‘Anti-BoD’ flyers posted in Stamford Hill synagogues

Recent months have raised awareness of unhappiness among Charedi Orthodox Jews about the Board of Deputies of British Jews (BoD), an organisation that has been presented as representative of the UK’s Jewish community.

That claim has been publicly challenged by Charedim in London, in particular by a letter published by 34 leading rabbis of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations (UOHC) supporting Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The BoD has been prominent in accusations of ‘Labour antisemitism’.

The media portrayed the letter as fake, but had to climb down when its authenticity was proven – at least some media outlets had sat on evidence of its authenticity until forced by events to reveal it.

Orthodox Jews have also been dissatisfied with the perceived failure of the BoD to respect Orthodox views on education issues – and now a pair of highly critical flyers have appeared in Charedi synagogues in the London Charedi heartland of Stamford Hill .

The flyers consist of two documents, both of which suggest a wish to underline the separation between Charedim and the BoD – a copy of the 1971 letter from the UOHC chief rabbi withdrawing the UOHC from participation in the BoD and one of a letter published in the Jewish Chronicle accusing the BoD of blocking attempts to rescue Jewish refugees during the second World War:

padwa lettersh flyer1

A Charedi resident of Stamford Hill told the SKWAWKBOX:

This was hung in all Charedi synagogues in Stamford Hill for shabes and all over town. I don’t know who is in the back of this, but there is something grassroots happening here against the BoD.

BoD President Marie van der Zyl has been asked for comment.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. Thanks for posting this. I don’t expect to see this reported at the BBC or in the pages of the pathetic Guardian.

  2. Why does the Labour Left obsess about Jews, Zionism, Israel and Palestine when it ought to be obsessing about the capitalist system versus the democratic socialist system?

    That’s a rhetorical question. Forty years of Thatcherism/neoliberalism and most of the Labour Left tacitly accepts that “there is no alternative” to capitalism. Cue a non-socialist Labour Left which makes no protest about a programme based on mild tinkering with capitalism which will almost certainly get knocked off course Greek-fashion. Committing itself by default to the capitalist status quo it has to deflect its “radicalism” into other avenues instead.

    1. Danny, please stop trying to create false characterisations, the Labour left does not obsess about Jews, Zionism, Israel and Palestine.

      Zionists, driven by their support for the racist State of Israel and consequential hate for Jeremy Corbyn, initiated the war. And make no mistake it is a war. Israel as shown in the documentary ‘The Lobby’ is pouring £millions into trying to usurp our democracy to try and prevent Jeremy Corbyn from becoming our next PM.

      We cannot stay silent and allow existential interests to dictate our political choices, too much of that happened in the past with leaders such as Blair. We have a new more aware and active membership now and we will not allow it to happen again.

      1. I agree JackT , and appreciate Danny’s frustration BUT , the issue is that Labour needs to control the narrative and we can only do that by leading it , not by allowing The Israeli Govt to dictate and define the field of play as they have been doing so far. Thus any and all counter balancing information / evidence is vital in that information/propaganda war .
        Well done SB for publicising it , it may not have the reach of the RW Graun ( yet ! ) but at least it’s out there now on the web/twitter.

    2. Yes, it’s “Zionism/Israel” obsession is a very strange feature of our UK self-described “radical Left” . Dredging up the ancient letter in this article, accusing the wartime BOD of ignoring the plight of Europe’s Jews also feeds directly into that very dodgy toxic meme of sections of the Far Left that ” the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust – to force the survivors to move to Palestine” This selectivity by sections of the “radical” Left about which of the vast number of different peoples facing severe oppression across the globe merit their concern and activism is rather disgusting. For instance, the large Muslim Rohingya minority in Myanmar are currently facing actual mass extermination, and have been largely ethnically cleansed from their homeland by mass exterminatory violence – yet there has not been a single demonstration of any size by the Left to protest. Similarly the legitimate right of the Kurdish people for self-determination in a unitary Kurdish state used to be a Left favourite – but today, with the Kurds of Syria and Iraq facing ever-greater assault from the military might of Turkey and its re-uniformed Islamicist puppet forces, the UK Left has long ago decided that nowadays the Kurds no longer merit even sympathy – having had the temerity to accept aid and assistance from “the Great Satan” the USA – during their life and death struggle with Daesh.

