In our last newsletter we used the old arcade game of ‘whack-a-mole’ as a metaphor to describe advocating for Israel – noting that, just as one issue is confronted and repelled, another seems to take its place. It’s a battle which requires eternal vigilance against an adversary which operates on many fronts.
It’s also why the Israel Institute was first established in the wake of New Zealand’s short sighted decision to co-sponsor UN Security Council Resolution 2334 in December of 2016. The promotion of such a resolution, by a National Government, was a wake up call to how far the debate had shifted – at least at a political level – and, in a perverse way, it was the catalyst that we needed to recognise that a more direct and strategic response was required to keep kiwis informed of the realities of the evolving challenges facing Israel.
In the two years since its inception in May 2017, the Institute has been active across a range of fronts, utilising the mix of skills and experience brought to the table by its Directors and working with both Christian and Jewish agencies and organisations to present a united and coordinated message wherever possible.
As a result, the Institute is now a strong and respected voice and is active across a range of important initiatives which include:
- Our Website, which was launched not long after the Institute was established, and has quickly become a powerful resource – providing up to the minute articles, videos, and information about the events affecting Israel and providing opinion on the meaning of, and responses to, those developments.
- This Newsletter – The Advocate – was launched in February 2018 and has become the means by which we keep in regular contact with supporters, and by which we bring you a curated summary of the latest developments in matters effecting Israel.
- Our Social Media presence on Facebook and Twitter which keeps us relevant with a younger and more connected audience and makes our content easily available to those who want to include it in their own social media feeds.
- We also continue to pursue media coverage by issuing regular Media Releases on matters in support of Israel, or which ensure balance in matters where misinformation about Israel is being promoted – and while this is an uphill climb we’re starting to get traction with mainstream media and ensuring that the facts are getting out there.
- We’re quickly developing a library of high quality, powerful, Video Content for education and use in social media feeds. This includes a work-in-progress series correcting some of the misinformation circulating about Israel and the Jewish claim to the land; one off interviews – and we also host the excellent ‘I am a Zionist’ series which has attracted international attention.
- Our regular TV show The Israel Report, hosted on Shine TV, provides an up-to-the-minute forum for discussion of the issues of the day and is receiving extremely positive feedback from across the spectrum.
- Our Advocacy Work is intended to ensure that our voice is considered in the formation of policy and includes regularly writing to and/or meeting with Government Ministers and opposition parties, cooperating with the Israeli Ambassador and his office, working with other pro-Israel organisations in New Zealand and around the world, and supporting the Parliamentary ‘Friends of Israel’ group.
We’ve also hosted Events (such as the recent address from Washington insider, Dr Michael Doran) and are planning more as resources permit – and we will be participating in a public debate against a high profile anti-Israel Activist, in Auckland, in August (more details to come).
Is the effort worth it? Unquestionably! As recently as the last couple of weeks our efforts to call the Government to account over the publishing of a grossly inaccurate ‘fact sheet’ on the Immigration New Zealand website received global and local media attention and played a part in bringing about a subsequent Ministerial apology and undertaking to review processes.
But we continue to need your help. If you believe that the work we are doing is important – and you are in a position to offer financial or practical support – we’d love to hear from you.
– Ashley Church –