David Rosenberg vs Marie Van der Zyl

Earlier this month I blogged about a fetidly obnoxious piece in the Morning Star by a chap called David Rosenberg who styles himself as a ‘Jewish Socialist’. The base of this dung heap of vitriol was the libel that the Jewish leadership is unwilling to sit down with Corbyn.

Comrade Rosenberg has a blog, called Rebel Notes.  Should you have nothing better to do, you will find that the latest entry attacks Board of Deputies President Marie Van Der Zyl.  (Rosenberg is a JVL member and JVL has published the piece on their website).

But first Rosenberg attempts to lay the blame for the Windrush scandal entirely on the Conservatives. This is simply wrong. Labour also made mistakes.For example, the decision to dispose of the landing cards was taken in 2009 under Labour.

Now the attack on Ms Van Der Zyl.  Rosenberg writes that he sent a tweet to her, asking if she would add the Board’s name to the list of organisations demanding that the Conservative Party set up an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Party.  There have been a few incidents of Islamophobia in the Conservatives but nowhere near the number of incidents of antisemitism in Labour. The organisation Labour Against Antisemitism says that some 1200 members have been reported and there is a backlog of 1000 more. Why should Ms Van Der Zyl be complicit in an initiative which many see as simply a transparently obvious ruse to divert attention away from antisemitism in Labour?

Rosenberg continues his attack by reference to an iTV interview (an Israeli channel) that Ms Van Der Zyl did last week – the one where she said “It’s like Corbyn has declared war on the Jews”.

On that programme she said “The Tories have always shown themselves to be friends to the Jewish community”.  Look at that word ‘always’.  It obviously does NOT  mean (as Rosenberg took it to mean) ‘since the 1830s when the Party was founded.’  I am sure that Ms Van Der Zyl  is just as aware as Rosenberg is of the 1905 Aliens Act. No – it means the period since the May 2010 election which returned the Conservative/LibDem coalition. So let’s examine the evidence.

It is a fact that most Jews in the UK have a close affinity with Israel. The Institute of Jewish Policy Research JPR (2010) found that 81% felt either a strong or moderate attachment to Israel. It follows that the happiness of the vast majority of Jews in the UK is positively correlated with the degree of friendship shown to Israel by their government. Ms Van Der Zyl was unedeniably correct to say that the Conservatives under Cameron and then May as Prime Minister have been ‘friendly’.  Just look at their record:

  • Justified the exclusion of the Hajo Meyer events from the Holocaust Memorial Day calendar on the (correct) ground that they were ‘offensive’ (2010)
  • Stopped the political abuse of Universal Jurisdiction, whereby apart from Ministers, any Israeli who has served in the IDF risked arrest if they come to the UK (2010)
  • David Cameron and George Osborne pushed hard for sanctions on Iran (2011)
  • Resisted pressure from their LibDem junior coalition partner to condemn Israel’s incursion into Gaza (‘Operation Protective Edge’) (2014)
  • Announced new rules to curtail left-wing local authorities adopting BDS (2015)
  • David Cameron: “We’ve got to show that if you say “yes I condemn terror – but the Kuffar are inferior”, or “violence in London isn’t justified, but suicide bombs in Israel are a different matter” – then you too are part of the problem” (2015)
  • Adopted the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism (2016)
  • UK refused to sign a joint statement at the Paris Middle East peace conference – diverging from the 73 other countries – after attending only as an observer; the conference was meant to endorse the UN Security Council’s anti-Israel Resolution 2334 (2017)
  • Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP wrote to the Chief Executive of Universities UK (UUK) underlining the obligation of all higher education institutions to tackle antisemitism on campus, particularly in the context of ‘Israel Apartheid Week’ (2017)
  • Theresa May said that the UK would be marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration with ‘pride and respect’ (contrast this with Corbyn who refused to attend a commemorative dinner with the Prime Ministers of Israel and the UK) (2017)
  • The Conservative government gave the green light to the first ever official visit to Israel by a member of the Royal Family (2018)

Contrast it with the miserable record of the Labour government under Gordon Brown (2007-10):

  • Failed to vote against Goldstone Report at UNHRC
  • Commenced arms embargo on Israel
  • The Foreign Secretary said that Cast Lead was ‘disproportionate’
  • The Charity Commission – led by a Labour Party activist – failed to make War On Want and other Charities live up to their legal obligation to tell the truth about Israel
  • Brown promoted Ben Bradshaw to Cabinet after he said on “Any Questions” (January 23 2009) “I am afraid the BBC has to stand up to the Israeli authorities occasionally… Israel has a long reputation of bullying the BBC...”
  • Decided to talk to Hezbolla
  • Initiated separate labelling for West Bank settlement goods in supermarkets
  • Failed to honour commitment to act on Universale Jurisdiction.

    Rosenberg vs Van der Zyl? No contest! Van der Zyl wins by a knockout in the first round.

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