Pan-Europe Orthodox Jewish organisation’s letter to Corbyn records ‘gratitude for numerous acts of solidarity’

Letter thanks Corbyn for ‘numerous acts of solidarity and looks forward to meeting

A letter sent by Orthodox Jewish group United European Jews to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn condemns attempts to report that a recent meeting between Corbyn and representatives of London’s Charedi Jewish community had been abandoned because of ‘outrage’ among the community.

The letter also records “our gratitude for your numerous acts of solidarity with the Jewish Community over many years” and thanks Corbyn for his support with recent issues with an unsympathetic coroner:

A press released by UEJ describes the organisation:

United European Jews is a pan-European organisation that performs research and advocacy concerning topics of Judaism, Jewish identity, and antisemitism. The institute was founded by Rabbi Mayer Weinberger of Belgium in conjunction with Jewish faith leaders throughout Europe.

We engage in educational activities which spread information and catalyze action. UEJ offers a view of Jewish identity that at its core is representative of the mainstream 70,000 chareidi Jews that live in the UK, who do not identify with Israeli nationalism or politics as elemental to their Jewish identity.

We advocate the traditional Orthodox Jewish idea that Jewish identity is defined only by Jewish religious doctrine and is independent of foreign nationalist components. As British Jews, our home and country is the United Kingdom, and our religion is Judaism.

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    1. I don’t claim any actual knowledge but did read, last year I think, that a North London(?) coroner was criticised for not prioritising the processing of Jewish and Muslim deceased persons so as to allow burials to happen quickly enough to satisfy their respective religious traditions.
      Without knowing the details or whether the coroner acted reasonably or not my secularist’s view is that if other burials were delayed unreasonably by giving priority on religious grounds that would be wrong.
      I’d argue that demands for prompt burial originating in a hot region of the planet – from a time before refrigeration – were more about practicality than religion.
      My respect for religions would increase if they were capable of revising their dogma to address such obvious anachronisms.

  1. “As British Jews, our home and country is the United Kingdom, and our religion is Judaism.”

    … and any other view is essentially, at root, antisemitic. Support for Palestinians is not.

    Time for the likes of the BoD and Jonathan Sacks to find their moral compass.

    1. Another Sunday morning, another Sunday Times smear. Just had to turn off the radio as I couldn’t physically bear to listen to Hodge ranting.

  2. I think that the coroner problem, shared with Muslims, was a rigid insistence that autopsies, etc. be performed in order of death, making no allowance for the religious requirements for speedy burial.

    1. Do we know that the coroner acted with “a rigid insistence” or might he perhaps have been following the letter of The Coroners Rules and believed that the legislation required him to do so?
      In North London with, as I understand it, a large Jewish population might complying with the ‘speedy burial’ demands of one section of a population have caused unreasonably lengthy waits for others?
      Might austerity have been the cause of the delays rather than the coroner having been a martinet?
      I don’t know either.

      1. As I recall it went either to the High Court or Court of Appeal and the decision went against the coroner.

      2. Just checked. High Court. Coroner had a ‘cab rank’ approach which ignored religious susceptibilities. This was found to be too inflexible and unreasonable. Before the court decision JC wrote to the coroner asking him to reconsider as it was causing families distress. Hope that helps.

      3. Simon, we shouldn’t give Israel Folau a free pass on his homophobic rants because those beliefs are espoused by his and other religions should we?
        Different cases of course but there are principles here.
        In a secular society all religions are permitted but constrained – and do we know for a fact that other families are not inconvenienced or distressed by a coroner being prevented from dealing with cases fairly – in chronological order?
        Should we permit scientologists to fire their dead into orbit if they demand it on religious grounds?
        How about FGM? Stoning of apostates? Denial of inoculations & transfusions to infants? MGM?
        If you haven’t guessed – I disagree with the High Court’s decision.

      4. David, I think that those are perhaps more extreme examples of religion being privileged than being allowed to go to the front of the coroner’s queue. However, I too disagree with the High Court decision. It still privileges one group over another My last post was simply to give information, not to express an opinion.

      5. Personally, as an agnostic who do hold spiritual beliefs that do not fits in any organised religion, I can conceive:
        1- that it can cause distress for some people if funeral and burial is delayed.
        2- I would not care a single bit if my own funeral and burial, or a family member’s, is delayed.
        3- using the law of reciprocity (treat others the way you want do be treated), I’d be very angry if my chosen method of burial (incinerated, mixed with compost and buried under a tree) was not respected for some bureaucratic reason…

        It’s like when I get to the supermarket tills with a big shop and someone arrives with a couple of items and looks in a hurry… Cause I’m a decent person, I let them go before me.

