What the blazes was UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis doing, making a speech to US pro-Israel (by which we mean pro-Israeli-government) lobby group AIPAC?
Critics of the organisation have described it as an agent of the Israeli government with strong links to Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and the Republican Party in the US.
By making a speech there, Mr Mirvis was also making a clear declaration of political partisanship – as he was when he attacked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during the general election campaign last year.
We can see the bias in the parts of his speech reported by the Jewish Chronicle – which I understand has undergone a certain amount of financial embarrassment due to false allegations of anti-Semitism it has made against innocent people.
“Prime Ministers of Israel and key Jewish leaders have been warmly and graciously welcomed at 10 Downing Street” under a Conservative government, he said, ignoring the fact that they have been welcomed under Labour governments too.
“What would happen if the next incumbent was Jeremy Corbyn? What would the consequences be for Jews and Judaism and the State of Israel?”
In making that comment, he committed a cardinal sin in the fight against anti-Semitism: deliberately presenting Judaism and the State of Israel as the same thing.
They aren’t; many Jews worldwide deplore the political decisions of the Israeli government, particularly in its treatment of Palestine.
Perhaps Mr Mirvis chose to blur the boundaries because he is a dyed-in-the-wool Conservative, a friend of Boris Johnson, and a Zionist who supports hatred against Palestinians (based on his own words in the past)?
But then, what can we expect from someone whose position in this debate is based on a lie? The post of Chief Rabbi is entirely symbolic and Jewish law provides no support for it as all rabbis have equal authority in principle.
The post merely arose because secular authorities have wanted an intermediary with the Jewish community for administrative reasons.
By interfering in secular politics, it could be claimed that Mr Mirvis has betrayed his role; he reports to secular politicians but should not have an influence on them.
Sadly, it seems some political figures are all-too-ready to buy into the role he has assumed for himself (with no authority to do so).
In the following case, I can only sympathise with the attitude of left-wing Jewish group Jewdas:
He's not gonna shag you. leave it mate pic.twitter.com/4HjOVaMMK0
— jewdⒶs // ייִדהודה (@jewdas) March 5, 2020
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