Thursday, 13 August 2015
Diaspora unconvinced over Israel's desire for peace
By Simon Rocker, August 13, 2015
Pro-Israel activists at a London rally
The Israeli government is struggling to convince diaspora Jews that it is committed to peace with the Palestinians, a report has shown.
While there was broad sympathy and concern for Israel, there was also growing discomfort among diaspora communities, the Jerusalem-based think tank the Jewish People Policy Institute found.
Nearly 56 per cent of those over 30 who were questioned by JPPI believed that the Israeli government was not making a "sincere effort" to reach a peace settlement, while the figure was 58 per cent among those under 30.
Forty-six per cent of those over 30 also believed that Israel was not doing enough diplomatically to avoid another conflict with Gaza - while 41 per cent of those under 30 felt likewise.
The report, Jewish Values and Israel's Use of Armed Conflict, was based on conversations with 580 Jews in nine countries, including a group from the Board of Deputies in the UK, following last year's war in Gaza.
According to JPPI, there was understanding of Israel's need to use military force at times, while respondents largely put the blame for civilian casualties on Israel's enemies.
Diaspora Jews retained a strong belief in the high moral calibre of the IDF. As many as 91 per cent questioned by JPPI believed that Israel had been unfairly singled out for criticism over its military tactics.
But "many Jews'" confidence in Israel's desire for peace with its Palestinian neighbours has eroded, affecting their belief in the necessity of using force.
Young Jews had "less faith in Israel and its policies and a greater tendency to object to its actions", the report said. Those who were generally critical of its policies towards the Palestinians were more likely to criticise its moral conduct in battle.
It was becoming "increasingly difficult" to discuss Israel because of the politicial disputes this sparked within diaspora communities.
"This difficulty may lead to the exclusion of Israel from diaspora community agendas," JPPI warned. "It is an obstacle to communicating Israel's actions and policies to the Jewish public within a sympathetic communal framework".