The ZF must terminate Danny Rich as a Patron

Liberal Judaism is hosting the lawyer Tasnime Akunjee on 4 April at an event to be chaired by Charlotte Fischer.  Fischer accepted an invitation to the despicable ‘Kaddish For Hamas’ (though it is not clear whether she attended).

Akunjee reportedly recently called for former Home Secretary Amber Rudd to be sent to a “concentration camp” and has reportedly appeared to suggest that 9/11 was an inside job.  He reportedly (same source) has links to Cage, the group described by a former London Mayor as “apologists for terror”. He has also reportedly (same source) urged Muslims not to cooperate with the government’s anti-terror Prevent strategy, and has reportedly (same source) suggested Theresa May has “Nazi blood in her veins”.

His latest outrage has been to compare ISIS to Israel. Here is what he said in a New Statesman interview):

“IS, too, had special attractions. “They had a benefits system,” he says. “They showed people living in mansions with chandeliers. And Isis learned a lot from Israel about how to build an expansionist state… Israel can go into Palestinian territory and build buildings there, then it will call on people from abroad to join the state-building exercise. Isis copied their model directly from Israel. You have Israel calling on Jews from around the world… they have an automatic right to be a citizen of Israel. That’s exactly the same as Isis, in the sense that if you’re Muslim and you come over here, you’ll be looked after.”

(He later said: “To clarify I did not compare Israel to ISIS, I merely pointed out that ISIS had attempted to copy aspects of Israel’s expansionist policy.”  Pull the other one.)

Danny Rich heads Liberal Judaism. He is standing by the invitation to Akunjee.  Rich of course has form.

In 2010 Liberal Rabbi Danny Rich gave Jeff Halper (of “Israel Committee Against House Demolitions”) a platform. The meeting was organised by “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” but Rich let the hall to them and was at the meeting. Jeff Halper openly advocates ‘One State’. This is antisemitic (see IHRA which says that ‘Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination’ is antisemitic). Halper has also used Nazi analogies to describe Israeli policy (also antisemitic under the EUMC Definition).

After the meeting Rich wrote the following on my JC blog: (his post was on 22 March, the blog was dated 20 March): “Liberal Judaism rejects the allegation that the advocacy of a one state solution is by definition antisemitic”. Therefore Rich does not accept the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism, which even the Labour Party now accepts.

The fundamental expression of Zionism is the Jerusalem Programme. All Officers and Patrons of the Zionist Federation must declare adherence to it. The Jerusalem Programme says that one of the foundations of Zionism is the bond of the Jewish people to its historic homeland in the State of Israel and the centrality of that State and Jerusalem in the life of the nation. Another foundation is strengthening Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state.

Hosting a ‘One Stater’ and denying that ‘One State’ is antisemitic clearly violates the Jerusalem Programme.  So does hosting someone who compares Israel to ISIS.  Rich claims to accept the Jerusalem Programme but his conduct tells a different story.

More recently, Rich accepted Nina Morris-Evans – a Kaddish for Hamas participant – as an Israel tour leader, even after the Reform movement and reportedly UJIA had vetoed her, reportedly due to parents’ objections.

And Rich called Jenny Manson “a very decent woman”. Manson chairs Jewish Voice for Labour. JVL is an organisation that appears to lend legitimacy to antisemitism by giving it the ‘kosher seal of approval’. JVL is led by a handful of vocal Jews from the far-left fringe, who have been accused of using their Jewish identity to render antisemitism acceptable. Its membership includes a large number of non-Jews, many of whom have been accused of antisemitism.

Manson said “When I began to identify as a Jew in order to argue against the State of Israel and its behaviour and its conduct, my mother supported me, which was very welcome”. In other words she appears only to identify as a Jew because of her belief that it increases her credibility in vilifying Israel.

Again recently, Danny Rich hosted Manson and Corbyn for Friday night dinner.  It was entirely wrong to break the Community’s united strong strategy in dealing with Corbyn. More than six months ago the Board and the JLC set out simple basic steps that Labour needed to take to restore the community’s trust. Labour has signally failed to take them, indeed things have got worse. Rich (a Labour Councillor) has been virtually invisible in the fight against Labour antisemitism.

