Kaddish for Hamas: the Orthodox Response

Two weeks after the event, the UK’s non-Orthodox synagogue movements still fail to acknowledge just how crass and offensive Kaddish for Hamas was. Just look at the Reform Movement’s statement (signed by three leaders of the movement):

On Wednesday 16th May, young adults from across affiliations in the Jewish community demonstrated outside Parliament regarding the situation on the Israel Gaza border. We know that many of our members were disturbed by this. As leaders of Reform Judaism, we deliberately chose not to attend. No one attended this event in any capacity whatsoever as representing Reform Judaism nor RSY-Netzer. We are certainly not shy of saying what we think in public and had we wanted to have been there to amplify our messages, we would have been. When our youth movement, RSY-Netzer, discovered that most of those killed in Gaza were claimed as Hamas operatives, they acknowledged that had they known, they would not have shared this on Facebook.

We as a Movement value that our young people want to engage in the complex issues around Israel, and we are happy to enable respectful and candid conversations about this for people of any age.

What’s wrong with this?

1. They weren’t ‘across affiliations’. The vast majority – maybe all – were from the Reform and Liberal movements.

2. This wasn’t ‘engaging in complex issues around Israel’. It was mourning terrorists who have killed Jews and yearn to kill more.

3. There is no criticism of the event. The three leaders say ‘We know that many members were offended‘ ………… Weren’t they themselves offended then?

Liberal Judaism’s statement is no better:

To all members of Liberal Judaism,

Many of you will have seen the recent news stories and comments pertaining to a Kaddish event at Parliament Square. I want to make it absolutely clear, despite social media claims to the contrary, that this was not a Liberal Judaism supported event. There was no organisational sponsored involvement and no one considered themselves to be there representing Liberal Judaism or our affiliated youth movement, LJY-Netzer.

Liberal Judaism has always supported the right of individual members of Liberal Judaism to voice their own personal opinions, even when they differ from others. We have within our membership a spectrum of views, which are always particularly visible in regards Israel and Palestine. Our ability to hear different voices and respect the other continues to be one of our strengths.  While, I personally would not have participated in this event and know that many of our members are disturbed by the actions of this group, I equally refuse to be drawn into the violent abuse that has been levelled at those who did participate.
Rabbi Charley Baginsky
Director of Strategy and Partnerships

Again no  criticism – and an attempt at diversion (…’violent abuse…’).

In my blog dated 21 May, I called on communal leaders – ‘including the Rabbinate – yes, including the Chief Rabbi – to speak out to condemn the obscene event’.  I wrote “It should surely not be left to a few bloggers to show the red card.” There is an agreement – called the ‘Stanmore Accords’  – between Orthodox and non-Orthodox that neither should criticise the other in public. But this nightmare crossed every red line. Several participants (or would-be participants) were RSY Netzer youth leaders, meaning they are in charge of young people. Others have similar leadership positions. And therefore Orthodox Rabbis have begun to speak out – it’s too important to stay stumm:

Rabbi Andrew Shaw, CEO of Mizrachi UK, wrote this at the end of last week.

By now, many of you will have seen the despicable scenes of a group of young Jews saying Kaddish for Hamas terrorists in-front of the UK Parliament! I would post the link to the video but it contains some very explicit language from a very (quite rightly) livid person who comes across this revolting ceremony.

For me what was even more tragic is that the group present had amongst them leaders and educators of the young Jewish community from certain Zionist youth movements who are responsible for teaching our young people about Israel!’

He has a similar piece in Jewish News (30/5):

‘People have to realise that unless there are dramatic changes in some of our Zionist education, we have to question the funding from within the community for these organisations. We do not tolerate extremism such as Neturei Karta. Why should we tolerate it here?’

Rabbi Geoffrey Hyman of Ilford Synagogue wrote this on his Facebook page:

Sad indeed that a spiritual leader fails to understand why her group’s action of reciting a kaddish over the recent deaths of citizens of Gaza (mostly Hamas terrorists), during the violent border riots bring such condemnation.

