Sir Mick Davis has accused diaspora Jews of abandoning their conscience over their response to Monday’s clashes on the Gaza border.
The former Jewish Leadership Council chairman and current chief executive of the Conservative Party wrote: “Has it become taboo among Israel’s friends to ask what this stagnant situation, and what the absence of even a language of peace, let alone a vision of it, is doing to our own morality and the moral wellbeing of our youth?
“What will we become if we are constantly asking Israel’s advocates to adopt positions so far removed from the reality the world can see?”
On Monday, tens of thousands of Palestinians protested at the Gaza border, with large numbers attempting to breach the fence and enter Israel.
Having previously distributed leaflets by air warning Gazans not to attempt to charge at the border, a total of 62 Palestinians were shot and killed while attempting to do so, with thousands more wounded.
On Wednesday, a Hamas spokesperson told an Arabic TV channel that 50 of those killed had been Hamas members. The Islamic Jihad group claimed three more.
Sir Mick acknowledged in his piece, published by Haaretz yesterday, that “it is true that the people of Gaza are held hostage by a brutal Hamas terrorist regime, indulged by international institutions such as UNWRA.
“It is also the case that Hamas has itself subsequently claimed its members comprised a majority of those killed.”
But he went on to say that “Israel and the international community have shown sheer complacency in thinking that the situation can be allowed to fester without any consequences.
“Israel must defend its border, and it is doubtless the case that Hamas seeks to exploit popular protest as cover to mount attacks on Israeli communities. But is live fire the only way to prevent that?
“And what of empathy for the innocents among the dead? Has that become a taboo?”
In 2010, Sir Mick sparked huge controversy among the British Jewish community with comments about Israel, saying: “If… the world community no longer believes that a two-state solution is possible, we de facto become an apartheid state because we then have the majority who are going to be governed by the minority.”
He also said he did not think Israel as it was today was an apartheid state.
He also said at the time that he thought “the government of Israel… have to recognise that their actions directly impact on me as a Jew living in London.
“When they do good things it is good for me, when they do bad things, it's bad for me. And the impact on me is as significant as it is on Jews living in Israel… I want them to recognise that.”
This story, and its headline, have been amended due to errors in its initial publication