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Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain in The Times

This letter from Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain of Maidenhead Synagogue was published as the lead letter in The Times newspaper on Friday 15th August 2014.

British must unite against terrorist threats

Terrorism is not specific to one religion or ideology but it is always divisive

Sir, It is certainly true (letters, Aug 13) that British Jews are distressed by reactions against them because of the Gaza conflict — but we have been here before: in the 1980s over the Phalangist massacre of Palestinians in Sabra and Shatila; in the 1970s with the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism; in 1946 when the King David Hotel, Jerusalem, was blown up.

If antisemitism seems to be rising, it may simply be due to new methods of communication — in social media such as Twitter people are much more outspoken than they are in print. Whatever the case, why should British Jews be blamed for events in the Middle East? Those who oppose China’s policy in Tibet do not hound Chinese restaurants in London and Bradford. It is vital for national cohesion that we do not import the problems of the Middle East and make Britain a proxy warzone. The good relations between most British Muslims and Jews should be used as evidence that there is no inherent antagonism between the faiths, that Israel/Gaza is a political problem that requires a political solution, and we can best help by showing how it is possible to live side by side in harmony. If we cannot achieve that here, what hope for those there?

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