Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you will be aware that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 was adopted on 23 December 2016. The resolution was adopted in part, because the United States abstained rather than used their veto.
Further, on 28th December, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke in detail of the reasoning behind the US decision. Oddly, considering the UK had just supported the resolution, the UK PM Theresa May was critical of Kerry’s speech.
I do not need to enter into deep discussion over why UN 2334 should have been opposed. Far beyond the one-sided nature of the resolution, UN statements such as these are inter-dependent, building as they do, an ever increasing pile of self-referencing, legally-illiterate and conflict sustaining documentation. Fodder for the anti-Israel lynch mob. For those interested, on Sunday 8th January, there is a public demonstration in London against UK support for the UN vote.
Regardless of your position on different elements of Israeli activity in the West Bank, this resolution should have been shouted down. It is part of a unified effort, working alongside other UN specialized agencies such as UNESCO and UNHRC and UNRWA, that seek to rewrite Jewish history and delegitimise Israel. Can Israel be given a fair hearing at the United Nations? No, it cannot. So what friend of Israel would place Israel into that courtroom?
You have no right to talk to me about justice if at the first opportunity you are willing to use a rabid ‘Jew hating’ forum like the United Nations to score political points. The United States should veto resolutions against Israel as a reflex. All nations that support justice should do so. You do not empower a kangaroo court. Which brings far left wing Zionist group Yachad back into my line of vision once more.
Yachad and UN 2334
On Thursday 22nd December 2016, Yachad wrote to the UK Foreign Minister asking the UK to back the vote, because “it presents an historic opportunity to put resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict back at the top of the international agenda, where it is fast being overshadowed by other issues.” Rather incredibly, they suggested the resolution “provides balance”.
As I said at the time: For a Jew to ask a non-Zionist government to pressure the Jewish state, clearly negates a central pillar of Zionism. A Zionist group lobbying another government to oppose the democratic wishes of Israel’s citizens has to be, by almost any definition an ‘anti-Zionist’ action. It clearly runs in direct opposition to the idea of Jewish self-determination. Regardless of its motives, Yachad lobbying the UK government to vote against Israeli wishes is engaging in explicit anti-Zionist activity.
So once more, Yachad have placed themselves ‘across the line’. Why do they do this? I personally believe it is because they need to differentiate themselves. Trapped by the weaknesses of a astroturf group, they still have to make noise to justify their existence. Like a petulant child seeking attention. It makes them volatile and highly untrustworthy. Remember, this action came from a group that had initially promised:
“Yachad will not be a political lobbying group”
So Yachad are now willing to simply sell out the democratic wishes of Israeli voters so someone notices them back home. Home remember, for these Zionists, is Finchley, Hendon, Golders Green and Edgware. It is the Jews of S’derot, Jerusalem and Afula that have to pay the price.
The Yachad support of UN 2334 was followed by two experiences I had with Yachad activists at the Limmud conference. I am not interested in scoring points against individuals, so for the purpose of this blog, the description of ‘Yachad activist 1’ and ‘Yachad activist 2’ will suffice.
(Firstly, clarification. I do not accept any description that paints individual Yachad activists as traitors. Traitors are those who you do not want in your nation. They wish you harm and they belong in jail. Those on the far left of the Zionist spectrum, however mistaken I believe them to be, are acting with the purest of intentions. Israel would be a better place if those such as Hannah and Gideon went to live there. My argument with them is built on political disagreement. I think it is easy to vote Meretz whilst you tap away at your Macbook in a Starbucks down Hendon High St and daydream about which university your 18-year-old child will go to.)
The first room I entered at Limmud was a panel discussion led by Simon Johnson, Chief Executive of the JLC. The topic was the 2017 anniversaries, such as Balfour, the Six-Day War and resolution 181. The talk itself was interesting and informative. On the panel was ‘Yachad activist 1’. When he spoke, he did what all Yachad activists do, he pretended he was speaking for the mainstream.
Surveys, deception and identity theft
It always starts with statistics from the 2015 survey. Titled ‘The Attitudes of British Jews Towards Israel’, financed by Yachad and compiled by Stephen Miller, Margaret Harris & Colin Shindler. This despite the fact the survey doesn’t actually say what Yachad would like it to. Because of this, Yachad activists are always highly selective about which parts of the survey they wish to discuss. They want to discuss what British Jews want Israel to do, whilst ignoring what British Jews expect Israel to demand in return. The survey presents majority support for the classic centre-left formula of ‘land for peace’. Yachad operate on the one sided formula of ‘land’. Nowhere in the survey does that absurd position receive majority support.
Originally, much of the fuss over the release of the survey was directed towards the sampling and the maths, which was a mistake, and allowed Yachad to hide behind the idea that opposition to the survey was based on the ideological displeasure of extremists.
‘Yachad activist one’, takes a similar approach. He spoke of UN 2334, mentions the survey and says “there are 20% of extremists and then there are the rest of us paying the price”. Exactly what price he personally has to pay is still unclear to me. Does settlement activity impact the price of coffee at Costa? In any event, what he does is set you, me and most other moderates up as ‘extremists’. Why? Because when we oppose Yachad as being a fringe group on the extreme left of Zionist opinion, we are labelled as being one of the 20%. They artificially claim the centre ground by only mentioning one half of the equation.
