Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Davis Can't Promise Israel His Support

Mick Davis is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UK's Jewish Leadership Council and is Chairman of the UK's Holocaust Memorial Commission. He is the founding partner of X2 Resources Limited and recently stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of Xstrata Plc.

It goes without saying that he is rich.

If he is pompous or not, chummy or not, I do not know.  But he has been divisive.

In 2010, we read:

One of British Jewry's most senior leaders this week shattered a longstanding taboo by publicly criticising Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the peace process, voicing moral reservations about some of Israel's policies, and calling for criticism of Israel to be voiced freely throughout thecommunity.  Mick Davis, chairman of both the UJIA and the executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, also warned that unless there were a two-state solution with the Palestinians, Israel risked becoming an apartheid state.

Then we were informed:

Last week, the chairman of the UJIA called for the diaspora to openly criticise Israel. Now Lord Klams weighs in
...Mick Davis's recent comments show a startling lack of leadership and sense...If his general points are off the mark, then Mr Davis's specifics are no nearer to it. It is nonsense to claim that leaders did not speak out...Mr Davis has given Israel’s enemies more daggers to use against us.  Others of the ideas put forward by Mr Davis also lack any grounding in reality...the claim that he [PM Netanyahu] lacks 'courage' is preposterous. His political and military career suggest otherwise.  What he lacks, like his predecessors, is a sincere and capable negotiating partner...

If someone is going to declare themselves a leader, then they have to take on the responsibilities which such a role brings. First among them is the responsibility to speak the truth. Mr Davis has not done that. He has entrenched lies. No more obvious example could exist than the fact that he has taken up the obscene language of 'apartheid'.
To even start to talk in this language, as Mr Davis has done, dignifies a lie and eventually turns a lie into a possibility. This will give incalculable support to the most fevered haters of Israel.
Israel is no more going in the direction of apartheid than is Great Britain. But such terms have been created and chosen for a reason: to make Israel a state apart. Only Israel gets spoken about in this way. To join this, particularly as a 'leader', is to give an incalculable boon to those who wish to destroy Israel...

Well, three years later, he's at it again (I guess he doesn't appreciate not be listened to):

A lack of trust that Israel’s political leadership is serious about shaping a viable peace process is unquestionably an obstacle to our defense of Israel. If Israel’s leadership articulated a vision of progress, it would boost the Diaspora’s diplomatic arsenal immeasurably. Without that vision, however, we are fighting with one hand tied behind our back...a reinvigorated, public and sustained expression of a two state vision by Israel’s leaders would arrest and reverse this worrying trend. Without it, we fear for the long-term future of our communities’ commitment to Israel...
...This new Jewish conversation means Israel and the Diaspora preparing for peace together...We need to re-establish the notion of Jewish peoplehood, developing a shared approach to the challenges flowing from that imperative.  Diaspora Jews must not exclude themselves from the challenges Israel faces. But nor should Israel exclude the Diaspora from the search for solutions. A new Jewish conversation, grounded in reality but with a positive vision at its heart, is essential if our unique bonds are to remain strong, mutually beneficial and unbreakable for generations to come.

If I understand Mr. Davis, the two-state solution is the only game in town.  Of course, the fact that Israel has adopted that plan and Prime Minister Netanyahu voiced, admittedly to my regret, his support already in 2009 at that Bar-Ilan speech and repeated that policy multiple times, is a fact of which Mr. Davis may not be aware (but I doubt that).

I would be more sympathetic to Mr. Davis if he was more fair in relating to the dangers and illogic in a two-state solution - although, truth told, I really can't stand Diaspora Jewish leaders who presume to know what's best for Israel and even their own constituencies all the while these communities disappear through assimilation, lack of confidence in those same Jewish leaders or are weakened educationally, culturally and religiously because these leaders really aren't interested in strong Jewish and Zionist communities.  In the UK, they seem to be more interested in a MBE or whatever.

But to return to basics.

Diaspora-oreintation will not save the Diaspora and weaken Israel (which will further endanger the Jews of the Diaspora).  Instead of pointing out how difficult the two-state solution is, he prefers to believe it is workable and desirable.  He is not pluralistic but dogmatic.  Netanyahu was democratically elected and Davis parlayed his money and business position into leadership.

Without confronting the dangers of a two-state solution, Davis is simply not reliable.  Without responding to PA incitement, continued terror, the denunciation of the Jewish national ethos, the PA's refusal to seriously engage in negotiations that are not predicated on Israel's complete capitulation and acceptance of existential-threat demands such as the refugees' 'right of return', the division of Jerusalem and the belief that the 1947 borders are next  in the roll-back maneuvers they push, Davis lacks credibility while undermining Israel.

Incidentally, if Davis and comrades really are unsure whether to support Israel, Evelyn Gordon has some ideas from where to garner increased support for the country.

No comments: