Anti-Occupation Jews blockade lecture by 'extremist' pro-settlement group in London

Na'amod protested when a director of Regavim addressed the UK Lawyers For Israel


Anti-Occupation Jews blockaded a controversial lecture by a “Jewish extremist” pro-settlement organisation held in London.

Regavim has been criticised for its policy of pursuing legal action against all construction undertaken by Palestinian or Bedouin communities in the West Bank which lack official Israeli permits.

The group has also spearheaded demolitions of Palestinian villages and, as has been widely reported in the Israeli press, supports the appropriation of West Bank land legally held by Arabs.

One of its directors, Naomi Linder Kahn, addressed a meeting coordinated by UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) on Sunday at a community centre in Kentish Town, North London, which was protested by around 25 activists from Na’amod, a campaign group founded last year to oppose the Occupation.

The event itself was due to take place in September – but was rescheduled after public pressure.

Protestors sang Hebrew songs and heard speeches from British Jews who “have spent time in villages under threat of demolition,” a Na’amod spokesman said.

Na’amod protester Josh Cohen said: “The decision by UK Lawyers for Israel to welcome a far-right organisation to the UK demonstrates the depths of the moral crisis in our community when it comes to the occupation.

“Regavim doesn’t just support the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Israel and the West Bank, it is actively involved in efforts to make this happen.”

Na’amod is a movement of British Jews seeking to end communal support for the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land.

In October, Regavim was condemned as a group of “Jewish extremists” by Yachad, a UK-based group campaigning for a two-state solution.

Yachad also said it was “disappointed” that UKLFI chose to host the group, pointing to the homophobic and anti-LGBT politics of its co-founder, Israeli MK Bezalel Smotrich.

It is understood a number of pro-Palestinian groups also held demonstrations outside the community centre in Kentish Town.

In a statement, UKLFI said: “Naomi Linder Kahn gave an intelligent and interesting talk, in which she explained that Regavim has pursued legal action only in a few selected cases of illegal construction, representing a small proportion of the problem, and these have been both within the Green Line and in the West Bank.

“She also noted that Regavim not only addresses illegal construction, but also illegal car and rubbish dumping, which pollutes the aquifers, soil and atmosphere, as well as the destruction of archaeological sites.

"She said that Regavim takes steps against Jewish as well as Palestinian and Bedouin violators, to ensure that vital resources are conserved for the benefit of all inhabitants.”

The group distanced itself from Mr Smotrich, saying “the UKLFI Charitable Trust does not endorse and abhors any form of homophobia and racism”.

Regavim said being labelled a “far-right group” it was “wildly subjective and pejorative”.

A spokesperson added: “We are Zionist, yes. We are nationalist, yes. We advocate equal and universal law enforce. What is far right about that?

“Furthermore, the libellous statement that we support appropriation of any land legally held by anyone is ridiculous, unfounded, and 100 per cent against our entire raison d’etre.

“We champion uncompromising adherence to the law by all parties.”

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