Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The Zionist Federation of the United Kingdom & Ireland deplores the recent offensive remarks by Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. 
The ZF supports direct negotiations with the Palestinian Authority and the position of the Israeli Government as formulated by the Prime Minister’s Office:  “Israel is going to the negotiations out of a desire to make progress with the Palestinians toward an agreement that will put an end to the conflict and ensure peace, security and good neighborly relations between the two peoples.”

Thursday, August 26, 2010


On Tuesday, Tony Blair gave a speech during a conference in Herzliya. Well worth a read. A small section of the article reads:
A constant conversation I have with some, by no means all, of my European colleagues is to argue to them: don’t apply rules to the Government of Israel that you would never dream of applying to your own country. In any of our nations, if there were people firing rockets, committing acts of terrorism and living next door to us, our public opinion would go crazy. And any political leader who took the line that we shouldn’t get too excited about it, wouldn’t last long as a political leader. This is a democracy. Israel lost 1000 citizens to terrorism in the intifada. That equates in UK population terms to 10,000. I remember the bomb attacks from Republican terrorism in the 1970’s. There weren’t many arguing for a policy of phlegmatic calm.

Read the full article:

Tony Blair welcomes re-start of direct peace talks during Herzliya speech
There are two forms of de-legitimisation. One is traditional, obvious and from the quarters it emanates, expected. It is easier to deal with. This is attack from those who openly question Israel’s right to exist. It is easier to deal with, because it is so clear. When the President of Iran says he wants Israel wiped off the face of the map, we all know where we are. This is not to minimise the threat of course. It remains and is profound. It is just to say that were this the only form of de-legitimisation, it wouldn’t warrant a conference of analysis; simply a course of action.
The other form is more insidious, harder to spot, harder to anticipate and harder to deal with, because many of those engaging in it, will fiercely deny they are doing so. It is this form that is in danger of growing, and whose impact is potentially highly threatening, in part because it isn’t obvious.
I would define in it this way: it is a conscious or often unconscious resistance, sometimes bordering on refusal, to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view. Note that I say refusal to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view. I’m not saying refusal to agree with it. People are perfectly entitled to agree or not; but rather an unwillingness to listen to the other side, to acknowledge that Israel has a point, to embrace the notion that this is a complex matter that requires understanding of the other way of looking at it.
The challenge is that this often does not come from ill-intentioned people; but well-intentioned. They would dispute vigorously such a characterisation of their mindset. They would point to the injustice of Palestinian suffering, acts of the Israeli Government or army which are unjustifiable and they would say, rightly, that you cannot say that to criticise Israel is to de-legitimise it. Such minds are often to be found in the west. They will say they advocate a two state solution and they will point to that as proof positive that they accept Israel’s existence fully.
The problem is that though this is true in theory, in practice they wear Nelson’s eye patch when they lift the telescope of scrutiny to the Israeli case. In a very real sense, they don’t see it.
So, for example, on Gaza they won’t accept that Israel might have a right to search vessels bringing cargo into Gaza, given that even this year over 100 rockets have been fired from that territory into Israel Leave aside the multiple investigations relating to the flotilla, upon which there will naturally be heated debate. I mean a refusal to accept that, however handled, no Israeli government could be indifferent to the possibility of weapons and missiles being brought into Gaza.
I often have a conversation about the West Bank which goes like this. Someone says: Israel must lift the occupation. I reply: I agree but it has to be sure that when it does so, there will be security and a Palestinian force capable of preventing terrorism. They say: so you’re supporting occupation. I say: I’m not: I’m simply pointing out that if Hamas, with an unchanged position on Israel, were running the West Bank, Israel would have a perfectly legitimate right to be concerned about it’s security.
A constant conversation I have with some, by no means all, of my European colleagues is to argue to them: don’t apply rules to the Government of Israel that you would never dream of applying to your own country. In any of our nations, if there were people firing rockets, committing acts of terrorism and living next door to us, our public opinion would go crazy. And any political leader who took the line that we shouldn’t get too excited about it, wouldn’t last long as a political leader. This is a democracy. Israel lost 1000 citizens to terrorism in the intifada. That equates in UK population terms to 10,000. I remember the bomb attacks from Republican terrorism in the 1970’s. There weren’t many arguing for a policy of phlegmatic calm.
So the issue of de-legitimisation is not simply about an overt denial of the State of Israel. It is the application of prejudice in not allowing that Israel has a point of view that should be listened to.
One thing I state repeatedly in interviews about Gaza – despite disagreeing with the previous policy on it – is to say to western media outlets: just at least comprehend why Israel feels as it does. In 2005 it got out of Gaza i.e. ceased occupying it, took over 7000 settlers with it and in return got rockets and terror attacks. Now I know all the counter-arguments about the unilateral nature of the withdrawal, the 2005 Access and Movement agreement and the closure of the crossings. But the fact remains: there is another point of view and you can’t describe it as illegitimate.
This is then hugely heightened by the way things are reported. Here the televisual images – whether in Lebanon, Gaza or indeed any field of conflict – in Afghanistan for example, are so shocking that they tend to overwhelm debate about how or why conflict began. Because Israel – like the US or the UK – has superior force and because in such situations the horrible tragedy is that the innocent die – these images arouse anger, sympathy and a disgust that at one level is completely understandable but at another obscures the difficult choices nations like ours face, when they come under attack.
The combination of all of this is curious disjunction of perception. I spend large amounts of time in Israel, and outside of it in different parts of the world. To those outside, Israel is regularly perceived as arrogant, overbearing and aggressive. To Israelis, there is a sense that the world is isolating it unfairly and perversely refusing to see they too have a right to have their voice heard. Hence this conference.
