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It’s not just #IsraeliLivesMatter:
an open letter to the Board of Deputies and the Zionist Federation

12 October 2015

This letter is from active British Jews to the organisations that purport to speak on our behalf.

In the last few days there has been a seemingly endless amount of sad news reaching us from Israel: from the murder of Eitam and Naama Henkin, who were shot dead whilst driving home with their children, to the numerous stabbings of Israelis up and down the country. Alongside this very real and horrific violence that has been visited upon Jewish citizens of Israel, there have been a number of Palestinians assaulted in revenge attacks by Israeli Jews, in addition to at least 13 Palestinians killed in demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza, including four young teenagers.*

Now is the time for people across the world to stand together in unity, and call for peace in the region, condemning all violence as counter-productive, evil and a chilul hashem (a desecration of the name of the Eternal One). To take what are presented as as uniquely Jewish troubles and lay them at the door of the Palestinian Mission in London creates a wholly unnecessary ‘Us vs Them’ narrative, which cannot possibly foster the good relations necessary for peace.

When Jewish organisations, who claim to represent the voice of British Jewry, say only that “#IsraeliLivesMatter”, it shames us as people who care about the lives of everyone in the region. When Jewish organisations use the loss of human life to pursue a political agenda, they tarnish our reputation as an ethical people. Our texts tell us that any loss of life is like the end of a world. Death, then, is not the basis for a campaign: especially a campaign which appropriates and offensively belittles the #BlackLivesMatter slogan on which it is (ironically) based.

To ‘protest the incitement and commemorate the victims’, solely in the framework of the importance of Israeli lives, itself incites hatred towards Palestinians, and shows no empathy towards their losses. As people who believe we are all made b’tzelem Elohim (in the image of the Eternal One), whether Palestinian or Israeli, Jew or Arab, this is unacceptable.

British Jewish organisations have an overriding responsibility to protect the interests of British Jews. Undertaking actions likely to inflame other communities and increase ethnic tensions on the streets of this country is not consonant with that responsibility. Positive dialogue is always a better way forward than hostile demonstrations.

Prime Minister Netanyahu felt able to condemn the violence on both sides; President Rivlin has condemned anti-Arab and anti-Muslim hate as strongly as anti-Semitism; and they are both right to do so. We are still waiting for our own communal leaders to show the same maturity.

Yours faithfully,
Your constituents and members:

To sign this letter yourself, use the ‘Contact’ box below.

  1. Annie Levy
  2. Miriam Sanderson
  3. Louis Patterson
  4. Zach Confino
  5. Ruth Steinman
  6. Ariel Moshe
  7. Rachel Rose
  8. Tarne Fidler
  9. Sara Moon
  10. Sally Mazur Trelease
  11. Claire Samuel
  12. Hannah Gaventa
  13. Baruch Solomon
  14. Sam Greene
  15. Cara Black
  16. Stephen Shashoua
  17. Imogen Resnick
  18. Lizzie Lewis
  19. Chloe Barget
  20. Claire Andreani
  21. William Cohen
  22. Morgan Sands
  23. Jamie Herman
  24. Linda Cooke
  25. Michael Goldin
  26. Ellie Lawson
  27. Ronne Randall
  28. Lily Aarons
  29. Anthony Tricot
  30. Amelia Viney
  31. Anna Posner
  32. Ben Combe
  33. Sam Kaplan
  34. Elliott Karstadt
  35. Graham Carpenter
  36. Isi Bogod
  37. Nathan Feldman
  38. Sofi Shall
  39. Natasha Spreadborough
  40. Cameno Luder
  41. Sandra Webber
  42. Tom Francies
  43. Daniel Vulkan
  44. Lucie Webber
  45. Roger Winfield
  46. Rivka Gottleib
  47. Jessica Weiss
  48. Daisy Bogod
  49. Jordan Marsh
  50. Ben Reiff
  51. Hayden Cohen
  52. Rachel Reid
  53. Robert Simmons
  54. Helen Goldhill
  55. Naomi Magnus
  56. Ben Young
  57. Rhea Wolfson
  58. Jess Lishak
  59. Tara Dein
  60. Sophie Ross
  61. Jacob Swirsky
  62. Miriam Sanderson
  63. Mia Bogod
  64. Abi Preston
  65. Sam Cohen
  66. Ben Blausten
  67. Nic Schlagman
  68. Gideon Smith
  69. Hannah Stephenson
  70. Joanna Sutton-Klein
  71. Sarah Levy
  72. Tracey Grant
  73. Joshua Alston
  74. Howard Webber
  75. Alex Goldhill
  76. Jerome Cox-Strong
  77. Jon Freedman
  78. Dan Hadary
  79. Becky Penhey
  80. Elliott Kindler
  81. Kerry Lambeth
  82. Joshua Lewis
  83. Gabriel Webber
  84. Gavriella Morris
  85. Douglas Blausten
  86. Ella Grodzinski
  87. Hannah Kashman
  88. Mikha’el Wade
  89. Adam Lawton
  90. Tamara Stanton
  91. Joseph Finlay
  92. Natan Janner-Klausner
  93. Daniel Susser
  94. Deborah Blausten
  95. Yoni Higgsmith
  96. Teddy Janoff
  97. Shira Conradi
  98. Hannah Swirsky
  99. Michael Rosefield
  100. Tori Wolkind
  101. Ethan Axelrod
  102. Joel Salmon
  103. Jess Lichtenstern
  104. Joe Millis
  105. Maytal Kuperard
  106. Ben Rapaport
  107. Sara Marshall
  108. Rachel Goldhill
  109. Marlene Winfield
  110. Nichola Baker
  111. Daniel Thomas
  112. David Bash
  113. Joe Glyn-Davies
  114. Emily Hilton
  115. Nicholas Shinder
  116. Aaron Simons
  117. Marcus Schneebalg
  118. Ben Wright
  119. Gabie Reiff
  120. Max Rebuck
  121. Amitai Landau-Pope
  122. Sarah Smith
  123. Alla Kartalova
  124. Emma Livingston
  125. Daniel Rosenberg
  126. Jack Adler
  127. Angela Gluck
  128. Y. Y. Ben-Daniel
  129. Simon Grossobel
  130. Jennifer O’Toole
  131. Miriam McGrath
  132. Patricia Kerbellec
  133. Jessica Goldstone
  134. Daniel Heller
  135. Ben Millis
  136. Adam Zinkin
  137. Micah Gold
  138. Lara Atkin
  139. Ibi Itkin
  140. Pauline Levis
  141. Ruvi Ziegler
  142. Susanna Rosenberg (Kester)
  143. Larry Shulman
  144. Abbie Goldman-Senior
  145. Edie Friedman
  146. Anna Isaacs
  147. Nicci Shall
  148. Sara Bensusan
  149. Howard Cooper
  150. Simone Abel
  151. Aaron Drapkin
  152. Lara Kroll
  153. Carla Hawkins
  154. Mike Morrison
  155. Francesca Klug

*Since this letter opened for signature, events have, of course, developed. At time of writing (11 October 2015, 11pm) the total effect of attacks which took place during October has been: 4 Israeli Jews killed and 21 injured; and 4 Palestinians injured. Of Palestinian perpetrators, 1 was injured, 8 killed, 10 arrested and 2 fled; and 1 Jewish perpetrator has been arrested. (source)

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