Yes, there are the well known Rabbinic texts that calls on us to be compassionate e.g. that we only say the Half Hallel from the 2nd Day Pesach, as the Egyptian enemy perished in the Red Sea; and 100 shofar notes are blown on Rosh Hashanah because Sisera’s mother cried a hundred cries when he did not return home. (Sisera was the commander of the Canaanite army of King Jabin of Hazor, who is mentioned in Judges 4-5 and was a vehement enemy of our people.) Whilst the Pesach message of not saying the usual full Hallel indicates a degree of emotional restraint, does the Rosh Hashanah reference really indicate the necessity to hold a memorial service for Sisera? Nowhere did our rabbis call on us to make memorial services for our enemies, except to remember to condemn them – so we have: “remember what Amalek did to you”, (Deut 25:17). Remembering the sobs of our enemy’s mother stands in order to teach us to be a compassionate people – that war must not be allowed to dehumanise us, for that is the greatest danger to a civilised humane people . The prophetess Deborah praised Jael for killing Sisera – he was after all a great enemy of Israel! And Hamas and their supporters are extremely evil enemies of Israel. So let us remember the wisdom of King Solomon: “In the fall of your enemy do not rejoice”,(Proverbs 24:17). So let us not rejoice when are enemies are defeated but saddened when life is lost when we have to defend our country.’

Joseph Cohen (not a Rabbi but an Orthodox Jew) made this video.

Here is what Rabbi Dansky of Redbridge wrote.

Here’s a letter in Jewish News 30/5/18

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And Rabbi Schochet of Mill Hill Synagogue has a terrific piece in Jewish Weekly (31/5).

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Terrific putdown of Leah Jordan, by Yosef Rabin of Tel Aviv.

I will add other Orthodox responses as they are published. If any members of non-Orthodox synagogue wants to send me their critical responses to Kaddish For Hamas, I’ll publish them too…………. provided they are printable ………

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You’re not singing anymore! – the Chabloz judgement

I am pleased to publish in full District Judge John Zani’s brilliant Judgement (and delighted to confirm that he is a fellow Old Cholmeleian). The case is a fascinating one, involving as it does online antisemitism; freedom of speech, particularly online; the definition of ‘grossly offensive’ as opposed to just ‘offensive’; and an Act (the Communications Act 2003) which has been amended to cover the Internet (section 127).  The Campaign Against Antisemitism deserves thanks for pressuring the CPS to take the case on and the CPS (especially their barrister Karen Robinson) likewise deserves recognition for their excellence in prosecuting the case.

Sentencing will be on 14 June (after the Judge has received a Probation Report).

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Judge Zani rules that Chabloz DID both ‘send’ and ’cause to be sent’ the songs:

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Judge Zani rules that the Internet IS  a ‘public electronic communications network’:

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Judge Zani considers the difference between ‘offensive’ and ‘grossly offensive’:

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Evidence from CAA – Note that only part of the IHRA Definition is quoted in the Judgement – Both agree that the ‘songs’ are ‘grossly offensive’. NB It’s Stephen Silverman not Sidney.

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Chabloz evidence:

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NB – M’Bala is the real name of Dieudonné…. Chabloz stated that she ‘did not intend to cause offence’ !!!! And denies the Holocaust

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No, the case isn’t about the legality of Holocaust Denial (qua Adam Wagner) … It’s about ‘gross offence’.
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J’Accuse: The traitors behind Kaddish for Hamas


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It was known on 26 April that of the 40 Palestinians killed during the ‘great return march’ events since March 30, when the rioting began along the Gaza Strip-Israel border, 32 (80%) were terrorist operatives or individuals affiliated with them.  The IDF simply does not shoot at ‘innocent protesters’. Only those who threaten to violently breach the border – with explosives for example – risk being shot. If this is necessary, the IDF tries to shoot in the legs, to immobilise but not to threaten life. Only if all else fails, does it shoot to kill. On the other hand, if immobilisation is necessary, there are no real alternatives to shooting. (Predictably Sir Mick Davis doesn’t understand this).

