Yesterday, on the website of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jamie Slavin spelled out in the strongest terms the views of the board on Israel: "We defend Israel’s right to exist in security, we celebrate its achievements and we work to make it an even better place."
The tone of the article suggests that the Board of Deputies of British Jews is often criticized by the majority British Jews for not supporting Israel sufficiently strongly. Although the above-quoted statement by Slavin seems to be firm enough, there appears to be a hint of the apologist or a sense of insecurity by the Board of Deputies. I wonder why that is so, and why they would need me to endorse them for their pro-Israel credentials? Just how the board is working to make Israel a better place perhaps should be clarified. What then of the growing number of British Jews who are totally opposed to the policies of Israel and find Israel impossible to support for ethical and moral reasons? How does the Board of Deputies manage to represent both, I wonder?
I read with interest an article published on Electronic Intifada by Asa Winstanley about the "Community Security Trust" (CST) and how it does not tolerate the presence of anti-Zionist Jews in it's meetings and, worse still, even secretly informed the British government that anti-Zionist Jews who are involved in pro-Palestine activism are a "security risk". The so-called "security risk" also includes the Orthodox Jews of Naturei Karta. It seems that security, according to the CST, is only for pro-Zionist Jews. The article raises a lot of questions about just who is policing British citizens and it points out that there is a cross-over of interests between the Board of Deputies and CST, as evidenced, for example, by the role of one Mike Whine in both organizations.
Now that the Board of Deputies has put its unequivocal support of Israel beyond doubt, it follows that it must also support Israel's "right to security" even when it involves illegal occupation, ethnic cleansing, war crimes, crimes against humanity and collective punishment against its neighbours, the practice of apartheid on its own Arab citizens and the murder of peace activists on the high seas. There is precious little to see of Jews upholding the Ten Commandments in Israel, least of all "Thou shalt not kill" or "Love thy neighbour"!
If the Board of Deputies of British Jews claim to support all British Jews, does that mean that all British Jews are complicit in those crimes?
Laura Stuart is a British human rights activist. She visited the Gaza Strip twice in 2009 as part of the Viva Palestina humanitarian missions, was on board the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara that was attacked by Israeli state terrorists in May 2010 and joined the humanitarian land convoy to the Strip in October 2010.