Rich’s conduct has earned an unprecedented rebuke from JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein. After Rich said the current level of “no discussion” between the Jewish community and Labour was “not helpful” to either, Goldstein commented thus: “Holding the Jewish community accountable for the current impasse has the danger of becoming a form of victim-blaming. It is important to remember that this isn’t a fight the community wants to have, it is one we have been forced into.

Patrons are supposed to be Ambassadors of an organisation to the world.  The ZF cannot have as its Ambassador someone who fails to accept either the Jerusalem Programme or the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism and who lends legitimacy to the enemies of mainstream Judaism in the UK. Danny Rich‘s position as a ZF Patron must surely be terminated. Despite my best efforts this has not yet happened: it has always been blocked by his supporters (who hold the most votes in the ZF).

But how can any Zionist organisation have credibility when it has a Patron such as this?



Israeli Professor tells SOAS Students: “Hamas Supports Two States”

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Professor Oren Yiftachel from Ben Gurion University is a visiting scholar at UCL. Yiftachel’s shtick (SOAS, 20 March) is a confederation between Israel and the Palestinians. Fine. It’s a non-starter – but fine. It’s a non-starter because neither Israelis nor Palestinians want it. Each wants their own state. Added to which, Israelis would be fearful of being in a confederation with Palestinians because of the terror threat. They would never agree a confederation in a vote, it would have to be forced on them. I asked Yiftachel the same question as I ask ‘One-Staters’: How many Israelis would need to die in order to make your proposal happen?

If Yifatchel had left it at that, no problem. But he didn’t. Because like Labour, SOAS is institutionally antisemitic. You don’t get a platform at SOAS to talk about Israel unless you vilify the country.  You have to call it ‘colonial’ and ‘an apartheid state’ at least five times. Even if it’s organised by Yair Wallach of the Centre for Jewish Studies. Because only brain-dead anti-Israel parrots get to talk about Israel at SOAS.

Yiftachel duly obliged. He said five ‘apartheids’ and sixteen ‘colonials.

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Ethnic cleansing” featured too, of course. “Israel has destroyed large parts of Gaza and killed many” – no mention of Hamas terror, the reason why Israel takes action in Gaza after enduring months of missile assault. He showed a map where he referred to Haifa, Tel Aviv, Beersheba and other Israeli cities as ‘settlements’ consequent on ‘Judaiszation’!

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Another slide had 4% of the population in Gaza in 2015 as Jewish! (no Jews were in Gaza by then, of course – Israel pulled out all the Jews in 2005). He referred to Israel as the “historical or mythical homeland of the Jewish people”. Which is it, Oren?  And if it’s ‘mythical’, how come there has been a practically unbroken Jewish population around Jerusalem for thousands of years?

And apparently we can’t call Israel a ‘Jewish’ state either – because it’s the ‘Israeli’ state.

In case we didn’t get the ‘apartheid’ point, Yiftachel even showed us a map of South Africa:
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And just to hammer the point home, we got a slide where the Jewish population of Israel was called “whites”, Israeli Arabs ‘coloureds’ and Palestinians  ‘blacks’. In an event organised by the Centre for Jewish Studies. Not the Palestine Society. The Centre for Jewish Studies. Repeat, the Centre for Jewish Studies.

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However the statement from Yiftachel that left us (Richard Millett and Damon Lenzner came too) open-jawed came in the Q+A: “Hamas supports a two-state solution.” The same Hamas as digs terror tunnels to murder Israeli citizens.  The same Hamas which boasted at end-2018 that it had fired 16,377 rockets at Israel, carried out 86 suicide bombings that murdered hundreds, 36 stabbing attacks, over 500 infiltration attacks, over 250 sniper attacks, over 80 attacks on Israeli armoured targets and 26 abductions of live or dead Israelis, since its inception in 1987. That Hamas.

The thing is, Oren, you go back to Beersheba after ten months. You don’t have to live with the consequences of your lies. But we – the UK Jewish Community – do, in the form of record levels of antisemitism.

Do us all a favour and go home now.

Sunday Times Letter: How Genuine Are Those ‘Survivors’?

Yesterday’s Sunday Times carried this absurd letter from 12 Jewish ‘Holocaust survivors’:
charedi 1 march 2019

The letter was allegedly coordinated by Mr Shraga Stern (and here and here).

