Thursday, April 7, 2011


At the ZF’s annual gala awards dinner last week, Harvey Rose - Chairman of the Zionist Federation, announced Gary Sakol as new Deputy Director of the ZF. In addition, Gary is currently the Director of Israel Connect – the young professionals wing of the ZF. The promotion came as a result of the ZF’s increased focus on Young Professionals and students. Alan Aziz, director of the ZF said:

“Life on campuses around the UK is becoming increasingly difficult, with more incidents than ever before. The ZF is increasing its activities in this area. In addition, the ZF is shifting more and more of its attention towards its younger leaders and as such, Gary is the best person to take on this new role within the ZF This is an extremely important arena for us, and will not neglect it”.

Gary Sakol said “At Israel Connect we provide students and Young Professionals with training, so as they can become a better and more confident advocate for Israel. This may be in the workplace or on campus. There is a great framework for Young Jewish people on campus and before – with both UJS and Youth Movements. However time and again we experience people leaving University with no framework for them to continue their involvement and educational continuation – unless they want to join a fundraising committee”.

Gary, originally from Glasgow and a graduate of Leeds University, previously worked for the youth movement Habonim Dror, where he served as Camps Organiser and Mazkir.


Richard Goldstone, who chaired the U.N. fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict, wrote in the Washington Post last Friday that had he known what he knows today about the Gaza war of 2008-09, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.

He has now concluded that the crimes committed by Hamas were intentional and that their rockets were purposefully and indiscriminately aimed at civilian targets whilst Israel’s actions indicate that civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy.

He also criticized Israel’s lack of cooperation, (which was due to the one sided mandate of the enquiry).

Goldstone wrote that Israel has investigated its own actions with transparency to a significant degree whilst Hamas has done nothing and that regrettably, there has been no effort by Hamas in Gaza to investigate the allegations of its war crimes and possible crimes against humanity.

Such war crimes continue to this day with no condemnation from the UNHRC.

Alan Aziz, Chief Executive of the ZF said: “We are saddened that this retraction has barely been reported in the mainstream media who all went to great lengths to report on the original report and notes once again that this type of selective reporting highlights the manner in which Israel is singled out for special and biased treatment”

Goldstone concluded that the U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn the heinous acts of Hamas in the strongest terms and that the Human Rights Council should also condemn the inexcusable and cold-blooded recent slaughter of a young Israeli couple and three of their small children in their beds (which the ZF notes was also largely ignored by the mainstream media).

The Goldstone report has been one of the most damaging libels ever produced against the State of Israel. Whilst the re-assessment by Goldstone is very welcome the ZF hopes this is just the beginning of his efforts to undo the enormous damage he has caused


The 2011 annual Israel Connect European Young Leadership group met in Copenhagen at the beginning of April 2011 for the second seminar of the programme. The guest speaker for the seminar was Miri Eisen.

Eisen served in the Israeli intelligence community and retired from active duty at the rank of full colonel in 2004. Over her twenty year career in the military she served as the deputy head of the combat intelligence corps, the assistant to the director of Military intelligence and as the intel officer in combat units and research departments. She was appointed as a special spokesperson for the IDF during operation "defensive shield" in spring 2002, and became the first military intelligence high ranking officer to be fully exposed to the public eye.

During the time with the group, Miri ran three in depth sessions covering The Zionist Narrative;The history of the Jewish national movement, Israeli politics and society – the approaches toward the conflict and a session focused on practical advice about Working with the Media.

In addition, the group focused on the technique of Asking Questions in order to develop a conversation, and had a session sharing (in depth) initiatives that five members of the group were working on. This session was a real eye opener to the group as they realised how involved everyone was in their own programmes, and how much potential there is for impact when the group works together.

The seminar was finished with a talk from Dan Oryan – the deputy Israeli Ambassador to Denmark – who talked about Israeli Perception in Denmark, and the challenge Israel has within Europe.