Pesach Sameach

April 18th, 2011 by Mark Gardner

Pesach begins today. It is a time for families to gather together, to read the Haggadah and reflect upon the meaning of freedom.

CST Blog wishes all its readers and their families a Peasch Sameach.

  

The Y-Word

April 14th, 2011 by CST

CST and Maccabi GB have joined with Kick It Out, football’s equality and inclusion campaign, to make a new film aimed at tackling anti-Semitism and anti-Jewish abuse in football.

The film, entitled The Y-Word, has been written and produced by David and Ivor Baddiel and made by Fahrenheit Films. It is also supported by The Shoresh Foundation.

“The film is not intended to censor football fans,” said David. “It’s simply to raise awareness that the y-word is – and has been for many, many years – a race hate word. It’s our belief that some football fans may not even realise this, and the film is designed therefore to inform and raise debate.”

The minute-long film explores the use of the word ‘Yid’ by football supporters. Gary Lineker, Frank Lampard, Ledley King, England women’s star Rachel Yankey and Zesh Rehman, the Premier League’s first British Asian player, also feature in the film.

Lord Herman Ouseley, Chair of Kick It Out, said: “This film will form a key part of the organisation’s education work on matters around anti-Semitism.”

The film has already received widespread support from London’s Premier League clubs ahead of its debut screening.

Tottenham Hotspur Executive Director, Donna Cullen, said:

It is unthinkable and wholly unacceptable that, in this day and age, supporters are subjected to anti-Semitic abuse such as hissing to imitate the gas chambers used during the Holocaust in the Second World War.

We look forward to an informed and proper debate with Kick It Out, stakeholders and the key authorities to raise greater awareness and put in place the stringent measures needed to stop anti-Semitic abuse in football. We are committed to eliminating all forms of racism and we shall support efforts to kick anti-Semitism out of the game.

Chelsea Chairman, Bruce Buck, commented:

Chelsea FC has been campaigning about issues around anti-Semitism for many years. We have, and always will, take the strongest possible action against anyone found making any kind of discriminatory chant or taunt. It is great to see the football world come together to support a project that will raise awareness of the problem.

Arsenal Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, said:

Arsenal FC supports any initiative designed to reduce exclusion. The club works hard under the ‘Arsenal for Everyone’ banner on a range of issues aimed at increasing equality and inclusion. Given the club’s proximity to some of the country’s largest Jewish communities, stamping out anti-Semitism is something we have, historically, paid particular attention to and applaud Kick It Out in this new method of tackling it.

Governing bodies have also pledged their backing, with FA General Secretary, Alex Horne, saying:

The FA is delighted to support the film and we hope that it has a positive impact in educating football fans on anti-Semitic behaviour. The ‘think again’ message is clear for those who use chants such as the y-word. We are committed to football for all and our overall aim is to make football stadiums family friendly and open to everyone.

Deputy Chief Executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, Bobby Barnes, said:

The PFA has a zero-tolerance stance to all forms of racism, bigotry and hatred and this includes all forms of anti-Semitism. Chants and songs are a part of football culture but we will not condone any form of chanting that causes offence to players or the majority of supporters who go to the game to enjoy football, not to create trouble.

Chairman of the Football League, Greg Clarke, gave the film his backing:

There is no place for any form of racism in football and we welcome this initiative on anti-Semitism by Kick It Out. Football League clubs are committed to creating safe, family friendly environments at their grounds and they will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.

John Mann MP, Chair of The FA Working Group on tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in football, added:

The Y-Word is a powerful and important film which demonstrates that footballers from many different backgrounds have complete contempt for racist taunts, whoever the victim. I know The FA take these matters seriously and have been pleased with their efforts to implement the recommendations of my report on tackling anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in football.

CST supporting Restorative Justice in Manchester

April 8th, 2011 by CST

This week saw the official launch of a Restorative Justice partnership between Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and the local Jewish community, hosted at CST’s northern region office in Manchester.

Restorative Justice (RJ) offers a structure for victims of crime to explain to offenders the impact that their crime has had on them, and for offenders to apologise for their actions. According to the Restorative Justice Council:

In criminal justice, restorative processes give victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers to their questions, and an apology. It lets offenders understand the real impact of what they’ve done, to take responsibility and make amends. Restorative Justice holds offenders to account for what they have done, personally and directly, and helps victims to get on with their lives.

Alongside criminal justice, restorative processes are increasingly being used in schools, care homes and the wider community to address conflict, build understanding and strengthen relationships with young people. In these contexts it is also known by the names ‘Restorative Approaches’ and ‘Restorative Practices’.

All restorative work is underpinned by principles and best practice, building on a strong evidence base.

As well has helping victims, research evidence shows that RJ reduces re-offending rates, thereby reducing crime.

The launch event was attended by representatives from CST, the Jewish Community and GMP. The keynote speech was delivered by Divisional Commander Kevin Mulligan of GMP Salford Division, who was accompanied by Inspector Gail Spruce, who is GMP’s lead on Restorative Justice.

