British Jews

UN resolution 2334, British Jews and Yachad

UN 2334Unless 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?

zionistIt 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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25 thoughts on “UN resolution 2334, British Jews and Yachad

  1. “They are a few entitled Jews of London” – so stop listening to them. Stop blogging about them. Stop following them round Limmud and reading their website and tweets and reports.
    For a group you claim is tiny, uninfluential and inconsequential, you seem to expend a vast amount of time and energy keeping tabs on them.

    1. Oh Gabriel. They lobbied the UK government to act against Israel. I don’t care what mistaken ideas you have rolling around in your head. I do not care that politically you have no got a clue. It bothers me when people endanger my family. It bothers me when they lobby the local synagogue to block the visit of a local Zionist group. Stop the anti-Zionist activity and we will get along just fine.

      1. But I don’t understand. How could “a few entitled Jews” with no real support possibly endanger you and your family? Surely if they’re so uninfluential the Foreign Office wouldn’t have been moved by their letter.

        1. That isn’t a point, that is a deflection. Lobbying the UK government to act against the democratic wishes of the Israelis is an anti-Zionist act.

            1. “This could be interesting *only* to antisemitic conspiracy theorists like me”

              There. I fixed it for you.

            1. Oh Stephen. If that is all they have after 6 months… a couple of junior aides boasting about MP’s they don’t like and how much influence they have… then, no, it will not interest anyone beyond the conspiracy theorists. 6 months undercover. 6 months of walking around with a secret camera. And that is it? A stupid kid who should be sent home for not doing his job properly.

        2. Why pretend that their voice, tiny and irrelevant within the mainstream Jewish community, isn’t one that provides a fig-leaf to those who seek to move against Israel? Why pretend their voice, when given equal status in the media, on panels, on campus and within political and diplomatic offices that prefer to kowtow to the Arabs and side (again) against the Jews, is heard as loudly and sometimes more so than majority voices? They should be followed, because like JStreet and JVP in the USA, they can gain traction and help influence people.

        3. First of all I congratulate David Collier on his brilliant mind and writing as always! EVERY Jewish opinion made public will play into the hands of antisemites and anti Israel lobbyists. This is a fact. Kaufman has done more harm than good. Why he likes to criticise Israel with such venom publically astounds me personally; I always wondered how the nazis managed to succeed in their onslaught against the Jews; it has been made clearer and clearer to me that there were Jews just like Kaufman and these Yachad types who existed then and never saw the consequences in a reality of which there were blinded to. This gave fuel to Livingston who probably wasn’t entirely wrong : there were Jews who erroneously negotiated with Hitler and did nothing to prevent the 6,000,000 being gassed. In fact they helped out money into the nazi treasury. There is always a bigger picture to look at and the detail which comprises the actions of each Jew counts. Save each penny and you save pounds. That reality is how REALITY works on an objective level. Where people like Yachad fail is that they do not go deep enough into the problem; maybe if they had a real spiritual approach of teaching people on both sides to look into themselves and expand their LOVE and diminish their HATRED their would have more validity. Taking young people to see “the Arab point of view” does nothing to go deeply into the core of the problem. It only sways people to verbally feel a misguided sense of Justice and take an anti Israel stance like they did publically. To ask outside countries which have, each one of them, occupation histories which are still unresolved to play at being the JUDGE OF ISRAEL is extremely superficial in the long term Big Picture of TRUE PEACE. Think about the occupations of: Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Cyprus, Crimea, Tibet, New Zealand, Australia, US and Indigenous Indians and Marshall Islands nuclear contamination there, Canada the same, South America the same, China and Tibet ……which one of these countries is in a glass house to force Israel’s hand with peace?

        4. That’s quite an energetic spin on it David. Stephen Pollard will be proud of you. There is two hours of programming. We will need to see what else is there. I am not expecting anything earth shattering but there maybe enough to kill off the notion that, unlike other people, Jews don’t do conspiracies and to suggest otherwise is antisemitic.

          We will see o-)

  2. Your analysis is too kind.
    Yachad, like JStreet, it’s Siamese twin, does NOT act out of the purest of motives.
    Remember, JStreet actually lobbied Obama not to provide funds for the Iron Dome during the last Gaza war, a purely defensive military device protecting Jewish, Arab and Christian lives alike in Israel.
    Yachad opposed an Israeli Supreme Court ruling to order the eviction of an Arab family from a Jerusalem house where they had ben living without paying rent, and who had another property near by which they rented out.
    The court ruled that they had no legal title. Yachad found out the exact date and time of the scheduled eviction, and tweeted a hostile Guardian journalist so that she could be there and then file a report to put Israel in the worst possible light.
    Yachad couldn’t dispute the legality of the judgement, so instead it said that there would be a ‘moral’ price to pay.
    On its trips to the West Bank, where it escorts the gullible and naive led by Breaking the Silence, a group of anonymous ex IDF soldiers, financed abroad and which tours the USA and other countries to publicise its lies, Yachad will often take groups ‘for tea’ to the home of one of the Tamimis, a family notorious for its
    terrorist links.
    That isn’t behaviour consistent with acting out of “pure motives”, but rather the behaviour of those defeated by popular consent, but refusing to accept a majority verdict, and so resorting to the worst possible tactics to get its way.
    It is a vicious organisation that has contempt for those who disagree with it, and who will stop at nothing to get its way.

  3. An excellent summation as usual David. I note the comments above from ‘Gabriel’. I wonder if this is the same chap that publicised his opposition to charitable giving in various online media some time ago. You may recall that whilst many Friends of Israel groups were volunteering their time gathering food donations for the needy this fellow was publishing his hostility to their acts with crass remarks about feeding Bamba to the poor. He had a range of strong opinions about donating Israeli food products that he claimed only served to support Israeli manufacturers and did so whilst promoting his own blog. He appeared to have an insufficient sense of himself to spot either the ludicrous reasoning or the irony of his position.

