The answer is that the Rabbi would have to be seriously naïve and ill-informed to share a platform with a man proven in court to be an Islamic extremist, but this is exactly what Rabbi Janet Darley of Liberal Judaism did earlier tonight. The Islamic extremist in question is one Shakeel Begg, a name which will ring many bells among those familiar with the world of British Islamic extremism. Rabbi Darley was taking part in a multifaith ‘refugees welcome’ event with a group called South London Citizens. For those who don’t know, South London Citizens is a sub-group of a group of leftists and naïve do gooders called Citizens UK, who have been heavily involved in the ‘fake child refugees’ scandal. It is utterly unbelievable that Rabbi Darley did not know anything at all of Begg’s appalling reputation, one that is so bad that when he tried to sue the BBC for calling him an ‘extremist’ the court took the view that Begg is indeed an extremist. Shakeel Begg is the sort of person that decent people should shun and not make nice to at happy clappy events like the one organised by South London Citizens. Here’s the Tweet from the South London Citizens group that has, justifiably in my view, aroused my ire.
— SouthLondon Citizens (@SLondonCitizens) December 13, 2016
Rabbi Darley has not only made a complete arse of herself and her own Jewish movement but has brought disgrace upon the Jewish community as a whole. I’m appalled by this horrendously public faux pas of sharing a stage with Begg. Begg, for those who have not encountered him before, has been Imam of Lewisham Mosque for a number of years, which is notable for being the mosque at which the murderers of Lee Rigby worshipped. Begg has also appeared at events organised by the extremist CAGE group and he has been a vocal opponent of the government’s anti-terror ‘Prevent’ programme. Begg has also given a speech which encouraged Muslims to go to the Middle East and fight ‘the Zionists’. In 2009 he spoke in support of Affia Siddiqui who had been convicted of two counts of attempted murder. All in all, Begg is a deeply troubling and unsavoury character and not the sort of person that anybody, least of all a Rabbi, should be appearing with in public.
As a non-Orthodox Jew myself, I found the sight of Rabbi Darley appearing at the same multifaith event with Begg revolting. She has brought shame on us all by her actions, firstly by appearing with Begg and secondly for continuing to back the increasingly discredited ‘refugees welcome’ movement. There is a handy Yiddish phrase to describe Rabbi Darley’s very recent actions and that is: ‘ a shanda fur die goy‘ which roughly translates as creating a scandal in front of non-Jews. This is a phrase used to describe someone who has royally screwed up in front of non-Jews, or committed a heinous crime or who has done something which really embarrasses our entire people.
I’m seriously embarrassed by Rabbi Darley’s performance tonight. It was naïve, selfish and stupid, behaviour completely unbefitting of both her office and her presumed level of learning. It was the height of virtue-signalling knobwittery and should be denounced by anyone, Jew or non-Jew with more than half of a functioning brain. To those who may say that criticising Rabbi Darley is ‘Loshon Hara’ (hateful speech or gossip) I will say to them: what would you rather me do? Say nothing and have people believe that all Jews are as deluded and ill-informed as she appears to be? I could not do that, to say nothing would be compounding the wrong that Rabbi Darley has herself done. If a person does not speak out against a wrong such as the one Rabbi Darley has committed, then they are as guilty as the wrongdoer themselves.
I disagree with Rabbi Darley’s hobbies of left wing politics and her advocacy of the ‘refugees welcome’ movement, mostly because Leftism has failed dismally and often bloodily and her adherence to the ‘refugees welcome’ movement flies in the face of reality and evidence. Although I agree with her that the Torah states that ‘you shall not oppress the stranger’ that doesn’t mean that we should open up our borders to those who are daily proving that not only are they strangers but they are carrying big sticks and other weapons which they are ready and prepared to use against us. A multiplicity of opinions is something readily accepted in Judaism and has been part of Jewish life and culture for thousands of years. I can see how it can be seen to be right to share a platform to debate with those with whom you disagree but this event was not one of those, it was a ‘multifaith’ event with all participants sharing the same goal. There are some things, such as participating in an event where you agree with an Islamic extremist, that like incest or sacrificing children to Moloch, which are beyond the pale and need to be condemned.
Rabbi Darley has behaved shamefully, utterly shamefully. It’s hard to come up with words to describe how disgraceful has been her performance. It is one thing to advocate dubious political policies like ‘refugees welcome’, in a free country that is her right even if her views are utterly stupid, but it is something far worse to do so whilst sharing a stage with a man like Begg whom the courts have declared is an Islamic extremist.
Link to the original Tweet regarding Rabbi Darley
Background to the very troubling Citizens UK group
Wikipedia page on the Islamic extremist Shakeel Begg
Douglas Murray taking the piss out of the parade of naïve vicars ‘community organisers’ and other members of the ‘great and the good’ who mistakenly stood up for Begg during his failed libel action against the BBC