He's at it again: Sir Mick hits out at Israel for failing its defenders


Sir Mick Davis, the chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, has said that the Israeli government's actions are hindering the fight against the boycott.

Writing in a "personal capacity" for the American-based Jewish web magazine Tablet, he said that the failure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's administration to make progress towards a two-state solution was damaging the ability of diaspora Jews to defend the country.

He dismissed the current anti-boycott strategy as "putting our fingers deeper into our own ears while shouting louder".

The Israeli government, he said, should cease "new settlement activity"; repatriate settlers living outside the main West Bank Jewish settlement blocs who would voluntarily move back to Israel; help support new infrastructure programmes to provide water and electricity in the West Bank and Gaza; and discuss with the Palestinians steps to advance free movement and economic investment in the West Bank.

Sir Mick, who has criticised Israeli governments in the past, said that "what Israel does or does not do also has an enormous impact on our ability within Jewish communities to fight its corner, make the case for Israel and win the struggle against BDS… Israel has simply not done enough and the consequences of that failure are enormous and growing".

In a withering condemnation of some anti-boycott campaigns in North America, he said that these were "incapable of succeeding - like appointing a right-wing Evangelical Christian Zionist to lead the fight against BDS in the left-liberal heartland of American university campuses".

Sir Mick said that the aim of the BDS movement was Israel's destruction as a Jewish state and accused the Palestinian leadership of "devising new ways to vilify Israel and the Israelis".

The latest wave of violence against Israelis, he declared, was a "chilling reminder that incitement and extremism remain the major obstacle to peace".

But it was now clear that the status quo could not be maintained. "The conflict cannot be 'managed'," he argued. "It is impossible to calibrate an inherently unstable equilibrium and it is cynical that both sides in this conflict have attempted to do this for such a long period of time."

Unless Israel advanced a two-state vision, he warned: "Palestinian turmoil will only serve to increase the relevance and momentum of the BDS movement in the West".

Board of Deputies president Jonathan Arkush described Sir Mick's remarks as "somewhat controversial".

He added: "Mick has made it clear that they represent his personal views. I have my own views, of course, but as a communal leader I do not always have the luxury of expressing them.

"The role of a leader is to give voice to the broad consensus in the community and as president of the Board that is what I seek to do. "Expressing personal opinions, especially when they are controversial, is liable to detract from a leadership role and from acceptance on the part of those you are leading, so I prefer to avoid it."

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