Anne’s Opinions: Spotlight on friends of Israel

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Besides my Good News Friday posts, most of my posts contain either bad news or at the very least worrying news. So in order to keep a sense of proportion, and also in order to highlight the wonderful work that these groups are doing in order to promote Israel and to defend it from boycotts, BDS, apartheid smears etc., I would like to bring some of these groups to your attention.

The group making probably the biggest splash both on the internet and – literally – on the street (outside the Israeli Ecostream shop in Brighton) is a group I have mentioned before but deserve another hearing: the Sussex Friends of Israel Group. Here’s what Monna Young, one of their volunteers wrote:

We are a group who have just started up in response to intense and aggressive demonstrations in our town, by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions movement outside an Israeli Sodastream shop (called Ecostream) in Brighton, England. This store, sells refills, and recyclable goods as well as other eco-friendly initiatives to cut down waste and pollution.

Upset and disturbed by the weekly harassment, chanting and shouting of lies and hatred by these activists outside Ecostream, members of the Jewish and Christian community of Brighton began a counter-protest, forming the group which is now known as Sussex Friends of Israel.

We’re coming up to our Second Anniversary since we first started counter-protesting against the BDS, giving out pro-Israel leaflets, talking and engaging the public and giving them another narrative and another side to the story.

Members from all religions and backgrounds have thanked us for being a presence outside this boycotted shop, not only because they have also experienced harassment by the BDS and other groups, but because they feel marginalised and threatened by such a divisive, loud and aggressive movement on their streets.

Would you visit and Like our page and thus support our small but ever growing online community which aims to promote and share the truth about Israel and the wider Jewish Community?

Here is Sussex Friends of Israel’s link!

I highly recommend that you go to their page, “like” it, and read up on all the amazing work they do. There are loads of videos, some of them extremely funny, many of them filmed by the talented, funny and resourceful Simon Cobbs

Kol hakavod to the group and all their indefatigable volunteers. May they go from strength to strength!

Another wonderful group doing fantastic work in promoting and defending Israel is Irish4Israel. Here is what they say about themselves on their facebook page:

To promote a more positive vision of the modern day State of Israel across the island of Ireland; to explain to Irish people why Israel isn’t the ‘pariah state’ it’s constantly made out to be, and explain the country’s security predicament and difficulties.

Irish4Israel is a group of Irish people committed to supporting and understanding Israel’s security needs; to counteracting much of the lies and hatred spread in the name of truth within certain segments of Irish society, and to ensuring that the conflict receives fair and impartial coverage within the Irish media.

You can stay updated with their work, and even join in if you are nearby, by liking their facebook page and/or reading their website. In particular, The Issues page on their blog is an excellent resource for understanding Ireland’s obsession and one-sidedness about Israel. Their Campaigns page explains what you can do to help, whether you live in Ireland or not.

Kol hakavod to Irish4Israel for their initiative and hard work. May they too go from strength to strength.

The third group that I wish to highlight today is the Stand With Us group. Again, go to their Facebook page and “like” it, or go to their website, read it, follow it and spread the word. From their “about” page:

Stand With Us is an international education organization that ensures that Israel’s side of the story is told in communities, campuses, libraries, the media and churches through brochures, speakers, conferences, missions to Israel, and thousands of pages of Internet resources.

Stand With Us was founded in 2001 in response to the misinformation that surrounds the Middle East conflict, and the inappropriate often anti-Semitic language used about Israel and/or the Jewish people worldwide. StandWithUs has offices and chapters around the world and is dedicated to empowering Israel supporters with a wide variety of materials, resources and tools in order to be able to effectively combat the growing anti-Israel campaigns and speakers.

You can read all about their successful campaigns to combat antisemitism disguised as anti-Zionism, and follow their suggestions for action.

Kol hakavod on their enthusiasm, their initiative and their success in their campaigns.

I hope reading about these groups will give you encouragement and, more importantly, an impetus to join their initiatives or to start your own.

If you know of any other pro-Israel activist groups, or if you are starting one of your own, please let me know either by email or in the comments and I will do my best to promote your work.

Am Yisrael Hai! !עם ישראל חי