UK charity accused of 'Israel-bashing'


A Jewish member of a charity which promotes the work of the United Nations here has accused it of “Israel-bashing”

Members of the United Nations Association UK (UNA-UK) passed a motion at its policy conference at the weekend urging the British government to support a “carefully calibrated policy” of boycotting Israel unless it changed its policy and resumed negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

They also called for recognition of a Palestinian state, an end to Israel’s blockade of Gaza and pressure on Israel to respect the rights of its Bedouin citizens.

But Geoffrey Ben-Nathan complained that nearly a quarter of the event was devoted to discussion of Israel.

“Year after year, UNA-UK criticises everything Israel says and everything she does,” he said.

“No-one else gets this treatment. For example, someone inadvertently left the name ‘Turkey’ on a motion about mistreatment of women. There was an immediate and overwhelming vote for the name to be expunged.”

He added “Anyone else who helps to Israel-bash will do. On this occasion, Israel’s Bedouin, knowingly or unknowingly, were drafted in.”

The association’s motions, he said “unrelentingly bullying the Jewish state, are thus more a reflection on UNA-UK itself than on Israel. They do not deserve to be taken at all seriously.”

UNA UK’s communications and campaigners manager Ben Donaldson said it was an independent organisation which provided “independent, impartial” analysis of the UN’s aims. The organisation is chaired by former British Ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock.

Its conference agenda was set by its members and the motions “do not represent UNA-UK positions,” Mr Donaldson said.

“The conference covered a wide range of issues, from climate and sustainability issues to human rights and conflict prevention,” he said. “Regional tensions in eastern Europe and the middle east, including the situation in Israel / Palestine, featured in the debates, which reflects the concern that our members have regarding these issues.”

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