Letters to the Editor: ‘Why am I being vilified?’
Why am I being vilified?
For more than 20 years I was involved with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in various capacities, including being a chair in Florida. Before an comment was made accusing an individual or organisation of racism, ADL had to do extensive research and produce evidence to support any claim.
Press releases and speeches I produced had to be approved by in-house or external solicitors. The reason for this was that if ADL made a false accusation of racism, it would seriously undermine its credibility when it came to dealing with real racism.
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I was recently dismissed by the Manchester Jewish Representative Council as their deputy for asking Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl to justify a decision to call George Floyd’s murder racist. I asked this question in full knowledge of earlier comments made by Keith Ellison, the attorney general of Minnesota (the state where the Chauvin trial was held). Ellison, a solicitor, was the first Muslim to be an elected member of the US House of Representatives. He said he “would not call George Floyd’s death a hate crime as there was no evidence Derek Chauvin factored in race as he knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck”.
That is why I asked the Board’s president to provide her evidence to back up her claim. It was done purely to protect the credibility of the Board. I had no other motive. Yet I am vilified as a racist.
Raymond Solomon, By email
Why would any jew support annexation?
Letter writer SM Halpern produced a simple and clear statement that any proposed forced annexation of any part of the West Bank by Israel was wrong and therefore could not be supported by the worldwide Jewish community (Jewish News, 11 November 2021).
The response from three contributors the following week was hostile but hardly surprising. All failed to deal with the nature of the current occupation of the West Bank and its effect on the Palestinian inhabitants. They all apparently refuse to accept that the occupation has been a fundamental assault on human and civil rights.
Put simply, the Palestinians are governed by military law; they do not have the legal rights to prevent the settlers displacing them and expropriating their land and homes. And this has been the pattern for the past 50 years, although this process has accelerated in the past 20 years.
The occupation of the West Bank is bad enough, but any annexation will be a continuation that will be at least as bad if not worse. I see no reason why anyone – Jew or gentile – should support it.
Fraser Michaelson, By email
Selective indignation won’t give palestinians a nation
It’s to be hoped that in the course of the ‘robust’ exchanges (former) shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy had with Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, some ‘uncomfortable’ truths were relayed. Nandy now needs to mull over them and suspend her thus-far held views on the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
If she does this, many in the Jewish community and beyond will admire her courage, for she will be putting morality and justice above political expediency. It is also to be hoped Mrs Hotovely will not cower when faced with the enormous challenge of educating the British establishment.
Eda Spinka, Hendon
Your Lisa Nandy interview revealed she has “significant disagreements” with the Israeli ambassador to the UK about most things, while making it “absolutely clear” that Labour has no time for Hamas, but is ready to recognise a Palestinian state as a means of “sparking dialogue”.
She appears to hold Israel largely culpable for the lack of a Palestinian state, hence the “disagreements”.
In your next interview, you could ask whether she has such “significant disagreements” with Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmood Abbas, who openly calls for Israel’s destruction in the media.
James Windsor, Leytonstone
I’ve cancelled my TV licence. The final straw was last week’s news coverage of the Jerusalem attack that killed one Jewish person and injured four others. The BBC described the terrorist as a “militant” and nowhere was there any reference to Hamas being a terrorist organisation.
Harry Sassoon, St Albans
I was surprised to see the Board of Deputies promote its Portuguese Sephardic roots as part of Mizrachi Heritage Month. Portuguese Sephardi Jews are not Mizrachi, nor do Mizrachi Jews tend to speak Portuguese. Didn’t the Board just publish a report on racial inclusivity?
Walter S Grossman, Gants Hill