YACHAD1An open letter to Hannah Weisfeld, Director of ‘Yachad’.

Hannah,

I apologise for having to write this letter. I do not care for internal UK Jewish politics nor tend to involve myself in the arguments and machinations that surround it. My stance is and will remain focused on attacking those that delegitimize Israel. You are right when you state nobody can claim a monopoly on the word ‘Zionism’ and having spent 19 years in Israel I have heard all manner of arguments representing both right and left of the Zionist spectrum.

So your recent survey on ‘British Jews’, as cheap a political trick as it was, remained for me an internal British Jewish affair. I did have major problems over the way you presented the findings, along with reservations with the way this poll was compiled, yet though many people asked me to address the issue, I chose to stay out of the discussion.

This all changed following your opinion piece in Jewish News on 26/11, which to be frank, I found vindictive, distasteful and spiteful. You seem to be publicly venting bitter anger and frustrations out on those you oppose, but in doing so you let slip a mask that tells the tale of the difficulty you are experiencing making waves for, or positioning, the ‘Yachad’ movement in the UK.

Yachad made the mistake of being a copycat movement of J-Street in an entirely different environment. The UK is not America and political activism and the Jewish community are incomparable on this side of the Atlantic. I believe that in attempting to follow in J-Street’s footsteps, you sowed the seeds of your own downfall. It would be fair to say that many of the same issues that J Street struggle with have occurred faster and harder with Yachad, occurring of course without you having access to the resources and quantity of people needed to address them.

You may well be a left winger that defines herself as Zionist, but the further left you move, the less that definition is seen as positive. You live in a fractured world supported by those who will encourage you in words but rarely in deeds. Through its very nature, the opposition audience is naturally more engaged and there is no way you can compete. It is the underlying fundamental flaw in your movement. There are some Jews in the UK, who do identify as Zionists and who would vote perhaps for Meretz if Israeli, but it is too narrow a constituency. The further left someone moves, the less likely they are to care about Israel. Whilst in Israel these people are fighting the corner for their own futures, Jews who do so here are treading on the will of another nation’s democracy. It is one thing to ‘support’ a nation (and thus simply identify with the democratic will), quite another to actually oppose it.

So within Yachad’s constituency the further left a person stands, the less Zionist they become, until eventually there is simply an abyss beyond which only total apathy or anti-Zionism remains. This in turn means you find yourself stuck between Zionist movements that will attract those who wish Israel well, and anti-Zionist groups who wish to see Israel’s demise. And thus you embark on a journey down the slippery slope. You fight, but in a battle you cannot win and two fundamental changes inevitably occur. The first is that you place right wing Zionism as an enemy and the more you scratch, the deeper the divide and the more bitter the relationship becomes. In the end it breaks completely, this not unlike the political journey travelled by those such as Avram Burg who once a Labour party stalwart is now an anti-Zionist member of Hadash.

The second is related to survival. You have limited resources yet need to attract an audience from a constituency that barely exists. There are many moderating voices within already established Zionist movements, so if for example a British Jew wishes to see Israel, why would they travel on one of your advertised trips? The answer of course is they wouldn’t, so what is there left to do but turn towards the extreme left? And this explains the trips advertised on your website. You may as well rename them ‘how to become an anti-Zionist in 3 days’ given the message they deliver to anyone who takes one. And who would take them, if not someone already embarking on a trip down the slippery slope? Effectively, to survive you help people disassociate emotionally from the Zionist project, setting them up to engage BDS and other anti-Zionist movements. This places Yachad firmly on my radar.

I also checked your website for events. Primarily, the website is a cashless mess, part of the code behind the contact us page is broken, the site is not updated and you do not seem to have any events planned, this despite a claim on your site you have ‘hundreds each year’. Yachad reeks of a movement that does not have money or an identity. In turn you claim you support Israel but I take this list from your previous events page.

events 2015Across-the-board community events aside, Yachad’s definition of a left wing Zionist education apparently involves meeting someone from ‘Kol Acher’ , ‘Machsom Watch’, ‘Shovrim Shtika’ and a ‘Day trip to Hebron’. There is clearly no attempt at balance here and an audience that is attracted by such one-sided messaging, cannot portray itself as ‘supporting Israel’ at all. For want of a current partner in the peace process, the only movements that benefit from weakening diaspora support for Israel in this fashion include several proscribed terrorist organisations.

