JP: What’s Richard Branson’s Problem with Israel?

Afghanistan and Iraq, Lakhdar Brahimi. During Brahimi’s assignment he criticized Israel’s violence and suppression of Palestinians and called Israel “the big poison in the region.” Nice. Branson, apparently, sees eye to eye with Brahimi. After his 2009 trip to Israel with the Elders, Branson wrote, “On my return I rang my 92 year old father and told him of our trip. “It’s strange” he said “that the Israel politicians seem to like keeping a wound open and festering year after year.” Now, perhaps his father said this out of ignorance. Perhaps he’s unaware of all the Israeli attempts to make peace with the Palestinians that ended with thousands of Israelis dead in suicide bomb attacks. But then Branson ought to know better than the response he gave his father: “Lets hope 2009 will be the year that wound is healed.” Branson’s crack team of peacemakers also includes Mary Robinson, the former head of one of the most corrupt anti-Israel organizations on earth, the UN Human Rights Council.  During her time there, she presided over the Durban “World Conference Against Racism” which has gone down in history as one of the vile displays of public anti-Semitic in recent times. Yet she described the conference as “remarkably good, including on the issues of the Middle East.” During the Gaza conflict of 2014 she and Jimmy Carter wrote a letter arguing for the recognition and inclusion of Hamas due to the genocidal terrorist group’s “legitimacy as a political actor.” The Elders had earlier that year praised the Hamas-Fatah unity government. Robinson’s appointment on the Elders council isn’t surprising, seeing as how Branson ignored the fact that Hamas has fired over 14,000 missiles at Israeli towns when he said, “Just watching Israel bombarding Palestine and Palestine sending one or two little rockets over to Israel—it’s just too sad for words. ” Branson also has former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari on board, who has said he calls on the western world to end the boycott of Hamas. “During Ahtisaari’s time with The Elders, he condemned Israel’s raid on ships to Gaza in a press release that stated, “The Elders described Israel’s attack on the aid shipment and the resulting killings and injuries as completely inexcusable.”  The UN itself later exonerated Israel in this matter. But when you’re agenda is to harm Israel there’s little need to find supporting facts for your biased claims. Branson has been a very public figure in the business world. I actually admire the swashbuckling commercial image he has cultivated. Why does he have to tarnish his image and his brand with these anti-Israel statements and associations? Why pour millions of dollars into activities aimed at harming and weakening the Jewish state? His organization continues to be a force for the defamation of Israel.  Jimmy Carter recently spoke on behalf of The Elders stating, “We have also encouraged Europeans for instance, at least to label products that are made by Israeli people who occupy Palestine and ship their products out of Palestine to be sold in Europe. … so that the buyers can decide whether they want to buy them or not.” The time has come for Richard Branson to follow his generosity of spirit by disassociating himself with arch-Israel haters, ceasing to fund them, and to support and stand behind the Middle East’s only democracy. After all, Israel is not just the Jewish State. As a bastion of freedom and human rights in the world’s most tyrannical region, it’s also the great Arab hope that one day Arab countries will similarly copy its example of liberal democracy and human rights.    Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, “America’s Rabbi,” is the international best-selling author of 30 books, winner of The London Times Preacher of the Year Competition, and recipient of the American Jewish Press Association’s Highest Award for Excellence in Commentary. He will shortly publish “The Israel Warrior’s Handbook.”     Branson photo cropped from Chatham House original. This article was published by the Jerusalem Post. ]]>

15 thoughts on “JP: What’s Richard Branson’s Problem with Israel?”

  1. “I believe in my heart that Branson is a good and charitable man. ” Rabbi Shmuley, with all due respect, sometimes our hopes to turn the hearts of men who are against our very existence, and, our need to fathom the reasons for their hatred far exceed the simple fact that not one good word to any of them will ever yield the desired result. Branson, like the others he has interned in his not so secret coven, are not worth the focus of your eloquent entreaties. Their opinions may never change even when we are successful in turning the swelling tides against us. And we will!

  2. Pseudo-altruism, lack of critical thinking skills needed to tell fact from fiction, the story of antisemitism through history, only occurring in Christendom and Islamville.

  3. Dear Rav Shmuel. You can add the worlds most successful con artist of all time to the list of so called wise elders – Nelson Mandela. Just after he stepped down as president here in South Africa we were “privelaged” as a Jewish free loan Gemach of hosting Mandela at a fund raising breakfast. What a monumental anti climax. It was clear from his presentation that he was governed by politcal expediency alone and had no feeling or understanding whatsoever to the conflict in the Middle East.

