Jewish ‘representative’ organisation makes offensive mistake over GaryGate

Last Updated: March 13, 2023By Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Marie Van Der Zyl: The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews may need to ask some serious questions of the other members of her organisation.

“I do not like the Board of Jewish Deputies,”

writes Martin Odoni in his excellent article about this incident.

“As a body, it falsely claims to ‘represent’ British Jews, but hardly ever consults any of us before arriving at its official position on any matter. They no more represent Jews than Mary I represented the people of England.”

This seems clear from its treatment of Rachel Shabi, who also happens to be Jewish, and who tweeted a response to Karen Pollock of the Holocaust Educational Trust, who in turn had claimed that Gary Lineker had been wrong to make Holocaust comparisons to current events:

Mr Odoni wrote,

I agree with Shabi, most particularly in light of the many, many examples, during eight years of anti-Semitism hysteria directed at the British Left, of wildly hyperbolic and irresponsible Holocaust comparisons being misused – think of Margaret Hodge – to which the HET ‘mysteriously’ never responded. (Once again, the outrage only follows when the comparisons are made with the modern British Right.)

But such comparisons can be accurate, and the horrid rhetoric the current Tory Party are using when discussing asylum seekers is indeed barely distinguishable, at least in tone, from the sort of anti-Semitic propaganda that was omni-present in Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

However, the Board of Deputies of British Jews was apparently outraged. It published a (now-deleted) tweet, to which Ms Shabi responded… actually in thoroughly reasonable tones, considering the content. Look:

“Rachel Shabi telling the head of the Holocaust Education Trust that she’s “plainly wrong” about, er, the Holocaust, is the definition of chutzpah. The shamelessness of this asshole.”

Is that really appropriate language for the body claiming to represent all British Jews?

After the inevitable public backlash, even the BoD agreed that it isn’t, with an apparent claim – clarified by Ms Shabi – that the tweet was intended to go from a member’s personal account rather than the organisation’s official Twitter feed:

Mr Odoni has information about the person apparently responsible for the BoD’s Twitter account, but I’ll leave it to him to explain it to you, over in his article.

But I will pass an observation by an onlooker about what the apology says about the BoD:

Whatever happened here, it is likely to tarnish the reputation of this organisation for some time to come.

BoD president Marie van der Zyl may need to explain what’s going on – because if Gary Lineker can be removed from his position at the BBC over a tweet he published on his personal Twitter feed, then surely a member of her organisation should be removed for publishing a tweet containing inappropriate language and inaccuracies, on its official Twitter feed rather than their own.

Or will we see some more double-standards in this increasingly twisted saga?

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