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Board of Deputies slammed for ‘victim-blaming’ response to Gaza massacre

Image of members from The Board of Deputies of British Jews in a meeting on 15th January 2017 [The Board of Deputies of British Jews/Facebook]
The Board of Deputies of British Jews in a meeting on 15 January, 2017 [The Board of Deputies of British Jews/Facebook]

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has been heavily criticised for its response to Israeli forces’ massacre of Palestinian demonstrators in the occupied Gaza Strip on 14 May.

In a statement published yesterday, the Board ascribed no blame to Israeli authorities or armed forced, despite the worldwide condemnation of the bloodshed.

Instead, the Board president and president-elect claimed, “Israel is defending its people from repeated violent attempts at mass invasion.”

The Board placed all “responsibility for the violence” on Hamas, who it claimed was using children “to join known terrorists in violent attempts to break through the border and kill Israeli citizens”.

OPINION: Britain’s ‘response to violence in Gaza’ is woefully inadequate

There was widespread anger and contempt for the Board’s statement, with numerous individuals and groups making their feelings known on Twitter.

British-based group Jewdas called the statement “vile” and “victim blaming”, while human rights barrister Adam Wagner tweeted: “This statement shouldn’t have been put out. The @BoardofDeputies is meant to be representative of the British Jewish community and this statement, which places no blame at all with Israel, doesn’t represent my view and that of many British Jews.”

Liberal Zionist group Yachad, meanwhile, said that while “the Board of Deputies claims to represent Anglo-Jewry and its broad variety of opinions”, the “decision to release this statement without any consultation would suggest it has no intention of doing so”.

READ: Labour Friends of Israel blames Palestinians for their own deaths

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