Rotem A. Oreg
The Israeli-Democratic Alliance is celebrating its first year of activity and its achievements!
It's election time: in the United States, MAGA Republicans are seeking to roll back all the progress that was made in the past few decades with the overturning of Roe v. Wade being just the beginning. They are collaborating with Special Interests to fight against liberal causes such as climate action and gun control, all the while spreading lies about the last elections' results. In Israel, the conservative camp is challenging every progress made by the current government (first and foremost the historic Jewish-Arab partnership), whilst promoting their misogynistic, homophobic, and racist policies. Its goal is clear – to kill every chance for peace and stability within Israeli society and between Israel and the Palestinians.
This is why we, liberals and progressives from both Israel and the United States, must work together. Through the exchange of ideas and best practices we're building an Alliance, committed to liberal values and agendas, thus making Israel and the United States better, freer, and more just.
In order to build that Alliance, we at the Israeli-Democratic Alliance (IDA), together with our allies from the Progressive Zionists of California (PZC) launched two Israeli-American dialogues:
Domestic & Sexual Violence Dialogue, featuring five civil society experts from Israel and the U.S., in which we discussed how to tackle those painful issues that hit every community.
Water Cooperation Dialogue, featuring six elected officials (four from California, two from Israel) and two environmental NGOs from Israel committed to peace and sustainability, in which we exchanged ideas on how to increase cooperation between communities regarding readiness to tackle the greatest threat of our lifetime.
We know that stories bring people together, and that's why we kept telling Israel's Liberal Story:
•We shared the Story of Liberal Israel with young progressives all across the United States, from California to Wisconsin to New York. We are telling the story of Israel's progress - and the road that's left ahead towards a better, freer and more just society.
•We spoke with Israelis - public servants, high-school students, and activists - about the importance of the Israeli-Democratic partnerships, our shared values, and how we, liberals from both countries, can and should work together.
•We provided Public Diplomacy Workshops to pro-Israel activists, educating them about the values of progressives in the United States and how to share Israel's story with them.
•We published on mainstream media, including six op-eds in Ynet (Hebrew), Israel's leading news site; three op-eds in Times of Israel, including an open letter to Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez; and a paper in the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), Israel's leading think tank.
Cumulatively, over 500 Israelis and Americans participated in our in-person sessions and listened to our stories - and this is just the beginning.
As an Alliance, we know that change can only be achieved by working together. This is why we expanded our reach and built partnerships:
We established formal partnerships with 6 NGOs from Israel and the United States, all committed to peace and progress, as well as with dozens of other organizations and activists.
We lobbied with Israeli elected officials for the importance of the liberal agendas as part of U.S.-Israel relations: we met with Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, MK Ram Ben Barak; Chair of the Judiciary Committee, MK Rabbi Gilad Kariv; and five other Members of the Knesset, representing four parties who each promotes liberal and progressive agendas.
We built an outstanding team: we recruited two volunteers, serving as an outreach analyst and a content creator; and added three activists to our Board of Directors, each an expert in their respective field.
As the Jewish New Year is upon us, it's a good time to look back with pride on our achievements - and more importantly, to get ready for our next steps toward an Israeli-Democratic relationship that is based on mutual liberal values:
Share Israel's liberal story: In the coming weeks we will hold a conversation with students from Virginia Tech about Israel (stay tuned for more details!), its progressive achievements, and the road ahead; and have already held preliminary talks with campuses in New York, Colorado, Arizona, and many other locations!
Build the Alliance: by December we will finalize our Board of Directors; expand our team; and build partnerships with new organizations, in Israel and the U.S.
Launch new dialogues: in the coming months, we will facilitate the follow-up dialogues on Water Cooperation and Gender-Based Violence, together with our partners from the Progressive Zionists of California. In addition, in the coming weeks, we will hold a dialogue about religious pluralism in Israel with our partners from the New York Jewish Agenda.
In 2023, we will have no less than six progressive dialogues, each on one of our core agendas - Climate Action, Gender Equality, Mental Health, LGBTQ+ Rights, Religious Freedom, and Israeli-Palestinian Peace. But we can't do all those important advancements on our own - and we need your help! If you believe liberals and progressives from Israel and the United States can and should work together towards better, freer, and more just societies, please support us at the Israeli-Democratic Alliance by:
Engaging in a dialogue: let us know if you would like to participate in one of our coming dialogues, or even initiate a new one!
Inviting us to a conversation: about The Story of Liberal Israel; about Israeli-Democratic cooperation and mutual values; a Public Diplomacy Workshop; or any other issue relevant to our work.
Following & sharing our content on social media. This has been a fruitful year, and we look back with pride - and forward with excitement! On behalf of the Israeli-Democratic Alliance's team, board, allies, and friends, we wish this year would be a year of success, happiness, health, and peace. Happy New Year! Shana Tova! Rotem A. Oreg, Founder The Israel-Democratic Alliance