The issue is how to respond. First, there is a clear and vital principle that needs to be established: to criticise is not per se to de-legitimise. The fact is there are plenty of Israeli and Jewish voices that passionately disagree with Israeli policy. I am a friend of Israel and openly avow it. I have plenty of criticisms. De-legitimisation is qualitatively different. It can seem the same sometimes. But it isn’t. The one is valid. The other is not. Friends of Israel should be the first to make the distinction.
Having done that, however, we should highlight the fact that de-legitimisation is happening, and be vigilant and vigorous about identifying and countering the instances of it. This needn’t be done stridently. But it should be done insistently. The aim: not to make people agree necessarily with Israel’s point of view; but to insist they listen to it and persuade them at least to the position of understanding. Where there is incitement, expose it. Where there is a one-sided account, argue the other side. Always have a voice out there – and not just the politicians – but the voices of the people. And do it systematically and with unity.
Second, Israel should always be a staunch and unremitting advocate and actor for peace. What I mean by this is not that it should simply be for peace; it should advocate it and act to achieve it. Tzipi Livni’s and Ehud Olmert’s negotiations under the previous Israeli Government and previous US administration, were an immensely important part of showing to the world that whatever else they might say, they had to accept that the Government of Israel was genuinely trying to bring about peace. The re-start of the direct negotiations to be launched next week is important in itself; important because it shows that PM Netanyahu on behalf of the new Government of Israel is an advocate for peace; important because, with a l year time frame being indicated, it shows that there is a sincere yearning on the part of the people of Israel to live in an enduring and honourable peace with their Palestinian neighbours. I know some are cynical. I know some say it’s all for show. I reject that view. I think if Israel can receive
real and effective guarantees about its security, then it is willing and ready to include a negotiation for a viable, independent Palestinian state. This is a brave decision by the PM and the right one.
Third, there will be no successful negotiation unless all the final status issues are on the table. I’m not going to try to negotiate solutions here and now. That is for later. We can think creatively and constructively. Indeed we must do so. But proposals on these issues will be a litmus test of seriousness.
Which brings me to a fourth point. A crucial response to de-legitimisation is to deal with the legitimate criticism. What is it? Let me answer based on my experience. It is that we can and should do more and more quickly to improve the daily lives of Palestinians. Now there has been real progress here in the past year. We should deepen it. I am a convinced persuader for the bottom up approach – I continue to believe that no top-down negotiation will work without it. I also think we have visible empirical evidence to support it: the improvements in Jenin and the opening of the Jalameh crossing to Israeli Arabs; changes to A & M in response to the hugely improved capability of the PA on security; the very successful PIC in Bethlehem that yielded hundreds of millions of dollars of investment; the modus operandi with the new department under DPM Shalom that has resulted in significant gains; and I hope in time a new approach to tourism and to development for Palestinians in Area C.
Such change does not only lead to improvements to Palestinian lives. It also deals with what is the most potent fuel – especially in Arab media – of hatred against Israel. That is the idea that Palestinians suffer not injustice alone; but a form of humiliation. Dignity is a very important concept. Consistent with security, Israel should be constantly looking for ways to compensate for the indignity which inevitably results from the security measures taken and should seek to avoid any unnecessary indignities.
I was pleased and heartened when the Government changed policy on Gaza. The truth is you can justify restrictions in Gaza taken for reasons of security. But with a Gazan population, half of whom is under the age of 18 and 300,000 of whom are under the age of 4, security is the only arguable basis upon which to put such restrictions. Of course Gilad Shalit should be released immediately. His detention is a profound denial of human rights, as is the way he is being treated. But a policy based on threats to Israel’s security is the only one its friends can defend.
This leads me to my final point. It is our collective duty – yours and mine – to argue vigorously against the de-legitimisation of Israel. It is also our collective duty to arm ourselves with an argument and a narrative we can defend and with which we can answer the case against Israel, with pride and confidence.
Let me tell you why I am a passionate believer in Israel. This is a democracy. It’s Parliament is vibrant. Its politics is, well, not notably restrained, let’s say. Its press is free. Its people have rights and they are enforced. I had an argument with a friend about Israel. I said to them: ‘ok let’s assume you are charged with a crime you didn’t commit and the penalty is 20 years in prison. And you’re a critic of the Government. Tell me: under which country’s legal system, in this region, would you prefer to be tried?’ He struggled for a bit and then said: ‘that’s not the point.’ ‘But it is’ I replied.
Look around the world about what we admire about the Jewish people: their contribution to art, culture, literature, music, business and philanthropy. It’s a spirit that is identifiable, open and rather wonderful. Whatever bigotry is, it is the opposite of it. It is a free spirit. On holiday I read the new biography of Einstein. Having in early life taken not much interest in the issue, he became an ardent supporter of Israel. But look at the character of the Israel he supported: like Einstein himself – a free thinker, a rebellious thinker even, but one supremely attuned to the future.
That is the Israel people like me support. So guard it; keep it. I am a religious person myself. But the society I want to live in, is one that treats me no better as a result; makes my view one amongst many; and pursues science, technology and progress with vigour and without prejudice. The best answer to the de-legitimisation of Israel lies in the character of Israel itself and in the openness, fair-mindedness and creativity of ordinary Israelis. That character and those people built the State of Israel. They remain it’s guardians. They are why to de-legitimise Israel is not only an affront to Israelis but to all who share the values of a free human spirit.
Thank you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I love Israel and I love Rihanna, so imagine my glee earlier this year on seeing a photo of her lying by EXACTLY the Tel Aviv swimming pool where I had been lounging just a few days before! Hmm, if you SQUINTED a bit, we might even be...nah, it’s not gonna work, is it! I’m somewhat less fond of Lady Gaga so I wasn’t quite as stoked to see her mooching around the Western Wall. And I can’t stand Madonna so I wasn’t especially overjoyed to see her poncing around the Promised Land like she owns the place (or is at least is on a promise). 

