A word in your ear, Prime Minister

Binyamin Netanyahu is coming to the UK at the end of this month to talk to America’s Middle East special envoy and Gordon Brown. We asked prominent British Jews what they would say if they had a chance to speak to him

August 13, 2009

Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies:
“We are delighted you are coming. It is symptomatic of the very firm ties that exist between Israel and this country and we wish you every success at this momentous time.”

June Jacobs, board member of the New Israel Fund:
“You shouldn’t have Avigdor Lieberman as your foreign minister — because it’s making Israel’s image even worse. That is your first priority.”

Zalmi Unsdorfer, chairman of Likud-Herut in Britain:
“Neither Britain nor the EU has any moral authority to tell you and Israel how to run its defence and other matters. I live in Britain and we’re in a complete mess. But Israel’s economy and stock market are doing well. Not a single bank has collapsed. Every day I read about new medical discoveries, so you should not pay too much attention to the likes of Mr Miliband and the other EU leaders. You should keep doing what is in the best interests of Israel and its people.”

Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism:
“We appreciate the difficult task you have but it is imperative that settlement building is stopped so that we can all support you in your stated endeavour to advance the two-state solution.”

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet of Mill Hill Synagogue, chair of the Rabbinical Council of the US:
“Hold strong. Jerusalem is not for sale. Not now, not ever, not one part of it. We’re right behind you.”

Vanessa Feltz:
“Don’t you think that the current electoral system in Israel is flawed? Isn’t it time that you and your colleagues did something about it? With a background in marketing, can’t you do something about Israel’s image? It really is imperative that Israel works on ensuring that its PR efforts match its military prowess.”

Stephen Moss, chairman of the Movement for Reform Judaism:
“Why are you so resolutely against a more positive response on the settlement freeze when that seems to be the only way to break the current logjam?”

Loraine Warren, chair of Wizo.UK: “We would like you to increase funding for social welfare provision and carry out a review of the drastic government cuts that have been made.”

Uri Geller:
“Bibi, you’re a great leader, thank God Israel has you. I’ve followed your career for many years and I am so incredibly proud of the way you represent Israel – it does a lot of good.”

Brian Klug, co-founder of Independent Jewish Voices:
“I implore you to seize the opportunity that Obama has created for pursuing peace rather than your agenda of maintaining the occupation. Cease making speeches that alienate the Palestinian leadership — such as insisting that they recognise in advance Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state — instead of making overtures that would bring them to the negotiating table.”

Andrew Balcombe, chair of the Zionist Federation:
“I am delighted at your visit. Use the opportunity to explain your support for a two-state solution and encourage the British government to steer the Palestinians to do the same by recognising Israel as the Jewish state. In the UK, you and Israel are demonised by the media to an extent not seen elsewhere in Europe — your presence gives the opportunity to redress this.

Sir Sigmund Sternberg, founder, Three Faiths Forum:
“I must tell you that unless a settlement is agreed soon, there won’t be any peace in Israel. I am glad that you are addressing the problem and the sooner the better. Whenever I speak to leaders of the Christians and the Muslims, they ask me, when will it be settled? But it doesn’t look like soon.”

Flo Kaufmann, chair of the council of the European Jewish Congress:
“The US is of course important but there are other interlocutors and Israel must continue to expand and raise the level of engagement with the European Union. We will continue to support by calling on the European governments to implement the EU’s obligations to upgrade relations with Israel.”

Rosalind Preston, former senior vice-president of the Board of Deputies:
“If this week’s reports are true, I am sorry to hear that your government is moving to the right. It’s not the right way forward if we are to have a peaceful outcome to the conflict at long last.The conflict which has now gone on for half a century is destroying the love many people have felt for Israel. This is deeply troubling for Jews everywhere.”

What would you say to Bibi? Leave your thoughts below
Last updated: 9:18am, August 14 2009


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