Boycotter blames the Board for antisemitism in Britain

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By Marcus Dysch

The Board of Deputies is to blame for rising antisemitism in Britain, according to a leading member of a Jewish anti-Israel group.

Tony Greenstein, of Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (JBIG), was speaking on the BBC1 debate show, The Big Questions, on Sunday morning.

During the wide-ranging discussion, Mr Greenstein said: “Of course there’s no justification for antisemitism, but there’s also no justification for the Board of Deputies calling rallies in support of the invasion of Lebanon and Gaza in the name of the British Jewish community. That causes antisemitism.
“It associates every Jewish person with the terror in Lebanon and Gaza.”

Among those debating issues including the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and the need for synagogues to employ security guards, were Alex Goldberg, of the London Jewish Forum; Mark Gardner, of the Community Security Trust; and Israeli-born anti-Zionist Professor Haim Bresheeth.

Prof Bresheeth said many people in Britain were “justifiably irate about what Israel has done in Gaza”.

Jonathan Sacerdoti, of the Zionist Federation, responded by saying attempts to burn down shuls in London had “nothing to do with Zionism or Israeli policy in the Middle East”.

Hadar Sela, who has dual British-Israeli citizenship, said: “If you have a gripe with Israeli foreign policy then that’s great, you’re entitled to have a gripe with it, but come to me. I’m Israeli. Come and make your gripe with me, not with British Jews.

“When things happen in Sri Lanka or China nobody takes it out on Chinese or Sri Lankan people in Britain, and so they shouldn’t. They also should not take it out on British Jews.”

Following the broadcast, the Board of Deputies defended the peace rallies it helped organise in London and Manchester at the height of the Gaza conflict in January.

A spokesman said: “It is regrettable that Mr Greenstein doesn’t feel that there was any justification for the rallies. Fortunately we know of at least 17,000 people between London and Manchester who would disagree with him.

“British Jews are desperate for peace in Israel and desperate for an end to terror. The suggestion that we should expect to be victims of hate crime because of that is insulting and dangerous.”


Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/22078/boycotter-blames-board-antisemitism-britain

Kosher Big Mac offer for the Olympics

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By Leon Symons
  • A mouth-watering prospect has been raised for the London Olympics in three years’ time —and it has nothing to do with sport.

Orthodox Jews who are enthusiastic sports fans usually ensure they have something to eat at such events by taking a packed lunch.

But that might not be necessary if the Jewish Committee for the London Games, part of the London Jewish Forum, gets its way.

It has asked the Games’ organisers to set up kosher food stands provided by the Games’ main food sponsor, McDonald’s.

Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, said: “We have told the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) that there is no reason why there could not be a kosher — and for that matter halal — food stand run by Mcdonald’s.

“LOCOG has to deal with food diversity, which it will probably do through its faith reference group, and is taking this quite seriously. There is certainly a commercial model with large numbers of Jews and Muslims living around the area of the Olympic Park who will want to go the Games. It makes sense to have food on offer that they can eat.

“McDonald’s has a large number of outlets in Israel, a considerable number of which are kosher. So it has experience of working with kosher food,” said Mr Goldberg.

He said that the Forum had received support for the move from the East London mosque in Whitechapel.

He added that food was not the only matter to be considered by the faith reference group.

“There will be issues such as whether or not Orthodox Jews would be able to pay on Friday for food on Shabbat. Both Tisha b’Av and Ramadan fall during the Games, so there will be talks about faith provision in the Olympic Village.”

A spokeswoman for the London 2012 Organising Committee said: “Our food strategy covers the issue of catering for diverse dietary requirements which includes kosher and halal food. This will be a key part of our catering requirements.”


Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/14280/kosher-big-mac-offer-olympics

Letters: Wider Picture

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Sir,

Sean Gannon's piece on the relationship between Irish Republicanism and the PLO was one-sided and over-simplified a complex history between the IRA, Jews and the State of Israel ("IRA-PLO cooperation: A long, cozy relationship," April 8). His over-emphasis on perceived anti-Semitism within the Republican movement surely needs to be contextualized and set against those in the movement who did support Jewish and Zionist causes. For instance, the IRA supplied arms to Zionist groups in the 1930s, largely through the work of the IRA's leading Jewish activist, Robert Briscoe, who later became Dublin's first Jewish lord mayor.

My grandfather, Gerald Goldberg, later lord mayor of Cork, speaking on a RTE documentary, related an incident in which the student wing of the IRA made a stand against anti-Semitism during the 1930s, a time when fascist ideology was on the rise across Europe and had some support in Ireland. When, as a student at University College Cork, he rose to speak at the Debating Society, the auditor silenced him, as he was a "foreigner" and only "Irishmen" were permitted to speak.

Tomas Mac Curtain, the son of the murdered Sinn Fein lord mayor of Cork, was appalled and convinced him to return another day. The hall was filled with Mac Curtain supporters from the student membership of the IRA. The auditor was silenced and my grandfather made his speech. This was a blow to rising anti-Semitism in the university. I look forward to reading Mr. Gannon's book in the hope that it will look at the wider picture.

ALEX GOLDBERG Jewish Chaplain to Surrey University Surrey, UK

Original source: http://www.jpost.com/LandedPages/PrintArticle.aspx?id=139172