Isi’s men in London
The time has surely come for British Jews to say enough is enough. They should replace these “trembling Israelites” with leaders who recognize that silence is not always golden but is sometimes just yellow, and that Jewish self-respect demands that we speak up and present a dignified viewpoint as proud Jews.
Isi Liebler is a very talented and energetic man who has always put his money where his mouth is, and who has an extremely long record of effective activity. Unfortunately, he has some very serious debilitating flaws that historically have reduced his effectiveness to less than it might otherwise have been. These include….
An addiction to narcissistic attention seeking and self promotion.
A debilitating love of the vendetta.
A penchant for disingenuity and shameless intellectual dishonesty.
A love of ”the smear”.
Being nuts as a freaking fruit cake.
Perhaps the best way to get your head around Isi is to try, if you possibly can, to imagine a Jonathan Hoffman with talent.
Some time ago, Isi took stock and ticked some boxes. “I’ve done this, done that………”. At the end of the process, he decided, in the light of his having single-handedly saved Australian Jewry, to give over his dotage to “The Diaspora”. Well, US Jewry was a bit too self-confident to need Isi so he decided to focus on the next most important Diaspora, UK Jewry. They needed him and Isi is not a man to be sluggish about answering the call, especially when there is a potential for getting his ego stroked. Unfortunately, the call never came. Well if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed…….
The task therefore, was two-fold. First, it is necessary to persuade UK Jews that they are in dire peril, that they have a major problem, that they are on the brink of disaster. This danger was very real and very imminent. Then they would be shown that Isi is the man to save them. This saving would not be direct. He obviously couldn’t assume direct leadership, but the leaders would be advised and guided by him. He, in effect, would lead the leaders.
But the leadership of UK Jewry have never shown the slightest interest in Leibler’s nut job head banging style. And the reality is that there has never been a better time to be a Jew in the UK. Shimon Cohen tried patiently to point this out to him.
Leibler’s response to the leadership’s lack of deference to him has been an ongoing vendetta against the leadership, liberally sprinkled with dire predictions of doom and grotesque insults. He much favours “trembling Israelites”. Hard to imagine Vivian Wineman or Mick Davis trembling, but if the expression amuses Isi…… Grafted onto the general campaign is what can only be described as a vicious vendetta against Mick Davis, in particular. It is hard to see what motivates this. Jealousy is our best guess. To see Isi at his rudest and worst, see his response to the letters of Vivian Wineman and Mick Davis to the JPost. Appendix A
Isi and Jonathan Hoffman are big buddies. Never have there been two birds more of a feather. They are distinguishable only by Isi’s talent, which has enabled him to pontificate from more far-reaching stages than Hoffie will ever enjoy. Herein, lies the key to understanding the current UJIA/Millis “scandal”.
Hoffie regularly blogs links to Isi’s rants on his JC forum, kindly afforded him by Stephen Pollard, his sympathiser and minder. Typical headlines include “Isi Liebler is absolutely correct!!” ….and “Isi Liebler on Self Hating Jews”. At the same time, Hoffman’s name often appears amid Isi’s scribblings. On one occasion, Isi writes…
It is relevant to note also (when it wasn’t relevant at all) that JLC head Davis had previously muzzled feisty Zionist Organisation Co-Vice Chairman Jonathan Hoffman by threatening to initiate costly legal action”.
This, of course, is a simple and gratuitous lie. See our page “Hoffman and Mick Davis.
Even where Hoffman is not mentioned, there are regular occurrences of what are clearly his ( Hoffman’s) versions of various events, sometimes verbatim. A classic example is Isi’s account of the spat between Hoffman and Jerry Lewis. We don’t think we are divulging any secrets when we say that Hoffman and Lewis don’t get along. There was one particularly heated engagement that Hoffman has referred to on several occasions, but without mentioning the incident that kicked it off. But Isi knew what it was all about and told us that Hoffman had been “defamed”. See Appendix B
In default of UK leaders being led by him, Isi sets out to denigrate and attack their credibility at every opportunity. Isi tells us that the leadership needs replacing, presumably with leaders cast in his own image. His idea of a Jewish leader is an oaf like Hoffman, who is the full portrait. Essentially it is an enterprise at sowing division and rancour. Stephen Pollard is on the team. So in this week’s JC, we have a reasonably factual, objective account of the UJIA/Millis business by Simon Rocker and immediately below, Isi is given a column of his own to spit further bile at Mick Davis. What an absolute disgrace.