But hey, as the Tesco ad says - every little helps! Especially in the long war against the half-witted anti-Semites who seek to demonize Israel as a uniquely heinous blot on the modern map through the medium of cultural boycott.

Of course people are free to boycott whoever they wish. For several years now I have refused to buy the produce of or visit any country which practises  gender apartheid - i.e. Muslim states - as I will not contribute in any way to a vile belief system which results in females being treated in a way that is a cross between the way Tsarist Russia treated the Jews and Scrooge treated money.

Contrast Rihanna’s glorious Israel gigs with the extraordinary disrespect with which she was treated by Malaysian Islamists last year when scheduled to play in that country. The usual curtain-twitching Mrs Grundyish mullahs got their dish-dashes in a twist, with the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party branded her ‘sexier and more dangerous than Avril Lavigne’ - fair enough, but so’s my cat! Furthermore, they prissed, a Rihanna concert would be ‘akin to insulting Eastern culture, belittling local artistes, internationally causing losses to the country’s economy and supporting Israel’s war policy, which is supported by America.’ As well as killing the polar bears and causing ayatollahs beards to drop out, no doubt.

Previously the joyless Malaysian fuss-buckets had been tut-tutting over the badness of Beyonce, who scrapped two shows there in the space of two years due to Islamic narrow-mindedness, and fined the Pussycat Dolls promoter when the laydeez were accused of flouting Malaysia’s decency regulations. I don’t think it’s any coincidence, to be frank, that Beyonce, Rihanna and the lead Pussycat are black women, and thus the Islamist busybodies feel perfectly entitled to dictate how they should behave. Islam’s genocidal history of enslaving non-Muslims is one they have never apologized for - unlike Western cultures - and on seeing a sassy female who is also black, their who-died-and-made-me-Caliph mentality must go into overdrive.

I always think of Islamic inhumanity to women, homosexuals, blacks, Christians, Buddhists and the rest of we kaffirs when I read about the latest ill-informed crooning clown to diss Israel. Has-been trip-hop act Massive Attack are the latest sheep-like clod-hoppers to hitch their wagon to a bar, using their appearance at the Big Chill earlier this month to flash up images on a screen behind them. A member of the audience told the JC last week "Massive Attack had a screen behind them that was flashing up statistics and political images. Various topics were touched on such as BP and economic strife but the theme was anti-Israeli … there were slogans about Israelis' wealth compared to Palestinians', troop numbers and armed checkpoints. The general vibe was that all hardship in Palestine was Israel's fault. There was not a word about the terror attacks or fundamentalism.

Hypocrisy strike one - and probably strike two too. It would be interesting to know whether those performers who refuse to go to Israel and slate America - and here they may or may not agree with that regular laugh-riot Kamaruzaman Mohammad, a leader of the youth wing of the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party, which claimed that attending the California-based Rihanna's proposed concert was a form of support for Israel because "Whether Rihanna realises it or not, we know that the taxes she paid also contributed to the war in Gaza” - also prevent their records or movies or books from being sold or downloaded in these countries. I doubt it, the greedy pigs.

