Leaders back Mick Davis after ‘unprovoked' JNF chief attack

A group of communal figures has condemned the attack on Jewish Leadership Council chairman Mick Davis made by JNF UK head Samuel Hayek.

In a JC article last week, Mr Hayek lambasted “this wretched armchair Zionist leadership”, saying that Mr Davis should support the Israeli government rather than publicly criticise it over the peace process.

But a letter signed by 15 people, including 10 members of the JLC’s council, denounced Mr Hayek’s “unprovoked personal attack”.

Mr Davis, they wrote, had “dedicated time and resource to fight those who delegitimise the state of Israel and has long been an instrumental supporter of organisations which counter the BDS [boycott] movement.

“He leads from the front and we know, from personal experience, how the community benefits from his leadership.”

In his article, Mr Hayek suggested that silence among grass-roots British Jews reflected contempt for the “opinions of self-appointed, outspoken leaders”.

But the supporters of Mr Davis said he had “never purported to speak in anything other than his personal capacity”.

The JLC council member signatories were: UJIA chairman Bill Benjamin; Community Security Trust chairman Gerald Ronson; Jewish Care chairman Steven Lewis; World Jewish Relief chairman James Libson; JLC trustee Leo Noe; Wizo UK chair Jill Shaw; Bicom chairman Edward Misrahi; Leeds Jewish Representative Council chairman Simon Jackson; Maccabi GB chairman Michael Ziff; and Jonathan Goldstein, chairman of Partnerships for Jewish Schools.

The letter was also signed by New Israel Fund chairman Nicholas Saphir; former UJIA chief executive Douglas Krikler; Conservative MP Richard Harrington; Lee Petar, founding partner of communications company Tetra Strategy; and Kate Bearman, a member of the JLC’s political oversight group.

Last updated: 5:45pm, March 20 2014