Jonathan Arkush .
(photo credit: BOARD OF DEPUTIES)
A right-wing Israeli NGO is on the warpath against the Board of Deputies of British Jews, over its clear support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mattot Arim spokeswoman Susie Dym specifically took issue with the Board’s “Ten Commitments,” the fifth which is to: “Advocate for a permanent, comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in a secure Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.”
The Board of Deputies recently asked both Labour leadership candidates to sign its “Ten Commitments,” prompting an email from Mattot Arim to board executive director Gillian Merron, saying: “It is not clear to our organization why the BoD continues, at your behest inter alia, to promote establishment of a Palestinian state.”
While Merron failed to respond, board president Jonathan Arkush has answered a number of other emails from Dym on the issue.
Responding to Dym’s argument that the majority of the Israeli cabinet is opposed to the two-state solution, Arkush told The Jerusalem Pos
t: “I support the policies of the State of Israel.”
Without discussing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s record of flip-flopping on the issue of a two-state solution, he simply says it’s clear to him, “that the Israeli government ultimately sees a likely solution as being two states for two peoples.”
Dym said that the BoD, as the official representative of British Jewry, should refrain from taking any stance on Israel policy. “If anything, it should stress the great dangers that a Palestinian state would pose to Israel,” she said.
In a recent letter sent by Mattot Arim to US senators, the group stated that: “Despite heavy international pressure in the opposite direction, most ministers in the government of Israel are opposed to the so-called two-state ‘solution,’ which calls for establishment of a new Arab state just a bike-ride away from Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Israel’s sole international airport.”
Arkush pointed out that the commitment in question also refers to supporting Israel’s security, before adding that Diaspora Jewry has no business discussing critical security issues when they don’t live in Israel, pay taxes there or experience day-today reality.
He also scoffed at Dym’s accusation that the board is “forcing this great concession down Israel’s throat,” saying that the UK’s Jewish population of fewer than 300,000 simply doesn’t have that power, even if it wanted to.
“The board’s long historic policy over many decades is that the board will support the views and policies of the democratically elected government of Israel, of whatever political stripe,” he reiterated.