We don’t propose to attempt a deconstruction of the Board of Deputies’ ludicrous 36 page response to the Methodist BDS survey (allegedly written by Joseph Moses) here and now. That will come later. For the moment, we are content to draw attention to just one feature of it. Advocates of BDS are painted as frenzied crazies with glazed over eyes, bent on another holocaust, which is reminiscent of Jonathan Hoffman’s question to Antony Loewenstein,
“How many Jews will have to die ?”
Hoffman is one of Arkush’s colleagues on the Board Defence Division.
The evidence for this is that many BDS advocates take the view that since there is already a de facto single state between the river and the sea, and Israel is determined to retain control of it, and to continue to colonise “Judea and Samaria”, the task is to turn that state into a democracy.
All people of goodwill favour and explicitly advocate a “two state solution”, we are told. We are not told this just once, but rather it is a recurring theme throughout what they call their “report”. Those that don’t explicitly and actively support a two state solution are enemies of “peace”. Interestingly the word “peace” occurs ninety three times. The word “justice” occurs three times, once in the context of a blatant lie on the first page, once in the context of directly quoting the Prophet Micah, and once in the context of quoting the Israeli “constitution”, which is as worthless as was that of the Soviet Union. The word occupation occurs just once and then framed in quotation marks.
“The majority of Israelis and Palestinians (as well as the British Jewish community) desire a two-state solution.”
“However, for the realisation of the two-state solution, supported as it is by a clear majority of Israelis and Palestinians, there needs to be a culture of reconciliation, understanding and confidence building which is harmed by the divisive tactic of BDS.”
“In deciding the tactics needed to produce an outcome, one first needs to outline the end goal desired. Polls of Israelis and Palestinians continue to show that both national communities overwhelmingly support a two-state solution”.
“A 2010 Jewish Policy Research publication showed that the enthusiasm for this option is shared by the UK Jewish community: 78% of the community favour a two-state solution to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
“While the two–state solution outlined above is the preferred outcome of the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians and the international community, we note that there are others who advocate a future reality, where neither Israelis nor Palestinians, are able to meet their national aspirations. This is often called the ‘one-state’ solution. “
“We ………. would urge people to reject them in favour of the two-state solution, which commands the support of the majority of Israelis and Palestinians, as well as the wider international community.”
“For those who do not explicitly support a two-state solution, and who therefore implicitly or explicitly support a one-state solution, divisive and forceful tactics such as BDS commend themselves more than they might for those who want to find ways to bring people together”
This goes on and on but in consideration for your attention span we will stop there.
Except that we have an astronomical case of hoof in mouth disease here.
On January 16th, 2011, the BoD overwhelmingly rejected the following resolution:
“The Board of Deputies of British Jews…supports Israel’s efforts to seek a lasting negotiated peace with the Palestinians based on a two-state solution ensuring Israel’s security and respect for the welfare of all of the people in the region.”
So given that the BoD specifically rejects both
a) the idea of respect for the well being of all the people of the region and
b) the idea of two states for two people
and declares the advocacy of one state to be anti-Semitic, it is hard to understand what all their talk of dialogue, understanding and reconciliation could possibly mean. The reality of their position, of course, is that they would have the Palestinians reconciled to endless occupation and creeping (often not so creeping) dispossession.
A major reason given for the rejection of the resolution was that one day an Israeli government might decide that one state was in the best interests of Israelis and they would then be at odds with it !!!!
After the BoD officially turned its back on a two state solution and respect for the well being of all the people of the region, there was a massive back lash from informed and constructive members of the community, particularly the younger ones. Hannah Weisfeld, the progressive and solution oriented director of Yachad, was prominent in the reaction.
An open letter was written with over a thousand signatories, asking the Board to revisit the resolution and declare itself for a two state solution, but this was ignored. A couple of weeks later, Arkush and Wineman met with around a hundred of the signatories of the letter. Wineman and Arkush made it clear that the rejection of the resolution stood and the matter would not be revisited.
The issue of representation dominated the discussion. The question was asked, “how was it that 78% of this community back a two state solution and those that purport to represent it say differently?” Asked, but not answered.
Anthony Tricot, an under 35 Deputy, said that the BoD is wholly unrepresentative. A recurring theme was “the BoD does not represent me.”
Barend Wellman said that as a result of the BoD rejecting a two state solution some synagogues were reconsidering affiliation to it.
Hannah Weisfeld said that …
“There was an impassioned plea from the floor, for an organisation that could represent a strong pro Israel, pro peace voice on the basis that the Board is not the place to do this,”
Do as we say not as we do.