On 1-2 December the Europe Israel Public Affairs and our partners- European Jewish Association (EJA) hosted our second Bootcamp for pro-Jewish and Pro-Israel advocates from all over Europe (literally! From Iceland to Spain, France to Romania and everywhere in between).
With practical training at its heart, this latest bootcamp gave participants proper hands-on experience in Lobbying techniques, media relations, opposition watch and network building.
Day one was focused on facts and lobbying. Ben Dror Yemini, the prominent Israeli journalist and author (his book “the industry of lies” is on the shelf of any self-respecting Israel advocate) gave the team all the facts (“I’m not a pr man”, he proudly exclaimed, I just give people the facts) necessary to counter opposition arguments.
We then spent the rest of the day dealing with the practicals of Lobbying. Our Head of Eu Institutional Relations, Ruth Isaac and our Director of Public Affairs ran through the do-and don’t’s, and were delighted to be supported by former Portuguese MEP Paulo Casaca who gave his experience of being on the receiving end of lobbyists, and lastly by new Belgian MP Michael Freilich, who gave his enlightening perspectives from “the other side of the desk” including invaluable advice and tips on effective lobbying.
At a Gala dinner in the evening, Hans Knopp was our special guest. Hans is a hugely respected dutch journalist whose most famous bit of reporting was exposing a dutch war criminal who helped the Nazis rob and murder Dutch Jews. His work was commemorated in a film “the body collector”, and he talked about his experience. His moving testimony brought the house down and he received a prolonged standing ovation.
The next morning, participants learned the basics of press release writing, followed by a role play and live interview practice with Brussels based broadcast journalist and regular on Euronews Brian Maguire who put the bootcampers through their paces.
After lunch prominent Swedish Zionist and activist Saskia Pantell , CIDI’s dutch opposition watch hero Hidde Van Koningsveld and our very onw campaigns officer Dafna Friedman shared their knowledge and expertise on opposition watching.
We then finished with an open session with Ben Dror again on the challenges in messaging before a closing panel with Ruth and our head of Strategy Tal Rabina on Network building.
Tired but fired up our advocates (many are soon to be members of the EJA’s inaugural Diplomatic Corps), left for home. Our next bootcamp is already being planned. If you want to be part of it, let us know.
Yesterday afternoon, and speaking to a standing room only Committee room in the European Parliament courtesy of our Co-sponsors Anna Michelle Asimakapolou MEP, Anna Fotyga MEP and Traian Basescu MEP. The Minister, joined by the EU’s Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combatting anti-semitism Katharina Von Schnurbein, and again by Secretary Carr and Rabbi Margolin outlined their concern at the rise of antisemitism and at rooting out the boycott movement as fundamentally anti-semitic. There followed a q&a with a distinguished audience of parliamentarians, diplomats and Jewish leaders and orgnasiations from across the continent.
A boot-camp for 50 young European activists aimed at fighting antisemitism and anti-Zionism was hosted earlier this week in Brussels by the European Jewish Association (EJA).
Partnering on the event with the Europe Israel Public Affairs and the European Center for Jewish Students, the boot-camp was the first step in “building a Europe-wide network of young and engaged activists,” the EJA said in a statement on Tuesday.
Activists and budding activists who attended came from countries as far as the Ukraine and Iceland, as well as the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe.
“The participants represent the first draft of a new ‘officer corps’ of young activists, who will go back to their countries and advocate for Israel, build local armies and effectively counter anti-Zionist and antisemitic narratives, and will be regularly briefed and trained on best practice and campaigns from Brussels and from Israel, as well as sharing knowledge and supporting each other,” it explained.
EJA chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, said in a statement following the event that the boot-camp “was an intensive course in advocacy.”
“Across Europe, with rising antisemitism directly linked to rising anti-Zionism, the stakes have rarely been higher,” he explained. “We wanted to inspire, to show these brave young activists that they are not alone, that there is support and to help them build networks, not only for mutual support, but for best practice in countering these antisemitic narratives.”
