JNF head attacks Mick Davis over Israel

The chairman of JNF UK, Samuel Hayek, has launched a withering attack on Jewish Leadership Council chief Mick Davis for criticising the Israeli government and for his “wretched armchair Zionist leadership”.

Contrasting the JLC head’s “comfortable” residence in the diaspora with the terror faced by Israelis, he argues that Mr Davis should put his energy into supporting the Jewish state rather than challenging its elected leaders.

Mr Hayek says in an essay in today’s JC that while Mr Davis is entitled to his opinions on Israel, he should not express them as JLC leader. “His position calling for Israeli concessions is once again centred entirely around the notion that as a leader of diaspora Jewry he has a right — even a duty — to weigh in on the decisions of Israel’s democratically elected government. This sense of entitlement is… offensive.”

In recent months, Mr Davis has voiced concern about the stance of Israel’s leaders over the peace process in the left-wing Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz.

“To date, few have publicly taken issue with this wretched armchair Zionist leadership approach,” Mr Hayek says.

“But I believe that this silence, particularly on the part of the grassroots of our community, comes more from a place of contempt or disinterest in the opinions of self-appointed, outspoken leaders rather than out of a sense of agreement with them.”

Three years ago, the JNF quit the JLC amid mutual recriminations, with Mr Hayek protesting at the council’s Israel policy and the JLC accusing the JNF of failing to contribute to its anti-boycott campaign.

Mr Davis had not commented at the time of going to press.

Last updated: 4:45pm, March 13 2014