Thursday, December 20, 2012

LBC's Iain Dale and his knowledge of Judaism

I was listening to the Iain Dale show on LBC (London Talkback) radio last night. The show started off talking about cults and then somehow switched to discussing the Anglo Jewish community. It would have been amusing had it not been so tragic with such dangerous consequences. The untruths which were spouted out about Judaism on his programme went completely unchallenged.

Iain asked his listeners a question. How many Jews live in Britain? He then added that no one would believe it when he told them!  Iain eventually gave a figure of around 266,000 and remarked that the Jews certainly punch above their weight. I wasn’t sure what he meant by this. Was he saying that the amount of Jews who contribute to British society is way out of promotion to the percentage of the UK population (Less than one half of one percent), or was he saying that for a tiny minority, they have an incredible amount of power and influence? Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he meant the former.
A caller called Keith came on and said that he was from “Jewish extraction” (whatever that means?) and said that although there were “officially” 170,000 Jews, this figure was a count of only Jews who had registered with a synagogue and,  most importantly, this figure did not include (and I quote) – “The Ashkenazis” (who I understood by his comment, were not real Jews!). If you counted them, he informed us, then there were around two and a half million!

He went on to say that he couldn’t believe in a religion that believed that the world was created in seven (sic) days. "Don't get me wrong!", he said, he wasn’t against Judaism or Jews and proved it by saying that he had recently gone to his friend’s Chanukah party which he explained was the commemoration of G-d creating the world in 8 days (sic)!

Iain seemed fascinated by his caller's "knowledge" and seemed to accept everything he said as fact without confirmation or challenge.
I had had enough. I immediately fired off an email via the LBC web site on my mobile phone explaining why Keith was talking total and utter nonsense. I have no idea if Iain even read my email as he never mentioned it during the show and I did not get a reply.
These were the points I made:
The Jewish population of the UK
The Jewish population includes both Sefardi and Ashkenazi Jews.

If we discount those people who wrote round that they were Jewish despite not being so according to Halacha (Jewish Law) and count in those who by choice chose not to answer the Census question on Religion I would guess that the figure would come to around 300,000 Jews left in Britain.
According to Institute for Jewish Policy Research UK, there are around 270,000 Jews who identify themselves as Jewish living in the UK. Most of these, (with the exception of the Orthodox Jewish community), it claims will more likely than not see their children marry non-Jews. The Institute estimates that there were some 450,000 to 500,000 Jews in the Britain around the 1950s.

Chanukah is the commemoration of the civil war and the victory by the Jews of Israel who remained loyal to G-d and His Torah against the Jews who had adopted Greek culture, during the second Temple period. However, most Jewish children in the UK are taught that it was a war between the Jews of Israel and the Greeks invaders in order to avoid the painful issue of secular verses religious Jews.

Therefore, the vast majority of British Jews do not learn beyond kindergarten level Judaism and therefore would not know anything about the civil war. However The Talmud, tractate Shabbat 42-43 states it openly.

The Age of the World
The estimate that the world is millions of years old is totally compatible with Torah Judaism. It is the fundamentalist Xtians who absurdly interpret their Xtian Bibles literally, despite the text which they are relying upon having gone through numerous mistranslations(sometimes unintentional, others intentional) from Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, German and various English versions.

It is quite ridiculous to assume that the word “day” in the context of Bereishis (the Genesis) story means a period of 24 hours or even a single night and day period when you consider that the sun was not created until the fourth day!
The Hebrew word used in the Bereishis story is “Yom”. The word consists of three letters. A Yud, Vav and Mem.  The Yud is a tiny vertical line. The Vav is a larger vertical line. The Mem is completed box, the same height as the Vav. Its true meaning is expressed in its graphical format. Tiny, larger and completed. In other words, a process of creation. The word “Yom” simply means an unspecified period of creation.


Another “Jewish” (I use the term lightly) caller phoned in and said that he was very proud that all his family celebrated Xmas, his daughter had married a Buddhist and his son a Xtian. Iain Dale praised him for his open mindedness. The caller remarked that he assumed that the quoted figure of UK Jews was very low due to assimilation or moving to Israel and he would guess that it had been a lot larger at one time. Iain replied that he would check but he was sure that the Jewish population of Jews in Britain had remained steady for generations.
I found Iain Dale’s complete ignorance when it came to Jews and their beliefs staggering and deeply troubling. If this is what the cream of British intelligencer believe then it shows a frightening ignorance of who Jews are and what they believe in, within mainstream Britain which profoundly effects its views not only of local Jewish issues, but also its views of Israel and our historical and religious right to the Land of Israel.

*** UPDATE ***

I received a reply from Iain Dale the next morning:

Thanks for this. I don't think I ever professed to have any great knowledge of Judaism! In the new year we will be doing an hour every Wednesday looking at different religions.

Kind regards


Well, at least he read the email.

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