Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wineman, No Wise Man

If you do not know, my presence at the Manchester Big Tent is prohibited as a speaker/presenter. The flap has flopped and I am out.  There will be many people there as presenters, workshop facilitators, panelists and greeters.

I was personally "disinvited" although I am not sure that I ever was officially invited. I think my name was proposed at the organizing meeting last Thursday for I was told that opposition was strongly expressed by Board of Deputies head, Vivian Wineman, in that the feeling shared around the table, it would seem, was that I had insulted the gentlemen and ladies thereof.

Wineman, however, is truly the odd Jew in this situation.

As the Jewish Chronicle reported two years and a half ago, in May 2009:

A former chairman of British Friends of Peace Now has been elected president of the Board of Deputies for the next three years.

Vivian Wineman, 59, the Board’s senior vice-president, emerged victorious from a record four candidates...Mr Wineman, a commercial solicitor who represents Hampstead Garden Suburb United Synagogue [and educated at City of London School Yavneh Yeshivah (Rabbinical College) Gonville & Caius College]...while entertaining “strong views” on Israel...explained that at the Board: “I never make recommendations on what the government of Israel should do for its security. I am concerned that Israel should continue to be a democratic Jewish state...if we start going out on a limb, taking a line on Israeli politics, even a line we are sympathetic to, we risk the danger of alienating our own community and damaging the Board.”

A founder of the British branch of the New Israel Fund, who speaks fluent Hebrew and has studied at yeshivah, Mr Wineman stressed both a commitment to religious pluralism as well as an ability to make overtures to the Charedi community, which is almost entirely unrepresented at the Board...

Peace Now and outreach to Chareidim?

Peace Now and a speaker representing the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria?

What was I thinking?

In addition, it seems he is

chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council and Vice President of the European Jewish Congress.

Talk about power and power concentration. If it weren't so flippant, I'd suggest an "Occupy the BOD" protest but that might really cause a nervous reaction on that august body's part.

But getting back to the principle of fairness, across-the-community representation, studious neutrality, etc. Consider this: Wineman was actually asked to "balance" Naomi Chazan at an event devoted to

the occupied Palestinian territories in a long question and answer session with Jonathan Freedland organized by the UK New Israel Fund and hosted by the New North London Synagogue...

Curiously, the NIF organizers decided they needed to ‘balance’ Naomi Chazan’s views with the responses of three leaders of the Jewish and pro-Israel establishments. This seemed an odd idea to say the least, given that Jonathan Freedland acted very effectively as devil’s advocate in his questioning, despite the fact that he freely admitted that his sympathies lay with Chazan and her views...Wineman was rambling and confused.

NIF President Naomi Chazan with responders BoD President Vivian Wineman,
Bicom CEO Lorna Fitzsimons and UJIA Chief Executive Doug Krikler

Oh, and by the way, I escorted Ms. Fitzsimons on a trip through the Benjamin region.  At least she was open to hear the 'other side'.

"Confused"?  How could he be confused. He headed the NIF. Naomi headed the NIF. The NIF was under attack. He failed her? Failed the NIF? Or is he always rambling and confused despite his legal training? Or was that his legal expertise at work in disguise?

Wineman, this week, has just been awarded

the Samaritan Peace and Humanitarian Medal

Mr Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies, has become the 2011 recipient of the Samaritan Medal for Peace, Humanitarian and Academic Achievements...[saying] is a matter of huge pride to me that we can conduct dialogue in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I would like to pay tribute to Benny Sedaka's indefatigable work in promoting knowledge of the Samaritan tradition and his wonderful idea of making them a bridge in the cause of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians."

(The Samaritan Medal Foundation was established in 2005 in Washington DC in order to highlight prominent activists in the world and the Middle East who foster peace between Israel and Palestinians)

Can I remind you that back in May this year, Mr. Wineman was absolutely firm:

We don’t support boycotts

he said (about what the community should do in the face of The Guardian's biased and anti-Israel reporting and columns).

If he is so good at dialogue and opposed to boycotts, why was I banned?

Is this hypocrisy at work?

Consider also this: Wineman, as president of the Board of Deputies, wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron wherein he

raised his concerns over the past political activities

of certain European politicians suspected of unsavory ideologies.

Could someone, perhaps, raise questions about his previous ideological positions?

After all, you cannot get further off-base, not to speak of off-center, than Peace Now and New Israel Fund combined.

Are you thinking that his words are retro-1984 speak?

In August 2009, stung by criticism, Wineman said:

“We may be mistaken in our views, but we are not deluded and nor do we have our collective heads in the sand. Our critics should save their vitriol for those who attack Israel, not for those in the front line of its defence."

Mr. Wineman, in all my humbleness, and without passing judgment on whether you are mistaken in your views or not, whether you like, appreciate or despise my residency location and human existence in Shiloh, I am in the front line of the defense of Israel, one way or another, and it should behoove you to permit me to explain to those gathered in Manchester to learn about the issues and the facts relating to those issues.  I live in an authorized and fully government-approved Jewish community, in a portion of the land of Israel that even the League of Nations recognized as part of the Jewish national home to be reconstituted in "Palestine".  Why can I not explain what is happening here in Judea and Samaria to British Hasbarah activists?  What they can say to offset propaganda, lies and media bias.  What are the facts.

What do you fear?

I promise, I will not attempt to persuade, convince or influence anyone to come to live in Shiloh, or Efrat or Hebron. But any defender of Israel should be able to have the necessary facts and data to defend Israel and its Jews from Arab propaganda claims and false accusations that feed the BDS campaign you are supposed to be engaged against.

And if I do not make it to Manchester, I will get to the British Isle and thanks to friends, supporters and others, I will make the case for Judea & Samaria.



Juniper in the Desert said...

Great post!! shared with like-minded individuals and groups in England!! ;)

Juniper in the Desert said...

Please come and announce when, so some of us who love you, can come and meet you. But in London not Manchester!

Anonymous said...

May I please post this verbatim on the JC blogsite

Norman Cohen
Maale Adumim