Meretz UK has joined seven other Jewish organisations to protest a statement by the Chairman of the Zionist Federation which sides with the current Israeli policy of annexation. All groups behind this open letter are formally affiliated with the ZF. The story has been covered in the Jewish News and Jewish Chronicle. See the original letter, below.
The picture we use shows the largely Jewish neighbourhood of French Hill in Jerusalem divided by the “barrier” and checkpoint from Palestinian Shuafat.
To the Chair and National Executive of the Zionist Federation,
We are writing to you on behalf of a group organisations that represent a significant number of the constituent bodies affiliated to the Zionist Federation. Our own members represent a broad spectrum of opinion. Some of our organisations have clear policy positions in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, others do not.
Where we are all united is in our belief in, and support for, the State of Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, and a commitment to the values of freedom, justice and peace as enshrined in its Declaration of Independence. The remit of the Zionist Federation is to represent the broad swathe of Zionist organisations and opinions that exist in the United Kingdom.
The Zionist Federation does not have a mandate to formulate policy positions in response to events taking place in Israel or the wider Middle East, or to make statements on behalf of the organisations it claims to represent. When the leadership of the Zionist Federation make political statements about key issues in Israel, they undermine its credibility as a representative body, and overstep the remit of the organisation, misrepresenting its constituent bodies.
To that end, the statement by chair Paul Charney in the Jewish News that:
‘All past attempts at negotiated settlement have failed due to Palestinian intransigence, leaving Israel with little option other than to take unilateral steps to secure its borders and its future for all its citizens. Israel is a democratic state, led by a democratically elected government, and annexation will not change this’
… is a personal opinion, and therefore a wholly inappropriate remark to be made in the capacity of Chair of the Zionist Federation.
Likewise, Zionist Federation social media posts in support of similarly controversial issues, such as that on April 26, that appeared to pledge support for settlement throughout the entirety of Israel and the West Bank, again have no place in an organisation in which there are a broad range of opinions on this issue.
We urge the National Council to reflect on what is appropriate behaviour for individuals in positions of authority in the Zionist Federation and ensure that those entrusted into these positions carry out their duties appropriately.