On Monday 14 May, tens of thousands of Gazans massed on the border with Israel. 62 were killed. There was a chorus of condemnation that Israel was killing ‘innocent protesters’.  Those of us who combat lies about Israel knew this was nonsense. The IDF documents every use of weapons and is rigorous about not using them unless necessary. Sure enough, early on Wednesday Salah Bardawil, a Hamas official, said that 50 of the 62 killed were members of the Islamist terrorist group. The Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad had already said on Tuesday that three members of its Saraya al-Quds military wing were killed by Israeli forces in Khan Younis. Checking Twitter, Bardawil’s announcement was made early on Wednesday morning, before 9am.

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On Tuesday 15 May, there was a notice on social media that a group of Jews was going to say ‘Kaddish’ (the memorial prayer for the dead) for the Gaza victims, in Parliament Square in London on Wednesday evening.

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Already this looked highly offensive, because the names of the each dead person were to be read out, regardless of whether they were identified as a terrorist or not. Then on Wednesday morning the Bardawil statement broke.  There was at least nine hours for the organisers to pull the event. But it went ahead.

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 49 people said they were going to the event.  The Israel Advocacy Movement video (link above) is sickening. For a Jew to mourn the death of those bent on murdering Israelis is obscene. It is a השם חילול, an act of desecration of the name of G-d.

I am tempted to ‘name and shame’ everyone in the video who can be identified (some of the 49 do not appear on the video). But some of them are very young (though adults, being over 18) and hopefully they will have learnt a lesson from the outrage when the video went live. However I am going to name and shame ten of the 49. Because many are in leadership positions and should have had the sense to call the event off on Wednesday after the Bardawil statement. The eight leaders: Sam Alston, Amos Schonfield, Charlotte Nichols, Charlotte Fischer, Joseph Finlay, Maya Ilany, Ella Janner-Klausner and Rabbi Leah Jordan. The other two are the men who can be seen in the video intimidating Yochy Davis, a woman around half their size who simply wanted to film. If they were so ashamed as not to want the event filmed  – why were they there?

The first bully is Daniel Mackintosh (images from the video unless stated)

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Mackintosh works for Citizens UK (as does Charlotte Fischer, see below)

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The second bully is Jon Roiser. Incredibly he asks Yochy for PROOF that 50/62 were Hamas terrorists (source: Yochy’s video). Unbelievably Roiser is a Professor at UCL.

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Alston at the event.

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Schonfield (he accepted the event invitation but is not in the video)

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Nichols (she accepted the event invitation but is not in the video).

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Fischer (she accepted the event, unclear if she is in the video)

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Finlay at the event.

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 Ilany (she accepted the event invitation but is not in the video).

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Janner-Klausner (she accepted the event invitation, unclear if she is in the video)

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Alston and Schonfield are both Deputies (on the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a kind of Parliament of the Jewish Community – Schonfield represents Yachad, Alston represents LJY Netzer, the Youth Movement of the Liberal Synagogue; he is a former intern at Yachad). This puts them in a leadership position.  Schonfield advertised the event. In addition they have agreed to abide by the Board’s Code of Conduct. Here is an excerpt:

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It cannot possibly be ‘ethical’ for a Jew to mourn the death of a Hamas terrorist and it blatantly brings the Board into disrepute. The Board’s Constitution requires it to Take such appropriate action as lies within its power to advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing’.  Mourning terrorists who wish to maim and murder Israeli Jews – all Israelis – obviously puts two fingers up to that provision.

The fifth name is Charlotte Nichols.  She is named because she has a high public profile. A recent convert from Catholicism, she attended the Jewdas ‘Seder’ and defended it.   She is Womens’ Officer of Young Labour. She castigated the Board of Deputies for its Gaza statement, claiming to know the views of the Jewish community despite only having been in it for eight months:

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The sixth: Charlotte Fischer. She is in a leadership position: age 30, she works for Citizens UK as the ‘Senior Community Organiser’ with the Jewish community. She has a degree from Oxford. In 2015 she was ranked 28 for the Jewish News’ ’40 Jews under 40′.