Let them stew in their own duplicit swill, I say. Massive Attack can join such anti-Israel heroes as Elvis Costello (who is so politically sophisticated that he once called Ray Charles ‘a blind, ignorant nigger’) and Bobby Gillespie - such a loss to the Brains Trust that he reportedly defaced a MAKE POVERTY HISTORY poster to make it read MAKE ISRAEL HISTORY. Allegedly he couldn’t even spell ISRAEL properly - ISREAL he wrote, which has GOT to be a Freudian slip - and whatever one thinks of the tiny, democratic state surrounded by filthy rich, oppressive dictatorships, how extraordinarily arrogant to downgrade such a massive issue as world poverty simply to score a point. Ick!

Yes, Israel-haters can keep that grisly pair; in our corner, in the spirit of curiosity and keeping an open mind, we have the unique, the unimpeachable John Lydon, who will lead his group Public Image Limited in concert in Tel Aviv at the end of this month. "If Elvis-fucking-Costello wants to pull out of a gig in Israel because he's suddenly got this compassion for Palestinians, then good on him," Lydon told the Independent. "But I have absolutely one rule, right? Until I see an Arab country, a Muslim country, with a democracy, I won't understand how anyone can have a problem with how they're treated.

John Lydon: the voice of common sense versus the dark forces of universal hypocrisy. Welcome aboard!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Israel became the first non-European state to head the EUREKA Network, the leading industrial R&D initiative in Europe and the largest of its kind in the world with investments of 1.5 billion euros every year. Israel's Office of the Chief Scientist head Eli Opper will serve as the organization's chairman.

In recent years, Israel became one of the five most active members in Eureka boasting the same number of projects as much bigger [EU] countries. Out of nearly 300 new projects initiated by Eureka in 2008, 40 involved Israeli companies. As the head of the pan-European, inter-governmental initiative, Israel has planned five conferences, starting in Tel Aviv in October and culminating in Jerusalem in June 2011. Eureka was set up in 1985 as a legal framework allowing European companies to collaborate and receive government funding.


Israel's ECI Telecom has won its largest ever contract, an £528m deal with BT's Openreach to help establish a large-scale super-fast broadband network in Britain.

ECI will deploy next generation access for up to 18 million households and businesses throughout Britain in the next 3-5 years. Deployment is scheduled to begin in July-August. Openreach, which was created in 2006 to give communications providers equal access to Britain's local access network, plans to invest a further 1 billion pounds ($1.51 billion), or 2.5 billion in total, to extend deployment of fibre-to-the-premise and fibre-to-the-cabinet to around two thirds of Britain by 2015.

ECI supplies communications platforms for carrier and service provider networks. It was acquired by a group of funds led by the Swarth Group for $1.24 billion in 2007 and delisted from Nasdaq.

For the full story please see: http://www.ispreview.co.uk/story/2010/07/06/eci-telecom-wins-crucial-uk-bt-next-gen-fibre-optic-broadband-contract.html


Israel has recently been accepted to the OECD. This recent development is likely to support growth in international trade and financial activity. According to the OECD, Israel's GDP grew by 0.7 percent in 2009, compared to an OECD average of minus 3.3 percent. The current growth forecast for 2010 and 2011 is 3.8 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively.

The bilateral business relations between Israel and the UK continue to thrive. Last figures show that the UK remains a key target market and destination for the Israeli exporters. During the first half of 2010, the UK became Israel’s third-biggest export market in the world and the biggest export market in Europe. On the other hand, Israel is the UK’s third biggest export market in the Middle East and major UK companies have significant business interests in Israel especially in the fields of science and technology due to Israel’s developed R&D capabilities.

Britain continues to remain a key target market and destination for the Israeli exporters. Israeli exports to the UK in the first half of this year equalled USD894 million, an increase of 54% in dollar terms compared to the same period last year. During the first half of 2010, UK became Israel’s third-biggest export market (from forth last year) and the first-biggest export market in Europe.

According to figures from the Export and International Cooperation Institute (IECI), U.S. remains the first export of goods (excluding diamonds) in the first half of the year with approximately $5.7 billion, an increase of 8% compared to last year. India became Israel’s second-biggest export market from eighth last year; UK third, Holland occupies the fourth place after a down second place in the first half of 2009, China climbed to 5th place (up from 11th place) and Germany ranked sixth (was third last year).

The Swiss Institute for Management Development (IMD) ranked Israel 17th out of 58 of the world's most economically developed nations in its 2010 World Competitiveness Yearbook, raising it by seven spots from its 2009 ranking.

