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Silence over the settlements

    Israel’s planned settlement expansion east of Jerusalem — in retaliation for the UN’s upgrade of the Palestinians’ status — provoked a predictably strong international reaction.

    And it elicited a predictable reaction, too, from the Board of Deputies: silence.

    Although the issue did crop up at the Board’s executive on Monday, its president Vivian Wineman said afterwards that he was saying nothing for the moment.

    A leading doveish voice at the Board, treasurer Laurence Brass — who last night attended a dinner in London for the Neve Shalom Jewish-Arab village in Israel – was also pledged to silence. “I have been gagged and prevented from expressing my disquiet,” he said.

    But ex-president Lionel Kopelowitz argued at the meeting for a statement. “I take the view that the community expects the Board to say something,” he told me. “The Board should say it is concerned at the increase in the settlements and hope it will not impede the peace process.”

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