Letters to the editor: Stop Azeem rafiq melodrama – he’s
Stop Azeem rafiq melodrama – he’s made sincere apology
Why did Jewish News make such an issue of what one columnist branded the Azeem Rafiq Affair? This type of melodramatic response is a perfect example of indulgence in victim culture. It is not worthy of Jewish News.
You have enough real, truly nasty and worrying antisemitic issues to report. So why prolong this story and shame a man who, after suffering prolonged racist abuse himself, has made the connection and had the integrity to make a public and heartfelt apology for one stupid comment made in his teens? How many of us can recall toe-curling incidents or comments from our youth, which we now regret?
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Azeem Rafiq has himself suffered years of constant racist bullying by colleagues, including them pouring alcohol, forbidden to Muslims, down his throat, as a ‘joke’. After years of such humiliation, he has spoken
out powerfully about racism, including antisemitism. We should applaud his courage in publicly apologising.
It is so wrong to rebuff a heartfelt apology when repentance and forgiveness are fundamental to us as Jews.
Fiona Hulbert, Woodford Green
Biased reporting the norm
Sorry isn’t just the easiest word, it arguably is the most nauseatingly overused platitude that’s evolved into a catch-all term for getting off the hook.
Azeem Rafiq, the former Yorkshire cricketer, used the word, but only after he was caught in the slips, as it were, maligning Jewish people.
Had he apologised for bringing his antisemitic slur to the attention ‘off his own bat’ at some point before his public onslaught against Yorkshire, one might have found the ‘apology’ approaching something akin to sincere.
Likewise the Royal Court Theatre, which foisted its ‘sorry’ on us for a play that gave an unsavoury non-Jewish character the name Herschel Fink, claiming ignorance that ‘Herschel Fink’ borders on being a mocking Jewish name.
One can almost hear the pseudo-intellectual thesps pleading in their defence that they thought the name was that of some medieval pope!
And then there is the Manchester Evening News, which has “apologised profusely” for using a headline regarding the tragedy of Eliyahu Kaye’s murder that “did not reflect the story in an accurate and balanced way” (pictured).
This revelation is reported as if it’s the first time such blatant bias has occurred in the world of the press and broadcast news.
This kind of biased reporting, especially when it comes to Jews and Israel, has been the norm since time immemorial.
Michael White, Finchley
Rejecting Claim about Loach
Regarding your article headlined “Outrage after local Labour group passes motion praising Ken Loach” (Jewish News, (26 November), I write to correct inaccuracies.
The meeting that agreed a proposal to screen Mr Loach’s films locally was debated fairly, in line with our usual procedure, and not as you describe. The proposer moved the motion and it was seconded as a formality, without a speech. We heard two speakers against and one in favour before the proposer was allowed a final word as usual.
The discussion was calm, as was the entire meeting. Nobody at the meeting voiced the sensational opinions claimed by your unnamed sources. As chair, I corrected a member who thought Ken Loach had been expelled for antisemitism. He was not.
Readers may infer from the article that Ken Loach is equivocal about the Holocaust. He is categorically not and has stated: “The Holocaust is as real a historical event as the Second World War itself and not to be challenged.” (Letters to The Guardian, 5 Sept 2017).
Anne O’Daly, chair, Hornsey & Wood Green Constituency Labour Party
Don’t fret about Warwick
My husband and I were so emotional when our son sent us a photograph of a large lit chanukiah at Warwick Univeristy.
Surely a newspaper should be focusing on all the positive things currently going on at the university? Your recent article noted that Warwick had recorded the most antisemitic incidents during the past academic year but made no mention of the fact the Jewish Society (JSoc) is going from strength to strength (Jewish News, 16 November).
The JSoc may not have many members, but the executive is doing a great job. It is a pity you did not speak to any Jewish students who are incredibly happy in Warwick and enjoying getting involved. To parents who may have been put off sending their children there, I say: think again.
Nadine Adam, By email