DE­FEND, DON’T AT­TACK

The Jewish Chronicle - - Comment -

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 zion-fed@dircon.co.uk

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

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