The real cost
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.