to go on posturing against the world, based on a paradigm as addictive as it is erroneous, that “the whole world is against us.” This mutation has proved itself across multiple generations, and there is no genuine incentive to terminate it now. It’s a historical, moral and emotional checking account that is suffering from being over-extended and is on the brink of being closed. There is no other country in the Western world from which the international community has been willing to put up with acts of state violence for five decades, other than Israel. There is no other country that is permitted by the international community to maintain a vast, unsupervised nuclear arsenal, other than Israel. And there is no other colonialist left in the world, other than “the only democracy in the Middle East.” The world is still putting up with all this, but not for much longer – it will soon be over.

    • • •

    In a very short time we will no longer be able to evade the real questions: Are we capable of apprehending our existence without the hatred of others? Do we really need external anti-Semitism as a means to define our inner identity? Think for a moment about a world in which Jews are not hated; about a utopia of peace in the Middle East, fraternity wherever our brethren live. Unreasonable? Definitely not! A hundred years ago, who believed in the existential transformations being played out before our eyes? Few, indeed.

    A hundred years ago, Europe was awash in bloodshed that had lasted a thousand years, yet now it is a peaceful continent. Only a few months ago, the Middle East was one of the world’s largest repositories of nasty, bizarre dictatorships, yet today we are on the brink of what appears to be a historic and positive change. And with the world going into this mode, immediately or soon, will the Jewish people be able to survive without an external enemy? It’s not certain.

    We have proven methods of coping with persecution, hatred and pogroms. But we don’t have a clue and don’t have experience when it comes to openness, acceptance and full equality for Jews, as for everyone else. That prospect threatens us in the deepest recesses of our being and confronts us with questions about our national existence as such, as “a people that shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” This being so, we tend to return to the sick, pathological molds which are so familiar to us: junkies of hatred, we isolate ourselves from the haters, real or imagined. As though the evil we know is preferable to the potential – and threatening – good.

    From this point of view, the establishment of the State of Israel not only failed to solve the problems for the sake of which it was founded but, on the contrary, made them a great deal worse. Israel is the biggest shtetl in the history of the world. One big town around which walls of segregation and resentment rise higher every day, cutting it off from its surroundings. Few of us know any other existential reality apart from our unrelenting war with everyone, all the time and over all issues. In this sense, as a collectivity we are continuing the pathological historical relations between Jews and gentiles. The goy is still a threatening figure, but absolutely necessary, because who are we without the Sartrean goy who defines us?

    We have done very little in Israel to develop an internal national-identity model that is not dependent on the definitions of the external persecutor. It is convenient, albeit not pleasant, to place responsibility for our identity in the hands of the enemy. Let Hitler decide who’s a Jew. And if Hitler is gone, then some poor man’s Hitler, like Yasser Arafat or Ahmadinejad. Every generation and its Pharaoh, every era and its wicked Haman.

    • • •

    Is there another possible way to understand and live the reality? Plainly. Hatred exists in the world, but we do not have a monopoly on it. In the past, anti-Semitism was the primary focus of Western hatred. Because in the heart of the First World, the Christian world, we were the ultimate strangers, set apart by the two basic activities that define a society and a community: eating and procreation. The strangers are those people who live in our midst but with whom we do not eat and do not marry. And for thousands of years “we” and “they” refrained from sharing the same bed and the same table.

    Today’s Christian world is of a completely different stripe. The society of the First World is saturated with immigrants, with new “others.” Muslims and people from the East, labor migrants and seekers of political asylum, Turks and Koreans, Jews and Chinese, pagans and Hindus. The European responses are fascinating. Some of them reflect astonishing openness, stemming in part from the lessons of the terrible failure in dealing with the Jewish “other” a mere 70 years ago; and others reflect isolationist insularity, which engenders the Islamophobia, xenophobia and other manifestations of panic-stricken racism from which we are not exempt, either.

    Yes, the Western world is once more coping with issues relating to the “other” by means of hatred and segregation. But this time we are not at the top of the list. We are only one item on it. Many of us, notably Prime Minister Netanyahu, tend to argue that we have a monopoly on hatred. We are hated more than anyone, Jew-hatred is more qualitative, and anyway, you shouldn’t mix the Jewish particularity with all the other hatreds. We are trying to create a ghetto within a ghetto. Jew-hatred that is separated amid hatred of all the strangers. This is a serious mistake. Because there is a wonderful opportunity for rectification. As history’s most distinctive victim, we are enjoined to alter the approach and the conception.

    There is an internal Jewish essence that is not dependent on external circumstances. It is buried deep below layers of historical trauma. But its heart still beats; in the form of humanism, responsibility for the peace of the world, universalism without boundaries. Israel’s establishment ought to enable the realization of this potential. For example, the state of those who were ostracized can do everything in its power to assist the present-day ostracized who have taken their place. It can be a partner in the creation of a world coalition against hatred. Precisely because of its memories.

    The memory of being slaves in Egypt and the memory of the Amalek trauma are the basis of our national reservoir of memories, which has never been erased. But if we do not stop reenacting the past instead of remembering it, the future will look equally gloomy. In contrast, in Israel and within the large Jewish diaspora in North America there are vibrant, riveting spiritual outpourings, which are also resources of the spirit. We have new Jewish music, cinema, secular forms of the traditional Beit Midrash, poetry and literature in Hebrew and in other voices of Jewish language. All of these forms are very Jewish at their source but conduct an open dialogue with and authentic recognition of the universal humanity within them. Without apologetics and with the same degree of modesty, and without condescension. A conversation between equals, Jews and gentiles. There is no coercing of emotions and no tear-jerking. This is a Jewry that identifies within itself the non-Jewish, pan-human element as well, and gives and receives with openness.

    By means of this approach, we are obligated to prepare for “the day after the goy,” the post-anti-Semitic era in our lives. For the day on which our children will ask us why they should go on being Jews and we will have an answer that emanates from within. We not only have the obligation to prepare for that day, we also have the ability.

    Avraham Burg is a former speaker of the Knesset and a former chairman of the Jewish Agency.

  166. Nigel said

    Congratulations GJEF. You deserve praise for bringing another excellent article to the attention of our community.
    Burg was and is a great guy and Israel could do a lot worse than have leaders of this stature and intellect.

  167. Pessach Story from Garnethill said

    I hate blogs, I really do. This one is no worse or better than all the others. However just once in my life there is an opportunity to use something to enlighten others. My only excuse is that it is in the public interest.

    I have heard that members of Garnethill’s executive are currently involved in negotiations to bring back their recently resigned Minister, the one and only Aharon Soudry. It would not be proper for me to tell you why he offered his resignation – that is up to Mr Soudry or the members of Garnethill. It is though up to me to tell you that they have offered him a new job – that of Chazan at Garnethill for Yom Kippur. Chazan or Cantor not Minister.

    Perhaps if he comes back and that does not work out he will be offered the job of Shul Janitor or Shul window cleaner.

    I urge you to drink the first cup of wine on Seder night very quickly if you are a member of Garnethill. In fact I urge you to drink all four cups of wine very quickly indeed. You will then be qualified if drunk to act just as cleverly as the Garnethill Executive.

    Happy Pessach.

  168. More on Goldstone said

    Goldstone report: Statement issued by members of UN mission on Gaza warStatement issued by members of the UN fact-finding mission to Gaza, May-September 2009

    Hina Jilani, Christine Chinkin and Desmond Travers guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 April 2011

    In recent days some articles and comments appearing in the press with respect to the report of the United Nations (UN) fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict of 2008-2009 have misrepresented facts in an attempt to delegitimise the findings of this report and to cast doubts on its credibility.

    The mission that comprised four members, including Justice Richard Goldstone as its chair, came to an end when it presented its report to the UN human rights council in September 2009. The report of the mission is now an official UN document and all actions taken pursuant to its findings and recommendations fall solely within the purview of the United Nations general assembly which, along with the human rights council, reviewed and endorsed it at the end of 2009.

    Aspersions cast on the findings of the report, nevertheless, cannot be left unchallenged. Members of the mission, signatories to this statement, find it necessary to dispel any impression that subsequent developments have rendered any part of the mission’s report unsubstantiated, erroneous or inaccurate.

    We concur in our view that there is no justification for any demand or expectation for reconsideration of the report as nothing of substance has appeared that would in any way change the context, findings or conclusions of that report with respect to any of the parties to the Gaza conflict. Indeed, there is no UN procedure or precedent to that effect.

    The report of the fact-finding mission contains the conclusions made after diligent, independent and objective consideration of the information related to the events within our mandate, and careful assessment of its reliability and credibility. We firmly stand by these conclusions.

    Also, it is the prerogative of the UN to take cognisance of any evidence subsequently gathered under domestic procedures that it finds credible and in accordance with international standards. Over 18 months after publication of the report, however, we are very far from reaching that point.

    The mandate of the mission did not require it to conduct a judicial or even a quasi-judicial investigation. The mission and the report are part of a truth-seeking process that could lead to effective judicial processes. Like all reports of similar missions of the UN, it provided the basis for parties to conduct investigations for gathering of evidence, as required by international law, and, if so warranted, prosecution of individuals who ordered, planned or carried out international crimes.

    In the case of the Gaza conflict, we believe that both parties held responsible in this respect, have yet to establish a convincing basis for any claims that contradict the findings of the mission’s report.

    The report recommended that proper investigations and judicial processes should ideally be carried out first of all at the domestic level, with monitoring by the UN. If these proved inadequate, it laid down a roadmap for the continuation of such processes at the international level. In line with these recommendations, the UN human rights council appointed a committee of independent experts to monitor the independence, effectiveness and genuineness of any domestic proceedings carried out to investigate crimes and violations of international law pointed out in the mission’s report.

    Many of those calling for the nullification of our report imply that the final report by the follow-up committee’s two members, Judge Mary McGowan Davis and Judge Lennart Aspergren, presented to the human rights council in March 2011, somehow contradicts the fact-finding mission’s report or invalidates it.

    In the light of the observations of this committee such claims are completely misplaced, and a clear distortion of their findings. The committee’s report states that, according to available information, Israel has conducted some 400 command investigations into allegations by the fact-finding mission and other organisations. Command investigations are operational, not legal, inquiries and are conducted by personnel from the same command structure as those under investigation. Out of these, the committee reports that 52 criminal investigations into allegations of wrongdoings have been opened. Of these, three have been submitted for prosecution, with two of them resulting in convictions (one for theft of a credit card, resulting in a sentence of seven months’ imprisonment, and another for using a Palestinian child as a human shield, which resulted in a suspended sentence of three months). The third case, related to allegations of deliberate targeting of an individual waving a white flag, is still ongoing.

