Embassy urged to restore info cash
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”.