A Well Aimed Stone
The latest issue of Jewish Socialist
(no.65) has just reached me hot from the presses,and as you'd expect it has plenty of material looking at the recent onslaught on Gaza, some of which never made the "mainstream" media, as well as articles on the ongoing struggle, such as the children in Israeli jails, and experience at Qalandiya checkpoint.
"Will Israel Listen to Palestine Now?", it asks with regard to the UN vote for recognition. If it doesn't we may see the voice raised at the UN heralding a return to the language of stones.
Dr.Richard Stone was the west London GP who asked why it was that whenever he recommended patients as needing rehousing, he was told Westminster council had nowhere available, yet wherever he went on his rounds he came across empty boarded up flats. His question led eventually to the downfall of Dame Shirley Porter, the Tesco heiress and leader of Tory Westminster council, charged with keeping properties empty until they could be put up for sale, in order to change the social character of neighborhoods and gerrymander elections.
Richard Stone went on to ask more questions as a panel member of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry, and in the new Jewish Socialist he says he finds it odd "that most people involved in government inquiries do not stay with the agenda they have set". Though comparing himself good-humouredly with a grandfather who kept poring over rabbincal texts in search of answers, he remains concerned over the human tragedy of Stephen Lawrence's death and continues to pursue questions raised in the Inquiry, asking which recommendations have been implemented, and whether the police have really reformed their ways. Dr. Stone has a book Hidden Stories of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry due to come out in February.
Tony Lerman's book The Making and Unmaking of a Zionist has aroused as much interest and appreciation, and from a wider audience, as his development raised controversy. Like myself, Tony was a member of the labour zionist youth movement Habonim, but our career paths were somewhat different. Having gone to Israel, and served in the army, he returned to become, inter alia, editor of the Jewish Quarterly, chief executive of what is now the Rothschild Foundation, and director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research.
Along the way Tony alarmed the Jewish Establishment by publishing an article by Dave Rosenberg of the Jewish Socialists' Group; enraged Tory fundraiser Stanley Kalms (of Dixons); and was denounced by then Daily Mail writer Stephen Pollard, now the editor of the Jewish Chronicle. All of this because he disagreed with the party line on Jewish life and antisemitism, and knew what he was talking about. As he confesses in the interview along with the review of his book in Jewish Socialist by Stephen Marks, it was quite late in his career that he decided he wasn't a Zionist, and became one of the Independent Jewish Voices demanding recognition of Palestinian rights. This was enough to bring down the rage of another Daily Mail columnist, Melanie Phillips, who described him and his associates as "Jews for Genocide". We can all call her "Mad Mel", but it takes a Tony Lerman to bring on that kind of outburst and show her up for what she is. A man of integrity, and well worth reading.
Remembering some heroes and struggles of yesteryear, Karl Lewkowicz.pays tribute to East End -born Lou Kenton, who died in September aged 104, the oldest surviving British veteran of the International Brigade in Spain, and Lydia Syson describes how researching for her novel A World Between Us, she was reminded of things her grandfather, communist Jack Gaster, and others of his generation had told her. Dave Rosenberg, who has become somewhat well-known for his East End Walks, tells the story of Cable Street's almost forgotten sequel, the 1937 Battle of Bermondsey against Mosley's fascists (and brutal police), and yours truly has an article about the rising in Algiers on November 8, 1942, when a bunch of ill-armed rebels opened the way for the Allies' operation Torch.
All this and much more, including a worrying report on reproductive rights for women in Central America, a controversial piece by Victor Schonfield supporting a Cologne court's decision to outlaw male circumcision, and Ralph Levinson reviewing a book, Does Your Rabbi Know You're Here?, about Jewish supporters for football clubs, including his beloved Leyton Orient. Truly, once again Jewish Socialist lives up to its claim to reach the parts other left-wing magazines don't touch.
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JSG, BM3725, London WC1N 3XX