The Jewish community in Britain seems to be over the moon. A survey that was published a few days ago suggests that British Jews are nothing but ‘peace lovers’. The Guardian was also quick to report that 77% of “British Jews favour a ‘two-state solution’ in Israel”.
In practice, this actually means that at least 77% of British Jews believe that millions of dispossessed Palestinians should continue to dwell in refugee camps and never be allowed to their homes, cities, and villages. I am actually far from impressed with British Jewry’s inclination towards peace.
Professor Dan McGowan pointed out recently that Israel and Palestine are in fact “one country with one water system, one electrical grid, one monetary system, one telephone system and one postal system. It is already one state, although half the population has lesser rights or none at all.” Bearing McGowan’s insight, I wonder what drives 77% of British Jews? Why don’t they really welcome Palestinian people to return to their land and enjoy exactly the same civil rights British Jews celebrate in the UK?
But a further question must be raised here. What is it that qualifies British Jews or any other Diaspora Jews to interfere or engage so closely with the fate of millions of Palestinians?
As it happens the Survey provides us with more devastating news. At the time we were devastated to find out that 94% of the Israelis supported the IDF’s murderous tactics at the time of Operation Cast Lead. As this new survey clearly reveals, the lack of ethics in British Jewry is far more concerning. Eighteen months after the massacre in Gaza and a year after the UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict found Israel guilty of numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity, nearly three quarters (72%) of British Jews agreed that Israel’s action in Gaza in 2008 and 2009 was “a legitimate act of self-defence”. I believe that in practice this means that 7 out of 10 British Jews support Israeli war crimes and somehow dismiss the finding of a UN Fact Finding Mission. This is pretty scary.
The study, which was carried out by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, (JPR) found that Jews in Britain strongly identify with Israel, with nine out of 10 having visited the country. JPR’s executive director, Jonathan Boyd, said: “Fundamentally, we found that most Jews feel a strong sense of connection to Israel, and for many it forms an important, and even central part of their Jewish identity.”
For many years I have argued that within the Jewish secular discourse there is no ideological or spiritual dichotomy between the Israeli, the Jew and the Zionist. It is probably impossible to determine where the Zionist ends and the Jew starts. And yet, the notion that in Britain there is a minority community, the overwhelming majority of whom, support war crimes is pretty shocking, especially considering the devastating fact that every political party in this country is bankrolled by different shades of the ‘Friends of Israel.’
In comparison I wonder how the British public would react if they find out that 72% of the Muslim community supported the killings in Mumbai, 7/7 or 9/11. I guess that we all know the answer.