Sunday, 2 November 2014

Say “NO!” to Yachad!

The Board of Deputies of British Jews will shortly meet to vote on the application of a group called Yachad to be accepted into the representative body of British Jewry.

On July 20, The Board of Deputies of British Jewry had been due to vote on admitting this group into its ranks. The vote was deferred.

 Allow me to describe Yachad.

Last Yom HaZikaron and Independence Day, while Israelis and Jews worldwide were honouring the sacrifice of our fallen IDF soldiers, Yachad was holding a conference that hosted an invidious group of individuals that call soldiers of Israel’s Defense Forces “war criminals.”  This is the type of anti-Israel activity that Yachad embraces.

Last July 20 was a significantly sad day in Israel’s war against Palestinian Islamic terror in Gaza. It was the day that we buried four of our brave soldiers who died in defense of Israel. It was the day that another seven, all members of the elite Golani Brigade, were killed.

Simply put, Yachad would gladly see Israel pilloried on accusations of “war crimes,” based on its Independence Day event.  Is this the type of group you would welcome into the tent of British Jewry, even in the name of “nuance” and “pluralism”? I hope not.

And yet, this is the group, and this was the day, that the Board of Deputies planned to vote into its ranks.  For shame!

They decided to delay this vote. Could its deferral have been to delay it for a more convenient time when passionate support for Israel, born out of the Gaza war inflicted on Israel, would have subsided, and British Jews would not be paying such close attention?
Yachad heads its campaign manifesto with slogans like We believe all people should have the right to live free from fear and violence” and We believe in Israel’s right not just to exist but to flourish and we stand against those who defame it.” Yet, Yachad is not only a group that regularly defames Israel. It actively promotes anti-Israel tours to the territories, as well as organizing  events that call our finest sons “war criminals.”
Trying to have it both ways, Yachad is full of double-speak. They say they oppose BDS, but they also state they “do not support new investment inside the Israeli controlled West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.”  
Yachad supports a Palestinian unity government and demands that Israel engages with Hamas.  Hamas engaged with us this summer. Well done, Yachad!
Yachad fund numerous “educational” trips to Judea & Samaria, known to them as “the West Bank”. Their guides include a member of the infamous fringe group Breaking the Silence. On such radical groups, the reputation of Yachad hangs.  Even the left-wing Ha’Aretz newspaper called Breaking the Silence as having “a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’’’
As founder of the Netanya Terror Victims Organization, nobody dare tell me that checkpoints are not an essential security requirement for the citizens of Israel. As far as my research took me, I could find no such Yachad-funded “educational” visits to Israeli terror victims. Had they done so they might get a different Israeli perspective of the need for security and check posts. Their actions over here are entirely pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel.
UK Jewry should be Israel’s “Iron Dome” against the British snipers that target Israel. Yachad is one of those snipers.
Should Yachad be accepted into the body of official British Jewry their sponsored anti-Israel activities will be seen as representing the opinion of British Jews.
Should the vote be allowed to pass, British Jews will be ashamed of the statement and actions of a group that they will have allowed to be represented within the Board of Deputies of British Jews. British Jews will regret the day that they failed to speak up and request that their BoD representative vote against accepting Yachad into its ranks
July 20 was also the day when thousands of British Jews were rallying outside the Israeli Embassy in London in support of an Israel under attack from Palestinian rockets and terrorists.  Absent from this rally was the leader of the so-called “pro-Israel” Yachad. 

Its leader, Hannah Weisfeld, falsely claims to represent “the silent majority” of British Jews. She does not. She simply represents a well-financed fringe group. They failed dismally when the Zionist Federation, aware of their true colours, soundly rejected them. Now she wants to speak in the name of the Jewish community by entering into the Board of Deputies. This must not be allowed.

Members of Yachad, like JStreet in America, claim to be “pro-Israel”, even as they actively act against the Israel.  JStreet was soundly rejected by the American Jewish Congress. Yachad must be equally rejected by the Board of Deputies of British Jewry.

British Jews, who have taken to the streets and raised their voices in support of Israel, must now focus their attention on the BoD vote and encourage them to reject Yachad’s application to infiltrate into the mainstream body of British Jewry.

This is the time when British Jews must tell the Board of Deputies to reject the application of Yachad. Do not give Yachad the respectability they don’t deserve.

If the Board of Deputies votes to accept Yachad as an official and integral voice of the British Jewish community, it will be a day of infamy.

There should be no place within mainstream British Jewry for any Jewish group that demonises and delegitimises the Jewish State of Israel.

Instead of Yachad outlawing Israel, Yachad itself must be outlawed.

 One of the reasons given for Board of Deputy delegates to vote on Yachad's application is that they are a Jewish group.  This is a shallow reason to allow them into the body of mainstream British Jewry, especially as mainstream British Jews are appalled at their anti-Israel actions. 

If being Jewish was the main reason to accept them then surely 'Jewish Voices for Palestine' and even 'Jews for Jesus' would also be eligible for membership.

Significantly, at a time when rank and file Jews, up and down Britain, feel that BOD do not speak or act for them on Israel, they have created local grassroots pro-Israel organisations to fill the vaccum of a governing body that has deserted them.

The Board of Deputies must be seen supporting the clear feelings of the majority of the people they were sent to represent. These people object to radical Jewish groups such as Yachad.

The Board of Deputies must consider the dangers to Israel if Yachad is accepted into their governing body and then speaks and acts in the name of official mainstream British Jewry.

This must NOT be allowed to happen.

Barry Shaw,
Author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.’
Founder of the Netanya Terror Victims Organisation.

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