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Avril Mailer Writes To The Board Of Deputies Of British Jews

The following letter was written by Israellycool reader, Avril Mailer, directed at members of the UK’s Board of Deputies of British Jews and it concerns their issuance of a joint statement with the Muslim Council of Britain. I first covered this story here. Then, when Alex Brummer wrote a somewhat personal attack against Melanie Phillips I covered that too. Avril left comments on that post which I incorporated into the post.

Now the Board, heavily under attack for their naive and ludicrous statement, is hitting back by trying to pass a resolution giving themselves all a big pat on the back for being such happy-clappy-multi-culti-lovie-dovies.


Dear Deputy

Why you should vote against the resolution: “That the Board supports the Executive in its approval of a joint statement by the Board and the Muslim Council of Britain condemning anti-Semitism”.

The BOD holds itself out as the guardian of the wellbeing and safety of the Jews of the UK. As such it has assumed a duty of care towards the Community. It is submitted that every Deputy who endorses the issuing of this joint statement would be failing in this duty of care.

1. The nature of the MCB

The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB was founded by Jamaat-e-Islami, a Pakistani/Bangladeshi Islamist organisation which is implicated in war crimes in Bangladesh. One of the MCB founders who still lives in Britain has been convicted in Bangladesh in absentia of war crimes. John Ware’s article in the JC covers the malign role of Jamaat in the UK, and in the MCB in particular: The rise and rise of the Muslim Brothers. The role of Jamaat is also dealt with extensively in an investigation by the Stand for Peace: see p 5 and following of the SfP report available here: The Interfaith Industry.

A report published by the Department for Communities and Local Government explicitly connects the MCB with Jamaat. The report stated that Jamaat “.. helped to create and subsequently dominate the leadership of the MCB..” (p 5 of SfP report).

The Muslim Brotherhood, the Arab “cousin” of Jamaat, jointly controls MCB along with Jamaat. See John Ware’s article, above, and page 5 and following of the SfP Report. The MB uses different names in each of the approximately 70-80 countries in which it operates. Hamas is the name of the Palestinian branch as acknowledged in the Hamas Charter. The MB has established a Hamas support network in the UK (John Ware’s article).

The government, already in the process of investigating both MB and Jamaat in a review since April 2014 (John Ware’s article) is now planning action against MB. “Britain is set to impose curbs on Muslim Brotherhood-linked organisations and block activists moving to London after a report by a senior diplomat raised concerns over the group’s links to extremists in the Middle East. One of the main areas of concern raised with Sir John was Muslim Brotherhood charities that now face renewed scrutiny by the Charity Commission.” – Britain to curb Muslim Brotherhood operations in London – The Telegraph.

Question

The Stand for Peace Report was circulated by email to the BOD and all shuls and other communal bodies upon its launch in November 2013. Was the Board aware of its contents regarding the MCB, and the Ware report in the JC? If so, did it choose to disregard this information in deciding to make this joint statement with MCB?

Conclusion

The Board ought to have been aware of this information. If not, it is not carrying out its duty of care to the standard we expect. If it was aware, and this did not weigh sufficiently with them to step back from this joint declaration, the Board is in dereliction of its duty of care to the community. The posture adopted by Mr Brummer that we should be grateful we have avoided the troubles as experienced in Europe, and that this joint declaration was aimed at keeping it that way, is akin to the government’s disastrously failed “Covenant of Security” with extremists, formulated on the basis that “as long as you don’t make trouble here, you can carry on inciting trouble elsewhere”. This Faustian pact does not keep the Community safe here, and by its appeasement of the Hamas UK support network, is a betrayal of Israel Not only are we acting against our interests by associating with the MCB (Holocaust Memorial Day boycott ) but the joint BoS-MCB statement also brings the Community into disrepute in Britain. The MCB deputy secretary-general signed the Istanbul declaration, sanctioning killing of British Troops.(The Istanbul declaration also called for attacks on Israel and Jews).

