December 24, 2008

Mark Gardner, the Community Security Trust and false allegations of antisemitism

Mark Gardner is the Communications Director of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Community Security Trust. I've mentioned that before but not as part of an excuse to blog a letter I've had published in the Independent this week. Yes it is a daily but I only just found out that my letter appeared in it on Monday. This began with an article by Howard Jacobson, sneakily raising the spectre of antisemitism on the part of a Green Party leader then Jacobson being called on it by a chap called Rod Cox who was then himself falsely accused of antisemitism by the Communications Director of a group that is supposed combat antisemitism, not lie about it - or am I being naive. You can see the round up of all that stuff here. Here's my letter:
It is Mark Gardner's criticism of Rod Cox that is disgraceful (letter, 12 December), not Cox's criticism of Howard Jacobson (letter, 10 December).

Gardner claims that Howard Jacobson did not accuse Caroline Lucas of causing antisemitism and terrorism. See this penultimate line of Howard Jacobson's article: "Come the next massacre, when she [Caroline Lucas] is looking around for someone other than the perpetrators to blame, she might ask how much of their hatred she has stoked." Elsewhere, he doesn't simply blame her for antisemitism, he accuses her of being antisemitic – " . . . whatever her hurt at being accused of antisemitism when it is only a Jewish country, for God's sake."

Gardner then accuses Rod Cox of writing what he did not write - "Jews are cunning co-ordinated liars who only cry antisemitism in order to conceal Israel's supposed crimes. For Cox and so many others, Howard Jacobson's identity obviously counts for far more than his carefully written words and articles." There is nothing about Jews or about Howard Jacobson's Jewish identity in Cox's letter.

People are weary of the antisemitism smear being used to protect Israel.

Mark Elf

Dagenham, Essex
Communications is a funny old business for Mark Gardner to be in. Words seem to take on a wholly different meaning from common usage when he uses them. More here.

UPDATE - thanks to Diasporist for a very perceptive comment which I thought deserved a little more prominence:
This is typical Mark Gardner fare - sounding ever so authoritative and reasonable while doing his smear activities on people who dare to criticise Israeli policy or Zionist ideology. He does it over at Engage and on Harry's Place pretty regularly as he knows he is unlikely to be challenged there, and he regularly feeds those who go to those sites for similar purposes.

So which "community" is Gardner keeping secure? and on whose authority? Did Britain's Jews ask the CST to defend them? Did you vote for him Mark?

Truth is, Gardner and Co are not even accountable to the Bored of Deputies. If you read Tony Lerman's very illluminting chapter in the IJV book - A time to Speak Out, you will find that the CST are run through a body called the Group Relations Educational Trust, which is financed and controlled essentially by that very decent, upstanding, property developer, Gerald Ronson.

Some years ago Ronson had a lot of time on his hands, courtesy of HM to ponder such questions.

Time was when GRET and the Board saw eye to eye, but since 1994, it has been independent of the Board though it nominally keeps a functionary there giving an impression of community accountability.

So when Gardner holds forth let's not restrict ourselves to challenging the veracity of what he says but probe a bit further as to whose agenda he is really following.
And did I mention this?


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