      As you say, Danny, today’s self-proclaimed “Far Left” are in the main actually just radical Left Liberals, unguided by serious Marxist analysis – prey to particularist , single issue, obsessions – and highly selective criteria for who merits support , and who merits total condemnation. Sadly the source for much of this “merit/demerit” categorisation isn’t revolutionary socialist politics at all – but the continuing dark shadow of Stalin-era politics intimately interwoven with the foreign policy objectives of the long-dead Soviet Foreign Ministry (now continued by the entirely capitalist Russian Federation Putinist gangster oligarchy – and STILL apparently adhered to by the Far Left with their “only US imperialism is the enemy ” – whereby vicious theocratic dictatorships like Iran are part of a progressive “Axis of Resistance”, nonsense).

      All a feature, as you say, of the political collapse , from Marxist socialist politics , into self-righteous Left Liberalism, of much of the Left during the long hegemony of neoliberalism of the last 30 years so. This degenerate politics will not serve us well when a Labour government takes office – and the capitalist system and it’s market forces put the cosh to the value of the £pound and use artficial shortages and other economic sabotage to quickly bring that government “into line ” – as it did with Alex Tsipras’ Syriza in just a few months.

      1. John, it’s quite simply that the BoD are functioning on behalf of the Israeli Government to subvert members of parliament who stand up for the rights of Palestinians. When we look at the Middle East problems The Israeli’s are in there somewhere, like the Saudi’s we should we should not be supporting them with military aid etc.

      2. Socialists should support diverse and oppressed working people here and in every country of the World, it’s as simple as that and I try to do so.
        In my city there was a demo one Saturday to support the Rohingya and there were 2 moving moments in particular when as the speakers had begun suddenly a small BME group appeared with placards and they marched towards the demo and we all wondered who they were – it was the local Rohingya community in our city and their speaker gave the best speech but all the local MPs and Councillors who spoke (for the Right Wing ones it was a ‘safe’ issue) said the same thing which was more of a moral appeal – we need to put pressure on the Myamar Govt which is fine but, I had no chance to speak as I had no official role but on Facebook later on the demo I said the World needed to put economic sanctions on the generals, freeze their bank accounts and any housing etc. assets in London and Swiss bank accounts (where they probably hide the money they have looted from the people) and ban them from international travel (perhaps no more luxury shopping trips to Paris for them and their wives etc.) in other words “kick the generals in the economic bollacks!” and you may see movement!
        When I saw Syria I also drew on the fact that Assad and his clique owned something like a third of the richest part of the country which is what perhaps they were also primarily fighting for?
        I leant this from reading and a class analysis can be really useful tool and as an old socialist once said: “Read, read, read!” Solidarity!

      3. Bazza wrote:-
        “When I saw Syria I also drew on the fact that Assad and his clique owned something like a third of the richest part of the country which is what perhaps they were also primarily fighting for?”

        I respectfully suggest you read more and other perspectives about Syria and the war on Syria.
        Here’s a start with some historical context. https://gowans.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/the-revolutionary-distemper-in-syria-that-wasnt/

        It is up to Syrians to determine their future not us to demand they become a clone of our societies and economies. We aren’t doing that well are we? It’s time we pressured our governments to leave Syria and other countries alone! If the repressive Gulf Monarchies didn’t have full support of western governments they would no doubt be overthrown by their own people sooner or later.

        By the way the US,UK and France are currently illegally occupying Syria’s main oil, gas and farming region in the east using a faction of the Kurds as cover while also providing a safe haven for Isis which recently travelled across desert (unmolested by US coalition) from US controlled area to commit a terrible massacre of Syrians and then returned to their safe haven. Many Syrian Kurds support the government, Kurds are not a monolithic minority.

