On Tuesday, August 24, Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman and Dr. Tal Becker of the Shalom Hartman Institute “Engaging Israel” project team participated in a symposium entitled “The De-legitimization of Israel: Threats, Challenges and Responses” at the IDC Herzliya. Tony Blair was the symposium keynote speaker and participants included Members of Knesset Tzipi Livni and Nahman Shai.
Donniel Hartman focused on the necessity of changing the Zionist narrative for Jews worldwide. “Our challenge is to create a new Zionist narrative that is not built on the Holocaust or any other threat,” he said at the conference. “The new Zionist narrative has to be built on Jewish values that are relevant to Jews around the world.”
In the keynote speech, Tony Blair proposed 5 steps to combating the de-legitimization of Israel:
First: “The aim is not to make people agree with Israel’s point of view but to insist that they listen to it and persuade them at least to a point of understanding.”
Second: “Israel has to be staunch and unremitting actor for peace.“ The restart of negotiations next month is a positive step and “shows there is a simple and sincere yearning on part of people of Israel to live an enduring and honorable peace with their neighbors.”
Third: Negotiations must include discussions of final stages. “Proposals on this issue will be a litmus test to seriousness.”
Fourth: While taking into account legitimate security concerns, Israel must do what it can to improve quickly the daily life of the Palestinians.
“No top down negotiations will work without it.”
Fifth: “It is our collective duty, yours and mine to argue vigorously against the de-legitimization of Israel. It is also our collective duty to arm ourselves with an argument and narrative we can defend and with which we can answer the case made against Israel with pride and confidence.”
In her speech at the conference, Tzipi Livni said:
“The threat of delegitimization intensifies other threats facing Israel, and limits our ability to protect ourselves,” Livni said at the conference, held by Kadima in cooperation with the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. “Israel’s missiles, tanks and excellent fighters can’t properly protect the State of Israel if their hands are tied behind their backs.”
The Shalom Hartman Institute’s “Engaging Israel” project team, which includes leading scholars from Israel and North America, frequently engages the question of Israel’s legitimacy. Subscribe now to get the latest “Engaging Israel” articles delivered to your email–or just visit the site.