Tuesday, July 1, 2014

ZF STATEMENT ON MURDER OF THREE ISRAELI TEENS


The ZF would like to join Israel and the world-wide Jewish family in expressing our heart-break and anguish at the news that the bodies of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel have been found. Like everyone in our community, we had hoped and prayed that the three teenagers would be returned safe and sound to their families. Tragically, we know now that this was never to be.

We welcome David Cameron’s swift and accurate description of the murders as an “appalling and inexcusable act of terror.” We hope that he will make good on his promise to “stand with Israel as it seeks to bring to justice those responsible.” Specifically, he should unequivocally condemn the Unity Government between Fatah and Hamas, which bears responsibility for this barbaric act. The Department for International Development must also seriously consider withholding funding to the Palestinian Authority until it agrees to cancel the policy of automatically putting such murderers on its payroll if and when they are found and convicted.

Alan Aziz, ZF Director, commented:

“There are no words to describe the anguish that the families of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel must be feeling. For the last few weeks, we have seen the global Jewish community come together to raise the plight of the missing teens, and we must remain united in our fight against the terrorism that targets our children. Mahmoud Abbas should now both sever ties with Hamas and strike off the legislation that would otherwise automatically make these vicious murderers salaried members of the Palestinian civil service. Unless he is willing to do this, David Cameron must cease using UK taxpayer money to fund a government that is clearly opposed to peace.”

Friday, March 21, 2014

ZF CALLS ON NETANYAHU TO RESOLVE LABOUR DISPUTE WITH MFA

The ZF this week called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to re-double his efforts to find a satisfactory conclusion to the current labour dispute with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). In an open letter to the PM, the ZF cites the “tireless work” of the Israeli Embassy in the UK, work which is “crucial” for the promotion and defence of the Jewish state in one of the most influential arenas in the world.
The letter is co-signed by a variety of groups and individuals, including Christian Friends of Israel and Lord Palmer of Childs Hill, who describe themselves as being “proud and privileged” to work alongside the diplomats in the Embassy, including in “vital” outreach to numerous cultural and political groups.
ZF Chairman Paul Charney also criticised those organisations that had failed to co-sign the letter:
“At a time when the delegitimisation campaign poses an increasing threat not just to Israel but to the Diaspora, it’s a real shame that community organisations are unwilling to back this letter, which endorses the tremendous work the embassy does. All of these organisations state they support Israel, and many argue that they should still be free to critique the actions of the Israeli government – backing this letter would give them the perfect opportunity to do both.”

The full text of the letter, alongside co-signers, is below.
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
As organisations and individuals committed to working to advance the interests and understanding of Israel here in the United Kingdom, we are writing to convey the importance of the work of the Israeli Embassy and its diplomats here in Britain.
As you will be aware, the United Kingdom is an important arena for Israel. As a member of the Security Council, NATO, the G8 and other international bodies, it is of key strategic importance, while as Israel's second largest trading partner it carries considerable economic weight. Moreover, with BBC and other world media based in London, it has a disproportionate impact on the perception of Israel and the Middle East throughout the world.
In all these fields, the tireless work of Israel's diplomats is absolutely crucial to protecting and advancing the cause of Israel. We are proud and privileged to work alongside them and to witness their tireless commitment to representing Israel in every arena, from briefing the country's most influential leadership and appearing on the media, to travelling the length and breadth of Britain to speak at often hostile university campuses, union meetings and faith and cultural groups. We have also been pleased to partner with them in important outreach programs increasing understanding of Israel through culture, innovation, and education.
Without wishing to become involved in internal labour disputes, we consider it important that you know what vital work Israel's representatives are doing on a daily basis. We urge you to use all your efforts to ensure that this crucial work can continue.
Respectfully,
ZF UK
West Midlands Friends of Israel. Bridges for Peace in the UK
ZCC Manchester
Lord Palmer of Childs Hill
Christian Friends of Israel
Wizo UK
International Christian Embassy Jerusalem - UK
Liverpool Israel support Team
The Israel Salon network for young Israelis in the UK
The Congregation of United Synagogues
Habonim Dror UK

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ZF STATEMENT ON UNESCO’S CANCELLATION OF EXHIBIT DETAILING HISTORY OF ISRAEL

The ZF today slammed the decision by UNESCO to cancel a scheduled exhibition on the historic connection between Israel and the Jewish nation as a ‘dismal capitulation.’ The exhibition, titled “The People, the Book, the Land — 3,500 years of ties between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel,” was, after several years of preparation and research by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, scheduled to open this week – until it was shelved at the behest of the 22 members of the Arab Group.

