Do the ends justify the means?

I can’t help feeling upset and betrayed by some of my friends in the Jewish community of the UK and in particular those who support Yachad who seemingly went out of their way to involve the British Government in the affairs of Israel and the Palestinians by urging the British Foreign Minister to back an anti-Israel resolution at the UN.

Anyone who knows me knows that I agree that settlements are a road-block to Peace and we should be dismantling them, not expanding them. But that is not the point. The fact that these representatives of the Jewish community in the UK believe that the correct cause of action is to exert influence on the British government who in turn will use the UN to bully Israel, as it has done for decades is a complete inversion of the concept of Jewish peoplehood. Moreover for those who believe the ends justify the means – I ask – what is the end? If the end is Justice for the Palestinians – in what way has this helped at all? The only end served by the ridiculous means of the terribly anti-democratic UN is to continue the singling out of Israel as an international pariah. Anyone with any ounce of sense can see that Israel (which receives 10 times the sanctions any other country does) is not nearly one tenth as guilty of war crimes as most of its immediate neighbors. Syrian president Assad has killed more Palestinians in the last 3 years than Israel has in the 50 years of occupation – and yet you have chosen to urge Boris Johnson to pressure Israel? How is it not clear that the UN’s anti-Israel agenda has nothing to do with helping the Palestinians?

Yachad pretends it is Pro-Israel, but I find it an incredibly privileged arrogant understanding of that term, if you believe that that means you should try and use the British government to pressure the Israeli government to do what you want. That isn’t pro-Israel. Pro-Israel is: if you have a problem with the actions of the government of Israel, come tell the government of Israel – don’t go behind the government of Israel’s back to help its enemies gang up on her. Or wait – I assume you don’t think Egypt, Malaysia, Venezuela, etc…. are also pro-Israel? The main (perhaps the only) argument supposedly Pro-Israel supporters of this vote will and can make is that this is good for Israel and only bad for Netanyahu and the right wing government which he leads which is harming Israel as well as the Palestinians. It is an interesting argument, but also viciously condescending. I can’t stand Netanyahu and will do all I can to defeat him and vote in a government committed to peace. But unless you believe Israel is not a democracy, he is (unfortunately) our democratically elected head of government. So he, and his government, are the ones for now that decide what Israel does, what is pro or anti-Israel in international diplomacy, and to claim that you know better, while not being here is simply unbelievable arrogance.

This basically comes down to whether you believe the UN is a good way of affecting change in the Middle East, a just way, a fair way. Anyone who believes it is, is either foolish, deranged or does not have Israel’s best interests at heart.

About the Author
Haim Shalom moved to Israel from Manchester, England, and lives and works in Jerusalem. Having chosen the names "Life" and "Peace", he does his best to promote both. He is a Reform Rabbi working in Jewish Education.
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