The headline act from the survey was a single statement:
“I feel a sense of despair every time Israel approves further expansion of settlements on the West Bank”
Yachad have been running on this for two years now. The word ‘despair’ was the major take home from the report and the media lapped it up. Let us ignore the clearly leading choice of words. Let us put aside that Prof Stephen Miller is a letter writing, petition signing, Yachad supporter himself. Let me personally answer the statement:
‘Yes, I do feel a sense of despair every time Israel approves further expansion of settlements on the West Bank’. I feel despair because I know how it plays out. It isn’t necessarily the Israeli policy that causes the despair, but rather the aftermath. The letters that have to be written, the arguments that have to be had. There is no way, given how badly worded and misleading that question is, that anyone can honestly suggest the politically expedient Yachad translation is the only correct one. Do the people at Honest Reporting, BBC Watch, UK Media watch and so on feel despair because they know what is coming with the announcement? The statistic is visibly worthless. Whichever academic was responsible for that one, should hang his head in shame.
Yachad Activist number 2
Distorted interpretations and badly worded statements aside, I have complained to Yachad before about ‘illegally occupying’ the middle ground. The truth is that almost all of the organised British Zionist groups are pro-peace, pro-Israel and pro-two states. They are also clearly on the Zionist left. Yachad were unnecessary. I myself would happily sign on a dotted line that brought a real peace. Like most moderate Zionists, like most Israelis, the rejection of Oslo has little to do with land and everything to do with buses exploding in the streets. It is Yachad who are out there on the fringes of lunacy, ignoring the dark and scary neighbourhood Israel exists in. Perhaps it is difficult to see Hamas terrorists from their windows. When they pretend they speak for the majority, it is simply not true. I am a peace seeking British Jew, their naivety does not speak for me.
The second Yachad activist was sitting on a panel with me, discussing whether Anglo-Jewry is a safe space for Zionists. In 2016, Yachad had publicly called for a Zionist group from Israel called Im-Tirtzu to be no platformed, ludicrously suggesting, that a group operating on every Israeli campus, was somehow too ‘dangerous’ to be heard by British Jews.
At a time when Yachad’s own membership to the Board of Deputies is being questioned, I almost fell off my chair laughing when Yachad activist number 2 suggested we should accommodate anti-Zionist positions under our community umbrella too. A call for Ilan Pappe, Gilad Atzmon, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and Gerald Kaufman to take their place on the Board of Deputies. Even with the best will in the world, I realised I was in the company of a fully dressed space cadet. In reality it highlights the difference between Yachad student politics and the real world. Theirs takes place on a planet without consequences, where real life dangers don’t actually exist. They live in a bubble yet use half baked opinions to tamper with a real conflict. A cocktail that is unfortunately quite dangerous and can contaminate others.
The Yachad activist also suggested I was ‘patronising’, because I had called the conflict complex, suggesting we over-expect from our student children. Her response is part of the mindset that all opinions are equally valid, regardless of experience. Who am I, to tell her, that spending three days on a Yachad tour being hand-held in Hebron by Breaking the Silence doesn’t actually make her an expert. Living in the safety of London isn’t comparable to living in Israel. As she helps to lobby the UK government and make Israel a less-safe place, do I need to stand and applaud such ignorance?
Ignorance and Zionism
And it is this ignorance that allowed Yachad to distort the survey to their own ends. Outside of those who understand the complexities intimately, the majority can only regurgitate the negativity that they pick up from the British press. Just as with the UN, many people cannot differentiate between activity in East Jerusalem and a remote hilltop settlement. Their responses in a survey will simply mirror this. If we made UK Jews answer questions about areas A,B & C, who actually believes the majority would score well? How many can tell the difference between Qalqilya and Qalansawe?
It is simply astounding anyone would try and score political points on the back of this. It works of course, because no Zionist organisation would openly suggest many British Jews are ignorant of the complexity. So Yachad get away with it. In the entire survey there seems to have been no attempt to gauge whether British Jews view building in annexed East Jerusalem as ‘settlement’. Why was this not addressed? Were Yachad wary of the damage the response would bring to the artificial message they desperately wanted to publicise?
What Yachad ignore totally of course is the ‘security conscious’ element of the survey that is visible throughout the 56 page publication and openly contradicts almost everything Yachad stand for. On issues of security, British Jews line up firmly behind Israel, on matters of negotiations they are cautious, and on the ‘Jewish’ nature of the state they are steadfast. Yachad are a left-wing fringe group for a reason. The idea that Israel only has to play nicer for everything to work out well has failed too often to be taken seriously. It certainly isn’t supported by their own survey.
I was in Israel in 1993 when we were told it wasn’t a mistake to import terrorists from Tunis. I was in Israel between 1993-2000, when we were told the exploding buses were a price we had to pay for peace. I was in Israel when we were promised rockets would never fly from Gaza and I was in Israel when we were told it was safe to come down from the Golan (aren’t we thankful that didn’t go ahead).
Yachad’s ideas are rejected by the vast majority of people who care deeply about Israel. They are certainly rejected by the majority of Israelis. They are a few entitled Jews of London, attempting to pressure Israel, against its democratic will, to take risks that the Jews of London will not have to face themselves. As I said on the panel at Limmud. It was a disgraceful thing for them to do.
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