HOFFMAN, AND BY EXTENSION, HIS SIAMESE TWIN HARVEY GARFIELD, ARE ISI’S MEN IN LONDON.
Hoffman essentially supplies Isi with “information” and “news” particularly pertaining to the Jewish organisations. This could go a long way to explaining why Isi mostly gets it hopelessly wrong. It also explains why Isi was so quick off the mark vis-a-vis the UJIA/Millis thing. It is doubtful that Isi would, in the ordinary course of things, have heard of the UJIA appointment and almost certainly would have known nothing about Joe Millis. His initial material was straight out of a year old dormant JC blog in which Millis and a couple of Hoffman acolytes are having their usual intense and extended bicker. Other material was subsequently dug up from other old blogs. Isi would not have stumbled across this blog, he must have been alerted to it. By whom? No prizes.
Isi despises Mick Davis. Hoffman hates Davis and has done since he made a fool of himself with his dumbassed petition for Davis’ resignation from UJIA. He also hates Joe Millis. The two of them went through a lengthy period of the most intense bickering on the JC blogs. Day in, day out, toe to toe. As well as hating Millis, Hoffman is obsessively paranoid about him. For weeks after we started this wondrous web site, Hoffman and Harvey Garfield were convinced we were Joe Millis. The paranoia reached fever pitch.
On the 4th of October 2012, on one of Hoffman’s blogs, Harvey Garfield published the contents of a private email sent by Joe Millis to Isi complete with Millis’ email address for all to see. When asked if he was acquainted with Isi and whether he got to read Isi’s emails Garfield responded:
“It’s all one big happy family!”
When news arrived of Millis’ UJIA appointment, the crazies smelt blood. For Hoffman it was all too much. Millis and Davis in the same frame. The fact that Davis has not, or hadn not, met Millis and was in no way involved in his appointment was ignored. “Davis appointed Millis“.
On the 10th of July, Garfield breathed new life into the dormant blog referred to above. He first referred to a year old editorial in the Jewish News that castigated the little band of lunatic fringers for their association with the EDL. They wrongly assumed that Millis had written this and this had cemented their already existing hatred of him.
He then goes on to ask….
were your new employers the UJIA aware of your stated position on boycotts when you applied for the position?
As I have published openly and clearly, I suspect people know my views. Add to that, the feeble hate letters citing one of your bestie friendsies, I imagine my present employers know.
Harvey that sounds very much like a threat.
It was indeed a threat. And herein is how the story hit the fan. Hoffman goes hop, step and jumping to Isi and the JC, and the rest is history. On the 25th of July, Garfield gleefully announced on the JC blog site that Millis is done for.
Also on the team is one Adam Levick. Levick is the force behind the comic popularly known as CiFWatch. It, in effect, serves as a kind of favourite pub of a mixed bag of unhinged far right Jewish extremist rabids. Levick is a big Hoffman fan. He leapt to support him when this site was established. We occasionally post on Levick’s site. Not much. A one-liner here and there. We received this email from Levick:
re: your comments
Adam Levick, Managing Editor
Levick’s role in the affair we are discussing is to tweet the smears here, there and everywhere.
So there we have it, what a wholly unedifying business. Serious committed men in the Jewish leadership get smeared and distracted from their serious business all in the cause of two men’s addiction to vendetta. And all with the exuberant cooperation of the editor of the Jewish Chronicle.
Scandal or not
Sir, – Regarding “New scandal on Anglo-Jewry” (Candidly Speaking, April 19), Mick Davis has an outstanding record of support for Israel and for the Jewish people. Isi Leibler also has devoted his considerable talents to defending Israel and the Jewish people, but he does a disservice when he attacks others who do so.