  4. Very disappointing that a man who appears intelligent doesn’t see the problem accurately & associates with a person of the caliber of Desmond Tutu – a lunatic who has lost all credibility in his own country

  5. Sorry Shmuli,
    You can forget about Branson ever seeing things your way and get rid of his protocols of Elders. He and they are not part of the solution, they ARE the PROBLEM!
    PS I’m surprised Noam Chumpsky and George ” the kapo” Soros are not on the board of the Elders….yet!

  6. I LOVE YOUR ARTICLE N I AM A WARE OF MANY OF THESE ANTI- ISRAEL, PEOPLE IN YOUR ARTICLE; BECA– USE, I KEEP UP N READ N BE INFORM OF ALL THE ANTI- ISRAEL PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD, N ESPECIALLY THE UNITED NATIONS!

  7. GOD IS IN CHARGE,MONEY DOES NOT MEAN A THING IN GOD’S WORLD..A TRUE AND KIND HEART DOES..GOD DECLARED WAR ON EVERYONE WHO IS AGAINST ISRAEL AND HIS JEWISH PEOPLE.GOD BLESS AND BE WITH ISRAEL ALWAYS.FATHER I CLAIM YOUR PROMISE THAT YOU WILL WIPE ANYONE WHO IS AGAINST ISRAEL,THAT YOU WILL CURSE ANYONE THAT CURSES ISRAEL..FATHER I PRAY IN THE NAME OF MY LORD JESUS CHRIST AND I THANK YOU AND PRAY THAT YOU WILL COME THROUGH WITH YOUR PROMISES..I KNOW THAT YOU CAN NOT CHANGE,THAT YOU DO NOT LIE AND THAT YOU ALWAYS KEEP YOUR PROMISES…FATHER YOU SAID LIFE IS ETERNAL IN HEAVEN AND IN HELL..THANK YOU FATHER,AMEN.

  8. After reading the entire article of Rabbi Shmuley I am wondering what does Richard Branson have to gain by being publicly against the inhuman apartheid treatment that the Israelis are inflicting on the Palestinians. From a financial point of view he has a lot more to lose than to gain however I believe his conscience and humanity dictate his stance on the issue.
    Rabbi Shmuley I understand how you as an indoctrinated Jew could be very biased in the defense of the atrocities of your own Jewish people.
    Rabbi Shmuley I found it totally dumbfounding that you as an educated religious authority could be so blatantly arrogant and blind in the defense of the obvious injustices of your Israeli countryman and government against the Palestinians.
    You are totally lacking in morality and humanity. It appears that you twisted the lessons that could be learned from the Holocaust into right makes might.
    I applaud and stand with Richard Branson, the Elders and very many others In their outspoken stance against inhuman brutal treatment of the Palestinians and illegal occupation of their lands.
    You obviously forgot that injustice to one is injustice to all.

    Sincerely
    Bill Shanahan
    Humanitarian

  9. Rabbi: If this group if “Elders” which Branson formed included only 1 antisemite, it could be a coincidence. But when it includes such well known antisemites and antizionists, it is no accident. Do not credit a man with merit he does not deserve, it is like a fraud. Branson has already chosen his side and, deep down, it is antisemitic and anti-Israel. Let’s be neither naive nor hypocritical and let’s face reality.

  10. Propaganda well crafted and liberally disseminated can and will turn the hearts of otherwise well meaning people. Israel is a tiny voice, and it has had difficulty coutering the war of words waged against it. Despite this, Jews are nothing if not resilient and truth, no matter how unpalatable to the foes of Israel, will win out in the fullness of time.

  11. Branson is unable to be charitable when power and money are given choices (conflict of interest is very hard to master or manage). Personally, I was sacrificed as the Virgin Group Treasurer so that he could purchase the company I had blown the whistle on back in South Africa. This in turn caused me to end up living on the streets of London and squatting in a house with my 12 year old son. See 3min video: https://vimeo.com/145131594 Branson is only charitable when it suits his public image and when being charitable gains him more leverage

  12. Hooorayyyy, scrolling down through many answers on the fore article, i was thinking are all these people crazy? The guys a rabbi!! Did none of this sound a tad biased? Then i came across your answer, an awoken amongst many sheep!! Keep it up branson!!! But keep your wots about you too xx

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