You are on page 1of 4

SUBSCRIBE T O HAARET Z DIGIT AL EDIT IONS

Haaretz.com ‫הארץ‬ TheMarker ‫עכבר העיר‬ TheMarker Café
Hel l o y h gy h gy You hav e v iewed 3 of 1 0 articles. Wednesday, February 19, 2014 Adar I 19, 5774 Search Haaretz.com Pr ofile Log ou t
su bscri be n ow

Archaeology

Ancient village unearthed near Jerusalem NEWS OPINION BLOGS
Iran nuclear talks

JEWISH WORLD

BUSINESS

TRAVEL

CULTURE

PODCASTS ARCHAEOLOGY NEWS BROADCAST
Say ed Kashua
Like 105k Follow

ISRAEL NEWS BREAKING NEWS
Home Jew ish World

Conference of Presidents

Sinai attack

Hadassah

Sochi 201 4

8:26 PM Snowden elected leader of students at UK university (AP)
Jew ish World New s

More Breaking News

Israelis 'not Zionist enough' for Oxford Israel Society
The university's Israeli students have left the Israel Society in the hands of a group of determined British Jews, saying the organization doesn't realize that not every Israeli supports the Israeli government.
By Anshel Pfeffer and Or Kashti | Feb. 13, 2014 | 4:17 PM |
1 Tw eet 98 Recommend

HAARETZ SELECT

9

Share 377 people recommend this. Be the first of your friends.

What do U.S. Jews and Israelis have to talk about?
Six m illion Jews in Am erica, six m illion in Israel: We m ay be one people, but it’s far from clear we hav e a com m on language. By Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove | Opinion

T he trouble with talking about AIPAC
By Rabbi Eric H. Yoffie | Opinion

Open debate in Hillel means victory for Israel
By Bradley Burston | A Special Place in Hell

Oxford Univ ersity .

Photo by Wikicommons

If it was happening at any other student society, then the war of words, the expulsion of a student and the split among the small membership of one of hundreds of societies active at Oxford University would have been of little interest to any but those involved. But the goings-on at the Oxford Israel Society over the last two months illustrate a much wider and growing divide between Israelis and Diaspora Jews, and between energetic advocates of Israel and Israelis who are believe these foreign friends are actually damaging their country's interests.

Tex t size Comments (9) Print Page Send to friend Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share
RELATED TAGS

T attoos rule in Israel - despite Jewish law and Holocaust taboo
Tel Av iv ians are rejecting Israel's austere, khaki-clad past, and opting for ink. By Yardena Schw artz | Arts & Leisure

Someone Else’s Simcha / A peek behind the Hasidic veil
By Ron Ben-Tovim | Som eone Else's Sim cha

Anti-Semitic malaise plagues France's Arabs, says U.K. author
By Daniella Peled | Jew ish World Features

The bottom line is that as of last month, the Israeli students in Oxford anti-Israel have left the Israel Society, leaving it to a group of determined British Europe Jews. Jerusalem native Ariel Hoffman, an Israeli MA student in advanced Jewish Diaspora mathematics and son of prominent civil-rights campaigner and Women of the Wall leader Anat Hoffman, was barred from the society's events and its Facebook page after according to him "being too Israeli" and according to the society's leadership RELATED ARTICLES "being a troublemaker." Matters got worse when the Net any ahu convenes minist ers t o discuss affair was published in the local Oxford Student growing Israel economic boy cot t t hreat s newspaper by reporters Ruth Maclean and Ben By Barak Ravid | Feb. 9, 2014 | 7:09 PM | 13 Goldstein and another Israeli, Yishai Mishor, wrote an Memo t o Jewish groups: Y ou can’t effect ively open letter on the case in a local students' newspaper, fight BDS if y ou don’t fight set t lement s t oo committing the sin of airing an internal Jewish broigez By Peter Beinart | Feb. 5, 2014 | 3:00 PM | 29 out in the open.

