Special thanks to our friend Richard Silverstein at Tikun Olam who alerted us to this story.
It’s not just a problem in the United States. The British Guardian reported today about an extraordinary open letter signed by 130 well-known Jews including actor Stephen Fry and Nobel Prize winning playwright Harold Pinter. The letter is part of a campaign by Independent Jewish Voices, a new initiative that says “there is a need for alternative Jewish voices to be heard – especially in the light of the grave situation in the Middle East.”
“We come together in the belief that the broad spectrum of opinion among the Jewish population of this country is not reflected by those institutions which claim authority to represent the Jewish community as a whole,” the letter says. Jewish leaders in Britain, it argues “put support for the policies of an occupying power above the human rights of an occupied people” in conflict with Jewish principles of justice and compassion.
The statement does not name the institutions it is criticising. But one signatory, Brian Klug, an Oxford philosopher, writing an accompanying article on Comment is Free, singles out the Board of Deputies of British Jews for calling itself “the voice of British Jewry” while devoting “much of the time and resources of its international division to the defence of Israel”.