Tuesday, March 19, 2013



The Zionist Federation are hosting the largest concert in Europe on Israel’s 65th birthday, for 10,000 people at Wembley Arena on Tuesday 16th April.

Now confirmed to perform at the Israel 65 concert is Alexandra Burke who won the fifth series of X Factor. Burke is one of the most successful winners of the X Factor. Immediately after she released her X Factor winning song Hallelujah in 2008, she sold 105,000 records in one day. The song was also number one in the charts for many weeks. Since then, she has sold over a million records and has also received various awards, including having a Platinum selling single. Before the X Factor she was a singer in the Jewish wedding band Gilev.

Also performing are Spelbound. They are an internationally renowned Dance Troupe and the record breaking winners of Britain’s Got Talent, which they won in 2010. Since then they have performed at numerous venues, including at the 2010 and 2012 Royal Variety performances. Spelbound also performed twice at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics, which was watched by 26.3 million viewers in the UK. Spelbound also have a Guinness World Record for the highest throw and catch of a person over a bar.

The event will also showcase Israeli talent including Ishtar, the French based Israeli lead singer of Alabina who has sold millions of records worldwide. Also performing will be Ivri Lider, one of the most successful Israeli musicians of his generation and Israel’s male singer of the year. Furthermore, those attending will be able to hear the world famous Chico, the founder of the Gipsy Kings who will be performing with his band the Gypsies.

Director of the ZF and Executive Producer of the Gala Concert, Alan Aziz said, “This is a day to celebrate Israel’s existence and achievements that make us proud to be Jewish and proud to support Israel”.

For more information please visit: www.israel65.org.uk

Thursday, March 14, 2013



Dear members

Since the beginning of the year, we at the ZF have seen the greatest successes from our largest events.  These include our most popular Parliament Lobby Day ever, the ZF Science Week which drew extensive national media coverage in showcasing ground breaking achievements from Israeli scientists and our largest ZF Gala Dinner to date.  These events sit alongside all the many other day to day activities working on behalf of Israel.
However, we feel we need to work harder in communicating the principles and values of the ZF which drives the passion behind that work.
The ZF are deeply committed to the State of Israel and its security.  We at the ZF believe that pursuing peace is an obligation set upon us to ensure that our children need not know war.  We believe in a two state solution providing peace and security for Israel and an independent state for the Palestinians, where both prosper economically and work together to maintain peace. We believe in Israel as a Jewish state, living in peace and security amongst its Muslim neighbours. 
At the heart of the ZF lies a dedicated liberal and democratic ideology. Israel sitting alongside other western democracies must protect all its minorities, hold human rights to the highest standards, seek social justice for all and support religious pluralism.  We do not support religious or secular extremism.  In fact we support absolute tolerance in a society that holds that all men and woman are treated equally no matter their colour, race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity. 
We at the ZF believe in the future of Israel as a safe, peaceful and prosperous light amongst nations.
These values are shared by our membership and the organisations that work alongside us in actively engaging and promoting Israel in the UK.  We at the ZF would like to ensure that going forward there is greater dialogue and cooperation with progressive Judaism and that we engage the younger community in working for these values.
Paul Charney
Chairman ZF

Thursday, March 7, 2013



The ZF has been an umbrella for Zionist organisations in the UK for over 100 years. We have a constitution which sets out the democratic process for organisations to apply to become an affiliate member. Within that process there are criteria which need to be fulfilled and thereafter an application can be presented for vote to the National Council ('NC’) of members representing over 50,000 people.

Part of that process requires the Constitution Committee ('CC') to consider all applications for membership as all organisations wishing to join must be thoroughly vetted prior to admittance. In this case, the CC reported to the NC that the Yachad application could not be recommended.  They confirmed that although Yachad have signed the Jerusalem Programme (as set out by the WZO in 2004), in practice they do not comply with it, which lies at the very core of our Constitution.  The CC came to this conclusion after it found a number of examples where it was found lacking in its overall support for Israel. All Zionist organisations need to show strong support for Israel and defend injustices on both sides.  However, despite the non recommendation by the CC, the application was not rejected and was put forward to the NC for vote and by a clear majority their application was not accepted. Had the discussion and vote gone in favour of Yachad, then they would have been accepted as an affiliate member.

When an application is not accepted, such as Yachads’, then there is the opportunity to reapply after 6 months.  The constitution was sent to Yachad prior to the vote, so they are aware of the process and their opportunity to reapply.  Yachad is not unique.  Our most recent example of this process was when Herut, a centre right organistion, applied in the same way as Yachad and was also not confirmed on first application.  Herut were then subsequently accepted onto the ZF as an affiliate organisation upon later satisfying all the constitutional requirements.  This democratic process lies at the heart of the moral fibre of the ZF.  No single NC member, nor any single board member can circumvent or override this process.

We at the ZF represent a wide variety of views when it comes to Israel. We are pro Israel, pro Palestinian and pro peace. Our affiliated members are from the left, such as Meretz and Pro-Zion, and from the right of the political spectrum. Difficult issues are discussed and debated regularly during NC meetings.  Even when views are radically polarised between members, we have always managed to work our way to consent and find common ground through dialogue and respect for one another.

Yachad’s application was not immediately turned down, but was discussed and debated and subsequently put forward for vote. I do not believe that the reasons of each of the members should be discussed publicly as this would do harm to both Yachad and the ZF and is not conducive to working together within our community at large.  

