Lord Levy warns British Jews not to support Jerusalem recognition

Lord Michael Levy joined the chorus of predictable voices condemning Liz Truss for considering moving the British embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital.

In an op-ed at The Times (“Moving British embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be a disaster”, Oct. 13) the Labour Peer not only criticised the prime minister, but lectured British Jews on what he sees as the potential consequences of taking the ‘incorrect’ position on the issue:

I would also suggest this proposal is something British Jews would be unwise to support. The heads of the youth movements have strongly denounced the move. They are the future leadership of the Jewish community and should be listened to carefully. It could be highly detrimental for intercommunal and interfaith relations here at home.

His ‘suggestion’ is likely a response to the president of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl, who publicly expressed support earlier in the month for moving the embassy to Jerusalem – a position subsequently supported by more than 500 leading members of the Jewish community.  This list includes prominent figures on the left and right of the political spectrum.

But, quite tellingly, Levy grossly misleads in his claim that “the heads of the youth movements have strongly denounced the move”.

In fact, what he’s almost certainly referring to is a petition signed by over 100 British Jews associated – or previously associated with – Jewish youth organisations.  This is a drop in the bucket when considering the total number of British Jews who are affiliated with such organisations.  And, as far as we can tell, not one of the many Jewish youth organisations has taken an official position on the issue.

The most concerning sentence in the paragraph is Levy’s warning that Jewish support for the embassy move “could be highly detrimental for intercommunal and interfaith relations here at home”.

Though he doesn’t elaborate on the way in which the ‘wrong’ position taken by Jews would harm intercommunal and interfaith relations, it seems Levy is suggesting that other faith communities may take out their anger over such an embassy move on British Jews, and that Jews should therefore calibrate their position not on their personal assessment of its merits, but based on fear of this potential backlash.

It should be clear, however, that responsibility for any such embassy move would rest on the shoulders of the prime minister and relevant government ministers, not on the Jewish community.

If, as Levy speculates, there is increased hostility towards British Jews as a result of such a policy change, that would represent a reflection of the bigotry and illiberalism of the faith community in question, not on the Jews exercising their democratic rights to take positions they deem to be consistent with their values.

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  1. says: AKUS

    (“Moving British embassy in Israel to Jerusalem would be a disaster”, Oct. 13)

    Just the latest in a long string of disasters predict for Israel. So many disasters predicted for Israel. The majority of the countries of the world could only wish for disasters like these:

    Allowing Jews to come to Palestine would be a disaster

    Allowing Jews to flee Europe to enter the USA and UK would be a disaster

    Allowing Jews to buy land from Arabs would be a disaster

    Allowing Jews to build kibbutzim would be a disaster

    Allowing Jews to serve in the UK military in WW II would be a disaster

    Allowing the Jews to declare the State of Israel would be a disaster

    Tricking Israel into joining the Suez campaign would be a disaster

    The Israelis getting ready to go to war with the United Arab Republic in 1967 (remember it?) would be a disaster

    Hanging on to the territories won in the 1967 War would be a disaster

    Defeating the Egyptians and Syrians in 1973 would be a disaster

    Turning Israel into a country that relies on high tech instead of agricultural exports would be a disaster

    Replacing the government controlled industries with private companies would be a disaster

    Coming attraction:

    Bombing Iran would be a disaster

  2. says: Neil C

    What synagogue does Lord Levy belong to I wonder? Recognising Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and moving the embassy there at once is the only sensible and logical approach. Cow towing to the Islamic dream of owning and controlling the third most holiest site in Islam is just that, a dream, born out of Islamic indoctrination (lies) but is in fact a pipe dream created by a misogynistic cult of old bigoted men. There is no foundation for Lord Levy’s beliefs other than utter ignorance and lack of self belief that Israel has a right to self determination.

  3. says: Grimey

    If Tony Blair’s pal says “Don’t move Israel’s capital to Jerusalem”, then at least we know that moving it is the right thing to do.

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