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Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Just received this, about a "nasty anti-Israel program in America"

Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem to tour America "spreading garbage" about Israel

Dear Anne,

I received your name and email by sending out a request to CoHaV members for contacts that may be helpful in combating a nasty anti-Israel program in America.

Below is an email I received which explains how anti-Israel propaganda is brought to churches around North America. This needs some kind of coordinated counteraction by people who can reach the churches and follow the actions of groups like these to stop/discredit them.

We are limited what we can do from here in Israel, we really need Friends of Israel groups in the US to contact each other an coordinate a campaign.

Please reply directly to Aviva at Bwspring@aol.com, as she is the one who has sent out the original request, and let me know if there is anything we can do to help you. I also paste below some information about CoHaV, an international umbrella for volunteer Israel advocacy groups. If you feel that you or your organisation should also be a member of CoHaV please contact me at hasbara@bezeqint.net

Kind Regards
Candy Shinaar
Council of Hasbara Volunteers (COHAV)
Israeli Citizens Action Network (I.CAN)
Email: hasbara@bezeqint.net


Subject: PR campaign

I have an idea I want to explore with you. Please take the time to read this and tell me what you think. About 12 days ago I was stopped at a local Starbucks by three nicely dressed retired gentlemen who were told by the staff at Starbucks that I'd lived in Israel recently. They had attended a 2 hour presentation by the Anglican Archbishop of Jerusalem at their local church. Said archbishop spent two hours trying to persuade the audience that the Israelis are out to dominate and rule the world. These men asked me questions and listened to my answers for over an hour. At the end, I felt that I had reached them but what about all the other attendees? More unsettling was the fact that this ARCHBISHOP was going to tour north American and continue spreading that garbage.

My mother told me about a lecture she went to on Friday in Cleveland, OH. Sponsored by a group called "pathways to peace" the group had one Muslim Israeli, one Christian Israeli and one Jewish Israeli. My mother had drifted to the left of reality but even she was appalled with how one sided it was. The Jewish woman was so appalling and didn't even try to represent Israel fairly (I can almost imagine you saying 'OF COURSE...WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?"). This group had no plans for speaking in any Jewish venues: their entire itinerary focused on churches and civic groups (including the very prestigious Civic Club which means their presentations will be on Public RADIO).

What bothers me about this stuff requires a detailed list:

1. I'm angry at the Israeli Jewish woman for granting credibility to this kind of forum.

2. I'm really worried about the effects this kind of sub-radar public relations campaign will have on Christian support for Israel. The staunchest supporters of Israel have been the Christian communities. Christian communities have been more vocally pro-Israel than the Jewish community and quite frankly they are larger that the Jewish community.
Their VOICE MATTERS. This is the perfect kind of campaign to corrode that
support.

I think ignoring this kind of PR campaign is dangerous and stupid. What I'd like to do is to find a way to create a more balanced representation of the situation there and get this group in front of the same kinds of communities. For example, Newsweek had an article recently about the Christian community in Bethlehem wanting to switch over to the Israeli side because of the constant harassment and property confiscation's perpetrated on them by the Muslims (all with PA sanction).

What do you think? I'm not saying I should be the one to lead this if someone else wants to do it but I think it must be done. I'd be happy to do whatever I can for this kind of effort. Do you think others in Israel would be willing to help me with this (or conversely, if others in Israel want to do this, I would be happy to help them).

Let me know.

Aviva
Bwspring@aol.com



Here is an introduction to CoHaV, Council of Hasbara Volunteers:
CoHaV is a newly formed, umbrella organization for volunteer Israel advocacy groups and individuals. The organization promotes cooperation and networking between group members, and provides the means to coordinate international campaigns and projects for combating false propaganda about Israel. CoHaV believes in the dissemination of honest and accurate information, and is neither associated with, nor subscribes to, the platform of any political party

The strength of Cohav is that even though the various hasbara groups are working together, each individual participating organization remains fully independent. CoHaV works more like a central exchange for all the associate groups, where help and assistance flows between members, as well as providing representation for world wide volunteer Israel advocacy. Membership already reaches the UK, USA, Europe, Canada, South Africa, Australia and of course Israel.

Through electronic communication, members, who are in the main managers of individual hasbara groups, discuss and brainstorm campaigns, projects, and biased material in the media which deserve concerted responses.

Each member, nevertheless, remains fully independent, deciding on the action best suited to local circumstances, and in keeping with the niche the individual group was developed to fulfill. This is how CoHaV helps each group to reach their full potential.

Apart from media response, which is the prime activity of CoHaV members, we also have groups who's activities involve public speaking, producing film videos, compiling research reports, organizing public events, and making personal contact with foreign journalists and dignitaries etc. Our combined membership of several thousand activists covers the different countries, languages, mediums, target audiences, and specialized fields. For further information about joining CoHaV send an email to Candy Shinaar at hasbara@bezeqint.net.