Who Gets to Speak for British Jews? How the Myth of ‘the Jewish Community’ Marginalises Dissent

Jo Sutton-Klein writes in Novaramedia:

The UK’s chief rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, caused yet another headache for Labour this week when he accused Jeremy Corbyn of allowing “a poison sanctioned from the top” to take root in the party. Although he didn’t explicitly tell people not to vote Labour, it was easy to read between the lines when Rabbi Mirvis mused, “what will happen to Jews and Judaism in Britain if the Labour party forms the next government?”

Proving his membership of The Jewish Establishment™, Rabbi Mirvis joined the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Chronicle (JC) and others in adding fuel to the seemingly ner tamid (eternal flame) of the Labour antisemitism debate. But the Jewish establishment’s claim to speak on behalf of the mythical concept of the Jewish community is in desperate need of scrutiny.

Even when the Jewish establishment is forced to admit that maybe not all UK Jews unquestioningly subscribe to its narrative, a few institutions still profess to represent the vast majority of UK Jews – a claim that has less statistical backing than a Liberal Democrat bar chart.

Whose chief rabbi anyway?

Rabbi Mirvis’s words fuelled countless critical newspaper headlines and set the tone for Andrew Neil’s brutal BBC interview with Corbyn. After all, this wasn’t just any old Jew complaining about antisemitism, it wasn’t even the JC’s editor Stephen Pollard – this was the chief rabbi: the divine spiritual leader of UK Jews, chosen by God, who must be revered as the authority on British Jewish opinion. Well, not quite…

Dig a little deeper into what the role of the chief rabbi actually is, and you find not just hot air but a big smelly fart whose history is embarrassingly colonial. And that’s before we remind him that he’s actually only the chief rabbi of the 30% of British Jewish households who follow his denomination of Judaism.

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