During a year marked by significant domestic and international challenges, the London Bureau has continued to work closely with London’s diplomatic and political community, advocating for Jewish, Israel and minority interests. The Bureau has been invited to many embassies, both European, Asian and Latin American, meeting with Ambassadors and senior diplomats to express concerns over antisemitism, nationalism and anti-Israel bias. It has also been represented in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council and at the roundtable discussions held with senior ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The Bureau has raised concerns about many issues. These include the reasons for the breakdown in the peace process, including incitement and rejectionism from the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, continuing endemic bias at the UN, the status of Jerusalem, the threat posed by Iran and its allies and the issue of BDS. It has also dealt with the question of Holocaust restitution affecting a number of countries in Eastern Europe. The Bureau has also condemned the rise in far right nationalism, which has been accompanied by resurgent support for wartime fascists. In each case, the Bureau calls on foreign governments to protect vulnerable Jewish communities, as well as other minorities threatened by xenophobia and racism. This year, the Bureau has spoken to a UK based NGO regarding its perspective on the Arab-Israeli conflict and plans further meetings with other charities and organisations.
The Bureau has conducted significant research over the last 12 months. A number of papers have been published, including one on the status of the West Bank in international law and another on the role of UNRWA in undermining the chances of peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. Towards the end of the year, the Bureau published a 70 page mini book, ‘Israel and the Middle East: A Fresh perspective’, an e version of which is available free to all BBUK members. The booklet deals with many of the thorniest issues connected to the conflict and shatters many myths and misconceptions.
Bureau Director, Jeremy Havardi, has spoken on a number of occasions, both within BBUK (at Young Professionals Events and at Lodges) and also at public meetings. He has met with representatives of other organisations, including Stand With Us, WIZO, Quakers for Israel and UJS. He has also published a range of articles under the Bureau’s name.