by Sarit Catz
The Step Up for Israel Advocacy Summit will be held from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. this Sunday, October 16, at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) will take part on the opening plenary on “Countering Assaults on Israel’s Legitimacy.”
At a family function, I overheard my husband talking to his cousin about Israel. She said she didn’t support Israel. Naturally, I walked right over.
“How is it that you, who is so close to family and identifies with your Jewish heritage, how can you not support Israel?” I asked.
“I think the settlements are getting in the way of making peace and I don’t support the settlements,” she answered.
“I’m not a fan of the settlements. I wouldn’t live there in a million years. But so what? Have peace negotiations and set the borders wherever you want. Set them here, set them there. Set them wherever you want. Then some of the settlements will be in Israel and some of them will be in Palestine. What’s wrong with that?”
“The settlements are only a problem if you can’t have Jews in Palestine. There are plenty of Arabs and other non-Jews in Israel. Are they the problem? Of course not. The same should go for Jews in Palestine.”
“The thing that’s getting in the way of making peace is not having peace talks.”
“I never thought of it that way.”
I’m not saying that she now lobbies Congress on behalf of Israel, but my cousin is at least thinking a little more about Israel, and less likely to repeat the same misguided refrains we hear constantly.
I bet you’ve had many similar encounters at family functions, at work, at PTO meetings. Do you know what to say? Are you even sure what you think? You will be if you come to the Step Up For Israel Advocacy Summit on October 16 at the Alex Aidekman Family Jewish Community Campus in Whippany. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., hear from experts and activists from virtually all the major pro-Israel advocacy groups.
Listen to keynote speaker Lorna Fitzsimons, a former British member of Parliament who now runs an organization dedicated to fighting efforts to delegitimize Israel. Learn about this growing movement that threatens Israel’s existence by circulating misinformation, false accusations, and cherry-picked “facts.” Find out how pervasive the anti-Israel sentiment is in certain political sectors, the media, and on college campuses. And most importantly, discover what YOU can do about it.
After a lunch break (by the way, there’ll be a kosher lunch available for purchase), you’ll get the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned in optional interactive advocacy workshops. Hands-on role playing and practice so the next time you’re in one of those situations, you’ll feel empowered to support Israel with knowledge and conviction.
Join us, bring a friend, bring all your friends. Speak up for Israel with confidence. The Step Up For Israel Advocacy Summit is free and more than that, it’s priceless.
Sarit Catz is chair of the CRC’s Israel Advocacy Committee.
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The Step Up For Israel Advocacy Summit is being sponsored by the Community Relations Committee of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest and Central NJ (CRC) and the New Jersey region of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in partnership with local synagogues and organizations.