The Board of Deputies must speak out against racism in Jerusalem

THIS CAMPAIGN IS NOW CLOSED. YOU CAN FIND THE WORDING OF THE LETTER BELOW

 

Today is Yom Yerushalayim and we’re witnessing an unleashing of violence and racism on the streets of Jerusalem.

Evictions of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah that were planned for this past week, through the utilisation of a discriminatory law that allows Jews only to reclaim property rights pre-1948, has sparked a series of protests and counter protest. Elected Israeli officials have gone out of their way to stoke racial tension and hatred.

At time of writing, the March of the Flags, the infamous ultra nationalist march that takes place through the Old City on Yom Yerushalayim, is still scheduled to go ahead today, despite warnings from the security establishment in Israel that it will most likely make the situation worse.

Yet the silence from Anglo Jewry’s leadership is deafening.

If the Board of Deputies never said anything about Israel, one might understand the silence. But, on our behalf, claiming to represent Anglo Jewry, the organisation regularly passes comment about Israel. On that basis, it would not be unreasonable for others to conclude that their failure to condemn the actions of the past week means that somehow, they condone them.

Leadership is about taking brave and bold steps and leading from the front. There is nothing brave or bold about silence in the face of unchecked racism.

Demand the Board of Deputies speak out against racism in Jerusalem

 

 

To the newly elected president of the Board of Deputies,

This past week we have witnessed unprecedented violence and racism in the holy city of Jerusalem, including at the holy Muslim site of Al-Aqsa.  Elected Israeli officials – those in positions of leadership in the Knesset and in Jerusalem – have gone out of their way to stoke and inflame racial tension and hatred.

Just a few days ago, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem stood next to Member of Knesset Itamar Ben Gvir in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where settlers are using discriminatory laws to try and evict Palestinians from their homes, and shouted at a Palestinian that he wished he had been shot in the head.

Far right nationalists have marched through the city harassing Palestinians and chanting “death to the Arabs”. Israel’s security establishment have warned the Israeli government that the nationalist March of the Flags through the Old City on Jerusalem Day should be cancelled because it is likely to inflame tensions further, yet so far, the Israeli government has not heeded this advice.

Imagine if the tables were turned: if fundamentalist Palestinians in Jerusalem were trying to force Jews out of their homes and were harassing them in their neighbourhoods. Imagine the violation of the sanctity of Jewish religious spaces with violence, rubber bullets and stun grenades, whilst elected Palestinian officials stood on street corners in Jerusalem and told Jews they wish they had been shot in the head. Or if large angry mobs marched through the streets shouting “death to Israelis”. You would have no qualms about issuing a public statement of condemnation, which would be entirely justified.

But now, your silence is deafening.

If you never said anything about Israel, we would accept your silence. But you choose to constantly pass comment. You cannot blame others if they draw the conclusion that your failure to condemn this behaviour, means that you condone it.

We will not stand by whilst you claim to represent us yet have nothing to say about unchecked racism and incitement out of the mouths of Israeli officials. The Board of Deputies cannot credibly claim to be anti-racist as long as you refuse to condemn this racism on the streets of Jerusalem.

If you wish to maintain your credibility as a representative anti-racist Jewish organisation, the time to speak out is now.

Signed,

This past week we have witnessed unprecedented violence and racism in the holy city of Jerusalem, including at the holy Muslim site of Al-Aqsa.  Elected Israeli officials – those in positions of leadership in the Knesset and in Jerusalem – have gone out of their way to stoke and inflame racial tension and hatred.

Just a few days ago, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem stood next to Member of Knesset Itamar Ben Gvir in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where settlers are using discriminatory laws to try and evict Palestinians from their homes, and shouted at a Palestinian that he wished he had been shot in the head.

Far right nationalists have marched through the city harassing Palestinians and chanting “death to the Arabs”. Israel’s security establishment have warned the Israeli government that the nationalist March of the Flags through the Old City on Jerusalem Day should be cancelled because it is likely to inflame tensions further, yet so far, the Israeli government has not heeded this advice.

Imagine if the tables were turned: if fundamentalist Palestinians in Jerusalem were trying to force Jews out of their homes and were harassing them in their neighbourhoods. Imagine the violation of the sanctity of Jewish religious spaces with violence, rubber bullets and stun grenades, whilst elected Palestinian officials stood on street corners in Jerusalem and told Jews they wish they had been shot in the head. Or if large angry mobs marched through the streets shouting “death to Israelis”. You would have no qualms about issuing a public statement of condemnation, which would be entirely justified.

But now, your silence is deafening.

If you never said anything about Israel, we would accept your silence. But you choose to constantly pass comment. You cannot blame others if they draw the conclusion that your failure to condemn this behaviour, means that you condone it.

We will not stand by whilst you claim to represent us yet have nothing to say about unchecked racism and incitement out of the mouths of Israeli officials. The Board of Deputies cannot credibly claim to be anti-racist as long as you refuse to condemn this racism on the streets of Jerusalem.

If you wish to maintain your credibility as a representative anti-racist Jewish organisation, the time to speak out is now.

Signed,

 

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