Anti-Zionists launch new group

The launch of a Jewish organisation dedicated to isolating Israel in the international community has been criticised by Zionist groups.

The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) unveiled its aims in London last week.

Its charter states a desire "to help widen [the] cracks [in Zionism], until the wall comes down and Israel is as isolated as was apartheid South Africa".

Working in partnership with groups including Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods,

IJAN wants to increase Jewish anti-Zionist activity on campuses and promote cultural work expressing resistance to Israel and Zionism. IJAN's co-ordinator, Michael Kalmanovitz, said: "We believe that Palestinian people must have the right of return given the deliberate, planned ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Zionists over the last 60 years.

"We totally oppose the idea that Israel is a Jewish homeland."

But Gavin Gross, director of public affairs of the Zionist Federation, said: "These people represent the minuscule, extreme, far-left lunatic fringe of the Jewish community.

"Many would argue that they have deep psychological issues about their Jewish identity. Sensible people will simply ignore them."

Brian Klug of Independent Jewish Voices said IJV would not co-operate with the new group. "We have nothing to do with them. I do not think they are the product of anything IJV have done. IJV is a network of individuals and is not an anti-Zionist group," he said.

"They are just another expression of this tendency to speak out more publicly against the mainstream trend of defending Israel - regardless of what the state does."

A Board of Deputies spokesman said: "The suggestion that the group intends to organise ‘a popular tribunal' to ‘expose' Zionist institutions simply sounds like a kangaroo court to target any Jewish communal organisation that they disagree with."

IJAN's first public meeting will take place in Camden, North-West London, on October 24.

    Last updated: 4:35pm, October 13 2009