From: Tim Friedman, President, Leeds Jewish Representative Council 1995-98.
UNLIKE Michael McGowan, I live in Leeds and mix with many different individuals and organisations within the local Jewish community (The Yorkshire Post, November 27).
In practically every conversation, the hostility of the present leadership of the Labour Party, and many of those who purport to speak on its behalf, towards the Jewish community is the main topic and has been for some months. In his public statements, the Chief Rabbi has undoubtedly articulated their feelings.
Not only have I met no-one from the community who is relaxed about their future under a prospective Jeremy Corbyn administration, but I know of many lifelong members and supporters of the Labour Party who have had heart-wrenching decisions to take, have resigned from the party and will vote against it at the election.
There is a widespread belief within, and beyond, the Jewish community that Labour under Mr Corbyn has become institutionally racist, a matter that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (which organisation was an initiative of a previous Labour government) is presently examining.
The only other party to be so examined was the BNP.
From: Lisa Baker, president, Leeds Jewish Representative Council.
WE, as a community, are delighted that you have chosen to highlight the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour party and the Chief Rabbi’s comments.
However, I am saddened and disappointed that you chose to print the letter by Michael McGowan, a former MEP. I am president of the Leeds Jewish Representative Council (LJRC), which is as the title suggests, is the rep body for all 50-plus affiliate Jewish organisations covering Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and York, comprising about 8-10,000 Jewish people. Mr McGowan is not part of the LJRC.
As the Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, speaks for orthodox Jewish people in our country. I can assure you, contrary to what Mr McGowan says, he does speak for the orthodox Jewish community in Leeds. That he felt the need to involve himself in political matters and comment is a damning indictment on the current situation in the Labour Party.
The fact that Archbishop Justin Welby, the head of the Anglican Church, led his support to Rabbi Mirvis should tell your readers all they need to know about where the truth lies.