Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s visit to London this week is causing a furor within the local Jewish community. While one of the main pro-Israel organizations in Britain, the local branch of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), will be hosting an open event for community members with Lieberman today, a number of Jewish groups have come out against his invitation.
The protest was launched by members of the Zionist-leftist youth movement Habonim Dror, who published an online petition questioning the JNF’s “involvement in activities which jeopardize the possibility of peace and Israel’s ability to maintain a strong democracy,” specifically evictions of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and the demolition of buildings at the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev.
In addition to these questions part of an ongoing campaign by Jewish leftist organizations against some of the activities funded by the venerable Zionist organization the petitioners also criticized the invitation of Lieberman, a “leader of a far-right party, who alongside instigating anti-democratic legislation in the Knesset has also advocated for the transfer of many of Israel’s Arab citizens to the West Bank.”
Some 300 people have already signed the petition online and a number of high-profile Jewish leaders have also joined the protest, including Rabbi Aaron Goldstein, co-chair of the Rabbinic Conference of Liberal Judaism, who said in a statement that while his movement supports “the presence of Israeli politicians in the UK, educating the Jewish community and raising awareness among the wider British public to Israel’s achievements, concerns and needs, we cannot support the invitation given to Avigdor Lieberman by the JNF.
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