An open letter to Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue


I recently wrote a blog that attracted considerable attention. As you can see in the comments section, three of those who responded to the piece were the Rabbi from your synagogue, a member of your board (and the Yachad chairman), and one of those who complained (an academic who conducted a survey for Yachad).

As I now understand the situation better, I would like to register my horror at the synagogues denial of a platform to the Zionist group ‘Im Tirtzu’ and I felt compelled to contact the synagogue directly. As is always my method, I do so openly.

Yachad are a tiny group of radical activists with a small and disinterested following. What they do, as all fringe movements do, is pretend they are much bigger than they are. That they somehow represent a ‘silent majority’.  If you check their activity on social media, and the lack of response to it, you soon realise they are an astroturf group. They don’t engage in public political actions because nobody would show up. They do what they did here. Get three people to write a letter and pretend they speak for a mob.

This astroturf group have made at least two anti-Zionist actions in the past weeks. The first was to call on the UK government to pressure the Israeli government over Susiya. As they do this, they join hands with BDS, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Islamic Human Rights groups and so on.

The second was to make an open call to no-platform their political adversaries, Im Tirtzu. They embarked on a delegitimisation campaign that included distortions and half-truths. A deliberate and open attack on freedom of speech and a silencing of the Zionist voice.

What I recommend you do at this stage (if you haven’t already) is read the open response to the recent criticism by Im Tirtzu themselves. This is a single quote:

“The unfortunate reality is that the article’s (in the Jewish News) agenda was very much in line with the thought police of radical organizations like the NIF that slander anyone who dares call out their nefarious anti-Israel activity.”

Having now read the explanations by both the chairman of Yachad and the academic who clearly identifies with Yachad’s ideology, it seems they wish to embroil everyone in red herring arguments that avoid the central issue. Which remains this:

A synagogue here in the UK ‘no-platformed’ a large and influential Zionist group from Israel because a handful of Yachad activists performed a targeted political assassination.

That Yachad operate a policy that denies a platform to their opponents is a non-issue. We know from experience the way that BDS type actions operate. Small groups of radical ‘thought police’ walk around pretending they speak for everyone, citing some ‘higher ethical purpose’ and then deciding for the majority that whatever Israeli group is coming here, should be boycotted. The motions pass because the opposition isn’t strong enough.

In other words, I expect nothing less from Yachad. What concerns me is your capitulation. How did you let a BDS style action work in your synagogue?

So if possible I would like to have these questions addressed:

1. How many people actually complained. Were there any complaints not aligned with the tiny, fringe, noisy, activist group Yachad?

2. How was the decision to refuse to give a platform taken?

3. Will the same calculations be made for Yachad themselves? Yachad are far more controversial here than Im Tirtzu are in Israel. If we ban groups when they are accused of being controversial, should Yachad also be denied a platform?

4. You just ‘no-platformed’ a Zionist group that has a substantial presence in Israel. Did you double-check the information you were given? Who spoke on Im Tirtzu’s behalf during the process?

I look forward to your response

David Collier


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94 thoughts on “An open letter to Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue

  1. Good for you, Dave. As you know, Yachad applied to join the Zionist Federation who, I am glad to say, turned them down. They are like Jewish Voices, and like most anti-Zionist Jews know or care nothing about Israel and have no sympathy for their fellow Jews who sought and found refuge in Israel (as did the Albanian community and those fleeing the fighting in former Yugoslavia) when no one else in the world would have or even protect them.

  2. Oh David, it’s getting boring now.

    You denigrate Yachad as being “a tiny group of radical activists with a small and disinterested following” and a “fringe movement[]”, yet the only evidence you provide is lack of response to social media comment. You haven’t addressed any other aspects of their activity, such as numbers of donors, statistical research, its thriving youth branch, and more – so it’s not surprising that you’ve reached a mistaken conclusion. It’s just a shame that you use that mistaken conclusion to dismiss rather than engage – and an ironic shame at that.

    And then we have the ‘anti-Zionist’ slur. Yes, we get it, you think Yachad is anti-Zionist because they disagree with the Israeli government and, as a movement of British citizens, ask the British government to support them. I disagree with that, obviously, but what is more concerning is that you describe them as anti-Zionist as if it’s a pure question of undeniable fact, rather than a subjective opinion you hold which is contrary to that held by some other people.

    Because if someone described, say, Im Tirzu as ‘controversial’, ‘beyond the pale’, even ‘ethically un-Jewish’, as a pure question of undeniable fact, I expect you wouldn’t like that.

    But no: so long as it’s not your area of the political spectrum that’s being mocked, slandered and silenced, that’s OK, eh.

    1. not interested Gabriel. I am not falling for the ‘anti-Zionist’ argument. Yachad make anti-Zionist actions at times. This is nothing to do with how I view their general political position. I reject your assertion.

      I had every right to go to HGSS and hear Im Tirtzu speak. Whether you like it or not, Hannah and someone from the NIF publicly called for a denial of platform. As I stated elsewhere. This ‘red fascist’ action was wrong and needs to be opposed.

      I am a Zionist who favours massive compromise in the search for peace. Yachad alienate me too. It shows were they sit on the political map.

      Rather than apologise, they have chosen to defend their actions. So be it.

      1. No, you didn’t have any right to go to HGSS and hear Im Tirzu speak, any more than I have a right to go to Kinloss and hear the Palestine Solidarity Campaign speak.

        HGSS own the hall (I presume). They choose who to invite, just like the ‘Daily Mail’ chooses what letters to publish, the Leader of the Opposition chooses what questions to ask at PMQs and the Oxford Union chooses what debates to hold.

        If you want to hear Im Tirzu speak, find a hall and invite them. I might even come along. In the meantime, remember that HGSS own their building, and if you’re not a member you have no right or claim to it whatsoever.

        1. I had a right because the event was being held there. As always, you fall back on irrelevant theoreticals to try to deflect. Why are you even bothered. This letter is not addressed to you. It is addressed to the synagogue that mistakenly fell for Yachad’s delegitimisation campaign.

          1. The event wasn’t held there, it was cancelled. So you didn’t have a right to go to it. If they wanted you to go they’d hardly have cancelled it; if they didn’t want you to go, that was their prerogative because it’s their space.

