Thursday, December 27, 2012



Israel’s defensive operation, Operation Cast Lead started four years ago - December 27th 2008 - after over 12,000 rockets and mortar shells were launched into Israel from Gaza by Hamas and other terrorist organisations since 2000. The barrage of rockets from Gaza deliberately endangered the lives of over 1 million Israeli citizens living in Southern Israel. The purpose of Operation Cast Lead was to reduce Hamas’s ability to harm Israeli civilians by targeting terrorist facilities.

The campaign was a success with a low ratio of civilian to combatant casualties unprecedented in the history of asymmetric warfare. Subsequently there was a marked decrease in rocket fire into Israel.  The low number of civilian casualties was particularly remarkable given that Hamas hid in civilian areas and used civilians as human shields. At the same time they attempted to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. They therefore committed a double war crime.

Contrastingly, over 2.5 million warning leaflets were distributed by the Israeli Air Force over areas marked as terror facilities, announcing upcoming strikes. Advance warnings, in the form of news broadcasts and approximately 165,000 phone calls were made to residents of those buildings urging them to leave, prior to any military action.

Zionist Federation Chairman Paul Charney said ”The fourth anniversary of Operation Cast Lead reminds us that Israel is surrounded by enemies who challenge its very existence. The Zionist Federation will always recognise and stand up for Israel’s right to defend itself against those who seek to destroy it”.

The Zionist Federation (ZF) will always support Israel’s right to defend itself.  To keep up to date with the latest ZF news, visit our blog at:

If you require a spokesperson for Thursday 27th December 2012 please call Gary on [removed] or email with ‘URGENT’ in the subject box. 


Operation Cast Lead: Four Years On

This is a post from Stephen Hoffman, the campaigns officer for The Zionist Federation 

The 27th December 2012, the fourth Anniversary of Operation Cast Lead will take place. For the anti-Israel brigade who treat Israel as the devil incarnate, whether it is in the printed press, on the radio or TV, it presents an opportunity to present Israel as bloodthirsty war criminals who like nothing better then killing Palestinians. These people are completely deluded and what they say should be taken with a pinch of salt and it is my intention in this blog to show why.
The anniversary of Operation Cast Lead is a reminder about the threat to its existence Israel faces from those who seek to destroy it. Israel may look strong, but is surrounded by enemies who wish to throw it into the sea – from non-state terrorist actors such as Hamas and Hezbollah, to states like Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, who act as if Israel’s very existence is an abomination.
Israel, after severe provocation, launched Operation Cast Lead to protect over 1 million citizens living in southern Israel, who had come under constant rocket fire between 2000-2008 from Hamas-governed Gaza. Whilst, thanks to rocket shelters, not many Israelis died, children bore psychological scars, whilst many left, unable to deal with the constant rocket fire. No national government would accept this intolerable situation, especially as the main job of any government is to protect the security of its inhabitants. Israel had shown great restraint from 2000-2008 when nearly 12,000 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel from Gaza. This well-intentioned restraint had not achieved anything. This was mainly down to Hamas, whose raison d’etre is to destroy Israel. Due to this, they seemed intent on turning Gaza into a terrorist paradise.
Israel launched Operation Cast Lead after realising that it could not allow a situation to continue that was directly threatening its citizens. The stated purpose of Operation Cast Lead was to target the hubs of terrorism where the missiles into Israel were coming from, and to significantly retard the ability of those trying to attack Israel. In this it seemed to be successful, with the highly respected Mossad saying that thanks to Operation Cast Lead, rocket fire, though not stopping, had reduced significantly in numbers.
However, during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s image took a battering, especially in the media. The perception was that Israel had deliberately killed many Palestinian civilians thereby acting disproportionately. However, this was far from the truth. Israel tried its best to avoid civilian casualties, as its quarrel was not with the Palestinian people, but with Hamas, who were directly responsible for the rocket attacks as they occurred on territory that they governed in Gaza. Hamas hid in civilian areas and used civilians as human shields, whilst attempting to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. In doing so they committed a double war crime. This also showed that Hamas saw both Israeli and Palestinian life as cheap. In doing this, they were directly responsible for the deaths of Palestinians and the terrible plight of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Contrastingly, the Israeli Air Force distributed over 2.5 million warning leaflets over areas marked as terror facilities, announcing upcoming strikes. Advance warnings, in the form of news broadcasts and approximately 165,000 phone calls, were made to residents of those buildings urging them to leave, prior to any military action. Israel didn’t have to do this, but they were committed to doing all they could to avoid Palestinian civilian deaths, which was made impossible by the actions of Hamas.
Israel lives in a hostile neighbourhood, having to continually fight for its existence.  Operation Cast Lead also showed definitively that Hamas is like a leopard that won’t change its spots. It remains a vile antisemitic terrorist organisation committed to Israel’s destruction. Those who naively think that Hamas is interested in peace should remember that Operation Cast Lead was a response to Hamas turning Gaza into a terrorist’s playground. Let’s remember four years on that Israel still thrives in a hostile environment, despite its existence and right to defend itself being continually challenged. In this environment, it is important as friends of Israel to stand with it.

Monday, December 17, 2012



Hamas is holding a rally in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) today.

This should be a matter of grave concern for the international community, given Hamas’ antisemitic character (as evidenced in its Charter), refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist and rejection of any peace initiative. 

If proof was ever needed - after Mahmoud Abbas’s rejectionist Palestinian UN bid that he is not interested in peace - then this is it. By allowing a highly provocative Hamas rally, Fatah is condoning Hamas’ repugnant principles. With Hamas still firing rockets into Israel and killing Israeli citizens, this rally is inciting terrorism and poses a very real security risk to Israel. It also shows the error of the UN to admit the Palestinian Authority into the community of nations, considering Abbas’s anti-Israel views expressed in his UN speech, and that he has tamely given Hamas a platform for its odious views in the West Bank.

