A group of zionists with varying degrees of dodginess have written to the Observer calling on Israel to end its "military offensive". Ok, they accuse Hamas and not Israel of war crimes and they take their time getting round to the bit where they say that they admit the an end to this horror is far more within Israel's capabilities than anyone else's but given the zionist pedigrees involves in this kennel, it is a significant wobble away from the macho posturing that today's failed demos amounted to. The heading is "Israel, we support you - but hear our plea. Or put another way, Israel, we cheer lead for you and smear your critics in spite of the fact you don't give a stuff about us one way or another unless we're on message but this time you're really embarrassing us. Ok, you ready? It's horrid at the beginning. But are you ready? I'll give it in chunks:
We are writing this letter as profound and passionate supporters of Israel. We look upon the increasing loss of life on both sides of the Gaza conflict with horror. We have no doubt that rocket attacks into southern Israel, by Hamas and other militant Palestinian groups, are war crimes against Israel. No sovereign state should, or would, tolerate continued attacks and the deliberate targeting of civilians.Argh, yukky yuk! I warned you but please hang in there:
Israel had a right to respond and we support the Israeli government's decision to make stopping the rocket attacks an urgent priority.
However, we believe that only negotiations can secure long-term security for Israel and the region.The region? Feh! But there's more.
We are concerned that rather than bringing security to Israel, a continued military offensive could strengthen extremists, destabilise the region and exacerbate tensions inside Israel with its one million Arab citizens. The offensive and the mounting civilian victims - like the Lebanon war in 2006 - also threaten to undermine international support for Israel.You're even embarrassing the Americans now.
We stand alongside the people of IsraelOh, stop that!
and urge the government of Israel and the Palestinian people, with the assistance of the international community, to negotiate:
• An immediate and permanent ceasefire entailing an end to all rocket attacks and the complete and permanent lifting of the blockade of Gaza.
• International monitoring of the ceasefire agreement, including measures to ensure the security of the borders between Israel and Gaza as well as the prevention of weapons smuggling into Gaza.
It is our desire to see a durable solution for ordinary people and our view that an immediate ceasefire is not only a humanitarian necessity but also a strategic priority for the future security of Israelis, Palestinians and people of the region.
Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield
Sir Jeremy Beecham
Professor David Cesarani
Professor Shalom Lappin
Baroness Julia Neuberger
Rabbi Danny Rich
Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein
Rabbi Dr Michael Shire
Sir Sigmund Sternberg
I don't recognise all of the signatories but here are some notes on the ones I do know of.
Tony Bayfield has written in the Guardian that people shouldn't criticise Israel because the State of Israel is to Jews what the New Testament is to Christians.
David Cesarani was pleased that Israel lost the Lebanon war in 2006 because he thought it could (maybe even would) lead to some introspection on the part of its leaders. Casarani actually wrote a rather good article on why it is wrong to call the departure of Jews from Arab states, ethnic cleansing.
Shalom Lappin is an Engagenik who seems to find Engage a little vulgar. He came out against the Lebanon war before Israel started to lose it which was pretty much for anyone in the mainstream zionist movement.
Baroness Julia Neuberger is (or was, if you can be a former one) a reform or progressive or liberal or independent or reconstructionist or deconstructionist or preconstructionist (but not a weeconstructionist - that's a Presbyterian thing) rabbi. Actually it might be sheconstructionist. Anyway, she was part of the anti-intellectual posse that was rounded up to lynch Finkelstein over the Holocaust Industry.
Sir Sigmund Sternberg is something at the Council of Christians and Jews or possibly the three faiths something or other.
And Paul Usiskin is a Peace Now chappie who once boasted to a Palestinian refugee friend of mine that his (Usiskin's) father had a road named after him in Jerusalem for his services to the zionist project.
There, zionists don't have to be nice but they must be seen to be nice and that's becoming increasingly difficult.