Which brings us of course to the survey. With a constituency that cannot be moved to care, with your political position being an irrelevance in the reality of today, and with complete redundancy facing your movement’s position, you needed to see what could be done to “revive Yachad’s fortunes and keep it in the public eye” (Geoffrey Alderman, JC 27/11). Thus the idea for a survey was born.

Opinion polls are notoriously flawed and the more difficult the proposition, the more flawed they become. Sometimes it is far too difficult to gather a representative sample and it is always far too easy to skew a response, even without it being deliberate. Natural bias is almost impossible to remove, even in the question creation stage. An opinion poll is created within a world vision. Clear support, such as Zionism, is impossible to hide, even with a survey such as yours, however question ambiguity and community naivety can be used to create false impressions. This is what your survey did so successfully. I am not therefore going to address the survey itself, because beyond a propaganda tool for your movement, it is simply worthless.

I will however briefly mention as an example one major issue you have been selling politically as fallout from this poll; settlements.

Settlements:

This is by far the biggest red herring in the Palestinian arsenal and one keenly supported by an ignorant western media. What is a settlement? Are you grouping together the building of a library or school in a town that everyone knows will remain in Israel with caravans on a hilltop situated next to an Arab town? Because the survey’s question does. Similarly, with the issue of settlements being an obstacle to peace, is the library as big an obstacle as a caravan on a hilltop?

Unless you have researched deeply the process, the negotiations, the realities on the ground and the conflicting positions of the interested parties, comments on what is occurring in the West Bank are going to be naïve. And again, the further left you move, the less someone is likely to understand. That of course holds true until they fall over into the abyss of anti-Zionist activism.

Additionally, you are distorting the word ‘despair’ that was taken from the survey. I felt despair when Israel began its actions in Gaza, I feel despair whenever I see Israel mentioned on TV, and I would honestly answer yes, I feel despair when I hear reports of Israeli settlement activity. If you then take my feeling of ‘despair’ and incorrectly identify it as an indication that I support your politics, you would be 100% wrong. The cause of my ‘despair’ is different, I feel despair because I know the criticism and argument that follows, my ‘despair’ is not about the activity itself, it is about what follows. My own mother feels despair every time Israel is mentioned, not because she opposes the policies, but because her emotional support for Zionism is challenged by the way the media represents Israel’s case. She too would probably have responded to that question in the affirmative.

That you therefore took the word  ‘despair’ and ran it as the headline was cheap political distortion.

The question on the boycott has too many assumptions holding it together to be taken seriously, along with the implied suggestion that my action would assist Israel in reaching a favourable outcome. Instead of asking it in the fashion you did, do you believe this statement:

I would be prepared to buy more Israeli goods as a counter to a growing boycott if I thought it would help stop Israel being pressured to make unneccessary concessions to the Hamas terrorist group.

would this have received the same kind of response?

In short, the survey was an academic joke, a weak attempt by Yachad to pretend it has a bigger or more relevant voice than it does. Hannah, we are not ‘yachad’ (together) far from it, and the sources that fund you may or may not be aware of the agenda you now have to drive. You are on a slippery slope and stand in opposition to the democratic will of another nation and the political choices of its citizens. Given the lack of a partner for peace and the fact Zionist movements here will reflect changing events on the ground in Israel, your movement has no viable cause at all. Yachad’s demise is inevitable, the only question is how much more damage you can do before it happens.

 

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27 thoughts on “Hannah, are we really ‘Yachad’?

  1. ” Yachad’s demise is inevitable,”

    David, that is pure wishful thinking, I do not have a personal interest in the internal squabbling of various brands of Zionists ( except in passing). The liberal Zionism of the likes of Yachad is just as much a part of the problem as the Zio Psycho brand that you seem to have aligned yourself with. But their star is the one that is on the rise. You know it, otherwise you wouldn’t be working so hard to counter it.

