Today, the UK Zionist Federation and British Board of Deputies are hosting a rally to support Israel during the current ave of attacks:
In the last few days there have been a seemingly endless number of attacks on Israelis. Whether with guns, knives, rocks or cars, every hour appears to bring news of a Palestinian murder attempt.Who can be offended by that?
These attacks do not happen in a vacuum. They are promoted by a culture of incitement that encourages violence and glorifies terrorists.
We are standing together outside the Palestinian Mission to say: enough is enough. Join us to protest the incitement and commemorate the victims.
A group of "active British Jews," that's who. Proving how far many Jews have gone from caring about their own people, an open letter was written against this rally.
The reason? Because they feel that a demonstration valuing Israeli lives means it is inciting against the people who support the murderers!
Now is the time for people across the world to stand together in unity, and call for peace in the region, condemning all violence as counter-productive, evil and a chilul hashem (a desecration of the name of the Eternal One). To take what are presented as as uniquely Jewish troubles and lay them at the door of the Palestinian Mission in London creates a wholly unnecessary ‘Us vs Them’ narrative, which cannot possibly foster the good relations necessary for peace.Yes, protesting incitement to kill Jews is offensive to the Jews the Palestinian inciters want to see dead.
When Jewish organisations, who claim to represent the voice of British Jewry, say only that “#IsraeliLivesMatter”, it shames us as people who care about the lives of everyone in the region. When Jewish organisations use the loss of human life to pursue a political agenda, they tarnish our reputation as an ethical people. Our texts tell us that any loss of life is like the end of a world. Death, then, is not the basis for a campaign: especially a campaign which appropriates and offensively belittles the #BlackLivesMatter slogan on which it is (ironically) based.
To ‘protest the incitement and commemorate the victims’, solely in the framework of the importance of Israeli lives, itself incites hatred towards Palestinians, and shows no empathy towards their losses. As people who believe we are all made b’tzelem Elohim (in the image of the Eternal One), whether Palestinian or Israeli, Jew or Arab, this is unacceptable.
You can't make this up.
British Jewish organisations have an overriding responsibility to protect the interests of British Jews. Undertaking actions likely to inflame other communities and increase ethnic tensions on the streets of this country is not consonant with that responsibility. Positive dialogue is always a better way forward than hostile demonstrations.
The Zionist Federation replied, quite appropriately.
....One trigger for this has been the aforementioned media coverage, whereby there are now numerous examples of misleading headlines and stories that focus on Palestinians killed, rather than the Israelis they were trying to kill.
The other has been the quite frankly appalling reaction from many Palestinians to this spate of violence, and the related indifference of the Palestinian Authority. In fact, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) representative told the cabinet Sunday, that “senior PA and Fatah officials are involved in the incitement that is fanning the violence”. This is the reason why we have decided to hold our event outside the Palestinian Mission – the de facto Palestinian embassy. We wish to hold the Palestinian Authority to account, a decision that you describe as “itself incit[ing] hatred towards Palestinians.” Just so we’re clear, here’s a reminder of what actual incitement is.
It’s promoting on social media cartoons and videos encouraging Palestinians to stab any Jew they can. It’s Hamas imams and politicians calling on their followers to take up arms – the Hamas that is still part of the Unity Government. It’s calling for a Third Intifada.
It’s describing those killed whilst trying to indiscriminately murder Israelis as martyrs. It’s the paying of salaries to those arrested whilst trying to indiscriminately murder Israelis. It’s a Palestinian couple naming their baby after a man who indiscriminately murdered Israelis. It’s the Palestinian Bar Association giving that same man an honorary degree. It’s Mahmoud Abbas holding his tongue when Israelis are being murdered – and then condemning the deaths of Palestinians killed whilst murdering Israelis.
And last but not least, it’s the incessant lie that Al Aqsa is under attack, and that the only way to protect it is with violence. It’s Mahmoud Abbas saying, on Palestinian TV:
“We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every Martyr will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”