Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Supreme Court decrees what it is to be Jewish

A boy was refused entry to JFS - an Orthodox Jewish secondary school (formerly the Jews' Free School), in Brent, north west London - because he was not a Jew according to the definition set out by the Chief Rabbi. The boy's father is Jewish by birth, but his mother is Jewish by conversion which was conducted under the auspices of the Masorti movement - a progressive synagogue which is not recognised by the Orthodox.

The Supreme Court has ruled that the admissions policy of JFS amounts to race discrimination.

Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the movement for Reform Judaism, said that he was delighted that the admissions policy of JFS - 'which actively de-legitimises our converts and our rabbis' - has been confirmed as unlawful and unacceptable by the highest court in the land.

But he added:

“Many of us continue to have serious reservations about the applicability of the Race Relations Act to matters of Jewish status and the involvement of the courts in matters which should be the preserve of the Jewish community. There are considerable potential dangers to going down this road.

“We also have reservations about the applicability of a ‘faith test’ to Judaism. It is an impractical solution, ill suited to a religious culture. However, we will live with a faith or practice test as by far 'the lesser of two evils'."

Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, said: “Liberal Judaism welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court. Liberal Judaism has consistently argued that Jewish identity is primarily about thought and deed rather than biology."

Both the British Humanist Association (BHA) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission also welcomed the ruling.

But what of the Orthodox?

Is it for the courts to tell the Orthodox what it is to be orthodox?

Is it for state judges to decree that ethnicity has to be separated from religion?

Is it really for a secular court which has existed for all of five minutes to overturn 3,500 years of Jewish tradition?

Is this not the time to rise up against Labour's 'equality' legislation which is undermining the very foundations of our liberal democacry?

It is noteworthy that Lord Phillips only recently revealed that he is himself an ‘ethnic’ Jew, and he chose to announce his Jewish ancestry in a London mosque where he welcomed the encroachment of shari'a law in England.

His fellow judge, Lord Brown, was one of the four dissenting judges. His observation is chilling:

"The root question for the Court is simply this: can a Jewish faith school ever give preference to those who are members of the Jewish religion under Jewish law? I would answer: yes it can. To hold the contrary would be to stigmatise Judaism as a directly racially discriminatory religion. I would respectfully disagree with that conclusion. Indeed, I would greatly regret it."

It is really quite astonishing (though perhaps unsurprising) that the first major case upon which the new Supreme Court has ruled has delivered a judgement which is effectively anti-Semitic.

Perfidious Albion.


Blogger The Anti Christ said...

I am setting up a school based upon race - genes and biology and there is nothing anyone can do about it. My school is only open to me, my genes, my race, my biology. If you are not me then you are excluded.......SO TOUGH SHIT! Put that in your equality pipe and smoke it!

16 December 2009 at 14:12  
Blogger The Anti Christ said...

No black people in my school, No Muslims, No queers, No Aetheists, No English, No Irish, No Chineese, No women Priests, No Labour supporters, No middle class Toffs.....NONE! Becuase it is only open to me and I am none of the above so they are EXCLUDED!

16 December 2009 at 14:20  
Blogger F.G.S.A said...

Your Grace,

This is but the natural consequence of the Constitutional Reforms and the Act reforming the Judiciary. The noble ideal of separation of powers has furnished the pretext to create a supreme court, let's face it, a pop-british travesty of the American one (a look at the "Justices"'s robes will convince you).

The Upper House is now indeed but Antiquarian stuff, having been maimed of its effective judicial powers. The terms law lords or Lords of Appeal in ordinary will slowly fall into desuetude.

The aim of the Reform was to create a heavily centralised judicature which can be easily controlled by Cabinet and the obscure forces of policy-making.

Is it too early or too late to speak of the demise of the Westminster System and the truly democratic and aristocratic principles it used to enshrine?

16 December 2009 at 14:21  
Blogger F.G.S.A said...

Here also is the result of the supremacy of Cabinet over the Houses. Where is the pride of the Commons which would not suffer the presence of a Monarch within its precincts? Brussels, Cabinet, New Labour, Neo-liberalism, neo-socialism. The divine rights of the experts and the dictatorship of perverted "human" rights.

We can now only say: In te Domine speravi, non confundar in aeternum.

