B'nai B'rith London Bureau of International Affairs (BBLBIA)

BBLBIA was founded by B’nai B’rith UK in March 1998 as an associate office of B’nai B’rith International’s Centre for Human Rights and Public Policy in Washington DC.

The mission of BBLBIA is to serve and protect the interests, welfare and security of Jewish people, the State of Israel and to uphold the human rights of minority peoples globally.  It was set up to address the need for a pro-active, strategic European organisation to engage with the diplomatic community on behalf of the Jewish people.  By focusing on decision-makers and influencers, its objective is to be a positive influence on policy developments affecting the State of Israel and Jewish interests generally.

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Why was BBLBIA Established?

There is clear and increasing evidence of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel bias within the international community. This prejudice takes many forms including a clear attempt to isolate Israel politically within the United Nations. This prejudice is in many cases born out of a lack of understanding of the issues involved and a lack of awareness of what is really going on in the Middle East.

International diplomacy is of vital importance in establishing the rights of the Jewish people and the preservation of the State of Israel.  London is a pivotal centre for international diplomacy and is a strategic centre in relations between the USA, Europe and the Middle East.

How BBLBIA Operates

BBLBIA has established and maintained regular contacts with London-based diplomatic missions, the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for International Development. It is in close contact with the Embassy of Israel enabling it to maintain a regular two-way dialogue. Through these meetings, we promote greater security for Jewish communities world-wide and help cultivate support for Israel’s unique circumstances and for its aspirations for peace and security.

BBLBIA draws on the information resources of B’nai B’rith around the world. The influence of B’nai B’rith International, with offices in Washington DC, at the United Nations in New York and in Brussels, and with membership in 59 countries is unmatched by any other Jewish organization.

BBLBIA is ideally placed to speak to representatives and officials who might not wish to speak to a diplomat from the Israel Embassy.  As a result, BBLBIA can dispassionately explain Israel’s position to opinion leaders and decision-makers

The BB London Bureau’s Progress & Achievements

The Bureau has established an enviable credibility within the UK and foreign diplomatic community in London, proactively providing objective information and correcting misconceptions on matters affecting Israel and the wider Jewish community.

Meetings are held with the FCO. LBIA also joins with the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) in further round table talks with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. It is accepted that all such meetings are ‘closed’.

The Bureau’s work is unique and is not replicated by any other organisation.  The value of our activities has been commended both by community leaders and the Embassy of Israel.

The BBUK London Bureau of International Affairs Summary for 2016

Over the past 12 months, the London Bureau has been working closely with London’s diplomatic community in an effort to advocate for Jewish, Israeli and minority interests. The Bureau has been invited to many embassies in the capital, usually meeting with ambassadors and other consular officials. The Bureau has highlighted a number of areas of concern, including the ongoing Palestinian ‘stabbing’ intifada against Israelis, the intransigence of Fatah in the peace process, anti-Israeli UN resolutions, the repercussions of the Syrian civil war and the threat of jihadist terrorism.

Turning towards Europe, the Bureau has also discussed concerns about rising nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment on the Continent.  There have been discussions about growing anti-Semitism, with the Bureau keen to ascertain each country’s mechanisms for confronting hatred. The Bureau works closely with our colleagues in Washington and Brussels, and liaises with the Board of Deputies, to ensure that our embassy visits are as fruitful as possible.

The Bureau continues to attend meetings of the Foreign Office roundtable and there was a visit to the Department for International Development (DFID) highlighting Palestinian incitement. The Bureau organised two successful breakfast meetings in 2016, inviting the ambassadors of Austria and Israel to address B’nai B’rith members.

The Bureau’s research arm has also been busy this year. A research paper was produced, called ‘Spreading the Hate’, dealing with how UK funded NGOs and charities were pursuing a hostile anti-Israel agenda. A summary appeared in an Israeli paper. The Director has published a number of articles in the Jewish Press, both in the UK and abroad, on issues of importance to the Bureau. Further research and collaborative projects are planned for the forthcoming year.

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