    The committee has expressed serious concerns about the late start and slow pace of the proceedings, their insufficient transparency and the participation of victims and witnesses. Out of the 36 incidents relating to Gaza described in the fact-finding mission report, more than one third remain unresolved or without a clear status over two years after the conflict. The committee concluded that the slow progress could seriously impair the effectiveness of the investigations and prospects of achieving justice and accountability. Therefore, the mechanisms that are being used by the Israeli authorities to investigate the incidents are proving inadequate to genuinely ascertain the facts and any ensuing legal responsibility.

    In addition, with regard to the issue of the policies guiding Operation Cast Lead, the committee states that there is “no indication that Israel has opened investigations into the actions of those who designed, planned, ordered and oversaw Operation Cast Lead”. In other words, one of the most serious allegations about the conduct of Israel’s military operations remains completely unaddressed.

    We regret that no domestic investigations at all have been started into any of the allegations of international crimes committed by members of Palestinian armed groups in Gaza which have fired thousands of rockets into southern Israel. The committee observes the same in its report.

    We consider that calls to reconsider or even retract the report, as well as attempts at misrepresenting its nature and purpose, disregard the right of victims, Palestinian and Israeli, to truth and justice. They also ignore the responsibility of the relevant parties under international law to conduct prompt, thorough, effective and independent investigations. We regret the personal attacks and the extraordinary pressure placed on members of the fact-finding mission since we began our work in May 2009. This campaign has been clearly aimed at undermining the integrity of the report and its authors. Had we given in to pressures from any quarter to sanitise our conclusions, we would be doing a serious injustice to the hundreds of innocent civilians killed during the Gaza conflict, the thousands injured, and the hundreds of thousands whose lives continue to be deeply affected by the conflict and the blockade.

    The report has triggered a process that is still under way and should continue until justice is done and respect for international human rights and humanitarian law by everyone is ensured.

    Published in the Guardian CIF today.

  169. Nigel said

    Thank you. Very interesting. Discussion about Israel brings back memories of a community that was much more outgoing and interested in the world around us than the current state of affairs where minute religious obsessions are highlighted and made out to be much more important than they really are.

  170. Ghost of Political Past said

    I too recall those days when our community debated serious issues that affected Israel and affected us.
    The Jewish Echo was full of letters and the community was involved.
    What happened?

  171. The Lord has Spoken said

    The Lord looked down on Glasgow before the Sabbath commenced. And it was not a sight that made him happy.
    What is it he thought that happens to Orthodox Judaism in that small place in Scotland? The Lord had known for quite some time that Garnethill and Mr Soudry were not up to the standards he expected. He had witnessed with his own eyes and ears the behaviour one Shabbat not too long ago when His people brought Judaism into disrepute with profanities. The Lord could not believe the stupidity of those involved with Garnethill. Bringing Soudry back the last time was daft enough but when He read on this blog that they were going to try and do it again he could only think that the sooner the place is shut down for good the better it will be. He contemplated deeply and he just could not understand how His people could have got it so wrong again that they think Soudry is worth keeping.
    And then He turned his gaze to Giffnock and Newlands Synagogue. He had received his copy of the Shul magazine and He was rather dismayed. What is it that makes people say and do stupid things when they get on to the executives of Orthodox Synagogues in Glasgow? What is it that makes humans claim to be acting in My name when their decisions are a result of free will? The new chairman had pronounced that he had been manoeuvered by forces beyond his control into taking the chairmanship of his local Synagogue and the Lord thought this was just bonkers.
    The Lord was bemused.
    How can the new chairman of Giffnock claim to be doing the right thing when his first act of chairmanship is to appoint 2 members to his executive who have just cost the Jewish community a figure in the region of twenty to twenty five thousand pounds because of their foolishness and arrogance while acting on behalf of the Burial Society? The Lord had done his figures and although Arithmetic wasn’t his specialised subject he still could add up well enough to realise that Jeffrey Gladstone and Ephraim Borowski should never be allowed near the finances of any Jewish organisation in Glasgow ever again. The Lord sighed because he knew that the appointment of these mates of the new chairman would result in another Orthodox Shul soon going down the tubes.
    The Lord looked for some consolation.
    Newton Mearns was currently OK but he was worried that the behaviour of other Orthodox communities would spread South. He then looked at the Reform and Masorti Communities and he was pleased because he saw some light in Glasgow. He saw communities acting properly and following their faith with a tolerance and understanding that the Lord liked.
    The Lord downed a large whisky and wished everyone

    Shabbat Shalom

  172. Beachgrove Gardner said

    It seems that the Jewish Chronicle’s Geoffrey Alderman has been reading this blog because all his complaints about the CST were written on here several months ago. Just to remind Mr Mark Gardner of the CST, and you dear readers, I have decided to post Mr Alderman’s excellent article in last week’s JC below. It was interesting that Mr Gardner, normally never recitent in responding to any criticism of the CST, had nothing to write in this week’s JC in response. He must have hoped this would go away so I’m sorry to disappoint him.
    Congratulations Mr Alderman on an excellent piece and keep reading this super blog.

    Our unrepresentative security By Geoffrey Alderman, April 18, 2011

    In the JC of March 11, there was an article by Dr Gilbert Kahn, who teaches political science at Kean University, in the United States. Professor Kahn had attended the annual fund-raising dinner of the Community Security Trust, and the purpose of his column was to lament the fact that British Jews felt obliged to pay – via the CST – for the physical protection that the British state should surely provide out of general taxation.

    I want to ask some rather different questions.

    What right does a completely private body that happens to call itself the CST have to involve itself in the safety and well-being of British Jews?

    What right does it have to represent itself as being a representative body? On its website, the CST boasts that it “represents the Jewish community on a wide range of Police, governmental and policy-making bodies dealing with security and antisemitism.”

    What right does it have to make such a claim? The website further explains that “the Police and government praise CST as a model of how a minority community should protect itself.”

    That may be so but I want to ask whether we – you and I – should not have a quiet word in the ear of government and point out that the CST represents no one but itself and is mandated to espouse the views of none other than its own trustees.

    Since what I am going to say is likely to raise more than a heckle here and a heckle there, I want to make it clear that I personally believe that the CST probably does valuable work in two related fields: providing security and security advice; and collecting and publishing security-related data.

    I am aware that it operates in a third and inevitably murky dimension, namely that of a watching brief with regard to extremist organisations, possibly including the infiltration of such bodies.

    Last year, in a volume of essays I edited by young historians of British Jewry (New Directions in Anglo-Jewish History) I was delighted to include a chapter written by Daniel Tilles on the anti-fascist campaign of the Board of Deputies, between 1936 and 1940.

    Mr Tilles had been permitted access to hitherto closed files that revealed how the Board had operated a crude network of informers at that time.

    The Board’s defence director, Mike Whine, was candid enough to confess to me that the Board had decided to open these historic files partly to send a very contemporary message: that British Jewry was not averse to such intelligence-gathering, and that groups currently touting an anti-Jewish agenda would do well to understand this fact.

    Mr Whine, as well as being the current defence director of the Deputies is also an employee of the CST, in charge of government and international affairs. The CST also elects two deputies of its own. I see nothing problematic in these arrangements, but we must fully understand the corollary, namely that the CST itself has no “representative” basis whatsoever.

    The CST grew out of the Community Security Organisation, which became independent of the Deputies in the 1980s.

    It enjoys charitable status, so you can discover a certain amount of information about its structure and financing via the website of the Charity Commission.

    In 2009 (the latest year for which accounts are available), it attracted more than £5 million in donations and boasted reserves of £3 million. It had 64 employees, one of whom received an annual emolument of between £150,000 and £160,000. Its total 2009 wage bill exceeded £2 million.

    These are not small amounts; they contrast starkly with the services provided to the CST practically for nothing by the scores of volunteers who, under the badge of the CST, provide security for communal events up and down the land.

    Who makes policy at the CST? The short answer is: its trustees, who appoint themselves. Under a dispensation granted by the Charity Commission, the names of the trustees are hidden from public view.

    According to the Commission’s website there is only one trustee – Support Trustee Limited. But if you go to the Companies House website you can, for a small fee, download the names and contact addresses (and indeed dates of birth) of the directors of STL.

    Perhaps these individuals could explain to us how, given the constitution and structure of the CST, it can honestly claim to “represent” the Anglo-Jewish community in any meaningful sense.

  173. Nigel said

    Alderman is right. The CST are unaccountable and unelected. The blog did highlight this weeks ago and those that did so should be commended for bringing this to the community’s attention.

  174. Jardinier said

    Anglo Jewry’s so called communal leaders have rallied in support of the CST in this week’s Jewish Chronicle. The response is alomost mafiaesque but is in truth quite sad. Rallying behind a war cry that claims that the CST is actually representative of the community it serves misses the crucial point that it is completely unaccountable. I’m sure that all those leading lights who signed the letter did so without any hint of community pressure whatsoever. I would not have liked to be in their shoes if they had not publicly rallied to the CST’s defence against Alderman.

    My namesake Mark Gardner though must be hopping mad. The much touted director of CST public relations has been overlooked when the CST had to defend its reputation within Anglo-Jewry. Could it be that his boss Mr Ronson read this blog and realised that poor Mark was taken apart by GJEF’s favourite columnist Tony Lerman.

  175. Nigel said

    I agree with jardinier too. Personally, I have had little time for the CST and their pretensions to be something they are not.

  176. Pub Goer Anonymous said

    Hypocracy is alive and well at Giffnock and its famous inhouse pub. It seems that the newly elected chairman has decided that his old mates can get lubricated without him because he allegedly believes it wouldn’t be right for the chief to be setting a bad example. The strange thing is he couldn’t have cared less about the rights and wrongs of walking out during services to pour a large malt down his throat when he was vice-chairman. Regular pub attendees are waiting for an edict from the new boss restricting drinking hours on the premises.

  177. Sydney Punter said

    G’day possums. Who gives a Castlemaine xxxx?

  178. Nigel said

    Synagogues are not pubs. Anyone with commonsense understands that leaving services to have an early dram is unacceptable. The Chairman of Giffnock Shul is absolutely right not to participate.

