Yerushalmim, Alternative Kosher Supervision System, Jerusalem, Israel
This grassroots effort to establish an alternative and more just method of kosher certification in Jerusalem is an initiative of the Yerushalmim political party and associated social action groups. Motivated by their commitment to the laws of kashrut, five restaurants are working with the organizations to take the Chief Rabbinate to court after being fined for calling themselves kosher without certification. The restaurants say the Rabbinate’s actions amount to harassment because it is engaging in corrupt practices and objectionable management techniques, such as requiring them to purchase goods only from certain suppliers. Yerushalmim and the other groups involved believe the ideals the kosher system was based on, such as collaboration and trust, are violated by the Rabbinate’s actions. Targum Shlishi is supporting this ideological and legal battle. Yerushalmim (Jerusalemites) is a political party founded for the 2009 municipal elections by a group of people dedicated to a more pluralistic Jerusalem. HaTenua HaYerushalmit (The Jerusalemite Movement) is the associated social action organization.
UN Watch, 2013 Iran Human Rights Project, Geneva, Switzerland
Targum Shlishi is supporting the 2013 Iran Human Rights Project, an initiative by the Geneva-based human rights group UN Watch to promote awareness and counter the massive abuses of fundamental human rights committed by the Iranian regime. As part of the initiative, UN Watch is bringing renowned experts as well as victims of the regime to testify at the United Nations. The speakers will expose the regime’s true nature by detailing Iran’s systemic assault upon the human rights of its own citizens, as well as its assault upon the human rights of citizens beyond its borders, including its genocidal incitement calling for the destruction of the Jewish state. Iran poses a serious and urgent threat to Israel, the Arab world, and the West, and UN Watch has urged condemnation of the Iranian regime’s incitement to religious hatred. By bringing this to the attention of the UN and especially its human rights officials, UN Watch hopes to make it clear to Iran’s regime that threatening a UN member state’s existence—and inciting masses to hatred against another people—is not only offensive and inflammatory, it is a gross breach of the UN’s charter and core human rights conventions. UN Watch is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to monitor the United Nations according to the standards set forth in its own Charter. Established in 1993, UN Watch is an accredited NGO in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and an Association NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI).
Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Iran Corruption and Social Media Project, Washington, D.C.
What is the impact of the economic sanctions on the Iranian people? How widespread is citizen discontent against the Iranian regime? In response to the threat Iran poses to Israel, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) launched the Iran Corruption and Social Media Project, an innovative initiative that will analyze Iranian social media to evaluate the impact of Western economic sanctions on the regime, detect signs of widespread Iranian discontent, and identify and quantify the extent of corruption by the Iranian regime. The project will use military grade social media technology to comb through hundreds of thousands of social media conversations to determine whether the economic sanctions are broadening anger against the regime from a cross section of the population, ranging from middle and upper class to lower working class Iranians. The results will help FDD allies in the government to gauge the impact of the sanctions and counter accusations that sanctions hurt only the average Iranian. An additional objective is to identify areas most vulnerable to further measures. The leading policy institute working on Iran sanctions, FDD is a non-profit, non-partisan policy institute working to defend free nations against their enemies.
Playmount Productions, Above and Beyond: The Birth of the Israeli Air Force, documentary film
This film focuses on foreign airmen in Israel’s War of Independence—in 1948, a group of Second World War pilots, primarily American, volunteered to fight for Israel. These members of Machal (volunteers from abroad) were critical to Israel’s victory and to establishing the groundwork for the Israeli Air Force. This is the first major feature-length documentary about these men and includes interviews with several of the pilots. The film, produced by Nancy Spielberg, is in post-production and expected to be shown at film festivals beginning in fall 2014. The film’s publicity materials are eloquent as to the personal service of these men: “At a time when much of the world stood by, unwilling to help a fledgling nation under attack, a tiny band of airmen answered the call for help. They risked their citizenship, their futures and even their lives.”