2. MCB is not representative of “the” Muslim community.

The stated aim of the Board was “to work with ‘the’ Muslim community to make a joint statement against anti-Semitism

Not only is “the” community not reducible to this convenient homogeneity, but a major report has found that only 6% of Muslims feel they are represented by the MCB: see page 79-80 of this research paper: “One of the most striking findings of the research was how respondents did not feel represented by current representative Muslim bodies. Only 6% named the MCB as an organisation that represents their views (Fig 20). There is a feeling, particularly amongst younger people, that the MCB is dominated by older men, with insufficient representation of young people or women on their board. For many, this makes the MCB seem like an irrelevant institution and not suited to representing the views. “who elected them? Who put them there? I don’t know, I don’t even know who they are.” –Living Apart Together by Policy Exchange pdf

According to John Ware:

“Although Jamaat e Islami-inspired organisations control just three per cent of mosques, a government-published report has said that the “JI helped to create and subsequently dominate the leadership” of the organisation that describes itself as the “national representative” of Britain’s very diverse Muslims – the Muslim Council of Britain.”

Please also note this plea to the Jewish community from leaders in the Bangladeshi community and others: Open Letter to the Jewish Community Leadership: “Is the Jewish Community Talking to the Right Kind of Muslims?”

3. Joint action with MCB validates them and marginalises genuine moderates

Joint action of any kind with MCB is not a neutral act of reaching out to “some” of the Muslim community. It has been clearly demonstrated to marginalise and even oust genuine moderates with whom we should be engaging. Just one example is reflected in the anguished comment of Sheikh Muhammad Al-Husseini below the BOD announcement of this declaration: “British Jews and Muslims Call for Peace, Wisdom and Hope over Conflict in Israel and Palestine

The Sheikh is a staunch friend of the Jewish community and supporter of Israel.

4. The tendentious content of the declaration

The blowback of the ambiguous content of the declaration has been extensively canvassed. It is the inevitable corollary of the misjudgement of having anything to do with MCB.

My points arising out of Alex Brummer’s defence of the joint declaration have been incorporated into this widely read Israel blog: Alex Brummer Bites Back Its Court Jew vs Phillips – Israellycool

My full argument is in the comment section below that. The relevant extract:

“[Brummer] says MCB’s Shafi on radio 4 “had to be goaded into criticising antisemitic graffiti on synagogue walls. That was unfortunate [unfortunate!] but “he came round in the end”. I have seen this “error” spread by other BOD apologists, claiming that Shafi tweeted later the graffiti was indeed antisemitic. As this link to his tweet shows, he only managed “vandalism”. in the words of HP: The problem, apparently, is that this would be “vandalism”. Not antisemitism, but vandalism.”

Amateur-hour – Harry’s Place

“And Brummer goes on to claim that Shafi has also, apparently, “clarified his position that the targeting of civilians referred to Hamas.” One would think in the wake of the uproar that this clarification would have received maximum publicity. This is the first I hear of it. I wonder if it is as clear as his condemnation of the graffiti. Citation please, Mr Brummer.”

Mr Brummer has been asked to substantiate this. He referred the questioner to James Martin. Insofar as is known, the questioner has not had a response from Mr Martin or anyone. It would be worryingly irresponsible for someone representing the Board to have published this claim in the JC without personally substantiating it. It does not inspire confidence that the decision to publish the joint declaration was well researched either.

As Stephen Pollard observes: “..the Board of Deputies has engineered a situation where a statement intended to show how much unites two minority faiths has actually re-emphasised and given publicity to an enormous chasm between the two. And it has meant that instead of a focus on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in the UK – two scourges of our time – attention is now, again, on a foreign war, again being imported into the UK” The Muslim-Jewish statement of unity on Gaza has only revealed how divided the two faiths are – Stephen Pollard.

Avril Mailer

Member, Mill Hill United Synagogue

Solicitor (retd.)

Member of Friends of UK Lawyers for Israel, writing in personal capacity.

About the author

Picture of Brian of London

Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian is an indigenous rights activist fighting for indigenous people who’ve returned to their ancestral homelands and built great things.
Picture of Brian of London

Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian is an indigenous rights activist fighting for indigenous people who’ve returned to their ancestral homelands and built great things.
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