      1. I wanted to reply to your question Stephen but when I opened the link in your response it became obvious that your post was not intended to stimulate proper discourse but merely to criticise people with whom you appear to have some very personal issues. Out of respect for the very decent and considered tone that is always adopted by the author of this blog it may be better if these sorts of personal grievances and emotional scars were left on your own blog. In terms of the admirable deeds of the Jewish community in the UK it would seem obvious that they would want to help Israeli manufacturers alongside the main purpose of giving food to the needy. They support Israel so why not? Why you would find this strange is anyone’s guess. I suppose it is inconvenient to see those dastardly Jews being warm hearted when so much time and effort is spent in attempting to demonise them. Furthermore to try to make it a competition between communities as to who does more says a great deal about your thoughts on cross cultural harmony if your best shot is to create some sort of kind-heartedness league table, with Jews obviously at the bottom. It may suit your world view to characterise charitable giving when it is from Jews as an ‘abomination’ but it is worth noting that the actions of hard working volunteers in the UK appeared to have inspired similar events across the US and Canada where huge amounts of food were donated for the most vulnerable across all strands of their communities. I suspect that the recipients may disagree with your position, but then again so may most reasonable people.

        1. Its not about who does most Ian its about who does what why. Making political pawns out of the homeless and hungry and turning them into opportunities for self aggrandisment is pretty low life in my opinion and in the opinion of many others.. You seem very comfortable with it and I am not naive enough to think anything I might say would dent that comfort.

  4. A Welcome analysis from David .Indeed Yachad and their views are not supported by myself or the majority of people I know and hear on Social Media. Most of us were appalled by the UNSC resolution 2334 .We felt it wrongly asked many more questions of Israel than it did of Hamas and Fatah who continue to seek the destruction of all Israel from the river to the sea. Yachad seem to think if the settlement issue is resolved then Hamas and Hezbollah will renounce their covenant put down their arms and peace will break out. It is their one sided focus on Israel that makes demands on them that sticks in our craw. Like Yachad activists I do not live in Israel or have to directly suffer the consequences. I do have family and friends there of differing political shades but all of them have to live daily with the reality on the ground. Some see their children serving in the army and some have seen the devastating acts of Palestinian Terrorism that values only death. If any peace deal is ever achieved it will need compromises on both sides and a deal agreed by all parties and not imposed from anyone outside. Yes Yachad are on the fringes, ignoring the dark and scary neighbourhood that Israel exists in.

  5. Coming from Israel I attended my first Limmud a few years ago. I thought it was amazing. But there was one small fly in the ointment – I went to what I expected to be an enjoyable pro-Israel lecture on peace. It took a while for the penny to drop. These people were actually anti-Israel! I was appalled at the attitude of Yachad. They were proposing trips to see the “poor Palestinians” but when I asked if they were also planning trips to see the poor people of Sderot – at that time they had had 11000 missiles aimed at them – I was silenced. When I asked if they equated one group’s practice of blowing people up with the other group’s practice of building houses – I was trying to put their obscene litany of “extremists on both sides” into perspective – I was actually mocked.

    The next year I decided that I would not be attending anything connected with Yachad. Unfortunately they “came” to me. A lecture by a Bedouin Israeli (Muslim) brought them out of the woodwork. One would have assumed that they came to applaud the equality in Israel that had allowed a simple shepherd boy to become Israel’s first Bedouin diplomat. To be inspired by his story as we listening were. Not at all. At the time there was a controversy about Bedouin occupation of land in the Negev. Hannah and her cohorts had come to pour oil on the flames – to defend the poor Bedouin against the evil Israeli government. Their questions were inflammatory – but amazingly Ishmael Khaldi, with supreme elegance and diplomacy told them that he knew HIS country, Israel, didn’t always get things right but he was confident that we would sort things out. The Yachad lot weren’t satisfied and basically (and rudely) contradicted him. In the end he told them in no uncertain terms that this was none of their business! Ish quietly said that as they did not live in Israel they did not have the right to judge. They were clearly furious.
    I myself gave three guest lectures and was made very welcome at Limmud but none the less I decided that whilst this group continues to lecture at Limmud then I would not be attending again. Free speech is one thing but to be given a respected platform at such a Jewish event and thus be allowed to pedal their distortions and lies gives legitimacy to their cause. I wanted no part of it.

  6. You’re right Stephen. I am very comfortable with charitable giving. I am very comfortable with supporting Israel. If one action achieves both results then I am as happy as a Yachad activist at a Silwan Stabber’ s street naming ceremony. Simple really; donors happy to give; charities happy to receive; needy are the important beneficiaries. Everything else is just self serving spin.

    1. Ha yes but take out the political and narcissistic elements and the needy would be receiving a great deal more for the same effort would they not ? In bang for the buck stakes Israction day is a sick joke. But like I say I have as much chance of impacting on your comfort as Hull City have of winning the Champions League any time soon.

      We do agree on one thing though. Yachad suck.

      1. Yes, Stephen, I admit that I found most of the stuff in your blog as imaginative as a Jimmy Bullard goal celebration and seemingly induced by a similar cocktail of substances. Nonetheless it is very rare to encounter an ideological opponent in the virtual world and come away from the exchange with any agreement. This may be a first for both of us.

  7. There are extremists at both ends and since the Second Intifada the bulk of the Israeli partitionists have gone to ground unwilling to make an effort while the Arab extreme right has expanded and enlarged its campaign of blood and violence and is remaining there. What ever the faults of the Israeli Left Right and Centre calculated and sustained “bloody shirt” mayhem and murder of (random) civilians is not one of them.

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