By Simon Rocker
August 6, 2009
In yesterday’s Guardian Antony Lerman had a crack at Israel’s controversial Foreign Minister and leader of the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party, Avigdor Lieberman.
Among other things, he wrote: “In the UK, Jewish leaders have been silent on the dangers he represents. Have we heard a peep out of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks on the subject?”
But what’s this from the JC six months ago, headlined “Lieberman’s success horrifies UK leaders”.
Here’s Simon Hochhauser, president of the United Synagogue, “I think his views are appalling.”
And Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, senior rabbi of the Masorti movement: [Yisrael Beiteinu’s platform is] "more than disturbing, it is horrifying. It seems to me a betrayal of values of the Declaration of Independence which offers a very explicit vision of equality for all the citizens of Israel.”
And Rabbi Tony Bayfield, head of the Reform Movement, “Lieberman is the worst and most unpleasant manifestation of a right-wing nationalism by people who have given up hope about being able to do a deal with the Arab population.”
And Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism, was worried that “some of his reported views could threaten the stability of an Israel in which the Arab minority can thrive”.
And Rosalind Preston, a former vice-president of the Board of Deputies, who was “deeply troubled that a Zionist state that was set up full of noble ideals should at this stage be prepared to vote in an extreme nationalist party. If they came into power, the chances of having a peaceful future, not only within Israel itself but with its neighbours, becomes even more unlikely.”