British Jewry goes 'off-message' over Israel
British Jewry’s relationship with Israel is undergoing seismic change. The monolithic “Israel right or wrong” support of the mainstream suddenly cracked when one of the community’s most senior leaders went dramatically off-message.
As the Jewish Chronicle reported Mick Davis, chairman of the pre-eminent Anglo-Israel charity, the UJIA, and the executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, “shattered a longstanding taboo by publicly criticising the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the peace process, voicing moral reservations about some of Israel’s policies and calling for criticism of Israel to be voiced freely throughout the community.”
What followed was an “I am Spartacus” moment. As the Israeli embassy and their cohort of diehard loyalists within Anglo-Jewry looked on aghast, one heavyweight community player after another voiced support for Mr Davis.
They included figures who have worked tirelessly throughout their professional lives to defend Jewish rights, promote Israel’s right to peace and security and neutralise the ugly sisters of anti-Zionist/anti-Semitism. Nobody could ever accuse the likes of Jon Mendelson, Gordon Brown’s chief fundraiser and former Labour Friends of Israel chairman, or Bicomchairman Poju Zabludowicz, of possessing an iota of “self-hatred”.