UK Labor Party leader and his Jewish mother

UK Labor Party leader and his Jewish mother

Following Gordon Brown’s defeat by David Cameron, the contest to replace Brown as leader of Britain’s Labor Party pitted two Jewish brothers against each other.  David Miliband, the older brother, served as Brown’s Foreign Secretary (equivalent to our Secretary of State).  But due to the party’s weighted voting system favoring labor unions, Ed won by a hair.  Having seen David on Charlie Rose and other television appearances, I’ve recognized him on the streets of Manhattan, where he’s moved to head the International Rescue Committee. 

This NY Times article, “
British Labour Chief, a Jew Who Criticizes Israel, Walks a Fine Line,” is about Ed Miliband’s background; it mentions an organization to which his mother belongs, Jews for Justice for Palestinians.  I found Ed Miliband’s thoughts and positions on Israel closer to us than the group that his mother belongs to.  He expressed a feeling of positive connection with Israel. 

Jews for Justice for Palestinians supports Israel’s existence within the Green Line, but every other reference to Israel is critical.  It opposes terrorism, but does not explicitly condemn terrorists; I saw nothing that specifically condemned the ideology or actions of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and others who reject Israel’s existence. 

Also, Jews for Justice for Palestinians does not state support for the concept of a negotiated exchange of territories that would facilitate peace.  If all settlements in the West Bank and Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem are simply viewed as illegal, the quest for peace would be complicated by the impossible task of forcing over a half million Jews to leave their current homes.  

I’m not saying that the establishment of permanent settlements in the occupied territories was legal, but that the issue cannot end there.  All law is mediated by authorities (courts, police, etc.) which often exercise discretion in its enforcement.  In the case of international law, discretion must be even greater — since enforcement against sovereign states is very difficult.  The concept of law cannot always trump the practical necessities of politics and diplomacy. 

Moreover, I saw very few Web links at the JJP website to groups and blogs that support our perspective.  Missing from its long list of links were J Street, PPI, Ameinu,
Yachad (the British equivalent of J Street) and Meretz UK.  It did link to anti-Israel sites like Mondoweiss and to anti-Zionist groups like Zochrot, and to many more of their ilk.  

As I said, I don’t see this group’s positions as all bad — in fact, I mostly agree with them.  But unlike what Ed Miliband had to say, they seem completely cold toward Israel’s situation, blaming everything on Israel and presenting no explicit challenge or obligation upon the Palestinians — to curtail violence, to refrain from provocative rhetoric (e.g., the “g” word) and to fully accept Israel’s sovereign existence (which Pres. Abbas does, but Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad do not).  

By | 2014-10-27T04:41:00-04:00 October 27th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

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