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Presumably the 12 identify as ‘survivors’ in order to embellish their credentials as antisemitism deniers/Corbots/critics of the communal leadership/opponents of teaching children about gays. Note that some of the 12 are members of the Satmar sect that does not accept Israel’s right to exist – so it’s no wonder they find common cause with Mr Corbyn.

It is therefore perfectly legitimate to ask how many of them are genuine ‘survivors’ – that is, they lived for any period of time in a country that was ruled by the Nazis or their allies – and how many are merely ‘refugees’ (who fled before the Nazis took over – for example on the Kindertransport).

Because they wouldn’t dare to embellish their status in order to support Jeremy Corbyn would they ……….


I have spoken to one of the signatories – Hyman Bindinger in Newcastle. He knew nothing about the contents of the letter. He was approached by someone he didn’t know at a wedding in Stamford Hill and was asked to put his name to the letter. He saw a signature from someone he trusted. He was asked if he was a survivor and he said “No – I was born at the start of the war”. The person replied to Mr Bindinger “Well that’s good enough for us, you’re a Holocaust survivor.” In fact he was born in September 1937 and left Germany with his parents in 1939. He does not regard himself as a survivor.

I understand that Ms Minia Meisels didn’t know what she was signing either!

This of course casts a shadow of credibility over all the signatories. The Sunday Times obviously didn’t do their due diligence. They have been approached for comment 






JLC/Jeremy Newmark: Tory Dirty Tricks On Back of Jewish Chronicle Hysteria

In an Open Letter a year ago I asked the Jewish Leadership Council and the Jewish Chronicle a number of questions about the Jeremy Newmark case. Needless to say neither body responded. Two weeks ago the JLC published the report they commissioned into the whistleblower’s allegations. The JLC website tells you it is the ‘full’ report. But it isn’t. It excludes section 8 and – importantly – the appendices, which include the report of accountants Crowe UK LLP.

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The JLC said it has ‘referred the matters raised in the Crowe Report relating to potentially questionable expenditure, to the police’.

The JC went into overdrive……….

Having devoted seven pages to the story a year ago it was hardly going to call the report a storm in a teacup. Its comments on the JLC report included ‘alleged fraud’; it quoted the report as suggesting ‘that £111,734 cannot be accounted for and that an additional £266,189 merits further investigation’ – only mentioning in a separate paragraph the panel’s comment that the lack of proper accounting records meant that they were unable to provide an accurate figure as to the full amount – and mentioned ‘allegations that Jeremy Newmark deceived the organisation out of tens of thousands of pounds’. Its editorial – headed ‘A Tale of Venality’ – was savage: it referred to Jeremy Newmark as a ‘villain’; rubbished his claim that he did nothing wrong beyond ‘some administrative processes and procedures’; called for his resignation as a Councillor; and said ‘he must never again have any role in public life’.

Contrast the JC’s coverage with that of the Jewish News, which simply said ‘the report failed to reach conclusions on several key allegations against him.’

The JC’s hysteria prompted Hertsmere Conservatives into the crudest of dirty political tricks. Here is the letter sent by the Leader, Cllr Morris Bright, to known Jewish voters in the Borough (from a list ‘compiled informally by activists who had noted which houses had mezuzot’ !!!).

newmark hertsmere conservatives

This is what it says:

I write this letter on behalf of 35 out of 39 Hertsmere Borough Councillors, all seven local Hertfordshire county councillors, and Hertsmere MP, Oliver Dowden CBE.

You may have heard that the police are investigating fraud allegations against former CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council, Jeremy Newmark, who is accused of deceiving the JLC out of tens of thousands of pounds. On his watch it is claimed the charity incurred £111,734 of potentially questionable expenditure with £266,189 possibly meriting enquiry and he was able to pay money into his personal bank account.

Jeremy Newmark is also a Councillor in Borehamwood and Leader of the Labour Group at Hertsmere Borough Council.

In its leader column the Jewish Chronicle says ‘it is clear from this report that he must never again have any role in public life. He cannot remain as a councillor, let alone as leader of the Labour group at Hertsmere Borough Council.’

