LONDON, May 30, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Fourteen leading rabbis in London published an open letter this week condemning some Jews who joined pro-Zionist rallies, and opposing those who lobbied the British government to take a side in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The letter, which was hung in all Orthodox synagogues in London and Manchester, condemned “provocative actions and public demonstrations by the Zionists, which can only create antagonism between our communities.”
In the wake of the recent war between the State of Israel and Gaza, which has unfortunately cost many casualties on both sides, pro-Zionist groups in England have held large rallies, sometimes leading to heated conflicts with Muslims.
Additionally, a delegation led by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis held a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson at 10 Downing Street, where they urged action against some Muslim organizations, and asked the Prime Minister to recognize anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.
At the meeting, Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, asked the government to call on social media companies to adopt the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which includes anti-Zionism, and requested that Ofcom monitor firms’ adherence to that standard.
The London rabbis felt that these actions would not help to decrease anti-Semitism in England, and on the contrary, would only fuel the fire of hatred, since the Muslims would see that Jews are against them.
As to the notion that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, this is simply untrue; many great rabbis today and in past generations have been against Zionism. The Jewish people have lived in many countries over the past 2000 years, and having their own state is not intrinsic to their identity. One who opposes the current State of Israel does not necessarily oppose the Jewish people.
The letter quoted the view of Rabbi Ephraim Padwa, the rabbinical authority of London’s Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, “that we must not take part in any way in actions that initiate any conflicts with the nations of the world. We were commanded to ‘seek the peace of the city’ of our exile (Jeremiah 29:7).”
The letter concluded, “For many years, we have lived peacefully and safely alongside all our neighbours; may G-d help that this continue. Whoever takes part in the above-mentioned actions does not represent us.”