The Chinese have a saying about living in interesting times.
In Israel’s case, I would say that is true on a regular basis, but somehow at the moment, this is true throughout the world. More importantly, in my view, currently these are also some of the most difficult times.
Apart from the major issues we face such as Iran and global warming, the political instability poses major problems.
I am on a two-week visit to the U.S, visiting my family in Virginia Beach. To be fair, I’m not in a position to give a very informed view of the situation here, but it seems to me that while we cannot fault how President Trump has delivered on the commitments he made to Israel, there is very divided opinion about his performance and instability in other areas. His use of Twitter has become an international joke and is often very inappropriate.
Another growing concern is the anti-Israel activity of some of the newly elected Democrats who seem to have come in with the sole objective of damaging American/Israel relations and are making a pretty good job of it. However, the overwhelming passing of the anti-boycott resolution last month was major success, as have been some of the U.S. interventions in the U.N. Nicky Haley was a breath of fresh air, and continues to be active in expressing her views, and I for one, hope she remains politically active for many years to come.
There is concern about the growing attempts by some organizations, not least JStreet in the U.S. and Yachad in the U.K., to influence the minds of our young school and university students. They take them on trips to Israel to expose them exclusively to negative one-sided aspects of the reality. This is having a growing and worrying effect and needs to be monitored and controlled. At this point, I would put my StandWithUs hat on and recommend that young people, particularly university students, engage with SWU on campus and take advantage of the opportunity to be empowered to speak up for themselves when faced with the growing anti-Semitism and anti-Israel pressure. What is particularly worrying is the number of professors and teachers who promote anti-Israel views. This needs to exposed and countered.
Turning to my own home country, the UK, the political instability and uncertainty is unprecedented, and if I am honest, I do not have a clue what the outcome is going to be—a view I believe that is shared by the vast majority of people, not least many of the politicians! The one bright spot is that our new Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has appointed many pro-Israel and anti anti-Semitism MPs in his Cabinet, and he has proved himself to be a friend on many occasions. Also, trade and academic relations between Israel and the UK are excellent and mutually beneficial.
The uncertainty about Brexit, whether or not to leave the European Union, the issue that has dominated our political scene for the past three years and made us virtually ungovernable, is still a dominating factor, and is having many detrimental outcomes, not least the pound reaching a disturbing low this week, and having serious consequences in the business world. I am afraid it is a case of watch this space for the next two or three months before we can reach any predictable conclusions, and much will depend on whether the EU shows any sign of reducing its intransigence.
The anti-Semitism in the UK, particularly in the Labour Party, but certainly not only there, has reached alarming proportions. The hopeful sign is that there is now a backlash, and Labour members in the House of Lords, and many civil servants and employees and grass roots members are now making their opposition heard.
And finally, what about Israel? There, too, there is so much uncertainty with a largely unwanted and extremely costly second election in the offing and the usual wheeling and dealing that will probably lead to more of the same. What does the future hold? It seems ridiculous that this election is being held just before the likelihood of Bibi Netanyahu being indicted! And who knows what implications that might have. Having recently visited Israel, the differences of opinion about him are huge, but there can be little doubt that one of his strengths has been being able to retain positive links with the U.S. at a time when many are trying to damage those good relations.
What is undoubtedly true is that despite all the attempts to damage Israel, the boycotts which are largely unsuccessful and which we spend far too much time and money opposing, and the lies and misinformation that are constantly spread in the media, political, and academic circles, our beleaguered little Jewish state continues to thrive and to share its many technological, medical, agricultural, and other breakthroughs with the rest of the world despite all the antagonism we experience in the UN and other international arenas. Not to forget the wonderful IsrAid that is always the first to respond to any international disasters.
And, we must never forget that we have many friends and supporters, not least our wonderful Christian friends around the world.
If you are in need of a feel good factor when things seem troublesome, take a look at two websites, Israel21C.org and verygoodnewsisrael.blogspot.com/ and you will be amazed by the list of achievements that are shared on a regular basis.
Finally, my plea to everyone reading this is that we all have a part to play as ambassadors for Israel; lobbying politicians, challenging the lies, responding to damaging media articles, and ill-informed TV presenters who do not have the will or the knowledge to correct interviewees who have a free rein to lie and spread misinformation about Israel. Take every opportunity to share all that is good and encourage people to visit Israel to see the reality for themselves. I guarantee they will come back invigorated and inspired to stand up for Israel.
Joy Wolfe is president of StandWithUsUK. She may be reached at email@example.com.