Malcolm Hoenlein said “help” is needed to protect Israel from its enemies.
The executive vice chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations sees a host of problems that need greater attention and advocacy from American Jews.
“There are developments that get very little attention and are going to be of long-term consequences,” he told NJ Jewish News. “Yemen is falling into the hands of an Iran subsidiary. There are also developments in other parts of the Middle East that are of very serious import and we tend to react rather than act toward them.”
Hoenlein will be one of the keynote speakers at the Step Up for Israel Advocacy Summit on Sunday, Nov. 2, at the Aidekman campus in Whippany.
Hoenlein, who heads what is perhaps the most influential Jewish policy group, will share the keynote slot with Kasim Hafeez, a UK activist who calls himself a “Muslim Zionist” (see separate story, page 12).
In a preview of his remarks, Hoenlein said he will call on his audience to become activists “to help explain Israel’s case. We can’t undo all the bad reporting and misinformation but we can try to help clarify things and put them in the proper perspective. Any foundation that is built on lies or distortion is never going to last, and it cannot become the foundation for a meaningful peace.”
On a positive front, he suggested that realignments in the Arab world could benefit Israel. But, he warned, “they could be temporary.”
“The question is, how do you solidify them? Circumstances are driving countries to reassess their relationships with Israel, at least in informal ways which could be beneficial. Egypt is cooperating with Israel, and they are working together on security and other areas.”
As for a renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, “there are still possibilities for a two-state solution, but they depend on how the international community behaves and how it weighs what it does. One-sided pressure on Israel will never bring about a meaningful solution, which can only come about with negotiations.”
The overwhelming vote on Oct. 13 in the House of Commons, urging the British government to recognize the state of Palestine, “will make peace even harder,” he said.
The most recent war in Gaza “has certainly put stresses on the relationships, as the British vote did. But the fundamentals remain the same, and people will exploit those who do not have Israel’s interests at heart,” he said.