The Jewish Leadership Council, as it acknowledges, does not purport to speak on behalf of the British Jewish community. That role belongs to the Board of Deputies, with which the JLC continues to work closely, as it does with other organizations working to turn the UK Jewish community into a powerful voice for fighting the assault upon Israel’s legitimacy.
Other Diaspora communities and the government of Israel itself regularly consult us for input and expertise. It is unfortunate, therefore, that Leibler finds scandal where there is none.
At a time when Diaspora communities face growing challenges in the form of attacks on Israel from so many directions we should not waste energy fighting among ourselves.
The writer is president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
Sir, – Isi Leibler’s “New scandal on Anglo-Jewry” is both alarming and scandalous.
If Leibler had taken the time to call me I could have furnished him with accurate information, but as the old saying goes, why let facts stand in the way of a good story? There is a great deal in his column that I take issue with but I would like to highlight the following in particular.
1. I have never met Joe Millis before. I certainly was not involved in his appointment, which was carried out following due process by senior UJIA professionals.
2. Neither I, the chief executive of the JLC, nor its staff was ever approached by Ken Livingstone to assist in drafting a letter from him to “placate the Jewish community,” and we did no such thing. This claim is totally wrong and inaccurate.
3. I stand by my record of support for Israel, the Zionist cause and Diaspora Jewry. I have devoted my life and talents to serving the Jewish people. My views on the need to conduct ourselves in accordance with Jewish values both in the Diaspora and in Israel have been well set out in the many articles I have written for the Jewish media and on the occasions I have spoken both in Israel and the Diaspora. It is very sad that someone like Leibler, who has also dedicated his life to the cause of the Jewish people, should tarnish his reputation with offensive and false attacks on a fellow Jew and Zionist.
4. Finally, the JLC does not “purport to speak on behalf of the Anglo-Jewish community” and the claim that it is made up of “wealthy Jews” is both wrong and offensive. The JLC is comprised of the heads of our member organizations, including the Board of Deputies and other representative bodies, all the major synagogue movements, welfare charities, cultural and youth representatives, and Zionist organizations.
Our role is a simple one, supported by over 25 of the leading communal bodies, to provide greater coordination and strategic leadership to the work of the community.
I agree with Leibler’s concern about recent comments from the Archbishop of Canterbury with regard to Israel. Had Leibler taken the time to read our recent newsletter he would have seen the article written by the JLC’s chief executive on this very issue, which sets out similar perspectives.
Furthermore, while it is right to praise the Board of Deputies’ response to the EAPPI Resolution passed by the Synod, Leibler fails to acknowledge the decisive role played by the JLC in facilitating that response in accordance with our mandate to support the work of member organizations.
It saddens me that articles based not on facts but on gossip and misinformation paint a picture of communal life in the UK that attempts to stain the work and reputation of so many individuals and organizations.
MICK L. DAVIS
Isi Leibler responds: Alas, “trembling Israelites” still applies.
Would Mr. Wineman employ a person supporting BDS against settlements and comparing Israel to Syria and Iran as PR director of the principal Israeli fundraising charity? As for Mr. Davis, he conveniently ignores the central issue raised in my column – the UJIA’s employment of Joe Millis.
Now that he can no longer claim he is unaware of Millis’s views, what is he going to do about it?
Isi on Hoffman and Lewis:
Prior to the vote, Jonathan Hoffman, a vice chairman of the Zionist Federation, had initiated a petition urging the British government to reject the Goldstone Report at the UN Human Rights Council. Instead of commending his initiative, the vice president of the Board of Deputies, Jerry Lewis, whose role is to “promote advocacy on behalf of the Jewish community” and who had maintained a deafening silence on the Goldstone Report, engaged in a vitriolic public outburst defaming Hoffman. He alleged that “given his position he [Hoffman] should be far more cognizant of the necessity of acting with common sense, and not unilaterally in ways which damage both Israel’s case and beyond.”