By Jonathan Hoffman
November 25, 2010
The following letter is in tomorrow's JC, signed by 58 people (nb some of the signatures were received after the deadline for submission of letters). It has been edited for length. In particular the final paragraph ("And if Israel's policies .... never elected in the first place") has been cut.
"Most of Mick Davis’ reported comments were either incoherent or indicative of a breathtaking lack of knowledge and understanding. To imply as he did that only the Left is concerned about minority issues is ludicrous, as is suggesting there is no strategy in Israel (is he even aware of Bibi’s speech at Bar Ilan in June 2009?) and suggesting that anything short of a Palestinian state amounts to “apartheid”. His accusation that Bibi lacks courage is shameful, given the widespread support in Israel for the government and Bibi’s distinguished service in the elite Sayeret Matkal unit of the IDF (and loss of a brother in Operation Entebbe).
But the crassest comment was to suggest that Netanyahu’s policies have as much impact on Davis - sitting in London - as on Jews in Israel . We were not aware that Hampstead is within target of Iranian or Hamas missiles, nor that its residents have to send their children to defend the Jewish State for three years. However much philanthropists give to Israel , it is a thriving democracy and they cannot buy political control, just as donors to Universities cannot buy academic control. We are not shareholders in Xstrata (the mining company which Davis heads). Are we entitled to a say in its policies? Of course not. If Davis wants to become an Israeli politician, he should start by making Aliya and voting.
And if Israel ’s policies make Davis uncomfortable at the golf club, let him acquire the knowledge and pride to defend a democracy under fire. If he is unwilling, he is not fit to be a communal leader and should resign (unfortunately he cannot be voted out as he was never elected in the first place)."
Lady Valerie Cocks
Sir Ivan Lawrence QC