By Roslyn Pine
Deputy, North Salford Synagogue
Dear Hannah Weisfeld
You define your organisation, Yachad, as pro-Israel and pro-peace, which reminds me of Humpty Dumpty’s famous dictum to Alice in Through the Looking Glass: “Words will mean whatever I want them to mean.”
You recently wrote that because there was “no moderate, progressive thinking voice that could express concerns about Israel from a pro-Israel perspective… it was down to me to make it happen.”
Really? The Zionist Federation is an umbrella group of some 120 organisations with more than 50,000 affiliated members who famously rejected your application to join. Yachad, on the other hand, can only muster some 4,000 members – a minuscule number in a community of 250,000 – even with all your relentless self-promotion and propagandising.
Clearly, British Jewry does not buy your message. So let’s cut to the chase and say what Yachad’s real mission is. Its purpose, which it pursues with ruthless zeal, is to force Israel back to the 1967 lines (which you falsely call borders) including withdrawing from the holy city of Jerusalem, Judaism’s holiest site, Hebron, and all of Judea and Samaria, the cradle of Jewish civilisation.
Abba Eban, one of Israel’s most respected statesmen, famously called the 1967 lines the “Auschwitz borders”, for the very good reason that the return to them would spell the end of the Jewish state.
He was not given to hyperbole.
Your modus operandi is the steady indoctrination of a false narrative into the minds of the impressionable young, taking them on trips to the West Bank (correctly known as Judea andSamaria) to show them the “realities on the ground”, describing reclaimed Jewish “settlements” as illegal and employing the services of fringe groups with known anti-Israel animus, with the ultimate aim of creating a broadly based pressure group to effect change. Not for you, Hannah, is living in Israel and becoming part of the democratic process to effect change.
They say you can judge a person by the company he keeps. You endorse, among others +972 blog, Yesh Din and Breaking the Silence (whose members prefer to remain anonymous). Their websites, amplifiers of crude Arab propaganda, reveal a thinly disguised hatred of Israel, masquerading as a noble quest in the pursuit of human rights for the Arabs, yet a cold indifference to Jewish human rights.
You put the onus on Israel to forge a peace agreement with the Palestinians, but are silent about the stream of propaganda pumped out relentlessly by Abbas’ “moderate” PA, indoctrinating the young with hatred against Israel and Jews, ensuring that peaceful coexistence can never happen.
The Palestine Charter calls the creation of Israel an illegal act, null and void, calling for the destruction of the Jewish state repeatedly. So it’s no wonder that the majority of Palestinians do not want the two-state solution. And when they do, it is only as a stepping stone to a Palestine replacing Israel. It is spelt out unambiguously, yet you refuse to hear.
If you were serious about peace, you would demand of Abbas that he stops the anti- Semitic incitement of Palestinians. You run Yachad seminars with their legal “experts”, but have no idea as to how international law applies to territory beyond the Green Line.
Consider Abbas’ petition to the UN to enhance the status of the PA, thus giving it access to the International Court of Justice, enabling it to bring criminal charges against Israel. Not only was it a violation of the binding 1995 Oslo interim agreement, which forbade unilateral moves by either side, but it was opposed by almost every Western nation. Yachad, however, lauded this illegal act. You ignore the binding instruments of international law designating the whole of the “West Bank”, the patrimony of the Jewish people. You call it “occupied Palestinian territory”, knowing that Jordan’s illegal 1950 annexation (recognised only by Great Britain and Pakistan) saw the ruthless ethnic cleansing of its Jewish population, the destruction of all 58 synagogues in the Old City and the desecration of Jewish holy sites.
Or take the case of the Sumarin family, evicted from a house where they had been squatters in Silwan after their documents were proven forged. They owned another house nearby, which they rented out so were not homeless. But you criticised the Supreme Court ruling as one for which there will be a moral price to pay.
You have nothing to say about the latest Gaza conflict, which demonstrated again that Israeli withdrawal always brings war, not peace. Nor have you a clue as to how Israel could protect 80 percent of its population in the event that the Judean highlands are handed over to a future Palestinian state, exposing the coastal strip to attack. Israelis would be sitting ducks.
You responded on Twitter to Bishop Desmond Tutu’s recent article calling for Israel to “liberate yourself by liberating Palestine”, by asking: “Is this the first of many from respected world leaders?” The bishop’s false accusation of deliberate Israeli killings of civilians in Gaza and censure of Israel‘s “disproportionately brutal response” is an affront to decency when the noble and self-sacrificing actions of the IDF have been well documented.
And this is a man you describe as a world leader? Since the founding of the Jewish state, more than 23,000 young Jewish lives have been sacrificed in its defence so that we all can visit or live there in safety. The admission of Yachad to the Board of Deputies would be an insult to their sacred memory.
Hannah, withdraw your application now.