Monday 17 September 2018

For The Many Jews, Not The Few

Shraga Stern, a prominent Charedi ("ultra-Orthodox") Jewish activist in London, writes:

We believe that the anti-Semitism smear and witch hunt against Jeremy Corbyn is a Zionist agenda and has all the footprints leading to that direction. 

It is being promoted by the Board of Deputies and by the unelected JLC, which are a well-known pro-Israel bodies, and it is completely cruel and unjustified. 

The Board of Deputies and the JLC do not represent Charedi Jews, who do not have voting rights at BoD elections and number today over 50,000 in the UK, of whom 30,000 live in Stamford Hill. 

According to a 2007 study by Dr Markov Wise of the University of Manchester, almost three out of every four Jewish births in the UK – home to the largest strictly Orthodox community in Europe – are in the Charedi community. 

The strange thing here is that there are 263,000 Jews living in UK according to the 2011 census. Half of them do not belong to a synagogue according to BoD population statistics, so this half would not have voting rights in the BoD elections. 

Add this up with 50,000 Charedi Jews, and it equals 181,000 out of 263,000 who will not fall under the BoD, and the BoD does not represent them. So how on earth can the BoD have the chutzpah to say they represent the Jews in the UK? 

The BoD is a pro-Israel body and only represents a very particular part of Jews who are pro-Israel. Charedi Jews and most mainstream Jews in the UK are only interested in Anglo-Jewry matters and do not get involved in Israeli politics. 

However, saying this, we do recognise that real anti-Semitism is an issue all over the country and in all political parties.

We are convinced that Jeremy Corbyn is doing his best to tackle real anti-Semitism in his party while still giving the people of his party freedom of speech to criticise Israel.

However, we are nowhere near to fleeing this country because of this. 

As a Charedi Jew, I can say that Charedi Jews are the most vulnerable to anti-Semitic attacks as they dress differently and one can see that they are Jewish, therefore this support letter from leading Charedi rabbis from Stamford Hill, including Chief Rabbi Padwa of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC), says it all.

Jeremy is a longstanding friend and neighbour of the Charedi community here, and everyone who knows him personally says that he loves Jews and is against real anti-Semitism, and this is what he has done all his life. 

Times have changed and we will not stop here. We will not be hijacked by the BoD and the JLC. We will go further than this to make it clear to all the government bodies and to the press, not to fall into the trap of the BoD and the JLC who are extremist Zionist bodies and do not represent mainstream Jews. 

Discussions are now taking place that I am personally aware of, and talks are in place on considering setting up a new Board of Deputies of mainstream British Jews. That will focus only on Anglo-Jewish matters, and it will represent the entire Jewish population whether or not they are associated with a BoD synagogue .

It will act for the many Jews, not the few.

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