February 13, 2015

Faith Matters fires Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet...but why?

Here's a curious article from the front page of today's Jewish Chronicle. It's about the removal of Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet as a patron of an interfaith charity, Faith Matters.

According to the JC it was government intervention that led to Schochet's dismissal.  Look:
According to a source close to the charity, the decision was taken after the Department for Communities and Local Government threatened to remove funding for other groups run by the charity’s head.
Officials at the department, led by Communities Minister Eric Pickles, are said to be unwilling to work with the Mill Hill United Synagogue minister who has made a series of controversial comments relating to Palestinians.
The Canadian-born rabbi has used his social media accounts to suggest all Palestinians were engaged in terrorist activity.
His appointment to the interfaith group at the end of January had led to complaints from Muslim groups.
It appears that demands for Schochet's dismissal originated from "Muslim groups" but why did it take the threat of withdrawal of government funding to get this Faith Matters group to dismiss him?  And who could have lost funding if Faith Matters hadn't fallen into line?
DCLG officials were prepared to remove funding from Tell Mama if Faith Matters retained Rabbi Schochet.
Tell Mama is nominally a separate group from Faith Matters so why was it threatened by Eric Pickles's department?

Googling for more info about this case I came upon Middle East Monitor's report on the initial appointment of Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet by this self-styled "anti-extremist group".  I was surprised at the amount of detail in the JC report but MEMO's piece is even more informative.

UPDATE: Tell Mama is tweeting that they don't receive government funds which means that the front page article in the Jewish Chronicle by Marcus Dysch is wrong though Tell Mama won't Tell Mark (ie me) that in so many words.  Neither do they seem to want to Tell Marcus or the JC.

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