J-BIG is one of four Jewish organisations denouncing a conference organised by the British Israel Communications and Research Centre Committee
(BICOM) . It’s titled “We Believe in Israel”. Read our news release below.
The Jewish Chronicle has given the event top billing: http://goo.gl/PcFvv
JEWS SLAM ISRAEL ‘APOLOGISTS’ EVENT
Jewish organisations today levelled charges of hypocrisy at the institution behind a conference that aims to encourage people to convey positive images of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
The event, to be staged in London this month (15 May) by the British Israel Communications & Research Centre (BICOM), will feature speakers from three political party groups, the Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour Friends of Israel.
On the same weekend, pro-Palestinian groups will protest opposite Downing Street for an end to Israel ’s siege of Gaza and a rally in Jerusalem will mark the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948, when Palestinians were expelled or fled from towns and villages amid Israeli troop advances, losing their land and making them refugees.
The legitimacy of the BICOM conference, entitled “We believe in Israel ” is challenged by four organisations – Jews for Justice for Palestinians (JfJfP), the Jewish Socialists’ Group (JSG), Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG) and the radical diaspora group Jewdas.
The four organisations warn that the event will be addressed by apologists for prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration, painting a distorted picture of the role of media, allegations that Israel abuses international law, the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions, the land of Israel and its traditions and people.
The groups cite Israel’s illegal occupation, growing settlements, apartheid wall, and the refusal to abide by United Nations resolutions, international law and humanitarian conventions, as well as its brutal treatment of Palestinians.
Diana Neslen, a spokesperson for JFJP, said: “Jewish humanitarian values have been corrupted by Israel’s human rights abuses. This conference intends to encourage support for whatever Israel does. If people really want to help Israel , they must speak out against its government’s policies and withdraw their support until the occupation ends.”
David Rosenberg, representing the JSG, said: “Who are the ‘we’ who ‘believe in Israel’? Britain ’s Jews are more divided on Israel than at any time since the state was created. Many Jews here cannot reconcile their belief in human rights and democracy, and their opposition to racism, with the appalling treatment of Palestinians under Israeli occupation. They know it is wrong. They know it must change.”
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, secretary of J-BIG, said: ” Israel has criminalised the commemoration of the Nakba by those living within its jurisdiction, and yet this BICOM event seeks to justify the state’s claim to represent Jewish values of justice and compassion. They are going to present a hypocritical view of democracy by campaigning for Israel as ‘a Jewish and democratic state’, which excludes the non-Jews under Israeli rule.”
Jewdas spokesperson Joseph Finlay said: “This conference wishes to found a new religion, worship of the state of Israel . Jews, it proclaims, needn’t worry about pesky things like Torah or ethics any more – all they need to do is ‘believe’ in the Jewish state. Like all good new religions, this one has taboos, the chief one being ‘don’t mention the occupation’. Just send in your money, keep shtum, and bow down to the state of Israel , the golden calf of our times.”