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.
The mission of the Bureau is to serve and protect the interests, welfare and security of Jews internationally, support the State of Israel and 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 focusing on decision-makers and influencers, its objective is to be a positive influence on policy developments affecting the State of Israel and Jewish and minority interests generally.
BBI Global Roundtable with Jeremy Havardi
The need for the Bureau
There is clear and increasing evidence of antisemitism around the world. This prejudice takes many forms, including far right white supremacism, jihadist hatred, as well as leftist attacks on the’ Jewish lobby’ and Zionism. Often, this involves recurring themes and tropes of Jew hatred which have been regurgitated to reflect modern events and crises. Anti-Israel bias is manifested in attempts to isolate Israel politically at the United Nations (UN) and within the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. 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, as well as diplomats in Paris and Geneva, leading political figures in the UK and institutions such as the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCDO). 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.
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. These include the situation in Gaza, the Middle East peace process, the Iranian nuclear threat and bias at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and the UN in New York. Discussions are held with ambassadors or senior diplomats and the Bureau’s concerns are fed back the country’s respective Foreign Ministry.
Other issues include:
- The ongoing ban on shechita (Jewish religious slaughter) in a number of countries.
- Settlements and land swaps and the standpoint of the EU towards Israel.
- The issue of rising antisemitism, including whether governments recognise the problem and what actions they are taking to control and eradicate it.
- The need for Holocaust restitution in eastern European nations.
- The widespread problem of rejectionism and incitement from within the Palestinian Authority, a body that is funded by the West.
- How the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) undermines any chance for peace and co-existence in the Middle East.
- How BDS undermines the chances for peace and co-existence by promoting a destructive anti-Israel and antisemitic agenda.
- The problems faced by religious minorities in the Middle East, including ethnic cleansing, violence, deprivation of education and incitement.
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 Bureau’s research
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. It has published papers, including one on the status of the West Bank in international law, another on anti-Israel NGOS 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. In 2018, a second book, Civilisation in Crisis, explained the common problems faced by many religious minorities in the Middle East today. In 2022, its third book, Antisemitism and the Anti-Israel Movement, was published which examined how antisemitic tropes and double standards had come to influence today’s anti-Israel movement.
These books are available free to members by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become a Friend
Support and encourage the 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 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.