‘At­tacks are like Lee Rigby killing 30 times over’

Chief Rabbi and Board leader say stab­bings are as ap­palling as the mur­der of off-duty soldier in Lon­don

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTERS

BOARD OF Deputies pres­i­dent Jonathan Arkush has asked the For­eign Sec­re­tary to cur­tail Pales­tinian diplo­matic priv­i­leges if they do not con­demn vi­o­lence against Is­raelis.

Mr Arkush said he had writ­ten to Philip Ham­mond in the wake of the at­tacks in which seven Is­raelis have been killed.

Speak­ing at the Board’s monthly meet­ing, he said he had asked Mr Ham­mond “to call on the head of the Pal- es­tinian Mis­sion in Lon­don and bring home to them the dis­may felt by the cit­i­zens of the UK at the bla­tant in­cite­ment and racist talk from some in the Pales­tinian Author­ity.

“I’ve asked him to say that if their con­duct is not im­proved some diplo­matic steps should be taken, such as down­grad­ing their sta­tus.”

Mr Arkush pleaded with the Bri­tish peo­ple and me­dia to recog­nise the re­al­i­ties of the sit­u­a­tion in Is­rael. He said: “The at­tacks have been shock­ing to all of us.

“The sight of peo­ple, some­times teenagers, bran­dish­ing knives and meat cleavers, Jonathan Arkush hack­ing at peo­ple with blades, should shock ev­ery­one just as it shocked this coun­try when off-duty Bri­tish soldier, Fusilier Lee Rigby was mur­dered by ex­trem­ists on the streets of Wool­wich in 2013. “That was one at­tack; there have been 30 in Is­rael.”

Also at the Board meet­ing, former trea­surer Lau­rence Brass con­demned the Board for sup­port­ing last week’s Zion­ist Fed­er­a­tion’s # I s r a e - liLivesMat­ter protest o u t s i d e t he Pal - es­tinian Mis­sion, which he called “hare-brained” and “ill-con­ceived”. He said the hash­tag used to pro­mote the rally was “deeply of­fen­sive to those of us who weep at the loss of any life in the re­gion”.

Mr Brass ar­gued that Pales­tini­ans were not the only ones to blame for the on­go­ing vi­o­lence, crit­i­cis­ing Mr Arkush for a “grov­el­ling, syco­phan­tic” speech to Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Benyamin Ne­tanyahu in­stead of chal­leng­ing the leader over Is­raeli set­tle­ments when he vis­ited Bri­tain ear­lier this year.

The Board pres­i­dent de­fended the protest and the hash­tag, telling deputies: “I hope ev­ery­one re­mem­bers that all lives mat­ter. I deeply de­plore the loss of all lives.But we must as a Jewish com­mu­nity look at the con­text un­der which th­ese at­tacks hap­pened.”

He re­it­er­ated his de­sire to meet the di­rec­tor-gen­eral of the BBC to dis­cuss the cor­po­ra­tion’s cov­er­age of the cri­sis. He also promised to write to Sky News “to con­vey the feel­ings of the com­mu­nity to them over their re­port­ing”.

Mr Arkush wel­comed the in­ter­ven­tion of Con­ser­va­tive Friends of Is­rael chair­man, Sir Eric Pick­les, who had ac­cused the For­eign Of­fice of “turn­ing a blind eye” to Pales­tinian in­cite­ment of the at­tacks.

The former cabi­net min­is­ter said Pales­tinian so­ci­ety had been “harmed by a wide­spread cul­ture of hate” and “glo­ri­fi­ca­tion of ter­ror and vi­o­lence against Jews and Is­rael”.

Writ­ing for the Con­ser­va­tive Home web­site, Sir Eric said David Cameron had been un­equiv­o­cal in his con­dem­na­tion of in­cite­ment and vi­o­lence.

But he added: “Our Prime Min­is­ter’s clear mes­sage some­how seems to have be­come lost in trans­la­tion in the bow­els of the For­eign Of­fice, which has an al­most patho­log­i­cal de­sire to ap­pear bal­anced what­ever the cost.”

Depart­ment for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment aid should be with­drawn if the Pales­tinian Author­ity did not stop en­cour­ag­ing vi­o­lence, he said. Lord Grade said BBC’s cov­er­age was mis­lead­ing

Sir Eric was one of 200 peo­ple who at­tended a spe­cial prayer ser­vice in mem­ory of those killed in the ter­ror at­tacks and vi­o­lence in Is­rael.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis led the ser­vice in Hen­don, north-west Lon­don, on Sun­day evening amid tight se­cu­rity.

He told the au­di­ence the knife at­tacks in Is­rael were com­pa­ra­ble to the mur­der of Lee Rigby.

He­ex­tend­edthecom­mu­nity’sthanks to David Cameron and the gov­ern­ment for deal­ing with Is­rael “in a fair man­ner” and for pro­tect­ing Bri­tish Jews.

It was es­sen­tial for a ne­go­ti­ated set­tle­ment to be made in the Mid­dle East to achieve peace, the Chief Rabbi said, dur­ing an emo­tional ad­dress.

He­cit­edthe­caseof Ma­gen David Adom para­medic Ilan Klein who has saved a num­ber of Is­raeli lives and also saved a Pales­tinian ter­ror­ist who was shot af­ter car­ry­ing out a knife at­tack.

“That’s the Jewish way, that’s the Is­raeli way,” Rabbi Mirvis said.

Mean­while, former BBC chair­man Lord Grade has crit­i­cised the cor­po­ra­tion’s re­port­ing of the cri­sis. He wrote to the BBC’s di­rec­tor of news and cur­rent af­fairs, James Hard­ing, to say cov­er­age had at times been mis­lead­ing and failed to give con­text to what he called an “un­doubt­edly com­plex is­sue”.

Lord Grade, the nephew of the late Jewish show­busi­ness im­pre­sario Lew Grade, said the BBC had failed to “ful­fil its obli­ga­tion to view­ers” by not show­ing Pales­tinian Author­ity of­fi­cials prais­ing the at­tacks.

His com­plaint was prompted by a broad­cast by cor­re­spon­dent Orla Guerin. He said her re­port had im­plied “equiv­a­lence be­tween Is­raeli vic­tims of ter­ror­ism and Pales­tini­ans who have been killed by Is­raeli se­cu­rity forces in the act of car­ry­ing out ter­ror at­tacks”.

It is be­lieved that the BBC h a s n o t re­sponded.

‘The sight of peo­ple bran­dis­ing knives and meat cleavers is shock­ing’

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