Friday, 1 January 2010

The voices of Anglo-Jewry

Keith Kahn-Harris has written in this week's JC of the need to transform the Board of Deputies. Rather than seeking to present a united front, one 'voice of Anglo-Jewry', as it currently tries to do, it should instead provide a space for multiple viewpoints, and then express that diversity of opinion:

The presence of substantial minorities to the right and left of the supposed consensus over Israel is proof — if proof were needed — that the community is divided over this crucial issue. Even the most exceptional communal leaders cannot pretend that Jewish institutions embody the voice of Anglo-Jewry. This being so, the time has come for the “emancipation” of currently marginalised voices on Israel. Bizarre though it may seem, Jews for Justice for Palestinians and Likud-Herut UK have a common cause in the struggle for an Anglo-Jewish polity that recognises the community’s diversity.

The Board and other communal bodies need to find a way to ensure that voices from across the spectrum of opinions over Israel can enter into a dialogue. Rather than constantly seeking to present a united front that does not exist, the Board should transform itself into a space within which the full range of opinions about Israel can be heard and properly debated, rather than quashed.

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