            “As always, you fall back on irrelevant theoreticals to try to deflect.” Argument by assertion again. Nice one.

            “Why are you even bothered. This letter is not addressed to you.” Why did you publish it to the world on a blog with a comments facility if you didn’t want members of the public to read and comment on it? Don’t I have a right to comment? Are you trying to no-platform me?

            1. Gabriel, it is like trying to have a discussion with a hysterical child who thinks he can win an argument by sticking out his tongue and making noises. The attack by Yachad on Im Tirtzu was a political assassination. Hannah called for Im Tirtzu to be denied a platform. Deal with the issues. It was wrong. As it seems you join those who are defending Hannah’s actions, you just place yourself on the side of hypocrisy.

            1. Gabriel. I am really not sure what your problem is. If you wish to argue the details of Yachad’s no platforming policy, you can do so on the original blog. These issues were picked up by the Yachad chairman and then the only known person who wrote a complaint, an academic who assisted in Yachad’s survey. There are several exchanges and I do not intent to rehash the same ground again here. This piece was written directly to the synagogue. As mentioned before Yachad, despite all your squealing, are an astroturf group. Outside of a tiny core group, they are supported only by indifference. You can protest against that simple fact, but it is blindingly obvious. It screams at you from every social media page Yachad operates. What Hannah did, with the assistance of the NIF was exactly what they accuse Im Tirtzu of doing in Israel. It was a shameful operation that set out to silence the voice of Yachad’s political opponents. There is absolutely no reason I should let it pass quietly.

          2. If you don’t want to “rehash the issues” (ie. reply to the specific points that I’ve raised) then, of course, you don’t have to. But please don’t pretend that I’ve not raised any.

            PS: how much social media interaction was there at the First Zionist Congress? I don’t think very much. Why you are persisting with your ridiculous argument that you can gauge Yachad’s level of success solely from an open-source analysis of its social media presence is very silly and I think you probably know that deep down.

            1. Gabriel, I don’t see what you have raised, you have merely suggested I am ‘”repeating the same assertions over and over,,,, without a hint of reasoning or explanation”. As I said, I believe I dealt with these issues. On this piece, I am using the conclusions reached elsewhere to approach the synagogue directly.

              As for social media interaction. I don’t think you get Yachad’s fundamental flaw Gabriel. It’s always going to be the indifference of people that ‘might’ identify with its aims. You don’t have to be a genius to work it out, you certainly do not need to scramble around for silly scenarios involving the First Zionist Congress.

              You will have a core element that can run with it.
              You will also have several that can use affiliation as a personal stepping stone.
              You will see short term activity where people are personally and directly confronted (university space would be a good example)

              and that’s about it my friend. The actions of the group will seem large because it is well funded. The research is a good example of this. It will fill halls at events because it can afford to bring in speakers that will attract people like me. It will also punch well above its weight because some of the core elements will be well educated, affluent and in positions of relative clout. But on the ground it will always lack the fighting power of a real grassroots movement. In theory an astroturf movement like this could create a momentum that would see it ‘take off’, but it is unlikely it will ever happen to Yachad. The problem remains the natural indifference of your potential recruits. No point arguing against what is blatantly obvious.

      2. Also, again: “Yachad make anti-Zionist actions at times.”

        You don’t understand. Argument by assertion is not argument. If someone made an argument by assertion about Im Tirzu I’m sure you’d be very hot off the press to condemn them. Stop doing it about Yachad if you want to pretend to have any integrity.

        1. Your attempt to compare Yahad, a proven anti-Israel group (use google) with Im Tirzu, the only organised movement trying to protect Israelis by highlighting where foreign donors give money to anti-Israel causes, is revolting.
          I suppose you would put Nazis and th Conservative party on the same platform. It’s people like Yachad, and their supporters like you, that propagate all the conflicts in the world using disinformation to attack the weak and lies to defend themselves from the ignorant

        2. So tell me, Gabriel. When was the last time Yachad criticised the PA / Fatah / Hamas and even suggested that they might in any way be responsible for the problems facing the Palestinian people?

          When did Yachad last – or ever – condemn Hamas for firing rockets at Israeli civilian targets or stealing construction materials to build launching pads, arms dumps and attack tunnels?

          When has Yachad ever condemned the PA / Fatah for inciting violence against Israelis, for ‘honouring’ people who kill Jews, for allowing their TV stations and their newspapers – and their Facebook page – to broadcast Jew-hatred, for teaching their children from an earlier age to hate Jews etc etc etc?

          When has Yachad ever leapt to Israel’s defence when it has been accused of apartheid, of massacring children, of depriving the citizens of Gaza food, water, electricity, medicines and medical equipment and the suchlike?

          From what I can see, Yachad has remained silent on all the above but has been quick to condemn and criticise Israel for all the problems of the region.

          So explain to me how an organisation which offers support and succour to people who want to wipe Israel off the face of the map and kill Jews worldwide – read the Hamas Charter and the statements of PA President of Mahmoud Abbas; subscribe to MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch for substantiation – have the temerity to call itself Zionist.

          In the past I’ve asked Ms Weisfeld to do so. She didn’t reply. Maybe you will.

            1. Gabriel. You have done well. you have played the pied piper tune and started to lead everyone down several rather murky rabbit holes. Now, you want us to believe that you are right, because Yachad have actually condemned a radical Islamic terror group. It is astonishing to watch and you are quite good at it. Not really going to work with me though.

          1. I’m sorry, David? One of your other guests asked me to provide examples of Yachad condemning Hamas. I provided examples of Yachad condemning Hamas. I’m not clear what your confusion is.

  3. The comparison between the HGSS and prime minister’s questions, etc., is a spurious one. If HGSS is prepared to allow an anti-Zionist group to hold an event within its walls, it should certainly be open to Zionist groups of all persuasions, and it is not free to do whatever it likes, it is a member of the United Synagogues. As a Jewish organization it has shown that it is prepared to host even organisations of dubious affiliation such as Yachad and the NIF; it should therefore be prepared to host organisations with opposing views. If you want to compare the HGSS with an organisation that can do as it likes, compare it to the Zionist Federation which has refused to admit Yachad to membership, though why such an anti-Zionist organisation wants to be a member of the ZF beats me, unless it intends to destroy it from within, always a possibility with these kinds of groups.

