This blog has written before about Rabbi Janet Darley, former minister of South London Liberal Synagogue. In particular it has publicised Rabbi Darley’s troubling association with the known Islamic extremist Shakeel Begg of Lewisham Islamic Centre and Rabbi Darley’s willingness to share public ‘refugees welcome’ platforms with this appalling and proven Islamic extremist.
Unfortunately, Rabbi Darley seems to have taken leave of her senses with her latest antics. She has also taken the Biblical admonition to ‘not oppress the stranger’ so far and so beyond this passage’s intention, that she has clearly to me, jumped the proverbial theological shark. According to press reports she chaired a selection panel that was instrumental in getting Malia Bouattia of the National Union of Students a ‘Muslim Good Citizenship Award’.
It’s utter utter madness for any Rabbi, no matter how left leaning or naïve (two descriptions that perfectly fit Rabbi Darley) to get involved with Islamic organisations that honour those like Bouattia, who once referred to Birmingham University as a ‘Zionist outpost’. It’s plain to me that this foolish Rabbi has been used somewhat as a ‘beard’ for the Islamic group running this award scheme. She has so obviously been brought in, as Muslim led groups often bring in those of other faiths, to lend some form of wider social legitimacy to their entity or to their utterances.
Here’s a report from the Jewish Chronicle about this astonishingly inappropriate choice for an award for ‘good citizenship’ and Rabbi Darley’s involvement in it. As is usual policy for this blog the original text is in italics whereas this blog’s comments are in plain text.
The Jewish Chronicle said:
Malia Bouattia, the controversial leader of the National Union of Students, has been honoured by the Muslim community at its flagship awards ceremony.
Ms Bouattia was recognised with a prize for Good Citizenship at the Muslim News Awards for Excellence. The citation said she had “campaigned tirelessly for equal rights and the underprivileged” as well as opposing the government’s Prevent strategy and working on the Why Is My Curriculum White campaign.
“Malia has taken on these tasks although she has herself been vilified in the media for taking up principled positions,” the citation said.
Ms Bouattia, who was elected president of the NUS last April, had provoked anger in the Jewish community over her reference to “Zionist-led media outlets” and her description of the University of Birmingham as a “Zionist outpost”.
A NUS inquiry found that she had made comments that “could be reasonably capable of being interpreted as antisemitic”.
She told the JC in January that she would not use such language again, adding: “I’m always learning.” Accepting her award she urged young Muslims to “take part and take action”.
The awards were judged by a five-member panel, chaired by Rabbi Janet Darley, formerly minister of South London Liberal Synagogue. She said that the decision to honour Ms Bouattia had been a majority decision, and she recognised that some people would be upset.
“The judges who voted for her wanted to honour a Muslim woman of colour in a leadership role,” she said.
I must admit that this award causes me to ask one very important question and that is if Bouattia is the best they can find out of the whole Muslim community to give a ‘citizenship award’ to then that says a lot about the Muslim community in Britain. It says that given the chance, Britain’s Muslims will choose an extremist and a rabble rouser rather than those who may genuine examples of good citizens. If as Rabbi Darley said that they wanted to honour a Muslim woman of colour then why not give the award to someone far more deserving than Bouattia? Surely there are Muslim women who do community work or who make great contributions to society who are more suitable for this award. This is yet another example of a Muslim group sticking two fingers up at the rest of us. As for Rabbi Darley’s statement that some people will be ‘upset’ by this award well all I can say to that is that must surely count as the understatement of the year so far.
This Rabbi should not have sat on such a committee, dominated as it was by Muslims and probably pretty extreme Muslims at that, judging by their award choice. Rabbi Darley should have seen that she was being used and because of that, declined to take part in this award project.
This incident involving Rabbi Darley, along with the previous incident when she appeared alongside Shakeel Begg at a demonstration supported by the Left wing pro-migrant and pro-Islam group Citizens UK, needs to be condemned. Rabbi Darley’s actions have made her Jewish movement, Liberal Judaism, look like a naïve laughing stock. What is worse is that they may place in the minds of some non-Jews the idea that the Jewish community as a whole is as left wing and as ludicrously naïve as she obviously is. The reality is that this is not the case.
Rabbi Darley represents the smallest and most left wing of Britain’s Jewish religious movements and her foolish actions and utterances should not be taken to be representative of the rest of us. I along with many other Jews of the political Right look on in horror at the damage people like Rabbi Darley do to the image of the Jewish community in Britain.
It’s time for the management of Liberal Judaism to step up to the plate and publicly condemn Rabbi Darley’s long term association with the likes of Shakeel Begg. Such associations are dangerous and damaging and need to be called out and treated as something that is beyond the pale and communally and religiously unacceptable, which to many these actions are. If the management of Rabbi Darley’s religious movement fail to properly condemn her actions, which is all that can be done as she is no longer a serving communal Rabbi, then it will hurt the image of Liberal Judaism in the minds of the general population.
It’s bad enough for anyone of a non-Muslim path to allow themselves to be used and abused by Islamic groups who by giving Bouattia this award have shown themselves to be opposed to sensible policies such as PREVENT, which are in place to help to protect all of us from Islamic terror. However, it’s worse, far worse for a Rabbi to be involved in this sort of extremist guff. This is because the Jewish community in the UK is very small and the majority of Britons have not even met a Jew let alone know what Judaism is all about and they are not likely to know the full facts which is that Rabbi Darley is a loose cannon, who is aligned with the smallest and most Left wing of Britain’s Jewish community movements.
Rabbi Janet Darley has declared herself by her own actions to be a dangerous fool with highly questionable associates and it’s time for all of us, whether we be Jew or non Jew to speak up against her and those, such as this Muslim group, who are obviously using her for their own political ends.
Original Jewish Chronicle story about the latest left wing foolishness from Rabbi Darley
Information about Citizens UK group
Rabbi Darley appears alongside known Islamic extremist Shakeel Begg