The rally celebrates Hamas’s 25th anniversary. It includes speeches from senior Hamas leaders who have been involved with terrorism, made vile antisemitic remarks and are on record as calling for the destruction of Israel. It is hard to imagine anything more designed to obstruct peace, with many of those involved having blood on their hands. As Fatah is in control of the West Bank, it bears full responsibility.

Zionist Federation Chairman Paul Charney said: “This sham ‘reconciliation’ between Fatah and Hamas simply underlines the fact that Mahmoud Abbas has no interest in living in peace with Israel. If he did he would return to the negotiating table now and condemn Hamas’ commitment to Israel ’s destruction. He would find a willing negotiator in Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has shown a willingness to talk with a credible peace partner.”

The Zionist Federation and all its UK members will always stand with Israel and challenge those who are not interested in peace. 


On Sunday 16th December at 7.30pm, El Al and The Zionist Federation are holding an event together to mark the fantastic achievements of the UK’s Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks.
For many years Lord Sacks has been a fantastic ambassador for the Jewish community in the UK and worldwide. He has also helped bring people in the UK closer to Israel through his passionate and eloquent defence of Zionism. It is important that his efforts are recognised and El and ZF hopes this event goes some way to achieving this. To make this occasion as joyous as possible there will be high quality musical entertainment throughout the evening.
Zionist Federation Director Alan Aziz said, “The Zionist Federation is delighted to partner with El Al to celebrate the exceptional work of the Chief Rabbi. I look forward to working closely with El Al now and in the future to bring Israel closer to those living in the UK.”
This exciting occasion would not have been possible without the hard work of El Al. President and CEO of El Al General Elyezer Shkedy who was previously Commander of Chief for the Israeli Air force stated, “El Al is proud to work with The Zionist Federation to recognise the achievements of the Chief Rabbi. We will continue to work with The Zionist Federation so that the connection between the UK Jewish community and Israel is strengthened.”
The Zionist Federation and all its members will always stand with Israel and ensure its voice is heard in the UK.
On Sunday 16th December from 3pm to 6pm the Jewish community thanks to the vision of El Al will get the chance to make a little bit of history by writing a letter inscribed with their name to complete a special Sefer Torah. Alongside this amazing opportunity, there will be high class musical entertainment provided, as well as children activities and refreshments. This is all for free.
This groundbreaking Sefer Torah will be used as an emergency torah for those Jewish communities across the world who require it in times of need and distress. The Zionist Federation is proud to support this laudable project by El Al that will make sure that Jews across the world will never be alone. When there is an emergency in the world Israel is normally the first on the scene offering their expert help, and a team is always flown from El Al to help in these important efforts. This Torah follows in the best of these traditions through travelling with the El Al team on these emergency missions.
 El Al President and CEO General Elyezer Shkedy who was previously Commander of Chief for the Israeli Air force said, “As a global airline El Al is fortunate to have many Jewish passengers from across the world. We wanted to make sure that in their times of need we could help ensure the vitality of Jewish communities across the world. I am sure the UK Jewish community will play a major part in this.”
Zionist Federation director Alan Aziz stated, “The Zionist Federation has partnered with El Al so that the Jewish community in the UK can contribute to an extraordinary Sefer Torah. I believe this torah will help bring disparate Jewish communities closer together then ever before.”
The Zionist Federation will continue to hold events to ensure the vitality of the worldwide Jewish community and to ensure that it remains united. 

Friday, September 21, 2012


  1. “You stole our land!”

No land was “stolen”. At first it was bought from Ottoman Landowners who controlled Palestine at the time. Then when the British gave the Mandate to the UN in 1947, the UN Special Committee on Palestine recommended by majority the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states, with Jerusalem to be placed under international administration. On 29 November 1947, the UN General Assembly voted 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions, in favour of the Partition Plan. The Jews accepted the vote; the surrounding Arab nations did not and invaded.

  1. Israel is always aggressive, it does not want peace”

Dennis Ross was at Camp David (2000) in the US negotiating team. If you go to Dennis Ross’s book “The Missing Peace” you will learn that the Palestinians turned down an offer of 91 percent of the West Bank in contiguous territory plus an additional 1 percent in land swaps (there was to be a continued Israeli security presence along 15 percent of the border with Jordan). Furthermore, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia was extremely critical of Arafat’s refusal to accept Barak’s generous offer. Israel signed peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt; withdrew from Sinai, uprooting Jewish settlements; withdrew from Gaza, uprooting Jewish settlements.
A Palestinian State was also on offer in 1948. Prime Minister Olmert made an even more generous offer, of just under 94% of the West Bank and an exchange of 5.5% of territory from Israel and a divided East Jerusalem.

  1. “Israelis are Colonialist and Imperialist”

Israel is a State comprising primarily refugees and their descendants exercising their right to self-determination. Unlike colonial settlers serving the expansionist commercial and military goals of imperial nations such as Great Britain and France, the Jewish refugees were escaping from countries which had oppressed them for centuries.

  1. “You killed thousands of innocent women and children in Gaza

500,000 Israelis live within range of Hamas's missiles. The piercing warning siren dominates the daily routine in towns like Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod. Anywhere within 40km of Gaza, communities raise their children in bomb shelters. Israel cannot sit back while Hamas improves the size and range of its arsenal.
No democratic government in the world would tolerate this. No population would permit it. No army would allow an implacable foe to launch missiles at its citizens and improve its capabilities. 8000 rockets in six years.

Moreover, Hamas has shown little respect for their own Palestinian citizens. Hamas often fires rockets and mortars from civilian areas including houses and farms, on top of using individuals as human shields. It appears from this that their hatred of Israel is stronger than their love for the Palestinian people.