    1. Aside from disputing your suggestion that Yachad is anti-Zionist, I’m interested by your use of the word “should”. Why ‘should’ HGSS host the groups you say it should? I’m still confused as to why members of the public feel they have any claim over a private space they don’t own.

      1. You’re obviously of limited IQ. Obviously anyone can refuse access to their property, but you’re missing the point of the argument and creating a straw man argument in the process. So let me break it down for you in 2 sentences

        They should host the event:
        a) Mainly because they originally said they would . It was only after NIF/Yachad/Jewish News branding Im Tirtzu as fascist and the like that the event was cancelled
        b) because if they are going to allow Yachad to hold events in their building with their questionable “Zionist” outlook, then it’s hard to reason why they reject Im Tirtzu.

        The argument is not about the building, it’s about the principle behind the decision.

        1. I think you’re on stronger ground with your point A (although everyone surely remains free to change their mind: if a British university agreed to host a controversial anti-Israel event and then decided to cancel it I’m sure you wouldn’t be complaining).

          As to point B, perhaps you just have different criteria than them. I can think of some perfectly good reasons to host Yachad and not Im Tirzu (eg. the latter’s use of anti-Semitic imagery such as posters showing Jewish people with horns and hook noses), but the point isn’t what I think or what you think, it’s what HGSS thinks.

          As to your point that I have limited IQ, that’s just silly and ad hominem and does you no credit.

  4. The HGSS hosts a lot of organizations that have no affiliation with it such as the activities of the Spiro Institute. It is a Jewish institution, with masses of available space, and if approached by a “member of the public” to host a Jewish function that, like the Spiro Institute, has no direct connection with it, it has a duty to do so on that basis. It is not a “private space I don’t own” the HGSS is a space open to Jewish groups who no doubt pay for the privilege of renting it, just like venues, religious or otherwise, up and down the country.

  5. Well done, David Collier. I doubt you’ll get any sort of sensible answer from the board of HGSS, but I hope your post will enlighten many of its ordinary members about what looks very like an entryist operation by Yachad activists to put themselves in power positions on this mainstream United Synagogue board, the vast majority of whose members support the elected Israeli government, so that the synagogue can be finessed into helping mainstream Yachad and present its extreme minority views as those of the mainstream Jewish community. I hope it will also enlighten the Israeli government and its UK embassy about this process. The comments of Yachad Director Hannah Weisfeld to reasoned critiques of the methodology and agenda of the Yachad commissioned and response group manipulated survey are a shameful indicator of the readiness of this group, and its Director in particular, to attempt to smear critics of that survey as “zionist thought police” who “cannot bear to listen to anyone who does not share their view”. (I was one of those so designated). To put it mildly,, somewhat ironic in the light of this particular history.

  6. May I point out the fact that yachad, a small bunch of rich left wing Jews set a group last year called kids court in conflict which raised £30,000 to pay for a lawyer to defend Arab youth thugs who had been arrested by the Israeli authorities for throwing boulders at cars and attempted stabbings of Israelis. Yachad also ally themselves with breaking the silence any other anti Israel group. It seems to be a meal ticket for Hannah weisfeld and immature attention seekers like little Gabriel. They believe in free speech only if it agrees with their warped views. They should be kicked off the board of deputies immediately.

      1. Hi Jennifer.

        Aside from all Yachad’s activity engaging young people in Israel and giving those who are uncomfortable with the behaviour of the current Israeli government find a place inside the Zionist tent, and Yachad’s work to make Israel an exemplary society as the WZO’s Jerusalem Platform aspires to, you may find this conference on Israeli security and this talk on anti-Semitism to be of interest. (Presumably you don’t consider the promotion of Israeli security and the prevention of anti-Semitism to be anti-Zionist?)

        1. Why was Hannah Weisfeld at the press conference for the presentation the Shami Chakrabarti’s inquiry into antisemitism and other forms of racism in the Labour party? This was not open to the public. So was she an invited guest or was she appointed by one of our communal bodies eg the BOD, the JLC, United Synagogues, the Office of the Chief Rabbi etc to represent the community, and if so, why?

        2. I’ve just had a look at the two links above. I can find no mention of Yachad in the latter on antisemitism and the former seems to be a platform for people who disagree with the policies of the current Israeli government but who seem quite incapable of persuading the citizens of Israel as to the righteousness of their position. Seems to be awfully one-sided. No room for debate but then Yachad does not encourage face-to-face debate.

  7. Well, well, well, Just like the great days of rabbinical debate between Hillel and Shamai we are arguing among ourselves. Freedom of speech is a right. here in England and we not take it for granted. Although I disagree with HGSS, my concern is the propaganda campaign by the Jewish and non-Jewish left-wing to demonise Israel based upon spurious information generated by the powerful over the gullible. Anyone who has read the history from the birth of the Zionism to now will grasp the underlying issue here and that is anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. There is no middle ground. If Yachad and the NIF think they are caring humanitarians, forget it. For all the efforts being made by the ‘humanitarians’ when the Palestinians achieve independence, they will only end up killing each other and the lefties will still blame the Jews for that.

  8. I bet you do not get a (coherent) answer from HGSS. The bottom line appears to be “A synagogue here in the UK ‘no-platformed’ a large and influential Zionist group from Israel because a handful of Yachad activists performed a targeted political assassination.” And for that there is no excuse. Well done for exposing this dreadful state of affairs.

  9. It’s well worth taking time to look through the Yachad Annual Report for 2015.

    It reveals so much.

    It had a total income of over £300K in 2015. Well over £200K came from just 47 donations. NB not 47 donors. 47 donations.

    No more than 990 of Britain’s 250K Jews contributed even small amounts to Yachad, and of those at least seventy were payments for tours and the like.

    The famous Yachad survey (entirely devised and controlled by them and their supporters, including playing a major role in nominating personal friends as survey respondents) cost £40K.

    One of the most successful cash-leading-to-access operations ever.

    For that they managed to secure a Yachad meeting with Tobias Ellwood, where they briefed him on their version of the results of their loaded survey.

    Even more interestingly, the Foreign Office went on to send their highest ranking official dealing with the Israel-Palestine conflict to have an ***off the record*** meeting with Yachad’s own selected group of activist students at the Yachad student conference.