However, I do believe that our differences should not divide us, but make us stronger.  Open dialogue and communication is the road map to unity and working together for a common goal, namely a strong Israel and peace between Israel and her neighbours.  Respect and decency at minimum will ultimately be the only way to work alongside one another.  I don’t believe in making this dispute public and I will not respond to the public outburst by Yachad by denigrating and criticising this newly formed organisation within our community.  Where I respect an alternative point of view, no matter how strong it is, I request that others should respect mine.  

Accordingly and within the founding principles of the ZF, I would like to personally extend my hand to Yachad to discuss the issues that divide us and try to reconcile them through open and honest communication.  Should Yachad wish to bridge our differences and reapply at a later date in order to sit alongside the representatives of all the members of the ZF, then I would be happy to assist them in resolving those issues prior to any future vote.

If we are ever to work and live alongside one another then we must make every effort at finding middle ground.  We have been doing this at the ZF for over 100 years and will continue to do so for many more.

Paul Charney
Chairman ZF

Wednesday, March 6, 2013



Over 450 people will attend the Zionist Federation’s (ZF) largest ever gala dinner this Sunday which has sold out, to celebrate Israel’s 65th anniversary. Those attending will witness the strong ties between Israel and Britain’s security services an many other areas, through hearing guest speakers Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad and the National Security Council and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6. The two will be speaking in conversation together about their past work in the field of security. Both were head’s of each nation’s security services at the same time. The dinner will illustrate some of the best Israel has to offer through entertainment provided by the Israeli opera. There will also be an Israel 65 Art Exhibit created by David Shilling.

ZF Executive Director Alan Aziz stated, “At a time when public support for Israel is required more than ever, the commitment of so many people to the ZF and Israel makes a real difference.”
Best Wishes, 

Monday, March 4, 2013


Israel Apartheid Week: a time where hatred is unleashed

This is a guest post by Stephen Hoffman
All this week in Universities across the UK, Israel Apartheid Week has taken place. This appears to be an excuse for those who hate Israel more than they care about the Palestinians to gather, to discuss and inform people how terrible Israel is. In all of this the truth is often a stranger, something (from having attended a few of the events this week) I saw with my own eyes. I also provided briefings for supporters of Israel attending the meeting, so they could challenge, through questions, the lies being said. I believe this is important, so those attending the events who do not have strong opinions either way are shown a point of view that counters the scare stories portraying Israel as a pariah state.

One event I attended was where the Israeli born communist Moshe Machover spoke at City University in London. Machover explained how he saw Zionism as racist and colonialist and that no Zionists were interested in peace, because they wanted to subjugate the Palestinians. Whilst of course Israel is not a perfect country I could not let these lies, which portrayed Zionism as the source of all the world’s ills, go unchallenged. It was for this reason I pointed out that I am a Zionist who strongly supports the two state solution and is pro peace. I am representative of the majority of Zionists who want peace with the Palestinian people, so to claim we do not is simply wrong. I went on to highlight how from partition to peace with Egypt and Jordan to Ehud Olmert’s generous peace offer, many Zionists have not only talked the talk when it has come to peace, but walked the walk. Unfortunately, I pointed out that Palestinian leaders have let down their own people by rejecting peace offers and often not being a genuine peace partner. I said this all calmly; as I believe in situations like this it is important to keep your cool.

Machover though seemed to take offence to his views being challenged. Evidently, he and many other speakers at Israel Apartheid Week are not used to being challenged and find the experience a personal insult. In response to my polite question, Machover raised his voice and started shouting and said Zionism is racist and therefore anti-peace and as a Zionist I am brainwashed and a racist. This was the only time he raised his voice and showed genuine anger. This in a nutshell represented Israel Apartheid Week, a time when speakers spew hatred about Israel and Zionism, often based on no facts whatsoever. When this is challenged they become angry and try and shut down debate. To me, the fact that people like Machover feel they have to resort to these childish tactics when challenged shows the weakness of their own arguments and how easy it is to oppose them.

It also should give hope to those in the Israel advocacy community whose first reaction when it comes to Israel Apartheid Week is to let out a collective groan. I completely understand this and it’s my first reaction too. This is not understandable as university environments can be, and indeed are, at times a hotbed of anti-Israel activity, as illustrated by Israel Apartheid Week. However, it is not a lost cause, because as I have demonstrated the arguments used by those who demonise Israel wilt under close scrutiny.

Furthermore, just this week whilst Israel Apartheid Week was at its height, Oxford University Union showed it would not become a hostage to those who bash Israel incessantly in a way that undermines freedom of speech, expression and academic freedom. A controversial motion calling on Oxford University Union to support BDS (the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement) that would have led to a boycott of Israeli produce, universities and academics was decisively defeated in a vote of the union. Students at the prestigious university voted 69 against, 10 for and 15 abstentions. This was a victory for those who want to engage constructively with Israeli academics and students, rather than engaging in a divisive boycott that would shut down debate and undermine freedom of speech and expression.
People like Eylon-Aslan Levy, the student who George Galloway refused to debate, led the campaign against the boycott. Relentlessly highlighting how the boycott of Israel was not in Oxford students’ interests, he helped make sure that the BDS motion was defeated. In doing so he showed that Universities are not yet completely lost to the anti-Israel crowd and if we put our mind to it those who want a fair and balanced discussion on Israel can win the day. In the campaign against the boycott, not once was language used expressing hate for the Palestinian people. This contrasts favourably with those involved in Israel Apartheid Week who single out Israel and Israelis in a way that is full of hatred and indeed some would say racism.

Israel Apartheid Week can and must be challenged, so that the voices of hatred on campuses across the UK do not win.  By doing this we ensure that Universities remain a place for academic freedom, and not hijacked by a small but vocal minority who treat Israel as the devil incarnate.