ZF chairman Paul Charney elaborates


“The decision by UNESCO – a body that purports to be concerned with educational, scientific and cultural matters – to cancel the exhibition is both a dismal capitulation and nakedly political. To shelve an exhibition after invites have been sent out is grossly insulting to all those who spent years preparing it. But the reason, and reasoning, behind the shelving goes beyond bad manners. It provides us with a microcosm of the Israeli-Arab conflict. The official explanation given was that the Arab members were concerned that the subject matter might harm the chance of a successful outcome to the current peace talks. The opposite is true – the acceptance by Palestinians and the Arab world in general that Israel is not a foreign body, but the legitimate expression of the Jewish nation’s longstanding connection to the land of Israel, is crucial to peace. But instead of defending its principles, the UN is once again paralysed between those unwilling to stand up for Israel in case they rock the boat, and those that just want to throw Israel off the boat altogether. It’s particularly striking given that the UN has just declared 2014 a year of solidarity with the Palestinians – with nary a word about the risk of partiality."

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ZF COMMEMORATES PASSING OF ARIEL SHARON 1928-2014

The ZF joins Israel in commemorating the memory of Ariel Sharon, her former Prime Minister, who passed away this weekend at the age of 85. Described by Ben Gurion as ‘the greatest field commander,’ nicknamed in the Knesset as ‘the bulldozer,’ and perhaps best defined by the title of his autobiography, ‘Warrior,’ Sharon was an indomitable force both on and off the battlefield. Born in the yishuv of Mandate-era Palestine in 1928, the chronology of his achievements is in many ways the history of Israel and the defence of the Jewish national home.

From engineering Israel’s lightning victory in the Six Day War, to turning the tide during the Yom Kippur War, to overseeing the security measures against the Second Intifada, Sharon earned a reputation as a bold and brilliant strategic mind, willing to make tough decisions when the fledgling country could not afford the luxury of failure. His time as a politician was no less noteworthy, with his unilateral disengagement from Gaza showcasing his ability to pursue a resolution to conflict, even in the absence of a viable peace partner.

Paul Charney, ZF Chairman:


“All Israelis and Zionists owe Ariel Sharon a huge debt. The history of his life is an effective reminder that the struggle for Zionism - a national home for the Jewish people - was not completed in 1948 with the establishment of the state of Israel. Instead, it required the ingenuity of military leaders like Sharon, as well as the staunch courage and commitment of Israelis soldiers, to defend the state from the threats ranged against her, from massed Arab armies on her borders, to Palestinian terrorists targeting her civilians. While both his military and political careers aroused controversy and prompted criticism from the left and right of the political spectrum, the legacy of Ariel Sharon will remain his single-minded yet pragmatic commitment to the survival of Israel.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

ZF STATEMENT ON THE QUENELLE

From Paul Charney, ZF Chairman:                                                                             


“There should be no question that the quenelle is a symbol of pure hatred against the Jewish people. It was invented and popularised by a man, Dieudonn√© M’bala M’bala, whose entire raison d'√™tre appears to consist of ridiculing and denigrating the memory of the 6 million Jewish men, women, and children murdered during the Holocaust. Its design as an inverted fascist salute enables its supporters to indulge themselves in the sickening thrill of publicly mocking the historic persecution of Jews, albeit in the most cowardly way imaginable. And of course, the defence that the symbol is merely against ‘the system’ or ‘the establishment’ is no defence either, since it implicitly promotes the idea that Jews are intrinsically part of whatever political order is being challenged at the time, therefore propagating the anti-Semitic myth of Jewish global domination.”