  179. The Jewish Chronicle is the gutter press said

    Harriet Sherwood writes in today’s Guardian about JC column writer Geoffrey Alderman who last week wrote that he “rejoiced” at the death of Vittorio Arrigoni who was recently murdered in Gaza.

    The JC has become a gutter newspaper. Any editor that thinks a column in his newspaper rejoicing at the death of anyone should immediately be fired.; Alderman is a disgrace and Pollard is just as culpable.
    Shame on both of them.

    I was sent a link this week to a piece published in the Jewish Chronicle by historian Geoffrey Alderman, the opening sentence of which I found pretty shocking.

    Under the headline This Was No Peace Activist, Alderman wrote:

    “Few events – not even the execution of Osama bin Laden – have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called ‘peace activist’ Vittorio Arrigoni.”

    Arrigoni, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, was murdered in Gaza last month after being abducted by Islamic extremists. He was strangled with a plastic cord. Hamas subsequently killed those responsible for Arrigoni’s death.

    His murder, wrote Alderman, “was immediately pounced upon by the western media as an affront to the civilised world”. This is indeed the case; many newspapers – including the Guardian – ran stories and profiles describing Arrigoni’s commitment to the Palestinian cause and the extremist stance of those who killed him.

    But, wrote Alderman, “the truth is very different. Vittorio Arrigoni, a disciple of the International Solidarity Movement, had travelled to Gaza to assist in the breaking of the Israeli naval blockade. As a supporter of Hamas he was a consummate Jew-hater.”

    He said Arrigoni’s Facebook page – in Italian – contained “explicit anti-Jewish imagery”.

    I asked Alderman – who has occasionally contributed to the Guardian – whether he regretted recording his “pleasure” at Arrigoni’s death. “It’s still my view,” he told me on the phone from London. “He was a Jew-hater like Adolf Hitler. Yes, he deserved to die for being a Jew-hater. I rejoiced in the death of a Jew-hater. I have no regrets.”

    Jeff Halper, an Israeli activist and academic, who knew Arrigoni well, said Alderman’s charges against him were “outrageous”.

    “Sometimes things are so outrageous there simply isn’t a response. Vik [Arrigoni] was unique. He was political and he had strong opinions. But the idea that he would differentiate between someone Jewish and someone non-Jewish – there has never been a hint of that.”

    Stephen Pollard, the editor of the Jewish Chronicle, told me he had no qualms about publishing the piece. “I have no problem at all with publishing it. I don’t agree with [Alderman], it’s not my view – it’s his.”

    He rejected the description of Arrigoni as a “peace activist”. “He was a member of the ISM, for God’s sake. That’s not peace activism, that’s hard core Palestinian terror.”

    Neta Golan, an Israeli founder of the ISM, denied the organisation supported terror attacks or backed Hamas. “The ISM supports the avenue of non-violent and popular resistance,” she told me. “It is a grassroots group, and we will work with anyone who wants to organise non-violent resistance. The ISM does not have a position on internal Palestinian politics.”

    She also rejected suggestions that Arrigoni was anti-Semitic. “It was so obvious he wasn’t a racist. Absolutely he was not anti-Semitic.”

    I never met Arrigoni and I don’t know what his views (if any) on Jews, as opposed to his views on Israel, were. Attempts to conflate opposition to Israeli policies with anti-Semitism are not new.

    Scenes of Palestinian militants handing out sweets to celebrate suicide bombings or other deadly attacks are familiar – and sickening.

    Now Alderman’s rejoicing in the death of a pro-Palestinian activist seems to me a new and repugnant development.

  180. Nigel said

    100% correct. JC has been on a downward spiral since Chaim Bermant passed away a few years ago. Comparing Alderman to Bermant is like comparing night with day. I doubt whether Bermant would have wanted to write for the JC in its present format and I’m pretty sure he couldn’t have tolerated Pollard. Like so many other institutions in Anglo-Jewry the JC has lost its way and the decline is rapid and probably terminal.

  181. Samson Clare said

    Why should the Jewish press be any different to the mass media in dumbing down to sell papers ? The old JC was virtually unreadable, and the new one represents the tabloid style version which is much more palatable for the vast majority of its readership (myself included). If that includes a shrieking contestant from X Factor that nobody is interested in except for the fact that she is Jewish so be it. Therefore ‘The Jewish Chronicle is the gutter press’ shouldn`t be so sensitive…if he has this opinion of the paper why does he still read it ?

    As for the issue itself, then yes I would agree that nobody should rejoice publicly in a human being`s death though can your correspondent deny he felt extreme satisfaction at Bin Laden`s demise ? That is human nature. I know nothing of the writer Alderman but he has only put in print what many may have felt IF the facts are true about Arrigoni`s alleged antisemitism.
    Nasty, but representing his views (not mine). That is what a free press offers.

    Some may find this forum just as offensive in its constant sniping at named persons in Jewish life in Glasgow, even referring to some as the Giffnock Taliban but your contributor obviously does not see any irony in his diatribe against the journalist and paper appearing here.
    If he has written the same comments to the newspaper itself then I take that back, perhaps he will enlighten us if that is indeed the case ?

  182. Nigel said

    May I respectfully point out Samson Clare that you have written absolute tosh. Alderman said he rejoiced at Arrigoni’s death. That is shocking. Pollard allowed it to be printed.
    Post 179 is right. Pollard and Alderman should be fired – the JC is a gutter newspaper.

  183. Samson Clare said

    Well it`s nice to see that Nigel is capable of at least criticising something in here…his sycophantic praising of all that he agrees with (ie everything) was becoming tedious and repetitive even for a forum such as this one.

    Nigel said
    April 22, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    “Alderman is right.”

    Yet another `incisive` comment from him…alas Alderman`s favour with Nigel didn`t last long apparently. He is now advocating his sacking for speaking his mind within a mere 9 posts !

    Nigel, instead of criticising my `tosh` see if you can pen something original for yourself and who knows you could even grab the attention of a reader or two who will comment on your own particular brand of tosh.

    It`s certainly not difficult to find.

  184. Nigel said

    Alderman was right about the CST and wrong about Arrigoni. There is nothing unusual in my ability to separate two issues and come to an independent viewpoint. Rejoicing in the death of Arrigoni is a sacking offence.
    I have never shirked from standing up for principles in public.
    Have you Samson?

  185. Getting Angry said

    Who does Nigel think he is? Pontificating about all and sundry. A little bit of schum would be welcome. Opinionated buffoon.

  186. Prime Minister Cameron dumps JNF said

    British PM removes his name from list of Jewish National Fund patrons
    Cameron’s decision to drop his link with the charity was explained by his office as simply having to do with ‘time constraints.’
    By Nir Hasson and Danna Harman

    British Prime Minister David Cameron has removed his name from a list of patrons of the UK branch of the Jewish National Fund – and pro-Palestinian activists have taken credit for the move.

    Cameron’s decision to drop his link with the charity was explained by his office as simply having to do with “time constraints.” In an e-mail, Downing Street reiterated the explanation without going into details. “The Prime Minister stepped down from a number of charities – including the JNF,” the office wrote.

    British Prime Minister David Cameron

    Photo by: Reuters
    Downing Street declined to comment on the fact that the Stop the JNF Campaign has actively lobbied for Cameron to withdraw as a patron of the charity. The prime minister became an honorary patron of the JNF five years ago, after he became the leader of the Conservative Party.

    In its last open letter to Cameron, sent two weeks ago, Stop the JNF characterized the JNF’s British Park in Israel as one that was planted “in order to cover over the remains of the Palestinian villages of Ajjur and Zakariyya, destroyed in 1948, and to prevent the original population and their descendants from returning.”

    Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Sarah Colborne said in a statement that Cameron’s decision “reflects the fact that it is now impossible for any serious party leader to lend their public support to racism.” She added: “The Jewish National Fund plays a critical role in facilitating the continued dispossession and suffering of Palestinians.”

    Haaretz sun 29th May 2011

  187. Nigel said

    Cameron is right. He should not associate himself with JNF. I have had little time for JNF for many years and I applaud the Prime Minister for his wisdom in not wanting this association.

  188. Samson Clare said

    Only the very naive will see Cameron`s hardly earth shattering gesture as a meaningful and important development in Middle East affairs. Did he have a blue box in the corner of his room for Samantha to drop her spare change in after shopping in Marks and Spencer ? I think not.
    His position as a patron would be as cosmetic as the UK government`s perceived friendship with not only Israel but British Jewry too.
    If Cameron objected to the JNF`s stance as intellectual heavyweights such as Nigel above seem to claim, then perhaps refusing the patronage in the first place might have carried more weight.

  189. Delilah said

    I thought Israel was of no interest to you Samson?

  190. Samson Clare said

    The subject is Cameron and the JNF…and if you can c/p these actual words from any post of mine… ” Israel is of no interest to me…” I will not only be astonished to see them but happy to answer you Delilah.
    Until then please refrain from putting words into my mouse.

  191. Samson Clare said

    The JNF will obviously suffer from this adverse publicity but at the same time surely will have a little chuckle that it is now perceived by the usual suspects as a huge player in the Middle East and responsible for reactions like the following..

    “Palestine Solidarity Campaign director Sarah Colborne said in a statement that Cameron’s decision “reflects the fact that it is now impossible for any serious party leader to lend their public support to racism.” She added: “The Jewish National Fund plays a critical role in facilitating the continued dispossession and suffering of Palestinians.”

    I bet they (The JNF) didn`t consider that reaction when they asked us for a few bob to plant a tree way back then !

    `Nigel` has fallen for it, how many others will consider the paperweight Cameron`s decision worthy of serious thought ? and will this blog ever be able to produce anything that resembles debate ?

  192. Nigel said

    I have fallen for nothing. JNF are an unlikable organisation. Their respect for land inhabited by Arabs is very questionable and that is giving them much more credit than they probably deserve.
    Why anyone would give money to an organisation that squandered hundreds of thousands on legal bills fighting internal battles certainly baffles me.
    The Prime Minister has been well advised and would rather not associate himself with such an organisation.
    Mr Clare is becoming a figure of ridicule. He has been given an open playing field to discuss anything he likes, such as Cameron and JNF, and then tries to legitimise his position by attacking the blog that has given him a platform.

    Samson Clare has in my opinion close links with JNF. Need I say more?

