Friday, March 13, 2015

Whose idea was it to have an anti-Zionist and a Muslim Brotherhood supporter put Israel's case to the Cambridge Union?

Jewish Chronicle, 13 March 2015: Note the words of student Alex Davis
Last week Cambridge University Union debated the motion "Israel is a rogue state". The motion passed easily (51% voted in favour, 19% against, and 30% abstained).That is both astonishing and depressing to Israel supporters. Of even more concern is the fact that, while the main speaker for the motion was the very experienced and obsessive anti-Israel propagandist Norman Finkelstein, the Israel 'case' was made by two people whose 'support' for Israel is at the very best ambivalent:
  1. Hannah Weisfeld, the leader of the anti-Zionist Yachad - which is still trying to con British Jews into thinking it is pro-Israel, even though all the evidence suggests that they fully support the motion that their leader was supposed to be arguing against.
  2. Vivien Wineman, the useless and discredited Chairman of the Board of Deputies who has devoted his leadership of the Board to developing ties with the Muslim Council of Britain (which is the official Muslim Brotherhood organisation in the UK) and to stopping pro-Israel speakers from coming to the UK.
It's a bit like choosing a Dalek and a Cyberman to make a toast to Doctor Who. And irrespective  of their views, Weisfeld and Wineman are also both appalling speakers as anybody who has had the misfortune to hear them will know. It is difficult to imagine a more striking example of how the so-called Jewish leadership in the UK is failing the vast majority of British Jews; unlike Weisfeld and Wineman they are strong supporters of Israel and know that failure to properly support Israel (and counter the propaganda lies against it) is fuelling the rise in antisemitism.

I really would like to know how either of these goons got selected to make the case for Israel. Was it the Cambridge University Jewish Society? Did nobody raise any concerns? The result of the debate (which interestingly was a complete reversal of a similar motion in 2010) shows what a bad decision it was. But don't take it from me. In the words of history student Alex Davis* who was there:
"Many Cambridge students felt frustrated by the inability of some of the speakers to argue effectively in defence of Israel"

These are desperate times for British Jewry. Wherever you look for leadership and support (the Board, the JLC, UJIA, and both Jewish newspapers) there is an increasing dominance by a small unrepresentative clique who are eager to throw Israel under the bus and appease her enemies. Even BICOM is not immune to this, while the ZF continues to be timid and reactive, rather than strong and proactive.

*Alex Davis has since written an article for the JC about the meeting - see comments on this article. I was certainly not impressed

Update: Daphne Anson has provided the full video linl: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjkivkkZYNo It is truly woeful. Listening to Weisfeld it really is difficult to know whether she is speaking for or against the motion. She actually does a very good job for the Palestinians. As for Wineman - well I've seen him give this kind of presentation before and it is weak and defensive; you would have thought someone would have told him by now that it is not actually helpful to our case to stress that Palestinians regard Jews as invaders and aliens to the land.

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8 comments:

amie said...

Absolutely spot on. My thoughts entirely when I read the report: poor speakers whose support for Israel is highly compromised, with friends like these.. and who the hell chose them?

Daphne Anson said...

I've linked to this excellent post, Edgar. Ben White chortled about the results the day after the debate (I've linked to that too) - I could not believe my eyes when I saw who was on the panel.

Anonymous said...

How many times can the community call on Douglas Murray to provide a robust response . Instead we get these two clowns

Edgar Davidson said...

There are plenty in the Jewish 'leadership' who think Douglas Murray is 'too right wing'. Remember these are the guys who actually campaigned (successfully) to stop some of the best pro-Israel speakers in the world coming to the UK (Spencer and Geller) and when they could not stop the ZF from bringing another one into the UK (Mordechai Keder) they managed to stop almost all his planned talks (including every school talk).

Daphne Anson said...

Full video up at last, Edgar, should you be in a masochistic mood: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjkivkkZYNo

Alex Davis said...

Hi all. You might be interested in my piece in the JC reviewing the debate and wider problems with Israel advocacy in this country:
http://www.thejc.com/comment-and-debate/comment/132133/this-house-believes-its-time-wake

If you want to get in touch, tweet me @Alex_Davis95

Edgar Davidson said...

Daphne

Thanks for this. I just watched most of it. It is much worse than I imagined. Listening to Wiesfeld it really is difficult to know whether she is speaking for or against the motion. She actually does a very good job for the Palestinians. As for Wineman - well I've seen him give this kind of presentation before and it is weak and defensive; you would have thought someone would have told him by now that it is not actually helpful to our case to stress that Palestinians regard Jews as invaders and aliens to the land.

Edgar Davidson said...

Alex

Before I watched the video that Daphne linked to I felt that, to be brutally honest, your article was rather poor (but very typical of the articles the JC likes to publish). What you are essentially saying is that the way to combat the anti-Israel antisemites is to adopt the failed Yachad approach of 'admitting that Israel is really bad but maybe not bad enough to be called rogue and have to be destroyed completely'. After watching the video - and Wiesfeld's disgraceful performance (it is difficult to know whether she is speaking for or against the motion) I now see that your article is worse than just poor.

Hope you read this - I don't do twitter.