      4. jpenney, many of us share frustration at socialism’s lack of progress (which you appear to attribute to a betrayal of Marx by the rest of us) but to replace an existing system one either has to convince an electorate or start buying weapons for the revolution.

        The Market is neoliberalism’s god and worldwide power base and I see no non-violent way to supplant it until acknowledgement of its failure is universal – but I believe there’s hope.

        AI is set to replace drivers of vehicles and an app may soon be capable of replacing GPs – that or some subsequent shock will force recognition of the uncertain future of all other employment, hopefully uniting us in a common purpose.

        Or, as more employment sectors and industries disappear, investors stampede and markets fluctuate wildly, nations with exchanges might agree on measures to close the casino and stabilise markets with measures such as enforcing fixed terms on investments. Sliding scale tax breaks favouring the longer term might sweeten the pill.

        With universal acknowledgement of the need for firm regulation the cult of obeisance to market forces is broken and governments regain economic sovereignty – the case for socialism in the AI epoch then becomes undeniable.

        As of today the Market on steroids works better than ever for the 1% as their wealth and power grows meteorically.
        Collapses of huge enterprises are explained away as adjustments, anomalies or government interference and cause only transient ripples in confidence.
        The soundness of market ideology is never questioned by those with their snouts in the trough until the next crash.

        I see no way to achieve socialism in a single bound without market collapse – or revolution and more innocent deaths than I’m willing to be party to – but if you have a plan that avoids either and also avoids capital flight let’s hear it 🙂

    3. Your post is SO disingenuous and perverse Danny it’s not even worth waisting time responding to it. Needless to say, there is no obsessing going on about anything on the Left, and YOU know it.

      And ditto for jpenny’s post below, which is complete fiction from start to finish. In his or her post they make the claim that sections of the Far Left allege/believe that ” the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis in the Holocaust – to force the survivors to move to Palestine”.

      You have proof of this presumably? And precisely WHERE are you quoting from, and WHO exactly?

      And needless to say, NO-ONE “dredged” up anything in the above article. Your post is just one long litany of falsehoods!

      1. Oh, I thought my post would appear on the page ABOVE and prior to jpenny’s nonsense!

      2. I find the reflexively “dodgy” JP comment on “very dodgy toxic memes” not exactly thinly veiled, more a tired, old net curtain, with lots of holes in it.

  3. Yet again more proof that there isn’t a single homogeneous Jewish community as some would have us believe. For reasons which many already know, it has been only the more right wing groups who get the publicity and the influence. Hopefully it is now changing thanks to our friends and comrades in the more enlightened congregation who have had enough of being ignored by the media and politicians.

  4. Imagine if there was no religion and everyone thought about class and inequality instead…

  5. On a side note – I see berger’s leading a debate about poverty in Liverpool today…Anyone’d think she was arsed about it.

    1. Very late post. I was researching something and it led back to SB. Was she for or against it?

  6. I’m sure there’s a great deal of valid comment above, on issues of oppression, but I’m not sure where this attack, all this stereotyping of the Left/ Far Left is going – its purpose?

    The comments (above) on Iran, for example: the MSM narrative on humanitarian intervention has been rightly challenged by the Left eg with reference to Western support for so called “rebels”, or “moderate radicals” AKA ISIS in order to further a neo-colonial policy of “regime” change in Syria. This doesn’t mean that the Left necessarily endorses every, or even any, aspect of the Bashar Assad government.

    Further, just because the Left may be critical of the oppression of Palestinians by the agents of the State of Israel, this is not to say that a Left viewpoint fails to recognise the agency of some Palestinians in that oppression.

    I’ve pasted in the link, provided by labrebisgalloise in an earlier thread, which makes the point I’m trying to make much more effectively.


    1. The ‘left’ is as diverse as any other broad community. I have a lot of agreement with some conservatives on issues of imperialism for example. I am not in favour of imposing ‘liberal’ western social, cultural and economic global hegemony whatever banner it is under.

