Far Left Yachad Too “Zionist” For Electronic Intifada Antisemites
Yachad is a British Jewish organisation which claims their “primary mission is to empower British Jews to support a political resolution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict.”
Our focus is advocating for a resolution to the conflict, as we believe that only through a political resolution will Israel thrive and prosper – alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state. Yachad believes that the occupation, which denies millions of Palestinians their basic civil and political rights, must end if a resolution to the conflict is to be achieved.
Think J-Street, but with worse teeth.
While it calls itself “pro-Israel, pro-peace,” some might dispute that. A look at their Twitter feed shows them promoting the false Nakba narrative, and retweeting a tweet characterizing Israel attacking Islamic Jihad sites as attacking Gazan civilians, for example. While they do not support BDS, they have opposed a UK gov. proposed law to outlaw BDS in public bodies. Their director Hannah Weisfeld has called the great Zionist organization Im Tirzu a “dangerous organization” and condemned their visit to the UK. They support anti-Israel organizations like Breaking the Silence, which undermines the IDF. As Israellycool contributor Kay Wilson has written, Yachad unreasonably “hold Israel entirely accountable for the violence and unfathomably refuse to lobby their own governments to demand the cessation of provocative hatred in the PA.”
The Balfour Project, a charity registered in Scotland, had invited Karmi to speak to rapper and activist Lowkey about her new book One State: The Only Democratic Future for Palestine-Israel at an event scheduled for 11 May.
The project said in its publicity that Karmi would explain “what in her view is the only workable democratic future for Palestinians and Israelis.”
But only the evening before, the talk was canceled “due to circumstances beyond our control,” a Zoom message from 10 May shows.
The message gave no further explanation. The event had been publicized for about three weeks.
“With friends like this, you know, who needs enemies?” Karmi told The Electronic Intifada this week.
Yachad had rung the Balfour Project’s board of trustees, likely the vice-chairperson, former British consul-general in Jerusalem Vincent Fean, a source with inside knowledge told The Electronic Intifada.
The source said that Yachad had “threatened to break any affiliation” with the Balfour Project if they didn’t cancel the talk.
While the project doesn’t have any formal affiliation with Yachad, representatives of the Zionist group have spoken at some of their events in the past.
Yachad had especially objected to Lowkey, a campaigner for Palestinian liberation.
Karmi told The Electronic Intifada that the Balfour Project had offered her to speak again in the future, but only without Lowkey.
Karmi refused this condition as unacceptable.
Yachad is a Zionist group based in the UK. It describes itself as a “uniquely Jewish pro-Israel voice.”
It was founded in 2011, marketing itself as “pro-Israel, pro-peace.” But it has always opposed Palestinian rights, especially the right of Palestinians expelled by Israel for not being Jewish to return to their homes.
It masks its endorsement of ethnic cleansing in deceptive language, claiming on its website that “being a supporter of Israel does not stand in opposition to being a supporter of Palestinian human rights” and vaguely states that it opposes “the occupation.”
But in an FAQ page recently deleted from their website, Yachad stated it “does not support BDS of any nature.” The boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is the Palestinian-led global campaign seeking to end Israeli occupation.
The same deleted page explains that the people Yachad “work with” have included the former head of the Shin Bet, as well as former Israeli generals, both of whom Yachad say they have brought on visits to the UK. The Shin Bet is Israel’s domestic secret police agency, notorious for torture and assassination of Palestinians.
The deleted Yachad FAQ page also states that “we work with the Yesha Council.” The Yesha Council is the official Israeli body that pushes for the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, all of which are illegal under international law.
As my colleague Michael Brown has put it, the council “moves with the weight of the Israeli government behind it in violently clearing Palestinians from homes and land in the occupied West Bank.”
Among those on Yachad’s governing board are some notorious pro-Israel lobbyists, including Mike Katz, the chairperson of the Jewish Labour Movement, and Jack Lubner, a member of the national council of the Union of Jewish Students (which is funded by Israel).
Lubner was one of the pro-Israel lobbyists behind a successful smear campaign against Lowkey last year. Bowing to the pressure, a student society in Cambridge canceled a Palestine event with Lowkey “due to certain last minute unanticipated logistical challenges.”
Yachad did not respond to a request for comment.
Yachad have responded to Winstanley’s article, releasing this statement on their website:
Today the Electronic Intifada published an article with numerous allegations against Yachad which are not true. We chose not to respond or engage directly to the journalist who has published the piece as we do not believe they are acting in good faith. Yachad was accused of ‘threatening’ the Balfour Project if they did not cancel an event which was platforming the rapper Lowkey. This isn’t true. What we did do, was flag to members of the Balfour Project that there are significant concerns about Lowkey from within the Jewish community. Lowkey is not an expert on Palestine – but a provocateur best known for using antisemitic tropes and perpetuating anti-Jewish conspiracies. We are a Jewish organisation, this is a natural concern for us to raise, or indeed for anyone to raise if they are concerned by antisemitism. We didn’t ask them to cancel event, neither did we make any threats or comments related to our engagement with the Balfour Project. This is simply false.
The accusation that we are part of the ‘Israel lobby’ – is a well-known dog whistle – suggesting that any Jewish group that does not fall in line to a very particular narrative, or raises concerns around antisemitism, is part of a conspiracy. It is almost laughable that the Electronic Intifada wishes to attack Yachad for opposing Palestinian rights – we invite people to look at our long record of raising awareness of the occupation in our community and advocating against the occupation and for justice for Palestinians. The Electronic Intifada has yet again proved how little it cares about antisemitism and to what extent it should not be seen as a serious publication or a reliable source.
This is not the first time the Electronic Intifada has attacked Yachad. For instance, in 2015, the “Abumination” Ali Abunimah did so in a post titled UK Zionist group Yachad fighting BDS using jailed Palestinian children as props.
In other words, for Jew haters like the Asa-hole and the Abumination, Yachad – a group that pretty much adopts the palestinian Arab narrative in many ways – is a Zionist group worthy of contempt because it opposes antisemitism and believes Israel has a right to exist.