DOREEN WACHMANN COLUMN
Credit to Sacks for VPís Knesset speech

FORMER Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks was dogged by controversy for much of his term of office.

Now that he has retired, he is still beset by it. He was recently under fire for helping American vice-president Mike Pence write his Knesset speech.

Readers are aware that I am by no means a fan of American president Donald Trump, whom I consider to be temperamentally unfit for his high office.

Someone who retweets a message from the racist organisation Britain First without doing a quick Google search to check whether it is just a British version of his own America First policy, is really not to be trusted to have access to the nuclear button.

But the same does not go for his vice-president, who does not share his bossís predilection for making outrageous early morning tweets.

Pence is a man of principle. Whether you share his views or not, you have to respect him for his convictions.

Born a Catholic, Pence became a born-again Christian Evangelist who fiercely supports Israel because he believes a strong Israel will bring the Second Coming.

Pence has been criticised for his views on women, yet unlike his boss, against whom there have been many sexual allegations, he has his own version of the Jewish yichud law. Hee will not dine alone with a woman other than his wife ó surely a policy to be praised in these days of avalanches of sexual allegations against males.

According to a White House official, Lord Sacks has advised prime ministers and presidents for years. Good for him!

We need our spiritual leaders to be a light to the nations, spreading positive influence in the highest possible places.

Even if Lord Sacks had written Trumpís Jerusalem speech, I would not have criticised him, for we need to spread positive influence wherever we can.

But as it was Pence for whom he was writing, he deserves even more credit for a job well done.


WHY was Lord Mendelsohn swiftly sacked from the Labour front bench for merely attending the controversial Presidents Club fund-raiser?

Could it possibly have anything to do with his Jewish background, Zionist sympathies and Blairite past?

The current Labour Party is less swift in getting rid of antisemitism, which is bedevilling the party like a cancer.

It is also less swift in removing sexism when female MPs and councillors are targeted by continuing abuse from the left-wing of the party.

Much as I condemn male sexual harassment and abuse, the whole Presidents Club saga is largely hypocrisy.

The girls were employed as hostesses and told to wear the skimpy uniforms. What did they expect?

No all-male charedi event would allow women in, certainly not unless they were covered from the elbow to below the knee.

As an upholder of the Torah view of sexual morality, to some extent, I applaud the current obsession with trying to protect women from sexual assault. But you canít change a whole culture overnight.

Male flirtatious groping, unfortunately, is deeply bedded in western contemporary life, which is why charedim have erected barriers to try to protect themselves from this scourge.

But why should someone who just attends an event where this takes place be the subject of a witch-hunt when the same kind of behaviour is carried out daily everywhere?

In my mind, even worse than the Presidents Club scandal are stag parties at which the groom is often lured by female strippers. And hen parties are just as bad.

Unless western society mores can be changed overnight, there should be a stop to these witch-hunts of often innocent by-standers.


THE current Brexit negotiations ó or lack of them ó are a shambles. But I still donít regret voting for Brexit.

The reason I decided that I wanted Britain to leave the EU was not for economic reasons, but for political reasons.

I made my decision two years ago when Polandís ruling Law and Justice Party first mooted the idea of criminalising anyone who dared to suggest that Poles were complicit in the Holocaust.

Now that that law is much nearer to being passed, I am more concerned than ever that Britain should have political control of its own future and not be subject to unaccountable EU laws, which could be formulated by an increasingly right-wing Europe.

Unless, of course, God forbid, Jeremy Corbynís Labour Party gets into power here and similar problems could occur on our own doorstep!

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