Shraga Stern is a Charedi (Orthodox) Jewish activist who helped to coordinate a letter signed by thirty-four leading rabbis of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations in London in support of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and condemning ‘irresponsible’ smears against him.
The letter was immediately attacked as fake, but media were forced to first row back on the claim and subsequently to publish information they had sat on for days after the SKWAWKBOX informed them that it would be published here.
But when Stern informed the Board of Deputies (BoD) – and this blog – that Charedim would be protesting at the board’s annual dinner in November at the BoD’s claim to represent all UK Jews, things took a worse turn.
Mr Stern says that he and other activists began to receive pressure from the BoD to abandon the protest – but that he also began to receive calls conveying thinly-veiled threats. He told the SKWAWKBOX:
People call me and warn me that the IDF (Israeli Defence Force) is after me or make other ‘warnings’ to be careful. A couple have explicitly said that the BoD is a powerful body and I shouldn’t go against them.
I’ve told them I’d rather die with the truth than live with a lie. But not all of the messages have been threatening. Some just ask what I want in return for stopping the demonstration. I replied that if they tell the truth that they represent maybe twenty percent of pro-Israel Jews then there’s no need to protest.
Mr Stern has been advised to vary his routine as a precaution, but he remains defiant.
BoD President Marie van der Zyl was asked whether she would condemn the threats against Charedi Jews if they do not abandon their protest plans. No response was received by the time of publication.
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