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Is'The Evening Standard' Trying to Discredit Lord Levy?
Last uploaded : Friday 24th May 2002 at 02:09
Contributed by : Carol Gould


News Not a week – a day – goes by that the British media do not have an article that denigrates or ‘exposes’ someone Jewish or Israeli.

Tonight ‘The Evening Standard’ newspaper has a large feature entitled ‘The rise and rise of Lord Schmooze’ about Lord Levy, the Middle East envoy and close confidant of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Now, here is something interesting: Peter Mandelson, a former Cabinet Minister who was twice forced to leave the government after being ‘disgraced’ by the British media, is not 100% Jewish. However, after hounding out of office by the press that would have driven a weaker man mad, he recently visited Israel. He was one of the keynote speakers at the Israel Solidarity Rally in London on May 6th, ending his speech with a rousing ‘Am Yisroel Chai!’ It has occurred to me that the constant torment he received whilst in government has awakened in him an awareness of, and pride in, his Jewish antecedents.

Conversely, Lord Levy has suffered no such media shaming and indeed rides high as a Prime Ministerial golden boy, but the article in tonight’s paper tries to ‘expose’ him, even mocking his hairdo. The article challenges the way Jewish Care raises money by suggesting that ‘the accounts of Jewish Care contain little hard information’ and insinuating that Lord Levy is a slippery, bad-mannered and greedy Jew who even fleeces people of money on aeroplanes.

The journalist, Chris Blackhurst, suggests that this man, who ‘thought nothing of holding £10,000 -a -plate dinners,’ is more than ‘just a good talker’ having put Jewish Care ahead of The Prince’s Trust in earnings. Lord Levy has been asked to head a committee to vet the ethics of donations to Blair’s Labour Party, and Mr Blackhurst feels that he is not suitable.

Having read the article from top to bottom with an open mind, I can find no evidence of Lord Levy’s unsuitability for the committee. However, the journalist makes sure even to denigrate Lord Levy’s entry in Who’s Who, where His Lordship mentions that he was head boy at school, Blackhurst stating that this is just one example of the man’s supreme vanity.(I always mention that I am Phi Beta Kappa – is this vain?)

Like millions of high-achieving, law-abiding Jews, Lord Levy started life as head boy instead of becoming a suicide bomber or hijacker. Chris Blackhurst’s remarks about the millions poured into Jewish Care read like a tract from a Goebbels press release.

Lord Levy’s wife signed the British Friends of Peace Now letter published in 'The Jewish Chronicle' and 'The Daily Telegraph,' two British national newspapers, a few weeks ago, and Lord Levy himself is a dove. The British media’s attempt to discredit him as being an unworthy Middle East envoy is in our view a mean-spirited and perverse tactic.

Readers of Jewish Comment may read the entire article by going to:

(Go to 'Search' and type 'Blackhurst' into the box. The article appeared in the Thursday 23 May edition.)

We have written to ‘The Evening Standard’ and to Norman Lebrecht, the distinguished music critic and respected member of the Anglo-Jewish community, who recently joined the same paper as Associate Editor .

Letters to the Editor,
‘The Evening Standard.’
23rd May 2002

As someone who has given countless donations to Christian, Jewish and non-affiliated charities like the Samaritans, (as did my parents), I am appalled that Chris Blackhurst (‘The Rise and Rise of Lord Schmooze’ 23 May ) can write, ‘Why would Hindus give to Jews?’ It indicates a breathtaking ignorance of, and disrespect for, the customs of three ancient civilisations.

Hindus have a strong sense of duty to charitable giving, whoever the recipient may be.
It is also imcumbent on every Muslim (‘zakah’) and Jew (‘tzedakah’) to give to charity, however low or high his or her income.

Mr Blackhurst, in classic medieval ‘let’s expose these shady Jews’ style, says Jewish Care’s accounts ‘contain little hard information.’ Jewish Care is a magnificent organisation that has taken a considerable burden off the Social Services by providing help to those of all ages in distress.

Mr Blackhurst talks disparagingly of Lord Levy extracting a donation from someone on an aeroplane. I once donated on the spot to a fellow passenger who worked for ORT, a Jewish charity that spends millions on aid to countries in the Third World. I do not need to verify ORT’s accounts to know that this organisation, like the Weizmann Institute, is run by hard-working, sober Jews whose genius helps improve the lives of people of all faiths in every corner of the earth.

Lord Levy has been an invaluable – and supremely fair -- peace broker in the Middle East. His wife signed the recent letter in ‘The Times’ sponsored by British Friends of Peace Now demanding an end to the cycle of violence in the Holy Land.

Perhaps the white Anglo-Saxon Christians who spend wads of cash getting plastered in wine bars and pubs every evening might like to donate it to a charity instead.

Yours faithfully,

Carol Gould

{Editor's Note: The Peace Now letter appeared in 'The Telegraph', not 'The Times.']
Norman Lebrecht,
‘The Evening Standard,’
Northcliffe House.
Derry Street,
London W8 5TT
23rd May 2002
Dear Norman,

As a supporter of Jewish Care I am dismayed that ‘The Evening Standard,’ with whom you have recently associated yourself, has published a diatribe about Lord Levy that also casts a shadow on Jewish Care.

In the present climate that has caused many Jews to fear even going to synagogue services, this kind of insinuating article can only stoke the hate that is rising across Europe.

Chris Blackhurst’s comments could have been penned by an ignorant yobbo who lumps ‘Yids, Pakis and Wogs’ together. His observation, ‘Why would Hindus give to Jews?’ shows his breathtaking ignorance and is an insult to people like myself who give to charities of all faiths and to those of no faith affiliation.

I implore ‘The Evening Standard’ to ask the Prime Minister and Lord Levy to reply, and I also implore the paper to invite Jewish Care to provide an article about its worthy activities.

Frankly, Norman, how you can associate yourself with the paper that brings us Sam Kiley, Brian Sewell and AN Wilson is beyond me. I am saddened that so eminent a member of the Jewish community as yourself can co-edit a paper that denigrates the ‘moneybags Jew who goes to Tel Aviv and demands a smart car’ – the sort of journalism one would expect in one of Dowager Lady Birdwood’s leaflets.

It might interest your staffer Mr Blackhurst to know that my late boss at Anglia Films, Graeme McDonald, a hugely-well-paid non-Jew, used to fume if he did not have the latest high-tech limo to transport him from A to B.

Carol Gould


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