  193. Samson Clare said

    Up very early this morning as my diary shows me a full day ahead attending meetings and functions appertaining to all the organisations and committees and anti GJEF platforms that this blog has accused me of belonging to. Paranoia is represented here by the display of remarks when the odd (very odd) non management contributor pops in for a quick fix of the anti establishment gibberish for which this place has a questionable fame.

    I had thought that you Nigel with your rather sane username were one like me (that is a genuine man from the street) when you appeared here, ok you were a bit too supportive and patronising for my tastes but this is as you say…`an open playing field`…but no, turns out you are another member of the Mitty Club ie the same multi named dreamer who virtually writes all content. You know what ? Like fingerprints, one cannot change one`s writing style….and eventually you reveal that certain unique phrases show your identity..or as in this blog, lack of one.

    You accuse me of becoming a figure of ridicule which in here is rich indeed. I did discuss Cameron and the JNF, I did discuss the journalist who rejoiced at a man`s death, I did discuss Lerman (whose needle has become stuck since his last words of wisdom to his GJEF fan club)…in fact I am one of the few that DOES discuss the issues. That it doesn`t find favour with you and your aliases is hardly my fault…the fact that nobody else joins the discussion is however YOUR fault.
    In passing I will refer you to the following post obviously contributed by another GENUINE poster…
    Getting Angry said
    May 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm

    Who does Nigel think he is? Pontificating about all and sundry. A little bit of schum would be welcome. Opinionated buffoon.

    Now although I allowed myself a gentle smile I did think it was a wee bit below the belt even if entirely accurate. I certainly looked forward to your witty response, guess what ?
    no response.
    post 179…I posed a question, no response.
    post 189…I asked for a c/p, no response.
    Where are they Nigel…why silence ?

    Finally as always I will address your post,
    “Their respect for land inhabited by Arabs is very questionable and that is giving them much more credit than they probably deserve.”

    er does anyone else reckon that to be contradictory ? Credit with whom ? (I assume you mean Israel) The comment makes no sense, are you suggesting that Israel only welcomes the JNF (which is as old as the country itself) and is only tolerated and respected because of its `questionable` (your word) treatment of Israel`s neighbours ? Surely even you don`t believe that..or do you ?

    To use your unique writing style…
    ” What do you think Nigel ? Tell us where you stand on this. Are you affiliated to the Stop the JNF Campaign ? ” !!

    Good day Nigel, I must exit…I have to go and sort out my friends at the Rep.Council before I have an evening dram at the Shul Pub.

    lol !!!

  194. Nigel said

    I am not answerable to you. I am proud of who I am. I am answerable to myself, my family, my Rabbi and My
    G-d. And if I don’t like JNF and that troubles you I couldn’t care less.

  195. Samson Clare said

    A fine reply Nigel and I mean that.
    I wish you well.

    Samson

  196. Getting Angry said

    Who do Nigel and Samson think they are? Pontificating about all and sundry. A little bit of schtum would be welcome. Opinionated buffoons.

  197. Samson Clare said

    lol…so true, so so true.

  198. Tariq Aziz said

    What a pity this discussion has become so stale – the only thing which seemed to excite people was the Rabbi Bader issue which was resolved much to the benefit of Rabbi Bader.

    However, since this was supposed to be about Anti-Semitism in Scotland, why has there been no interest in the various wild comments from not so far away in West Dunbartonshire ? Councilors are expressing concerns about the Rotary Club for their role as Jewish spies (seriously : http://www.israellycool.com/2011/06/09/west-dunbartonshire-councillors-correspondence-with-hamas-supporter/) as well as crazy statements about their book ban which is not really a ban but is. Sort of. All crazy stuff.

    So – anyone want to be on topic (a crazy idea, I know) and actually express thoughts on the real anti semitism issue ?

  199. Samson Clare said

    Having a serious discussion with someone who out of the literally trillions of usernames chooses one like yours will not produce too much debate methinks. I suggest Saddam`s right hand man admirer would not be the most appropriate to discuss anti-semitism with but then who am I to judge ?

    The blog awaits your no doubt levelheaded views sir…..

  200. Yitzhak Sharon said

    Tariq Aziz did not really qualify as Saddam’s right hand man – even the Iraqi people don’t think that is a title befitting him and President Talibani is apparently refusing to sign his death warrant as a result. (Just checked Wikipedia).

    On the anti semitism question however, I think Mr Aziz wanted YOU to comment since he had already done so. He even provided an interesting link. Did you visit it and really have no comment whatsoever ? Perhaps that is why West Dunbartonshire feels able to justify the killing of the Fogel family ? Because no-one in Scotland is prepared to call them on it – not even you. They sure as hell are calling them on it in Israel (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4080433,00.html).

    Does the Glasgow community really feel so safe and cosy ? Or is it just ‘other’ Jews who need to worry because everything is just fine in Glasgow city ? Do you believe it will stay that way for long ?

  201. Samson Clare said

    This forum has become a laughing stock for most and is the reason it is ignored by anyone with any commonsense. My nurse however insists mixing with my fellow inmates is good for me and that is why I keep popping in to comment on the latest nonsense. Did you read Mad magazine as a kid ? I did and in fact always had a soft spot for Alfred E.Neuman..he would be proud to discover this place and its contributor(s).

    On the assumption that MISTER(lol) Aziz has disappeared like the other aliases and `Yitzhak` has replaced him, firstly do not trust Wikipedia as it is edited and furnished with `facts` from readers not historians. Secondly Mr.Aziz (long time since he was called that I`d say) has NOT commented, he has put something up for discussion. Nowt wrong with that EXCEPT he enters a Jewish forum under the nom de plume of a known Jew hating, Israel hating Saddam Hussein worshipper.
    Now I object to that and don`t find it as funny as you obviously do….you think you are being provocative but really you are showing yourself up and well you know it. How old are you Mr.Aziz/Sharon ? You need to get a life and either rename this forum or stop mis-representing it being Glaswegian, Jewish and Educational.

    Finally I know you are going to deny being the above mentioned MIster Aziz (still making me laugh) so I will ask whoever it was to disclose why he chose that particular username.

    That is all I ask…I won`t bet big money on an answer being forthcoming.

  202. glasgowpunter said

    Yitzhak, what do you say? What do you have to comment? Start by answering your own questions in #200.

    Tariq, answer Samson at #201.

  203. Its almost over said

    I will answer your comments. The Jewish Community is obsessed with the issue of antisemitism and who dosn’t like us. If we were more interested in who we are and what we believe in rather than who hates us this week we would be a more confident community. Our religious and lay leadership is 3rd rate.
    There are good people here but most of them could not care less anymore.
    Our focus on antisemitism is bad for us.

  204. glasgowpunter said

    Thanks “Its Almost Over” Do you speak for Yitzhak and Tariq? Maybe you are Yitzhak and Tariq?

    If not, I invite them, yet again, to answer.

  205. Samson Clare said

    Don`t tell me that there is another GENUINE poster in here ? Welcome Glasgowpunter…you`re in for a shock if you think `they` are capable of answering your questions. Nigel has retired hurt and Tariq and Yitzhak have no doubt gone the same way. I almost would like to see ML back stalking me as he at least put up a good fight.

    I would join this new attempt at debate if it were presented in a sane manner, but no the lunatics who run this asylum call themselves after Iraqi shysters and the like. `It`s almost over`…who thinks up these monikers ? What`s almost over ? The blog ? The Gaddafi regime ? Jedward`s rise to superstardom ?

    Go on you usual suspects answer Glasgowpunter`s fair posts if you can…you might have another talking head in your forum….

    …that`ll make 3 of us.

  206. glasgowpunter said

    Well Samson, you called it right. This so called blog is a complete sham. It is not serving any useful purpose. I suggest Tariq/Yitzhak/It’s Almost Over etc etc calls it a day and shuts it down.

  207. Nigel said

    I do not agree. This blog gives a platform for people like you to talk as much nonsense as you wish. Although I disregard what you write as incherent rantings of the lunatic fringe I will defend your right to make complete idiots of yourself in public.

    This blog provides the only alternative voice that exists in the Jewish community. I applaud and genuinely welcome its existence.

    The fact that someone uses the name Tariq Aziz is to me irrelevant. I am more interested in what they have to contribute. Samson would you be happier using the name Daffy Duck?

  208. Daffy Dick said

    Indeed, the board etiquette seems to be the selection of a crazy name is paramount; any actual substance to the comments are secondary considerations which must not be allowed to get in the way of a good name.

    While we can bitch and moan about the names people select, why not actually use the opportunity to make use of the discussion board to make some positive comment and discuss intelligently ? Everyone seems more used to the bitching and moaning and there are not many people wanting to talk sensibly (regardless of silly names or otherwise which really have no impact other than the odd smile or groan at a clever or stupid selection).

    If Tariq Aziz did not create any interest with his/her questions then why don’t you come up with one which does ? It does require more thought than complaining about the name so may not be for everyone.

  209. Samson Clare said

    You really have to laugh. There are ZERO comments from anyone in here. There is much copy and pasting and posting of links trying to get reaction from readers but the silence is deafening. You and your aliases are incapable of taking a subject and starting a proper debate but when someone has the audacity to criticise you, that`s when you find something to talk about. Have you noticed we are still discussing Lerman on here ? The record needs changing surely. ANYTHING that opposes what the majority support in Glasgow or the Middle East is your idea of `the alternative voice.` This place was formed with an agenda and it`s dearth of support except from the simpleton or two whose job it is to think up lunatic usernames is embarrassing to the blog founder (you )…..these names are indeed relevant because you are all the same and therefore you are seeding this forum to create the impression that there are dozens of contributors. There may once have been but not now.
    I`ve said it before, I am one of the few GENUINE posters in here. You don`t agree with a single post, that is fair enough…but don`t delude yourself and readers that this is running as a true forum with many members against me. You know that is not the case…I personally know many friends who would not dirty their shoes entering here.

    Go on Mr.GJEF I challenge you to give us a headcount of contributors here…I am certain WordPress can give you that information…don`t avoid this and if you do then we`ll add one and one and get the answer. Even the most deserted forums that I subscribe to show their numbers why can`t you ?
    Why I should even bother with someone who calls himself Daffy Dick, Tariq Aziz and Delilah to name but three is quite beyond me…but while you maintain this ridiculous illusion that this is an active forum and while I have nothing better to do with myself…you`ll have to suffer the truth being thrown at you from me on a regular basis.
    Incidentally Aziz did NOT pose any questions or pass any comment…he did the usual..throw something in the air and see if anyone was listening or looking in….was he/you really shocked when everyone ignored him ?