Israel was also rated first in several of the report's sub-categories. The Israeli economy was considered the most durable in the face of crises, and was ranked No. 1 for its expenditure in research and development as a percentage of gross domestic products (GDP). Israel also came in first for the innovative capacity of firms to generate new products, processes and services. In the business-efficiency category, Israel scored very high in availability of skilled labor, finance skills, entrepreneurship of managers and venture capital. For the full story please click here.

Thursday, August 12, 2010




Mrs Waby's letter ['Debate', 6th August] was the cause of some sadness
to the Zionist Federation of Great Britain. Such extreme, polarised
views as hers do little to advance peace, and are more like to cause
further division and mistrust among those concerned with Israel and the

Mrs Waby writes of "43 years of illegal occupation", and the
"illegitimate creation of Israel", as well of "most" of "several million
Palestinians... rot[ting] in poverty". Such false statements are
counterproductive in the struggle for peace which is the aim of the
majority of Israelis, as well as of this and every previous Israeli

Life expectancy in Gaza is rising, and is currently higher than in
Turkey. Only last month a brand new luxury shopping Mall was opened
there. The opulent hotels, olympic-sized swimming pool and fancy
restaurants in Gaza also paint a different picture from Mrs Waby's.

The State of Israel's foundation can in no way be described as
illegitimate. The state was voted into existence by the United Nations
Security Council in 1947, which recommended the termination of the
British Mandate, and the partition of the territory into two states: one
Jewish, and one Arab. It was the leaders of the Arab community who
rejected this, just as many Palestinian leaders do today, unable to
fathom the cheek of the Jews wanting their own state in their historic

Today, the Hamas regime which rules the Gaza strip has a stated
genocidal intent and rejects totally in its written charter the prospect
of any negotiated peace with Israel. This is more than just hard talk;
unguided rockets continue to be launched from Gaza on Israeli civilian
areas, making life for those within range unbearable.

It seems that for Mrs Waby certain refugees have no rights, while others
have carte blanche to behave as they wish, attacking men, women and
children with rockets, and keeping a prisoner -- Gilad Shalit -- in
total isolation from the outside world for over 4 years.

Many worry that some in Britain and beyond are less interest in pursuing
peace and fairness in the Middle East, and more interested in bashing
the only Jewish state in the world, Israel. Such aggressive and
unfounded attacks on Israel as Mrs Waby's do little to persuade them

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Sacerdoti,
Director of Public Affairs
Zionist Federation of Great Britain and Ireland


By José María Aznar
Anger over Gaza is a distraction. We cannot forget that Israel is the West’s best ally in a turbulent region
For far too long now it has been unfashionable in Europe to speak up for Israel. In the wake of the recent incident on board a ship full of anti-Israeli activists in the Mediterranean, it is hard to think of a more unpopular cause to champion.
In an ideal world, the assault by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara would not have ended up with nine dead and a score wounded. In an ideal world, the soldiers would have been peacefully welcomed on to the ship. In an ideal world, no state, let alone a recent ally of Israel such as Turkey, would have sponsored and organised a flotilla whose sole purpose was to create an impossible situation for Israel: making it choose between giving up its security policy and the naval blockade, or risking the wrath of the world.
In our dealings with Israel, we must blow away the red mists of anger that too often cloud our judgment. A reasonable and balanced approach should encapsulate the following realities: first, the state of Israel was created by a decision of the UN. Its legitimacy, therefore, should not be in question. Israel is a nation with deeply rooted democratic institutions. It is a dynamic and open society that has repeatedly excelled in culture, science and technology.
Second, owing to its roots, history, and values, Israel is a fully fledged Western nation. Indeed, it is a normal Western nation, but one confronted by abnormal circumstances.
Uniquely in the West, it is the only democracy whose very existence has been questioned since its inception. In the first instance, it was attacked by its neighbours using the conventional weapons of war. Then it faced terrorism culminating in wave after wave of suicide attacks. Now, at the behest of radical Islamists and their sympathisers, it faces a campaign of delegitimisation through international law and diplomacy.
Sixty-two years after its creation, Israel is still fighting for its very survival. Punished with missiles raining from north and south, threatened with destruction by an Iran aiming to acquire nuclear weapons and pressed upon by friend and foe, Israel, it seems, is never to have a moment’s peace.
For years, the focus of Western attention has understandably been on the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. But if Israel is in danger today and the whole region is slipping towards a worryingly problematic future, it is not due to the lack of understanding between the parties on how to solve this conflict. The parameters of any prospective peace agreement are clear, however difficult it may seem for the two sides to make the final push for a settlement.
The real threats to regional stability, however, are to be found in the rise of a radical Islamism which sees Israel’s destruction as the fulfilment of its religious destiny and, simultaneously in the case of Iran, as an expression of its ambitions for regional hegemony. Both phenomena are threats that affect not only Israel, but also the wider West and the world at large.
The core of the problem lies in the ambiguous and often erroneous manner in which too many Western countries are now reacting to this situation. It is easy to blame Israel for all the evils in the Middle East. Some even act and talk as if a new understanding with the Muslim world could be achieved if only we were prepared to sacrifice the Jewish state on the altar. This would be folly.
Israel is our first line of defence in a turbulent region that is constantly at risk of descending into chaos; a region vital to our energy security owing to our overdependence on Middle Eastern oil; a region that forms the front line in the fight against extremism. If Israel goes down, we all go down. To defend Israel’s right to exist in peace, within secure borders, requires a degree of moral and strategic clarity that too often seems to have disappeared in Europe. The United States shows worrying signs of heading in the same direction.
The West is going through a period of confusion over the shape of the world’s future. To a great extent, this confusion is caused by a kind of masochistic self-doubt over our own identity; by the rule of political correctness; by a multiculturalism that forces us to our knees before others; and by a secularism which, irony of ironies, blinds us even when we are confronted by jihadis promoting the most fanatical incarnation of their faith. To abandon Israel to its fate, at this moment of all moments, would merely serve to illustrate how far we have sunk and how inexorable our decline now appears.
This cannot be allowed to happen. Motivated by the need to rebuild our own Western values, expressing deep concern about the wave of aggression against Israel, and mindful that Israel’s strength is our strength and Israel’s weakness is our weakness, I have decided to promote a new Friends of Israel initiative with the help of some prominent people, including David Trimble, Andrew Roberts, John Bolton, Alejandro Toledo (the former President of Peru), Marcello Pera (philosopher and former President of the Italian Senate), Fiamma Nirenstein (the Italian author and politician), the financier Robert Agostinelli and the Catholic intellectual George Weigel.
It is not our intention to defend any specific policy or any particular Israeli government. The sponsors of this initiative are certain to disagree at times with decisions taken by Jerusalem. We are democrats, and we believe in diversity.
What binds us, however, is our unyielding support for Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself. For Western countries to side with those who question Israel’s legitimacy, for them to play games in international bodies with Israel’s vital security issues, for them to appease those who oppose Western values rather than robustly to stand up in defence of those values, is not only a grave moral mistake, but a strategic error of the first magnitude.
Israel is a fundamental part of the West. The West is what it is thanks to its Judeo-Christian roots. If the Jewish element of those roots is upturned and Israel is lost, then we are lost too. Whether we like it or not, our fate is inextricably intertwined.
José María Aznar was Prime Minister of Spain, 1996-2004


