The National Jewish Assembly (NJA) expresses concern over the protests and calls to boycott Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs Amichai Chikli’s visit to the UK, as well as the decision of JW3 to cancel hosting a visit by the minister due to “internal pressure”. While respecting the right to peaceful protests, the NJA believes that this presents an opportunity for positive engagement rather than confrontation.
The Defend Israeli Democracy UK group’s suggestion to communal leaders to decline meeting Minister Chikli fails to acknowledge that the dynamics within Israel’s political landscape are complex and multifaceted. The NJA is further concerned by JW3’s decision to cancel a scheduled visit by Minister Chikli, as it denies the British Jewish community a valuable opportunity to strengthen the Israel-Diaspora relationship.
Gary Mond, NJA Chairman, said “The cancellation of Israeli government minister Chikli is wrong at several levels. Most fundamentally it removes an opportunity for dialogue and demonstrates an attitude of intolerance to alternative viewpoints which, whether leaders of the UK Jewish community like it or not, are held by Israel’s government and many ordinary Israelis.”
Israel, like any sovereign nation, undergoes its own domestic debates and discussions. The NJA maintains that the Diaspora must respect this separation. As an organisation, the NJA advocates for strengthening ties between Israel and the Diaspora through constructive dialogue, even when differing opinions exist.
Minister Chikli holds a key role in managing relations with Jews abroad and addressing crucial issues such as antisemitism. Engaging with him provides an avenue to build bridges between Israel and the Disapora. The NJA calls upon fellow communal organisations to seize this opportunity for meaningful engagement.