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JfJfP comments


2016:

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

2015:

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

2014:

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

2013:

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

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Jewish opposition to Israeli policies

The Independent View: Jewish opposition to Israeli policies

Since the beginning of the second intifada in 2002, there has been significant Jewish opposition in the UK, Western Europe and the United States to Israel’s occupation and settlement of Palestinian land, and to the repressive measures Israel takes against Palestinian resistance. Jews for Justice for Palestinians, now with nearly 2,000 signatories, is by far the biggest Jewish peace group in the UK or Europe. JJP is a founder member of European Jews for a Just Peace, the federation of 13 peace groups in 10 European countries.

JJP’s core beliefs can be summarised as:

Palestinians have the right to their own state in the areas occupied by Israel in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem, no less than Israel has the right to a secure existence within the 6 June 1967 borders. Israel must negotiate in good faith to withdraw to the 1967 borders, subject to an agreed, equitable land swap to accommodate the built-up areas in some of the settlements.

Violence against civilians is unacceptable, no matter who commits it.

Israel must acknowledge its responsibility for the 750,000 Palestinians who were driven out or fled in 1947/49, and who, with their children and grandchildren, make up today’s Palestinian refugees. Israel must negotiate a fair and practical resolution of the issue.

Our beliefs are based on the humanitarian values of Judaism, universal values of human rights and international law. As disquiet about Israel’s policies has grown, our beliefs have become common and are now shared by many in the community. All this was established by the meticulous City University survey “Attitudes of British Jews Towards Israel”, published in 2015.

The survey shows that Israel plays an important part in the identity of most Jews, but also that, far from there being widespread support for Israel’s policies among Jews, there is actually a wide diversity of attitudes, as one would expect to find in society generally. Depending on the question asked, responses varied from large majorities opposed to Israeli policies to significant minorities opposed.

Some examples will suffice to show the diversity: 

Question % agreeing
Expansion of settlements on the West Bank is a major obstacle to peace 75%
Israel’s standing in the world is being damaged by its approach to the peace process 73%
The Palestinians have a legitimate claim to a state 72%
We support a two-state solution in order to achieve peace 71%
We despair at every further expansion of settlements 68%
Israel should give up territory in exchange for guarantees of peace 62%
Israel is an occupying power in the West Bank 53%
We are concerned about Israel’s conduct or policies 52%
The Israeli government is constantly creating obstacles to avoid  peace negotiations 47%
Israel does not have the right to retain control of the West Bank 38%
The British government should take tougher action to oppose West Bank settlements 32%
We support sanctions against Israel if we thought it would encourage Israel to engage in the peace process 24%
There is a credible partner for peace on the Palestinian side 24%

Even in respect of the Gaza war in 2014, which created a strong defensive reaction from the big Jewish organisations, the respondents split about 50:50 between those who were wholly supportive of Israel’s actions, and those with reservations because the scale of the attacks was disproportionate, or because efforts should have been  made to negotiate, or (only 5%) that Israel was not entitled to use armed force at all.

It is deeply disturbing that the major Jewish organisations such as the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council continue supporting Israeli policies to the hilt, rather than reflecting the true diversity of opinion among Jews. That can only inhibit people from having confidence to debate the conflict fully, as they would debate any other conflict.

The Independent View‘ is a slot on Lib Dem Voice which allows those from beyond the party to contribute to debates we believe are of interest to LDV’s readers. Please email voice@libdemvoice.org if you are interested in contributing.

* Arthur Goodman is the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Liaison Officer of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, and a member of the Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine.

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