16 December 2009 at 14:24  
Blogger The Anti Christ said...

Your Grace
A glimpse into the future.
The Mormon Tabernacle Choir Lamenting the death of the Temple Cat.

16 December 2009 at 14:35  
Blogger Botogol said...

The supreme court didn't really determine what it means to be jewish. How could it? even the jews don't agree on who is or isn't jewish.

No, the supreme determined what factors a school is allowed to use in its admissions policy.
Not racial ones.

A fascinating case. Really the whole concept of a faith school, especially a govt-run fiath school is threatened, isn't it?

16 December 2009 at 15:35  
Blogger Neil Addison said...

There has been a lot of Internet discussion about this case and a common theme has been criticism of JFS policy because JFS, like other Faith Schools is publicly funded.

Can I just make one point crystal clear

From a Legal point of view the fact that the school is publicly funded was totally irrelevant to the decision because private Schools are covered by the Race Relations Act just as much as state schools. If the JFS was an entirely 100% private school funded entirely by the Orthodox Jewish Community the decision in the case would have been the same.

There is a valid argument over whether there should be state funded religious schools but this is not the case over which that argument should be had.

The issue in this case is whether the Courts of Britain should have the power to decide that a particular person is Jewish when the Chief Rabbi says they are not.

16 December 2009 at 16:25  
Blogger F.G.S.A said...

Mr Addison: "The issue in this case is whether the Courts of Britain should have the power to decide that a particular person is Jewish when the Chief Rabbi says they are not."

Indeed, can the jurisdiction of such courts be extended to such matters?

This idea that courts are competent to hear such matters(ethics, morals, etc) belong rather to the continental- civil law tradition. Hence we have the European Court of Human Rights. Law is viewed in this tradition as the translation of moral values.

But, England, belongs in principle to the common law tradition-in which law, or rather rulings are in relation to the specific circumstances of the cases, thereby setting a precedent.

The Race Relations and a host of laws represent, in my estimation, an oddity in the English legal and judicial landscape.

In this case, it is as if the Supreme Court was putting the authority of the Chief Rabbi into question in his doctrinal pronouncements when a ruling in the case of Regent v. Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth declared that the religious functions of the Rabbi were not subject to judicial review.

But i suppose the Race Relations Act "overturns" that precedent. Could Mr Addison confirm that?

16 December 2009 at 16:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the government should not be the one who decides what is orthodox or not in religious matters. That leads to abuses as have happened and happens in some countries where the religious organisations are ruled by the government and people who dissent get persecuted. I hope that the religiously Jewish communitees will not suffer persecution, and that, religious differences aside, they will also stand by Christians and others who are being oppressed or treated unjustly right now for whatever reason by government or others. The Jewish communities sadly know what persecution entails.
As a Christian I would note that in the Tanach Ruth's offspring were Jewish and in King David's lineage (as well in as our Lord's). But it is for those running the religious school or their religious authority to decide religious matters for the school, as long as there is not an obvious crime going on.
I hope that religious freedom as well as freedom of conscience will be upheld in all relevant cases.
As Christians we belive in following God not man where there is a conflict, though we do not wish there to be such conflicts or rejoice in them.

16 December 2009 at 16:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

Reductio ad absurdum - in the name of equality we cannot prohibit anyone from entering our homes. They must be open all the time for anyone to enter, and while they are there help themselves to whatever they like. It won't apply if you are male and Christian, of course. And maybe not if you are Jewish if being Jewish is trumpted by the other party. Perhaps, assuming the court agrees that you are Jewish.

It seems our entire legal system, nay our entire culture, is evolving into to a sort of card game, with complicated rules which themselves evolve with time. Indeed some seem to be made up on the spot.

I am looking for a 'get out of jail free' card. This allows you to leave the EU. Anyone got one?


