European 'J Street' urges Israel to freeze settlements
3,000 Jewish intellectuals belonging to new JCall movement sign letter to Europan Parliament demanding cessation of what it calls systematic support for Israeli government decisions.
A new leftist European Jewish group, JCall, has written a letter to be delivered Sunday to the European Parliament calling for a cessation of what it calls systematic support for Israeli government decisions.
JCall, which describes itself as "the European J Street" and is to be officially launched Sunday with the presentation of the letter, has raised a storm with its call to stop construction in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.
The letter is signed by some 3,000 Jewish intellectuals, among them philosophers Bernard Henri-Levy and Alain Finkielkraut, considered some of Israel's strongest defenders among French intellectuals. Signatories also include Daniel Cohn-Bendit, leader of the student protests in the 1960s and now a member of the European Parliament, as well as other Jewish members of the European Parliament.
The letter calls occupation and settlements "morally and politically wrong," noting that they "feed the unacceptable delegitimization process that Israel currently faces abroad."
According to Prof. Zeev Sternhell, "The French Jewish left has decided that the official institutions do not represent most French Jews, and following the example of J Street, have decided that the time has come to do the same thing in Europe." He supports the letter but hasn't signed it.
Richard Prasquier, the chairman of CRIF, the committee representing French Jewish organizations, harshly criticized the document, saying that the petition will serve Israel's enemies.
The document calls on the European Union and the United States to pressure both parties "and help them achieve a reasonable and rapid solution to the Israeli-Palestine conflict."
It says that systematic support of Israeli government policy is dangerous.
Meanwhile, Israel has repeatedly protested that the PA is using money from donor countries to promote a ban on products from the settlements.
A second meeting of the Knesset Economics Committee on the matter is to take place today. In the first meeting, Foreign Ministry official Yael Rabia-Tzadok told the MKs that the campaign to confiscate goods manufactured in settlements has moved ahead since the new economics minister in the PA government has taken office, Hassan Abu-Labda. She said PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad supports the campaign