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Conference Worried Over Jewish Anti-Zionist Activism

Aug. 14, 2007

A three-day conference of Diaspora and Israeli leaders and academics ended Thursday, July 12, 2007 with a list of policy recommendations.

Avinoam Bar-Yosef, director-general of the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute (JPPPI), which organized the conference, told Ynetnews that the event had succeeded in its goal to draw up policies designed to ensure Jewish continuity.

"Delegates of the Jewish people, from Israel and abroad, academics, operational leaders, philanthropists, all gathered here. They came without group interests, and with a feeling of obligation to a Jewish future. They came to decide a new policy for the future of the Jewish people, and they succeeded in their goal," Avinoam said.

The conference had been divided into a number of working groups. One such group, called to discuss Jewish communities, expressed "concern at the rise of Diaspora Jewish anti-Zionist activism."

In another recommendation, the working group said that "the Israeli government needs to urgently invest resources in enhancing its Hasbara (PR) effort, in order to effectively disseminate the Israeli narrative, provide 'ammunition' to Israel's defenders, and bolster identification with Israel among Jewish communities."

Another working group, focusing on Jewish identity, said that action should be taken to "encourage Jewish population growth," by "strengthening and making more accessible the giyur (conversion to Judaism) system and procedures."

The group also called for "new frameworks of dialogue given the many different modes of Jewish identification that exist and compete in the contemporary Jewish scene."

"The main thrust is that we perceived a sense of extreme urgency to the issues and the challenges facing Jewish peoplehood and existence," the working committee said in its paper.