    Except me of course !

  210. Bridget Jones said

    Boring Samson. Same old record. Same old junk.
    You really have some distorted idea that you are some sort of star performer when the cruel reality is that you are anything but.

    If you don’t like what you read go and do something else.
    Many have come and many have gone including A Beitz, Nachman Aronovitch and History Man. None of them are missed. If they come back they will have to accept that there is no allowance made for bloggers who demand respect for their views rather than it having to be earned.

    Meanwhile life goes on and the blog keeps going and despite your protests everyone knows that what is found here is an alternative voice and that you and your establishment cronies can’t determine what is permissable. Deep down that’s what bothers all of you.
    You so called blogging experts have never managed in five years to set up your own blog. Your arrogant expertise about how you would run the blog better is based on nothing.

    I raise my glass and toast a long and healthy future to the Glasgow Jewish Community blog.

  211. Samson Clare said

    You`ve almost convinced me that you are on some kind of crusade here…`read GJEF the site that goes where others fear to tread….!`
    Julian Assange would incorporate your site in Wikileaks if he knew the impact you have on Glasgow…not.

    But hang on…all that is in here is you c/ping a few anti establishment diatribes followed by the sycophantic Nigel praising them. What kind of blogging is that supposed to be ?
    You can attempt to belittle me and others that have seen through your irrelevant and juvenile little game….but you speak for nobody and can`t even conjure up a posting of your own words on any subject.
    You nicely sidestepped my request for a headcount because you know that the figure would embarrass you too much.

    Alternative voice ? That is why Lerman`s ramblings are still here after eight months….has your hero not uttered a single sentence since then worthy of your attention ? I guess not and if it wasn`t for you playing your username game the whole place would have ground to a halt many moons ago.

    Does it not occur to you that nobody including myself has “managed in five years to set up your own blog” simply because we`ve witnessed what a disastrous failure this one has proved to be ?

    No…I suppose it hasn`t.

  212. Coffee Smeller said

    Hooray ! A debate – of sorts – at last ! Just rather surreal and tangential.

    The absence of proper debate, discussion and vibrancy here is more a reflection of the Glasgow community in general rather than a reflection of the board organisers. So few people in Glasgow engage in anything intellectually stimulating or positive for the community as a whole. Too much Scottish Sectarianism (another topical subject today) has been absorbed by the community and people would rather engage in in-fighting, name calling and criticism for the sake of demeaning, ridiculing and generally attacking anyone and everyone who suggests for a moment that something needs to improve and change.

    We have washed up in a cultural backwater and instead of doing what the Jewish people have done for centuries – build up, educate and improve – we’ve opted to wallow around, moan and complain but not actually do anything to improve things. There are opportunities aplenty for Scotlands Jews to be at the forefront in so many ways – exactly the same as Jews are in almost every other place do. But we don’t. WHY NOT ?

    Wake up and smell the coffee people !

  213. Old enough to understand that we can do better. said

    Congratulations coffee smeller for getting it absolutely right. Blaming the organisers for the lack of debate has been a favoured passtime since the blog’s inception but the harsh reality facing the Glasgow Jewish community is that they don’t like debate and anyoe who challenges the consensus is looked upon as some sort of revolutionary. Actually that’s a bit unfair, the problem is caused by about 50 people who wear a variety of community hats and think that they are representative of us all.

    I have little or no religious belief but look at the attitude to Reform Judaism in Glasgow over the past 30 years. It has always been looked down on as some sort of inferior model by those who see themselves as part of Orthodoxy. We have now seen something worse with Masorti. Highly conventional and pretty mainstream in London but treated as some sort of infectious disease in Glasgow.

    Israel is much the same. Almost 30 years have passed since criticism of Israeli policies in the Lebanon War gave rise to left of centre Zionism. Treated as traitors by the community machers, those involved in Peace Now, and I was not one of them, were vilified as being irresponsible and dangerous. They struggled on for years trying to educate a community. Today we have nothing. No debate, no real discussion, very few lectures and a vacuum without proper discussion.

    The only Jewish youth group still going is JLGB with some sporadic activity from Maccabi but the ideological groups have disappeared. Habonim and FZY are from a bygone era. Of course we have some hard working adults trying to enthuse but I’m not sure they really understand what they really want the children or youth to be animated about. Jewish students are put on the front line to defend Israel and protect parts of their identity yet the reality is that more and more do not believe either Israel or Judaism is that important anymore. Those trying to enthuse the students are in their mid fifties if I’m being generous and no doubt claim they are still in office because there is no one else. Rather than tackle issues of identity we still send our students into universities to fight battles on our behalf.

    Many talented people are still here doing very good work in specific organisations. They are dedicated to their organisations and get on with what they do without looking for public acclaim. Many others have been lost because they wouldn’t have touched organisations like the Represntative Council even if they had been paid large amounts of money to do so. Not many organisations have a system in place that unless there are exceptional circumstances guarantee high office without any regard for genuine ability. Visionaries are hard to find but you don’t win battles with foot soldiers if there are pretty average generals, even if they are doing their best, clinging on to control as an end in itself.

    Glasgow is a little place in a big world. Our Jewish community is the same. Unless we genuinely embrace diversity and encourage pluralism and genuine debate and discussion the future is not rosy.

    I agree with coffee smeller that the blog is certainly not the problem, The real problem lies elsewhere.

  214. Shomer Shabbos said

    Shabbos !

  215. Well Informed said

    Word has reached me of a certain Shul which is in severe financial difficulties but which the members have not been fully informed. If this is true, the words “cover up” would not even begin to describe what is happening. Further investigation is underway but all are welcome to add any detail they may have right here. Good information could land you a starring role in the JT and/or JC !

  216. Progressive Jew said

    Lets hope its the Giffnock Shul Taliban

  217. Samson Clare said

    Coffee Smeller said
    June 17, 2011 at 10:13 am
    “The absence of proper debate, discussion and vibrancy here is more a reflection of the Glasgow community in general rather than a reflection of the board organisers. So few people in Glasgow engage in anything intellectually stimulating or positive for the community as a whole. Too much Scottish Sectarianism (another topical subject today) has been absorbed by the community and people would rather engage in in-fighting, name calling and criticism for the sake of demeaning, ridiculing and generally attacking anyone and everyone who suggests for a moment that something needs to improve and change….”
    ———————————————————————-

    Progressive Jew said
    June 22, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    “Lets hope its the Giffnock Shul Taliban..”
    ————————————————————————-
    You certainly got your point across well Coffee Smeller…an immediate enlightenment for you of the illiterate and despicable name calling type that is welcome in here by management. Unless of course `Progressive Jew` could be that same management ? Surely not ?….doh.
    Presumably had he said “Giffnock Shul Nazis”…it may have earned deletion from management……..unless of course…….

    As for Well Informed`s thinly veiled…”look at me..I know what`s going on..I am priviliged..” piece of tittle tattle.
    Why don`t you have the courage to give us the `facts` that your informant has furnished you with ?
    Is it because you know that in this place they will be treated with utter derision as almost every subject is ? Are you afraid of a Giggs style super injunction ?

    Name and shame if you have any backbone…if not confine your unsubstantiated yachnying to you and your would be Deep Throat of the community.

  218. Deep Throat said

    Samson Clare, you really are the most contrary person imaginable. Every comment is met with negativity and derision, no matter what subject or angle it comes from. I expect that even agreeing with you would lead to a quick 180 and another barrage of argumentative spouting.

    However, there are indeed deep disturbances in The Force following the earlier revelations and a Spanish Inquisition styled hunt for the leak is now in full swing. Talk of super injunctions or even hyper injunctions could indeed be on the horizon. Paid for with whose money people may want to know? Just make sure your membership payment is up to date as the money seems to be getting earmarked for legal fees instead of being put towards repairing the perilous financial position like a sensible management would do.

  219. My memory of Ernest Levy. said

    Cantor Ernest Levy – Tribute Concert

    Ernest Levy was a great man – a man that was a shining example to humanity. He was held in the highest esteem by so many – Jewish and non-Jewish and his message of tolerance and hope for a better tomorrow was an inspiration to so many.

    I attended the tribute concert in his honour and for the first half I thought this was a very fitting tribute to Ernest.
    I left at the end of the evening feeling very unhappy and that what happened was so wrong that the Ernest Levy I knew and I admired had been badly let down.

    The main act of the evening was the Shabbaton Choir led by Rabbi Lionel Rosenfeld. They sang well. They entertained. Whoever in Glasgow that thought of inviting this choir to Glasgow made a dreadful mistake. They invited a Rabbi who knew nothing about Ernest Levy and what he stood for and didn’t understand his values.

    Rosenfeld – I think we ought to remove his title – tthought it appropriate to entertain the audience by telling a racist story ( he described it as a joke ) about how different nationalities would respond to finding an ant in a cup of coffee. The Russians were his first target, followed by the Chinese and he even racially sterotyped Israelis before the punch line was grossly offensive to anyone who might claim to be a Palestinian.

    It was grossly offensive and embarassing and very inappropriate. There were many non Jewish members of the audience who witnessed this Rabbi’s racism.
    This ruined a night that promised so much.

    So where do we go from here? Will Rabbi Bergson or Rabbi Rubin come forward and tell our community that they were appalled at this outrage? Will those that brought Rosenfeld to Glasgow admit that this was in hindsight not something to be proud of.
    Will the organisers or the leaders of the Glasgow Jewish community apologise to Ernest Levy’s family for what happened?

    I understand that Rosenfeld has a track record of spouting disgraceful slurs on different peoples. Will the Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks tell one of his Rabbis that enough is enough and that his behaviour will be condemned and no longer tolerated?

    If Ernest Levy was still with us you and I know that he would have thought that what Rosenfeld said at this concert was abhorrent. He would have been ashamed and he would have made it very clear that not only was this not his Judaism, it was not his humanity.

    I missed Ernest as I left the concert on Sunday night. I missed what he stood for and what he was and what the Jewish and non Jewish world knew about him. He was a good man. Isn’t it rather ironic that at a concert held in his honour we should be reminded of his values because an invited Rabbi chose to demean everything our Ernest stood for.

