How not to do ‘interfaith’

If you want to send my blood pressure into the stratosphere, you can do no better than to show me an ‘interfaith’ Jew who  misrepresents Israel to other faiths.  Thank you to Lucille Cohen, the estimable former President of Manchester’s Zionist Central Council who made Aliya in 2014. Here is Lucille’s (slightly edited) letter in today’s ‘The Tablet’. The Tablet is the Catholic Weekly magazine with an estimated readership of at least 30,000. It is read throughout the English speaking Catholic world – and distributed free to UK MPs!
kessler 4 july 2020
We encountered Dr Ed Kessler of the Woolf Institute in Cambridge last month.  He’s the one of Mick’s mates who accused Jews who challenge antisemitism in the Church of England of “going over the top” (and here).

Lucille’s letter is in response to his Op-Ed in The Tablet of 20 June………….

kessler 1 july 2020

Dr Ed (described in the blurb above the Op-Ed as ‘a leading British Jew’ (!)) tells the Catholics that Israel is proposing ‘annexation’. Wrong. You can’t annexe what’s already yours (see here).

Particularly disingenuous is Dr Ed’s virtue-signalling tear-jerking protestation that he is concerned that speaking out will fuel antisemitism (‘For a long time – perhaps too long – I have stayed quiet, failing to make public my concerns about the direction being taken by the Government of the State of Israel. Like many Jewish friends of Israel, I have not wanted to stir internal division within the Jewish community or give fuel to its anti-Zionist (and sometimes anti-Semitic) enemies’).

Which is precisely what he does by proceeding to misrepresent the proposals of Israel’s democratically elected government …

kessler 3 july 2020

‘…….full annexation………..’  Nobody is proposing that, which surely Dr Ed knows full well. The proposal is only to apply Israeli law to one part of Area C, the Jordan Valley.

Further, we get this: ‘They [President Trump and PM Netanyahu] calculate that their political weakness, combined with the unwillingness of the Arab states to offer them tangible ­support, gives them an opportunity to trample over the fundamental rights of Palestinians, with a jaw-dropping disdain for the values of equality, freedom and self-determination to which they give lip service.

Where to start ……. The proposals are the first step in the US Peace Plan which ends with the creation of a Palestinian State. That is hardly ‘trampling over the fundamental rights of Palestinians’. And (as MK Sharren Haskel confirmed on BBC R4 Today on Wednesday) Palestinians in affected areas will be offered full Israeli citizenship.Unwillingness of the Arab States….. ??’ Well relations between Israel and the Sunni Arab States have never been so good, mainly because of the common threat of Shia Iran. Three such States – Oman, the UAE and Bahrain – even had their Ambassadors present in the White House when the Peace Plan was unveiled.

‘Interfaith’ activity can only be of merit if done from a position of strength and honesty. Badmouthing Israel in order to win friends is useless – and moreover dangerous.


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