THE DEC AD­VERT CON­TRO­VERSY

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE -

The rea­son the is the old­est Jewish news­pa­per in the world, with a reach of over 156,000 Jews, is that it is the only space in our com­mu­nity where all sides — re­li­gious, po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural — can see them­selves re­flected and can meet and de­bate (some­times forthrightly) in a place which all, rightly, see as their own. In th­ese trou­bled times, it is vi­tal that we never lose sight of that.

Last week, we car­ried an ad­ver­tise­ment for the Dis­as­ters Emer­gency Com­mit­tee ap­peal for Gaza aid. The page was do­nated by the as a humanitarian ges­ture be­cause the peo­ple of Gaza are also vic­tims of Ha­mas ter­ror­ism. Were it not for Ha­mas rock­ets, there would have been no need for Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge. No one is at war with the peo­ple of Gaza and it is im­por­tant that they are helped to re­build their lives af­ter the war, for their own and Is­rael’s sake.

The pres­ence of the ad gen­er­ated an enor­mous post­bag, much of which ex­pressed anger that we had given space to an um­brella body that con­tains Is­lamic Re­lief, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that has been banned by Is­rael for its al­leged ties to Ha­mas. The dis­tin­guished jour­nal­ist, John Ware, ex­am­ines that is­sue on page 8.

As a news­pa­per, we pride our­selves on be­ing Is­rael’s great­est friend in the Bri­tish me­dia and we view Is­rael’s de­fence and its cit­i­zens’ right to live in peace as one of the defin­ing is­sues of the mod­ern world.

In that con­text, we should have been more alive to the anger that some read­ers would feel that Is­lamic Re­lief was part of the DEC ap­peal and their fear that some of the money raised by the ap­peal might end up with Ha­mas.

We are truly sorry that some read­ers were up­set as a re­sult of our de­ci­sion to carry the ad in the

Since our con­cern was humanitarian, with the in­no­cent vic­tims on all sides, we should per­haps also have run an ad ap­peal­ing for funds for the Is­raelis who suf­fer from ter­ror, along­side an ap­peal for the Pales­tinian vic­tims of Ha­mas’ ter­ror. That is why this week we are run­ning ads for two Is­raeli-fo­cused char­i­ties, again do­nated by the One is for My Is­rael, which en­ables UK donors to sup­port small Is­raeli char­i­ties. The other is for the UJIA’s Chil­dren of the South ap­peal.

The has been and re­mains en­tirely sup­port­ive of Op­er­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge. Al­most alone in the Bri­tish me­dia, the has stressed Is­rael’s right to de­fend it­self and sought to ex­plain why Is­rael was faced with no choice but to take ac­tion in Gaza. That is even more im­por­tant now that Ha­mas has re­sumed its rocket fire.

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