Jewish Chronicle: A way to break the deadlock

The Big Tent Event was planned in response to a report by the Reut Institute to mobilize grassroots diaspora support against the delegitimization of Israel. Its report has since been widely adopted as a road map for Israel advocacy, says Simon Rocker in an article from the UK-based publication.

Simon Rocker, 04/11/11, The Jewish Chronicle:

The content of Big Tent is, at any rate, not controversial. It was planned in response to a call, made in a report by the Tel Aviv-based Reut Institute, to mobilise grassroots diaspora support against the delegitimisation of Israel. Until then, the institute was little known outside academia and the world of policy wonks. Its report has since been widely adopted as a road map for Israel advocacy

Reut defines delegitimisation as the refusal to accept Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. Delegitimisers reject a two-state solution since that would simply entrench recognition of Israel; their ultimate design is for one state. They seek to make Israel a pariah nation like apartheid South Africa, isolated internationally through boycotts and sanctions. Reut believes the UK is a "leading hub" of delegitimisation with global influence.

For diaspora leaders, one obvious advantage of an anti-delegitimisation campaign is that most within the Zionist camp will agree with its aims; other differences over Israel can be set aside to fight the good fight. There are still a few dissenting voices; the veteran Israeli academic Shlomo Avineri, author of several books on Zionism, has argued that there are "no significant moves afoot anywhere on earth to delegitimise Israel", rather the debate is about "criticism of Israel's control of Palestinian territory and its settlement policy".

Reut highlights the distinction between delegitimisers and critics, acknowledging that "in most cases" criticism does not amount to delegitimisation. Its report also notes that, although hard-core delegitimisers reject a two-state solution, to reverse the tide of delegitimisation, Israel must "demonstrate a credible commitment to ending control of its Palestinian population".

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