Noam, the UK Zionist youth group affiliated with Masorti Judaism, has boycotted a conference featuring Israel’s UK Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, accusing her of past “racist and inflammatory statements, reported the Jewish Chronicle.
Instead, after talking with Masorti about alternatives to the Israeli embassy event, the youth group held their own separate event with members.
Noam released a statement saying, “[Hotovely] has consistently refused to recognize Palestinian heritage, referring to the Palestinians as ‘thieves of history’ and invited Lehava – a racist organization denounced by the President of Israel – to speak at the Knesset.”
“We are a Zionist youth movement. We believe in the importance of engaging with Israel as it is, with all the joys and challenges which come with that. Despite this, we feel that Hotovely’s past comments on the Palestinians are beyond the pale,” they wrote. “We are also deeply committed to Masorti Judaism. We do not want to listen to and applaud a woman who has denigrated non-Orthodox Judaism. To reward her with a platform after these hurtful comments is a deep humiliation for our community.”
During the event, senior Masorti Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg had a discussion with Hotovely about her views.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, Masorti chief executive Matt Plen stated that Wittenberg, “staked out clear positions which differed from the ambassador’s comments in the session and her previously expressed views. In particular, he emphasized that Masorti and Reform Jews did not have full recognition in Israel and that Palestinian and other non-Jewish Israelis continue to suffer from inequality. Rabbi Wittenberg also argued that we must welcome difference and debate, including engaging with human rights organizations such as New Israel Fund, B’tselem and Breaking the Silence”.