The Zionist Federation is appalled by the Highbury Corner Magistrates Court decision to clear of all charges the four anti-Israel campaigners who locked themselves to fixtures inside the Israeli-owned Ahava shop on Monmouth Street in London’s Covent Garden, once in September 2009 and again in December 2009. We note that owing to an apparent failure of communication, a key witness for the prosecution was not present in court. We particularly regret this fact, as it is of vital importance that the strongest legal case possible is made against those who seek to attack and disrupt Israeli and Jewish shops.
Boycotting and disrupting Jewish and Israeli shops is always wrong. The movement to encourage such boycotts is misguided at best, and deliberately unhelpful and discriminatory at worst. Such boycotts damage the well-being of Israeli and Palestinians, who depend on the support of British and other consumers for their livelihood.
This case comes after last month's case at Hove Crown Court when seven anti-war activists were cleared of all charges after breaking into the EDO arms equipment factory in Brighton and causing £200,000 worth of damage. The British courts and government should resist in the strongest ways possible the attempts of small, fringe groups like these to politicise and highjack our legal system. A worrying trend can be observed where the courts are allowing disruptive and damaging behaviour to go unpunished.
We strongly disagree with both the actions and the motivations of the anti-Ahava protestors. Their attempt to discredit this entirely legitimate business is wrong. It does nothing to promote the dialogue, negotiation or spirit of cooperation which are essential ingredients for a positive future for all in the Middle East.
Different legal interpretations regarding the current status of the West Bank and its potential future status should not be used as a reason to attack individuals and businesses operating legally and legitimately in the UK. Nobody has a right to attempt to intimidate innocent shopkeepers and customers who are doing nothing wrong. Such bullying is at one pathetic and counterproductive, and reveals the true motivations of the perpetrators. We call to everyone to stand strong in the face of this bullying.
The ZF encourages shoppers to show support for Ahava and other Israeli businesses by shopping freely in their stores and buying their high quality products, as they would in any other store.
Jonathan Sacerdoti, Director of Public Affairs of the Zionist Federation of Great Britain which supports a regular counter-protest supporting Ahava, said: "the British legal system is being highjacked by a small and malicious group of anti-Israel campaigners. They appear to be far more interested in attempting to damage the Jewish state than in building a peaceful future for the Middle East."
"This UK government, like the last, does not support boycotting Israeli goods, no matter from which part of Israel they originate. Those who seek to intimidate shops selling Israeli products should be ashamed of themselves. Their actions run contrary to the traditional British values of decency, fairness and freedom. Other local businesses are also damaged by the presence of these disruptive crowds, who show no concern for the damage they do to those around them."

