By Harvey Rose
Firstly let me introduce myself. My name is Harvey Rose and I am Chairman of the Zionist Federation UK, the foremost Zionist organisation inBritain.
The ZF is the voice for Israel in the UK and works with others to connect the British people to Israel
There is currently a debate taking place in the UK, initiated by a prominent Jewish Community leader, Mick Davis, as to whether it is acceptable to publicly criticise Israel.
Mick Davis says Israel is "The Nation State of the Jewish People." Does this mean Israel represents all Jews? We believe not, this is an impossible and inappropriate obligation.
Israel can only represent the Israeli people. Israel has different security needs to the Diaspora, Israel has different internal conflicts and Israeli society has a completely different composition to the society in which British Jews live. It is interesting to note how common it is that when people make Aliya from the UK, which is another side of the ZF''s work, their views on this subject tend to change significantly once they move from the relative comfort of the UK.
However, there are many well-meaning prominent members of our community who feel their "Jewish Conscience™" will not allow them to remain silent. Do they really believe their criticisms are constructive just because they are Jewish. There are some Jews, whether intentionally or not, who by their public criticism have caused enormous harm to the standing of Israel. What they are doing is fuelling the fire of our enemies, and enemies of Israel are not in short supply. What Israel is short of are Friends and Supporters.
None of this is saying British Jews do not have their own pressures, we do, but it is not our role to be telling Israel what it should be doing. We are a small minority whose influence is greater than our numbers. The delegitimisation and boycott movements are gaining acceptance by the day and our campuses are flooded by Pro-Palestinian propaganda. A great worry for parents with children at University.
Of course Israel does not always do everything right or in our best interests. It would certainly serve the Diaspora well if a two-state solution was established. To that end supporters of Israel should accept that Israeli policy making cannot be made with our comfort in mind.
Rather than publicly criticise Israel we at the ZF believe the best way forward is to channel the energies and resources into action that will counter the lies and distortions spread by our enemies and to show the positive side of Israel with all its diversity. If people care about Israel and want to speak out, there is a huge need at the moment to help the ZF combat those who blindly try to delegitimise and destroy Israel.
Recently we have seen a great uncertainty sweep the Middle East. As Jews we must trust our democratically elected leaders, some of whom are not Jewish, to make sure Israel is safe and secure. Unfortunately we have learnt from History we never know when we might need it.