Anglo-Jewry’s PR – Millis responds

July 20, 2012 by  
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Columnist Isi Leibler wrote an article on the appointment of the UK’s United Jewish Israel Appeal’s PR chief – Joseph Millis responds…

from Joseph Millis

I am not a spokesman for UJIA and was not appointed by Mick Davis, whom I have in fact not met. My role in PR and Communications is to promote the excellent work UJIA does in helping British Jews engage with Israel and its fantastic citizens.

I am passionate about Israel, and I think it is vital that we use our own experiences to strengthen the links between Israel and the Diaspora. It is only by engaging with Israel at all levels can we better understand each other.

I am not now nor have I ever been “anti-Israel” or “far left”. I wear my Israeli citizenship as a badge of honour. I am a Zionist and proud to be such. I do not see being Zionist as a pejorative. Quite the opposite.

I am proud to have served in the Israeli Army, for three years, in a combat unit, in Sinai, on the Golan and in Lebanon, including Shalom Hagalil when I was a reservist. I am educating my children to love Israel and Zionism and take them there to see their extended family at least three times a year. Both are determined to follow their father and do at least some service – perhaps military – for the nation.

On the issue of BDS, I am totally opposed to this – even to the targeted version against settlers. In a recent – ill-advised and now removed – Facebook exchange, regarding Divisional Elections for the Board of Deputies of which I am an elected member as a representative of my synagogue, I made it clear that I adhered to John Maynard Keynes’ view that if the facts changed, I change my mind. As I wrote: ‘I don’t care what the BDS movement says. They are a failure and a small and deluded minority. The figures speak for themselves. And anyway: Why should we be defined by what our opponents say? That just gives them the veto over anything we say, which affords them an importance they do not deserve or merit. In this game, the bigger the coalition the better – and unity far outweighs anything else.  Regarding the settlers, I imagine that once serious talks resume between Israel and the Palestinians, the majority will be placed within Israeli borders that will be drawn in a way that will not endanger Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state.
I expect we all hope that will happen.’

BDS is a nasty, knee-jerk minority action taken by people who are not interested in peace in the Middle East or the Palestinians whom they purport to support. Their whole purpose is the delegitimisation of the state of Israel and the Jews’ right to a secure homeland there.

I believe, also, that I was quoted out of context regarding the comparison with Iran and Syria which appeared on the Jewish Chronicle blogs.  As a supporter of Israel, and like many Israelis and Zionists, I said, in the context of an extended exchange of comments with other JC bloggers, that I feared that there is a risk that Israel may cease to be both a Jewish and democratic state of which we are all justifiably proud and slide towards the kind of authoritarianism that we see in other Middle East countries, unless a solution to the conflict with the Palestinians is reached.

I am saddened that my views on Israel have been misrepresented in a way that could harm causes which I care deeply about.


2 Responses to “Anglo-Jewry’s PR – Millis responds”
  1. michael says:

    My Money is on Isi , the majority Uk Jews particularly the community leaders and representatives have been acting like Dhimmis for years and would do anything to fit in to the generally anti- Semitic British society.
    The only Jew in Uk that has been brave enough to stand up and be counted as far as Israel is concerned is Melanie Phillips , she wears the trousers in Jewish UK the others are scared of their own shadow .

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    If this is the complete and unadulterated reply by Mr. Millis to Isi Leibler complex comments, then there is a lot more to be said.
    Our tradition appreciates teshuva and only in minute parts one can see an attempt by Millis to address Leibler’s criticims in the spirit of redemption. One can observe a failure in the arrest of matters by Millis.
    The last paragraph of the above dissapointing “reply” reveals a position solidly entrencehd in farcical modicum of rationale. Millis’ messages want to be subliminal, but, in fact, convey a seriously distorted and tendentious take on the dynamics of Israeli society and, indeed, the substance and directions of Judaic ethics.
    In the scheme of the curent debate, one’s CV is far less important than the utterings experienced at the time of the actual dialectics. As such, there is clear irrelevance in the details of Mr. Millis IDF services some decades before he eventuated into what Leibler described as a less than a currently suitable man for the position occupied now.
    Before divorcing me , my ex wife and I danced all night at our magnificent wedding.

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