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Waking up the following Monday morning to hear that five Grad Missiles had luckily just missed Eilat reconfirmed why so many felt the need to go to the Ralli Hall in Hove the previous evening. The Sussex Jewish Representative Council together with the ZF were delighted to host the evening which was attended by over 200 people. Unlike the recent protests in Waitrose this was a thoroughly civilised and well organised event. While we had ample security thanks to our local CST but the audience were so well behaved that they had a relatively easy evening.

Under the direction of the very able Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, an interesting and informative evening evolved. David Cohen, who incidentally is the volunteer Chairman of Israel Connect (the young professionals wing of the Zionist Federation), presented “An Idiot’s Guide to The Goldstone Report” followed by a Questions and Answers session. Our panel consisted of Ruvi Zeigler, (International Human Rights Lawyer) Alex Brummer (City Editor of The Daily Mail), Richard Harrington( MP for Watford and former chairman of CFI) and Sam Barsam (Board of Deputies defence committee). David also joined the panel and we had the benefit of his extensive knowledge. Ruvi explained the responsibilities that Israel faces because she controls the land and sea around Gaza, Alex predicted that the world was rapidly changing and thought that people are now waking up to the nonsense that Hamas peddles. After much discussion on the” Camel Corp” Richard assured us that the foreign office was not anti Israel. Questions arose concerning David Cameron’s recent remarks to the Turkish Government. It was clear that the Jewish community felt insulted that he so lighted tossed around words like “prison camp”, especially when Israel and the international community is sending so much aid into Gaza and no one needed to be reminded what these words mean to Jews. Sam gave a chilling warning about the 1930’s rhetoric that is abounding. Sir Ivan pinned Ruvi down on Israel’s right to assassinate overseas enemy combatants. I am not sure we all understood the answer as the legalities were so complicated. However we did realise that this is something that all countries do clandestinely.

In the audience sat both Christians and Jews together with some VIPs which included The Deputy Mayor, The Chief of Police, the journalist Julie Birchill and the Executive Director of the ZF Alan Aziz. The evening was attended by both Rabbi Efune and Rabbi Radar.

By the end of the evening the audience understood that the situation and responsibilities in Gaza are complex. While the “Lefties” and the media generally have a lot of say, blaming Israel for everything it became quite apparent during the evening that our suspicions and beliefs that the suffering of the population in Gaza is directly due to Hamas were correct.

As the week continued the news from Israel got worse with the loss of life on the Northern Border. Of course there were the voices that tried to blame Israel but it was so clear cut that even the UN, who do not support anything that Israel does, could only agree that the firing was started unprovoked by the Lebanese Army.


Gilad Shalit Badges are available in the following shops:

- La Boucherie, Barkingside
- Just Kosher, Borehamwood
- Lets Meat, Borehamwood
- Kanteen, Bushey
- Rubens, Central London
- Norman Goldberg, Clayhill
- Kosher Deli, Edgware
- Tuti Gusti, Edgware
- Burger Bar, Finchley
- Eye Warehouse, Finchley
- Carmelli's, Golders Green
- Grodinski's, Golders Green
- Menachems Butcher, Golders Green
- Pita, Golders Green
- White House Express, Golders Green
- Kosher Deli, Hendon
- Mana Deli, Hendon
- Mr Baker, Hendon
- The White House, Hendon
- Golan's Bakery, Ilford
- Kosher Cuisine, Mill Hill
- Amici, Pinner
- Yummies, Radlett
- A Perlmutter, Southgate
- Buckinghams Bakery, Stanmore
- Ivor Silverman, Stanmore
- Daniels Bakery, Temple Fortune
- Kosher Paradise, Temple Fortune
- Landy's Chemist, Temple Fortune
- Matok, Temple Fortune
- Pita, West Hampstead

For more information visit www.gilad.org.uk.

If you are a shop and would like to have badges by your till, please contact gary@zfuk.org.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


28th August marks Gilad Shalit's 24th birthday. Gilad was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists in a cross border raid from the Gaza Strip on 25th June 2006, aged just 19. He has been held hostage by Hamas ever since with almost no contact to the outside world.

To mark Gilad’s birthday, the Zionist Federation on behalf of the Jewish community is launching a campaign to increase awareness of his plight in the form of a badge appeal. Similar to the bright yellow ribbons in Israel, the ZF has produced thousands of yellow badges which are available in Jewish shops around London or for order online at www.gilad.org.uk. We are asking members of the community to wear the badges in order to raise awareness, and show their solidarity with Israel. Also via the website, we are inviting people to send their wishes to Gilad’s family. There they can also sign a petition that will be passed on to the UK Government, encouraging them to place pressure on the relevant agencies to ensure the safe release of Gilad Shalit.