Monday, January 6, 2014

ZF CONDEMNS BBC COMEDY SKETCH

The ZF condemns the BBC for broadcasting a sketch that not only propogates the oldest and most baseless stereotypes about Israelis, but also ridicules anti-Semitism at a time when anti-Jewish bigotry is on the rise.
BBC 3’s ‘The Revolution Will Be Televised’ programme, broadcast in December, included a candid camera sketch where the presenters dress up as workmen and pretend to be representatives for the Israeli Embassy. The presenters then begin informing local property owners that the embassy is taking their land for a variety of spurious reasons – mocking Israel for its supposedly expansionist policies.
The satirical explanations given to the members of the public perpetrate the oldest stereotypes about Israel’s alleged attempts to justify its supposedly illegitimate presence in the Middle East: “Before it was your land it was our land, so we are really going to take what was rightfully ours,” “This is our land that was given to us by the Almighty,” and “We’ve been doing it for years.”
Given that such one-sided and prejudiced portrayals of Israel contribute to anti-Jewish bigotry, perhaps the most shocking aspect of the programme is the open ridiculing of complaints about anti-Semitism. When one member of the public expresses amusement at the situation, a presenter tells him: “I’m finding that smile a bit anti-Semitic… so I think you should really wipe it off your face” - suggesting that anti-Semitism is not a valid concern. It is hard to imagine that the BBC would allow racism against another minority group to treated in this way.
ZF Chairman Paul Charney added:
“No doubt the makers of ‘The Revolution Will be Televised” thought they were being tremendously edgy and brave, mocking Israel by suggesting it takes land with impunity. Instead, they simply pandered to the prejudices of those who believe that the less-than-one-percent of the Middle East which is devoted to Jewish national self-determination is still too much.

“This biased viewpoint would be woefully inaccurate at the best of times, but it seems especially egregious given that Israel is not only currently negotiating with the express desire of ceding land to the Palestinians, but continues to release convicted murderers just to keep them at the negotiating table. But I’m sure the makers of this programme will turn their sights on Israel ’s neighbours soon enough. The PA’s glorification of terrorists? The collapse of democracy in Egypt ? Syria ’s civil war? Or maybe the lack of human rights in the rest of the Middle East just isn’t that much of a laughing matter?”

Thursday, November 28, 2013

STATEMENT ON THE IRANIAN NUCLEAR DEAL

The ZF today expresses its gravest reservations about the Iranian nuclear deal recently struck in Geneva . The deal, brokered on behalf of the P5+1 countries, has been widely hailed as a major breakthrough in the long-running standoff over Iran ’s nuclear programme. However, by offering to reduce the level of sanctions without gaining corresponding cast-iron guarantees that the nuclear programme is only intended for civilian usage, the international community has let Iran off the hook. Apparently desperate to believe in the moderation of Hassan Rouhani, Western negotiators have now eased the pressure on a regime that has a track record of duplicity and misdirection, is currently knee-deep in Syrian blood, and might well soon trigger a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region on the planet.
Failure to dismantle the infrastructure for war
The main problem of the negotiations is the failure to address Iranian facilities that are clearly designed for the development of nuclear weapons. Under the Geneva deal, Tehran will be allowed to keep both its heavy water reactor in Arak and thousands of centrifuges – key elements for military, not civilian, nuclear production.
The threat of duplicity
The Iranian regime has a track record of duplicity over its nuclear programme, and there is a very real threat that the easing of sanctions will provide it with the cover it needs to complete a nuclear weapon. Iran could easily follow in the footsteps of North Korea , surreptitiously continuing its programme until it had reached the point of no return.
The reality of the Ayatollah’s regime
Despite the charm offensive of Hassan Rouhani, Iran is still the same state it has been since 1979– a reactionary, messianic theocracy under the total control of the Ayatollahs. This Islamist regime shares the ideology of the radical extremists who commit terrorist atrocities across the globe, and has no regard for democracy or human rights. Those seeking proof of the reality of Tehran ’s ambitions and ruthlessness should look no further than Syria , where Iranian expertise, weapons and soldiers have played a central role in the brutal massacring of the civilian population.
The catastrophic implications of a nuclear bomb

There must be no misunderstanding the seriousness of Iran procuring a nuclear weapon. Should this worst-case scenario occur, it would most likely trigger an arms race in the Middle East . The nuclear brinksmanship between the US and the Soviet Union was arguably the most dangerous period in humanity’s history; for it to be repeated in this volatile and unstable part of the world would be a global catastrophe. Additionally, a nuclear Tehran represents a unique threat to Israel , given the frequent and shameless calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state made by the Iranian leadership.