From the Jewish Chronicle:
The rabbi who spoke at an English Defence League rally two months ago has apparently challenged Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks to a televised BBC debate on “Is Islam a religion of peace?”
…In an email seen by the JC, Rabbi [Nachum] Shifren says he has set rules for the debate structure, to be followed by the Chief Rabbi and the BBC – despite no known interest in such a programme from either party.
The JC saw the email because it was sent to them; the text was published on 23 December on a blog devoted to the Rabbi’s exploits:
I, Rabbi Nachum Shifren, Director of The California Security Council, who,having been the first person in the history of England to be banned from excercising [sic] freedom of speech at the home and pivot of British free speech at Speaker’s Corner in London, Hereby challenge Rabbi Lord Jonathon [sic] Sacks; Chief Rabbi of the Hebraic congregations of The United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth, to a one hour televised BBC debate on a number of topics including “Is Islam a religion of peace?” The Islamification of Britain. Cultural Marxism in Western liberalism, Multiculturalism and it’s [sic] effect on the host society; education, religion, laws and culture.
This is the first time I’ve seen Shifren complain that he was supposedly “banned” from Speaker’s Corner; a video of his appearance there merely shows him arguing with a Muslim about how “fags” can’t be executed in Judaism because there is no religious court in Jerusalem where they can be put on trial. The only people who seemed to be keen for him not to continue in this vein were his EDL handlers (I blogged on the incident here, and on Alan Lake’s response to my post here).
The blog where the “challenge” was published has the encouraging name of Newworldorderuk, but there is no information about who runs it or how the message was passed to them; presumably the blog owner is someone with a personal link to Shifren. However, given that Shifren has a background as a schoolteacher in California, the spelling is strangely poor, and one wonders if he has actually written it himself.
There is also a list of conditions for the debate, including the demand that
The programme should not be advertised or announced using such inflamitory [sic] labelling as ‘far-right, ‘extremist.’ i.e. not served up in terms that suit the marxist-Islamist agenda of the BBC.
That the usual practice of selecting a carefully chosen hostile audience to the guest deemed to be ‘politically-incorrect’ according to BBC Trotskyist strictures [sic – the JC misquotes this as “Trotskyist structures”] be avoided by having no audience at all, ditto questions from emails or phone-ins.
Of course, this is transparent publicity-seeking – it’s a common crank strategy to demand a public debate with someone who has a higher profile, and then to insist, when the “challenge” is ignored or rebuffed, that this is clearly evidence that the crank views cannot be refuted.
Newworldorderuk has some commentary of his or her own – the writing style is the same as that of the challenge itself:
Rabbi Sachs [sic] has not responded to the challenge. Though the Chief Rabbi often makes important statements against secularism and the atheist attack on religion he inevatably [sic] risks a second Holocaust by supporting the Islamification of Britain, something which does not much worry the mass of the British political and religious class, still basking in the heritage of Bolchevism in the land where Karl Marx lived and died, wrote Das Kapital and the Communist Manifesto, and where Marx’s grave in Highgate cemetery remains a holy shrine. The land whch has been a socialist state since 1945.
…It appears that as is normal with all news emanating from the EDL or other opposition to the one party state, Rabbi Shifren’s challenge was referred to either Yasmin Alabhai Brown or Mehdi Hasan, the ‘Anti-fascist enforcers’ for the Communist National Union of journalists, where one of these two distinguished British Muslims has slapped a ‘No Platform’ on it’s [sic] publication across all British print and televised media.