16 December 2009 at 17:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DP @ 17:35 from "anonym"
I may be wrong but I see no trump card but to pray, work for the laws to be changed and to help those oppressed or unjustly treated or suffering (Chrsitian or not).
Those who advocate the spate of oppressive or unjust laws are behaving like charming or not-so-charming abusers. Read up on the pyschology if you so wish. They confuse us with saying that they want to protect us from harm - paedophiles, abusers etc. yet they isolate, control and disempower us, a tactic of abusers, individual or in government.
Some 'collaborators' are naive and think power is good, and doesn't corrupt some. That it is ok to do extreme things to those labelled "bad" without checks and balances; that oppressive laws and policies are never used or abused against the 'good". They must be in denial - just read the news. Some are arrogant. Some have never suffered or seen others suffer harm and justice not occur, or the effects of injustice not hurt oing-term. Some seem into revenge against the UK, England or Christians. Some have issues with men - they rarely mention abuse against men by by women, so much for equality or studying abuse. I wonder if some have been bullied or worse and not healed. Some have never been slandered or abused by those with power or influence. Naivite, arrogance, abusiveness, other motives - I don't know in some cases.
The spreading of chaos and turning justice on its head in some cases is evil, consciously done or not, and there is the issue of the purported methods of the frankfurt school of Marxism; also methods of other totalitarian systems (right or left wing) which label some "the elite" (an ever-changing group) in society as more valuable and entitled to justice, fairness and freedom than others. Some look down on those they do not consider wealthy or gifted or powerful or intellectual or hard-working enough. There are also in my opinion overly repressive and hasty reactions to security issues, including by some purely for greed. There is a lot of money to be made out of laws, control and security,some worthy, some not.
Trump card - hopefully there will be one or better still several. If not, we have the promise of heaven where there will be no suffering, tears or pain - and where we will worship our Lord and love each other perfectly. There will also be beautiful scenery and untagged / unchipped animals.

16 December 2009 at 18:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Swiss minaret appeal goes to European Court

16 December 2009 at 18:46  
Blogger Preacher said...

I may be wrong, but surely the happiness of the lad in question is paramount. Will he be happy in a school that has been forced to take him? Will the school be happy to have him as a pupil or will it be looking for the first chance of proving itself right by excluding him from some parts of the more Orthodox curriculum thus making his life a misery?.
This is a storm in a teacup that could have been resolved without the use of the court. A Jewish friend always said " When you have three Jews together, you'll get five points of view" Seems he was right.

16 December 2009 at 18:54  
Anonymous Voyager said...

There is a valid argument over whether there should be state funded religious schools

The real question is whether there should be State-funded schools at all !

How did Schooling which grew up alongside The Church of England become a department of national government run like collective farms ?

What happened to diversity in provision; diversity in content; diversity in outcomes ?

16 December 2009 at 21:40  
Anonymous non mouse said...

What an absolute travesty of everything sensible, practical and reasonable.

One can only assume that the idiots in the euSSR want to produce chaos out of order ... though how they expect to benefit from it is less clear.

For as the chaos takes hold, no one is going to listen to them - their pronouncements, titles, special interests and rules are so clearly just that. They are patently contemptible, so even British respect for law will disappear, and we'll ultimately ignore them.

17 December 2009 at 00:59  
Blogger Young Mr. Brown said...

"This is but the natural consequence of the Constitutional Reforms and the Act reforming the Judiciary." (F.G.S.A.)

Well, perhaps.

But it is also true that this was the virtually inevitable consequence of starting to go down the road of anti-discrimination legislation.

For too long, people have criticised specific examples of anti-discrimination legislation. In fact, what we - Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and atheists - should have been criticising was the whole concept of anti-discrimination legislation.

Why? Because anti-discrimination legislation, when applied outside the state sector, amounts to an attack on freedom of association.

17 December 2009 at 11:52  
Blogger F.G.S.A said...

since ever the first Race Relations Act of 1976.

17 December 2009 at 15:40  
Blogger Roger Pearse said...

Fascinating to see the poor Jews being persecuted. Why can't these hateful people just LEAVE THEM ALONE? If they want to run a school for themselves, let them. Since when is it the job of the courts to force a man to run a school for a neighbour who hates him so much that he drags him into court?

We need to repeal all this "anti-discrimination" (i.e. "we hate ordinary people") legislation. Each and every bit of it violates the basic right of every man to be left alone.

18 December 2009 at 10:56  
Anonymous St Bruno said...

Have you noticed how in the last few years every religion, and even more so the Jewish one, is being brought to a state of question and ridicule? All except one of course which shows its rage and anger at the drop of a hat, while building more places of worships and community halls.

19 December 2009 at 19:46  

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