    1. It isn’t. Yachad’s only possible salvation will be in the creation of a balancing act. The incorporation of positive Zionist messages to run alongside the criticisms. Even then, I would be pessimistic. As it stands, Yachad will simply slide into another group that no longer pretends to like Israel at all. It is like any political movement, dependent on having its voice heard. It will shift if it has to – leftwards that is.

      1. Thanks for that perceptive comment. Do keep addressing the issues. I hope Mummy keeps letting you use her computer.

  2. You criticise Hannah for having written a “vindictive, distasteful and spiteful” article in a newspaper.

    My question to you (feel free to answer with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’) is: Do you not think that your use of insults such as “cashless mess”, “a movement that does not have money or an identity” etc. could also be criticised as vindictive, distasteful and spiteful?

    I look forward to reading your word (singular) of response.

    1. Gabriel, with all due respect did you actually just play the childish trick of “just one word, yes or no” with me? My placing Yachad as an organisation with a constituency too small to sustain it is not vindictive, it is accurate. My placing yachad as a movement without an identity is hardly distateful as it correctly represents the underlying flaw of a true left wing Zionist group outside of Israel neeeding to shift position to find followers. The cashless jibe, in fact all of the comments I made, are part of the logic behind the argument (the need to push the poll to create publicity for a movement with limited support). As for spiteful, no, definately not. I tend to avoid the ego-ridden environment of British Jewish politics and only commented because of the nasty article Hannah had penned. I am hardly an extremist and had she not written it, I would not have responded.

    1. You didn’t. If you read my blogs you would know I am a firm believer in arguing my case rather than running away from it. I will not however accept continual references to unrelated 3rd parties. If you have points about the blog or me, fine, but anything off topic is unwanted.

      1. Well I don’t do arguing but I am a little puzzled. Jonathan asked ” what kind of fools ” and I suggested an answer.That seems pretty on topic to me . Unless Jonathan’s question was entirely rhetorical. : -)

        As I say, I have no stake in the issue,. But it looks like the far right heads of the orgs that claim to lead ” the community” are lined up with the Zionist ultras against the mainstream Jewish population whose attitudes are a wide range of more moderate ones..

        Yachad’s position may not be the best reflection of where we are at this moment but are certainly the best reflection of which way the wind is blowing, and their perfectly legitimate and well conducted poll, seems to reflect this.

        You repeatedly claim not to be an ” extremist” , yet the company you keep, and the causes you adopt suggest otherwise.

        1. I agree that mainstream Jewish community would sit to the left of the main Zionist organisations. I believe this is natural and true of almost any movement.
          I also agree that their attitudes would be a wide range of more moderate ones.
          In light of what it was intended to do Yachad’s poll was problematic. 7 quick points
          1. Differently worded questions would have brought drastically different responses
          2. There would be a natural correlation between knowledge of Israeli issues and political stance
          3. What a carnivore thinks of the menu at the vegetarian restaurant isn’t relevant to the discussion
          4. I do not believe the survey internally challenges itself enough.
          5. It was clearly created within an extreme left wing paradigm
          6. The findings are being misrepresented (my main gripe this one)
          7. If before an election, the Tory party conducted a poll, would you give it the same credit as you would those handled independently?

          Certainly not an extremist. Far from it. My writing tends to be anti (BDS for example) rather than pro, so I can understand that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish.

          1. I find this ‘lack of independence’ point really interesting. Yachad funded the survey but other than that, the three academics and the professional pollsters who conducted it *say* that they were entirely independent and made their own judgement calls about questions, sample, etc. etc.

            If you’re questioning that independence that means you’re suggesting that the academics and pollsters are lying, which is a serious criminal offence in these circumstances (fraud and potentially bribery), but what’s puzzling me is, where’s the evidence? Other than the fact that the findings are of a nature that please Yachad, what basis is there to suspect that there was interference in the result?

