Campaign Launched to Allow Anti-Zionist Rabbi into the UK

Anti-Zionist Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss. (Photo: Nima Najafzadeh, Tasnim News Agency, via Wikimedia commons)

By Pete Gregson

*UPDATE* In the three weeks since this article was published, UK Home Secretary Suella Braverman has received 150 emails, including from Michael Mansfield KC and Baroness Tongue of Kew, asking her not to exclude the Rabbi.

A pro-Palestine advocacy group has launched a letter-writing campaign to challenge pro-Israel UK Lawyers for Israel who want to prevent Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss from touring the United Kingdom.

Rabbi Weiss, the spokesman for Neturei Karta International- Jews United Against Zionism is based in New York and has been invited to the UK to tour alongside Palestinian author and broadcaster Dr Azzam Tamimi in the “Muslim & Jew Tour: Beyond Israel”, organized by the One Democratic Palestine group.

The free tour is booked to visit 15 cities across the UK from April 24 to May 14.

On the tour, the Rabbi was going to explain why many Orthodox Jews don’t recognize Israel and what should stand in its place.

UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) have written to the UK Government Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, calling upon her to refuse the Rabbi entry to the UK.

They have declared that he should be excluded “on the grounds of public policy, public security and/or that his entry into the UK would not be conducive to the public good.”

The UKLFI case to the British Government is littered with mistruths, particularly about the tour organizer, Pete Gregson, chair of One Democratic Palestine.

One Democratic Palestine works with other groups in the Middle East with a focus on trying to bring peace to that area by explaining that Zionism needs to give way to true democracy.

They seek the same kind of solution that saw the end of apartheid in South Africa, with Palestine being one democratic state for all its peoples, as surveys show that this is what the majority of Palestinians worldwide want.

UKLFI are determined to stop the tour from going ahead. They are notorious for getting textbooks rewritten, exhibitions closed or people fired for having the temerity to support Palestinian voices.

The pro-Israel group recently forced a London hospital to remove Gaza children’s artwork, having argued that some Jewish patients felt “vulnerable, harassed and victimized” by the display at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

– Pete Gregson is an Edinburgh-based activist. He is chair of the Edina-Gaza Twinning Association and One Democratic Palestine. He contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

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