    Plus they got a meeting with the UK’s Ambassador to Israel for one of their student tour groups.

    That’s an amazing result for £40K of expenditure. Which they will no doubt keep on building on. And you can bet that that little bit of strategy wasn’t dreamed up on the back of an envelope by Hannah Weisfeld. Some very professional PR brains at work here, I’d say.

    Reading through it, you can see how they are systematically targeting students and youth work people for propagandisation.

    Incidentally, the lawyer they fundraised for to give legal advice to arrested Palestinian minors against the Israeli government (love to know how much came from the same source as the 47 big donations) was not any ordinary old human rights Tel Aviv lawyer. He is a Palestinian anti-Israel lawfare campaigner.

    1. I understand your disquiet at your asserted fact that the hired lawyer is “anti-Israel” (I know nothing about them so can’t comment on this). Why is it a problem that they’re “Palestinian”?

      1. “palestinians” in reality don’t exist. i would have the same problem if they were a jedi or a zombie. “palestinians” are an invention brought in to being to denigrate the jewish state of israel?
        isn’t it time you got a proper job, little gabriel

  10. Yachad is a cult run by those who have high lighted certain young people who they feel an be brain washed. A bit like those who chup young lost Jews in Jerusalem and take them to Yeshivot.

  11. Yachad lost the hearts and souls of the silent majority of British Jews when, in 2014, while Israel and caring Jews were bowing our heads and holding a minutes silence on Yom HaZicharon in memory and out of respect for Israel’s fallen war heroes, the soldiers of the IDF, they were hosting a discredited group Breaking the Silence which calls our soldiers and our IDF “war criminals.”
    Yachad, which presents itself as pro-Israel, failed to balance their bias by attending the pro-Israel rally outside the Israeli Embassy in London.
    Their absence spoke volumes.
    Their voice, and their actions, are pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel.
    Show me where they have acted in any affirmatively pro-Israel manner, particularly when Israel has been under attack. When have they ever stood solidly with the Jewish state against the lies, deceptions and the violence of the Palestinians?

    1. Perhaps Yachad feels like it doesn’t have to act in a manner that you, Barry, consider to be “affirmatively pro-Israel”. Perhaps it prefers nuance.

      1. Do explain the nuance of condemning and criticising Israel but ignoring the actions of Hamas / PA / Fatah.

      2. Nuance !!! Tell that to the kibbuzniks who have had terror tunnels coming into to where they live .Tell that to the family of the 13 year old girl murdered in her bed .Tell that to the innocent civilians stabbed and attacked for simply being Jewish .Tell that to those victims murdered for the sin of being Jewish .tell that to those murdered who were not jewish or Israeli but caught up as Collateral damage .. Shameful

        1. I’m very happy to tell it to them. I’ll also happily tell it to the Hamas terrorists who have perhaps the least nuance of all.

  12. Thank you so much for this! The first Israeli Embassy in London was in Manchester Square next door to my father’s office. I thought I saw him in the crowd in front of the Embassy.

  13. Yachad do not speak for British Jewry, and the rise of Pro Israel grassroots groups like North West Friends of Israel, Sussex Friends of Israel, Confederation of Scotland Friends of Israel and many many more grassroots groups shows that there is an alternative to the alleged ‘pro Israel pro peace ‘organization that seems to get the misguided financial backing to brainwash vulnerable impressionable kids on tour or at universities. Yachad are an alternative voice, and there is no problem with that, we should always show two sides to an argument, problem is, they never do and use bullying tactics and lies to limit anyone who disagrees with them. They never campaign for traumatized kids from Sderot, who wet the bed every night due to years of rockets raining down on their town from Gaza,, giving them 15 seconds to find an air raid shelter, yet Yachad campaign for Palestinian kids in conflict.!!! They never have a presence at any solidaritary event with Israel, and they use Limmud, a left wing liberal organization as a platform to parade anyone who wants to delegitimise the state of Israel. Freedom of speech means exactly that, and should only be not allowed if there would be a breach of the peace. There was no danger of that in this case and the synagogue were wrong to listen to Yachad and cancel the event.

    1. I agree 100% about Yachad being entitle to freedom of speech, but are we not at fault by allowing them unfettered freedom, by allowing them to spout their propaganda without challenge at public meetings? We have BBC Watch and UK Media Watch, both of which do an excellent job. Is it not about time to establish Yachad Watch to identify the dates, times and venues of their public meetings and ensure that those with differing views attend to raise appropriate questions?

      Mind you, Yachad will go to any lengths to stop anyone who disagrees with them from attending any of their public meetings. I know someone who was barred from their meetings on the spurious grounds that he had made a joke about Ms Weisfeld’s hairstyle, comparing it to that of Sideshow Bob (a character in The Simpsons cartoon series on television). Such is Yachad’s commitment to freedom of speech.

  14. I have yet to see a pro Israel posting on yachad. They are similar to the Palestine solidarity campaign. Both are few in number but make a great deal of anti Israel noise. Both seem to be funded by one or two rich individuals. Both ask their supporters to lobby UK government ministers to take action against the official elected Israeli government. Both are disgusting organisations but at least the Palestine solidarity campaign is honest.

  15. This Gabriel Webber who claims
    “I understand your disquiet at your asserted fact that the hired lawyer is “anti-Israel” (I know nothing about them so can’t comment on this)”
    is presumably the same Gabriel Webber who was a proud member and a tout for personal sponsorship of the YachadUK youth team which raised money from well meaning but uninformed members of the UK Jewish community to pay for a Palestinian “human rights” lawyer to represent Palestinian minors accused of terrorism and attacks on IDF troops and civilians.

    Yachad UK’s cute sounding “Kids in Court” campaign which he is a key part of is described by them as a collaboration with the Tel Aviv law firm Gaby Lasky Law, which self describes as a human rights pioneer.

    This is how they describe their funding raising project for legal support to “kids” aged 18 and younger accused of terrorism and hostilities against IDF forces and Jewish Israeli civilians:

    “All the money raised will be used for the cause of improving the situation for Palestinian children who experience the military court system. We are collaborating with the Israeli Law firm Gaby Lasky Law and partners in this campaign. We hope to raise £26,000, enough money to pay the salary and expenses of a lawyer for one year. Their job will be to represent Palestinian children throughout the judicial process and create reporting to document the reality on the ground. The reporting will then be used to advocate around the issue in order to create long-term, sustainable change to the situation. We will also be using a small amount of funding to contribute towards the costs of bringing an Israeli lawyer from Lasky Law to the United Kingdom for three days to speak at educational events about this issue.

