April 11, 2008

Zionism too exclusive?

But that's the whole point of zionism.

Apparently, the royal celebrations of 60 years of ethnic cleansing of Palestine and relentless aggression towards its natives and neighbours was a bit of a damp squib, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency drawing on a report in the Jewish Chronicle.
Prince Edward became the first royal officially to participate in Israel’s independence celebrations at a JNF-UJIA dinner at Windsor Castle on Monday.

Standing in for his father, the Duke of Edinburgh who had been hospitalised with a chest infection several days earlier, the Earl of Wessex attended a champagne reception for the 300-strong gathering.

Even though he left before dinner, he greeted guests including Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor and Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks.
Wow, how exciting! The Earl of Wessex no less, and even he had better things to do than break bread with a bunch of rich zionists. Ponder this, the Earl of Wessex? The Earl of an earldom that doesn't exist greeting activists for a state that shouldn't exist. Was there a message from the royals there?
And a number of leading community names were also absent. Sources suggested that the venue and the £5,000-per-couple price had been seen by some as exclusive and prohibitive.

The charities declined to provide a copy of the guest list after the dinner, but it is understood that those who did not attend included Sir Trevor Chinn, Lord Levy, Lord Kalms, Lord Young, Lord Woolf, Gerald and Dame Gail Ronson, and Bicom chair Poju Zabludowicz. More than half of the Jewish Leadership Council were not present.
I wasn't there either. I think Deborahs Fink and Maccoby might have been outside.

But not only did the lowly Prince Edward show and then cry off:
There was also disappointment expressed that no Israeli government official had attended in place of President Shimon Peres.
Hold up, hold up. There's something we're not being told here. There's internal zionist fundraising politics going on here. Why didn't Peres go? Why wasn't he replaced by someone? Last week I read in the JC someone suggesting that since Binyamin Netanyahu likes both a freebie and a bit of posh he would have been the ideal Israeli candidate. So why didn't even he go? Someone would have stumped up the £5 k for him, surely. Nope, there's something afoot here and it's the Israeli government none too pleased with the JNF UK branch. And I think that goes back to how the JNF has handled manipulating its charitable status by distancing itself from the branch in Israel.

And look at how the JTA reported the non-attendance of certain big names from the zionist movement:
But a long list of Jewish leaders chose to boycott, citing the prohibitive cost and organizers’ refusal to allow non-paying academics and Jewish intellectuals to attend, even if they were subsidized by others
Boycott? They claimed that that was what the JC said, but the JC didn't use so strong a word in its write up.

But there has been some unpleasantness and even disagreement as to payments to enter the proceedings. Back to the JC:
But one senior communal figure, who decided not to attend, said after the event: “This was not the way to do things. If you wanted to hold an event at Windsor Castle, you cannot just pick only rich Jews to celebrate Israel’s 60th anniversary. In my view, you must invite intellectuals, academics, people who would not be able to afford to pay £5,000 a couple.

“For example, how can you have a royal event for an occasion like this and not invite the president of the Zionist Federation? It doesn’t make sense. I know others felt the same and that was why some well-known people in the community decided not to go. I hope the organisers learn a lesson.”

Another communal activist claimed that UJIA had turned down an offer for academics to attend the dinner, sponsored and paid for by a communal leader. The charities insisted: “There was no set ticket price — all money raised was through voluntary donations”.
So was it £5 k or not?

And why wasn't the president of the Zionist Federation there:
ZF president Eric Moonman confirmed that he had not received an invitation to the event. He said this week: “I have had a number of phone calls from people asking why I wasn’t there.

“I think this was a lost opportunity. It would have been better if all corners of the community had been represented.

“People have been saying to me that when the Jewish community is given an opportunity to come to Windsor Castle to help celebrate Israel’s 60th, they turn it into a fundraising event.”
Has anyone noticed that when these zionists fall out, there's often a whiff of antisemitism to their mudslinging?

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