August 9, 2014 by Paul Goldsmith
I was wondering if you could help me with a problem that I have with the practicalities of your declaration yesterday that Bradford is now an Israel-free zone, in that no Israeli goods, services, academics or tourists should be there.
Now that seems a pretty clear instruction I guess, although if I were an Israeli-born immigrant living in Bradford I would perhaps be a bit confused as to whether you meant me, and whether that means you are going to force me to sell my home or ban me from using public services or something like that. Also, if I were an Israeli academic or tourist who had spoken out against Israel’s actions (and many of them have, because, you see, Israel is a democracy with free speech), I would also think it slightly unfair that you weren’t exempting me from your ban of all nationals of a country.
But I also personally need to know what would happen to me if I went to Bradford? I am Jewish, not Israeli, but I have some Israeli stamps in my passport, I have led tours there and even lived there for nine months 20 years’ ago. I look quite Israeli I suppose. I mean, after all, it is the Jewish state and I do look Jewish. Would I be Ok to come to Bradford?
Now, I know enough about you to trust that you are talking about Israel, not the Jews as a people. I wonder though if your most ardent followers (and you are, after all, a Member of Parliament, so we know you have many followers), understand exactly what, and importantly, who you mean.
If I came to Bradford, would I get stopped in the street and asked if I am Israeli? Is that going to happen now? What if they don’t believe me? What will they do if they have reason to suspect I am, or have ever been, an Israeli? Should I perhaps wear something that makes it very clear that I am Jewish but not Israeli? I could be provocative here and wonder aloud if it would help if I wore an armband with the Star of David on it just to make it clear which I am? Maybe the entire Jewish community in Bradford should do that? I’m sure you wouldn’t want that would you?
The trouble George, and you know there is trouble as you are apparently being investigated by the police, is that YOU may know what and who you are talking about, but some others might not. They may take what you have said as an invitation by their Member of Parliament to take it upon themselves to search out these “Israelis” and rid Bradford of them. I’m sure you didn’t mean that to happen, but if it does happen you could justifiably be held responsible for that.
You have a lot of power in your hands, and in your voice George. People follow you and believe in you. I advise you to use that power over the next few days to make sure it isn’t you with blood on your hands.