The Jewish Chronicle features an advert for the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Gaza humanitarian appeal this week.
The aim of the appeal is to raise funds to help people in Gaza who have been affected by the conflict.
There are questions about whether humanitarian aid actually gets to the people, or if the Hamas terrorist group uses it for its own means.
Many JC readers have got angry that a Jewish newspaper would feature an advert raising money for Gaza.
Those opposed believe featuring the advert belittles Israel’s right to defend itself and helps fund Hamas. This is because one of the recipients of DEC aid is Islamic Relief, which is viewed with suspicion by Israel.
The editor Stephen Pollard has received letters, emails and tweets of concern, and is being accused of letting the Jewish community down and failing to stand up for Israel.
The JC has since apologised and promised to run an ad next week featuring Israel-related charities.
This raises some interesting questions.
Was it really necessary to apologise? Do we as Jews and non-Jews not accept that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, regardless of who is at fault?
There is even a Facebook group calling for a boycott of the JC!
There is a term in Judaism called chillul hashem. The idea is that you shouldn’t do anything that desecrates the name of G-d.
How does calling for a JC boycott and opposing raising money for humanitarian aid help show Jews as a light unto the nations?
There is a fear that aid reaches Hamas, but the DEC represents a number of charities, not just Islamic Relief and we should be pressuring the international community to monitor this, not stopping money being raised for medical and food supplies.
Realistically, Hamas cannot make rockets out of nappies, potatoes or medicine, and we need to pressure the international community to make sure these supplies get through to the people.
Would you be equally opposed to an aid for aid in Syria or Iraq?
Ultimately, the Jewish Chronicle is a newspaper. It is not a communal body or the PR representative of the Jewish community.
And even if people think it is, what paints a better picture, a community asking it to raise money for people (not terrorists) in need of humanitarian support, or one asking for it to only raise money for Israeli people in need?
We should be promoting dialogue at this tense time, not creating division.