Stop Israel’s Gaza ‘Horror’, Says UK Jews

A galaxy of prominent British Jews who describe themselves as "supporters of Israel" is demanding an end of the Gaza "horrors," warning that Israel’s offensive will strengthen extremism and further tarnish Israel’s image worldwide.

"We look upon the increasing loss of life on both sides of the Gaza conflict with horror," eleven prominent rabbis, academics and politicians wrote in an open letter published in the Observer on Sunday, January 11.

This came as Israel announced a "new phase" of its 16-day offensive, with its tanks and infantry units moving deeper into the main cities of the Gaza Strip on Sunday.

The onslaught on the densely-populated enclave has killed more than 880 and injured more than 3,700 Palestinians since December 27.

Instead of the escalation, the prominent British Jews are urging Israel for an "immediate and permanent ceasefire."

They also called for a "complete and permanent lifting of the blockade of Gaza," imposed by Israeli since July 2007.

"Relying on overwhelming military force…invariably imposes horrendous suffering on innocent Palestinian civilians," Shalom Lappin, a professor of the University of London and one of the signatories, told the Observer.

The signatories include Baroness Julia Neuberger, former chair of the Labour party, Sir Jeremy Beecham, head of the Movement for Reform Judaism, and lawyer Michael Mitzman, organizer for the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for the Home Office.


The prominent British Jews warned against the grave repercussions of the Gaza assault.

"We are concerned that rather than bringing security to Israel, a continued military offensive could strengthen extremists, destabilize the region and exacerbate tensions inside Israel with its one million Arab citizens," read the letter.

Citing the example of Israel’s 34-day war on Lebanon in 2006, it insisted that the Gaza offensive would further tarnish Israel’s image across the world.

"The offensive and the mounting civilian victims – like the Lebanon war in 2006 – also threaten to undermine international support for Israel."

Thousands of students, trade unionists and politicians marched through cities around the world Sunday to denounce the Israeli war on Gaza and call for peace.

Protesters marched in Madrid, brandishing placards that read "Stop the genocide in Palestine" and "We are all Palestinians."

Some members of the crowd wore Palestinian flags to show their solidarity with the people of Gaza.

In Brussels, between 10,000 and 15,000 people attended a rally to call for a halt to the conflict.

Around 4,000 people marched through the western Austrian town of Bregenz, despite the extremely cold weather.

In Indonesia, 20,000 Muslims staged a peaceful rally in the capital of Jakarta.

On Saturday, angry demonstrators hurled sticks and stones at police outside the Israeli embassy in London.

The prominent British Jews urged Israel to resort to peaceful negotiations rather than overwhelming military power in order to secure long-term security.

"Israel should be demonstrating, along with the Palestinian Authority, that there are economic and political benefits to be gained from peaceful engagement rather than violent confrontation," said Sir Beecham, one of the signatories.

"There can be no alternative to a negotiated solution."

( and Agencies)

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