JTA – Great Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, has resigned as a supporter of an interfaith charity after it circulated an anti-Israel campaign.
Sacks said he was unable to continue working with the Wyndham Place Charlemagne Trust after it sent supporters details of an initiative organized by the Quaker Council for European Affairs that attacks European Union trade links with Israel, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.
The WPCT’s newsletter encouraged the signing of a petition set up by the European Coordination of Associations and Committees for Palestine, a non-profit group which works with Palestinian NGOs.
In the message to supporters, WPCT included the suggested wording of a letter for campaigners to send to MEPs.
The thrust of the “action alert” concerns the EU’s proposed adoption of an agreement with Israel on pharmaceutical products.
The Palestinian pharmaceutical industry, the alert reportedly said, is “a prisoner of the Israeli system” and Palestinian West Bank companies suffer from Israeli occupation.
The Jewish Chronicle quoted an unnamed spokesman for Sacks as saying, “When the Chief Rabbi became patron of the Trust, its objectives were a commitment to world peace, and its aim to bring together people of diverse backgrounds in order to find common ground. Sadly in this instance, the Trust has failed to fulfill these objectives, and it is with regret that the Chief Rabbi can no longer remain a patron.”
Win Burton, WPCT executive secretary, reportedly sent the newsletter to about 70 members. She denied the Trust was taking sides on the Israel-Palestinian issue.
“The newsletter comes with a disclaimer which says we push views from different groups and are there to stimulate debate,” she told the Chronicle. “We would welcome something from our members which puts a different point of view.”