Our Advocacy Unit - The Bureau
he Bureau of International Affairs was founded by B’nai B’rith UK in March 1998 as the UK arm of B’nai B’rith International’s Centre for Human Rights and Public Policy, in Washington DC. Consequently it was called the London Bureau of International Affairs (BBLBIA or LBIA) until early 2021.
The mission of the Bureau is to serve and protect the interests, welfare and security of Jews internationally, the State of Israel and to uphold the human rights of minority peoples globally. The Bureau 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 focussing 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.
BBI Global Roundtable with Jeremy Havardi
The need for the Bureau
There is clear and increasing evidence of antisemitism 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 (UN). 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 the Bureau operates
The Bureau maintains regular contacts with London-based diplomatic missions, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and the Department for International Development (DIFID). It is in close contact with the Embassy of Israel, enabling it to maintain a regular dialogue.
We also have contact with NGOs such as Oxfam and Christian Aid to discuss their position on Israel. 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.
The Bureau’s progress and 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 and DIFID. The Bureau also joins with the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies in round table talks with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
The value of our activities has been commended both by community leaders and the Embassy of Israel.
The Bureau’s current agenda
We are dealing with a number of international issues affecting Israel and the Jewish people, particularly with regard to the UN and the EU. The situation regarding Gaza, the Middle East peace process, Iran, the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the UN in New York, where Israel quite unreasonably dominates the agenda, feature largely in our current activities.
Discussions are held with Ambassadors or senior diplomats. A major point of discussion is the issues of Iran’s nuclear threat, emphasising the absolute requirement of Israel defending itself against threats from the region, including Hezbollah and Hamas.
Other issues include:
• The ongoing problems created by the Arab Spring
• The civil war in Syria and the danger of sophisticated weaponry provided by Russian falling into the hands of Jihadists, Hezbollah and radical Islamists
• The issue of the historic sovereignty of Jerusalem
• Settlements and land swaps and the standpoint of the EU towards Israel
The issue of rising antisemitism is raised with each Embassy, including direct questions as to whether governments recognise the problems and what actions they are taking to control and eradicate it.
The Bureau works closely with B’nai B’rith in Washington DC, which maintains strong links with the Senate and important members of Congress on similar issues.
The continued strength of the Bureau is largely due to the excellence of our research team, which is the reason that we are welcomed into many embassies and the FCO.
A short book written by Bureau Director, Jeremy Havardi, ‘Israel and the Middle East’ is available free to members from email@example.com or if you prefer it can be purchased from Amazon.
The Bureau’s research
The Bureau has credibility because of the research it carries out. It has published papers, 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. The Bureau published a book, Israel and the Middle East: A Fresh Perspective which is available to Friends of the Bureau. It is researching the common problems faced by many religious minorities in the Middle East.
You can view our Research Documents here.
Become a Friend
Support and encourage the London Bureau – Become a Friend
We would like you to become a full member of B’nai B’rith UK, but if you would prefer to be associated with us as a friend, we would be pleased to have your support.
Friends of the B’nai B’rith UK Bureau of International Affairs, unlike members, do not have to be members of the Jewish faith but are people who are sympathetic to our aims. Friends will receive all the resources that the Bureau has produced, past and present, including a PDF of its main book Israel and the Middle East and important research papers.
Friends are also entitled to attend one breakfast meeting a year in a glamorous London location where they can listen to a major diplomat on important issues of the day.
In addition, they will be entitled to attend the series of online talks that the Bureau organises with major figures in the worlds of diplomacy and politics. They will also receive the quarterly newsletter which provides a summary of the Bureau’s recent activities.
If you would like to become a Friend for only £20 a year, please fill out the form here.