The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment&analysis -

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 jonathan.hoff­man@btopen­world.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

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