As the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has pointed out, the loss of life in Gaza was "avoidable". Without the destructive actions of Hamas there would have been no reaction from Israel.

There is an unprecedented low civilian casualty rate. While males over age 15 make up approximately 25 percent of the Gaza population, they made up over 74 percent of the fatalities.  Half Gaza’s population are estimated to be children. The Israelis dropped leaflets and made mobile phone calls to warn the civilian population of Gaza.

  1. “Israelis build illegal settlements on stolen land so they cannot want peace”

Not all states (other than Israel) take the view that Israeli settlements in areas captured or recaptured in 1967 are illegal under international law. In particular, the United States government has not taken that view since Ronald Reagan became President in 1981. The US government regards them as an obstacle to peace, but that is a different point.

Additionally UN Resolution 242 of 1967 calls the territory “disputed” and says that Israel only has to leave “territories” not “all territories”.

The 4th Geneva Convention does not apply because East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza strip were not previously the territory of any High Contracting Party to the Convention (ie not sovereign territory). As part of Mandatory Palestine, Judea and Samaria never belonged to any sovereign state, but were occupied and administered illegally by Jordan and Egypt between 1948 and 1967, after the Arab war of aggression against Israel in 1948. And East Jerusalem was captured by Jordan in the war of 1948.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not apply because Israel and the PLO agreed in the Oslo agreements that the final status of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Israeli settlements were to be addressed in final status negotiations, with no provisions in these agreements prohibiting the construction of settlements or of buildings within towns or settlements in the meanwhile by either side within the areas under their respective administrative control. Israel has as much right to build housing in Jerusalem as the Palestinian Authority has to build housing in Bethlehem pending a final resolution of their status.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not prohibit the voluntary movement of Israelis who wish to live in Jerusalem or the West Bank, since this does not constitute a deportation or transfer within the meaning of that provision. The Geneva Convention was designed to prohibit the forcible transfer of population into occupied territories, such as was practised by the Nazis and USSR before and during the Second World War. But the Israeli settlers in the West Bank made a free choice to move there. And as a country that was attacked, Israel is entirely within its legal rights to retain territory that continues to be used as a base for attacks against it.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not apply to Jerusalem and the West Bank because they remain subject to the special provisions of the League of Nations Mandate, including in particular its article 6, which requires the encouragement of “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes”. The rights of the Jewish people to return to their ancient homeland, recognised by this and other provisions of the Mandate were expressly preserved by article 80 of the UN Charter. This was the view of Professor Eugene Rostow, US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs in the Johnson administration, 1966-9, who participated in the drafting of Resolution 242 and was influential in the Reagan administration.

Article 49(6) of the 4th Geneva Convention does not prohibit the construction of housing in a mixed city, such as Jerusalem, with an Israeli and Palestinian population, particularly as any permanent resident of Jerusalem, Israeli or Palestinian, is entitled to purchase or rent a flat anywhere in the city.

Whatever land Israel may choose to give up in its own interests, under international law Jews are entitled to live anywhere in the West Bank. There is no such thing as Palestinian land and never was. The West Bank and Gaza never belonged to any sovereign ruler after the British withdrew from Mandatory Palestine; before that it was part of the Ottoman Empire.  Israel’s ‘borders’ are in fact merely the ceasefire lines from its victory in 1948 against the Arab armies that tried unsuccessfully to exterminate it at birth. It is therefore more correct to call the West Bank and Gaza “disputed territory”.

The Jews alone have been granted the legal – as well as moral and historical – right to settle within the West Bank and Gaza, a right awarded to them by the Great Powers after the First World War on account of the unique historical claim by the Jews to the land then called Palestine. This Jewish right to “closely settle” anywhere in that land was entrusted to Britain to deliver under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine, a matter of international law.

Jews have lived in Judea and Samaria – the West Bank – since ancient times. The only time in recent decades when Jews were prohibited from living in the West Bank was during Jordan’s rule from 1948-1967.

  1. “The settlements are the key to peace. If Israel stopped building settlements there would be peace”

The claim that the “settlements” are the key to resolving peace is incorrect. First, they take up no more than one or two percent of West Bank territory. Second, even when Netanyahu froze such new building for ten months as a sign of goodwill, Abbas still refused to negotiate.

  1. “Jews exploit the Holocaust for money and to justify Israel’s illegal acts”

Sections of the Palestinian leadership actively supported and assisted the Holocaust and Nazi Germany and bears political culpability for the murder of many Jews.

The entire Middle East would have become a Jew-free German protectorate called "Greater Arabia" had Rommel's Afrikakorps not been defeated at el-Alamein 66 years ago on November 4, 1942. The "Einsatzkommando Ägypten" (SS Task Force Egypt), a subgroup of the Afrikakorps, was under the command of SS Obersturmbannführer Walter Rauff, infamous for his large trucks converted into mobile gas chambers which murdered hundreds of thousands in an excruciatingly painful manner in Russia and Serbia the previous year. Rauff was given the authority to carry out "executive measures on the civilian population," which was the Nazi euphemism for the mass murder of the Palestinian Jews. The move was agreed upon with Grand Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini, a friend of Hitler and Himmler, and the Arab population was supposed to actively participate.

  1. “Israelis are War Criminals and should be arrested when they land at Heathrow”

It is the primary duty of a government to defend its citizens from attack. Israel faces the same threat every day that London faced on 7 July 2005 when Muslim terrorists murdered 52 people and injured over 700 others. Those who serve in the IDF have committed no crime, any more than those who served in the British Army in World War Two committed a crime.

  1. “The Wall is an Apartheid Wall, built to make facts on the ground and keep Palestinians out of Israel. It goes the wrong side of the Green Line in several places.”

