It is easy to despair at international organisations such as the United Nations when they are used so brazenly as arenas in which to relentlessly attack and bully the State of Israel.
The barrage of anti-Israel resolutions – which once caused a French translator to quip ‘c’est un peu trop, non?’ in a hot mic moment – are now so commonplace that one could be forgiven for thinking that Jewish organisations tasked with dealing with such bodies would set the bar extremely low in terms of what to expect.
Not so for the Jewish Diplomatic Corps, a flagship project of the World Jewish Congress (of which the Board of Deputies is the UK affiliate) which brings together almost 200 young professionals from across the world to advocate on behalf of the Jewish people in these most difficult of arenas.
The project has just held a well-attended summit bringing together most of these young activists in the cities of Strasbourg and Basel. Having recently become a ‘Jewish diplomat’ myself, I was privileged to attend.
World Jewish Congress President Ambassador Ronald Lauder addressed the assembled Jewish diplomats at the hotel ‘Les Trois Rois’, setting of the first Zionist Congress.
In a moving address in which he invoked the legacy of Theodore Herzl, Ambassador Lauder said: “We are one Jewish people, from the most Orthodox to the most secular. We must never be silent, because we learned the consequences of silence.”
These were inspiring remarks for the young professionals, working across a diverse range of sectors who strongly believe in the importance of a strong, vibrant diaspora and also in the security and wellbeing of the State of Israel.
The Jewish Diplomatic Corps is utilising the expertise and connections of these rising stars to add volume to the international Jewish voice.
We may bemoan the workings of the United Nations, but we must never be absent from the debate.
In the meantime, the bonds formed amongst the Jewish Diplomats present at the summit are testament to the concept of Kol Yisrael Arevim zeh La-Zeh – All the people of Israel are responsible for one another.
In many smaller communities around the world, who have the commitment but not always the capacity to fight for our causes, the JDCorps can be a play a vital role in ensuring that the Jewish voice is never silent.
In better resourced communities such as our own, institutions should mine the talent of this group, so that we can achieve even more together.