The seventh: Joseph Finlay, founder of Jewdas and therefore in a leadership position. He specialises in sabotaging Jewish Community events which presumably explains why he was at this one.  He styles himself as an ‘activist and innovator within the Jewish Community’. Make that ‘wrecker’.

The eighth: Maya Ilany, newly appointed as Deputy Director of Yachad.  She removed her name from the list of attendees on May 19, no doubt in a futile attempt to try to distance Yachad from the obscenity. But the link with Yachad is unmistakeable. 22 of the 49 (45%) who said they were going have also signed the Yachad letter lambasting the Board of Deputies’ excellent Gaza statement (the 22 include Alston, Ilany, Jordan, Roiser and Schonfield).

The ninth:  Ella Janner-Klausner,  Youth leader with RSY-Netzer; leads Israel tours for young British Jews.

The tenth name is Rabbi Leah Jordan.

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Jordan can be seen in the video wearing a Tallith (prayer shawl) and leading the Kaddish.  (I tweeted and emailed her to confirm her identity. She didn’t reply but she was on the acceptance list and has been identified by photos and by her American accent).  A Rabbi is a community leader. In addition she works extensively with young people.

Her attendance at this sickening event and her failure to call it off when the Bardawil news broke is an absolute disgrace. There is no way that she should be working with impressionable young people. The same applies to Alston.

All ten in this ‘Roll Of Shame’ owe an apology for failing to call off the event and then for saying  Kaddish for Hamas terrorists. What next? Rending garments? Shiva? Yahrzeit? It’s obscene.

The truly sickening thought (voiced by David Collier in a blog published simultaneously) is to imagine that the Hamas terrorists had succeeded in breaching the border fence on 14 May.  Imagine that they had reached Kibbutz Nahal Oz, just 800 meters from the border, and that they had murdered  Israeli children.  What then? Then there surely would have been no ‘Kaddish for Hamas’ on Thursday.  But neither would these Jews have gone to Parliament Square to mourn the dead of Nahal Oz. They mourn only for the Hamas killers of Jews. It is as obscene as it is accurate.

If the ten leaders are reading this: You owe an apology to those of us who say Kaddish for parents who loved Israel:

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Above all, you owe an apology *NOW* to the heroes of the IDF and their families. Hundreds of Israeli lives have been lost to Hamas and some soldiers – like Taylor Amrani’s boyfriend – have suffered life-changing injuries (he lost his eyesight when a bomb exploded in a Hamas tunnel).

Now they have been named, I call for action to be taken against these ten. By the Board of Deputies under the Code of Conduct; by the Labour Party; by Liberal Judaism; by Yachad; by others.   I also call on communal leaders – including the Rabbinate – yes, including the Chief Rabbi – to speak out to condemn the obscene event. It should surely not be left to a few bloggers to show the red card.

These people should not be allowed within 100 miles of Jewish children or students.

Never again must London see anyone praying for dead Hamas terrorists.

Let alone, Jews!

David Collier’s analysis of the event is published simultaneously here.

Addendum: Eight more names (with thanks to David Collier)

Rob Abrams is the man in the video who read out many of the names of the terrorists. He is the Youth Engagement Coordinator at the Jewish Council on Racial Equality.

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The other person who read out the names is Rachel Diamond-Hunter:
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As an example of her activities, here is a 2015 post from Malia Bouattia giving a ‘shout out’ to her for coordinating a ‘confront Israeli Apartheid’ event sponsored by BDS and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
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Helping Daniel Mackintosh intimidate Yochy Davis was an unidentified woman who spoke with an Israeli accent. She pushed Yochy, stood ‘guard’ over her for much of the time and tried to interrupt filming on more than one occasion.

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Another LJY-Netzer movement worker who attended was Simon Lovick. He also signed the Yachad letter.

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He also co-signed the letter from Liberal Judaism criticising the Board of Deputies statement, dated 16 May – the day of the Bardawil announcement!

A second RSY-Netzer leader there was Jake Cohen. He signed the Yachad letter and wrote a blog in Times of Israel (22 May) defending his participation in the Kaddish for Hamas.  The blog shows not a scintilla of understanding of why what he did was so offensive (……….’all that we did last week was calmly and publicly express our viewpoints’).  This man is a youth leader ……….