The fence affects around 1.6% of the Occupied Territories. Israel has set up a compensation fund of around $60 million. 60,000 olive trees destroyed in the construction have been replanted. It's not nice of course. But it saves a lot of lives.

Additionally, the idea of a Security Fence was first proposed by Amran Mitzna, a former leader of the Labour Party and a “dove”. The Security fence can also be seen as a step towards peace as it delineates a future Palestinian state.

  1. Israel is an apartheid, racist State. Jews who have never lived there can become citizens under the ‘Right of Return’ while the 750,000 Palestinians who were forced out in 1948 have no “Right of Return” “

Israel’s 20 percent non-Jewish minority that is made up of Bedouins, Christians, Druze and Muslims has since 1967 had equal voting and other political rights as outlined in the Israeli Declaration of Independence. Arab Israelis were elected to the first Knesset in 1949 and have won as many as 12 Knesset seats in a single election. Some hold important positions in the government, court system, Ministries and the IDF. There has been an Arab Vice Consul (in San Francisco) and an Arab Minister.  Contrast that with the position of blacks in South Africa under apartheid.

As in all countries there remain valid concerns about the treatment on minorities but Israeli Arabs and Palestinians have acknowledged the protection afforded them under the law, for example:

Israel has proved that for fifty years its real power is in its democracy, guarding the rights of its citizens, applying laws [equally] to the rich and poor, the big and small.”

- Dr. Talal Al-Shareef, Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds, May 27, 1999

Israel rescued tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews and welcomed them. Israel also rescued the boat people from Vietnam and has been saving the lives of thousands of Sudanese refugees, including Darfuris, who escaped from Sudan through Egypt. What other Middle Eastern country has given refuge to Darfur refugees? Certainly not Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, or Saudi Arabia. Israel is the lone oasis of safety for those who are persecuted in the Middle East. 77 percent of Israeli Arabs say they prefer living in Israel to any other country in the world (Ha’aretz, 23 June 2008). 

The rights of Arab citizens of Israel have been vigorously upheld in the Israeli Courts. A clear demonstration was in January 2003, with the decision of the Israeli High Court in favour of two Israeli Arab politicians, Ahmed Tibi and Azmi Bishara, who challenged the ruling of Israel's Central Election Committee (CEC) disqualifying them from running in the Israeli general election. Such an episode could never have happened in an “apartheid state”.  And Israel has a Communist Party whereas the Nationalists in South Africa banned it.  Arabs in Israeli society get all the opportunities of Israelis. Take healthcare - the standard of healthcare available to all in Israel is far higher than in the neighbouring Arab States, and Arab life expectancy is considerably higher.

In April 2000 Nelson Mandela came to London and spoke to the Board of Deputies of British Jews. He spoke of the need for Israel to leave the lands taken in 1967 but not unless there was first recognition of the Jewish State by the Arab States: “I added a second position, that Israel cannot be expected to withdraw from the Arab territories which she legitimately conquered when the Arab States wanted to whip her out of the map of the world.” No mention of ‘apartheid’ in Israel - from a man who spent 27 years as a prisoner of the loathsome apartheid regime in South Africa.

Many countries have an ethnicity preference for someone who wants to become a citizen. EG Germany: Article 116(1) of the German Basic Law (constitution) confers a right to citizenship upon any person who is admitted to Germany as "refugee or expellee of German ethnic origin or as the spouse or descendant of such a person." At one time, ethnic Germans living abroad (Aussiedler) could obtain citizenship through a virtually automatic procedure. Since 1990 the law has been steadily tightened to limit the number of immigrants each year. It now requires immigrants to prove language skills and cultural affiliation.
Now the refugees. Please read Efraim Karsh:, in “Commentary”:
“By the time of Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14 1948, the numbers of Arab refugees had more than trebled. Even then, none of the 170,000-180,000 Arabs fleeing urban centres, and only a handful of the 130,000-160,000 villagers who left their homes, had been forced out by the Jews.”

The Mayor of Haifa begged them to stay and many fled on instructions from their leaders

  1. “Far more Palestinians than Israelis have died in the conflict. This is disproportionate.”

Colonel Richard Kemp CBE, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, on the Gaza situation (10/1): "Despite Israel's extraordinary measures a tragically high number of innocent civilians have been killed and wounded.  That is the inevitability of Hamas's way of fighting. Avoiding civilian casualties when fighting among the people is always difficult. When combating an enemy that uses human shields it is impossible."

Under international law, proportionality does not mean that you can only inflict similar casualties to those which you sustain. It means that the force used must not be more than is reasonably required to achieve the legitimate objective, in this case the termination of the war crime of bombarding innocent civilians in Israel. The force being used by Israel was not disproportionate because Hamas did not stop the rocket fire (and has not shown an unequivocal intention not to resume it).

  1. “Israelis teach their children to hate Arabs”
Simply untrue. What is true is that Palestinian TV teaches Palestinian children to hate Jews. Just look at MEMRI. There are many examples of school textbooks and TV shows in the Palestinian territories promoting hatred of Jews. This is documented extremely well by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)
  1. “The Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara was an attack on a boat with innocent peace activists taking food and medicine to starving Palestinians in Gaza
Peace Activists Don't Use Clubs or Knives. Like Rachel Corrie, they goaded an Israeli response. We were sorry to see the loss of lives, but we blame those organizations that put them in harms way. Israel’s actions were backed by the BBC panorama programme on the Flotilla that showed that those on the Mavi Mamara had links to Islamic extremist and provoked an Israeli response.
 The IHH who had a number of people on board has links with Al-Qaeda – Danish Study – Kohlman. Helps to raise cash for Hamas.
IHH refused a request from Gilad Shalit’s family to take a package to him.
The San Remo Manual on International Law of War at Sea: Can attack on high seas when the vessel is believed to be breaching a blockade. After warning. Sailed into closed military zone.

