Con­fu­sion over let­ter from lead­ing Charedi rab­bis de­fend­ing Cor­byn

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY BEN WEICH

A LET­TER de­fend­ing Jeremy Cor­byn, signed by 28 lead­ing Charedi rab­bis, has been cir­cu­lated among Lon­don’s strictly-Ortho­dox com­mu­nity — al­though some have ar­gued the rab­bis were mis­led over its con­tent.

The let­ter, cir­cu­lated in He­brew over the High Holy Days, railed against “those who are spread­ing reports that the Jews in Bri­tain are united against” the Labour leader.

But af­ter it be­came pub­lic, the Union of Ortho­dox He­brew Con­gre­ga­tions (UOHC), an um­brella or­gan­i­sa­tion rep­re­sent­ing Charedi shuls, dis­tanced it­self from the let­ter.

Three rab­bis — Rab­bis Eliyakim Sch­lesinger, Azriel Schechter and Ze’ev Feld­man — con­firmed to the JC they had signed it, al­though a se­nior of­fi­cial at the UOHC de­scribed the let­ter as “fake news”.

But the JC un­der­stands that some of the pur­ported sig­na­to­ries were not told its full con­tents when asked to put their names to it, with some be­liev­ing it only con­cerned Is­raeli pol­i­tics.

Naftoli Fried­man, a mem­ber of the Charedi com­mu­nity who was in­volved in ac­quir­ing sig­na­to­ries, said the let­ter was real.

He was speak­ing af­ter the Jewish Com­mu­nity Coun­cil of North Lon­don (JCC), a nascent com­mu­nity group based in Stam­ford Hill, tweeted: “We would like to con­firm and clar­ify this let­ter is fake and bears no author­ity from any of the as­signed names.”

The let­ter con­demned reports that, “Jews are con­sid­er­ing leav­ing Bri­tain out of con­cern that [Mr Cor­byn] may be elected as Prime Min­is­ter” — re­fer­ring to the re­sults of a JC poll pub­lished last week.

Ac­cord­ing to a trans­la­tion by the If You Tickle Us blog, it read: “We there­fore pub­li­cise our views that we are in no way as­so­ci­ated with these afore­men­tioned ir­re­spon­si­ble ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Jews who are loyal to God and His To­rah seek the peace of the state in which they re­side and treat her lead­ers with re­spect and, God for­bid, we would never con­tem­plate an­tag­o­nis­ing po­lit­i­cal lead­ers.”

It was pub­lished af­ter Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks said Mr Cor­byn’s re­marks about Bri­tish Zion­ists were “the most of­fen­sive state­ment made by a se­nior Bri­tish politi­cian” since Enoch Pow­ell’s ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech.

In July, a group of 68 Bri­tish rab­bis from across the de­nom­i­na­tional spec­trum signed an un­prece­dented let­ter urg­ing the Labour Party “to lis­ten to the Jewish com­mu­nity” and adopt the full In­ter­na­tional Holocaust Re­mem­brance Al­liance def­i­ni­tion of an­tisemitism. Re­buke: the let­ter in He­brew

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