Rights of return: Spain, Jews and the Palestinians
By Khaled Diab | Opinion

JEWI SH WO RLD NEWS
Row ov er European Orthodox candidate who won't shake wom en's hands
By JTA | 09:44 PM

Lieberm an: Am erican Jews are facing dem ographic catastrophe
By Haaretz | 06:49 PM

Hungarian rabbi finds 103

Everyone is aware of the irony of the Israelis not being pro-Israel enough to belong to the Israel Society. "They kicked me out because I was too Israeli," says Hoffman. "I joined in the hope that there would be events connected to Israel, films, culture, food, but nothing with an establishment connection. It was immediately clear to me that they have a very different ideology to mine. They have a fetish for anti-Semitism, every second sentence they say is about it and every criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. I tried to explain to them that not every Israeli is a Zionist and not everyone agrees with the government. They found it hard to digest that Israelis have different views." "They want the society to be focused on pro-Israel advocacy," says Yishai Mishor, a lecturer at the Tel-Aviv University law school who is doing his PhD at Oxford and was the one to write the letter in The Oxford Student newspaper in which he suggested the Israel Society "change their name to the 'Netanyahu Support Society' and stop abusing the name of my country." "They spend their time looking for fights," says Mishor. "It harms the Israelis here and damages Israel's image when all they do is row with the Palestinians." The consolation of those remaining in the society is that not all Israelis are like the small bunch of 40 Israeli students at Oxford. "The type of Israelis who study at Oxford come from an elite Ashkenazi, high-income background. Maybe they don’t feel they have to defend Israel," says Jonathan Hunter, one of the leading members of the Israel Society. "They can say we don't know enough about Israel but these guys don't know what it is to live in the UK and hear all the time lies about Israel. They really shouldn't have gone behind our backs to a student newspaper. It just proves how everyone is eager to publish nasty things about Jews and Israel." Hunter does have a point when he says that at least some Israelis, certainly those representing the government, support what he and his friends are trying to do. Over the last couple of years, the Israeli Embassy has intensified its efforts to engage with students groups and increase proIsrael advocacy on campus. One of the ways of doing this has been to bring high-profile Israeli lecturers to the universities. Last month, the Israel Society hosted Science Minister Jacob Perry in Oxford. This proved another of the flashpoints. "Hoffman said he will bring a Palestinian friend of his to listen to Perry," recalls Hunter. "It was clear he was just being a troublemaker. I can understand that he and other Israelis have concerns about the political nature of what we do, but we engage in pro-Israel advocacy and that's very important in Britain. We didn't expel him because he's anti-Zionist, but because he was rude and says inflammatory things." Along with his activity in the Israel Society, Hunter is also the Campus Director of Stand With Us U.K., an advocacy group with headquarters in Los Angeles and Jerusalem. Last month the Israel Society at Oxford voted on a new constitution which affiliated the society with Stand With Us and the British Zionist Federation. "Stand With Us is a hardline right-wing group," charges Mishor. "Since they arrived on the scene, the Israel Society has become very secretive and political. They have campaigned against groups such as (left-wing Zionist) J-Street in the U.S. and Yachad in Britain, so how can they call themselves pluralistic? As an Israeli who served my country for four years as an IDF officer, I don't need them to tell me how to support Israel." Mishor who in the past was president of the Jewish Society (Jsoc) of Oxford says that since his open letter was published "I have received numerous emails from Jewish students here telling me they also disagree with the group running the Israel Society." Stand With Us which describes itself as "a nonprofit organization supporting Israel around the world" denies that it is right-wing or has any political affiliation and maintains that it has never received funding from the government, though it does coordinate a lot of its activities with government ministries. "We don't run the Israel Society in Oxford," says Stand With Us Israel Director, Michael Dickson. "Our job is to educate people about Israel and the students in Oxford asked for our help and to be affiliated with us. It's not political." He believes that the split between the Israelis and the Israel Society is "a little broigez" but has some words of admonishment for the Israelis there. "They should be involved in supporting Israel and educating people" he says. "When so many are

ACTIVITY RECOMMENDATIONS
Abhijan Choudhury recommends Attacks on Gaza jihadists signal quiet Israeli revival of targeted killings - Diplomacy and Defense.
about a week ago

stolen T orah scrolls in Russia
By Reuters | 06:44 PM

U.S. Jewish foundation donates $13 m illion to Ben-Gurion Univ ersity
By JTA | 04:56 PM

Kim Marie recommends EU’s new policy on Israeli settlements: The full guidelines Diplomacy and Defense.
about 2 weeks ago