  7. Yes a great US academic, Richard Silverstein, I believe nails what’s going on.
    Richard argues that Conservative Jewish forces around the World are trying to impose one dominant narrative (total and uncritical support for Israel) on diverse Jewish citizens so it is good to see some diverse citizens fighting for their right to be themselves.
    You would almost expect the attacks on Corbyn from the Right Wing (and so-called Liberal media) as they defend Neo-Liberal Capitalism and Big Business in particular.
    Then of course the Tory Party and Right Wing Labour opportunists jump on the bandwagon in an attempt to remove JC
    because they are devoid of ideas and we are not!
    But we need to be wary of Far Right US Billionaire Barbarians who are pouring millions into Far Right parties and individual barbarians around the World and Labour & the trade unions need to lead on building diverse community solidarity against this.
    Someone once said “Fascism is the emergency committee of capital” and it is the labour of diverse working that really creates the wealth and is legally nicked by the owners of capital so the Far Right try to divide working people because they are insular (they may have never mixed) and they end up fighting for the poweful because they have fallen for the nationalist drum and thanks to the Internet they reinforce their political ignorance amongst themselves – a great recent development has been the emergence of the Anti-Fascist Lads & Lasses Football Association and we need to promote this!
    A great Asian friend of mine was once walking near a market in his home town with his wife (she covers her hair but not her face) one Saturday afternoon and they pased a white middle aged couple who were sat down; then the white man said: “She shouldn’t be wearing that in our country!” but being as a good socialist my friend did not start calling him a racist but engaged in conversation. He said: ” Excuse me sir but me and my wife were passing and minding our own business and why did you feel that you could disrespect us when we would not disrespect you? Adding: “I was born in this town, I love this town and I love this country.”
    Then the white man stood up, so what happened next?
    The white man hugged him.
    Recently a good old leftie trade unionist and socialist told me that many years ago he used to deliberatelg go into a pub where the NF would go and debate with them (their hardcore hated him but he managed to pull the softer ones who hung around them away from them) he was and is a star!
    So we need to think how we confront.
    Sadly child abuse is in all groups and classes and focusing on one group in society does not help vulnerable children.
    So in the main point of this post – all power to the Charedi and other diverse Jewish citizens and solidarity to diverse working people!

  8. There is an interesting article in the online edition of Le Monde Diplomatique.
    ‘Netanyahu’s flirtation with the far right’
    ‘As the extreme right continues its rise across Europe, Israel’s prime minister has decided to get closer. This decision, in the name of the fight against Islamism, means turning a blind eye to his new friends’ antisemitism.’
    by Dominique Vidal, 12 October 2018
    I am not sure, but the article may only be open to LMD subscribers.

    1. … and it’s a very interesting/pertinent link too – endorsed by the late John Berger? I shall explore.

  9. For the avoidance of doubt, the Hebrew version shows that the signatory is the world-renowned, the late Rabbi Chanoch Dov Padwa 1908-2000. The English translation of his name should not mislead. Rabbi Padwa’s first initial is shown as “H” because it is similar to an equivalent Hebrew letter “Chesh”, which is an “H” pronounced gutturally, and which is the initial letter of his first name. For his second name, Dov, the typist has made the simple error of mis-hearing “B” for “D”.

    Rabbi Padwa’s letter is dated 19 November 1971, once one transposes the given Hebrew calendar date to the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the rift between the Charedim and the Zionist-influenced Board of Deputies is ongoing this past 40 to 50 years or more.

    In my tentative opinion, there is an ongoing crisis in Judaism which is of interest, but which has not drawn any recent public comment. Readers of this comment are not required to uphold Judaism or to believe in God. However, in order to understand what is afoot, it is necessary to take religion seriously, in the sense that it is an evolved, mature philosophy that is followed by a mass of actually existing people. Only then may we understand the dynamic.

