Tag Archives: Yachad

Yachad’s continued support for calls to boycott Israeli settlements is dangerous.

Hannah Weisfeld, the director of Yachad, has written a piece for this week’s Jewish News stating that:

“Yachad is giving voice to a large number of British Jews. When the Knesset passed the anti-boycott bill a few weeks ago (primarily for the purpose of targeting those that make a political statement by calling for boycotts of West Bank settlement produce), Yachad released a statement explaining that while we don’t support boycotts, we support the democratic right of Israelis to make a political stand through their purchasing power. That statement; reprinted on the front pages of Ha’aretz in Hebrew and English, reflected the concerns of a swathe of UK Jews, including the editor of this paper.”

But there is a very fine line between supporting the right to call for boycotts of settlements and actually supporting boycotts. In fact calling for boycotts is far worse than the boycotting itself.

I have no problem with someone taking a private decision to boycott the settlements.

But what goes along with the calling for boycotts is a demonisation of settlers, which contributes to continued Palestinian violence against them.

Weisfeld’s mindset is one of “democracy trumps everything”. She is supported in this view by LibDem Friend of Israel’s Matthew Harris who says that “Freedom of speech must allow Israelis to call for a boycott of settlement goods.”

But we don’t have unlimited freedom of speech in the UK where, for example, you wouldn’t get away with gratuitously screaming “Fire!” in a crowded cinema. It would put lives at risk as people ran for the exits.

Meanwhile, Weisfeld is putting lives at risk by wanting to allow the settlements and settlers to be demonised via calls to boycott them.

And anti-settlement rhetoric quickly spills over into anti-Israel and anti-Semitic rhetoric, as we regularly see in the UK.

But if Weisfeld is so keen on fixing Israel it’s Israel where she needs to live, not the UK, so she can persuade more Israelis to vote for anti-settlement parties. She could even set up her own political party.

Israelis are not going to be persuaded by Weisfeld while she is sat in her relatively safe and secure UK surroundings, however many British Jews she thinks might back her. Most Israelis are not interested in what relatively safe British Jews think.

In her article she names David Grossman, Meir Dagan, Amnon Lipkin-Shahak and “countless other military firgures” who back Yachad, but imagine the list of names who think that what Yachad is doing is dangerous.

If Weisfeld, and those who support Yachad, really want to make a difference to Israel then they should consider making Aliyah and put their money where their mouths are for once.

Hacked by Yachad.

New organisation Yachad describes itself as a “a pro-Israel pro-peace grassroots movement that aims to harness the energy of large numbers of British Jews through education, debate and advocacy in support of the steps needed to create peace and long-term security for Israel”.

They have just written a letter to Daniel Taub, the new Israeli Ambassador to the UK, and launched an Ipetition to gain signatures to the letter (see text of letter below).

Last night I noticed an automated email thanking me for signing this petition.

I couldn’t recall signing it and presumed I must have somehow done it by mistake. Then this morning I got an automated follow-up email from Hannah Weisfeld, a Yachad director, thanking me for signing and asking me to get my friends to sign it and also asking me for money.

Looking through the other signatures I noticed Jonathan Hoffman’s name. But he told me that he hadn’t signed it either!

I have nothing against Yachad and wish them well in their search for “long-term security for Israel”, but their letter basically amounts to a call for Israel “to end the occupation”.

It’s a nice idea in fantasy, but in reality ending “the occupation” would lead to Hamas, with the help of Syria and Iran, unleashing destruction on Tel Aviv, and Israel in general, on a scale unseen for many years.

Yachad means well but following their cause won’t achieve anything worthwhile soon.

Oh, and please will someone remove my signature from the petition. Thanks.

Text of Yachad’s letter to the new Israeli Ambassador to the UK:

Dear Mr Ambassador,

We welcome you to the UK and the British Jewish community.

The British Jewish community has a long and proud connection to Israel as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people and we care deeply about its future. Each day without a peace agreement makes this future less secure.

We stand behind the cross section of voices inside Israel – including former chiefs of staff, major generals, leading academics and intellectuals – who have spoken in support of a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with mutually agreed land swaps. We believe the need to create a Palestinian state is urgent, and the best way to safeguard Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and internationally recognised borders.

We urge the Israeli government to do everything in its power to make this vision more, not less likely, through taking steps to end the occupation and heeding the calls to return to the negotiating table.

We look forward to an ongoing dialogue with you throughout your term of office here and hope you will ensure our message of support is passed to the government of Israel.

Yours Sincerely,