British Quakers divest from occupation, and are accused of “obsessive” tunnel vision for “the only Jewish state”


Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. (photo: Marie van der Zyl)
The Quakers in Britain have taken time in reaching this decision advocating a different approach is needed to shift the dial.

By Robert Cohen | Mondoweiss | Nov 26, 2018

With the occupation now in its 51st year, and with no end in near sight, we believe we have a moral duty to state publicly that we will not invest in any company profiting from the occupation.

Last week Quakers in Britain became the first Christian denomination in the UK to adopt a responsible investment policy towards the Israeli Occupation of Palestinian land. It was the first denomination but I doubt it will be the last.

Within hours of the announcement, the Board of Deputies, the body which asserts its right to represent Jewish interests in Britain, had issued a statement of rebuke from its President, Marie van der Zyl, titled “Board of Deputies condemns Quakers’ Israel divestment policy.” In a few short paragraphs, van de Zyl gathered together all of the usual anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions) talking points and fired them in one almighty blast at the Quakers.

The Board’s statement is worth examining in detail since it reveals so much about the Jewish establishment’s mission to set the parameters of acceptable debate on Israel to the detriment of interfaith relations.

Paul Parker, recording clerk for Quakers in Britain, explained why the Quakers had taken the decision: “Our long history of working for a just peace in Palestine and Israel has opened our eyes to the many injustices and violations of international law arising from the military occupation of Palestine by the Israeli government. . . .”

The Quakers also reaffirmed a 2011 decision to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements.

Read the full article here →

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