The Reut Institute Update on Action and Impact: National Security Team, May 2011

Our efforts this month were dedicated to the follow-up of our Washington DC conference, the production of a draft report on our San Francisco Bay Area study, and an initial mapping of the anticipated September UN resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian State along 1967 borders.

Introduction

Our efforts this month were primarily dedicated to the follow-up of our Washington DC conference. We also finalized a first draft report of the San Francisco Bay Area study visit that was conducted in February of 2011. Meanwhile, with regard to the Palestinian arena, the team began the process of developing a deeper understanding of the political-diplomatic arena in the context of the anticipated September UN General Assembly resolution recognizing an independent Palestinian state along 1967 borders. Finally, in addition to ongoing closed door meetings with figures from the political, diplomatic, and security establishments, further work was conducted relating to a major reassessment of Israel's national security.

Reut-Access 20/20 Weekend Follow-Up

Following the Reut-AJC ACCESS conference in Washington DC last month, we are now extensively engaged in the follow-up process. Soon we will be publishing a report with conclusion and insight from the conference, bringing to light the most salient points raised by the participants. In addition, we will be holding our first follow up webinar, as part of a series which will go into further detail on the issues raised in Washington DC. We have also set up a number of online forums for the participant network to continue their conversations, and we have initiated talks regarding hosting a second conference next year. Finally, we have developed multiple ideas on how to take forward the network that was established at the conference, which we will share in the near future.

San Francisco

We have finalized a first draft of report, which summarizes the initial insights and conclusions from an eight-day study visit to the San Francisco Bay Area (SFBA) conducted by the Reut Institute’s National Security team. This report will be distributed soon to a short list of friends and supporters for internal feedback and update. This report focuses mainly on the Jewish community dynamics, which represents the unique characteristic of the delegitimization campaign in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Palestinian Arena - Towards September

In the Palestinian arena, we continued to meet with members of the political, diplomatic, and security establishment, and also key figures of influence from other arenas. Of particular note, we have begun the process of mapping the vast and complex political-diplomatic terrain ahead of the expected September UN General Assembly declaration of an independent Palestinian state, and the likely Durban III conference taking in New York at the same time. Meanwhile, Ms. Dana Preisler continued a project relating to a major reassessment of Israel's national security and foreign policy doctrine, especially in light of recent Middle East developments which have dramatically altered the regional landscape.

Miscellaneous

Eran Shayshon attended a closed-doors meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee regarding the assault on Israel's legitimacy. Eran also became a board member in MENIA (Middle East Network of Information and Action). MENIA is an organization that trains international students in Israel to act as informal ambassadors to their home country. Recognizing the cultural understanding needed to reach out to new audiences, MENIA seeks to capitalize on the natural resource of international students presently based in Israel.

Media Coverage

Our work continues to be frequently cited in the media, both by mainstream outlets and by elements advancing Israel's delegitimization.

- Gidi Grinstein, Response to Delegitimization starts from within, The Jewish Week (5/11/11) – “Therefore, the response to the delegitimization of Israel must start from within world Jewry. First, we need a community-wide deliberation on the definition of “delegitimization” and “pro-Israel” that can shrink the former and expand the latter. In order to succeed against delegitimizers, those on the right will need to collaborate with groups and individuals that criticize Israeli policies but will fight any assault on its fundamental legitimacy; and those on the left will need to give Israel the benefit of the doubt, even when critical of its policies, and to establish clear red-lines with regards to their actions and associations.”

- Gidi Grinstein, Obama is preventing a solution to Mideast Peace, Haaretz (5/31/11) – “Only one format is likely to enable progress to a permanent situation based on the principle of two states for two peoples: coordinated unilateral steps based on understanding and quiet cooperation.”

- Nathan Jeffay, In Palestinian Reconciliation deal, what role for Salam Fayad? The Jewish Daily Forward (5/11/11) – Eran Shayshon, leader of the “Palestinian challenge” team at the Tel Aviv-based think tank the Reut Institute, is similarly skeptical of Fayyad-centric analysis. He believes that the reaction of world leaders, especially President Obama, to the so-called Arab Spring virtually guarantees its engagement with the unity government. “It can’t be that the Muslim Brotherhood can freely run for government in Egypt but not an Islamist movement in Gaza and the West Bank,” he said.