  1. “Gilad Shalit was exchanged for over 1000 Palestinian prisoners. That shows that Israel values Jews 1000 times more than Palestinians – it’s immoral”

If Israel could have got Gilad Shalit out by releasing just one prisoner, do you not think they would have done it?

  1. You always accuse people who criticise Israel of being “anti-Semitic”

This charge is false. No-one who makes it can ever give any evidence. And it is racist because it belittles the right of Jews to object to genuine racism directed against them.

  1. Israelis think they can do what they want because they are the Chosen People.

“Chosen” in the Bible means responsibilities not privileges.

  1. Jews think they were justified in settling in Israel because they say it was “a land without a people for a people without a land”

A false quote from the “Israel Bashers’ Greatest Hits” is ‘A Land Without A People, For A People Without A Land’. (This phrase was not coined by a Zionist. It was coined and propagated by nineteenth-century Christian writers. See Diana Muir, Middle East Quarterly, Spring 2008, pp. 55-62

  1. Israel defies UN Resolutions

UN Abba Eban: “If Algeria introduced a resolution declaring that the earth was flat and that Israel had flattened it, it would pass by a vote of 164 to 13 with 26 abstentions.”
  1. Arabs are Semites too so anti-Semitism cannot be hatred of just Jews

The term ‘anti-Semitism’ was specifically coined in the 19th Century to denote hatred of Jews. That is why there is no hyphen in it. To make this argument is itself anti-Semitic because it denies to Jews the right to respond to racism against themselves.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


In April we sent out a call to action to contact your MEP to ask them to support the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) which would allow for the upgrading of the 1995 EU-Israel Association Agreement which forms the legal basis governing relations between Israel and the EU. This is mainly concerned with trade and scientific and technical cooperation and will substantially open up the European market to Israeli goods, especially pharmaceutical products. Now we are asking you to sign an online petition to ask that the European Parliament be allowed to vote on this legislation. The link to the petition is below and we urge you to please sign the petition and to send this to your friends and colleagues to ask that they do the same. 

For more than two years, opponents of the ACAA deal have delayed any action on it, preventing the issue from reaching a vote in committee and, ultimately, the plenary. Their technical and legal arguments against ACAA have all been countered by the European Council, the European Commission and the legal services of all three EU institutions—including that of the European Parliament itself.

By denying our representatives the opportunity to vote on the matter, ACAA’s critics are harming the democratic process and the interests of the very people they have been elected to serve: Europe’s citizens.

And the enormous benefits of Israeli pharmaceuticals to European healthcare and the well-being of European patients are undeniable. Despite its small size, Israel is at the forefront of major medical innovation, finding new and affordable treatments for a broad range of diseases. To name just two examples: Copaxone, the world’s top selling treatment for multiple sclerosis, was developed at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, while the Israeli-produced generic version of Lipitor, the popular blood pressure medication, will be the first of its kind to hit the UK market, expected at a price 92% below the original.

Yes, Israeli pharmaceuticals can help us save not only lives but also costs. Teva is the world’s largest producer of generic medicines, which are critical to maintaining our high standards of healthcare, particularly during these difficult economic times. According to industry estimates, Europeans save nearly €25 billion annually by using generics, €2 billion in France alone.

The time has come to put European patients before personal politics!



Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) – Motion at General Synod 2012

A motion has been tabled at the Church Of England’s General Synod  in York (10 July 2012) which seeks to formally adopt and deepen the Church’s links with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The General Synod is the highest legislative body in the C of E. The motion affirms General Synod’s support for EAPPI, encourages parishioners to take part in the programme and urges Churches to make use of the experiences of returning participants. If the motion is passed it will significantly raise EAPPI’s profile and legitimacy.

What is EAPPI and why is it problematic?

EAPPI was founded in 2002. It takes around 20 Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) to Israel every year, for between three and four and a half months. They receive two weeks of residential training beforehand, of which just two hours is dedicated to the Israeli perspective. They volunteer in Hebron, Jayyous or Yanoun accompanying Palestinians through checkpoints and monitoring any perceived abuses. Of the three months in the region, they spend one day inside the Green Line, normally in Sderot. All of the Israeli groups they come into contact with are of the fringe left or right. They have virtually no contact with mainstream Israelis.

The result is the creation of a cohort of very partisan but very motivated anti-Israel advocates who have almost no grasp of the suffering of normal Israelis.

Participants are expected to fulfil a minimum of ten speaking engagements on their return, but most do many more in churches across the country and of all denominations. They are considered experts on the overall situation, despite having a very narrow experience which takes almost no account of the suffering of Israelis. This helps generate a climate of hostility to Israel in the churches.

What can you do?

The Church of England should be aware of the strength of feeling regarding this issue within the Jewish community. You can:

  • Like the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Facebook page and comment on it, expressing your concerns regarding this motion.
  • Write to the Bishop of Manchester as the chair of CCJ, expressing your concern – Bishopscourt, Bury New Road, Manchester, M7 4LE.
  • Write to the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace, London, SE1 7JU and to William Fittall, General Secretary, The General Synod, Church House, Great Smith St, London SW1P 3AZ.
  • Write to the Church Times. This is the most influential Church of England newspaper – its address is Church Times, 3rd Floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.

When you write your letters, you may want to:

  • Highlight the partisan nature of EAPPI, explaining how little time participants spend in Israel with mainstream Israelis.Remind the Church of England and members of its General Synod of their duty to examine all perspectives regarding Israel/Palestine.
  • Highlight how inappropriate it would be for the General Synod to be endorsing a programme which creates entirely partisan spokespeople on the issue.
  • Encourage the Synod to lend support to organisations which encourage dialogue and reconciliation, not division, such as One Voice or the Forum for Discussion of Israel/Palestine.
  • Do not berate or disparage them!

