Yesterday a Director of the UK Rabbinical Executive Board wrote a letter to Jeremy Corbyn which, it said, represented the views of the United European Jews organisation (UEJ). The letter said that the organisation “reject and condemn in no uncertain terms” the recent comments in the media, claiming that the “majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety” at the prospect of a Labour government. The letter states that the media commentary does not represent the views of mainstream Chareidi Jews who live in the UK.
The letter continues: “We believe that such assertions are due to propaganda with a political and ideological agenda”, which, the group add, “is an agenda diametrically opposed to fundamental Jewish values, as well as the opinions of tens of thousands of Jews in our community”.
The Rabbinical Executive’s letter goes on to thank the Labour party leader for his “numerous acts of solidarity with the Jewish community over many years”.
A press released by UEJ describes the organisation:
United European Jews is a pan-European organisation that performs research and advocacy concerning topics of Judaism, Jewish identity, and antisemitism. The institute was founded by Rabbi Mayer Weinberger of Belgium in conjunction with Jewish faith leaders throughout Europe.
We engage in educational activities which spread information and catalyze action. UEJ offers a view of Jewish identity that at its core is representative of the mainstream 70,000 chareidi Jews that live in the UK, who do not identify with Israeli nationalism or politics as elemental to their Jewish identity.
We advocate the traditional Orthodox Jewish idea that Jewish identity is defined only by Jewish religious doctrine and is independent of foreign nationalist components. As British Jews, our home and country is the United Kingdom, and our religion is Judaism.
Here is the letter in full:
It will be very interesting to see if the media in the UK report on this letter, rather than continuing the concerted attempts to stage manage our democracy.
I would personally like to thank the Rabbinical Executive Board for such a candid, kindly and hope-inspiring letter to a candid, kindly and hope-inspiring politician.
Earlier this year, a similar letter was sent that condemned attempts to report that a meeting between Corbyn and representatives of London’s Charedi Jewish community had been abandoned because of ‘outrage’ among the community.
The letter also records “our gratitude for your numerous acts of solidarity with the Jewish Community over many years” and thanked Corbyn for his support with recent concerns regarding a coroner who was unsympathetic and unaccommodating to Jewish faith and burial custom.
Corbyn’s letter seen by the Gazette, said: “Coroner Hassell’s approach goes against our Jewish and Muslim residents’ faith and is preventing them from grieving for their lost loved ones.”
The letter, co-signed by Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South & Finsbury, and Islington councillor Richard Watts, notes that other coroner services, including Salford and Bolton’s Coroner Services, use magnetic resonance imaging scans in autopsies, removing the need for “invasive post-mortem techniques that go against a number of religious practices”.
“We regret that Coroner Hassell’s conduct … to date has caused significant upset and undue trauma for people who are already suffering so much and simply want to grieve,’ it states.
Corbyn said: ‘I have been approached by the Jewish and Muslim communities in Islington and I’m very concerned about the stress families are going through in not being able to complete burials in line with their faiths. I fully support their efforts to ensure public services respect their religious beliefs and traditions – and the coroner service should be no exception.”
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