GLASGOW (May. 21)
A public meeting between an Israeli Knesset member and an official of the Palestine Liberation Organization has split the Jewish community here.
The exchange took place last Thursday, when Dedi Zucker of the dovish Citizens Rights Movement spoke with Karma Nabulsi, introduced as second in charge at the PLO’s London office.
The meeting, organized by the Glasgow Friends of Peace Now, was publicized as a “Dialogue for Peace.” But most of the local Jewish community saw it as a propaganda platform for the PLO.
It was denounced by 28 community leaders, including two rabbis, who maintained that “to condone the meeting is to condemn Israel.”
Jews were urged to stay away. The hall, in the Jewish communal center, was half empty. The audience of about 120 included some non-Jewish supporters of the PLO said to be from a group called the West of Scotland Friends of Palestine.
Mark Goldberg, who chaired the meeting, said, “We as Jews have an obligation to try and help resolve the conflict.”
Said the PLO representative, “I believe more than ever in resolving the conflict through talking, through negotiating, through peaceful means.”
Nabulsi said the Palestine National Council, which the PLO regards as its parliament in exile, implicitly recognized Israel by accepting U.N. Security Council Resolution 181 of 1947, which called for the partition of Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, and Resolution 242 of 1967, which affirmed the right of all parties in the area to live in peace.
ISRAEL MUST NOW DECIDE
But neither the PNC nor the United States recognizes Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, she said.
Zucker, whose party holds five Knesset seats, said Israel was at a historic juncture. “It is up to us now to decide whether we should re-divide Israel — or Palestine — or try to live together with Palestinians side by side.”
He said the uprising of the past 17 months “should have proved, even to those who do not want to believe it, that it is impossible to rule over another people for 20 years.” He added, “Surprisingly enough, they don’t learn to love you.”
Zucker said he accepts the words of mainstream PLO leaders that they are prepared to negotiate with Israel. He said Israel is strong enough to take the risk.
In London, meanwhile, the Jewish Chronicle reported that a number of prominent British Jews had met with PLO officials. The paper quoted Dr. David Cesarani, a British-Jewish historian, as saying that dozens of well-known British Jews had met privately with PLO officials in London, but were “plain bloody cowards” about saying so publicly.