That's democracy

May 24, 2012

It is difficult to admire Avigdor Lieberman. He holds views which many British Jews find, to say the least, difficult. He appears certain to be indicted for corruption. He behaves as if his political mission is to create enemies rather than allies for Israel.

Indeed, this newspaper has consistently opposed what he stands for (which no doubt explains his bizarre inclusion on Tuesday of the JC in his list of the UK's anti-Israel media). It is perfectly appropriate for organisations which represent our community to criticise him and his party.

But whatever views one holds of him, he is the democratically-elected foreign minister of Israel. In that capacity he is not just entitled to be treated with respect; he should be an honoured visitor to these shores. So it is all the more misconceived that the Reform Movement should attack the JNF simply for hosting him, and should effectively demand that he never be allowed to address British Jews.

It is one thing to attack the JNF for perceived problems with its behaviour in Israel. But it is preposterous to attack the JNF for inviting the Israeli foreign minister, who is welcome in the chancelleries of Europe, to come to the UK. Reform is growing fast within our community. Its behaviour over this unsavoury incident within Anglo-Jewry indicates that it has some way to go before it can claim to speak with authority

Last updated: 3:30pm, May 24 2012