Waking up the following Monday morning to hear that five Grad Missiles had luckily just missed Eilat reconfirmed why so many felt the need to go to the Ralli Hall in Hove the previous evening. The Sussex Jewish Representative Council together with the ZF were delighted to host the evening which was attended by over 200 people. Unlike the recent protests in Waitrose this was a thoroughly civilised and well organised event. While we had ample security thanks to our local CST but the audience were so well behaved that they had a relatively easy evening.
Under the direction of the very able Sir Ivan Lawrence QC, an interesting and informative evening evolved. David Cohen, who incidentally is the volunteer Chairman of Israel Connect (the young professionals wing of the Zionist Federation), presented “An Idiot’s Guide to The Goldstone Report” followed by a Questions and Answers session. Our panel consisted of Ruvi Zeigler, (International Human Rights Lawyer) Alex Brummer (City Editor of The Daily Mail), Richard Harrington( MP for Watford and former chairman of CFI) and Sam Barsam (Board of Deputies defence committee). David also joined the panel and we had the benefit of his extensive knowledge. Ruvi explained the responsibilities that Israel faces because she controls the land and sea around Gaza, Alex predicted that the world was rapidly changing and thought that people are now waking up to the nonsense that Hamas peddles. After much discussion on the” Camel Corp” Richard assured us that the foreign office was not anti Israel. Questions arose concerning David Cameron’s recent remarks to the Turkish Government. It was clear that the Jewish community felt insulted that he so lighted tossed around words like “prison camp”, especially when Israel and the international community is sending so much aid into Gaza and no one needed to be reminded what these words mean to Jews. Sam gave a chilling warning about the 1930’s rhetoric that is abounding. Sir Ivan pinned Ruvi down on Israel’s right to assassinate overseas enemy combatants. I am not sure we all understood the answer as the legalities were so complicated. However we did realise that this is something that all countries do clandestinely.
In the audience sat both Christians and Jews together with some VIPs which included The Deputy Mayor, The Chief of Police, the journalist Julie Birchill and the Executive Director of the ZF Alan Aziz. The evening was attended by both Rabbi Efune and Rabbi Radar.
By the end of the evening the audience understood that the situation and responsibilities in Gaza are complex. While the “Lefties” and the media generally have a lot of say, blaming Israel for everything it became quite apparent during the evening that our suspicions and beliefs that the suffering of the population in Gaza is directly due to Hamas were correct.
As the week continued the news from Israel got worse with the loss of life on the Northern Border. Of course there were the voices that tried to blame Israel but it was so clear cut that even the UN, who do not support anything that Israel does, could only agree that the firing was started unprovoked by the Lebanese Army.