Jewish community attacks government on Goldstone

By Jessica Elgot, November 5, 2009
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The UK Jewish community has explicitly criticised Britain’s position on the Goldstone Report, in an unprecedented move.

In a joint statement issued by the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies, British Jews expressed their dismay over the lack of action by the British government regarding the report, which is being debated at the UN General Assembly today.

Their statement demanded nothing less than a ‘No’ vote by Britain at the UN, calling the report “a sustained political attack upon Israel”.

The Jewish community has been lobbying Foreign Secretary David Miliband to speak out against the findings of the UN report, but, so far, the government has refused to be drawn on the issue.

At the UN Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva last month, the British delegate did not even vote on a resolution calling for the Goldstone findings to be endorsed, despite pleas from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The statement from the community reads: “We have impressed upon them [the British government]. in the strongest possible terms. that this is a matter of principle. As such nothing less than a principled vote against the resolution will do. 

“We think the government position, however well-intentioned, is wrong. Events in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council confirmed our fears that the progress of the report within the UN contributes to the ongoing delegitimisation of Israel.

“It is presented by her enemies as an endorsement of Goldstone and an accusation of guilt by the UN regardless of the specific text of any resolution.

“We have consistently made it clear to the government that anything other than principled balanced opposition, by voting no in New York, will undermine those Israeli voices calling for an independent investigation, thus harming the very outcome the government says that they wish to promote.

“The Goldstone resolutions amount to a sustained political attack upon Israel at the UNHRC and General Assembly, quite unlike anything that other member states are subjected to.

“We wrote in these terms to the Foreign Secretary earlier this week and are pressing him for a substantive reply in advance of any vote.”

The Foreign Office is yet to comment on the letter it received from the Board and the JLC.

Last updated: 4:42pm, November 5 2009