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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Contact BBLBIA Director Jeremy Havardi

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 2017

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.

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