The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS -

Dan Judel­son com­plains that his or­gan­i­sa­tion, Jews for Jus­tice for Pales­tini­ans, only has “free speech” when bought in the form of ex­pen­sive ad­ver­tise­ments ( Let­ters, May 2).

Have I missed some­thing, or does the fre­quent pub­lish­ing of their let­ters in the JC (last week oc­cu­py­ing the top two-thirds of the page) and nu­mer­ous ar­ti­cles ex­pound­ing their phi­los­o­phy, such as the re­cent, full-page JC one by Avi Sh­laim, not con­sti­tute free speech? One could also add the priv­i­leged and easy ac­cess that many of their sig­na­to­ries have to the BBC, Guardian, In­de­pen­dent and oth­ers.

Of course, the caveat to Judel­son’s no­tion of free speech is that he and his fel­low ide­o­logues should be free to vil­ify and dele­git­imise the Jewish state with­out their ac­cu­sa­tions be­ing held to ac­count.

If their ar­gu­ments stand up to scru­tiny, why then should they take such ex­cep­tion to the JC edi­to­rial which ex­plained the rea­sons for the de­ci­sion to pub­lish the of­fend­ing ad? And no, gen­uine free­dom of speech dic­tates that the JC is un­der no obli­ga­tion to ex­plain any other ads it chooses to ac­cept with sim­i­lar edi­to­ri­als.

The be­hav­iour of mem­bers of JfJfP and their sis­ter or­gan­i­sa­tions is con­sis­tent with a to­tal­i­tar­ian mind­set, and con­sid­er­ing that their 500 sig­na­to­ries only ac­count for some 0.2 per cent of An­glo Jewry, they should ac­knowl­edge the vastly dis­pro­por­tion­ate free me­dia cov­er­age that they man­age to achieve for their to­tally un­rep­re­sen­ta­tive views. Sara King Bramp­ton Grove, Lon­don NW4

I am of­fended by Dan Judel­son’s state­ment that “the JC has car­ried ad­verts from JfJfP and other peace groups be­fore”.

First, the JfJfP is not a peace group. A gen­uine peace group is one that re­spects both sides and acts in a pos­i­tive man­ner. Nowhere does the JfJfP ad­ver­tise­ment ex­press sup­port for the state and peo­ple of Is­rael. Two weeks later, many of the peo­ple who signed that ad­ver­tise­ment wrote a let­ter to the Guardian crit­i­cis­ing the ex­is­tence of Is­rael. That was no sur­prise, as some of those peo­ple had pre­vi­ously writ­ten that they were hos­tile to both Ju­daism and Zion­ism.

Sec­ond, his state­ment tries to con­fuse JfJfP in read­ers’ minds with a peace group like Peace Now, whose ad­ver­tise­ments have al­ways ex­pressed sup­port for the views of large num­bers of loyal Is­raeli sol­diers and cit­i­zens. When I mon­i­tor anti- Is­rael events, I see that JfJfP are usu­ally prom­i­nent in their or­gan­i­sa­tion.

If we want peace and jus­tice for Is­raelis and Pales­tini­ans alike, we should cel­e­brate Is­rael’s 60th an­niver­sary. We must re­spect our­selves in or­der to re­spect those Arabs we can talk to. Mark Drukker Mar­garet Close, Read­ing RG2

I note that you printed a let­ter from the chair of Jews for Jus­tice for Pales­tini­ans. I look for­ward to read­ing the views of the chair of Pales­tini­ans for Jus­tice for Jews. Martin Saf­fer Cardrew Av­enue, Lon­don N12

Sig­na­to­ries to the JfJfP Pe­sach ad­vert seem to think that Is­rael “con­trols all ac­cess to Gaza”, but last time I looked Gaza had a border with Egypt. Richard Mil­lett rmill­

If Deb­o­rah Mac­coby con­sid­ers the Is­raeli re­sponse to rocket at­tacks from Gaza to be “dis­pro­por­tion­ate” ( Let­ters, May 2), per­haps she would ad­vise the Is­raeli gov­ern­ment (from the safety of her home in Clap­ton) as to what would be a pro­por­tion­ate re­sponse. Fir­ing on Gaza City the same num­ber of rock­ets as Ha­mas aims at Is­rael? Alan J Miller Clois­ter Gar­dens, Edg­ware HA8

