Israel Advocacy Initative

Israel Advocacy Initative

The IAI builds grassroots support for Israel. Launched jointly by the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), the IAI works with more than 150 communities to enhance the capacity of Jewish Community Relations Councils and Federations to meet local Israel advocacy challenges within a nationally coordinated and strategic framework.

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Another BDS Loss: Canadian Company Says NO to Boycotts

In recent years, a concerted, organized and well financed campaign to delegitimize Israel has intensified.  This campaign, which goes well beyond criticism of Israel's policies, distorts the history of the Jewish state, ignoring the national aspirations of the Jewish people to live in peace in a homeland to which we have been connected continuously for more than three millennia. 

It is within this environment -- in which Israel is repeatedly blamed regardless of the facts --  that a global network of NGOs has emerged to urge the use of Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as a tactic to isolate the State of Israel.  This campaign, which has posed a significant challenge to the Israel advocacy community, has manifested itself in various spheres in which we work, including churches and campuses, as well as corporate, civic and cultural arenas.  The IAI has emerged as the principal coordinating body for countering the campaign to delegitimize Israel, which has become a major priority for our community.  The IAI’s efforts to counter these activities include:

Another BDS Loss: Canadian Company Says NO to Boycotts

Canda's largest department store, The Bay, denied that boycotts had anything to do with their decision to drop Ahava products. The Bay explained that sales had been declining and their decision was pure business.  In fact, anti-Israel activists suffered a severe blow when The Bay issued a joint statement with the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, stating that "it has not 'bowed to political pressure' in the past, has not done so now, and will not do so in the future."

The following is the complete statement:

We are sending this e-mail to update you on the situation regarding AHAVA products at the Hudson’s Bay Company (The Bay). This statement is being jointly issued by Bonnie Brooks, Chief Adventurer & CEO, Hudson’s Bay Company, UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and Moshe Ronen, National Chair, Canada Israel Committee.

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Britain will work to keep’ Durban III free of hate

By James Martin

Totally Jewish

The General Assembly voted overwhelmingly two weeks ago to hold a summit in New York, a decade after another UN event in the South African city of Durban descended into an Israel-bashing forum.

Israel and Canada have already announced that they would not take part in an event linked to the Durban process and there were calls for other countries to follow suit. But a foreign office spokesman told the Jewish News that the government will for the moment reserve judgement on whether to attend the summit, which has been dubbed Durban III.

“We have not yet made a decision on whether the UK will participate. We will work closely with partners to ensure the meeting addresses all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism, and does not provide a platform for the type of offensive rhetoric and behaviour that undermined the World Conference Against Racism in 2001 in Durban as well as the 2009 Durban Review Conference,” said the spokesman.

He added : “We will keep our position on participation and representation under review as a result of these efforts.”

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Seattle Bus Company Rejects Anti-Israel Ads

An iniative from anti-Israel activists fell apart when a bus company refused to post their ads campaigning against U.S. aid to Israel.

Seattle bus ad decrying ‘Israeli war crimes’ rejected

(JTA) -- Advertisements about "Israeli war crimes" slated to be carried by buses in downtown Seattle have been rejected.

On Dec. 24, King County Executive Dow Constantine ordered the Metro Transit system to reject the ad as well as any other new noncommercial advertising.

The Seattle Midwest Awareness Campaign had paid $1,794 to place the advertisements on 12 buses beginning Dec. 27, the day Israel entered Gaza to stop rocket attacks on its southern communities. The ads feature a group of children looking at a demolished building under the heading "Israeli War Crimes: Your tax dollars at work."

A group known as the American Freedom Defense Initiative had also submitted two advertisements to the Seattle transit company to counter the original ad. Constantine ordered a review of the transit system's advertising policy; under the current policy, advertisements are accepted for Seattle buses so long as they do not publicize pornography, alcohol or tobacco, and so long as the images and material used don't interfere with public safety or incite a riot. Constantine said Dec. 24 that the proposed ads presented "significant security concerns."

“Given the dramatic escalation of debate in the past few days over these proposed ads, and the submission of inflammatory response ads, there is now an unacceptable risk of harm to or disruption of service to our customers should these ads run,” Constantine said.

The transit authority received more than 1,200 e-mails about the anti-Israel ad last week, most of them opposing it. Most of the comments came from outside the Seattle area, according to reports.

Ed Mast, spokesman for the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign, said his organization "will take action to keep our message alive." He did not specify whether that action would include a lawsuit.

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Israel Still a Vibrant Democracy

In recent years, a concerted, organized and well financed campaign to delegitimize Israel has intensified.  This campaign, which goes well beyond criticism of Israel's policies, distorts the history of the Jewish state, ignoring the national aspirations of the Jewish people to live in peace in a homeland to which we have been connected continuously for more than three millennia. 

It is within this environment -- in which Israel is repeatedly blamed regardless of the facts --  that a global network of NGOs has emerged to urge the use of Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) as a tactic to isolate the State of Israel.  This campaign, which has posed a significant challenge to the Israel advocacy community, has manifested itself in various spheres in which we work, including churches and campuses, as well as corporate, civic and cultural arenas.  The IAI has emerged as the principal coordinating body for countering the campaign to delegitimize Israel, which has become a major priority for our community.  The IAI’s efforts to counter these activities include:

Israel Still a Vibrant Democracy 

Ron Dermer, Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Netanyahu, responds to a Time magazine article, which shed a negative light on the Middle East's only democracy.
Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2011

A Response from the Office of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu

Dear Mr. Stengel,

I wanted to bring to your attention a recent article in Time entitled "Israel's Rightward Lurch Scares Some Conservatives." I hope that you will agree that the article's obvious bias and numerous distortions are not worthy of the standards of your prestigious magazine.

Israel is depicted in the article as essentially sliding towards fascism. Your correspondent refers to Israel's Shin Bet (the equivalent of the FBI) as a "secret police," claims that the Israeli government "increasingly equates dissent with disloyalty," and accuses the Prime Minister of "taking a page from neighboring authoritarian states."

The evidence offered for these outrageous allegations includes a preliminary vote in our parliament that would require naturalized citizens to make a pledge of allegiance, a proposal to strip citizenship from Israelis convicted of espionage and terrorism, a motion to investigate foreign government funding of local NGOs, calls on Jews to not rent property to Arabs, and demonstrations demanding prohibitions of Arab boys from dating Jewish girls.

But your correspondent did not find it necessary to inform your readers of a few facts.

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Donate Now for Israeli Fire Relief

Last week, Israel suffered from what is being called the worst fire in its history.   The forest fire north of Haifa has killed over 40 people and caused hundreds more to be evacuated.  Hospitals and rescue services are responding as best they can, but they still need your help.  The following groups and JCPA member agencies have set up links with information and resources and are collecting aid and donations for Israel and the victims of this fire.

View the list of agencies collecting aid here.

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