        To finish, the essence of the law in matters of religion is about “reasonable adjustments”.

      6. Ben Lapointe, ‘reasonable adjustments’, absolutely – and if the coroner’s office isn’t busy of course do that – but what if the office is understaffed, constantly busy and has a growing backlog?
        Possibly normal for austerity?
        Bottlenecks can’t be avoided in some situations and sometimes the only way to deal with the backlogs they cause is by ‘parking’ new business periodically and blitzing the backlog with all staff working in concert. If that’s planned for three days then a few customers have to be put off for those few days.

        At the most basic level – the larger the proportion of customers requiring 24-hour service from an essentially non-24-hour organisation the more disruptive those customers are and the greater the ensuing backlog.
        This isn’t rocket surgery.

      7. I’ve looked at the case report. It held that a ‘cab rank’ approach was too rigid, the coroner needed to have discretion to deal with differing needs as appropriate. The decision doesn’t mean that the coroner has to prioritise religious needs but rather that there can’t be a policy which excludes any consideration of those needs.

      8. Simon, clearly the only time a ‘cab rank’ approach would even be noticed is when the coroner service can’t keep up.
        If that’s an infrequent occurrence then of course religious sensibilities should be treated with consideration and those with no such sensibilities should be asked to wait and the resulting backlog caught up with later.
        My comments addressed the possibility of the coroner’s office being constantly busy, underfunded and with an intractable backlog, which I assumed might be the situation.
        Nothing I’ve read describes the reality at the location one way or the other so my words were based on conjecture as is usually the case in blog comments.
        I thought that was understood.

      9. David, I think you’re correct in that the decision is at least in part another side effect of Tory austerity. The coroner mentioned lack of resources in her submissions, and didn’t have legal representation at the hearing; possibly due to lack of funds. The court service is another public body stripped of resources and showing the strain.
        It may be one thing to show respect for religious sensibilities when resources are adequate, much more difficult when it has consequences for others.

  3. Steve anyway you can get a clearer copy as can’t read that with my eyes Thank You

  4. Once again the Chareidi Leadership has expressed support for Jeremy Corbyn. There are 70,000 British Chareidi Jews approx 30% of the total Jewish population. Jeremy has also the support of Socialist Jews, JVL Jewish intellectuals and others.
    Yet the views of these decent people are totally disregarded and Jeremy, a lifelong anti racist campaigner, has been portrayed as an anti Semite in a prolonged campaign of character assassination. This is because of his disgust at the treatment of Palestinians in Israel and Gaza and,more importantly,his commitment to recognise the state of Palestine once in government.
    Jonathan Arkush former President of the Board of Deputies stated Jeremy was an anti Semite and cited his membership of Stop the War which had expressed revulsion at the mass killing of Palestinians as “evidence” of his antisemitism – total nonsense of course.If condemning atrocities carried out against Palestinians equated to anti Semitism then the entire United Nations Security Council with the exception of the USA would be anti semitic along with most of the civilised world.
    I am very grateful to the Chareidi Jews for trying to put the record straight but I’m not hopeful their letter will get much coverage in the MSM. Their recent letter in support of Diane Abbott was largely unreported and when they stood shoulder to shoulder with pro Corbyn demonstrators outside Westminister they did not appear in any of the MSM photographs- simply because their presence completely undermines the narrative being pushed that Jeremy is a Jew hater.

    1. Rather than have the JLM, the Zionist group, intent on ousting Jeremy Corbyn, give lessons on anti-Semitism. It would be much more productive to invite Chareidi Jews to CLPs to give talks on the difference between Judaism and Zionism. There are some in the Labour Party who believe we shouldn’t even mention Zionism – the hate that dare not speak its name.

      1. Yes I totally agree that they could be of great assistance in anti semitism training. I hope HQs will consider approaching them for help or guidance in this matter.
        Regarding Zionism, it is a legitimate political opinion the same as anti Zionism, Socialism , Communism, Conservatism etc. We oppose and criticise the Tories and they us every day and it is accepted as normal political life and vital in a democracy.
        Therefore I do not see why Jews and others who express disagreement with Zionism should have their reputations trashed for doing so. They are not Anti Semites – they are Anti Zionists.
        Everyone in a civilised society has the right to freedom of speech thought and conscience. These rights cannot be curtailed and to attempt to do so by deeming those who express Anti Zionist views Anti Semetic is truly appalling and must be resisted

  5. My belief in socialism is stronger than your commitment to your religion, your god or your sexual preference and I hereby demand that my belief be treated in law as any other protected characteristic and that antisocialism shall henceforth be counted a hate crime.

