‘VICIOUS’ AND UNFAIR TALES OF HOFFMAN
I was astonished to read the vicious personal attack by Jerry Lewis on Jonathan Hoffman ( Board blasts Israel’s ‘maverick’ defender, JC October 16). Jonathan is co-vice chair of the Zionist Federation and his efforts on behalf of Israel during Cast Lead were recognised with an award from the Israeli ambassador. The ZF has complete confidence in him. He has raised our profile and done much to defend Israel in the public arena.
The ZF is completely committed to making Israel’s case wherever necessary and to working with the Board and other organisations in the much needed task of strengthening our communal voice on Israel and exposing and challenging Israel-based antisemitism. To this end, Jonathan is chairing the new ZF Advocacy and Defence Committee. Your readers are welcome to join the ZF. Contact us on www.zionist.org.uk Andrew Balcombe Chairman, ZF, Rachel Imenu Jerusalem, Israel
As Denis Healey said of Geoffrey Howe, being attacked by Jerry Lewis is like being savaged by a dead sheep. Actually a dead cat — called “Macavity”, for when it comes to rebutting antisemitic discourse about Israel, “he’s not there” . But what he is good at is unverifiable assertion, as in claiming that my “tactics have been the cause of many complaints to the Board”. In the past he has told us that many deputies approached him to stand as president and that many people felt that the ZF should not have a chairman who lived in Israel but were “too afraid to speak out!”.
Lewis asserts that I “damage both Israel ’s case and beyond”. Where is the “beyond” – Iran? Or is he suggesting that by showing zero tolerance for antisemitism, I cause it?
If Jerry Lewis thinks that smearing Israel activists enhances the standing of the Board, he is wrong. His defamatory accusations have crossed a red line and caused upset for me and my family. I demand from him and the Board an unqualified public apology.
I have done nothing to be ashamed of with regard to my activism and I challenge Mr Lewis to a public debate. Jonathan Hoffman email@example.com
It seems that the Jewish establishment is closing ranks once again. This time not against anti-Zionists but against one of their own, the admittedly unconventional Jonathan Hoffman. It is not for me to intrude on private grief and I’m sure Mr Hoffman will not welcome such but he has been a breath of fresh air. Whereas the good and great of the Board of Deputies and Zionist Federation have never deigned to get their hands dirty with anything but the most rigorously controlled protest, Jonathan Hoffman at least has had the guts to take the fight to the enemy.
One suspects that the vitriol of Jerry Lewis owes more than a little to the fact that Hoffman hasn’t been afraid to debate the merits and actions of Israel and Zionism, whereas the Board always treated the subject as taboo and a given. Tony Greenstein The Crestway, Brighton
War on Want complains about Jonathan Hoffman because his questions challenge and expose their antiIsrael agenda. Mr Hoffman is one of the few courageously going forth to tackle the rising tide of antisemitism thinly disguised as anti-Zionism, and he deserves our support. Hazel Green Victoria Road, Surbiton, Surrey