    The Charedim uphold traditional Judaism as it has developed over the millennia, and therefore, fairly, describe themselves as “Torah-true” Jews. In their spiritual analysis of the world, centred upon the supernatural element of God, the purpose of the Jews is to strive to set a behavioural example to the human species by their love of God and obedience to His Torah. That is what is meant by “the chosen people”: duty, not privilege, as often maliciously interpreted by bigots. If this endeavour is judged by God to be successful, peace will break out on Earth, and the Moshiach (Messiah) will be summoned up by God. An ingathering of the scattered Jewish people will take place to an historical homeland based around the Temple in Jerusalem. This will be by the consent of all, a miraculous, peaceful event driven by God, and accompanied by the resurrection of everyone who has ever died (which is approximately the same number of persons as those who are alive today).

    The attitude of traditional Judaism to the Shoah (Holocaust) is consistent with its attitude to all previous disasters that have befallen Jews. That is: if God did not intervene to protect the Jews, that was His decision, which must be willingly accepted, possibly based on His evaluation of the conduct of the Jews of that era. That was made clear at the “notorious” conference in Iran, attended by Charedi rabbis, who made it clear in a discussion of the Holocaust that, in their view, (1) the responsibility for the Shoah lay with Hitler and the Nazis, and (2) God did not intervene. Of course, their political opponents distorted this to claim that the Charedim blame the Jews for the Shoah, but I assume that you, the reader, are honest enough not to twist the words representing a significant section of Jewish thought in that way.

    It must be clarified that traditional Judaism is not “fatalistic” as some critics would have it. Jews have always fought back when attacked, and have often succeeded in defending their communities, as happened during the Second Crusade, after the pogroms of the First Crusade had prepared them to beware and be prepared. Whether defeated or victorious, traditional Judaism considers that God may or may not intervene according to His will, which cannot be ascertained by mortals.

    Furthermore, the history of the Jews is not uniquely one of continuous persecution and misery. Many sections of European and world society have endured periods of oppression and misery too. One has only to consider the persecution of all women through witchcraft trials, where it is estimated that 200,000 women were tortured or burned in the western world from 1500 to 1800, a significant proportion of the much smaller population than exists today, and therefore incomparably more women psychologically terrorised. And there are many examples of Jewish individuals and communities having been extraordinarily successful, for example participating in the Golden Age of Muslim rule in Spain, and the achievement of A M Rothschild (1744-1812), alongside the Christian, Francis Baring (1740-1810), as possibly the founding fathers of international finance.

    Now, in contrast with the traditional Jewish view, and influenced by modernity, ongoing antisemitism and secularism, a section of Jewry lent support to Zionism, which had been a fringe, and unpopular, opinion amongst Jews until the scandal of the Dreyfus affair (1894-1906) confirmed the survival of institutional antisemitism in Europe. In essence, Zionist nationalism was a reaction to other, hostile, European nationalisms, and lacked the wider, spiritual perspective of traditional Judaism or the wider international perspective of Marx and Engels. My mother’s side of my family lost most of its members to the Shoah, and my late uncle (a kind and amiable man) summed up the conclusion of his own Zionism perfectly. “We need a Jewish state armed with an atom bomb,” he would say. To this end, the Zionists courted, not God, but the secular imperial powers who could deliver such a prize to the Zionists, a minority group within an insignificantly small fraction of the world’s religions — the Jews.

    Unfortunately for the Zionist project, and the more so for the Arab population of Palestine, Palestine was already occupied by the Palestinians, causing the Balfour Declaration to stop short of granting the Jews a state, and instead offering those Jews who might want it a “homeland” within Palestine, together with a caveat that the rights of other occupiers of Palestine were not to be diminished. If these were weasel words to conceal a colonising intent, it is nonetheless interesting how close to a proposal for a “one state solution” based on equal status for all Israel’s citizens, the drafters of Balfour came, so as to pass themselves as civilised beings in the 1920s, let alone as we approach 2020.

