The Israeli ambassador, Ron Prosor, has urged British Jews to speak out for Israel in the media.
Addressing a large audience on the penultimate day of the Limmud
education conference in Warwick University, he said: “It is important for you to stand up, especially today, when the state of Israel is unified on this issue of Gaza and make your opinion known — to the broadsheets, to television, to radio.”
Britain was an international media centre, he observed, and the public in West European countries were generally less sympathetic to Israel than their governments.
Mr Prosor said Israel had been forced to move against Hamas, “knowing very well that military operations alone don’t give you the whole solution”.
But it could not simply sit back and take repeated rocket attacks. “A nation has to stand up and say, that’s enough. We won’t take it any more. We have an obligation to defend our citizens.”
Accusing Hamas of having turned Gaza into “a totalitarian jihadist hub of terror”, he said that it could no longer be left to decide “ to create havoc and destabilise the situation” whenever it chose.
Mr Prosor said that he had been challenged by journalists over whether Israel’s response was disproportionate and over the far larger number of Palestinian victims than Israelis.
“What’s disproportionate?” he said. “Is Israel manufacturing Kassam missiles and sending them with no direction in the middle of Gaza?
“Intentions make a difference. When Hamas shoots at civilians, they shoot in order to kill as many as possible. When we go for the infrastructure of Hamas, we go for the command and control systems, the launching pads, the stockpiles they have managed in three years to upgrade to enormous amounts.”
As for numbers, he pointed out that in Afghanistan, 30,000 Taliban fighters had been killed — compared with 139 British soldiers. “Does it mean there is more superiority in the Taliban case?” he said. “The question of numbers doesn’t tell the whole story.”
With Israel facing “very tough decisions” — in a possible allusion to the threat from Iran — he said: “We need people not to point fingers at us, but to give us feeling that if something goes wrong people will come out and help us. Because the amount of problems, the risk that the state of Israel is taking on itself are enormous. The margins of error are very, very narrow. We need the feeling that someone is going to be with us.”