Welcome to ReFuel, the monthly newsletter of ZOA's Fuel For Truth. Check your inbox on the first Tuesday of each month to find out what's happening in the FFT universe. Let us know what you love/hate by reaching out to Arielle Holstein.
ReConnect: News, Events, & Other Important Stuff
LET'S GET THIS PARTY JUMPING!
Come one, come all, bring a guest, and #PartyForTruth! Join the members of Fuel For Truth, our most recent NYC and DC Boot Camp graduates, and hundreds of other young professionals for nights of networking, mingling, and "fuel"-ing your curiosity about what you can do to be a more effective voice for Israel! Miami and Boston party info coming soon.
PARTY FOR TRUTH NYC
Thursday, June 13 • 7:00 PM
Vandal • 199 Bowery
REGISTRATION INCLUDES: 1-HOUR OPEN BAR (7:00 - 8:00 PM) & DJ AVI MILLER SPINNING FRESH ISRAELI TUNES
PARTY FOR TRUTH DC
Wednesday, May 15 • 6:30 PM
Proper 21 • 1319 F Street NW
REGISTRATION INCLUDES: 2 FREE DRINK TICKETS
SCHOOL'S OUT FOR SUMMER (EXCEPT NYC)
While our other chapters take the summer to refresh and prepare for the fall, the city that never sleeps is offering a summer Boot Camp class! Applicants are reviewed on a first come, first served basis and slots fill up fast, so apply today for our ten-week NYC program! Learn more about Boot Camp here, or if you know you are ready to apply, all you have to do is fill out the application.
THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM - AND THE SEAT IN FALL BOOT CAMP
As we expand to Chicago and Los Angeles this fall, FFT's Boot Camp program will be in more than half of the top-ten Jewish urban hubs in the United States! If you reside in Chi-Town or Tinseltown, as well as DC, Miami, or Boston, you need to apply to the only program for young professionals dedicated to returning facts, nuance, and empathy to conversations about the Arab-Israeli conflict. Our Boot Camp program educates and empowers individuals from all walks of life with high-level analysis of Israeli history and current issues, proven communication skills rooted in social psychology, and mock simulations reflecting real-world discussions, all while providing a fun, social space to be part of a community and something bigger than oneself. Learn more and apply to Boot Camp in your city here.
DECLARE YOUR FREEDOM
Join FFT for the largest Israeli Independence Day party outside of Israel for Yom Haatzmaut 2019 at Marquee in NYC! The event includes special guest DJs, 1000+ guests to meet, Israeli & Top 40 hits, and more! Early Bird Tickets available for a limited time, so buy yours now!
ISRAEL INDEPENDENCE / YOM HAATZMAUT 2019
Thursday, May 9 • 10:00 PM
Marquee New York • 289 10th Ave
GET YOUR MARCHING SHOES READY...
On Sunday, June 2nd, more than 40,000 proud Zionists will be marching up Fifth Avenue in NYC. Join FFT and ZOA for the annual Celebrate Israel Parade as we march alongside dozens of other American and Israeli organizations to show our support for the Jewish state. If you are interested in marching, pre-register with this link.
FFT SPEAKER PROFILE: Asaf Romirowsky
Follow at @ARomirowsky
Every issue of ReFuel we highlight one of the numerous guest speakers we host during Boot Camp. These include prominent individuals with extensive experience in politics, foreign policy, religion, media, communication, and education.
QUICK BIO: Middle East historian Asaf Romirowsky is a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, a senior nonresident research fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA), and a professor at the University of Haifa.
CLAIM(S) TO FAME: Asaf holds a PhD in Middle East and Mediterranean Studies from King's College London and has published widely on various aspects of the Arab-Israeli conflict and American foreign policy in the Middle East, as well as on Israeli and Zionist history. Romirowsky is co-author of Religion, Politics, and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief and a contributor to The Case Against Academic Boycotts of Israel.
WHY WE LOVE THE SPEAKER: Asaf is an expert on UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East)—the less-than-widely-known UN refugee agency solely dedicated to Palestinians, which has deliberately caused the Palestinian refugee population to swell over the past seven decades.
WHERE YOU CAN FIND: Asaf has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The National Interest, The American Interest, The New Republic, The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet, and Tablet, among other online and print media outlets. You can also subscribe to his free Pundicity mailing list here.
ReCap: April 2019
CHICAGO - OUR KIND OF TOWN
As part of our fall Boot Camp expansion to Chicago, FFT National Director Justin Ellis and Associate Director Daniel Brooks traveled to the Windy City on a scouting trip to learn more about the city, the local Jewish community, and meet with different stakeholders eager for the arrival of Boot Camp. One of the best parts was the time spent with Passages Director of Strategic Engagement Chelsea Andrews and FFT Boot Camp graduate/speaker Zach Schaffer. Both devout lovers of Israel, Chelsea and Zach are very close friends even though one is a conservative and one is a liberal. Their ability to transcend partisanship and dogma, to focus on what they share, to value each other even in their disagreements, and to always exhibit respect is something to be praised and emulated in today’s world. FFT is all about having civil and effective dialogue when it comes to the conflict, and we can't think of many better examples of two people being the change they, and we, wish to see in the world. This is exactly what we aim to bring to Chicago's Jewish ecosystem.
MAZAL TOV BOOT CAMP GRADUATES!
As we concluded our winter Boot Camp programs last month in New York, Washington, DC, Miami, and Boston, we inducted 85 new graduates into the membership of Fuel For Truth. Our newest members epitomize the values of FFT and we couldn't be more proud of their commitment to our mission. Welcome to the family!
ReTold: Rachel Amar's Story
Over 18,000 supporters of Israel attended AIPAC policy conference. I attended AIPAC to do my small part in counteracting the BDS movement.