    Tell me more about the lawyer’s work…

    The lawyer’s job will be to escort, advise and represent Palestinian minors throughout the legal proceedings. This includes emergency legal support at the police station, representing them during the initial interrogation and visiting minors prior to any second or third interrogation. The lawyer will also visit the minors on a weekly basis during the investigation for as long as they are in custody and the trial has not finished.

    The lawyer will also be the point of contact between the minors, their family and their village. This involves collecting evidence including affidavits, videos and photos during the arrest and trial period, and arranging bail options and guarantors for the bail hearing. If the case ultimately goes to trial, the lawyer will also represent the defendant in court.

    It is estimated that the lawyer will be able to work with roughly 50 minors. 25-35 of these will be represented throughout the judicial process and a further 15 will have their experiences documented to create the aforementioned reporting.”

    Note that even this bit of highly decontextualised and romanticised reporting openly states that a core aim is to provide further material which can be edited and presented to uninformed UK Jews in support of further bankrolling the defence of young Palestinian fighters and terrorists against Israel and Israelis.

    Kids in Court proudly proclaims their partnership with Gaby Lasky Law and links to an enthusiastic and adoring article in the virulently Israel-demonising online +972 magazine which gives away this “human rights lawyer’s” political affiliations and agenda, which YachadUK endorses by choosing to collaborate with her:

    “For Attorney Gaby Lasky, however, Ofer is where much of her day-to-day work takes place. Lasky — a human rights attorney who previously served as the General Director of Peace Now, a current Tel Aviv council member and number seven on the left-wing Meretz party’s list for the upcoming elections — has spent much of the last decade defending Palestinian who lead the popular struggle against the occupation and the separation barrier in the West Bank, as well as the Israeli Jews who join them.”

    For Attorney Gaby Lasky, however, Ofer is where much of her day-to-day work takes place. Lasky — a human rights attorney who previously served as the General Director of Peace Now, a current Tel Aviv council member and number seven on the left-wing Meretz party’s list for the upcoming elections — has spent much of the last decade defending Palestinian who lead the popular struggle against the occupation and the separation barrier in the West Bank, as well as the Israeli Jews who join them.

    So this project is really a Peace Now front. And Gaby Lasky is a leading political activist of Meretz, fighting for Palestinians “who lead the popular struggle”. Nice euphemistic way of describing murders and knife attacks, often carried out by just those Palestinian minors who Gabriel Webber and his fellow Yachad “popular struggle” enablers/useful idiots try to raise money to get legal support for.

    What YachadUK and its foot soldiers like Webber have absolutely nothing to say, do or fundraise for in the context of Palestinian minors incited and supported to knife and attack Israeli forces and civilians is the institutionalised Palestinian child abuse integral to the systematic indoctrination of Palestinian children and youth into antisemitic hatred and being used as military puppets, tools and sacrificial victims, sent by Fatah and its media operation to kill and maim in the name of “popular struggle”. The involvement of minors as helpers and fighters in military conflicts is of course a war crime which Fatah as well as Hamas defiantly proclaims its support for, including running summer training camps in this particular form of institutionalised child abuse.

    What of course we have yet to hear from Yachad UK about is exactly which Palestinian “kids” they used the £30,000+ they raised from UK donors to organise this entirely disinterested firm of Peace Now/Meretz lawyers to defend.

    How old were the “kids” when arrested? How many are boys/girls? How many have previous convictions and for what? What exactly were the offences they were arrested for?

    None of this information is provided by the Yachad UK and “Kids In Court” web site.

    This is in fact a political laundering organisation. By which I mean an analogy with money laundering.

    Only a minuscule number of UK Jews would fall for a campaign openly organised by Peace Now and Meretz, the Israeli equivalent of the Respect party, to provide money to defend Palestinian minors involved in military and quasi military physical attacks, including stabbings and attempted murders of Israeli Jews and IDF forces.

    But of course when you get a wide eyed bunch of mainly Reform and Liberal Youth movement mazkirim plus the odd raised Orthodox, now siding with Israel’s enemies, with a nice cute sounding project like “Kids in Court”, it’ll come across as an altogether more noble project. And that’ll mean that well meaning parents will remain ignorant that that’s what their youth movements and Israel tours are tied in with.

    So I leave it to you to decide whether Gabriel Webber is just a fool, a useful idiot or a self promoting liar in the service of the fight to delegitimise the elected government of Israel and Israel as a project.

    1. I asked why you expressed concern at the fact that the lawyer was “Palestinian” (your word). You’ve not responded. Can we conclude that you are simply racist?

      1. ‘Palestinian’ isn’t a race. What on earth is it with this drive to place labels on people so as to avoid dealing with matters of substance? I see it happen all the time. Rather than argue the points, there are constant questions asking for clarification… all done so as to write off the person as sexist, racist, homophobic, … anything that will allow you to play the man and not the ball. It is such a dumbed down method of engagement.

        1. Judy chose to express disquiet that the lawyer was “Palestinian”. She wrote that word; she took the effort to type those 11 characters. There must have been a reason. I asked about it.

          Judy might have had a sensible reason, eg. “I think a lawyer who spoke Hebrew as a first language would be more competent to act in an Israeli courtroom.” But she chose not to provide one, so I can only assume that she is generally prejudiced against the Palestinian people. I can’t think of any other plausible reason why she would have complained about the lawyer being Palestinian and then declined to make it explicit.

          I’m not sure why you think this discussion is unreasonable, but your habit of labelling any form of engagement you don’t like as ‘childish’, ‘dumbed down’, ‘a tantrum’ etc. etc. is kind of ironic.

          1. Gabriel. you are creating another rabbit hole / red herring / straw man… whichever you want to call it. If you don’t mind me asking, are you salaried with Yachad? Serious question and without any intention to imply you wouldn’t be here arguing if you weren’t on the payroll… I am just curious.