  220. Telegraph Reader said

    I was there too. I agree with the comments above and with Nadia Lipsey in today’s Jewish Telegraph. I don’t agree with Sharon Mail of the Jewish Telegraph who described Rosenfeld’s comments as “a minor blip”. Sharon, racism is not an inappropriate political comment and it isn’t something minor. It was said before an audience of hundreds and although the comments were not welcomed with applause the Rabbi was cheared to the rooftops when it was asked if Glasgow would invite him back.
    Journalists should expose racism not downplay it.

  221. Samson Clare said

    Deep Throat said
    June 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Samson Clare, you really are the most contrary person imaginable. Every comment is met with negativity and derision, no matter what subject or angle it comes from. I expect that even agreeing with you would lead to a quick 180 and another barrage of argumentative spouting.
    ——————————-
    Appreciate the compliment Deep Throat ! Could it be anything to do with the content here ?

    But just to assure you that I am not completely negative about all that appears here, I happen to totally agree with the comments about the Rabbi`s faux pas at the Ernest Levy concert. I was not in attendance myself but it was to say the least embarrassingly out of place. I notice from the JT that the offender has apologised unreservedly and so he should.
    But like policemen, Rabbis are getting younger these days and I happen to think they should not have the time nor inclination to be singing, dancing and telling politically incorrect jokes at concerts.
    Shouldn`t they be studying the Torah while stroking their beards and telling us all the meaning of the Jewish way of life ?

    Many are would be Rabbi Jackie Masons is my conclusion.

  222. Inspector Closseau said

    It would appear that Rabbi Rosenfeld doesn’t tell the truth either. He claims in the Jewish Telegraph that he would be truly sorry if anyone would think he is a racist and he would sincerely regret upsetting any member of the audience. I believe that the Rabbi has made these kind of comments before. His previous party piece involved a story about a Syrian air liner about to crash having lost an engine. I won’t repeat the whole story because like his fable about the ant and the cup of coffee it is inappropriate and highly offensive.

    Rabbi Rosenfeld is not a very pleasant individual.
    Who offered him a platform to spout this filth in Glasgow and did they properly research his background? There are lessons to be learned.
    One of them seems pretty obvious to me.

    We need to judge people on what they say and how they act. Wearing a kipah and having an ability to sing should not gain respectability for that alone and my gut reaction tells me that the organisers did just that and thought that a singing Rabbi must be a major plus.

  223. Another member on the Hill said

    The Ernest Levy memorial concert was organised entirely on musical merit and we really hoped to create a classy, high quality evening of music making that represented the various facets of Ernest’s work, with something for everyone to enjoy. Most of the links were scripted and Rabbi Rosenfeld was not scheduled to do anything other than sing. As a singer, chazzan, and frontman for the Shabbaton choir he’s terrific, but he should have kept his comments to himself.

    His ‘joke’ was indeed in poor taste, given the number of political leaders in the front row and had no place at this event. I apologise to all those for whom it caused offence (just about everybody) and I think Rabbi Rosenfeld has recognised his mistake too. Ernest would certainly have taken a pretty dim view of it.

    But the evening was not about Rabbi Rosenfeld and his remarks, it was about giving the Glasgow Jewish community a great night of musical entertainment, and to bring back some memories of Cantor Levy.

  224. Inspector Clousseau said

    The evening was advertised as an evening in memory of Ernest Levy. Musical entertainment was seen to be a very appropriate way of remembering a very special man.

    Rosenfeld has not apologised for what he said. He claims that he didn’t intend to cause offence. As I posted recently he has a track record of saying inappropriate things. People like Rosenfeld are so ignorant that they don’t realise that what they say is outrageous. They don’t see the world like others. Maybe his usual audiences like racism dressed up as Jewish or Israeli patriotism but not everyone appreciates crude stereotyping of the worst kind.

    As the last post was obviously written by someone on the organising committee I’m sure they won’t mind telling us who invited Rosenfeld to come to Glasgow.

  225. Scojec Insanity said

    Is Ephraim Borowski mad? Does everything that happens in Scottish public life have a Jewish angle?
    It would appear that if Mr Borowski is to be believed it probably does. Scojec’s Director has somehow construed the Scottish Government’s proposed legislation to counter offensive behaviour at football matches into an issue that has Jewish or Israeli connotations. Anyone who follows football or is aware of the sectarianism which still exists in Scottish football is well aware that this legislation is designed to deal with the unsavoury behaviour that occurs when Celtic play Rangers. Mr Borowski though has managed to find an Israeli and Palestinian angle when there isn’t one.

    If Mr Borowski was a football man he would have been sacked years ago. What is wrong with him?
    Why bring a Jewish angle into this issue when it isn’t relevant?

    http://www.scojec.org/4cs/4cs/11vii_4c30.pdf

  226. Deep Throat said

    Could things be starting to move swiftly at the Shul in deep financial trouble ? The panic seems to be growing with the email sent earlier today and now being forwarded around everyone which reads like a bungled attempt to close the stable door long after the horse has bolted. Orders for popcorn and kosher hot dogs for the spectators at the meeting will be taken (via email !) if placed before shabbat.

  227. Shocked said

    Tuesday will certainly be interesting – the e-mail looks like the lowest key bankruptcy announcement ever. Why it was sent by an e-mail and not a formal letter is puzzling. I guess they could not work out how to send it by a text message. The members should be asking some pretty searching questions and holding the trustees to account on this one – wool and eyes come to mind with what has been going on and it is time for people to wake up.

  228. curious said

    For those of us not in the loop could you please copy and paste the email on here for us all to read

  229. G77 said

    Newton Mearns Shul is the shul in question.
    They are stuffed and I’m told their bankers are getting nervous.

    The predators at Giffnock would have been ready to move in but they have their own huge problems. Rabbi Bamberger and the Kollel are moving on to other pastures and this means a loss of income and no doubt the loss of a regular minyan.

    Many in our community will be pleased that fundamentalist Judaism has had its day in Glasgow.

    Would Rabbi Rubin please remember to turn out the lights before he leaves.

  230. Samson Clare said

    Rejoicing at the possible closure of a synagogue in Glasgow ?

    Dearie me..this forum reaches a new low with the `contribution` by G77.

  231. Rupert M said

    Unless Samson Clare works for the News of the World how could he possibly have deduced that G77 was rejoicing at the possible closure of a Synagogue in Glasgow.I have reread the post and no where is there any hint of jubilation.

    If Samson Clare calls me I will consider employing him because he obviously knows how to get information which is not readily available. The man has talent and I can excuse his ramblings over the last few months as irrelevant tittle tatle.

    P.S. If I can get by with one less newspaper in the UK the Glasgow Jewish community can lose an Orthodox Shul or two.

  232. Samson Clare said

    As G77 still thinks of a reply to my accusation, Rupert M (anyone else get the connection with the News of the World reference..??) chimes in with his usual brand of meshugas.
    He considers the closure of the lawbreaking, dumbed down scandal seeking rag a suitable analogy for the possible end of an`orthodox shul or two` dismissing the effect that would have on their remaining members, few as they might nowadays be. That Rupert is getting by each Sunday without his exposure of naughty vicars is heartwarming, let him now spare a thought for those that support ANY shul in Glasgow…we are all Jews don`t forget.
    And yes I repeat my assertion that the forum is indeed gloating at the ALLEGED misfortunes of that shul…perhaps Rupert will post the address for the forum`s thousands of readers where we can send a pound to show solidarity…even if we may not be in attendance for three days a year, we would still regret its closure.

  233. Uneasy said

    What happened to Jewish student Chanan Reitblat at St Andrews University was horrible. It wasvery unpleasant and no one would like to experience what he did.

    However, the press release by Northern Region Jewish Chaplaincy leaves me very uneasy. It seems that they have exploited this awful incident to score political points and that this student’s individual case has been used to further their determination to convince the world that Jewish students are subject to harassment, intimidation or attack and that this is increasing.

    I don’t know about you but I’m rather uneasy about this. Prepared press releases that claim landmark judgements – what will they release if it is overturned on appeal smacks of political opportunism which is not in the interests of Jewish students, that Chaplaincy claim to be representing.

  234. Nicola Borowski said

    Chaplaincy press release….

    ” We believe that Israel has been singled out for demonisation, de-legitimisation, and calls for its destruction represents double standards and goes beyond legitimate debate ”

    Funny how that usual stuff found its way into the chaplaincy press release

    “Jewish chaplaincy believes in freedom of debate and exchange of views and ideas”

    Oh no you don’t if Israel is being criticised

    ” Individual students cannot be held responsible for the actions of any Government”

    Of course they can’t – but lets not tell anyone that we organise advocacy workshops to teach Jewish students how to defend that Government.

    Double standards me thinks

  235. Ephraim Livingston said

    Should Chaplaincy not be renamed as an adjunct of the Israeli Embassy?

  236. Nicola Borowski said

    Zionism and Chaplaincy have for a long time been very cosy companions. It could be argued that there is nothing wrong with that but it would certainly be more transparent and honest if Chaplaincy admitted that they expect Jewish students to campaign on behalf of the Israeli Government and defend many dubious policies.

    When did Chaplaincy last hold a proper debate within Jewish student circles to determine whether they actually support what Chaplaincy thinks they should be doing

    Alas, it has ben going on for years. Rabbi Michael Rosin used to stand up in university debates and spout such vitriol that many Jewish students to cringe in embarassment. Chaplaincy ought to have a much clearer distinction between religion and politics. Or maybe that would give the game away?

  237. Scojec supporter said

    In the interests of anyone reading this I think the Scojec / Chaplaincy position should be clarified.

    St Andrews Student Convicted for
    Racially Aggravated Attack on Jewish Student

    28 August 2011
    In a widely reported case, a St Andrews student, Paul Donnachie, has been convicted in Cupar Sheriff Court of “acting in a racially aggravated manner which caused distress or alarm” to a Jewish fellow-student. One significant aspect of Sheriff Charlie McNair’s judgement was his finding that the student’s identification with Israel is part of his Jewish identity, so that to attack him on those grounds constitutes a racially aggravated offence.

    Chanan Reitblat was studying at St Andrews University on a one-term exchange programme from Yeshiva University in New York. When he moved into his room, like most students, he decorated his walls; amongst his posters was an Israeli flag that had been given to him by his brother. He checked with his room-mate, who had no objection.