            I’m also interested as to why people aren’t also questioning the independence of the BICOM survey about BDS released in the same week, which produced a not-inconsistent set of results with which BICOM was pleased. Did their funding of it influence the outcome as well?

            This whole allegation, unless there’s any hard evidence, sounds oddly like Gerald Kaufman’s ‘Jewish money’ slur. ‘Yachad money’ corrupted these independent professors. ‘Yachad money’ manipulated people’s opinions to pursue an ideological agenda.

            Fourth wave anti-Semitism?

          2. you are right Gabriel, although the lack of independence is merely a single criticism. All opinion polls are conducted for a reason and behind that reason there is one cause or another financing it. It would be difficult to find an example of this type of poll not setting out to further one cause or another.

            Disturbed a little by the rest of your post

            Implying there are problems with academic research does not equate to claiming fraud or bribery is involved. Not sure how or what you studied, but it is quite easy to skew a survey UNINTENTIONALLY. Imagine the Likud party conducting a survey into the attitudes of Palestinians living in Tulkarm. The survey would be created within the Likud world vision and even if they approached it with the best intentions, the questions wouldn’t get it right.

            I am not inferring corruption at all, but even if I was, it is nothing like Kaufman’s money comment. It is somewhat disturbing that you seem to be comparing the idea of ‘insidious Jewish money’ or money ‘having ethnicity’ with the notion organisations can use money to corrupt. These are incomparables and perhaps part of the difficulty you have recognising antisemitism is because you do not seem to understand it.

  3. David, all polls are commissioned by somebody and that somebody, obviously, has an interest. Hannah has several times offered to facilitate your discussing the issue with the experienced and highly reputable people that conducted the poll. Maybe you should take up the offer and report back.

    You will be aware of the poll commissioned by The Sun and the accompanying claim that 1 in 5 Muslims were supporters of Isis. A claim gleefully publicised by Stephen Pollard. You will also be aware that this poll was conducted by Survation, the organisation that handles the JC polls on related subjects. This is hardly reassuring.

    You will also recall the universally laughed at CAA poll.

    I don’t remember seeing any frantic open letters from you to Stephen Pollard or Gideon Falter. You will understand, therefore, if disinterested parties conclude that Gabriel is right in asserting that your real beef here is that the results were not to your liking.

    Further, they might also feel that, in the light of her recent experiences, Hannah’s op- ed was extremely temperate. She has taken a fearful social media battering from far right Zionist ultras. You will recall that one of your mates lost his twitter account for threatening to ” annihilate” her because she wouldn’t endorse the ludicrous Israction day.

    1. Absolutely. Everyone has an interest when commissioning polls, this is exactly what I just said to Gabriel. I am not sure what discussing with ‘experienced and highly reputable people’ would do, ‘experienced and highly reputable’ people conduct most polls, even those that are badly flawed in conception.

      I am not capable of fighting every disgraceful headline (like the one in the Sun), and each of us must pick his central cause. I cannot stand accused because of what I do not write. My cause is against those that delegitimize a single democratic state, and that is (almost) all I write about.

      I have no ‘beef’ with the truth. Ever.

      1. “I am not capable of fighting every disgraceful headline […] and each of us must pick his central cause.”

        This is interesting: so do you also disagree with the tu-quoque ‘double standards’ argument often deployed by Israel advocates, “Why are you criticising Israel when Syria does worse stuff?” – because each of us must pick their central cause.

        1. Of course. As long as criticism is fair and legitimate, I have no issue with it. I must add however, that Jews do have a history of being picked on unfairly, so if someone unconnected to the conflict, seemed to have an obsession with it, it would raise suspicions. Most people who engage in causes are in some way emotionally connected to them. But your underlying argument, that criticism of Israel does not = antisemitism is solid.

