I was intrigued to see the deputy leader of the Zionist Federation, Jonathan Hoffman post an article on the Jewish Chronicle yesterday, following the Brian Coleman standards hearing. You can read this here :
I guess the question I have to ask myself is this. How exactly has Brian Coleman helped the causes which Mr Hoffman espouses, by failing to treat Barnet residents with respect? I have read the committee papers in full (I even posted them on this website a couple of months ago). I fully understand that Mr Hoffman does not like the case Dr Jago and Mr Cohen were making. I also understand that if they had made their comments to Mr Hoffman, he would have responded in far harsher tones. The point is that he is a private individual and has not signed up to the standards code of Barnet Council.
When we discussed the matter, Mr Hoffman suggested that the complainants were "baiting Brian Coleman" and seeking exactly the response they received. If this is the case, wasn't it an extraordinarily naive response from an experienced politician? Mr Hoffman suggested that there had been a concerted effort put into provoking Mr Coleman, purely to elicit such a response. Given that Mr Cohen and Dr Jago have won their case and managed to get Brian Colemans face plastered on all the papers for breaking the rules, surely this will only act as encouragement to similar campaigns in future? I daresay that I am the last person that Brian Coleman would ever listen to, but surely a few of his friends should take the time to explain the fact that when he behaves in this manner, he damages all of the causes he claims he supports?
Mr Hoffman asked me whether I thought Brian Coleman should stand idly by and let people send him emails which he found to be repulsive? That is actually a rather simple question to answer. He had a choice. he could have deleted them. This would have been the most effective course of action. If you get no response at all, then you'd soon conclude that it was pointless emailing someone. The point of view of the people winding him up would never have seen the light of day. If he really felt so strongly that he had to respond, he could have sent a perfectly polite response, detailing why he considered the people who were emailing him to be wrong headed. Surely as someone who is well acquainted with the background to the case (otherwise why get so upset) and a seasoned politician, knocking up a few sentences (which could be cut and pasted into numerous replies) would have sufficed. Had he said "Thank you for your email. I am sorry to say that I fundamentally disagree with you and have nothing more to say on the subject" would have sufficed. What would have happened then? Well for one thing, the arguments of those people he disagreed with, would not have received widespread coverage. If, as Coleman alleges, the emails were part of a campaign to elicit a response, the campaign would have failed. Just suppose Mr Cohen and Dr Jago had sat around cooking up a cunning plan to discredit Brian Coleman and his support for Israel, just what would they have done?
Cohen : "I have a cunning plan, lets send an email to Brian Coleman asking him to blacklist a company that does work in Israel, he'll get really cross and send a rude a reply and we can report him to the standards committee"
Jago : "Wow, that's a really cunning plan, he won't see that coming, I'll get all my mates to email him as well, then we can all report him"
Cohen : "Just think, he'll be all over the local papers an look really stupid"
Jago : "Ha Ha Ha, aren't we evil geniuses"
That seems to be the proposition Brian Coleman has come up with. Mr Hoffman explained that Brian Coleman had only sent his angry response after he'd received a hundred or so similar emails. I've no idea what the truth of all of this is, but it seems that Coleman, Mr Hoffman and friends are all signed up to the cunning plan conspiracy theory. The sad thing is that none of them seem to accept that Brian Coleman was a tad silly falling for it.
Lets just hope that this time, Brian Coleman actually bothers to take up the training to stop him being tripped up by cunning plan conspiritors. I've no idea how much his boorish behaviour has cost the taxpayer, but please Brian, learn to behave.
Of course, maybe Brian Coleman had a cunning plan of his own? How would this go?
Brian Coleman : "I have a cunning plan, I'll send some rude email responses. Last time that got me on telly. They say all publicity is good publicity and God knows I need some at the moment with all of the parking cock ups I've made in Barnet"
Perish the thought. How much has it all cost the taxpayer?