    In the early hours of 12th March this year, his room-mate was brought back to the room drunk and unconscious. Later, two other students, Paul Donnachie and Samuel Colchester, came to check on him. Although they had been in the room several times, and had never previously commented on the flag, as the court heard in evidence, Donnachie then launched into a tirade of expletives about Israel, and calling Chanan a ‘terrorist’, wiped his hand on his genitals and then onto what he called a ‘terrorist flag’, and then went out into the hallway in the halls of residence shouting about Israel being ‘terrorists, an illegitimate state, and Nazis’, disturbing other students. The court also heard that Colchester jumped on Chanan in his bed, and urinated around the room, including on his toothbrush. The following day, Donnachie posted messages on Facebook, and delivered a note to Chanan, saying that he did not regret his actions.

    Donnachie did not dispute any of these events, but tried to contend that showing ‘disrespect toward the flag is a time-honoured way of making a political protest’. In his defence, his lawyer attempted to call three people as ‘expert witnesses’ to try to give evidence about the difference between Judaism and Zionism. However, the Sheriff held that that was irrelevant to the case, and refused to hear them.

    In finding him guilty, the Sheriff stated that the case against Donnachie was not about antisemitism or about the rights and wrongs of the Israel/Palestine conflict. It was only about whether his actions had caused ‘distress or alarm’ to Chanan and had been motivated by his ‘membership, perceived membership, or association with, members of a racial group’. ‘Racial group’ is defined by section 50a of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 as “a group of persons defined by reference to race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or ethnic or national origins”. The Sheriff ruled that there was clear corroborated evidence that Donnachie’s actions had caused alarm and distress, and that he had acted in this way because of Chanan’s identification with Israel. His crime was therefore quite clearly racially aggravated under the definition in Scots law.

    The Sheriff found the case against the other accused, Samuel Colchester, not proven. The University had also previously conducted a separate independent investigation, but did not make its conclusions public until the end of the trial, when they announced that Colchester would be suspended for one year, and Donnachie expelled.

    After the verdict, the media reported that Donnachie said he was ‘devastated’ by the decision, because “I have fought racism all my life”. His supporters, who had demonstrated outside the court, booed the Sheriff, and shouted at the Jewish Student Chaplain and his colleagues that their actions were “scandalous”, and that “as Jews you should be ashamed”.

    Commenting on the verdict, the Scottish University Jewish Chaplaincy released a statement applauding the ruling and affirming the rights of Jewish students to define their Jewish identity in whatever way they wish. They added, “Chaplaincy calls on all University authorities in Scotland to ensure that Jewish students – as with all other students – are able to live, study, and participate in campus life, in a safe and welcoming environment, free from harassment, attack, and intimidation.” They went on to criticise the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign for attempting to politicise this case, and distorting the real issues.

    The victim of the attack, Chanan Reitblat, also released a statement welcoming the conviction, and thanking the Jewish community and Scottish University Jewish Chaplaincy for their support. He added: “I hope my experience in St Andrews will help other Jewish students who come to Scotland in the future to avoid the sort of incident I have lived through. Despite this incident, I look back to my time in St Andrews and Scotland with many happy memories and hope to return in the future.”

    SCoJeC Director, Ephraim Borowski, commented: “This ruling has drawn an important line between legitimate political debate and protest, and unacceptable criminal behaviour. It has also made clear that Jewish people must be protected by the law from hate crime, whether it is motivated by medieval prejudice or its modern mutations. It is sad that there are those who delude themselves into believing that the Palestinian cause is advanced by Donnachie’s thuggish behaviour, and who defend it as “legitimate protest”; we ask them to reflect on how their strident support for bullying, intimidation, and racist stereotyping advances their cause, and whether defence of a racist action is not itself racist. They see no irony in supporting the aggressor rather than the victim under; clearly Jewish students like ‘one’ Chanan Reitblat simply do not count. They claim a better understanding of Judaism than the students’ Rabbi, hide their racist stereotyping and violence behind facile lip-service to anti-racism, and shout down an Arab Israeli diplomat trying to address a public meeting. Far from promoting freedom of speech, their actions demonstrate their refusal to listen to anything other than their own prejudices, and their inerrant certainty that their political ends justify any means, however abhorrent.”

  238. MT said

    Excuse me for being rather cynical. Is this not the perfect opportunity that Scojec and Chaplaincy have been waiting for? I know they will throw up their hands in horror but isn’t it just ideal that they have found a real live Jewish student who was attacked and they now have a great opportunity to tell the world about how hard it is for Jewish students in Scotland. I can hear the jungle drums beginning – antisemitism is on the increase, hate attacks are growing – and Borowski and his cohorts now can prove it. They have the evidence – that poor student who was attacked in St Andrews. This poor guy is being exploited.

    It doesn’t smell right.

  239. Richer or Poorer said

    From the CST Blog
    Anti-racist’ anti-Zionism and the law
    August 24th, 2011 by Dave Rich
    Paul Donnachie, a student at St. Andrews University in Scotland, has been expelled from the university after being found guilty of racially abusing a Jewish student. Donnachie had defaced (in an obscene manner) an Israeli flag on the wall of Chanan Reitblat’s bedroom, and called Reitblat a terrorist.

    The trial and conviction are welcome, because Jewish students, like all students, must be able to express their beliefs free from the fear of intimidation or threats. In this case, the court clearly decided that Donnachie’s actions transgressed the boundaries of legitimate expression, and crossed over into criminality. The case against another student who stood trial alongside Donnachie was found to be not proven.

    According to this report, Donnachie is a member of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC); an organisation which, to say the least, does not do enough to distance itself from antisemitic images, sources and language in its anti-Israel propaganda. There is no suggestion that SPSC was party to Donnachie’s abuse of Reitblat, which appeared to be spontaneous and alcohol-fuelled, but SPSC members did support him in court.

    Donnachie was reported as saying, after the verdict:

    This is a ridiculous conviction. I’m a member of anti-racism campaigns, and I am devastated that as someone who has fought against racism I have been tarnished in this way.

    This is typical of an attitude on the anti-Zionist left, that because they define themselves as anti-racist, and they see their anti-Zionism as an expression of their anti-racism, they cannot possibly act in a racist manner. Yet they fail to observe that the laws against racism – laws which the left campaigned for and welcomed, to protect vulnerable minorities against racism – include nationality and citizenship as markers of racial groups. Donnachie was charged under section 50A of the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995, which clearly states:

    “racial group” means a group of persons defined by reference to race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins

    Sheriff Charlie Macnair, who heard the case, made it clear that Donnachie broke the law specifically because of his anti-Israel abuse:

    He said: “This flag was his personal property. I consider that your behaviour did evince malice towards Mr Reitblat because of his presumed membership of Israel.

    “I’m satisfied that you said Israel was a terrorist state and the flag was a terrorist symbol and I also hold that you said that Mr Reitblat was a terrorist.”

    This does not make Donnachie an antisemite – but it does mean that he has been found to have acted in a racist manner, under exactly the same law that would be used for antisemitic abuse. It also means that the law can protect Israelis, as Israelis, from harassment, abuse and threats, just as much as it protects Jews.

    It is perfectly possible to campaign against Israel, and for the Palestinians, without acting in a criminally racist manner towards Israelis (or people who are presumed to be Israeli). A genuinely anti-racist person or organisation, which Donnachie and SPSC clearly believe themselves to be, would take note of this case and rethink their language and actions. So far, they show no signs of doing so.

  240. PR Department said

    A memo is being sent around community today advertising Aliyah seminar for the community.
    This memo is being sent by the Representative Council.
    My informants tell me that a Mrs Nicola Livingston is involved with the Representative Council so no surprise that another community organisation thinks it is proper and sensible to act as a PR group for the Israeli Embassy. Mrs Livingston, as others have written, has helped promote Israeli advocacy sessions for the students under the watchful eye of Chaplaincy.

    However, my question is for the Representative Council President – remember him – Edward Isaacs.

    Eddie, why should Jews living in Scotland have more rights to live in Israel than an East Jerusalem resident who has lived there all his life?

  241. Edinburgh Postcode said

    I have just read Paul Morron’s comments – Northern Region Chaplaincy Board – in this morning’s Jewish Chronicle and I have to say I am shocked at what he wrote.

    It seems that to be a Member of Scottish Jews for a Just Peace for Palestine is something quite dreadful and somehow prevents one from being able to be an expert witness in a court. This kind of mindset Mr Morron is awful – not only are those that attack Israel in the firing line, now Jews who don’t conform to how Mr Morron and Chaplaincy see the world, are somehow unintelligent – unable to be experts or subversive.

    Mr Morron, I have never been a member of Jews for Justice or anything similar, like Independent Jewish Voices ,but having read your comments I sympathise with what these people have had to put up with.

  242. Members of the Jury said

    Publicly telling the world how you managed to influence court proceedings is not only grossly stupid but is an example of real arrogance. Take a bow Mr Morron.
    When Donnelly wins his appeal will you and Mrs Livingston resign or will you run to all and sundry complaining that the Scottish legal system is institutionally biased against Jewish students. Your partner in all of this is Ephraim Borowski. Who was it that strongly suggested that the police were guilty of institutional antisemitism not too long ago? That was a ridiculous charge.

  243. Rumpole said

    The only bow Paul Morron will be making is when he explains his conduct to the court when charged with perverting the course of justice. That is a strong possibility.

  244. Nigel said

    I would throw the book at Chaplaincy and Scojec. Borowski has been salivating about this for years and Chaplaincy have been duped. I must be losing my marbles cause I always thought Chaplaincy was about religious and moral support for Jewish students not political campaigns. It looks to me as if Chaplaincy has become like so many other community organisations – no new blood, no new ideas but just a group of people hanging on to their positions arguing that they would gladly go but there is no one else to take their place. I wish they would go now. For heavens sake the chaplaincy committee are close to being grandparents.

  245. Jew-ish said

    I wonder what the ‘anti-semitism is a creation by chaplaincy and scojec used to garner support for the evil Zionist entity’ brigade think of this facebook page?

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Welcome-to-Israel-only-kidding-youre-in-Giffnock/154536451299157

    and the subsequent JC report?

    http://thejc.com/news/uk-news/54383/giffnock-jews-attacked-facebook

  246. Rumpole said

    A most illuminating question even if misconstrued. I plead guilty to being a member of the brigade that has felt for a considerable time that SCOJEC and Chaplaincy have exaggerated the threat of antisemitism against Jews in Scotland.