He added that this boot-camp “is the start of a long journey for these young ‘soldiers,’ and one that will help them lead, encourage and inspire others in the months and years ahead.”
The boot-camp included engagement and classes with experts in these fields, including speakers from StandWithUs, the Strategic Affairs Ministry and the media, including experts from The Guardian newspaper and Euronews.
According to the EJA, “participants got stuck into the basics of lobbying and media relations, whilst Swedish Israel advocate Saskia Pantell shared top tips on best practice and winning on social media.”
Participants also took part in a gala dinner event, in which they heard from Holocaust survivor and president of the Jewish Forum in Antwerp, Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny.
They also viewed videos that highlighted both good and bad interviews, and segments from Palestinian children’s television shows.
The article was published on The JPost
Brussels 8 July. A triumvirate of Brussels-based Jewish and Israel advocacy groups have begun building a Europe-wide army of young and engaged activists, beginning with a Bootcamp that began on Sunday and concluded today (Monday 8 July).
The intensive two-day course from Europe Israel Public Affairs (EIPA) with partners European Jewish Association (EJA) and the European Centre for Jewish Students (ECJS) brought young activists and want-to-be activists to the European Union’s capital from Iceland to Romania and everywhere in between.
With expert speakers from StandWithUs, the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, and media experts from the Guardian newspaper and Euronews, participants got stuck into the basics of lobbying and media relations, whilst Swedish Israel advocate Saskia Pantell sharing top tips on best practice and winning on social media.
A gala dinner took place where participants heard from holocaust survivor and president of the Jewish Forum in Antwerp, Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny and watched videos of good and bad interviews and Palestinian children’s tv segments versus Kazakhstan’s infamous Borat.
The participants represent the first draft of a new “officer corps” of young activists, who will go back to their countries and advocate for Israel, build local armies and effectively counter anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic narratives, and will be regularly briefed and trained on best practice and campaigns from Brussels and from Israel, as well as sharing knowledge and supporting each other.
EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, said in a statement after the event:
“Our Bootcamp was an intensive course in advocacy. Across Europe, with rising antisemitism directly linked to rising antizionism, the stakes have rarely been higher. The picture from the youth in Scandinavia was particularly shocking. We wanted to inspire, to show these brave young activists that they are not alone, that there is support and to help them build networks, not only for mutual support, but for best practise in countering these antisemitic narratives.
“The bootcamp is the start of a long journey for these young “soldiers”, and one that wil help them lead, encourage and inspire others in the months and years ahead.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to fly to Vienna later this month to meet with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, in what will be the first official visit to Austria by an Israeli premier in more than two decades.
“It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu for an official visit to Austria!,” Kurz tweeted Wednesday.
Netanyahu will hold a bilateral meeting with the Austrian leader and attend a “conference on the fight against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism” hosted by Kurz on November 21-22.
Netanyahu’s forthcoming visit to Vienna will be the first trip to Austria by an Israeli prime minister since 1997, when Netanyahu visited the country during his first term.
Member of parliament Martin Engelberg, a member of Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s center-right Austrian People’s Party (OVP), announced the Israeli premier’s planned visit earlier Wednesday during a pan-European conference on anti-Semitism in Brussels.
“[Netanyahu] is going to come to Vienna in two weeks, and there will be a summit, a quite high-ranking summit…on fighting anti-Semitism, anti-Zionism, also including BDS [the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement] and protecting and securing Jewish life in Austria and in Europe,” Engelberg told i24NEWS.
Ties between Israel and Austria have strengthened over the past year, despite the inclusion in Kurz’s coalition government of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), which has a past stained by frequent anti-Semitic incidents and instances of Nazi propaganda.
Israel’s foreign ministry has maintained a “boycott” of the Freedom Party ministers, who preside over the foreign and defense ministries, since they joined Kurz’s government late last year government, instead conducting all governmental matters through lower-level civil servants.
