DEFEND, DON’T ATTACK
I read with interest your front page (‘ You don’t defend Israel properly’, April 20). We at the ZF accept constructive criticism when it is justified and it is only natural that we will not be able to satisfy everyone all the time. It is sad, however, that a graduate of some of the ZF’S top training courses takes an opportunity of media coverage to use it for self-promotion and to publicly criticise the very people he should be working alongside.
I am proud that the ZF unquestionably leads the way in Israel advocacy training, with many programmes all year, most of which are dedicated to young leadership groups. We also take the lead when there is a need to organise public demonstrations at short notice. As the Israeli ambassador recently stated, the ZF is always the first on the frontline when there is the need to stand up for Israel.
Many, including the JNF, were surprised at the criticisms in the article. I am happy the JNF and others have an excellent relationship with the ZF and support each other in our work. We greatly appreciate the invaluable support of friends from outside the Jewish community and the ZF is proud to have taken the lead from the very start in creating these partnerships. Rather than choosing to attack those who work relentlessly in advocacy for Israel, it would be better if we all worked together for the same goal. Alan Aziz Executive director, Zionist Federation UK email@example.com
As a lay pro-israel activist my view is that we defend Israel reactively rather than proactively. We may be on the same side but we appear fragmented. We don’t tell our story, even though it is an ancient and powerful one, we offer commentaries on other people’s versions of it. Palestinians are portrayed as victims of Israel when they have been betrayed for years by their own leaders and other Arab countries. On the world stage, the anger and bitterness towards Israel is disproportionate but considered entirely legitimate. Hence the government does not unambiguously support Israel as a fellow democracy even though many MPS do. Until we collectively and publicly set out our stall about Israel, unashamedly tell our story and operate proactively, Israel’s position will be undermined and eroded. Lewis Herlitz Westleigh Avenue, Essex, SS9