    1. David, yes it’s strange that a set of convictions based on logic and the morality of equality should have less protection in law than beliefs based on what somebody wrote down 1400 or 2000 or 3000 years ago.

      1. Simon, I think extreme examples work best on issues around religion. Believers tend to expect a certain kind of argument and need to be shocked out of their comfort zone to have any chance of challenging the beliefs they’ve come to accept as their own, rather than the result of brainwashing refined over centuries by their particular community’s priesthood.
        The mere fact of religions being regionally distributed – or of their being transmitted down through generations as if by genetic inheritance – ought to be enough to make thinking beings dismiss such beliefs.

        The MGM bit was just a tease btw… there’s valid medical justification and I never missed mine 🙂

    2. I was musing on the contradictory attitudes to religious ‘offense’ yesterday.

      The stimulus was a radio item on Mako Vunipola, the rugby player, expressing homophobic views on ‘social’ media – based on religious conviction. It raised a chain of issues about the terms ‘offending’, ‘political correctness’, ‘virtue signalling’ etc.

      Now. I guess the majority here would find Vunipola’s god-bothering comments objectionable – or simply daft. But we had the Rugby Union piling in with censure etc. etc. (not just contradicting his views). Religious belief in this case comes as no defense.

      Then we look at the notion of Zionism’s god-bothering concept of cultural primacy over the historical inhabitants of Palestine, and the very real physical consequences of dispossession and ethnic cleansing.

      Try the Guardian website. Try posting something very mild – such as that Israel is based on – say – ‘a very silly idea’. The censorship will swing into action immediately – and you’ll never hear such manifest truths expressed on the airwaves – and certainly if they creep through, the immediate outcry will be ‘Antisemitism!’ – not ‘Justice for Palestinians!’.

      So – the defintion of ‘offense’ is infinitely variable in its application. Thus its transmutation into ‘virtue signalling’ as a weapon of propaganda. You can make up all sorts of insults about Jeremy Corbyn – but try expressing the repulsiveness of Jonathan Sacks’s etc. mammoth hypocrisy. Try stating the obvious on ‘Thought fot the Day’ – that the shared Abrahamic god of Chrisitans, Jews and Moslems is a convenient hierarchical construct that offends many individuals’ sense of morality in the elevation of the characteristics of vidictive narcissism to a universal model! (although, that does get an airing in ‘Old Harry’s Game’ – the best bible commentary that I know).

      Then there is the tokenism of approved/disapproved language.

      My mother was born in the 1920’s, and grew up within the linguistic framework of the times. She often used the term ‘coloured’ as a descriptor – a term now considered unacceptable as racist.

      But I remember her, in a shop queue, publicly berating a white woman for iracially nsulting a young girl of Asian family who was serving. Nobody else opened their mouth.

      Yes – sensitivity to offense may be an advance. But using it to shut down debate or to over-ride real meaning is a real danger. Thus ‘virtue signalling’ having everything to do with ‘sigmalling’ and little to do with ‘virtue’.

  6. I grew up in those times too but I think recognising the offence and trying not to repeat it has to be enough. Seems we never evolve in time for reparations.
    My favourite author at one time was Conrad – for the quality, the fact that English wasn’t his first language and because I like the sea – but I can’t enjoy his books now because of the attitudes to race that were commonplace back then.
    Never considered myself racist and never used racist language myself but if those words on the page didn’t bother me then, then…

    I think if we believe racism and sexism are wrong we have to do the work and fix it as best we can. I’d rather be accused of virtue signalling than racism, homophobia or bigotry. Not that I won’t tear you a new one if you do 🙂

    1. ” I’d rather be accused of virtue signalling than racism, homophobia or bigotry.”

      I was essentially highlighting the fact that ‘virtue signalling’ *is* too often actually ‘bigotry’ disguised; the inherent hypocrisy of picking and choosing what offense to take seriously and, indeed, that ‘offense’ is a moveable feast – and a dodgy criterion. It’s similar to the exploitation of ‘victimhood’. There has to be some mediating rationality.

      As to Conrad – it isn’t too difficult to distance – keep in perspective – the underlying historical attitudes from the totality. Or we’d never go back to anything. And to be fair, the pessimism of ‘Heart of Darkness’ was pretty broadly aimed, and didn’t much spare the imperial excesses way before modern recognition of that holocaust.

    1. Thanks for the link. Very interesting and disturbing in the insight it gives into the nuts and bolts of how the Labour Party is investigating ‘antisemitism’. As the article demonstrates, the assumption of the investigators appears to be that any opposition to zionism is antisemitic.
      I know that Skwawkbox is generally favourable to Jenny Formby but I worry that this appears to be happening on her watch.

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