Per­haps all the peo­ple who signed the JfJfP pe­ti­tion would like to spend a day in Sderot and ex­pe­ri­ence the trauma of hav­ing up to 30 rock­ets be­ing fired in­dis­crim­i­nately into your town on a daily ba­sis. Would they con­sider a “pro­por­tional” IDF re­sponse to be to set up rocket-launch­ers among the densely pop­u­lated civil­ian ar­eas in Is­rael and fire ran­dom rock­ets on Gazan civil­ians, giv­ing them 15 sec­onds to run to a place of safety? Why is the suf­fer­ing of Is­raelis of no con­se­quence to them? Ruth Leveson Flam­stead, Herts AL3

The JFJFP ad­vert states that the peo­ple of Gaza are “en­dur­ing se­vere de­pri­va­tion of food”, as does one of its sig­na­to­ries, Diana Neslen, writ­ing that “the siege is in­duc­ing real star­va­tion” ( Let­ters, May 2). I have yet to see any images to cor­rob­o­rate this. On the con­trary, when one sees footage of mass ral­lies and demon­stra­tions, the peo­ple ap­pear to be well fed, well clothed and, in many cases, well armed. Andrew Fisher Bramp­ton Grove, Lon­don, NW4

Diana Neslen is brazenly men­da­cious in blam­ing Is­rael for the sit­u­a­tion that ob­tains in Gaza to­day. There is no block­ade by Is­rael of ei­ther fuel or hu­man­i­tar­ian aid to Gaza, but there is a de­lib­er­ate strat­egy by Ha­mas of dis­rup­tion and sabotage of the con­duit of those sup­plies in or­der to de­monise Is­rael in the court of West­ern pub­lic opin­ion.

In re­cent weeks, Ha­mas has forced strikes in petrol sta­tions and bak­eries, re­fused fuel de­liv­er­ies and at­tacked fuel si­los, such as in Na­hal Oz with the killing of two Is­raeli civil­ians em­ployed there.

Since the Ha­mas coup of July 2006, 505,554 tons of hu­man­i­tar­ian aid (21,000 trucks) have crossed the main cross­ing points from Is­rael, and 13,000 Pales­tini­ans have been al­lowed to seek med­i­cal treat­ment there, in­clud­ing ter­ror­ists. De­tails of ev­ery con­sign­ment are pub­lished daily by the Is­rael Min­istry for For­eign Af­fairs with the co­op­er­a­tion of Pales­tinian traders and in­de­pen­dent ob­servers.

Could Ms Neslen ex­plain why on April 23, for ex­am­ple, de­spite the co-op­er­a­tion of Colonel Nir Press, head of the Co­or­di­na­tion & Li­ai­son Ad­min­is­tra­tion of the Gaza Strip, in co­or­di­na­tion with UNRWA, 100,000 litres of diesel and 20,000 litres of gaso­line were to be trans­ferred and drawn from the de­pot at Na­hal Oz, but the with­drawal was blocked by thou­sands of Pales­tini­ans near the en­trance to the de­pot, thus pre­vent­ing fuel leav­ing?

Ha­mas has not al­lowed the with­drawal of fuel dur­ing the past month and it alone is re­spon­si­ble for all the hard­ship. Roslyn Pine Up­per Park Road, Manch­ester, M74

What hap­pens to the con­nec­tion be­tween facts and logic for aca­demics when they sign up for Jews for Jus­tice for Pales­tini­ans? John Straw­son wants us to be­lieve that the to­tal ab­sence of Is­raeli troops per­ma­nently on the ground in Gaza con­sti­tutes an “Oc­cu­pa­tion” ( Let­ters, May 2). This is iden­ti­cal to Mu­gabe claim­ing that Bri­tain is oc­cu­py­ing Zim­babwe at the present mo­ment or those who claim that the Amer­i­cans oc­cupy the Moon be­cause they landed there some years ago. David Sim­monds Mul­berry Close, Lon­don NW4

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