The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) recently held its General Assembly in Baltimore.
One of the initiatives of the JFNA is the Israel Action Network (IAN), a strategic initiative in partnership with the Jewish Council for Public Affairs to counter the assault on Israel’s legitimacy.
"Israel today faces an intensive and increasingly sophisticated assault on its right to exist as a sovereign democratic Jewish state", explain the leaders of the network, "IAN was created to educate, organize and mobilize the organized North American Jewish community to develop strategic approaches to countering these assaults and develop innovative efforts to change the conversation about Israel and achieving peace and security for two states for two peoples. IAN’s work is grounded in building strong relationships with people of faith, human rights advocates, political and civic leaders, and friends and neighbors in our communities."
IAN provides national leadership to all the Jewish federations around the country, explained Geri Palast, managing director of IAN.
These federations reach out to what she described as “persuadable communities” – communities that may have issues and concerns about Israel. The Jewish federations attempt to change the discourse with these persuadable communities.
The issues range from dealing with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement to explaining that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat not just to Israel but to the entire world.
“We have a Washington advocacy office that works closely with whatever administration is in power and we’ll continue to work closely going forward over issues of concern to Israel, especially tighter Iran sanctions, but also always working to safeguard and protect the historic and unbreakable bonds between the United States and Israel,” said Joe Berkovsky, managing director of communications for JFNA.
“We believe that those bonds are deep, timeless and unshakable and are bigger than anyone, politician or administration, and we will work to safeguard and strengthen those bonds across many areas,” he added.