Four years, two governments, two prime ministers, two defence ministers, and two heads of the Israeli Armed Forces have unsuccessfully tried to secure a prisoner exchange with Hamas. The International Red Cross has given Shalit the status of Prisoner of War, a status which guarantees visits by the Red Cross and contact with their families. By never complying with these rules, Hamas is violating international human rights. The attempts by the International Red Cross to secure Gilad's release from captivity have not been sufficient. The ICRC ways to put pressure behind its demands and to enforce them. After over four years, we urge them to increase their efforts.

The ZF urges everyone to redouble their own personal activity on this important issue, by writing to their MP, contacting the press and broadcast media during the week of Gilad's birthday, and simply by spreading the word among their own networks.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


Contact details for UK newspapers
Here are the contact details of the main UK newspapers.

When writing to the press, keep your letter short, polite, and reasoned. This increases the chance of publication. Try to use your own words wherever possible, even if you are paraphrasing something you read elsewhere. This is always better than copying and pasting.

The Evening Standard
Email: letters@standard.co.uk

Daily Express
Editor: Peter Hill
The Northern & Shell Building, Number 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN
Email: greg.swift@theexpress.co.uk

Sunday Express
Editor: Martin Townsend
The Northern & Shell Building, Number 10 Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6EN
Email: liz.james@express.co.uk

Financial Times
Editor: Lionel Barber
1 Southwark Bridge, London SE1 9HL
Fax: 020 7873 3076
Email: letterspage@ft.com

The Guardian
Editor: Alan Rusbridger
119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER
Fax: 020 7837 2114
Email: nigel.willmott@guardian.co.uk

The Independent
Editor-in-chief: Simon Kelner
2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF
Email: letters@independent.co.uk

Independent on Sunday
Editor: John Mullin
2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF
Email: letters@independent.co.uk

Daily Mail
Editor: Paul Dacre
Northcliffe House 2 Derry Street Kensington, London W8 5TT
Fax: 020 7937 4463
Email: letters@dailymail.co.uk

Mail on Sunday
Editor: Peter Wright
Northcliffe House 2 Derry Street Kensington, London W8 5TT
Fax: 020 7937 4463
Email: letters@mailonsunday.co.uk

Daily Mirror
Editor: Richard Wallace
1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP
Fax: 020 7293 3409
Email: mailbox@mirror.co.uk

Sunday Mirror
Editor: Tina Weaver
1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP
Fax: 020 7293 3939
Email: letters@sundaymirror.co.uk

News of the World
Editor: Colin Myler
1 Virginia Street, London E1 9XR
Fax: 020 7488 4433
Email: letters@newsoftheworld.co.uk

The Observer
Editor: John Mulholland
119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER
Email: Letters@observer.co.uk

The People
Editor: Lloyd Embley
1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP
Fax: 020 7293 3810
Email: mailbox@people.co.uk

The Sun
Editor: Dominic Mohan
1 Virginia Street, London E1 9XR
Fax: 020 7488 3253
Email: letters@thsun.co.uk

The Daily Telegraph
Editor: Tony Gallagher
1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP
Email: dtletters@telegraph.co.uk

The Sunday Telegraph
Editor: Ian MacGregor
1 Canada Square Canary Wharf, London E14 5AP
Email: stletters@telegraph.co.uk

The Times
Editor: James Harding
1 Pennington Street, London E1 9XN
Fax: 020 7488 3242
Email: letters@thetimes.co.uk

The Sunday Times
Editor: John Witherow
1 Pennington Street, London E1 9XN
Fax: 020 7782 5658
Email: letters@sunday-times.co.uk


Statement on the Lebanese border incident of 3rd August 2010

The Zionist Federation regrets yesterday's escalation of hostility on the Lebanese/Israeli border, in particular the loss of life.

We send our condolences to the family of Lt. Col (Res.) Dov Harari and our prayers for recovery to Captain Ezra Lakia. We also recognise the loss of life on the Lebanese side.

The ZF is gravely concerned about the way the incident has been reported in the media, in particular the general failure to report the comments of an UNIFIL spokesman that Israel notified them of the intention to carry out maintenance work to prune trees, and that UNIFIL passed that information on to the Lebanese army.

UNIFIL also say they are of the opinion that the Israeli forces were on the Israeli side of the border and that this is currently being verified. They also confirm that it was the Lebanese army who opened fire. Despite that, many news agencies and newspapers have attempted to blame Israel for the escalation.

We call on all those who have misreported this incident to issue a correction.

We are astonished that the Lebanese army arranged for a journalist to be with them. This suggests that this legitimate and notified action by the Israelis may have been used as an opportunity for an escalation.

If this is indeed the case it is deplorable.

The Zionist Federation has spokespeople available for television, radio and written press upon request.