Archive for the ‘Take action!’ Category.

A Call to Arms: Pre-emptive work is needed to stop our enemies.

This is a cross post from Adam Langleben’s thoughts on Barnet, Europe and the Jewish World by Adam Langleben. 

Much has been written over the past several weeks about the co-op’s decision to boycott products produced from the West Bank and Unison’s decision to un-invite Moty Cristal from speaking at a conference in Manchester. I will not dwell too much on it or repeat it, as you can find information and comment elsewhere.

Why has this happened? And why do these (mostly irrational and ill-thought through) boycott motions continually happen, over and over again?

Answer: Because we (the Jewish community) broadly speaking do not engage with those bodies. Of course, Trades Union Friends of Israel, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council, as well as others engage on a senior level, but this often lacks the necessary punch in organisations such as trades unions or co-operatives. These organisations are democratic bodies, and communication at the top will only get you so far.

What we need are teaching staff, civil servants, local government workers and others to actually join their trades unions and engage in these bodies.

Ruthlessly attacking bodies such as these after a vote has been cast simply forces them to take a defensive line, as they need to defend the decision made via the mandate that they have, regardless of turnout, as these are the rules.

I joined the Labour Party when I was 20, back then I did not realise that by being a Jewish member of this party, a party with a great tradition that I am proud of, I would be on the frontline in the fight against Delegitimisation of the State of Israel. However, this responsibility has been thrust upon myself and all other Jewish and Zionist members of the Labour Party, it is not a task we asked for, and often we may fail at influencing our peers, but we have a voice at the table because we have a great many Jewish members and make ourselves heard.

As a member of the GMB I have written to my branch secretary asking for clarification on their interpretation of the TUC stance on Israel. I am also awaiting a reply from my local Cooperative representative about the boycott on West Bank produce.

Public sector workers, especially Jewish ones are also on the front line. They have an opportunity to influence their representative trades unions to ensure that they are not hijacked and turned into vehicles which promote values opposite to that of the mainstream.

I would like to see a Trades Unions/Cooperative/local political parties (of any mainstream persuasion) membership drive within the community to ensure that we are part of the discussion, inside the tent rather than peeking through a hole on the outside shouting, kicking and screaming.

So find one and join! Never know, you might actually enjoy it!

Don’t Co-Operate with Co-op

Health Before Hate: Why increased links to Israel are good for EU citizens

The motivation of those who advocate boycotts of Israeli goods, cultural events or academics is baffling.

Many actually believe that they are somehow helping to promote peace, but how can driving a wedge between Israelis and Palestinians possibly be the best way to secure a better future for all.

Even more bizarre is the idea that the best way to encourage peace is by denying European citizens the best medical care possible. And yet that is exactly what anti-Israel groups are currently trying to do.

In May, the European Parliament will be voting on a technical piece of legislation, the Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA) which would confirm that Israel abides to the same standards as the European Union when it comes to producing industrial pharmaceutical goods.

This would save time and money, as the safety checks Israel already perform on its medicines would not have to be repeated once the products arrive in the EU. In effect, we get some of the best medicines produced in the world cheaper and faster.

Illustrating the point, Fair Play co-Chairman Brain Kerner has said:

“As a retired pharmacist, I know that medicines are vital and life-saving but can also be expensive. Anything that can open up markets and bring down the prices of medicines is good for the NHS and good for the public. The campaign to keep barriers on Israeli medicines entering the EU is both self-defeating and immoral”

Israel has satisfied all the criteria laid down by the EU, but under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, the ACAA with Israel still needs approval from the European Parliament.

This should be a mere formality, but for some people, it’s more important to try and score political points by blocking the vote, than to ensure European citizens get the very best medical care we can.

So, over the last few weeks we have seen the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and their friends in the Liberal Democrats Friends of Palestine group increase their efforts to persuade MEPs not to vote for the ratification.

Let’s be clear – these Israeli medicines would reach the EU anyway. We will benefit from Israel’s outstanding pharmaceutical industry regardless of whether or not the ACAA is passed.

But by blocking the legislation, the boycotters will be adding to the amount we must pay when we need medicine and slowing down how quickly it is available.

It’s a truly bizarre position to take, and reveals just how extreme the boycott movement has become.

And extremism needs a response.

If you believe that the health of European citizens should be prioritised over petty political point scoring, then you must contact your MEPs. Explain to them that you would like them to vote in your best interests and not acquiesce to pressure from those whose primary motivation is to attack the State of Israel.

If you want more information about this issue, please contact [email protected].

StandWithUS: Buy Israeli Goods Campaign


We Believe in Israel – Conference 15th May

On the 15th of May, a huge conference for supporters of Israel, called  ”We Believe in Israel”, will be held. This will be one of the biggest pro-Israel events in the country, and certainly the largest, most diverse and most vibrant conference for Israel’s supporters in the UK.

We Believe in Israel will include inspirational plenary sessions with top-level speakers, and sessions that will include updates and analysis on the situation in the region, training in skills that can help you in your political activism, and sessions that will allow you to grapple with the complex ethical and philosophical challenges that underpin the Jewish state.

We Believe in Israel is a BICOM event that is supported by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Zionist Federation, the Union of Jewish Students and many others. Fair Play is proud to support the Conference.

BOOK NOW – and we’ll see you there!