          2. You see, I’m really torn right now. A large part of me thinks that that is such an utterly outrageous question for you to ask – and the underlying assumption that you have the right to cross-examine me is so offensive – that I should refuse to answer.

            But then, of course, you’d take a non-response as confirmation of your inane conspiracy theory, a la “Are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party of the United States?” (said conspiracy theory, incidentally, being a very transparent ‘dead cat’ patently designed to derail the discussion)

            So, somewhat against my better judgment, I can confirm that I am not and never have been salaried by Yachad, nor have I ever received any fee, gratuity, honorarium, retainer, expenses or payment from them of any description.

            1. It isn’t an outrageous question at all, and although I know you love to portray yourself as part of a mccarthyist witchhunt but I would have just taken a refusal to answer as indicating the answer was none of my business. It’s always the trouble those on the left have with me. Stephen had that problem too. I am not actually an extremist myself, so these attempts to place me into that comfortable box you can then discard are not going to work. I am fine with talk of dismantling settlements, I don’t explode if you talk about the occupation or Palestinians and I am pretty relaxed in discussions that knock Israel’s electoral system. So Gabriel, although you would love me to be just another ‘Kahanist’, who hates you because you are a ‘leftie’…. it doesn’t wash here.

          3. Gabriel, I think that ‘Judy is prejudiced against a Palestinian lawyer’ would be a reasonable proposition. ‘[G]enerally prejudiced against the Palestinian people’ is an unjustified stretch and assuming the motivation is racist crosses the boundary into character slander. A state of war (or, at the very least, of political and occasionally violent conflict) exists between Israel and the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. If the lawyer is a Palestinian from these territories, then it is a fair assumption that he is severely biased against Israel, that he is a party to the conflict. This does not necessarily mean that it is in any way illegitimate for him to act as a defence lawyer in court cases involving Israel. The problem starts when he becomes not just a lawyer in an Israeli court, but an anti-Israel political activist abroad. I don’t necessarily see anything illegitimate (whether it’s wise or not is another issue) with funding somebody to advocate in court. After all, if the accused does not have a lawyer, the state may even appoint one ex-officio. Advocacy in court is one thing; funding political advocacy against Israel in the UK is quite another thing. The problem is that Yachad has no qualms in doing the latter. So, in conclusion:
            1. The accusation of ‘racism’ is unjustified based on what has been said. Mistrust against a member of ‘the other side’ during a conflict is not racism, but common sense.
            2. Funding or otherwise assisting public advocacy against Israel is wrong. If Yachad disagrees with anything that the current Israeli government does, it is perfectly legitimate to write to that government and express its views. However, that government, whether one agrees with it or not, has been democratically elected by the people of that country — those who live, serve in the army, pay taxes and vote there. Yachad’s attempts to twist that government’s arm by enlisting the help of foreigners is anti-democratic, because it aims to take the power of decision away from those to whom it rightfully belongs.

          4. “If the lawyer is a Palestinian from these territories, then it is a fair assumption that he is severely biased against Israel, that he is a party to the conflict.”

            No, it isn’t.

            “Funding or otherwise assisting public advocacy against Israel is wrong.”

            That isn’t what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about a lawyer to represent defendants in individual cases. Israel has a legal aid system for Israeli nationals to secure a defence, why is this any different?

  16. When was the last time Yachad criticised the PA / Fatah / Hamas and even suggested that they might in any way be responsible for the problems facing the Palestinian people?

    When did Yachad last – or ever – condemn Hamas for firing rockets at Israeli civilian targets or stealing construction materials to build launching pads, arms dumps and attack tunnels?

    When has Yachad ever condemned the PA / Fatah for inciting violence against Israelis, for ‘honouring’ people who kill Jews, for allowing their TV stations and their newspapers – and their Facebook page – to broadcast Jew-hatred, for teaching their children from an earlier age to hate Jews etc etc etc?

    When has Yachad ever leapt to Israel’s defence when it has been accused of apartheid, of massacring children, of depriving the citizens of Gaza food, water, electricity, medicines and medical equipment and the suchlike?

    From what I can see, Yachad has remained silent on all the above but has been quick to condemn and criticise Israel for all the problems of the region.

    So can someone please explain to me how an organisation which offers support and succour to people who want to wipe Israel off the face of the map and kill Jews worldwide – read the Hamas Charter and the statements of PA President of Mahmoud Abbas; subscribe to MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch for substantiation – has the temerity to call itself Zionist?

    In the past I’ve asked Ms Weisfeld to do so. She didn’t reply. Maybe one of her supporters will.

    1. Great points you reflect what a lot of us think .Yachad are quick to condemn Israel given any opportunity to do so .Does it ever promote all the good stuff it does like Isra-aid , helping Syrian refugees and giving medical help to the families of those who seek the destruction of Israel.

  17. Quote from the Gatestone Institute:
    Nearly 3,500 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since 2011. But because these Palestinians were killed by Arabs, and not Israelis, this fact is not news in the mainstream media or of interest to “human rights” forums.

    How many Western journalists have cared to inquire about the thirsty Palestinians of Yarmouk refugee camp, in Syria? Does anyone know that this camp has been without water supply for more than 720 days, and without electricity for the past three years? In June 2002, 112,000 Palestinians lived in Yarmouk. By the end of 2014, the population was down to less than 20,000.

    Nor is the alarm bell struck concerning the more than 12,000 Palestinians languishing in Syrian prisons, including 765 children and 543 women. According to Palestinian sources, some 503 Palestinian prisoners have died under torture in recent years, and some female prisoners have been raped by interrogators and guards.

    When Western journalists lavish time on Palestinians delayed at Israeli checkpoints, and ignore bombs dropped by the Syrian military on residential areas, one might start to wonder they are really about.

  18. Now why would Gabriel Webber want to admit in his responses and postings that he is or has been involved with Yachad.? That would be in direct contravention of Yachad’s code of Lack of Integrity. which I understand says that it is forbidden to tell the truth.

    On examination, Yachad’s morality is very close to the taqiyya found in the Koran ie it is permissible to deceive in order to achieve your objective. Is it possible that Ms Weisfeld is a closet Muslim?