MO RE FRO M THE WEB
Recommended by

Facebook social plugin

acting against Israel, we can't stand aside." The Israeli Embassy said in a statement that "as part of its activity on campuses the embassy supports cultural events Israel Societies on campuses throughout Britain. The societies are autonomous and their policy is decided in accordance with internal votes they take periodically and the embassy has no involvement in that." Richard Black, the Israel Society president who argued with Adam Hoffman over Facebook and expelled him from the society was not willing to comment. A statement put out by the society emphasized that it "is a pluralistic body welcoming a range of opinions from its members" but did not refer to the expulsion of the decision of other Israeli members to leave. Anat Hoffman, who was in Oxford this week visiting her son and his newborn daughter, said that "I am very proud of Ariel and the stand he made. The problem is that some people have a very narrow definition of patriotism and it only causes harm to Israel."

MORE FROM HAARETZ.COM
Net any ahu denies his son is dat ing non-Jewish Norwegian woman
(Haaretz | New s)

FROM AROUND THE WEB

The Israeli film Europeans are going t o hat e
(Haaretz | Culture)

Like Y air Net any ahu's 'girlfriend,' am I Israel's nonJewish enemy …
(Haaretz | Opinion)

'Net any ahu's son follows his heart - int o Norwegian arms'
(Haaretz | New s)

Report : Rohani gives $ 400,000 t o Tehran's Jewish hospit al
(Haaretz | Jew ish World)

We can't t ell y ou what t his joke is about
(Haaretz | Jew ish World)

Recommended by

COMMENTS
Name Subject Comment
Your comment here

By adding a comment i agree to this site’s Terms of use

LATEST

MOST VIEWED

HIGHEST RATED

Open All
0

05

Tibi is also Israeli, t hough I guess t he Left equally considers him a zionist
By Biny amin Dis sen 14 Feb 2014 09:07AM

dissent er not being logical 04 By Richar dNYC 13 Feb 2014 06:47PM

13

22

80 y ears ago 1 polit ical movement decided what was a good German
By dcj 14 Feb 2014 05:16AM 2 1 10:46AM 2 1

0

1

Zionism
By A lex Limpac h 14 Feb 2014

Democracy is not t reason
By Rob 14 Feb 2014 00:12PM

Oxford Israel Societ y 03 By Donald Mintz 13 Feb 2014

57 05:51PM

10

The EU finance t hose Israeli left ist t rait ors 02 By The new Kapo 13 Feb 2014 05:46PM

21

49

01

Anat defending his lit t le boy . Cut e. (That guy must have serious problems)
By Heinrich Graetz 13 Feb 2014 05:37PM

12

Anot her ignroant smart ass
By Rob 14 Feb 2014 00:07PM

2

2

NEWS: Diplomacy and Defense | National | World | Middle East | Features | Opinion | Israel weather | GA: Israel 2013 JEWISH WORLD: News | Rabbis' Round Table | The Jewish Thinker CULTURE: Books | Food and Wine | Arts & Leisure HAARETZ.COM BLOGS: A Special Place in Hell | West of Eden | Diplomania | Outside Edge | Routine Emergencies | Eyes Wide Open | Jerusalem Vivendi | Strenger than Fiction | Modern Manna | The Fifth Question HAARETZ.CO.IL: ‫ספרים | ספורט | מפלס הכנרת | ביקורת מסעדות | חדשות חוץ | גלריה | מזג אוויר | חדשות | הארץ‬ FAQ | Contact us | Newsletters Page | Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy | Management | Editorial | Employment Opportunities | Advertise on Haaretz.com | Haaretz News Widget

Design by Roni Arie | Accelerated by cotendo The Jewish World edition of Haaretz.com and Haaretz Newspaper offers extensive coverage of Jewish life in Israel, in the Diaspora, and in Jerusalem. It covers Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews, European Jewry, British Jewry, French Jewry, American Jewry, synagogues, and Jewish museums. What is Kosher and Jewish food? What is Shabbat? What are the Reform, Orthodox and C onservative movements? What was the Holocaust? Read about Jewish festivals , Jewish wedding, Jewish conversion, circumcision, marriage, and intermarriage.