Two communal leaders voice concerns over “polarisation” of Israel supporters

Two communal leaders voice concerns over “polarisation” of Israel supporters

Jack Mendel is the Online Editor at the Jewish News.

Two communal leaders have issued concerns over a growing split within the community’s pro-Israel voice, writes Jack Mendel at Limmud

Speaking at a Limmud session on Tuesday on whether Jews have become more or less pro-Israel, Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the Jewish Leadership Council said: “the community has become much more polarised in the way it expresses support for Israel.”

He outlined a “decreasing tolerance” between two pro-Israel movements; grassroots groups and pro-Israel critical organisations.

Johnson highlighted the difficult position he has been put in as community representative, saying: “I’m often asked to represent a view on Israel, but it’s a challenge to give a view with such polarisation.”

Also speaking during the event, was senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies, Richard Verber.

He told Jewish News: “We appear to be losing Zionism to our own people because if you look at recent survey data, a large proportion of British Jews who would say they support Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, who regard Israel as important or central to their Jewish identity and who have a deep sense of pride in Israel’s technology and scientific achievements still don’t call themselves Zionists.

We need to reclaim the word and educate widely about what it means to be a Zionist today.”

When asked to name a single occasion the Board had criticised the Israeli government during the discussion, he was unable to.

Also on the panel was Rebecca Simon, Luke Akehurst of We Believe in Israel, Ella Rose, ex-Union of Jewish Students president, and Robin Moss of UJIA.

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