    1. wow… closet Muslim….that’s not my style either to be honest. Can I go on record as not accepting that remark… (I won’t delete or edit, because I hate that too)… but wow…

      1. David, people are quite entitled to exercise their right to freedom of speech by disagreeing with what I say and how I say it and I acknowledge your adherence to freedom of speech by not editing or deleting my comment. However the next time I write something in similar vein I will add in brackets ‘tongue in cheek’.

  19. I agree with Sue, Barry and many others and I am sure most of British Jewry that Yachad do not represent either myself or most of British Jewry. It makes disturbing reading that we have a group who say they are Pro-Israel but when Israel comes under attack they do not stand with Israel 100% and they give succour to Israel’s enemies. They appear at times more Anti-Israel than Pro-peace Sometimes especially when Israel is fighting for its life and its Soldiers and Civilians are risking their lives it is better to keep silent if you cannot say anything in support. None of us pretends Israel is perfect what country is but it has enemies who only want to seek its destruction and openly seek to murder every Jew not just in Israel but around the World. Bonnie Prince Charlie calls for Yachad Watch and we have to thankful that David does this fantastic research as a volunteer. I would like to see funding and help for people like him who do such valuable time consuming work for no reward.

  20. Where’s an intellectual, like Noam Chomsky, or, Tariq Ramadan, when you need one..? ;'(

  21. Just a point to make re kids in conflict. I have been to Ofer Prison. I have even spoken to Palestinian prisoners not behind bars but face to face.

    On a point of clarity re minors, All minors are entitled under international law to have representation and they do have representation paid for by the Israeli government. Where Yachad are misleading in their campaign to raise money under false pretence is that the Palestinian Authority has to agree to a lawyer being present. The PA have full control over their citizens so if they do not want a lawyer to be appointed for a minor then one isn’t. That is fact. So , why the need for the campaign? Simple answer is, funding is being cut and diverted for other ‘uses’ like paying salaries for political prisoners to commit attacks against Israeli citizens and the higher the crime the more they get paid, hence the need to raise funding. British tax payers money under DFID fund is being used to do this, but that’s another story.

      1. Yes I can but Yachad can get that source on their 4 day trip in November. I note their itinary below .

        -General overview of the West Bank and administration of land and powers in the region
        -Visit to the Military Courts
        -Visit to Southern West Bank
        -Tour of East Jerusalem
        -Meeting with government officials
        -Trip to the central West Bank
        -Visit to a settlement

        A really balanced view of Israel it is not, and you wonder why Yachad are accused of not being pro Israel?

        1. I saw this Itinerary too . This seems a very one sides Itinerary . Are they not shown West Jerusalem ,Haifa,Tiberias,Tel-Aviv, Arad, the Kinneset, a Kibbutz on the Gaza border and one on the Northern border . Maybe a trip when Israel has the Gay pride March or a visit to Teva or a hospital treating injured Syrians. Maybe to hear victims of terror like Kay Wilson speak . But to here positive news may run counter to to the Yachad Narrative or is the trip designed to just show Israel and its flaws but none of its rich life

  22. A full discussion of the role played by the Palestinian Authority in hampering provision by the Israeli authorities for Palestinian minors arrested by the IDF and the Israeli civil authorities is given here:

    If Yachad was a genuinely pro-Israel, pro peace organisation which it claims to be it would obviously provide a link to this detailed and evidenced rebuttal from the Justice Ministry of Israel. It does not. Instead, it provides links only to highly sensationalised partisan and Israel-demonizing sources as +972 magazine, and the Peace Now/Meretz linked supporters of the “popular resistance struggle” Gaby Lasky and the constellations of Israel demonising, EU funded NGOs like Adameer and Breaking the Silence.

    Indeed Yachad contributes its own spin of romanticising and minimising the organised child abuse by Palestinians who incite and reward minors who carry out murderous attacks by referring to them as “kids” and never mentioning the crimes they are accused of.

    Here’s an indicator, including useful percentages of specific crime category stats from the Israeli justice ministry’s report.

    Yachad’s failure to alert people to this source and these facts is utterly damning and makes nonsense of their claim to be a pro-Israel organisation..

    “Unfortunately, minors play a significant part in these acts; however the danger and damage caused, by their actions, is usually the same as if the acts are performed by adults. Consequently in 2013, of the 470 indictments filed against minors, 54% related to stone throwing, 14% to throwing Molotov cocktails, 23% to offences pertaining to the possession and use of paraphernalia, membership in terrorist organizations, assault against IDF soldiers, etc. and only 9% concerned criminal, rather than security related offences.
    16. For example, in March 2011, five family members of the Fogel family, including a four month old baby, a four year old and an eleven year old child and their parents, were brutally slain by two Palestinians. Amongst the perpetrators was Hakim Awaad, a 17 year old minor at that time. Additionally, on March 14th 2013, whilst driving on highway 5, Adva Bitton and her three daughters, aged three, four and five, were directly hit by stones thrown at their car by five Palestinian minors. Adelle, the (then) three year old, had to undergo two emergency surgeries and suffers from permanent brain damage. On 13 November 2013, a 19-year-old Israeli, Eden Attias, was stabbed to death, while sleeping on a bus, by a 16-year-old Palestinian.
    17. This situation, in which Palestinian minors are often involved in criminal activity, both of a more negligible nature and unfortunately, an extremely serious and often deadly one, is very delicate; particularly given the security situation. It requires a criminal system which adequately balances the State’s need to protect human life and its national security, and to guarantee (insofar as possible) some form of peace and order in the region, whilst simultaneously upholding the legal rights of the minor arrested or indicted. With this is mind, the decision as to whether an offense is of a security or criminal nature is evaluated throughout the process.”

  23. My dear Gabriel (how’s that for a patronising opening/)

    Many thanks for responding so quickly to my previous email on the silence of Yachad when it comes to condemning Hamas and Fatah. I apologise for the delay in getting back to you but I went out with my wife to do some shopping and then have afternoon tea.

    The three examples you provided are most illuminating. : dates from July 2015 and is a tweet to followers asking why Amnesty International did not apply their impressive tool to attacks by Hamas on Israel. Did Yachad contact AI direct and ask them this question? If so, what was AI’s response? And if not, why not? : from August 2016 is a tweet to followers informing them that Human Rights Watch had condemned both the PA and Hamas for cracking down on dissent. Did Yachad issue similar condemnation and if so, where can I obtain a copy of it? : dates from August 2014 and is a tweet to followers of an article which appeared in the Washington Post which said that more Gazans are question Hamas decisions (presumably before the 2016 crackdown on dissent). Did Yachad have any comment to make on this and if so, where can I obtain a copy of it?

