58 Lambast Davis: Letter in JC


By Jonathan Hoffman
November 25, 2010
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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
Jonathan Hoffman
Mike Abramov
Ralph Assor
Kay Bagon
Samuel Beilin
Naomi Benari
Malvyn Benjamin
Robin Benson
Larry Berkovitz
Adam Bernstein
Melanie Bernstein
Benjie Butler
Adam Cailler
Martin Clarke
Janet Clifford
Jon Cohen
Suzanne Cohen
Nina Collins
Richard Cooper
Tony Coren
Kenny Davidson
Marion Davis
Julie Fisher
Gerald Fox
John Fransman
Susan Fransman
Stephen Franklin
Keith Fraser
Murray Freedman
Jennifer Goldstone
Hazel Green
Sue Hadden
Jeremy Havardi
Michelle Huberman
Clive Hyman
Tony Jacobs
Michele Katz
Rubin Katz
Andrew Kemp
Yoni Kinory
Lesley Klaff
Adrian Korsner
Deanna Levine
Jack Lynes
Michael Plosker
Matt Pryor
Hilary Rubinstein
Howard Ross
Benjamin Rubin
Ruth Rubin
Jonathan Sacerdoti
Ari Soffer
Anthony Spencer
Mariel Stringer-Fehlow
Martin Sugarman
Sue Vogel

COMMENTS

telegramsam

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 17:20

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-3 points

A very interesting letter, Jonathan. Thank you for sharing it with us. But do you think it is relevant to mention Mr Netanyahu's military record. After all, Ehud Barak was also in Matkal -- he was its commander -- as were a number of left-wing Israeli politicians who have advocated the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel much more forcefully than Bibi.
The problem with Mr Netanyahu, as you are no doubt aware as someone who follows Israeli politics assiduously, is his apparent inability to decide. He is forever setting up committees to decide for him from issues of utmost importance such as the wording and target of a loyalty oath and foreign workers to the seemingly mundane, such as on competitiveness (after another committee had already delivered its findings) and on whether yeshiva students should get grants.
It is, as I am sure you are aware, a very complex situation.


Yoni1

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 17:24

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1 point

Once again with the reading comprehension issues:

"But do you think it is relevant to mention Mr Netanyahu's military record"

He was accused of cowardice. Do try harder, perhaps with a dictionary by your side.


telegramsam

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 17:33

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-3 points

Yoni1, that's very true that he was accused of cowardice and thank you for mentioning it. Perhaps I was not clear, and for that I am sorry. But just to explain again to those who are not as au fait as you are with the internal debate in Israel over Bibi's indecisiveness, he is seen as more interested in his political survival and that is perceived as a sign of weakness. Mr Davis, I believe, was referring to that as cowardice.


mattpryor

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 17:47

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2 points

Good letter Jonathan, I'm very happy to have my name beneath it.


Jeremy Havardi

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 18:17

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4 points

I entirely agree Jonathan. Bravo. Mr. Davis is so arrogant that he assumes the Israeli government's priorities are not the defence of its citizens but his feelings, to which presumably they should kow-tow! If he is getting a tough time with the anti Zionists, he should be educating them about Middle East realities, not hoping that the Jewish state will change its policies for his sake. How pathetic.

If this letter does not get published this week, please feel free to add my name to it.


jose (not verified)

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 18:18

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2 points

If Davis wants to become an Israeli politician, he should start by making Aliya and voting.

Well, keep him, please! Israeli democracy doesn't need more politician of this caliber, either from (ultra-)Left or from (ultra-)Right.

If you want to send one, choose one with a brain in working order.


amber

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 18:27

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4 points

Davis has been a fool. Just what Israel needs - yet more criticism - Imean, obviously there hasn't been enough, has there?

And to use the language of the haters, antisemites and delegitimisers (like "apartheid") is simply unforgivable.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 18:53

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1 point

If anyone wants their names added as signatories, please tell me.


Yoni1

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 19:24

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0 points

What Amber and Jeremy and Matt said.

If a little shit like Milipede supports the arrogant Davis, we already know what he is.

Do add my name also, please.


Yoni1

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 19:24

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0 points

What Amber and Jeremy and Matt said.

If a little shit like Milipede supports the arrogant Davis, we already know what he is.

Do add my name also, please.


telegramsam

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 19:34

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1 point

Has this letter been published?


telegramsam

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 20:22

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0 points

I have just seen Chief Rabbi Lord Sack's response to the kerfuffle.

"There is much to be gained by an honest debate within the Jewish community about its attitudes to Israel, so long as as it is made clear throughout that our commitment to the state and its people are unshakeable. Nothing we say should be construed as support for those who seek to delegitimise Israel's right to be or seek its destruction by force."

Seems to me that Lord Sacks is in a very nuanced way pretty much agreeing with Mick Davis. There is much to be gained by an honest debate, without throwing epithets. And obviously showing our concern for the way Israel is going is also showing our unshakeable commitment to the state and its people.
Whatever we or Israel says or does, the delegitimisers will continue to delegitimise. They'll never be satisfied. It's time to adopt and adapt the Ben-Gurion maxim -- it doesn't matter what they say, it matters what we do. And if that means both sides uttering unpleasant truths to each other, so be it. True friends act that way.


