July 22: Scandals and Davis

Public confidence evaporates when the justice system appears to serve the criminal more than the victim.

July 21, 2012 22:02


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Scandals and Davis

Sir, – It should be no surprise that scandals erupt among the UK’s Jews (“New scandal impacts on Anglo-Jewry,” Candidly Speaking, July 19).

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I attended the Knesset subcommittee meeting at which Mick Davis, head of the UK’s Jewish Leadership Council, not so subtly implied that if he was involved in the Israeli government’s decision-making process life would be “easier” for UK Jews. His presentation claimed that his organization (nonelected) was in control of the situation in the UK and that life for UK Jewry was not as bad as “the rabble-rousers” in Israel were making it out to be.

With a decidedly not-so-hidden agenda in the JLC, it should come as no surprise that Joe Millis has been appointed PR and communications manager.

His negative views on Israel are well documented.

What is of further concern is the follow-up meeting held at the Knesset some weeks later, which I also attended. At that session UK Ambassador Matthew Gould repeated the same views as those of Davis.

I think I speak for many of the “rabble-rousers” at the Knesset meetings when I say that both Davis and the UK government are far-removed from the reality of the true level of anti-Semitism that exists in the UK.

The writer is chairman of CoHaV – Coalition of Hasbara Volunteers

Sir, – Mick Davis calls Post columnist Isi Leibler “mad” because Leibler is an Australian.

In “New scandal impacts on Anglo-Jewry,” Leibler claims this doesn’t bother him.

It doesn’t bother me, either.

But when Leibler tags Davis as being weird, notorious and despicable in his actions because Davis is a Jew responsible for Jewish institutions and undertaking what he thinks is best for Anglo Jewry, this bothers me.

My dictionary offers a definition of mad: extremely foolish or imprudent. Leibler should be a bit more careful as to how and where he slings mud when he steps outside his Aussie patch into other peoples’ backyards.


Inside the tent

Sir, – Kol hakavod to Douglas Bloomfield for his insightful “Cracks in the foundation” (Washington Watch, July 19). He correctly blasts the religious community for attempting to sway the public from its path concerning conscription for religious young men and women, and praises the government for its (very late) recognition of other streams of Judaism that exist in Israel today.

It is unfortunate that certain influential Orthodox rabbis continue to fight this recognition.

Their stance will get them nowhere. The general public accepts the correctness of encouraging other streams of Judaism and will continue to do so.

The stubbornness of Orthodox leaders can do nothing but harm, so they had best come into the tent and join the rest of us.


Dizzying diatribe

Sir, – David Newman (“To occupy or not to occupy,” Borderline Views, July 17) would be much more convincing if he simply critiqued the Levy outpost report point by point, calmly and systematically, citing whatever he considered to be erroneous or inaccurate.

Instead, we get a dizzying diatribe of hackneyed left-wing stock-in-trade accusations, halftruths, assumptions, hyperbole and venom.

Just one example: Newman writes that the report’s opinion “flies in the face of every other legal opinion, both Israeli and international....” Can it really be that he is unaware of the opinions of such legal heavyweights as Eugene Rostow, Jacques Gauthier, Talia Einhorn, Howard Grief and Stephen Schwebel, all of which unequivocally support the findings of retired Supreme Court justice Edmond Levy? Newman’s headlong rush to gloss over facts and deny obvious realities proves that he has no interest in being confused by the facts, as laid out in the Levy report. One must wonder if he even read it.

The more fired-up and panicked people like Newman get about the report, the more convinced I am that it is spot-on and necessary for fair and enlightened political discourse.

Ginot Shomron

Sir, – David Newman should be reminded that the Levy committee gave very cogent reasons why the settlements in Judea and Samaria are not illegal and that Israel is not an occupier.

Perhaps he could give us reasons why he believes the committee is wrong.

Perhaps the US, the European Union and others could also do the same and inform us why and how the settlements are illegal. Whether we should or should not build settlements in Judea and Samaria, even if it is legal to do so, is another issue.


Fruitful afterlife?

Sir, – In “The God particle: The benefit of a newborn infant” (Comment & Features, July 17), Michael Faraday is noted as having conducted experiments in the 1930s and 1940s. As his active scientific period lasted from about 1820 to 1860 and he died in 1867, this is rather unlikely.


Good for Lador

Sir, – With regard to “Saving the state prosecution” (Comment & Features, July 16), I do not fault the State Attorney’s Office for failing to secure convictions on the most serious charges against Ehud Olmert. In crime and punishment it is axiomatic that both the weakest and the strongest cases will be disposed of prior to trial through pleas. What is left to go to trial are those cases that are the most difficult to prove.

The State Attorney’s Office should be applauded for going forward on a difficult case where public safety demanded prosecution rather than just “cherry-picking” easy wins.

The ills Yitzhak Klein ascribes to the State Attorney’s Office can be addressed through something far less draconian than a whole new level of bureaucratic in-house inquisition and its unmentioned but inevitable costs to the taxpayer.

An example: “One can be remanded to jail for months before one’s case is heard.”

The Knesset can fix that by legislatively imposing time limits.

For instance, once arrested the accused must be brought to trial in 60 days unless he agrees to a later date. Obviously, people in custody will not agree to later dates and this both obviates the problem and compels the prosecution not to bring charges until it is certain of its case.

Complaints about the State Attorney’s Office should not be addressed to that office but to the Bar Association, which, if not already doing so, should be charged with investigating the transgressions of individuals lawyers regardless of their positions.

Klein asserts that public confidence has been eroded by the Olmert case. I beg to differ.

The lack of public confidence is largely attributable to the state prosecution’s perceived failure to meaningfully prosecute: too many weak plea bargains; repeated failures to give crime victims or their survivors a voice in charges, pleas or sentences; repeat traffic offenders driving again and killing or maiming others; criminally light sentences that prosecutors fail to dispute strongly enough.

These are the issues that have caused public confidence to disappear. The public does not need a “club” of judges and lawyers who coexist to serve each other; it needs a criminal justice system that strives to protect the public.

Public confidence evaporates when the justice system appears to serve the criminal more than the victim, which has all too often been the case.

In this instance, State Attorney Moshe Lador swam against the tide of judicial system inertia and did his job – and should be applauded for it.


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