    So there we have it: three tweets to followers over a two year period – no wonder it took you so little time to find – not one of which contains anything original (except perhaps the question about – but not to – Amnesty International: someone obviously had to think that one up). And you regard these as examples of Yachad criticizing Hamas and the PA? Why? How?

    I had expected copies of – or reference to – original articles criticising the PA/Hamas written by Yachadniks and published in MSM or at least in Yachad’s newsletter but this is what you use to contradict my assertion that Yachad’s response to acts against Israeli civilians and theft is silence? That tells me all I need to know about Yachad.

    When I read your response and examples I was tempted to make a fool of you in my response but realised that you had done the job for me probably far better than I could do.

    You really have done Yachad proud.

    1. I didn’t ask you about the inner workings of Yachad. I merely commented on your response to my original assertion that Yachad did not criticise or condemn Hamas and PA/Fatah for words and acts of violence against Israel. But you didn’t answer my original questions which were quite specific.

      Do I take it that you would be quite happy for me to quote those three tweets as the only examples of Yachad criticising those who want to destroy Israel. Please note that I am asking you if you would be happy. I am not asking Yachad. It’s your personal view that I want since you – and not Yachad – provided these three tweets in the first-place.

  24. another opinion on little gabriel

    Gabriel Webber.

    “This entire UKMW blog post is very nasty and marinating in an intolerance of dissent which finds no place in Jewish or Israeli or democratic tradition.”

    Well, well! Isn’t this the very same Gabriel Webber who makes a habit of reporting to the Constitution Committee of the Board of Deputies of British Jews those deputies who have the cheek to express views different from his own? (We are both deputies).
    I know, because I’ve been the subject of some of his habitual complaints, as have other genuinely pro- Israel deputies he doesn’t approve of. It’s his way of trying to silence us in the absence of convincing arguments.
    Imagine, he censured me for “bringing the Board and the Jewish community into disrepute” at the time of the proposed BDS initiative by the Methodist Church, because I had the chutzpa to point out that the Nazis in 1930s Germany began their anti Jewish campaign by boycotting Jewish businesses.

    So much for Gabriel’s professed respect for freedom of speech and democracy, which for Weisfeld and himself is a one way street….their way.

    And another thing….Yachad is on the International Division at the Board, and has elected itself to be part of the Israel Advocacy sub group.
    The mind boggles!

    Come on, Gabriel….some new material for your next complaint….I’m sure you won’t disappoint.

  25. Why are you all engaging with this person. He obviously has some issues he needs to deal with and you are feeding hus illness

  26. I think it’s prefereable not to medicalise Gabriel Webber. He is a troll who seeks constantly to derail threads and turn them to topics of his own choosing, in which he sets the questions and hands out designations of those whose arguments he can’t respond to as racist or some equivalent sort of beyond the pale. He’s not a particularly skilled troll, as it’s fairly easy to find evidence of his faux disingenuousness and self misrepresentation, a product of his inability to overcome his habit of always trying to have the last word. In one way, his presence on this and other threads which seek to expose the Jewish Leadership Council’s entryist project, the New Israel Fund and Yachad has a positive side, demonstrating that if he and Hannah Weisfeld are the best the JLC can do by way of handing out jobs to mouthpieces, they are a sorry lot with no real chance of convincing the UK Jewish public. But one should always avoid feeding the trolls, Refuse to engage with them. Just bear in mind that this person has been handed one paid post after another by charities controlled by JLC machers, and was parachuted by them via a series of charity rotten boroughs with Board seats onto the Board of Deputies where he now sits on the Constitutional Committee. As good a case as one can provide for counter organizing block votes against this entryist project which is subverting the Board of Deputies as the genuine legitimate representational forum for Britain’s Jews.

    1. little gabriel is looking for a job as a journalist. he is a self publicist but has been going on like this this for about 4 years but no-one seems to have offered him a job, possibly due to the poor standard of his writing. he occasionally has to get his mummy to write to the jewish press when he gets upset at people pointing out his deficiencies. eventually he will probably realise he needs to get a proper job when he grows up a bit so we’ll have to put up with his nonsense until he does. i’ve seen it so many times with spoilt little children.

  27. I mean, I’m pretty sure I don’t sit on the BoD Constitution Committee, and never have done. But interesting to hear your opinion.

  28. “I never suggested that they were the entirety of Yachad’s output in that area.”

    So why did you select these? You seem knowledgeable about Yachad and are quick to defend them so please provide other examples or direct me to where I can find them. And don’t just say ask Yachad. I and others have tried that in the past and they just don’t reply. I wonder why.

    Surely it would enhance their claim to be Zionist and deflect criticism if they could provide examples of where they have criticised or condemned the words and actions of Hamas / PA / Fatah and their fellow-travellers such as the BDS movement, Peace Now, BtS, B’tselem, the PSC etc? I wonder why they don’t.

    I’m not asking you to explain their policy but as an avid supporter, have you asked them why they don’t criticise Israel’s enemies?

    1. Why did I select them? Because you said that Yachad was “silent” on the matter, and I provided three examples to show that it wasn’t. Similarly, if you’d have said, “Nobody in the world has green eyes,” I could have produced you three people with green eyes without their being the only people in the world with green eyes.

      If you want other examples, you’ll have to look for them yourself or contact Yachad, because I’m not here to feed your research interests. If Yachad won’t reply to you, that’s up to them (perhaps they don’t consider themselves directly accountable to you).

      I haven’t asked Yacahd why they don’t criticise Israel’s enemies, because they *do* criticise Israel’s enemies, so it would be a non-question.

      1. But none of the three example you supplied demonstrated any criticism of Hamas or the PA or Fatah. Did you actually read them?

        Well if that’s the best you can do, I’m going to let others see what a Yachad supporter considers to be criticism of Israel’s enemies and I’m going to name you as the source so that you can take all the credit.

  29. Gabriel
    What is Yachad’s precise mission statement ? What are your objectives ? I’m genuinely intrigued . Care to enlighten me ?

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