Update on Action and Impact: National Security Team October-November 2011
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Update on Action and Impact: National Security Team October-November 2011

These past two months represented the culmination of our team’s work and its impact in helping counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. Several events converged in this period, indicate the extent of the impact of our work

Introduction

These past two months represented, in many respects, the culmination of our team’s work and its impact in helping counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. A couple of events related to delegitimization converged in this period, both indicating the extent of the impact of Reut's work and providing new opportunities for our team to contribute to the cause.

Reut’s main goal, as defined in January 2010, was to spark the creation of a significant, global and systematic offensive against delegitimization in 2011, which would manifest itself in the creation of a pro-Israel network. Indeed, in the past two years, we have witnessed the reawakening of the pro-Israel camp and its reorganization for the purpose of countering delegitimization.

Although the assault on Israel was not stopped everywhere, this year saw the emergence of a coordinated global effort to combat it on every front, from international fora to university campuses. A couple of important initiatives of this type came to maturity last month, indicating the successful progress of our ‘anti-delegitimization network’.

General Assembly of the Jewish Federations

The issue of the assault on Israel’s legitimacy was central at the General Assembly (GA) of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) in Denver, Colorado (6-8/11/11). Under the leadership of the Israel Action Network (IAN), four dedicated sessions dealt with different aspects of the assault on Israel’s legitimacy. A couple of other sessions were held in relation to topics initially brought up and framed by Reut.

The IAN also held a post-GA event (8-9/11/11) titled “Hotspots” of the Delegitimization Movement, which saw the participation of selected groups of people from a number of ‘hubs’ of delegitimization, NGOs and the Israeli government.

In the document Building a Political Firewall Against Israel’s Delegitimization, Reut noted that “it takes a network to fight a network” such as the one that conducts the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, and consequently called for the pro-Israel camp to embrace a network logic. The establishment, more than a year ago, of the Israel Action Network (IAN) by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) constitutes one of the most prominent manifestations of this logic.

Reut was honored to play an essential role in the GA events: Reut’s President Gidi Grinstein moderated a panel comprised of Hon. Irwin Cotler MP, Rt. Hon. Dr. Denis MacShane MP, and MK Dr. Einat Wilf. In addition, Eran Shayshon addressed the post-GA event, and an article he wrote was included in the publication issued by the IAN in preparation to the event (on the GA event see this Jerusalem Post Blog).

The Big Tent for Israel

Towards the end of December, the Big Tent for Israel conference was held in Manchester. Organized by the local Jewish community, the event was based on Reut’s document on London as a hub of delegitimization, a copy of which was also distributed to the participants.

Seven hundred people attended this impressive event, where Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Daniel Taub, was the keynote speaker. Other speakers included the Histadrut’s Yakov Triptou, Itamar Marcus from Palestine Media Watch, BICOM’s Lorna Fitzsimons, Adam Levick from CIF Watch, Andrew White from Beyond Images, Hannah Weisfeld from Yachad and Adam Ognall from the New Israel Fund. The event’s organizers included the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies, UJIA, and the Zionist Federation.

The structure of the conference was based on Reut’s analysis of the main domains in which delegitimization takes place in the UK, and reflected Reut’s concepts of Broad Tent and Red Lines. Eran Shayshon addressed the attendees on two occasions, including the main plenary session.

The Jewish community establishment and Israel’s friends and allies in the UK – which include fringe groups and grassroots movements – provide an example of a community mobilized to fight for this cause. The ‘Big Tent’ event follows the “We Believe in Israel” initiative that brought approximately 1,500 people together to support of Israel just last May.

It therefore comes as no surprise that several notorious anti-Israeli individuals and organizations, such as Ben White or the website Electronic Intifada, seem to be alarmed from the reawakening of the pro-Israel community in the UK.

For a selection of the Media coverage of this event, see: Ray Cook's Blog: A Day to Remember; The Jerusalem Post: UK Rabbi Inspires Israel Advocacy; The Jewish Chronicle: Big Tent for Israel gets UK Ambassador Taub.

Click here for an interview with Eran Shayshon to Radio Sefarad on the delegitimization phenomenon (in Spanish).

The End.

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