  4. David
    A couple of comments…
    In terms of the survey, you note that your concern that the results are being misrepresented. As you’ll have discovered upon reading the City University report, there is an awful lot of information in it with (as the president of the Board of Deputies put it) “something for everyone”. The fact that different organisations will be drawn to different aspects of it is therefore unsurprising. Rather than trying to trash the academics’ reputations, perhaps the various FOI groups should perhaps consider using the results to demonstrate the Jewish community’s wholehearted support and connection with Israel when challenging those on the left who claim it’s not Jews they have a problem with, just Zionists.
    Your other key assertion seems to be that Yachad is doomed to failure, because people are incapable of loving Israel whilst simultaneously opposing some of the actions of its government – you think they will either fall into the abyss of apathy or anti-Zionism. This is a strange argument, as Israel’s own residents seem to have no problem with that. Our experience has been that our community, and particularly young people, are more than ready to proudly call themselves Zionists whilst still wanting the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel (whilst also acknowledging the challenges that presents… security, incitement, etc.). Far from being a path to apathy, this is often key to helping maintain people’s love and engagement with Israel. Those who go on our trips come back with a stronger connection to Israel, and a stronger desire to help build a secure and prosperous future for her. What does put people off is those who insist on making it a partisan issue… that’s what’s really driving people to disconnect.
    Finally, whilst I appreciate the concern you show for Yachad’s future, our funding and our general prospects, I can reassure you that we are on a firm footing. In 2015 we held more events, we took more people on trips, and we were received more donations to ensure our finances remain sound. We held our first dedicated fundraising event with the wonderful David Broza, and we established stronger links with the Embassy, the youth movements and the wider communal organisations, culminating in our joining the Board of Deputies.
    Once people are ready to stop attacking us for our very existence, perhaps we can get on with considering some of the questions that the survey raises.

    1. Thank you for replying Gideon

      I have not attempted to trash any academic’s reputation and if we both ‘take of the tin hats’ for a second, I think you will see it is unfair to place me with the wider criticisms and sometimes simple ‘rants’ that took place against the survey.

      I believe the survey was constructed within a left wing paradigm. It can therefore only be a product of the world vision in which it was created. As solid and as professional as the research would be, the results cannot break through the ‘academic ceiling’. Social science research may be great for flag waving, but let us not pretend with are dealing with hard science. If I so chose, I could conduct the same survey from within a different paradigm.

      I did find that the questions and statements within the survey supported themselves rather than be used to cross check some of the findings. The question on East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital for example, could have been reworded to judge feelings over settlements as a whole and check for contradiction (eg: ‘Should Jerusalem remain the undivided capital of Israel?’). As it was, it simply followed the line of the previous statements. The entire survey works towards a green-line world vision.

      I have no issue with the *fact* that the wider Jewish community ‘as a whole’ would be placed left of the current Zionist movements platform. I think it is natural. Activism tends to occur from deep belief, therefore it is logical to suggest activists represent a section of society with ‘deeper beliefs’ than the passive elements of the community. The leaders of the feminist movement for example, would be more extreme than most feminists…and so on.

      Your point over UK Jewish criticism of Israel has been simplified to the point of distortion. I am highly critical of Israel (do not ever get me started on their political system) and it is perfectly valid to find fault with any number of Israeli policies. In taking this stance against me you have hidden behind a wall that does not exist. My points were

      a, that a Meretz platform would be too narrow a constituency within the UK, because a passive community will not come out in actual support. You will therefore to seek an audience need to stretch your position. The right wing elements are already taken by traditional Zionist movements, therefore you will move further left.
      b, It is one thing to support democratic choice, it is another to actively work against it. Justified or not, you are standing in opposition to the democratic choice of the people of Israel. Whilst there may be acceptable motives for doing so, and whilst there may even be a moral imperative involved, there is also an ethical responisiblity that should at least act as a restraining arm on Yachad’s shoulder. I do not believe this exists.

      The list of speakers at the events you hold tell a different story from the one you are relating here. Just as reports from some of those who have taken your trips tell a different version from the one you state. But these elements are of little interest to me. I do not oppose Yachad’s platform, just as I do not support the platform of the right wing Zionist movements. I did take issue with the way Yachad reported the survey ‘Major survey on British Jews shows ‘despair’” which was political distortion at its very best (I would have probably answered yes to that ‘despair’ question) but it was Hannah’s disgraceful op-ed that caused me to pen a response. Had she not written it, I would not have become involved.

