A British lawyers’ group set up to fight for Israel has waded into a political debate between British Jewish groups, slamming the “distorted anti-Israel impression” given to some participants of Yachad’s Israel tours and vowing to set up its own.
At the most recent meeting of UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI), chairman Jonathan Turner asked the Board to approve his plan for a legal tour of Israel in conjunction with the Zionist Federation. Turner was previously head of the ZF’s legal group.
Notes from the meeting said the tours would “provide a balanced picture of the legal side of Israel’s civil administration of Judea and Samaria: to counteract the distorted, anti-Israel impression reported by some people taking the equivalent tours run by Yachad”.
The memo also recorded that Turner’s planned tours would include a trip to the Sodastream plant in the West Bank, which employs hundreds of Palestinians.
The company was catapulted into the headlines recently after international charity Oxfam criticised Jewish actress Scarlett Johansson for her paid role in advertising the fizzy drinks firm despite its factory being located in a settlement.
UKLFI criticism of Yachad is likely to be contentious, with charges of politicisation, following an acrimonious community split last year, when the Zionist Federation refused membership to the Zionist group Yachad, providing no explanation.
Yachad facilitates day tours to East Jerusalem and the West Bank “to provide British Jews with a greater understanding of the conflict, the impact of an ongoing occupation and to hear narratives they may not have been previously exposed to”.