RJ2

Left to right: Simon Walton (GMP – Restorative Justice Project); Rabbi Yehuda Brodie (Manchester Beth Din); Divisional Commander Kevin Mulligan; Insp Gail Spruce; Lucille Cohen (President of The Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester and Region). Photo: Michael Poloway.

GMP Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan, who is the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead on RJ, said:

Restorative Justice has made a  difference in our communities in terms of really unpicking the causes of anti-social behaviour and crime.

Restorative Justice brings everyone in the community together to combat crime and anti-social behaviour and puts victims first, giving them more control over how an offender is dealt with.

We are really pleased to be working with CST and reaching out to members of our Jewish communities to explain how Restorative Justice can work for them.

Tackling hate crime is a priority for Greater Manchester Police. We understand there maybe people who do not want to report hate crime for a number of reasons. Restorative Justice is another way of dealing with hate crime that is tailored to the victim’s needs, and can play an important role in educating people about hate crime and the effects of antisemitism. Our work with CST will hopefully encourage people to report hate crime and together we  will deal with it in the ways that suit their needs.

Rabbi Yehuda Brodie, Registrar to the Manchester Beth Din, said:

The concept of RJ whereby restitution is coupled with remorse and a plea for forgiveness is basic to Jewish Law. There cannot be closure for any crime against the person whether verbal or physical or for any act of damage to a person’s property or reputation without genuine regret for one’s actions and a sincere apology to the victim. This approach of dealing with offences by restoring the victim’s self esteem and bringing the perpetrator face to face with the target of his criminal and anti-social behaviour is therefore to be applauded.

CST is a supporter of the RJ process, believing that that positive outcomes from RJ will encourage members of the community, who currently do not wish to report antisemitic incidents or other crimes to the police for a number of reasons (such as not wanting to waste police time, or assuming that there will be no benefit in reporting offences), to be more willing to report them. CST has already participated in positive examples of RJ in the GMP area, involving Jewish victims of crime, and those who perpetrated the crimes. 

CST’s Manchester office is playing an active role in the piloting of RJ and will be:

  • Acting as a surrogate, where the victim does not want to come face to face with the offender in the RJ process
  • Facilitate learning sessions, for example by explaining the effect of antisemitism on the victim or bringing in other experts, such as Holocaust educators
  • Identifying other members of the Jewish community to be involved in the piloting, consultation and publicity processes for RJ

Spectator Alert: Ill-Mannered Jews Spotted in Savoy Grill

April 5th, 2011 by Mark Gardner

As an explanation of what distinguishes the English characteristics of antisemitism from its uglier and more lethal continental equivalents, Anthony Julius’s book, Trials of the Diaspora simply cannot be bettered.

Nevertheless, at 811 pages (including references), you might want something shorter and easier to read in the bath. Thankfully, The Spectator  magazine has come to the rescue, in the shape of Alistair Horne’s review of the newly revamped Savoy Grill; proving that in one little corner of England’s green and pleasant land, old-habits are indeed dying hard.

Having disparaged the doormen, praised the chateaubriand and despaired at the price of a bottle of Petrus (£2,000), Horne sniffs out yet another problem – an old one:

Another common fault of even smart London restaurants — the tables in the Grill are too close together. (The Ritz is an exception.) Our conversation was beaten down by the nasal tones of Finchley Road entrepreneurs, boasting their latest high-powered deals.

The voices carried me back to the last time I was treated to ‘Henry’s table’ in the Grill. It was June 1940, a party to cheer up my cousin, Cecil, who had just been given the DSO (on top of a WWI Military Cross) for bringing his battalion out of Dunkirk.

He was a man brave as a lion, who rather alarmed me as a child, and that day was gaunt and hollow-eyed as if he had escaped from hell. He had. He talked of German ‘secret weapons’. Then, as we rose, he looked around the room and asked scathingly: ‘Are these really the people we fought for?’ He might possibly have posed the same question today, except that he was killed two years later at the head of his brigade in the desert.

And there you have it: the old English antisemitism. 

The snobbery. The mockery. The sneer.

The codes of language and meaning, behaviour and status.

The literary flourish and the importance of the remark.

The insiders. The outsiders. The well heeled English gentleman. The crass money-making Jew.

This genteel and noble land of heroes: now exploited, tarnished and abused by ill-spoken profiteers.

——–

FOOTNOTE:

In the Comments that follow the article on the Spectator website, Michael Berlin writes this –

The distinguished historian may like to think and ponder on the following, which contain one or two men with nasal accents who come from the Finchely Road:

According to the latest records 2,954 British Jews and 694 Palestinian Jews gave their lives in the Second World War.

The number of those that were killed, died in service or who remain missing are:

Army
1,864
Royal Navy (including Royal Marines)
202
RAF
888
Merchant Navy
41
Palestinian Jews
694

He then lists the Second World War Awards to Jewish Servicemen, including 3 Victoria Crosses, 147 Military Medals (2 with Bar) and 63 Distinguished Flying Medals (5 with Bar).