      Given the inherent weakness of its constituency, if Yachad wants to survive, it will need to provide more positive balance. If it doesn’t, it will fail. That is how I believe it will play out. That within Israel, groups like Meretz thrive is irrelevant, we are not in Israel. That was I believe a weak argument you put forward.

      The survey does not raise questions. If it tells anyone anything they did not know already, they should not be involved in leading the community. You may be able to convince people that it says something it doesn’t, but what a meat eater thinks about the vegetarian menu will forever remain an irrelevance.

      warm regards

      David

  5. David,

    I’ve followed and quoted you many times. This piece demeans you.

    Your concern about the survey is based on your ‘belief’ that it was fixed. That’s no basis for criticism and you know it. Equally importantly, part of your distrust of it is that it puts you in a minority. That calls for a degree of introspection and reflection. Instead, like too many of those (mainly elderly) people who would lead Jewry, you have simply come out swinging.

    Yachad represents a response that many of us have felt was lacking for years. By your lights, we should all have abandoned Israel on the basis that no one articulated our position properly. But very few did. That is because support of Israel as a country for Jews goes far deeper than identity with particular positions on the internal spectrum of Israeli politics.

    By the same token, you elide opposition to particular politics (whether the ones you oppose or not), with opposition to something called ‘the democratic will’ which you neither define nor articulate. It seems to me to be an attempt to say ‘traitor’ or, perhaps more kindly, ‘if you’re not with us you’re against us’ in a relatively sophisticated way. If Israel is a democracy then it will accommodate Yachad’s views. Just because Netanyahu doesn’t like internal criticism does not make that criticism improper. A challenge to any political position includes not taking it seriously.

    Balance is achieved by opposing ideas colliding. The ideas themselves do not need to be balanced and your assumption that they do is misplaced.

    Finally, please don’t litter your next piece with accusations of vindictiveness, suggestions of a lack of knowledge on the part of those who disagree with you, or the word weak. Not just because it makes you seem unpleasant and I don’t think you are, but because it simply doesn’t fit with the protestation that you don’t care about the issue and can thus comment on it from an objective standpoint. Speaking professionally, it seems to me that you care like fury. That being so, I’d much rather you said so because it would make it easier to engage with your views, which I have previously admired, as I have said. This way merely makes it clear that your anger is being kept under wraps to serve a political purpose and it undermines the message you want to convey.

    Best

    Simon

      1. How can you agree with him, when I have already sent you a private email telling you I am not politically aligned with those he accuses me of being aligned with?

        1. Well I guess because shortly after PM’ing me and assuring me of your bipartisan credentials, you then sent out 20+ tweets to those people you’re accused of being aligned with. They then proceeded to send us all sorts of nasty messages and call us all sorts of unsavoury names.

          1. Stunning. So these people were being nice to you about the survey until I wrote a blog. My blog got them calling you nasty names. Even though Hannah had written a spiteful piece in the paper to respond to the name calling (which prompted me to write the blog). Historical revisionism. Why you choose to do this is your own affair.

            The truth is I told you I was not politically aligned with the far right through a private email (because I accomodate and seek to build bridges even with those who I disagree with sometimes). You chose simply to carry on the fight. Like I said Gideon, Yachad can choose to be the organisation it wants to. If you wish to be antagonistic and fight everyone, these actions are your choices, not mine. It is a shame really. What a waste.

    1. Simon

      Thank you for commenting. I am pleased you sometimes find useful pieces in what I write, it is after all the intent of the blog.