Thursday, May 3, 2012


You may already have seen the distressing news that the Co-Operative Group has extended its boycott policy from settlement goods to all produce from four Israeli companies (Agrexco, Arava Export Growers, Adafresh and Mehadrin) that source from the settlements.

The Fair Play Campaign Group, which co-ordinates UK anti-boycott work, has issued this statement:
“The Co-op’s decision to reformulate its policy on settlement goods to include a boycott of four Israeli companies is naïve and a retrograde step.

This extension is significantly less than the full boycott of Israel sought by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. However, the Co-op has not fully understood the Jewish community’s serious concerns with an ever-increasing slippery-slope boycott policy.

Despite the Co-op’s claims that they are applying their policy even-handed, goods from Occupied Northern Cyprus, for example, may still be sold in Co-ops and labelled as “produce of Turkey”.
The Co-op claims that it may buy more produce from other Israeli companies in place of these four. This remains to be seen, and we will monitor the outcome closely.”

We need to ensure that the Co-Op Group understands that people have serious concerns about this move.

If you want to express your disquiet, please write to the members of the Co-Op Group Board representing your region. Their names are here

. The postal and email addresses for contacting them are here.

If the Co-Op’s policy is going to affect your willingness to shop there, you should say this in your correspondence, so they know their policy will have an adverse commercial impact.

To shift their policy in the long-term we also need people to join the Co-Op and engage in its democratic structures as it is a membership-based organisation. You can join online here

 for only £1.
Your complaints re. the policy will carry more weight if you are a member.

If you do join, please let me know, as we want to have a presence at upcoming regional meetings to both express our concerns about the Group Board’s policy, and to vote against any more extreme positions that are put forward by members.

With thank to ‘We Believe in Israel.’


Chief Executive
The Co-Operative Group
Freepost MR9473
Manchester M4 8A

30th April 2012

Dear Mr Marks,

I am deeply disappointed and concerned with the decision that the Co-Operative Group has recently taken to no longer trade with Israeli companies that source their produce from the ‘settlements’. The impact that any boycott actions have in political and economic matters in the Middle East are negligible, unlike the distress that this policy has caused the Jewish communities in the UK. Your existing policy of boycotting settlement products and this new extension only works to divide the different communities in this country at a time when its cohesion is vital.

The debate over the use of boycotts and their benefits has been going on for many years now and it is clear that any direct action, such as the one that the Co-Operative Group has chosen goes to harm the local Palestinian population more than the companies that have been named under your this resolution. Many thousands of Palestinians are employed in the West Bank and even the main Palestinian Trade Union, the PGFTU, have publicly and openly spoken out against any form of boycotts or sanctions. I would suggest that your organisation should investigate who would be harmed the most by its actions. I would suggest that it would be the Palestinian people themselves.

Furthermore, while the motions to boycott companies complicit in ‘violations of Palestinian Human Rights’, as Co-Op member Hilary Smith puts in,  names the Israeli companies directly, there is no mention of any companies from any other country that would fall into this banner. It would, therefore, be very easy to conclude that this motion is simply an attempt to attack Israel rather than working for any potential moral purpose.

This new resolution was brought by The Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC) who work to demonise and delegitimise Israel at every opportunity and even their own logo highlights their desire for one Palestinian state rather than two states living in peace. If the Co-Operative deals with these types of issues in an even handed way, then I would also question as to why it is acceptable for products from Occupied North Cyprus to be labelled as ‘produce of Turkey’ with no comments or concerns from your Board or more politically active members.

Boycotts and sanctions do little apart from to create further tension and division in an already fraught political arena. There are countless programmes and organisations that work to build bridges between Israel and the Palestinians that have a clear and positive impact on the economic and political environments of both peoples. There are better ways that your organisation can make a difference to the region without taking sides in a difficult and complicated conflict.

Yours sincerely,

Harvey Rose

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Ambassador to the UK – Daniel Taub

Harvey, your Excellency Ambassador Wlachovsky, General Shkedy, Colonel Miri Eisen, Alan Aziz, Ladies and Gentlemen.

You know its six months since I took up my post here in the UK and there have been quite a number of remarkable and moving moments for me. But one of the most moving moments took place on the 2nd November in the Lacarno Suite in the Foreign Office. To the be there, on the very date, in the very room, where the Balfour Declaration was signed; at an event under the hospices of the Zionist Federation, the only organisation mentioned in the Balfour Declaration, and to stand and sing the Hatikvah together was very moving indeed.

And I think that one of the reasons why it was so significant was a sense that, the mission is not yet fully over. Sadly, 95 years after the Balfour Declaration, 64 years after the establishment of the State of Israel that goal …to be a free people in our land still needs work to be fully realised.

It’s not easy to be an advocate for Israel in the current climate. There are many misconceptions and beyond that the reality itself is very complicated. There’s an old Jewish story that dates from the time of the emancipation, when the Jewish world first started opening up to Western culture and it tells of a Jew from the shtetl who went to visit one of the big cities and when he came back to the shtetl all the other Jews gathered around him and said, “What did you see there?” And he said, “I saw some amazing things. I saw a Jew who was a great Talmudic scholar and I saw one who was a complete heretic. I saw somebody who was a wealthy capitalist and I saw somebody who was a radical revolutionary. I saw a soldier and I saw a poet.” The villagers were disappointed. They said, “But we have all of those people here in our shtetl.” And he says, “But you don’t understand, they were all the same person!” And I think when we look at Israel today it can be confusing. Are we talking about a land of high tech innovation or are we talking about thousands of people in the streets campaigning for social justice? Are we talking about an embattled Island in the Middle East or are we talking about the people who are first on the ground to help after disasters in Haiti? Are we talking about the land of archaeology, theology or technology? And the answer, of course, is that’s its all of these things. But it’s a complex image to convey and when I speak to organisations and groups involved in advocacy for Israel the recurrent theme is that we need to give context; we need to give new answers and convey the complexity and, of course, they are right.

