said Rabbi Lester’s comments were “so outrageous, I didn’t even think they came from a real person. It doesn’t take much imagination to think how Jews would feel if the same was said about Judaism. Such coarsening of public discourse threatens the very social cohesion on which we all depend. We need to take a step back and make sure we are able to discuss issues in an unemotional manner, free from bigotry.”
Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Reform Judaism’s senior rabbi said: “As a British rabbi, I reject the letter and the statement that Islam has no place in Europe. I strongly believe in our shared destiny as Jews and Muslims.We have to remain vigilant. These attitudes about Islam and Muslims will affect Jews and the same with what is said about Jews will affect Muslims.”
Rabbi David Mason, of Muswell Hill Synagogue, also condemned the comments. “As a rabbi, as well as building a strong sense of Jewish identity, it is also important to make sure you protect the identity of others.”
Other figures in the Jewish community continued to condemn Boris Johnson’s initial comments. Jonathan Goldstein, Jewish Leadership Council chairman called Mr Johnson’s remarks “totally disgraceful”. Adrian Cohen, chairman of the London Jewish Forum, said Mr Johnson’s comments “should be of grave concern” to the Jewish community.
Geoffrey Harris, chairman of the South London Synagogue, said: “South London Synagogue is situated in Lambeth, one of the most diverse boroughs in the country. Seven years ago, Rabbi Lester made aliyah; his comments on Islam do not reflect the view of the South London Synagogue to other minority groups in the borough.”