The Israel-Arab Studies Program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Series of Psychological Research Studies, Jerusalem, Israel
The Israel-Arab Studies Program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) is engaged in a psychological research project whose objective is to establish a research-based approach towards understanding various aspects of the Israel-Arab dynamic and its effect on different populations. Understanding perceptions of how Israel is viewed by multiple populations is critical to helping Israeli leaders develop effective public diplomacy and achieve policy goals, yet until now there has been little data in this area. These research studies will provide information to help political leadership develop and inform diplomatic strategy using tools such as surveys, focus groups of specific populations, and other methods. The Israel-Arab Studies Program at JCPA is now in its seventh year; previous funding from Targum Shlishi helped make creation of the program possible. The program provides students with exposure to all sides of the Israel-Arab conflict with the goal of countering anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activism on American college campuses. Irwin (Yitzchak) Mansdorf, Ph.D., conceived and directs the program.
NGO Monitor, Wikipedia Initiative, Jerusalem, Israel
Since its founding in 2002, NGO Monitor has been at the forefront of the effort to fight the delegitimization and demonization of Israel by challenging the international human rights NGOs undermining Israel. The Wikipedia Initiative is a pilot project that began in 2012 with the NGO Monitor team removing false claims and double standards to the Wikipedia entries for NGOs including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International; it also added information to entries for the Goldstone Report on the Gaza Conflict (December 2008–January 2009) and BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), which is the campaign against Israel started in 2005 by Palestinian NGOs. The organization plans to expand its work on Wikipedia and to use Twitter to give those entries greater visibility through social media.
European Leadership Network (ELNET), Germany-Israel Strategic Dialogue, Potsdam, Germany
The European Leadership Network (ELNET) is organizing a Germany-Israel Strategic Dialogue in Potsdam, Germany on January 14–15, 2013, intended to positively impact the countries’ relations. ELNET works to strengthen Israeli and Jewish interests in Europe and encourage a more positive relationship between Europe and Israel as a counter to the turbulent interactions in recent years and the increasing distrust between European and Israeli leaders. The German-Israel Dialogue was organized in cooperation with the German Council on Foreign Relations and the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies and received the official endorsement of Germany’s Ministry of Defense. In addition to the dialogue, ELNET plans to redefine and strengthen Israel-German relations in several other ways, including pro-Israel advocacy and systemic relationship-building with German officials and policymakers, strategic communication with the media, promoting contacts between German and Israeli officials and experts, encouraging German supporters of Israel to develop good relations with pro-Israel political candidates and parties, and more. Founded in 2007, ELNET is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization dedicated to strengthening relations between Europe and Israel based on common strategic interests and democratic values.
The Mideast Freedom Forum Berlin (MFFB), Democratic Values and Combatting Anti-Semitism Curriculum, Germany
This new education program in Germany targets anti-Semitism and Israel-hatred and promotes democracy. The curriculum, entitled “Democratic Values and Combatting Anti-Semitism,” is a three-day seminar to be offered to German schools, universities, and adult education institutions. Targum Shlishi is helping fund preliminary work on the curriculum, which is intended to educate students and teachers as to how anti-Semitism, Islamism, and Israel-hatred endanger basic democratic values. Beginning in 2014, MFFB will pilot an educational seminar to teach students about democracy and its basic values; Middle Eastern history, Jewish history, and the history of Israel; the link between left-wing and Israel-related anti-Semitism and threats to democracy; recognizing Israel as a democratic, Jewish state; and understanding the need for Arab/Muslim communities and societies to combat anti-Semitism. MFFB is a German political consulting organization that seeks to promote democracy and human rights in the Middle East and North Africa and to combat anti-Semitism, hostility towards Israel, and right-wing extremism in Germany and elsewhere. The organization supports and protects Jewish life in the Diaspora and Israel and Israel’s right to defend itself.
Leket Israel, Agricultural Gleaning Employment Program for Bedouin Women, Israel
This agricultural gleaning employment program for Bedouin women in the south of Israel was established recently by the food bank Leket Israel in cooperation with the nonprofit organization Kafa. The program provides jobs to a population in great need of employment and provides healthy produce to thousands of hungry people. The women are employed full time, with fair conditions. Most of the workers live well below the poverty line and the majority previously experienced exploitive work situations. The produce rescued thanks to the gleaners’ efforts is distributed for free to partner nonprofit organizations that work with needy populations. Leket Israel was founded in 2003 and is the country’s largest food bank and food rescue network. Nearly a quarter of Israel’s population has a diet that is insufficient or imbalanced because of poverty. Establishing gleaning programs to rescue and redistribute this produce while providing employment to needy populations is a win-win for the organization.