July 23: True protectors

Surely now, most if not all of these Jews will realize that they can no longer afford to entrust themselves to the tender mercies, protection or goodwill of their friends.

July 22, 2012 22:57

True protectors

Sir, – Regarding “PM says Hezbollah, Tehran behind Burgas bus bombing” (April 20), the terrorist bombing of a busload of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria will probably do more to further the Zionist cause than any other factor.

This outrage is the latest wakeup call about the perilous plight of all Jews in the Diaspora. Surely now, most if not all of these Jews will realize that they can no longer afford to entrust themselves to the tender mercies, protection or goodwill of their friends.

The Burgas attack will shock them into the knowledge that their only true protectors are the government and armaments of the State of Israel.

Tel Aviv

What should be?

Sir, – Okay, I’m convinced: No two state solution (“Mad hatters, flat-earthers and two staters,” Into the Fray, July 20).

Martin Sherman convincingly writes about what should not be.

But how about what should be? Should Israel co-opt the West Bank and make all or some of the people there citizens of Israel? What about the Palestinians living there – will they become Israeli citizens with the right to vote or should we make the West Bank palestinianrien and force them to leave for other parts? If so, how can we do that? Then there's the small problem of an international backlash.

How would we deal with it? Please, Mr. Sherman, give us your insights on what will lay ahead for the non-two-state Greater Israel?


Only three needed

Sir, – Uri Savir (“Turkey first!,” Savir’s Corner, July 20) suggests eight actions to resolve our differences with Turkey. I suggest only three:

1. Turkey should undertake not to facilitate any future anti-Israel activities.

2. Turkey should promise to intervene against and hinder any future anti-Israel activities.

3. Israel should then apologize for the rather harsh treatment that befell the Turkish hooligans aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Come to think of it, I have not heard recently of any more flotillas coming our way!


Scandal or not

Sir, – Regarding “New scandal on Anglo-Jewry” (Candidly Speaking, April 19), Mick Davis has an outstanding record of support for Israel and for the Jewish people. Isi Leibler also has devoted his considerable talents to defending Israel and the Jewish people, but he does a disservice when he attacks others who do so.

The Jewish Leadership Council, as it acknowledges, does not purport to speak on behalf of the British Jewish community. That role belongs to the Board of Deputies, with which the JLC continues to work closely, as it does with other organizations working to turn the UK Jewish community into a powerful voice for fighting the assault upon Israel’s legitimacy.

Other Diaspora communities and the government of Israel itself regularly consult us for input and expertise. It is unfortunate, therefore, that Leibler finds scandal where there is none.

At a time when Diaspora communities face growing challenges in the form of attacks on Israel from so many directions we should not waste energy fighting among ourselves.

The writer is president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews

Sir, – Isi Leibler’s “New scandal on Anglo-Jewry” is both alarming and scandalous.

If Leibler had taken the time to call me I could have furnished him with accurate information, but as the old saying goes, why let facts stand in the way of a good story? There is a great deal in his column that I take issue with but I would like to highlight the following in particular.

1. I have never met Joe Millis before. I certainly was not involved in his appointment, which was carried out following due process by senior UJIA professionals.

2. Neither I, the chief executive of the JLC, nor its staff was ever approached by Ken Livingstone to assist in drafting a letter from him to “placate the Jewish community,” and we did no such thing. This claim is totally wrong and inaccurate.

3. I stand by my record of support for Israel, the Zionist cause and Diaspora Jewry. I have devoted my life and talents to serving the Jewish people. My views on the need to conduct ourselves in accordance with Jewish values both in the Diaspora and in Israel have been well set out in the many articles I have written for the Jewish media and on the occasions I have spoken both in Israel and the Diaspora. It is very sad that someone like Leibler, who has also dedicated his life to the cause of the Jewish people, should tarnish his reputation with offensive and false attacks on a fellow Jew and Zionist.

4. Finally, the JLC does not “purport to speak on behalf of the Anglo-Jewish community” and the claim that it is made up of “wealthy Jews” is both wrong and offensive. The JLC is comprised of the heads of our member organizations, including the Board of Deputies and other representative bodies, all the major synagogue movements, welfare charities, cultural and youth representatives, and Zionist organizations.

Our role is a simple one, supported by over 25 of the leading communal bodies, to provide greater coordination and strategic leadership to the work of the community.

I agree with Leibler’s concern about recent comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury with regard to Israel. Had Leibler taken the time to read our recent newsletter he would have seen the article written by the JLC’s chief executive on this very issue, which sets out similar perspectives.

Furthermore, while it is right to praise the Board of Deputies’ response to the EAPPI Resolution passed by the Synod, Leibler fails to acknowledge the decisive role played by the JLC in facilitating that response in accordance with our mandate to support the work of member organizations.

It saddens me that articles based not on facts but on gossip and misinformation paint a picture of communal life in the UK that attempts to stain the work and reputation of so many individuals and organizations.


Isi Leibler responds: Alas, “trembling Israelites” still applies.

Would Mr. Wineman employ a person supporting BDS against settlements and comparing Israel to Syria and Iran as PR director of the principal Israeli fundraising charity? As for Mr. Davis, he conveniently ignores the central issue raised in my column – the UJIA’s employment of Joe Millis.

Now that he can no longer claim he is unaware of Millis’s views, what is he going to do about it?

Don’t dwell on guilt

Sir, – I agree wholeheartedly with “The breast-feeding wars” (Comment & Features, July 17), by Alissa Quart, who says there is often little support in the workplace for breast-feeding mothers.

I do object to her quoting a single outdated 2008 study in the journal Pediatrics, brought by an “expert” with dubious credentials and which concludes that there was no “evidence of risks or benefits of prolonged and exclusive breast-feeding for child and maternal behavior.”

There are hundreds of articles in the pediatric, obstetrical and medical literature in general showing multiple benefits of breast-feeding for both mother and child. What is important is not to focus on guilt, with its negative implications, but to empower and support the new mother during her pregnancy, continuing through birth, breastfeeding and weaning.

Fortunately, there is now an awareness in the Health Ministry (“Health Ministry encourages breast-feeding, abolishes baby formula exclusivity in hospitals,” July 2). In addition, there are many certified lactation consultants available to guide, educate and support the nursing mother.

The writer is a physician and lactation consultant

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