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JfJfP comments


06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

13 Sep: Rosh Hashanah greetings

21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

29 July: Letter to Evening Standard about its shoddy reporting

24 April: Letter to FIFA about Israeli football

15 April: Letter re Ed Miliband and Israel

11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

7 Sept: JfJfP Executive statement on Antisemitism

3 Aug: Urgent disclaimer

19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

25 April: Exec statement on Yarmouk

28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

24 Jan: Support for Riba resolution

16 Jan: EJJP lobbies EU in support of the EU Commission Guidelines, Aug 2013–Jan 2014


29 November: JfJfP, with many others, signs a "UK must protest at Bedouin expulsion" letter

November: Press release, letter to the Times and advert in the Independent on the Prawer Plan

September: Briefing note and leaflet on the Prawer Plan

September: JfJfP/EJJP on the EU guidelines with regard to Israel

14th June: JfJfP joins other organisations in protest to BBC

2nd June: A light unto nations? - a leaflet for distribution at the "Closer to Israel" rally in London

24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011




More on JNews



We carried a notice of  JNews’s launch on Monday 15 March here.

Some postings on the JNews site:

Geoffrey Bindman’s No Hiding Place for War Criminals and Torturers was crossposted by the Financial Times on 15 March.

A comment on Cathy Ashton’s mission to the Middle East in  As the US falters, EU foreign policy chief flies in

Antony Lerman, chair of  JNewswrote a piece for the launch JNews fulfils an urgent need; and Brian Robinson’s account of the launch meeting itself can be found on his Musicweaver blog.

cifUpdate: JNews: a potential voice for peace , Keith Kahn-Harris 20 March.

To win moral authority in the Jewish community, the new website must apply its critical perspective evenly on Israel-Palestine

One might think there were already too many writing outlets on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the newly launched UK website JNews has too much potential to be dismissed.

In a piece on this site earlier this week, director Miri Weingarten explained that JNews will provide “information, views and comment from alternative Jewish sources, which will demonstrate that it is perfectly possible to maintain a critical Jewish perspective, but one that arises out of deep empathy for both Israelis and Palestinians”. This is an ambitious mission, and one fraught with complications.

Although the project is not aimed exclusively at Jews, its ability to reach a Jewish audience is clearly central to its success. There is certainly a growing concern within sections of the Jewish community at the direction Israel has taken (and not just among the usual suspects of secular Jewish intellectuals). Further, the Jewish Chronicle, while it does allow some critical voices, is dominated by a narrowly conceived pro-Israel agenda. Conversely, some sections of the British Jewish population that are otherwise critical of Israeli actions are also suspicious of the pro-Palestinian movement and elements of the non-Jewish press. So JNews could be an important conduit of information to British Jews who would respond positively to a Jewish-filtered, critical perspective on Israel.

Can JNews cater to this putative constituency? It’s early days, but it does seem like JNews will publicise the work of Israeli peace activists and campaigners. Indeed, Miri Weingarten has herself been an activist in the Israeli branch of Physicians for Human Rights. Israeli activist groups are often marginalised in the UK both by the Jewish community and by pro-Palestinian campaigners, so anything that can increase their visibility is a positive step.

Yet, there are also more ominous signs that JNews may struggle to break out of the minority of UK Jewish peace activism. Many – but by no means all – of the key Jewish figures in the formation of JNews are involved in groups – such as Independent Jewish Voices and Jews for Justice for Palestinians – that have been the subject of opprobrium within the Jewish community. In particular, Tony Lerman, the chair of JNews, has (disgracefully) come to be treated as something of a pariah within the mainstream Jewish community.

It is likely, therefore, that JNews will be the object of much knee-jerk hostility, simply due to who is involved in it. Finding a way to overcome at least some of the suspicion will be a crucial task.

The Jewish peace camp in the UK needs to reach out to Jews who are more involved in the mainstream Jewish community, and the recruitment of Rabbis Alexandra Wright and Danny Rich as JNews patrons is an important step in this regard. It is also important to reach out to younger Jews and here the lack of Facebook and Twitter on the website is somewhat worrying.

Outreach could also be assisted through broadening the content of the site. Aside from providing an outlet for the Israeli peace camp, JNews needs to pay attention to Palestinian affairs and to be unafraid of criticism of Palestinian injustices as well as Israeli ones. This is not to provide an illusory “balance”, but to reflect the simple fact that Israel is not the only actor of this conflict, and that Palestinians have some agency and concomitant responsibilities. Further, recognising that antisemitism can infect pro-Palestinian discourse would also be welcome.

JNews has the potential to catalyse a British Jewish peace camp. The broader the coalition it can speak to, the more effective it will be; the wider its critical perspective is applied, the greater its moral authority will be.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is heavily covered and commented on in the media. The resulting debates are often characterised by the bitter repetition of fixed positions. To make a difference, JNews needs to try and break out of these stale verbal wars and cultivate a novel and principled form of Jewish discourse on Israel.

I wish it good luck in doing so, but with no little foreboding at difficulty of the task ahead.

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