But there are also situations when what we need is actually forceful moral clarity - When we see the unspeakable hatred in Toulouse this week; when we hear European leaders who are incapable of distinguishing between that brutal terrorism and Israel defending itself from missile attacks from Gaza which it pulled out of every inch should be urging of the international community.

When we look at the situation in our region, we see the massacres and the torture and then we see the Human Rights Council in Geneva that is convinced the core of all the ills of our region is building homes in the West Bank. Then we need unambiguous clarity. We need the moral force epitomised in people like General Elyezer Shkedy, a true modern hero of the people of Israel and expressed by Miri Eisen, truly one of the most powerful and humane voices of the soul of Israel. And then we need the conviction that enables us to tell the simple and powerful truths. And it is harder to think of a voice that does this more clearly and more resiliently then the voice of the ZF. Thanks to the leadership and the passion of your remarkable Chairman Harvey and your equally remarkable Director Alan Aziz.

The ZF does it through its Ambassadors Programme. It does it through its European Young Leaders Programme and it does it, perhaps most of all, by the fact that whenever a voice is required, whenever it’s required that somebody stand up and speak for Israel the ZF is always there. The very first. Right on the front line. And to my mind it is absolutely no coincidence that those who are opposed to the State of Israel chose your website to attack and to hack in an attempt to silence your voice. They know where the power is. They know where the passion is and it’s truly a mark of honour and one that you should be proud of.

You know, a lot of groups supporting Israel like to quote Theodore Herzl ‘If you will it, it is no dream’ and then tend to put the emphasis on the ‘dream.’ But I think the success of the ZF is due to the fact that they put the emphasis where it needs to be; on the ‘will’. And it’s that passion and that commitment that makes you so affective. And the stronger your voice is the more you will give confidence to others to raise their voices and to say the things that they truly believe. And in doing that I think you are heir to a long standing Zionist tradition.

With Pesach approaching I cannot help but conclude by recalling Ben Gurion speaking before the Peel Commission and this is what he said, “Three hundred years ago there came to the new world a boat. And its name was The Mayflower. The Mayflower’s landing on Plymouth Rock was one of the great historical events in the history of England and the history of America. But I would like to ask the members of this Commission what date did the Mayflower set sail? How many people were on the boat? Who were their leaders? What kind of food did they eat? And yet more than 3,300 years ago long before the Mayflower our people left Egypt and every Jew in the world, wherever he is, knows what day they left and he knows what food they ate. And we still eat that food every anniversary, and we know who our leader was and we sit down and we tell the story to our children and our grandchildren in order to guarantee that it will never be forgotten. And we say now we may be slaves but next year we will be a free people.

To the ZF I say thank you for your passion. Thank you for your voice and thank you for continuing to tell that story.

25th March 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012


One of the Zionist Federation’s flagship events took place last week, on Wednesday 8th February 2012. Organised in conjunction with the Christian Friends of Israel, 300 people gathered in Westminster for the annual Lobby Day of Parliament. This is always an opportunity for our members to meet and hear from Members of Parliament from all sides of the House on how they express their support for Israel in the heart of British democracy. It is also a great opportunity for some of our members to meet individually with their MP to talk about this point on a personal basis and to highlight some specific issues.

This year, the main issues that were raised directly with nearly 100 MPs or their assistants were the actions of the BDS campaign against Israel and to urge them to oppose any calls to boycott Israel in any form; and the need to force the Palestinian Authority to stop its state sponsored incitement against Israelis and Jews. We also supported a third issue, that was to highlight the plight of Christian minorities in Arab countries.

While private meetings with Members of Parliament were taking place, the main group were based in two committee rooms. When I write about the ‘main group’ what I need to highlight is that the popularity of the event meant that we had to take a second committee room in order to accommodate all of those who joined us on the day. We are delighted to say that we managed to fill both rooms to capacity and with standing room only!

Throughout the afternoon, the two groups were fortunate enough to be able to hear from a number of MPs and one Peer. Invited to speak for just a few minutes, Members ended up speaking for an average of 15 minutes before fielding a fair number of questions. Some speakers were even cut short in order to be able to accommodate the queue of MPs waiting to address the room! Even after finishing, the MP was then approached to speak in the ‘other’ room. It is great credit to both the work ethic of the MPs and the reputations of the ZF and the CFI that every request to speak twice was met with a positive response. I would like to record my personal thanks here to all the MPs who gave up their time to address us on the day.

With the MPs speaking with no prior agenda, the question of the Iranian Threat proved to be an issue that united virtually all of them. The British Government has lead the way in standing up to Iran on this matter and the message from the MPs was that it will continue to do so. The other consensual issue that came through was that it is vitally important for individual members of the public to develop relationships with their Member of Parliament. Don’t be shy is the message! An MP is there to represent their constituents and also to hear and understand about the matter that are important to them. So by keeping in touch with an MP on matters relating to Israel will keep them informed and highlight that there is support for Israel within their constituency. The strength of the Palestinian Lobby was mentioned and those attending the day were urged to work to balance their effectiveness by developing relationships with their MPs. Sending them an article here and a comment there can go a long way. Don’t be a constant pest or nag, but don’t be afraid to make your voice heard when you have something important to relay. If you do not know how to contact your MP, please follow this link and you will find all the necessary contact details for all the MPs in Parliament. ClickHere

Without wishing to promote any particular MP it is important that some of their messages are relayed in this report. For example, Nigel Dodds (DUP) said that it was important that the Party leaders spoke up for Israel, not just the individual Members. Andrew Percy (Con) said it was fair for the Foreign Office to criticise Israel where and when necessary but that it must be even handed with its criticism of both sides of the conflict. Luciana Berger (Lab) talked about her involvement with the International Committee of Jewish Parliamentarians and their efforts to work in coordination with each other. And somewhat poignantly, David Burrowes (Con) reminded us of Canon Andrew White’s statement that Israel is the only country in the Middle East where Christians can feel safe.

