Take the offensive against anti-Israel academics, top think tank urges

Take the offensive against anti-Israel academics, top think tank urges

JPPI hands Prime Minister Netanyahu series of recommendations, including emergency immigration plan for French Jewry

Dennis Ross (Flash90)
Dennis Ross (Flash90)

A major Jewish think tank of Sunday urged the denunciation of American college faculty who demonize Israel, cautioned against support for right-wing parties in Europe, and stressed the imperative for Israel to nurture key bilateral partnerships, notably with the US, India and China.

Leading with a section on the exigency of battling the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, the report released by the Jewish People Policy Institute (JPPI) also covered subjects ranging from the rising trend of assimilation among secular Diaspora Jewry to the growing anti-Semitism on college campuses. It also presented an emergency plan for French Jewish immigration to Israel.

The nonprofit organization presented the assessments and recommendations of its 2014-2015 report to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet members.

After the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday, the PM gave a briefing on JPPI: “The Jewish people have no future without the State of Israel and the Jews of the Diaspora have no future without the state of the Jews. Thus, in order to ensure the future of the people, one must ensure the future of the state,” he said.

“The very existence of the State of Israel is under attack from two elements — first, the physical threat as reflected in Iran’s attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons; and, second, the threat posed by the global delegitimization campaign that denies our right to exist,” continued Netanyahu, who added that Israel is waging a campaign against the BDS movement.

“The key to dealing with these threats is an active — not just defensive — approach; we must denounce those who would slander us and seek our ill.”

JPPI — which is chaired by former US envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross and former US ambassador Stuart Eizenstat — is a think tank that was established by the Jewish Agency for Israel in 2002 to protect and advance the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Among the findings in the 2015 report, the authors advocated an “offensive-minded campaign against the promulgators of Israel delegitimization in the West.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, on June 28, 2015. (Photo by Alex Kolomoisky/POOL)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leads the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, June 28, 2015. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool)

“The Jewish People Policy Institute [JPPI] is working to recruit and organize […] a group of international public intellectuals and opinion makers (especially non-Jewish ones) from a broad political spectrum who support Israel as a Jewish and democratic state, to assist the fight against the international delegitimization of Israel,” the report claimed.

As part of its endeavor to understand and improve the three-way relationship between Israel, the United States and Diaspora Jewry, the policy institute “conducted a structured dialogue process with more than 40 Jewish communities around the world to consider questions of Jewish ethics in armed conflict.”

Three insights from these discussions were conveyed in the report: Jews across the world accept Israel’s need to defend itself; on the other hand, they have lost a measure of faith in Israel’s desire for peace; and, finally, they do not trust Israel to take their interests to heart.

The dispatch also cautioned against supporting “radical right-wing parties, gaining popularity in Europe, [which] are focused on an anti-Islamic and (sometimes) pro-Israel message, and are seeking support from Israel and the local Jewish communities (in their countries) […], because of present or past links to anti-Semitic activity and Holocaust denial, and which espouse policies that in practice would limit Jews in practicing a Jewish lifestyle in Europe.”

Two other segments reviewed the importance of maintaining and strengthening Israel’s relations with the US, India and China.

Using the visual cue of odometers, the report rated the status of five elements of Jewish society, two of which were in decline — “bonds within and between communities,” and “identity and identification.”

In response to the concern that the bonds between Israel and the Jewish world are in decline, a Diaspora Ministry spokesperson said, “As part of the Joint Resolution of the Government of Israel and Diaspora Jewry, the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs will be launching projects in 2016 designed to strengthen Jewish identity within the mainstream Jewish communities in the US and other countries.”

Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky join an 'online jam session' in Jerusalem, February 2014. (photo credit: Sasson Tiram)
Minister of Diaspora Affairs Naftali Bennett and Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky join an ‘online jam session’ in Jerusalem, February 2014. (Sasson Tiram)

Two other topics addressed by the JPPI report — “Geopolitics” and “Material resources” — remained the same as last year, with one ranked as “troubled” and the other as “prospering.”

A final topic, “Demography,” was controversially marked with slight improvement.

The assessment also discussed the bureaucratic obstacles that stand in the way of European immigrants, expounding on them in a nine-page appendix titled “Emergency Plan for French Aliyah.” The appendix set forth a six-part proposal for efficient absorption, including recommendations to ease the transferring of businesses to Israel.

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