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Nina Morris Evans was also there – and signed the Yachad letter and also wrote a blog defending the event, in Times of Israel (22 May).  Incredibly in the face of all the evidence she refers to the terrorists who attempted to breach the border fence ‘unarmed protesters’. She is in her first year at Oxford, reading PPE ………let’s hope her essays for Prelims are considerably more respectful of the facts than this blog (and she learns the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s).

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Nina wasn’t alone. She was with her mother, Abigail Morris.

Abigail is the CEO of the Jewish Museum. Odd that she doesn’t mention the Kaddish on her Twitter feed ……… Instead she tells us about the Buckingham Palace garden party ….

Nina’s sister Shulamit (ex-Cambridge) was there too.

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A third RSY Netzer educator was there: The Director of Informal Education of the Reform Movement, Josh Martin.

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Addendum 2: Interview with the cabbie hero who intervened

“I was absolutely fuming. I’m a taxi driver. I turned off my For Hire sign, spun the cab round and drove the three miles from Bayswater to Parliament Square………………”

Watch……………..

Addendum 3: RSY-Netzer has barred Nina Morris Evans from leading tour groups in Israel this summer

Legal gymnastics in the Chabloz case

On Monday we had the final submissions in the Chabloz case. She is on trial under the Malicious Communications Act. The verdict is due on 25 May.

There was some virtuoso legal gymnastics by her barrister Adrian Davies (sometime defender of Holocaust Denier David Irving).

He claimed that there was no evidence that anyone ever received the messages sent by Chabloz and that there was no intended recipient.  He tried to argue that Chabloz was not responsible for sending obscene songs – it was actually Youtube, he said:  “If someone who’s drunk or unstable or eccentric decides to phone up the Speaking Clock and shout some obscenity, it is not conceivable that they are committing an offence – it’s absurd. …Uploading a video to YouTube – the only ‘recipient’ is a lump of silicon in a concrete bunker in California.”

He claimed that the recipient of a Youtube video (not the creator) ‘causes the video to be sent’ , by clicking on it.

He argued that the vile songs could only be understood by ‘experts’ such as Gideon Falter and Steve Silverman of the CAA (who testified for the prosecution). Reasonable members of society would not have the knowledge of Falter and Silverman. He suggested that a ‘malicious communication’ has to be directed at a named person, but Chabloz’s songs were not so directed: she did not know that Falter and Silverman would ever see the videos.

He argued that there is no evidence that ALL Jews would understand the songs. ‘Hava Nagila’ (the melody used in Chabloz’s ‘song’ (((Survivors))) “may not be a song with which secular Jews are familiar” (!).  And “It cannot be said that all Survivors are Jewish”. And  “attacking Irene Zysblatt doesn’t constitute an attack on all Jews.” And finally that old chestnut so beloved of antisemites: the IHRA Definition of antisemitism “makes all criticism of Israel illegitimate”.

The verdict is due on 25 May…………………………..

Sizer: Zionists kill people for their views

Stephen Sizer left his job as a Church of England Vicar after the Board of Deputies criticised him for publishing antisemitic materials and the Bishop of Guildford banned him from comments about the Middle East on social media for six months.  Corbyn defended him.

Watch Sizer lie that the “Zionist Lobby” “incarcerates and assassinates people for their political views with respect to Zionism” (-1.18, towards the end of this PressTV broadcast).

Why is Sizer still permitted to preach in churches?

Two Jews stood as Councillors in Barnet: Which one is the BBC’s token?

While Adam Langleben was vocal in denouncing antisemitism in Labour on Friday, Danny Rich (a Liberal Rabbi) did his best to undermine him – by downplaying it.

Watch them both on Newsnight on Friday, from 19:53.

Rich: “Whilst Jews of course are going to be ‘interested’ (!!) in antisemitism, that is not the only thing that we need to be thinking about and it’s not the only thing that Judaism teaches us to think about.

“Interested” in antisemitism – like they might be “interested” in the theatre or cookery ……..