But it appears the Israeli government is eager to maintain good relations with Austria, as the reaction paled in comparison with that in 2000, when the Freedom Party first joined a coalition government and Israeli authorities withdrew the Ambassador from Vienna.
The Austrian chancellor visited Israel in June and met with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September.
“It’s a very clear sign of the close friendship not only between Israel and Austria, but also on a personal level between the Israeli prime minister and our Austrian chancellor,” Engelberg said of Netanyahu’s planned reciprocal visit.
Engelberg told i24NEWS that it was the “right” of the Jewish community to decide to boycott ministers of the far-right Freedom Party (FPOe), but noted that nonetheless, “the relationship between Austria and Israel has never been as close as it is now.”
He added that “nobody is pressing” Israel to change its policy regarding FPO ministers.
“Austria is a member of the European Union…and whether or not the Israeli government has contact with Austrian ministers of the Freedom Party does not really bother us,” he said.
“I’m more interested that the Freedom Party really takes the right steps and we will charge them by their deeds, as we say,” Engelberg said.
During his visit to Israel this summer, Kurz expressed remorse at the American Jewish Committee’s conference in Jerusalem for Austrian participation in Nazi crimes during the Holocaust.
Engelberg said that over the past 30 years there has been a “strong decline” in what he called “classical anti-Semitism” in Austria, meanwhile claiming that levels of anti-Semitism in the country’s Muslim population were much higher than in the general population.
“We are talking about, according to the polls, a level of anti-Semitism [within the Muslim population] of 40, 50, or 60 percent sometimes, whereas in the general population we tend to come down from 30 percent to 10 percent,” he said, without citing from which polls he had drawn the figures.
Founded in 1956, the FPOe emerged from the short-lived Federation of Independents, launched after World War II by former Nazis who had been stripped of their voting rights.
The party, whose first chief was an ex-officer from the Waffen SS, also drew pan-Germanists — believers in unifying with Germany like in the Third Reich — and liberals fed up with the ruling centrist establishment.
The party rose to prominence in the late 1980’s under Joerg Haider, the charismatic but controversial son of a former Nazi party official, positioning itself as a formidable populist force thriving on xenophobic and anti-EU slogans.
Today, the part is led by Heinz-Christian Strache, a former member of a radical student fraternity who has a past stained by frequent anti-Semitic incidents and instances of Nazi propaganda.
Strache has dismissed former associations with neo-Nazi groups as youthful dalliance and has attempted to position himself as a vocal advocate and friend of Israel.
Strache has traveled to Israel a number of times and developed ties with representatives of the Israeli right. In one of his last trips, however, late Israeli President Shimon Peres had refused to meet him.
i24NEWS correspondent Polina Garaev contributed to this report.
The article was published on I24
We are proud to invite you to take part in one of the most exciting events of the year!
Jerusalem Hi-Tech Day is a day of celebrating Jerusalem’s innovation, new start ups and technology as well as culture, food and good beer.
We will start the day in the European Parliament, hearing about how JLM transformed into an advanced and inspiring innovation hub in the last few years. Then we go on to a twinnovation lunch, in which we will exchange views and ideas with local European companies and start-ups and then finish the day at place Lux where we will see some of this new and amazing technology in action and enjoy some JLM food and drinks.
For more info go HERE
To register (for free) for the EP event go HERE
You can find the full agenda HERE
Europe Israel Public Affairs & European Jewish Association had the pleasure of hosting yesterday a lively town hall discussion between Jewish community leaders and heads of Pro-Israel organizations from across Europe with the Israeli Minster Gilad Erdan, Minister for Public Safety and Strategic Affairs. Minister Erdan attentively listened and responded to the concerns of Jewish community leaders, thanked the leaders for their pro-active approach in countering the BDS narrative, and offered the support of his Strategic Affairs ministry for empowering the European Jewish diaspora in its efforts against the delegitimization of Israel.