Maybe it’s the Jews who deserve the apology

Baroness Tonge and friends are opening a can of worms expecting the British government to apologise for issuing the Balfour Declaration [Jewish News, 9 March]. Britain was not the only country to issue such a document. France did too and others because Palestine is strategic as it backs on to the area near the Suez Canal.

It was the League of Nations that allocated Palestine for the Jewish homeland on behalf of the international community of the time. It is another error to say the Palestinian Arabs were indigenous to that territory. Not so. Arabs are indigenous to Arabia, Jews to Judea.

Arabs burst out of Arabia and overran most of the Middle East and North Africa, but they are not indigenous to Palestine. If any party has a grievance it is the Jewish people, when some 80 percent of Mandated Palestine was grabbed by the Hashemites and renamed Jordan. Britain did nothing to stop this.

Perhaps we Jews should be the ones asking for an apology.

Uri Rabin, Redbridge

Disappointment over disabling comments on Sacks’ BDS video

I was disappointed to see, after watching Rabbi Lord Sacks’ Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement video on YouTube, that comments were disabled [Jewish News, 9 March].

I’m a Green Party campaigner and took part as a student in both Israel Apartheid Week and Israel Awareness Week. I am all for open debate, so let me give your readers the facts.

The question of BDS came up in the Jewish News/GLA debates. The Green Party constituency candidate gave an honest answer; UKIP did not even know what BDS stands for. The now co-leader Jonathan Bartley emphasised free speech when asked about stopping Israel Apartheid Week.

In the video by Rabbi Sacks, BDS is depicted as a wall. I don’t need to explain to you how muddled this is.

BDS explicitly rejects anti-Semitism and the Green Party MP and elected members have supported the latest cross-party motions against anti-Semitism and have generally called for bridges not walls.

Israel has its weapons, cyber capability, army, navy, air force and allies, all of which make it more powerful than the Palestinians, though of course both sides need to stop the violence. I am concerned that we cannot get past this as a community of like-minded individuals.

Ben Samuel, Hendon

Don’t apportion blame until you know the facts

When the case of the now jailed IDF soldier Elor Azaria came to light, a former IDF soldier came forward with an account of a life-and-death scenario to which he had been a party some years earlier.

He and his commanding officer were waiting for a car carrying a known terrorist to arrive at a checkpoint, having received intelligence.

The car’s occupants were ordered out, and the commanding officer instructed his junior that under no circumstances was he to point his rifle at the suspect, as he appeared to be disarmed. In a fraction of a second, the terrorist managed to shoot the officer and his junior.

The officer was killed outright; his junior suffered terrible injuries, though he eventually recovered.

This was not an isolated example and the point my informant was forcefully making was that in such situations no one can say with certainty that a terrorist playing dead or severely injured is no longer a threat.

All too often in these cases, it is a case of kill or be killed.

You wrote: “Jews in the Diaspora viewing this from a distance now face the prospect of seeing Israel win the war, but lose itself.” That’s the point. At a distance, events are often seen differently, but it behoves a Jewish paper not to apportion blame in such a high handed manner, regardless of the findings of a politically-biased court, without detailed knowledge.

Roslyn Pine, N3

Roll up for an FZY volunteer reunion

I’m trying to trace FZY volunteers who flew to Israel and served at Kibbutz
HaGoshrim in the months after the Six Day War in 1967 so I can organise a reunion, with events in London and at HaGoshrim.

I would, therefore, love to hear from all such volunteers or anyone with further information. Please email me at: mazkir@fzy.org.uk.

Barry Kester, Pinner

Seat allocation is an Easyjet answer

Even if Jewish News was “a left wing publication” [Jewish News letters, 9 March], an idea I find ludicrous, Michael Gordon should know easyJet has a working seat-allocation system at £3 a head. I get the message anyone who thinks differently from Mr Gordon is a self-hating liberal enemy.

Gerry Goldbloom, By email

Charity shops and Shabbat

I do not know the composition of the committee of the All Aboard charity shops but have been told there has recently been a change of policy and it appears some of the shops are now open on Shabbat. Long-serving members and helpers who are Orthodox cannot object because they have no say. The public may not be aware of this and those who have been donors in the past may now wish to consider whether to continue being so. Now is the time to reconsider and to respect Shabbat and keep such shops closed.

I appreciate some shops are not specifically in densely populated Jewish areas, but the principal policy should be the same.

Saul Morris, By email