Em­bassy urged to re­store info cash

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY SI­MON ROCKER

LEAD­ERS OF Mid­lands Jewry have launched a pe­ti­tion call­ing on the Is­rael em­bassy to re­verse its decision to with­draw sup­port from the lo­cal Is­rael in­for­ma­tion of­fice.

Sir Bernard Ziss­man, pres­i­dent of the Birm­ing­ham and West Mid­lands Jewry Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil, voiced con­cern at the ef­fect on pro-is­rael cam­paign work.

The em­bassy has de­clined to com­ment on why it pulled its £15,000 an­nual grant to the Is­rael In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre Mid­lands last month. Oth­ers who have signed the pe­ti­tion in­clude the chair­man of the Birm­ing­ham Friends of War Dis­abled Joe New­man; the co-chair­man of the East Mid­lands Jewish Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil Mark Kirsch; and the pres­i­dent of Birm­ing­ham Univer­sity Jewish so­ci­ety, Daniel Bratt.

Sir Bernard said: “We are for­ever com­bat­ing the anti-zion­ist on­slaught… par­tic­u­larly gen­er­ated by some of the Is­lamist groups on cam­pus.”

The cen­tre had “done a lot of work among the non-jewish com­mu­nity and has been fairly ag­gres­sive and pro- ac­tive. There are quite a lot of peo­ple in the area who don’t like Is­rael. Bring­ing a bal­anced view of the Mid­dle East is not only im­por­tant to Is­rael but also to the Jewish peo­ple who live here”.

He be­lieved the em­bassy “should re­flect on its decision and hope­fully come to a bet­ter so­lu­tion”.

Ruth Ja­cobs, di­rec­tor of the cen­tre, said­it­neededaround£22,000ayear.she said: “The Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion has been sup­port­ive in sup­ply­ing speak­ers — I haven’t had a speaker from the em­bassy since Fe­bru­ary 2011 — but the ZF is not in a po­si­tion to pro­vide money”.

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