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U.K. Zionist federation rejects dovish group’s membership bid

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(JTA) — Britain’s Zionist Federation defended its decision not to admit a dovish group that defines itself as pro-Israel but opposes Israeli settlements. 

Paul Charney, the federation president, said in a statement Thursday that the application by Yachad was rejected by "a clear majority" of the umbrella group’s national council. 

"You need to show you are supporters of Israel and will defend Israel where needed," Charney told the London Jewish Chronicle. "Yachad have not shown enough,” he said, adding: “If you look at their website, their visits to Israel are only to Hebron and east Jerusalem. They supported the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations.”

Founded in 2010, Yachad encourages British Jews to voice their opposition to Israeli settlements and, on its website, expresses its commitment to Israel’s security. 

"We are a pro-Israel organization right at the heart of the Anglo-Jewish community,” Yachad Director Hannah Weisfeld told the the Jewish Chronicle.

Charney said this week that though Yachad signed the Jerusalem Programme, the platform of the World Zionist Organization, of which the Zionist Federation is a member, “in practice they do not comply with it."

In his statement, Charney wrote that Herut, a center-right organization, was also initially rejected but was admitted after re-applying. Yachad may re-apply for admission in six months.

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