I agree and I have written to Councillor Newmark asking him to consider his position. I hope he will give serious thought to the effect this story will have on his constituents in general, and the Jewish Community in Elstree & Borehamwood in particular, who remain rocked and worried by ongoing pernicious displays of anti-semitism in the Labour party. The allegations against Cllr Newmark will add to fears about how he and the Jewish community are being perceived within and outside the community.

This is NOT about politics. My late grandfather was the first Jewish Mayor of Hackney in 1959. He would be sickened seeing what has happened to the party.

I hope Jeremy Newmark will do the right thing asap. If not, then at the local elections on May 2nd there will be an opportunity for him to be removed by the people.

Cllr Morris Bright MBE
Leader, Hertsmere Borough Council
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You see what Cllr Bright (Jewish himself, ex-Carmel College) is doing?

1. Why has the letter been sent only to Jews? If a Councillor is suspected of fraud is that not an issue for voters of other religious denominations? What about atheists and agnostics? This is the politics of division.
2. He’s telling Jews in Hertsmere not to vote for Cllr Newmark on the basis that questionable and unproven (see below) allegations about him fuel antisemitism!
3. He’s fraudulently harnessing Labour’s antisemitism travails for political ends.
4. On the basis of an unproven and grossly exaggerated news report (see below), he’s adding to concerns of Jewish voters about antisemitism.
5. There is no sign whatever that he has checked the accuracy of the JC’s reporting.
6. The fact that Cllr Bright feels it necessary to defend this most repulsive of repulsive political smears by reference to his late grandfather simply PROVES that he knows how underhand it is.
7. ‘This is not about politics’…..See those flying pigs Cllr Bright?

To suggest that Cllr Newmark’s conduct has fuelled antisemitism is particularly obnoxious in view of his record of fighting antisemitism for many years, at the JLC and as leader of the Jewish Labour Movement. It’s astonishing that Oliver Dowden MP endorsed this vicious letter. Did he even see it before it went out?

And while we’re at it – Cllr Bright’s grandfather Morris Blitz was NOT the first Jewish Mayor of Hackney. Solomon Lever was Mayor in 1951.

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So what was Jeremy Newmark’s response to the JLC report?

We are not allowed to know – because he has been gagged, see his published statement. The JLC refused to publish his 46 section response – even redacted – because of concerns about defamation and information which might identify the whistleblower.  Moreover he was not allowed to respond to the bulk of the report before it was published, other than in relation to extracts from the Crowe appendix. And the reference to the Police was given to him too late for him to be able to comment.

But the law does not compel an organisation to protect the confidentiality of whistleblowers (who rarely act from the motive of pure altruism …….).  The threat of injunction is having the consequence that Jeremy Newmark is being subjected to the most vicious vilification and demonisation on – see below – unproven grounds.  The JLC must now go back to the panel which wrote the report and ask them to redact the Newmark response as they feel appropriate – and it must then be published. It is completely unfair that he has not been allowed to publish his response. It was surely never Parliament’s intention that protection of whistleblowers or concern about defamation should be used to deny natural justice.

So what does the report really say?

Comparing it to the JC report is rather revealing.

Does it speak of ‘Fraud’? No. And as for the referral to the Police, anyone can ‘refer’ anything to the Police. There is no indication that the Police have taken the matter any further. If it was as slam-dunk as the JC suggests then surely the Police would have acted by now.

Does it say that £111,734 ‘cannot be accounted for’? And that an additional £266,189 ‘merits further investigation’?

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No. It merely says that £111,734 was ‘potentially questionable’. As for the £266,189, it says it was ‘eligible expenditure’ according to the trustees at the time. It also notes in several places the lack of documentation but the JC only mentioned this en passant.

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How aboutallegations that Jeremy Newmark deceived the organisation out of tens of thousands of pounds’? Is that in the report? No.

If Councillor Newmark decides not to stand for re-election on the basis of the largely unsubstantiated lynching in the JC and his enforced gagging – of if he does stand, but is unsuccessful –  it will be the most appalling travesty.

As for the Tory dirty trick: Jewish voters in Herstmere – indeed ALL voters in Hertsmere, whether or not they received the poison pen letter – may well wish to vote Labour, to show their disgust.