The real cost

The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS -

Most mem­bers of this com­mu­nity are keen to make the case for Is­rael when con­fronted with fla­grant bias or sim­ple ig­no­rance about the Mid­dle East con­flict. So 200 peo­ple braved snowy weather last week­end to at­tend Bicom’s first-ever ad­vo­cacy event. They learnt use­ful ba­sics, in­clud­ing the avoid­ance of shout­ing, ag­gres­sion or re­li­gious in­sen­si­tiv­ity (good ad­vice for some of­fi­cial Is­raeli gov­ern­ment spokes­peo­ple). Th­ese home-grown has­bara ef­forts may be com­mend­able. But why ex­actly is An­glo-Jewry mak­ing such great ef­forts when, to para­phrase the late For­eign Min­is­ter Abba Eban, Is­rael th­ese days seems never to miss an op­por­tu­nity to miss an op­por­tu­nity? One star­tling ex­am­ple of this scan­dalous lais­sez-faire was Jerusalem’s ab­so­lute fail­ure to send a gov­ern­ment min­is­ter to at­tend the Wind­sor Cas­tle din­ner on Mon­day night. It was un­doubt­edly a flag­ship oc­ca­sion. While Am­bas­sador Ron Prosor has be­come both val­ued and re­spected since his ar­rival last year, it was surely an event that de­manded Is­raeli rep­re­sen­ta­tion on a se­nior, min­is­te­rial level. Guests at Wind­sor were asked to pay £5,000 for the evening, in­clud­ing an ad­dress by Mr Prosor; guests at Bicom’s event 24 hours ear­lier could have heard him for a fiver. The lat­ter sum seems to be more rep­re­sen­ta­tive of how much Is­rael val­ues its UK im­age, and a com­mu­nity do­ing its best to re­dress anti-Zion­ist prej­u­dice.

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