    The crisis in Judaism therefore takes the form of a clash between those Torah-true Jews who continue their traditional acceptance of God’s will, and the Zionists’ resolve to pre-empt God by reliance on the imperial powers to support their theft of Israel from its indigenous inhabitants, and the ensuing barbarities. Of course, many Jewish people combine elements of both these positions in different ways. However, over my lifetime, and especially since the six-day war of 1967, and the more so from the second intifada, there has been a polarisation in Jewish opinion, which, I would argue, lends weight to my suggestion that traditional Judaism as described here, and Zionism are the dynamic elements that are in contradiction, and are producing a crisis in Judaism.

    Evidence of this crisis includes, of course, the increasingly barbaric treatment of the Palestinians by the state of Israel. It is so far from the precept of Hillel the Elder that the Torah is summarised in the empathetic ethic of not treating others as one would not like to be treated oneself. Hillel’s tradition is now continued by the likes of the Jewish Voice for Labour and Jews For Justice For Palestinians, as well as the Charedim.

    Less obvious, but more extraordinary symptoms of the crisis have included last year’s statement of Chief Rabbi Murvis that Zionism lies at the heart of Judaism, on the grounds that Jews pray for the ingathering to Zion in their regular prayers. But, of course, that is perfectly consistent with the non-Zionist, traditional stance of Judaism which I outlined above. Indeed, when my generation of Jewish youth were educated by mainstream Jewish scholars in the 1950s, the state of Israel, though regarded sympathetically as the project of fellow-Jews, was always seen, for religious purposes, as problematic in the context of God’s control over the timing of the Moshiach. And whilst this issue had been gradually fudged over the years, it was significant that, for the first time, as far as I know, the Chief Rabbi had put his authority expressly behind the Zionists’ heretical pre-emption of the Moshiach.

    With this, Rabbi Murvis confirmed that there is a section of Jewry whose Judaism has, in effect, become “Israelism”. As spiritual concepts, based on the fragile supernatural, crumble under the impact of science, secularism, the unsatisfying chase after material gratification, and the persecution of the Palestinians, muscular Zionism, sponsored by a powerful state backed by imperialism forms a refuge for those who have unwittingly cast out their ancient religion. Little wonder that the Charedim are implacably opposed to this turn of events.

    Doubtless, Rabbi Murvis’s conflation of Judaism with Zionism passed without note in most circles. Not so, however, former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ hysterical and wholly implausible depiction of the recent conciliatory statement by Jeremy Corbyn as being on a par with the despicable, inciting, racist “Rivers of Blood” speech delivered by Enoch Powell in April 1968.

    Rabbi Sacks’ detachment from reality in this respect trumpeted the crisis of Judaism on an international stage, and will give him the historical prominence that he obviously desires, though not in the manner he wanted. It summoned up the thought that “those whom God wishes to destroy, He first makes mad” (“Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat” — Life of Samuel Johnson, 1791). Ironically, an aphorism quoted by Powell in the Rivers of Blood speech recalled so inappropriately – and unwisely – by Sacks.

  10. Israel is the lynchpin of Nato / IMF policy of controlling the middle east and its resources. Any attempt at a genuine Arab state independence from that has to be destroyed, albeit masked in the “Existential threat to Israel” stuff. Only states on the payroll are allowed, which is why the Arab Spring had to be crushed and Blair’s chum Mubarak replaced with Mubarak 2, Sisi. Israel and Egypt are the two main payroll subsisters, the former, like Saudi Arabia, bankrolled to buy arms from the West as a form of corporate welfare to Lockheed and all the other arms manufacturers. Who in turn bankroll the Clintons et al. Tony the preposterously named Middle East Peace Envoy had it that Abbas was on the payroll with the Palestinian Authority and the EU funding sundry new jails for the West Bank.

    This isn’t “obsession” it is clear perception of the international context of home not only policy, but possibility. It is why at root Corbyn is feared so much and hated for his transparent honesty, gentleness and integrity. The idea that someone should come along at this late stage of the domino game and get in the way of the Road to Iran is something not to be countenanced. And this is nothing to do with “semitism” pro or anti. It’s to do with money, and a hell of a lot of people’s cushy numbers stand to lose, or even to be seen clearly for what it is.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: