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The Importance of Lobbying

 This is a guest post by Stephen Hoffman

Throughout the year whether it is on our TV screens, on the radio, in Parliament or in newspapers or blogs, we are subject to tirades against Israel. Indeed if you were an alien from outer space, you would be under the impression that Israel is the devil. It’s not about Israel making mistakes and there is nothing wrong with criticising Israeli Government policy, but the tirades often question Israel’s right to exist, demonise it and don’t give it a fair hearing or the right to self-defence. However, it is no use carping from the sidelines, because things can be done to make Israel’s voice heard and to ensure that those who are in important political positions are at least exposed to Israel’s point of view or – even better – sympathise with it.

It is important to recognise that Israel’s supporters come from far and wide, from those of all different races, religions and creeds. It is why the Zionist Federation works closely with Christian Friends of Israel, who do fantastic work in defending Israel in many areas, especially within the Christian church. Their work makes a real difference when it comes to standing up for Israel and is done with the best of intentions. The message from all of this is that those who advocate for Israel, should not be afraid of working with different organisations, they should do all they can to work with other organisations to stand up as a united voice against those who challenge Israel’s very existence. If this happens, those who want to speak out in support of Israel will stand united.

Every year the Zionist Federation holds a lobby of Parliament in partnership with Christian Friends of Israel. In the past this has attracted many attendees and has been an extremely effective way of making Israel’s voice heard in Parliament. The lobby day of January 23rd 2013 should be no different.

During the morning, from 10am those who attend will be given a masterclass on how to lobby their MP effectively, as well as given an update on the latest situation in the Middle East and Israel. This is crucial, because in order to be effective lobbyists you need to be armed with the facts at your disposal, as well as a way of effectively communicating the facts. After all, we shouldn’t be afraid to use the facts and expose the many lies told by those who are blinded by an irrational hatred of Israel. No less important though is the afternoon of the lobby. It is at this time those attending the lobby get the chance to hear from numerous MPs and Lords from across the political spectrum in support of Israel. It is a reminder that there are many Parliamentarians who, despite the hostility they may receive for it, are prepared to defend Israel. It also shows the effectiveness of the lobby, as a way of increasing the support for Israel’s right to exist and self defence in Parliament. Of course, those attending the lobby are not simply passive bystanders. It is their chance throughout the day to make Israel’s case  to their local MP and to ask questions of those speaking. Through this long-lasting bonds can be created between MPs and Israel.

So if you are passionate about standing up for Israel then take part in the Zionist Federation and Christian Friends of Israel lobby day on the 23rd January 2013. All you need to do is email me at stephenatzfukdotorg.

Sarah adds: If you are a member of LFI don’t forget there’s a debate in Parliament on 15 January on how to promote a two state solution.