By Aviva Klompas, Senior Director, Strategic Israel Engagement
Growing and strengthening our community’s support for Israel is a CJP priority. With your help, we’re building an informed, engaged, and empowered community that takes action for Israel.
We are also addressing some of our most challenging issues. Israel is a key part of our identity as American Jews, but as we know, conversations about Israel can be rife with conflict and antagonism, dividing us as a community and turning people away. As a community we should be able to engage in thoughtful, respectful discussions across diverse perspectives, to voice our concerns and hear those of others, all while expressing our unequivocal support for a secure and democratic Jewish State of Israel. In this spirit, CJP will soon unveil the CommUNITY Israel Dialogue, to enable productive conversations around the issues that matter to us as a community.
We continue to do the work of engaging our community and building diverse support for Israel and are pleased to share some highlights with you:
- As you read this, Governor Baker is leading a delegation of Greater Boston business, hospital, and academic leaders on a tour of Israel to explore ways to expand the ties between Israeli companies and our local economy. According to the 2016 Massachusetts-Israel Economic Impact Study, more than 200 Israeli companies have a presence in Massachusetts, employing more than 9,000 people, and generating $18 billion in direct and indirect economic benefits to the Commonwealth. This trip is focusing on the cybersecurity and digital health sectors. CJP is honored to support the New England Israel Business Council's efforts to help organize this delegation.
- Over the summer, we led three faculty study tours for 43 business and social science professors from Boston University, Northeastern, and UMass Amherst. Our surveys of participants, pre- and post-trip, demonstrate the profound impact that the trip had on their views of Israel. For example, the percentage of professors who strongly endorsed the statement “Israelis have high ethical standards” jumped from 28% to 80% and the percentage of those who strongly endorsed the statement “Israelis are fair and decent” increased from 60% to 90%. In the months since, we have launched an e-newsletter for alumni of our study tours that includes teaching resources, including access to speakers, and maintains their connection to CJP.
- Just prior to the November election, I wrote an op-ed for Forward outlining strategies for the new president to lay the groundwork for peace between Israelis and Palestinian.
- CJP will soon launch two new programs to spark conversation and promote Israel engagement:
- The Boston Media Room is a global online community working to positively influence the public discourse around Israel.
- In early 2017, CJP will pilot its Israel Advocacy Training Program to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to advocate effectively for Israel.
Finally, what’s in a name? The Israel Advocacy department and commission has changed its name to Strategic Israel Engagement Commission (SIE) to better reflect our goals. Advocacy remains an important component of what we do, but we recognize that our mission is much broader. The new name represents a new agenda that seeks to broadly inform, engage, and encourage diverse communities to act in support of Israel.
If you have questions or would like to know more, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.