Brussels 8 July. A triumvirate of Brussels-based Jewish and Israel advocacy groups have begun building a Europe-wide army of young and engaged activists, beginning with a Bootcamp that began on Sunday and concluded today (Monday 8 July).
The intensive two-day course from the European Jewish Association (EJA) with partners Europe Israel Public Affairs (EIPA) and the European Centre for Jewish Students (ECJS) brought young activists and want-to-be activists to the European Union’s capital from Iceland to Romania and everywhere in between.
With expert speakers from StandWithUs, the Israel Ministry of Strategic Affairs, and media experts from the Guardian newspaper and Euronews, participants got stuck into the basics of lobbying and media relations, whilst Swedish Israel advocate Saskia Pantell sharing top tips on best practice and winning on social media.
A gala dinner took place where participants heard from holocaust survivor and president of the Jewish Forum in Antwerp, Regina Suchowolski-Sluzny and watched videos of good and bad interviews and Palestinian children’s tv segments versus Kazakhstan’s infamous Borat.
The participants represent the first draft of a new “officer corps” of young activists, who will go back to their countries and advocate for Israel, build local armies and effectively counter anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic narratives, and will be regularly briefed and trained on best practice and campaigns from Brussels and from Israel, as well as sharing knowledge and supporting each other.
EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, said in a statement after the event:
“Our Bootcamp was an intensive course in advocacy. Across Europe, with rising antisemitism directly linked to rising antizionism, the stakes have rarely been higher. The picture from the youth in Scandinavia was particularly shocking. We wanted to inspire, to show these brave young activists that they are not alone, that there is support and to help them build networks, not only for mutual support, but for best practise in countering these antisemitic narratives.
“The bootcamp is the start of a long journey for these young “soldiers”, and one that wil help them lead, encourage and inspire others in the months and years ahead.”