MICHAEL McGowan, a former Labour MEP for Leeds, is not in any kind of position or authority to speak on our behalf or to cast aspersions on the Chief Rabbi who most of the community, regardless of religious affiliation, hold in the highest regard.
The vast majority of the Leeds Jewish community, in common with 87 per cent of British Jews, have been watching anti-Semitic political events in the Labour party unfold over the past five years with trepidation and fear.
As Fabian Hamilton, who is seeking re-election for Labour in Leeds North East, has been unwilling or unable to offer any kind of support or condemnation, we unreservedly applaud the Chief Rabbi’s intervention on our behalf.
Mr McGowan appears representative of those Labour officials and members who seem to think they have the right to speak for and over us. We reserve the right – as one of the UK’s smallest minorities – to speak for ourselves and challenge anti-Semitism, whether it comes from left or right-wing political parties.
From: Diane Saunders, Moortown, Leeds.
WHILE Michael McGowan is entitled to his view of Jeremy Corbyn from his personal experience, he is not entitled to speak on my behalf as a Jewish woman living in Leeds.
From his election as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn was reluctant to engage with the Jewish community, this lack of interest in our concerns was disturbing and unfortunately this behaviour has become the pattern for his leadership.
It is unnecessary to repeat the many instances of anti-Semitism within Labour, all are well documented, but that is not the point. Mr McGowan’s view is from an outside perspective, he appears to blame the victims of anti-Semitism for their lack of understanding. It is hard to think of any other minority that would be given such advice in the face of constant hostility. There is an old saying, “Two Jews, three opinions”. Jewish people thrive on debate, discussion and disagreement so it is obvious not all Jewish people agree about anything but it is very clear within the community that there is a real fear of a Corbyn government.
Whatever my disagreements with the Chief Rabbi on any issue, on this subject he speaks for me. Mr McGowan may not like it it but he cannot change it and I thank him not to repeat his misunderstandings and misrepresentations.