by Gordon Haas
The Community Relations Committee of Greater MetroWest (CRC) is excited to announce the launch of Step Up For Israel (SUFI) 2: Get Educated, Get Empowered. This powerful initiative provides education and effective advocacy tools that empower community members to counter assaults on Israel’s legitimacy and refute misinformation and false accusations against Israel. At its core, it aims to inspire people about Israel.
And considering the events of the past few weeks, now is the time when our community needs to be confident of the facts and have the strength to speak up in support of Israel.
Last week, the escalation of violence by Hamas showered more than 1,200 rockets into Israel — almost hitting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv — and impacting many of our Federation partner communities. Although the U.S. State Department and our Congressional delegation came out in support of Israel’s right to defend itself, much of the media continues to critique Israel’s use of force rather than call on the Palestinians to come to the negotiating peace table.
This week Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is coming to the United Nations to seek non-member observer status from the UN’s General Assembly. You may recall that in September 2011, the Palestinian Authority made the same request, which ultimately failed in the Security Council due to opposition by the U.S., Israel, and a number of European and other countries.
The Palestinian Authority has an “automatic majority” in the General Assembly. Unlike the Security Council, the U.S. does not hold veto power in the General Assembly. Israel, the U.S., and others argue that the status of a Palestinian entity must be determined by direct negotiations between the two sides, and not by unilateral actions such as this UN bid.
Last month, leaders of several church denominations including Lutheran, Methodist, UCC and the National Council of Churches, sent a letter to Congress urging an inquiry into U.S. foreign aid to Israel. As a result, many of the national Jewish ties to these churches have been broken.
Now is the time for community members — including synagogues members and college and high school students — to know the facts about Israel. Each of us is an ambassador to the non-Jewish community, the media, schools, and organizations.
To assist with this effort, the CRC will be providing the free Step Up For Israel 2 film course to the Greater MetroWest community. Last year we successfully partnered with 40 synagogues. This year we look forward to the participation of every congregation in Greater MetroWest.
Also, save the date for our Israel Advocacy Summit on February 3, 2013. Details are forthcoming.
For more information on how to bring Step Up For Israel 2 to your synagogue or community organization, and to get involved in the CRC’s Israel advocacy efforts, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jfedgmw.org/crc