Jonathan Hoffman

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 23:19

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0 points

Yoni1, I need to know your name, send me a message


zair (not verified)

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 00:29

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-1 points

Please don't include my name, unless you need to make up numbers. Are you planning on getting some famous people?


telegramsam

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 02:28

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0 points

Yoni1, who is this Milipede of whom you speak? And from another thread, who is Roy Cropper?


Yehuda Erdman

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 03:48

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0 points

Hoffman's letter is far from balanced, but that does not seem to bother him. When someone like telegramsam tries to introduce some objectivity in to the debate and point out errors of fact, or worse still deliberate omissions in Hoffman's letter, there is a chorus of Hoffman's acolytes launching ad hominem attacks. You all need to remember that you are publishing in the JC Blog and anyone Jew and non-Jew alike can read what you write.
If Jew can not show some respect for his fellow Jew, why should we as a community expect the vast majority in this country who are non-Jewish to treat what we say and do as worthwhile?
Hoffman has attacked the very roots of Jewish philanthropy which goes back hundreds of years in this country, and is actually one of the mainstays of Judaism itself. As has been pointed out to his group in other blogs you tread on very thin ice if you accept money from some donors because they happen to line up with your political views, but denigrate others who are not supportive of your own position. Where do you draw the line and who is to judge?
The bottom line is that wether we like it or not, the policies of Israel impact on the lives of Jews everywhere in the world. Israelis often criticise what diaspora Jews have to say on a variety of topics including Israel, and this has to be a two-way street. Mick Davis was pointing out something which is actually mainstream in Israel and has been discussed openly throughout the world in all circles. That is that for the future survival of the State of Israel as a Jewish State, there must be a clear majority living and voting there who are Jews. If the partition of Israel/ Palestine does not proceed rapidly according to the two state formula, within 20 years at the most there will be an Arab majority west of the Jordan river. Davis' argument further from this is also logical, and that is that in the so called binational "solution" in which by default and arising from weak leadership from Israeli politicians Israel/ Palestine is not divided, the minority Jewish population will rule over the majority Arabs.
Taken in conjunction with the implementation of ultra-nationalist plans to marginalise Israeli Arabs, or worse still to propose as Lieberman has done the wholesale transfer of areas in Israel inside the green line to a future Palestinian state because they have an Arab majority locally, is racism pure and simple. The idea that this is a land swap to compensate for retaining large areas of the West Bank because over the last 40+ years Jews have settled there is totally unacceptable to the Palestinian side, and to the Israelis as well. Israel was always justifiably proud that Israeli Arabs are entitled to citizenship as are all minorities and creeds as was clearly stated in the Declaration of Independence of Israel.
This Knesset is very rightwing and parties with hardline views on solving the Israel / Palestine conflict , appeal strongly to the chauvinistic side of the Israeli public. In old fashioned terms, you could describe this type of approach by the leader of Yisrael Beiteinu, Lieberman as that of a demagogue. Might is not right.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 07:43

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0 points

Tspam, maybe your impaired comprehension skills prevented you to get that the following was a clear sting at Davis:

Nothing we say should be construed as support for those who seek to delegitimise Israel's right to be or seek its destruction by force.


Jonathan Hoffman

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 08:32

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-1 points

Me: "The following letter is in tomorrow's JC"

TSpam: "Has this letter been published?"

Doh!!


telegramsam

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 09:19

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1 point

Jonathan, good morning. Many thanks for pointing that out. However, as you changed the heading to correspond with the number of signatories (from 60 to 56 and lately 57) and the italicised bit introducing your letter before publication, it was unclear at first whether it had been published or not. have a very good day.


telegramsam

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 09:24

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1 point

Jose, an interesting point you raise as ever. Lord Sacks is the very embodiment of the Middle-Classed: "What do we want? Ambiguity. How do we want it? Well, it's a high nuanced argument".
It could be pointed out that what Mick Davis said might have given succour to those who seek Israel's delegitimisation. It could, equally, be argued that whatever Israel does or says will not matter to the professional delegitimisers, so Jewish leaders in this country should be free to say what they feel about Israel without fear.


zair (not verified)

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 10:39

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0 points

Yehuda @2.48, beautiful ;)


amber

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 17:31

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0 points

Great Yehuda, you now have the support of a rabid Israel hater.


Yoni1

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 18:35

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"What do we want? Ambiguity. How do we want it? Well, it's a high nuanced argument".

Just for once, I agree.

Millipede is either of the Milibands, each of them as nerdy, useless, pompous, ignorant, cowardly and totally absurd as the other.

Cropper is a character in Coronation Street.


jose (not verified)

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 18:54

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0 points

Tspam, Jewish leaders say what they want to say in this country. Now if they fear not being reelected, that is their problem.

Mick Davis compromised his reelection, but who cares now?
He didn't have to delegitimise Israel but chose to do it.


Jonathan Hoffman

Fri, 11/26/2010 - 23:45

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1 point

"Mick Davis compromised his reelection"

He is unelected - that's part of the point


jose (not verified)

Sat, 11/27/2010 - 05:36

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0 points

He is unelected - that's part of the point

So maybe he takes a revenge on the bad Jews who didn't want to elect him? That's a (childish) motivation I can understand...


Mitnaged

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 12:20

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2 points

Jonathan, well done with this. I am heartily sick of dhimmi asaJews


Mitnaged

Sun, 11/28/2010 - 12:23

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0 points

YehudaErdman, were you ever in Habonim, perhaps at the time of Tony Lerman? Your name seems familiar.

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