      I most certainly do not believe that the survey was fixed and I reject any accusation that implies this is so. Making an accusation such as this suggests people behind closed doors (respected academics) plotted and planned ways to distort the outcome of research – an accusation I find both ludicrous and offensive. As I suggested in my response to Gideon, just because noise on this survey is also coming from other directions, does not mean ‘we are all in this together’. Putting aside the difficulty of finding a representative Jewish demographic, what I said was that research such as this (soft science) cannot fail but to reflect the bias of the academic (I had questions on the survey and asked the academics directly). This survey was clearly created within a paradigm of an achievable two state solution, along the 1967 lines. It is neither right or wrong, it just is. So I absolutely reject the comment I believe it was artificially fixed.

      Secondly, your first paragraph also implies I am in the minority and my objection to the survey is based on my political position, apparently somewhere on the right (or far right?) of the political spectrum. My politics are Israeli aligned rather than Jewish British aligned, so whilst I can place myself on the political map in Israel, I have no idea where I would sit within the Jewish British groups and apart from two blogs (both of which I regret writing) I have never addressed the British Jewish movements. My core interest is Israel, not UK Jewry.

      What I can say is that according to the poll I am most certainly in the majority. Identifying me with right wing politics is a big mistake. Like most Israelis my politics is aligned to reality on the ground. British Jewish politics in many ways occurs on solid ground, unshifting theological arguments based on personal belief rather than intimate reaction to the atmosphere on the street or in the local market. This is alien to me, which is why I tend to avoid discussing it. I therefore absolutely reject the idea that if I were in Israel today I would be voting for a party like ‘Jewish Home’ and that this is the reason I wrote about the survey.

      I agree with your comment on both the positive side of a movement such as Yachad and how many in the community would identify with it. I do once again reject the repeated inference I am somehow from a place on the spectrum to the far right.

      The 3rd paragraph is offensive. I am in no way a fascist. In Israel you stand in an army next to a Likudnik, a Meretznik a Maarachnik and a Mitnachel.. You all fight the same enemy. Yes, there are arguments at the family dinner, heated ones, but to accuse me of saying ‘traitor’, to anyone who supports protecting Israel (regardless of the borders) is inaccurate and offensive. A left winger, even one to the far left, believes Israel will only achieve peace and security if it follows a particular line. It is the same peace and security the right winger believes will only come if it follows a particular line. The common factor is that both have Israel’s best interests at heart. I have no problem with either position providing that the end goal is an Israel living in peace and security.

      Not sure where you are going with the democracy angle. You seem to suggest if Israel is a democracy it will accommodate Yachad’s views. I find this argument odd. Putting aside that Yachad’s views are represented in sections of Israeli society, Israel’s democracy is not defined by how it accommodates views from people outside of the democracy, even if they are Jewish. Israelis vote – Israel is a democracy- Israel listens to its voters (even if the system itself is the most self-harming system possible).

      Now to the crux of the matter. Your final paragraph, the one that suggested I was vindictive and so on. The reason I wrote the piece on Yachad was precisely because Hanna’s Jewish news article was vindictive. I do not care if a week before, people that Hannah finds offensive wrote something ‘tat rama’. If you want Yachad to be ‘different’, then differentiate it. If you want to lead, then lead. Getting down and dirty with active and vocal members of the community does nothing for Yachad’s credibility. As I said in my blog, that Hannah responded in the way she did says more about the movement than anything else it does.

      As I state I do have issues with Yahad, I think that unless they balance out the negative with more positive, they will fail as a group in the future because they will be dragged ever further left in an attempt to find an audience willing to become active enough to sustain them. It is my opinion and I may be wrong, but that is what blogs are for – pushing opinions. My blog attack against Yachad was precisely because it was behaving like a mirror image to those it despises. Take your comments to me, I am suddenly grouped with people you don’t like, placed into a box, politically aligned, calling you a traitor, being vindictive and so on. It is a reflex Yachad should rise above. I have no intention of pursuing a course of habitually ‘attacking Yachad’ (unless they start producing anti-Zionists), and a left wing Jewish group in the UK is a welcome event, but I suggest that if you mistakenly go around alienating even those who may be politically inclined to support you, Yachad will end up in trouble sooner rather than later.

      With warm regards and total sincerity (if you fancy a chat over a drink sometime – let me know)

      David.

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