The morning training session took place at the Emmanuel Centre, a few minutes walks from the House of Commons, where we were addressed by Harvey Rose, Chairman of the Zionist Federation, Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies, and Alon Roth-Snir, the Deputy Ambassador of Israel. The day was chaired by Professor Eric Moonman, President of the ZF, and Geoffrey Smith, former UK Director of the CFI. Thanks must also go to Robin Benson, Head of Communications at CFI, for all his hard work in helping organise the Lobby Day with us.

Although there were a few negatives on the day in that the group was so large that we could not all fit into one committee room, and more people would have liked to have had the chance to meet with their MP face to face, the overriding sense was that the day had been a great success and helped to renew and encourage those attending. It can be quite demoralising sometimes when faced with what appears to be a tidal wave of anti-Israel sentiment, so it was good to be surrounded by so many people who share the same love and support for Israel and to hear that Members of Parliament not only share this view, but are also prepared to stand up and state that publicly. We look forward to an even bigger and better Lobby Day next year, but will continue to support and work for the benefit of Israel every day…with your help.

Here is a link to a report of the day that appeared in ‘The Jerusalem Post’. ClickHere

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


The British embassy in Tehran is sacked. Britain severs its diplomatic ties, expels the
Iranian ambassador and all other diplomats to the court of St. James. It was something
of a courtly dance, the British clearly knew what to expect, there was no surprised struggle,
no hostages and there are signs in the backchannels that the Iranians didn't want events
to go as far as they did or, perhaps, Ahmedinejad or the Supreme Ayatollah is scoring points
off the other. Where does all this sit in the grand strategy of Britain and the Arab world?
By Howard Morris

First, of course, Iran isn't an Arab country.
Most of the time this seems an irrelevant
distinction but it's important in the Middle
East where Iran strives to be the regional super
power and to champion the cause of the
Shi'ite, a minority in Islam but in significant
places forming the majority, strung across
the area in a vast crescent. In Saudi, in Oman,
Bahrain, the UAE, among the Iraqi Sunni, Iran
is feared far more than Israel is loathed. The
Arabs don't want Iran to get the Bomb. That
we know.
And so to Britain. What are its Middle
Eastern goals? Competing factors tend towards
a balance but one that persistently
nags Israel, a strategic friend, to compromise
and concede. British governments are not
and never have been driven by the Jewish
vote. There are almost twice as many Jews living in Brooklyn as in the
entire United
Kingdom. With a UK population of around
60 million, the presence of 300,000 Jews is
immaterial and while we may have disproportionate
business and professional success,
it's still not enough to make the Jewish
vote, Jewish influence, a powerful voice in
Westminster - whatever our enemies might
say, and of course they do darkly mention
"cabals" and "media ownership," more of this
We need oil, so, like the U.S., this drives
Britain to want to befriend the Arabs. And
the Foreign Office has a tradition of Arabism.
Being an Arabist is a thing in Britain, like being
an Anglophile in the U.S.
But off we went to war in Iraq. A war
from which Israel tried to dissuade us and
that a million marched against. We did that
because of the "Special Relationship" with
the United States. It led to the social democrat,
Tony Blair, making common cause with
the right wing President Bush and burning
his reputation and legacy with the left in
Britain in the process. President Obama, incidentally,
is far less of an Anglophile than
previous presidents - his father saw the
British repression of the Mau Mau uprising
in Kenya. Be that as it may, Britain is closer
politically to the U.S. than to Europe and it
is expedient for America to have an ally that
militarily punches above its weight. So we
won't get out of line with the U.S.
And Britain does respect Israel. The attitude
is sometimes coloured by stereotypes
and tropes about Jews. While Nazi type racist
anti-Semitism haunts the fringes of the
near irrelevant nutty right wingers, the real
anti-Semites are on the left. They see Israel
as America's proxy. They like their minorities
to be obviously suffering and dependent
and Jews seem to do so well. Hence the
BBC's institutional bias. It's full of socialists
who have given up every vestige of true socialism
in their own lives but retain a dislike
for the U.S. and all its works. Israel is seen by
them as a creature of the imperial powers, a
view shared by the left in Europe, a colonial
imposition. In contrast Americans see Israel
as an analogue of their own struggle for liberty
in their own land. So a Labour MP who
questioned the appointment of a Jewish
ambassador to Israel because his loyalties
might be divided and who raised some ugly
implications of conspiring groups of international
Jews, was forced to apologise. But the
mainstream media hardly touched the story.
Britain, whatever its left leaning media
might say, is a friend to Israel and itself a
tolerant country. Remember it was Britain
who gave the Balfour Declaration and even
though the Irgun and the Stern Gang fought
a bitter war against the forces of the British
Mandate I don't once recall my parents or
any family members having encountered
any anti-Semitism during the period before
In the future? Well there is a significant
Muslim minority in Britain that is growing
and will be the majority in some places.
Among them are a sizeable chunk who are
disenchanted and militant and vehemently
anti-Israel and anti-British. Britain has absorbed
minorities before but this will be a
big swallow.

Howard is an English lawyer at a major international
firm, recently seconded to their New York office.
He is accompanied by his wife, Gaby. They have
two children, both in their twenties, back in the UK.