    There have always been people who don’t like Jews and regretably this will in all probability continue. The internet and social mediums like Facebook will always give idiots an opportunity to publicly vent their unpleasant antisemitism.

    What does it prove? Does the Facebook page imply that we are under greater threat than we thought? I don’t think anyone would seriously argue that a Facebook site is hard evidence of growing antisemitism in Glasgow.

    I have though a question for the last contributor. Does it not strike you as rather odd that the young man that was chosen to give his views to the Jewish Chronicle just happened to be Marc Livingston, the elder son of Mrs Nicola Livingston? The same Mrs Livingston that was photographed leaving the St Andrews courtroom after the trial and the chairperson of Chaplaincy in Scotland.

    I don’t think even you will suggest that this is a coincidence.

  247. Deputy Dog said

    Why don’t they make it a family affair? Sheriff Livingston could preside the next time Chaplaincy or SCOJEC want to bring something to court.

  248. Members of the Jury said

    The prosecution calls

    1. Paul Morron
    2. Ephraim Borowski
    3. Nicola Livingston

    Er, that’s it.

  249. Herald Reader said

    Tom Shields wrote an interesting article in this week’s Herald

    If Giffnock was Gaza

    It has of course been attacked by some of the usual pro-Israel advocates within the Jewish Community

    Mark Gardner
    Nicola Livingston
    Marc Livingston
    Gary wayland – Student Chaplain?
    Stanley Grossman

    and Darren Gladstone from Israel

    and of course
    Edward Isaacs

    Have a look for yourself at

    http://www.theherald.co.uk

    The criticism of Mr Shields is over the top. Yes I know Gaza has no checkpoints – its the West Bank that does but comments that infer that Mr Shields is antisemitic or could incite antisemitism are nonsense.

  250. Samson Clare said

    For other sad souls that hang on to every word the `journalist` Tom Shields writes you will not wish to be deprived of some of his pearls of wisdom which will presumably be discussed by the panel when choosing British Writer of the Year…it is not difficult to assume that he may be passed over by them in his latest attempt at actually writing something that level headed people may wish to read and be informed by……

    ————————————————————————–

    “Imagine, for instance, if East Renfrewshire had become the scene of a Palestine-style conflict with US-backed firepower giving superiority to the invading forces.
    If Newton Mearns was Nazat Issa, it would not have a shopping centre.”

    ” If Newton Mearns was Nazat Issa, residents would not be allowed to travel up the road to Waitrose unless they had a special permit from the occupying forces.”

    “Even with the permit, people from the Mearns might find the checkpoints were closed. They could not get to work in Glasgow or drop off the children at Hutchie Grammar. They would not at any time be allowed to use the M77 motorway.”

    “If Giffnock was Gaza, there would be problems with basic needs such as running water and electricity. Very bad for property prices.”

    AND HIS PIECE DE RESISTANCE (ALTHOUGH AT LEAST HE ACKNOWLEDGES IT AS A `SMALL POINT`…ALAS INFERRING THAT THE OTHERS WERE NOT SMALL)

    “A small point, but Giffnock Amateurs FC would not be allowed out of the area to play games in the Greater Glasgow premier league. They might find home games difficult as teams from outside are not allowed in.”

    ———————————————————————————

    Anybody (even from this forum) who considered that garbage worthy of alerting other people to is in need of help. No matter what one`s views on the Middle East to use Tom Shields pathetic imitation of journalism is frankly embarrassing.

    And a final word to Mr.Shields himself (I will not dignify his newspaper by commenting on there)….

    If your auntie had testicles she`d be your uncle.

  251. Samson Clare said

    Herald Reader has lost his voice..quite typical for this place. He comes on here and places a link to a blatantly anti-semitic article by a man who even has the audacity to use the “Jewish friends” tag in his follow up, but is unable to respond let alone debate.
    He has no problem naming his enemies in the community because they responded to the article but unlike them, he hides under the `Herald Reader` umbrella which may conceal his identity but unfortunately not his crass stupidity. As a Jewish individual ( I assume) he should be ashamed. Not because he does not support Israel…that is his right and also it is the fashionable thing to do..even my favourite film director Mike Leigh is finding his voice. No, he should be ashamed to openly support a writer and newspaper whose agenda is so clear it is dazzling.

    I quoted above some of the dreck that Shields wrote and only skimmed some of the predictable comments that followed including Shields`s own pathetic follow up.
    Herald Reader says some of the criticism is “over the top”..oh really ? You reckon the less than subtle digs at our community qualify as fair comment then ? You reckon that the absolute gutter `journalist` that would dream up the futile comparisons between Giffnock (as opposed to Glasgow) to Gaza is valid comment ? Shields cannot help his failings as a writer but his editor should have had the ability to recognise a bad piece and discard it. That you Herald Reader…I used to be as well until I realised what their game was…thought the article worthy of notifying us (I`m glad you did) is shocking enough but to defend Shields and criticise reaction from your usual targets as `nonsense` says everything about you and your futile forum.
    Reply if you dare but in your anticipated silence hang your head in shame. Not even your idol Mr.Lerman would fail to be embarrassed by this blatant anti-semitism…why not seek his comments…it is a forum after all ?
    Go and change your nom de plume as nobody of the trickle of readers that stomach this place will ever read a single word you care to post ever again.
    And even worse you have the knowledge that your post has been ignored by the whole of Jewish Glasgow except myself…that illustrates and underlines the pointless exercise that you and your cronies are participating in.

  252. Samson Clare said

    Herald editor says sorry

    By Jessica Elgot, September 22, 2011
    Follow Jessica on Twitter

    A scottish newspaper has apologised after a columnist asked readers to imagine, “If Giffnock was Gaza”, deliberately choosing Glasgow’s most Jewish area.

    Tom Shields, who writes for Newsquest-owned Herald Scotland, said he chose the suburbs of Giffnock and Newton Mearns to compare with Gaza and the West Bank because they contain the highest number of supporters of Israel.

    In his column, he wrote: “If Newton Mearns was Nazat Issa, residents would not be allowed to travel up the road to Waitrose.” He also made comments about how residents would find it hard to get to the private Hutcheson’s Grammar School, and would be upset about their house prices.

    Herald editor Jonathan Russell said: “Tom Shields is a highly respected columnist who has written for the Herald for many years. Like all our columnists, his views are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the paper. His column on Tuesday was not intended to be in any way antisemitic. The Herald apologises if any offence was caused to Jewish people living in Giffnock and Newton Mearns.”

    Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities said: “His references to Waitrose, private schools, and house prices simply show that he can’t resist another age-old stereotype.”

  253. Samson Clare said

    Well there you are Herald Reader, blog management, and other disillusioned souls who come in here looking for fair comment..the article is gone..the article is no more…it has been consigned to where it should have found itself initially… in the overfilled dustbin of trashy worthless predictable antisemitic diatribe. Not only has the editor of the rag actually apologised (it must have platzed him) he has removed it from the archives…not just because he might lose circulation..but he presumably has now realised that old Tom`s garbage did indeed go over the top. I can imagine the conversation as he deleted the dross from the website……

    “Don`t worry Tom old chap..you know that we agreed with every word…just don`t spread it on so thick…try and be a little more subtle..these people protest too much.
    I`ll tell you a good place to post your stuff about Israel, its called GJEF, probably means Giffnock Jews Enjoy Food or something like that…it`ll get a warm welcome there and nobody will read it but a few lost souls…and also not a single person will criticise your work except some lunatic called Samson or something…but don`t worry about him, I`ve heard he`s harmless…the other readers will love every word..”

  254. Herald Reader said

    I have not lost my voice Samson Claire. Perhaps I just have other things to do and your comments are not particulartly interesting.
    If you read what I posted previously I said Sheilds had written an interesting article. It obviously was of interest to you because you spent 24 hours commenting on it.
    Borowski has been quoted as saying Shields’ article could incite violence – that in my opinion is nonsense. It is a very irresponsible accusation but we have come to expect that from Borowski and his associates.
    The article may have been wriiten badly but our community and every other Jewish community should show more empathy with those who live in such bad conditions under Israeli military occupation or in a gigantic prison called Gaza. Perhaps if Jewish people here there or anywhere opened their eyes to the realities of living under military rule they would not support the Israeli government’s continued occupation.
    I am not a spokesperson for Tom Shields but the point he made is still relevant. You can shout antisemitism if you want but I suspect that was not at all his motivation.

  255. Samson Clare said

    How can you ignore blatant anti-semitism because of your Middle East views ? What part of you as a Jew is prepared to stand up and be counted and recognise that though not every anti Israel correspondent is necessarily anti-semitic it certainly follows that many indeed are ? Where is your tolerance level Herald Reader or does it not exist ? You continually attack the members of our community because of their actions and words but fail to acknowledge that they are fighting for you and your family and friends. Of course you don`t share their views and do not wish them to speak for you but what are you doing other than posting in an anonymous forum that apparently nobody reads (I am frankly astonished that my comments were the only reaction in here). What did Shields have to add that would have made you murmur to yourself that he`d gone too far ? Maybe if he`d suggested that the price of bagels would have to increase at Hello Deli it might have tipped you into the outrage felt by almost 100% of us Jews ? Perhaps not..perhaps you are so involved in what Israel is doing to offend your beliefs that you have forgotten you are a Jew ?
    I could go on but I know how you`ll respond…just as you have done above maintaining your constant criticisms without a single word showing solidarity with your Jewish brethren..whether they care a jot about Israel and the Middle East or not.
    You concede that the article was badly written yet still defend it. Of course his `motivation` was not to incite anti-semitism or violence, he and his pen are totally incapable of inciting anything other than scorn. His sole intention was to have a snide dig at us Jews (that includes you don`t forget) in the disguise of a piece covering a serious subject. That you as a Jew failed to see through that leaves me incredulous. Shield`s editor sees through it now though too late. Every regular thinking Jew sees through it. Even the anti Israel non Jews would have seen through it when posting online under the article…if not immediately then surely when Shields spoke of his “Jewish friends”.
    You stand pretty much alone Herald Reader in fact …shame on you and shame on your forum that contains nothing these days other than subjects designed to hurt your brethren.
    Supporting Shields is a step too far…it`s not too late to admit you are wrong you know.

  256. Another Herald Reader said

    I think Samson you are over reacting. How do you know what regular Jews think?
    Incidentally, if I have to rely on the people you mention to protect me or my family then we are all doomed Samson.

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