Tuesday, January 21, 2014


The ZF today slammed the decision by UNESCO to cancel a scheduled exhibition on the historic connection between Israel and the Jewish nation as a ‘dismal capitulation.’ The exhibition, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” was, after several years of preparation and research by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, scheduled to open this week – until it was shelved at the behest of the 22 members of the Arab Group.

ZF chairman Paul Charney elaborates

“The decision by UNESCO – a body that purports to be concerned with educational, scientific and cultural matters – to cancel the exhibition is both a dismal capitulation and nakedly political. To shelve an exhibition after invites have been sent out is grossly insulting to all those who spent years preparing it. But the reason, and reasoning, behind the shelving goes beyond bad manners. It provides us with a microcosm of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The official explanation given was that the Arab members were concerned that the subject matter might harm the chance of a successful outcome to the current peace talks. The opposite is true – the acceptance by Palestinians and the Arab world in general that Israel is not a foreign body, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish nation’s longstanding connection to the land of Israel, is crucial to peace. But instead of defending its principles, the UN is once again paralysed between those unwilling to stand up for Israel in case they rock the boat, and those that just want to throw Israel off the boat altogether. It’s particularly striking given that the UN has just declared 2014 a year of solidarity with the Palestinians – with nary a word about the risk of partiality."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


The ZF joins Israel in commemorating the memory of Ariel Sharon, her former Prime Minister, who passed away this weekend at the age of 85. Described by Ben Gurion as ‘the greatest field commander,’ nicknamed in the Knesset as ‘the bulldozer,’ and perhaps best defined by the title of his autobiography, ‘Warrior,’ Sharon was an indomitable force both on and off the battlefield. Born in the yishuv of Mandate-era Palestine in 1928, the chronology of his achievements is in many ways the history of Israel and the defence of the Jewish national home.

From engineering Israel’s lightning victory in the Six Day War, to turning the tide during the Yom Kippur War, to overseeing the security measures against the Second Intifada, Sharon earned a reputation as a bold and brilliant strategic mind, willing to make tough decisions when the fledgling country could not afford the luxury of failure. His time as a politician was no less noteworthy, with his unilateral disengagement from Gaza showcasing his ability to pursue a resolution to conflict, even in the absence of a viable peace partner.

Paul Charney, ZF Chairman:

“All Israelis and Zionists owe Ariel Sharon a huge debt. The history of his life is an effective reminder that the struggle for Zionism - a national home for the Jewish people - was not completed in 1948 with the establishment of the state of Israel. Instead, it required the ingenuity of military leaders like Sharon, as well as the staunch courage and commitment of Israelis soldiers, to defend the state from the threats ranged against her, from massed Arab armies on her borders, to Palestinian terrorists targeting her civilians. While both his military and political careers aroused controversy and prompted criticism from the left and right of the political spectrum, the legacy of Ariel Sharon will remain his single-minded yet pragmatic commitment to the survival of Israel.”

Friday, January 10, 2014


From Paul Charney, ZF Chairman:                                                                             

“There should be no question that the quenelle is a symbol of pure hatred against the Jewish people. It was invented and popularised by a man, DieudonnĂ© M’bala M’bala, whose entire raison d'ĂȘtre appears to consist of ridiculing and denigrating the memory of the 6 million Jewish men, women, and children murdered during the Holocaust. Its design as an inverted fascist salute enables its supporters to indulge themselves in the sickening thrill of publicly mocking the historic persecution of Jews, albeit in the most cowardly way imaginable. And of course, the defence that the symbol is merely against ‘the system’ or ‘the establishment’ is no defence either, since it implicitly promotes the idea that Jews are intrinsically part of whatever political order is being challenged at the time, therefore propagating the anti-Semitic myth of Jewish global domination.”

Monday, January 6, 2014


The ZF condemns the BBC for broadcasting a sketch that not only propogates the oldest and most baseless stereotypes about Israelis, but also ridicules anti-Semitism at a time when anti-Jewish bigotry is on the rise.
BBC 3’s ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ programme, broadcast in December, included a candid camera sketch where the presenters dress up as workmen and pretend to be representatives for the Israeli Embassy. The presenters then begin informing local property owners that the embassy is taking their land for a variety of spurious reasons – mocking Israel for its supposedly expansionist policies.
The satirical explanations given to the members of the public perpetrate the oldest stereotypes about Israel’s alleged attempts to justify its supposedly illegitimate presence in the Middle East: “Before it was your land it was our land, so we are really going to take what was rightfully ours,” “This is our land that was given to us by the Almighty,” and “We’ve been doing it for years.”
Given that such one-sided and prejudiced portrayals of Israel contribute to anti-Jewish bigotry, perhaps the most shocking aspect of the programme is the open ridiculing of complaints about anti-Semitism. When one member of the public expresses amusement at the situation, a presenter tells him: “I’m finding that smile a bit anti-Semitic… so I think you should really wipe it off your face” - suggesting that anti-Semitism is not a valid concern. It is hard to imagine that the BBC would allow racism against another minority group to treated in this way.
ZF Chairman Paul Charney added:
“No doubt the makers of ‘The Revolution Will be Televised” thought they were being tremendously edgy and brave, mocking Israel by suggesting it takes land with impunity. Instead, they simply pandered to the prejudices of those who believe that the less-than-one-percent of the Middle East which is devoted to Jewish national self-determination is still too much.

“This biased viewpoint would be woefully inaccurate at the best of times, but it seems especially egregious given that Israel is not only currently negotiating with the express desire of ceding land to the Palestinians, but continues to release convicted murderers just to keep them at the negotiating table. But I’m sure the makers of this programme will turn their sights on Israel ’s neighbours soon enough. The PA’s glorification of terrorists? The collapse of democracy in Egypt ? Syria ’s civil war? Or maybe the lack of human rights in the rest of the Middle East just isn’t that much of a laughing matter?”