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January 20, 2013 4:43 pm

Deputies Vote in Favor of Controversial UK Board of Deputies/Oxfam Program

avatar by Zach Pontz

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Oxfam International logo. Photo: Wikipedia

A controversial project that partners the UK’s Board of Deputies of British Jews with Oxfam will go ahead after a vote in its favor on Sunday.

The Board of Deputies, which is the main representative body of British Jewry, experienced much resistance after announcing a plan to team with Oxfam—which has a history of anti-Israel activity— for a program that will tackle injustices in the international food system.

Ronnie Fraser, Director of the Academic Friends of Israel, and a deputy member of the Board (deputies have little to no say in the decision-making process), was a passionate opponent of the plan, but told The Algemeiner in an email that the meeting wasn’t fruitless, even for those letdown by the outcome. “It was the best debate for probably the last twenty years. Everyone on both sides of the debate agreed that there should be dialogue between the BOD and anti-Israel NGO’s such as Oxfam.”

Still, Fraser was disappointed. “The vote [113 to 65 in favor] confirmed how much of a divisive issue this is for Anglo Jewry with one third of deputies voting against the motion.”

Noting various reports linking Oxfam to anti-Israel organizations, Fraser couldn’t quite wrap his head around the move. “How they can ignore this compelling evidence is beyond comprehension – what more proof is needed for them to agree that Oxfam is not a fit partner for the BOD?”

Supporting the project, senior vice-president Laura Marks said it was important for the Board to “defend Israel from within [the wider community], rather than from the sidelines.”

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