EJC Executive Vice-President and CEO Raya Kalenova took part in a panel on defending Israel’s legitimacy at the Global Coalition for Israel (GC4I) conference held in Jerusalem.

The panel brought together experts from four continents to share approaches and ways of thinking on combatting attacks on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

Ms. Kalenova was joined by Wendy Kahn, Director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, William Daroff, Senior Vice President for Public Policy of The Jewish Federations of North America and Tzahi Gavrieli, Director of the National Task Force for Countering Delegitimisation at the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs. The panel was moderated by David Brog, Executive Director of Maccabee Task Force.

Addressing the rise of anti-Israel voices in the European public discourse, Ms. Kalenova stated: “the rise of new antisemitism threatens not only Israel’s legitimacy, but also Jewish communities in Europe. Fighting for Israel’s legitimacy cannot be separated from our fight against antisemitism, because delegitimisation is a fundamental element of modern antisemitism.”

“Extreme parties from right and left are expected to make gains in the European elections next year. The extreme left opposes Israel’s legitimacy and many members of the far right hold explicitly antisemitic views. We need a pragmatic strategy to combat this, which strengthens the political center”.

Ms. Kalenova emphasised the importance of combatting narratives of hate with positive narratives: “The only thing BDS really cares about is the destruction of Israel. Being pro-Israel on the other hand does not make you anti-Palestinian.”

Mr. Daroff added: “When combatting BDS we need to have awareness of both the language of the message and ensure that the messenger has the credibility with the target audience to deliver the message.”

The GC4I conference is an initiative of the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy.