The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement is trying to undermine Israel’s legitimacy, but we can defeat the movement if we work together to subvert its message, HonestReporting CEO Joe Hyams told attendees of the AIPAC Policy Conference this week in Washington, DC.
Joe joined CAMERA’s CEO, Andrea Levin, and The Israel Project’s CEO, Josh Block on a panel discussing “Middle East Media: Covering a Region in Turmoil,” on the second day of the conference.
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared to the AIPAC audience that the BDS would fail, Joe took up the challenge of showing the audience how.
“Unlike traditional forms of media bias from the mainstream press, which stand to lose credibility when they are shown to be violating principles of journalism, BDS thrives on media exposure,” Joe said.
“The only way to address it is to subvert its message. SodaStream is the most successful high profile example of this to date,” he continued. “They managed to appear more humanitarian than Oxfam, and created an alternative to the dogma that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is entirely bad for the Palestinians.”
Judging by the audience response, which included live tweets throughout the talk, Joe’s message clearly hit its target. Joe also talked about the elements of fair media coverage and what Israel’s advocates can reasonably expect from the media.
But the annual AIPAC Conference is more than just three days of speeches and panels on the biggest issues facing Israel. It’s also an opportunity to exchange ideas with the brightest stars in the world of Israel advocacy and create opportunities for collaboration that will benefit the Jewish world in numerous unexpected ways.
Joe met with a wide range of policy makers and opinion leaders throughout the conference, including current ministers in the Israeli government, leaders of local communities across the U.S., authors, journalists and activists.
As an invited speaker and not just a delegate attending the conference, Joe was in high demand, even when he attended sessions by other speakers. During a working dinner, Joe was addressed from the podium, with the speaker informing the audience that Joe was “a temporary Bostonian” and recommended him as a keynote speaker for upcoming events.
Joe’s appearance at AIPAC was an important gateway to bringing HonestReporting’s message to a wider audience. And it comes just as the wider Jewish world has come to see the depth of the media threat HonestReporting has been fighting for the past 13 years.
Now, more than ever, we need our supporters to join us as we set our sights on the most insidious media threat we’ve faced in a decade – one which seeks to undermine Israel’s very legitimacy. But together we can turn the tide against the BDS and bring Israel a bright new future.