I saw motivating speeches and thought-provoking panels. FFT provided me with some forgotten history that helped amplify my learning experience there. It also reminded me of how useful my mediation and active listening skills are when addressing BDS and anti-Israel rhetoric. At AIPAC, each speaker I heard noted the important bond between Israel and the US.
Admiral James Stavridis identified Israel’s contributions to the US; shared democratic values, a strategic alliance in the Middle East, and military technological capabilities. Perhaps most importantly, he stated that the US has no finer partner then Israel in intelligence sharing, cyber security knowledge, and missile defense. The US needs help from Israel to curb and and confront terrorism.
Congresswoman Grace Meng described witnessing playgrounds in Sderot becoming shelters for children during rocket attacks. She knows that by fighting terrorists, Israel plays a role in protecting everyone’s children, including her own living in the US.
Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about what the US can learn from Israel; from its government healthcare to its reason for existing. He argued that at its core, Israel exists to shelter an oppressed people. The mayor addressed anti-Semitism and why BDS is not only anti-Semitic but also anti-progressive. He summarized progressives as those who fight oppression and exclusion.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi believes the creation of the state of the Israel was was one of the greatest political achievements of the 20th century. She thinks support for Israel continues to be ironclad and bipartisan.
Pelosi didn’t address the democrats that have been critical of Israel but did discuss legislation to counter BDS and the dual loyalty myth of American Jews. Indeed, many other ethnicities and religious groups might have a country they consider home aside from the US but politicians don’t typically criticize Italians, for example, who might even have dual citizenship, or Jamaican Americans who might regularly visit Jamaica; their loyalty to the US isn’t questioned.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he thinks about the tradition of supporting Israel daily as he serves as secretary of state. He also spoke about anti-Semitism, saying Americans have a special responsibility to combat it because religious freedom sits at the core of our founding.
Pompeo posed reasons he believes anti-Semitism is on the rise. First, because younger generations have decreasing knowledge about the Holocaust as the post-war generation dies out. Second, because an increasing number of educators are teaching that Israel is the epitome of imperialism. Third, because many journalists help drive public debate and don't always take the time to consider facts or think critically.
Pompeo added that some politicians believe anti-Semitism can actually win them votes and that we have to correct the record. We all have an obligation to do so because Israel should be admired, not attacked; embraced, not vilified; emulated, not ostracized.
Ambassador David Friedman outlined why he believes the Trump administration needs to solve the Arab-Israeli conflict and have a viable plan towards peace. He stated that President Trump has the best presidential record on Israel and that this administration can be trusted with a real peace plan. Whether or not you agree, he made strong points about why Judea and Samaria are vital to Israel’s border security and to lasting peace.
Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke on the importance of standing up to anti-Semites. He also addressed the Nation-State Bill that became law and indicated Israel will continue to be a democracy for all its citizens. The bill acknowledges that Israel is a Jewish democracy (the only Jewish democracy in the world).
I heard many speakers from both sides of the aisle who addressed the importance of a strong Israel-US connection and indicated how dangerous BDS is. I left AIPAC feeling encouraged and even more proud of Israel’s vibrant democracy. AIPAC is an experience worth attending at least once in your life. It provides attendees with current events and information that is important to being an articulate messenger of the real value Israel provides to the world.
ReLearn: Advocacy Tips & Resources
Always build a "golden bridge" from which one can retreat. No one likes to be fallible and it can be quite embarrassing to stake out a position and then retreat from it. Make sure that others feel comfortable admitting they are wrong and always give them an escape hatch so they can abandon a position without abandoning their dignity in the process.
Ron's Book Selection
Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present
by Michael B. Oren
Power, Faith, and Fantasy tells the remarkable story of America's 230-year relationship with the Middle East.
Drawing on a vast range of government documents, personal correspondence, and the memoirs of merchants, missionaries, and travelers, Michael B. Oren narrates the unknown story of how the United States has interacted with this vibrant and turbulent region.
What to Watch
Colliding Dreams recounts the dramatic history of one of the most controversial, and urgently relevant political ideologies of the modern era.
The century-old conflict in the Middle East continues to play a central role in world politics. And yet, amidst this fierce, often-lethal controversy, the Zionist idea of a homeland for Jews in the land of ancient Israel remains little understood and its meanings often distorted. Colliding Dreams addresses that void with a gripping exploration of Zionism's meaning, history and future.
RePost: Articles Published by FFT Members
Israel is an Awesome Product, Packaged Awfully
by Jon Harari - NYC Boot Camp Graduate 2018 - April 16, 2019
Israeli activists can learn a lot on how to change public perception, generate engagement and excitement, and create a strong positive brand identity."
Maintaining the plot on Hebron – beyond the two massacres
by Michael Yadov, NYC Boot Camp Instructor - April 16, 2019
For all its importance, many American Jews treat Hebron as if its connection to the Jewish people is expendable."
by Olivia Wittels - NYC Boot Camp Graduate 2015 - May 1, 2019
"Being a Jew and a Zionist at Berkeley Law over the past three years has been enormously challenging. Much of the antisemitism I’ve experienced is couched in disproportionate criticism of Israel, where my classmates disparage, delegitimize, and demonize the world’s only Jewish state."
by Yoni Michanie - Boston Boot Camp Instructor - May 1, 2019
"We have a responsibility to be prevent and react. We can continue to mourn American Jews killed in domestic terror attacks, but we do little to honor their memories if we refuse stand united and have consistent attitudes towards the indiscriminate killing of Jews in Israel."
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Jon Loew & Joe Richards - Co-Founders
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The Newsletter Team - Arielle Holstein, Zach Schaffer, Emmanuelle Subar
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